on | Beyond the hijab: Modernising the Muslim mind

The hijab is an software in the fingers of one-eyed clerics who need to stay their flock blind. India should stand in combination to defeat them and their supporters who’ve weaponised the hijab

An Indian Muslim lady holds a placard all the way through a protest in opposition to banning Muslim women dressed in hijab from attending categories at some faculties in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. AP

The hijab controversy is a proxy combat between reformers and anti-reformers. The petitioners in the Karnataka Top Court docket need to delivery Muslim women again to the medieval ages.

By way of arguing that the hijab is mandatory beneath Islam and secure by means of Article 25 of the Charter which promises freedom of faith, the petitioners are intentionally misinterpreting Article 25.

It’s necessary to learn Article 25 at the side of Article 21 and Article 14. As Abhishek Mishra of ABP defined: “Freedom of religion is part of the Indian Constitution. Nevertheless, it is the weakest fundamental right of all the available fundamental rights in Part III. The Supreme Court has laid down that what is guaranteed under freedom of religion is core of religious belief and anything which is not core has no protection under Article 25. In the Quranic injunction, the word hijab is not mentioned at all. What is mentioned is ‘wrap their head-cover over their chest’. The hijab should therefore be understood as a piece of cloth to cover the head and chest (not face) of women.”

Freedom of faith isn’t absolute. It’s matter to affordable restrictions. That is very similar to freedom of speech assured beneath Article 19(1)(a). This once more is matter to precise stipulations — that it does no longer reason public dysfunction, incite an offence, compromise safety of the state, violate public decency, and so on.

Certainly, Article 25(i) specifies that freedom of faith is matter to the upkeep of “public order and morality”. Did the violent disruptions led to by means of pro-hijab protesters in Karnataka violate those affordable restrictions? The fast resolution: sure.

If the elementary premise of pro-hijab petitioners is permitted, it’s going to create a divide no longer most effective between Muslims and non-Muslims however amongst Muslim males and Muslim ladies — and, worst of all, between two categories of Muslim ladies.

The primary alienation: Peer drive would power expanding numbers of Muslim ladies to put on the hijab virtually far and wide. They’d finally end up being segregated from trendy, secular Indian society, no longer built-in into it.


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The second one alienation: Muslim males with a regressive mindset can be emboldened to compel their other halves and daughters, who don’t lately put on a hijab, to henceforth put on one. The rift inside of households would widen.

The 3rd alienation is the most threatening: Growing two categories of Muslim ladies. Those that put on a hijab would include a court docket judgement in favour of the petitioners as a vindication. Those that don’t warfare a hijab would regard the judgement as an intolerant imposition.

Professional-hijab petitioners insist that dressed in a hijab is mandatory beneath Islam however no longer necessary. Forget about that semantic contradiction for a second. “Not mandatory” implies that those that don’t need to put on a hijab needn’t. However while you defy what’s mandatory for your faith, you chance ostracism from the wider neighborhood.

The gulf between two categories of Muslim ladies — hijabis and non-hijabis — will thus deepen, inflicting social pressure. Is that this what the Muslim neighborhood desires?

The worst enemies of innovative Muslims are ceaselessly self-declared “liberal” and “secular” Hindus. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, writing in The Indian Categorical, thundered: “The court will make the same mistake when it adjudicates the matter under the essential practices test that most of us have been saying is an insidious piece of judicial chicanery. This is religion by fiat, not by the freely defined subjectivity of its adherents. The court can decide what compelling state interest might be under Article 14 or Article 21. But it should leave the interpretation of religion alone.”

What Mehta in essence is telling the Karnataka Top Court docket is that this: The hijab subject is none of your online business. Depart the interpretation of faith to the clerics.

So in Mehta’s view, the courts are subordinate to mullahs and monks — Muslim, Hindu or Christian — in relation to deciphering non secular observe, alternatively backward, regressive and oppressive that observe is.

It will be tough to discover a extra reprehensible view on how constitutionality will have to be interpreted: by means of clerics, no longer courts.

Headon  Beyond the hijab Modernising the Muslim mind

The advanced Muslim debate. Representational Symbol from Reuters

Self-appointed Hindu secularists and liberals like Mehta and plenty of others are well-intentioned. They in point of fact need to assist Muslims. And the way do they do that? By way of encouraging Muslim ladies to be coated from head to toe as they’re in Saudi Arabia, Iran and (increasingly more in) Pakistan.

Indian Muslims are already the maximum impoverished and backward neighborhood in India. Why would possibly this be so? As a result of “liberal” and “secular” political events like the Congress, CPM, NCP, SP, RJD, NC and AIMIM have handled Muslims as an electoral prize. They’re paraded each 5 years to vote in opposition to the “communal” BJP after which returned to their ghettos.

The largest hurt led to to Muslims relating to schooling and innovative values is inflicted by means of such political events and a corrosive cabal of reporters, activists, legal professionals and NGOs who decorate this chicanery.

It’s time Indian Muslims recognise that the most effective method their neighborhood will prosper is when political leaders apply the dictum: Favour none, empower everybody.

As of late, the mechanic who fixes your automobile, the younger guy who upkeep your air-conditioner or cell phone, the boy who delivers your meals from Swiggy, is extra ceaselessly than no longer a Muslim.

However amongst India’s most sensible 100 startups, what number of founders are Muslims? The solution — none. That lies at the middle of the Muslim debate: reform or regress?

The hijab is an software in the fingers of one-eyed clerics who need to stay their flock blind. Most effective then can they workout energy over them. India should stand in combination to defeat them and their supporters who’ve weaponised the hijab.

The author is editor, writer and writer. Perspectives expressed listed here are non-public.

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