“covering the face, according to the Koran, is not mandatory” says Muslim scholar/academic, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. This comes as little surprise to anybody who has been interested enough to actually research things a bit and see what has been said about the preachings and interpretations on Koranic teaching on this subject. There is little doubt that almost anybody who reads the Koran (or the Bible, the Mahabharata, Mao’s “Little Red Book”, etc..) can put their own interpretations on the messages therein. What is written in one or two of these writings is open to misinterpretation depending on the dialect it is read in, of course, but it’s not so much this that causes confusion as much as it’s the imperatives of the person reading and putting their own ‘spin’ on the words they’ve read.
And so we come to Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. HIS interpretation is that the words of The Prophet don’t require Muslim women to hide their faces. Later Muslim scholars-cum-pseudo-demi-prophets added all sorts of conflicting messages that over the many intervening years have morphed into being accepted as the actual words of Allah, The Prophet. It has come down to what readers, pretty much, want the words to say, the message to be. How much authority these persons have determines how ‘factual’ the message is. And so the modern day Muslim carries with him/her what they have been preached by their Mullahs in the place they believe to be faith, truth, and The Way. There is little reason to believe the authority figures in the family should argue with the teachings of their leaders. There is little reason to expect the other members of the family should look for any other message given they are true and abide by The Faith. Their everyday life is somewhat dominated by the practices of their faith and so the lessons of that faith do not cause any need to question, to debate, to argue against. Ergo, depending on one’s branch of the religion and thus the interpretations and teachings a woman may feel her Mullah’s teachings, her husband’s exhortions and thus her own belief will require her to wear the burkah, niqab, or whatever other covering may be called.
So that Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri says the Koran says there is no requirement for women to hide their faces is quite possibly, even probably true. That his interpretation will be accepted as fact has limited likelihood of acceptance given there have been so many rabid, extreme, anti-most-things advocates in the more extreme versions of this religion than most others. It is a male dominated religion and one that is clearly at the behest of those who are at the front in the daily prayer sessions in the mosque, and who run the madrasahs. Even though Dr Tahir has issued a fatwah against terrorism and suicide bombings and has an audience, one is skeptical that his voice will be strong enough to be heard, either by Muslims or those with bigoted views, at least to the extent to bring about quick change..
The view of this non-Christian, non-Muslim, non-Buddhist, non-any religion person is that Muslim women should be free to wear face covering if that is their wish because I believe it is little different from Jewish men to wear ringlets, Buddhist monks to shave their heads, or Baha’i disciples to piss people in airports off with their chanting and gongs. Just so long as it is their wish!!
There is absolutely no reason or right for the prejudiced pricks of this world to decide that (a) Muslim is evil, (b) all Muslims are Al-Quaeda terrorists, (c) the extremist views of today’s extremist Muslim clerics represent the majority of Muslim views, or (d) that any Muslim woman wearing any form of face-veil has a sinister ulterior motive. Believe what you wish about her motivations, it is her right.