Friday, October 9, 2009

Fatwa on the Veil?

Apparently, the niqab, the full veil worn by many Muslim women is not-Islamic after all. Well, at least that’s the interpretation of Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, the dean of al-Azhar University in Egypt, which happens to be the epicentre of Islamic scholarship in the Islamic world.

I just wonder how this will sit with our own country’s self-professed religious experts and morality enforcers? As we all know, for years now there has been a tendency to emulate and mimic the kinds of Islamic practices emanating from the Middle East.

Perhaps this might be something our home-grown Islamic ‘experts’ might have more to say about, but I wonder why there has been a deafening silence from their quarters.

Below is the BBC news article on Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi’s remarks.

Egypt's highest Muslim authority has said he will issue a religious edict against the growing trend for full women's veils, known as the niqab.

Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, dean of al-Azhar university, called full-face veiling a custom that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith.

Although most Muslim women in Egypt wear the Islamic headscarf, increasing numbers are adopting the niqab as well.

The practice is widely associated with more radical trends of Islam.

The niqab question reportedly arose when Sheikh Tantawi was visiting a girls' school in Cairo at the weekend and asked one of the students to remove her niqab.

The Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Yom quoted him expressing surprise at the girl's attire and telling her it was merely a tradition, with no connection to religion or the Koran.