PETALING JAYA: The requirement for Muslim women to don the hijab (headscarf) is a form of independence for women, today’s Friday sermon by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) stated.
In refuting the cynical views pertaining to women and the hijab, the sermon noted how the hijab was in reality about true freedom and true independence.
“However, some people with cynical views consider the hijab as confining women in their garments whereas, as a fact, that is true freedom and true independence, when a woman’s sacred dignity is saved from being the target of abuse and harassment.”
Jawi also said the Quran mentioned that the hijab was recommended for women so that they could be recognised as modest and thus helped prevent them from becoming victims of sexual abuse.
The subject of covering up for women made headlines worldwide recently, following several cities in France banning the burkini (a swimsuit for women that covers the head and body, exposing only the face).
With many Malaysian Muslims having taken to social media to condemn the ban, human rights activist and international author Arundhati Roy, was quoted in a comment piece in the Huffington Post, as saying how “coercing a woman out of a burqa is as bad as coercing her into one.”
The sermon, which centred around independence, in conjunction with the upcoming National Day and the recently celebrated Women’s Day, said the arrival of Islam had uplifted the dignity of women and freed them from bondage and slavery.
Prior to that, the sermon mentioned how in the early days of human civilisation, women were looked down upon and considered as objects to satisfy lust and greed.
“They were denied their rights, and their dignity was constantly violated,” the sermon read.
With the arrival of Islam, the sermon noted how women were given the right to testify in a variety of situations, such as financial transactions, criminal cases, and wills on property among others.