Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Check for Similarities

I know that I offend/make angry/uncomfortable with this blog. When I first began it - when I first began studying the idea of head covering as a spiritual or religious matter - I knew that many people considered that certain things really did fall into a "true" or "untrue" category, and anyone who is not for one particular understanding of Truth, must be, by necessity, against that Truth.

But still, the similarities I find are astounding. The very fact that Christians of all kinds of backgrounds, Jews of various backgrounds, Muslims of a wide variety of backgrounds, and even many Sikhs and Hindus (are there more that I have missed here?) find it important to either cover their head, cover the head of women, realize that the writings that they consider holy do at least make a point for the symbolism or broader understanding of the concept of covering the head, for religious and spiritual reasons - is amazing. Look through this blog's labels, and consider that I've missed several: you'll find head covering women and men everywhere from North and South America, to Europe and Africa, and all over Asia. (I'm sure they cover their heads in Antarctica too, to finish off the listing of continents, if only for the sake of their health.)

I won't take the time to write out a long essay myself. But I'll pass along a few links to some articles that I think make my point. Read an article about a follower of Islam and their understanding of the fear of God, and try substituting terminology from the Bible or Torah. I do it quite often. And, offensive to you or not, I often find that I could simply switch out a few of those words and reprint the article for a different believer, and the Truth of the matter could still be found.

Am I saying that I think that all faiths are equal? No. They are not. I am saying that the similarities are amazing enough to make me consider even on my most doubtful of days, that there is a Truth out there.

Try these articles:

What I Learned and Heard From Two Days Among American Muslims
Robert Parham, in EthicsDaily.com, 09-05-08
The headcovering quote from this article: Only one or two women wore the burqa. Most had headscarves. A number lacked any head coverings.

Taqwa
[often translated as "the fear of God"]
Wesley Ja'far Porter, in the blog: One Nation Under Allah, September 6, 2008
Excerpt of this article mentioning head coverings:
People who have taqwa first and foremost, obey what Allah (swt) orders of them, and they avoid whatever Allah forbids them. The lack taqwa in today’s world is very evident. There are so many issues that Muslims today try to question. Many Muslims today spend a lot of time trying to find loop holes in Allah’s commands in the Qur’an, and to try and find ways to make some of the evil influences of the secular world, permissible in Islam.
One example of this is the issue of the hijab [covering]. Allah (swt) is very clear in the Qur’an, “walyudhribna khumurihinna ‘alaa juyubihinna”, or as it means in English, “draw their headcoverings over their upper torso”. This verse is very clear and explicit as to what Allah (swt) orders of the Muslim women, yet today there are countless people who try to pick apart every little detail and nuance of the verses of the Qur’an to try to find a way that it can be interpreted differently in order to fit modern and secular ideas of women’s dress. We should remember the extent of the taqwa of the sahabah [Companions of Prophet Mohammed], where in this particular case, Aisha (ra) said in an authentic hadith [oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet] that when these verses were revealed, that the sahaba women tore pieces off their garments to cover their head, neck, and upper torso. In fact many of them, in their sense of taqwa, covered themselves completely. They obeyed the words of Allah immediately, and without question. This is true taqwa.

Women as Leaders Anywhere a Challenge to Partiarchy Everywhere
Pamela K. Taylor, in On Faith, from the WashingtonPost.com, September 4, 2008
[from the "other" side of where I come from, but still, compare this to articles criticizing the complementarian view of men and women anywhere]


Tear Down the Pulpit and Women Teaching Becomes A Different Discussion

by lionelwoods7, in the blog A Better Covenant, September 6, 2008
[short article and many comments made; a similar idea to the above article, considering the equality versus (?) the complementary nature of men and women)


Head Coverings
Posted by Kathy, in the blog Jackson Family News, September 5, 2008
[A post from an American in a foreign land; I was not able to discern the exact location, so I won't assume based merely on the wording here.]
Head coverings here can mean any number of things. Obviously, women from devout Muslim families keep their heads covered. There are several different looks, depending on which branch the woman adheres to. The Sunni women usually have very beautiful, colorful scarves arranged very elaborately. On occasion we see women wearing head-to-toe coverings, usually foreigners from neighboring countries. Then there's the babushka look, usually sported by very large, elderly ladies: dark brown, black or dark blue kerchiefs. Some ethnic groups have their own distinct style of head coverings. My Pentecostal friend is often mistaken for ethnic Chechnyan because of the way she arranges her scarf. The downside to that is that she's invariably subjected to a police search whenever she rides the subway. There's a general suspicion that Chechnyan women might have explosives hidden under their head covering. And then, there's one of the more common head coverings. Three or four days without water means a bad hair day. The young women here are generally very beautiful, and quite vain. A nice scarf looks a lot better than dirty hair!

That Veil Thing
By Sumbul Ali-Karamali, in TheAmericanMuslim.org, Sep 5, 2008
Discussing the questions: "But what’s Islamic dress? And is a head-covering required? Both Muslims and non-Muslims in recent years assume that it’s a clear edict."
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