Friday, May 23, 2008

Desi Islam - Traditions or Requirements?

You learn something new everyday.

I'm not sure exactly what "Desi Islam" means, but from what I gather, it mostly refers to the practice of combining tradition of a certain culture with the religious requirements of Islam. I came across an article by this name at "The Room of Requirements: Desi Islam", and learned something more about head covering too. Apparently some Muslim women confuse the wearing of a head covering for modesty and religious demand with the wearing of a head covering out of respect. Which is not required in Islam.

In our Western culture, the "flip-side" of the Christian woman's head covering for submission and respect and requirement, is that of the Christian man's doffing his head cover while indoors, out of respect, and in deference to religious requirement while praying. You can observe men taking off their hats and some Christian women throwing their prayer veils on when a prayer is said at some public function.

Somehow, this practice is also a part of what this author refers to as "Desi Islam", in that some Muslim women, when uncovered, will put on their veil when hearing prayer or the words of scripture being read. In her article, she describes how the religious requirement for Muslim women regarding covering has always been out of modesty toward men-people who are not close family - but not out of some outward show of respect for prayer or prophecy. That, you may remember, is the point made by the apostle in the New Testament - that Christian women should cover their heads when praying or prophesying. The article implies that maybe this practice of head covering for respect of holy words is a carry-over from old cultural traditions. And this author as well as the sources she quotes from think that wearing a covering out of respect is just not right.

And I wonder if the ancient practice of women covering their head out of respect for holiness comes from whatever was and is before the Hindu or Jewish traditions that predate the modern traditions of Muslims and Christians.
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