Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Cover? THREE Explanations; and more

Over the past few days, three bloggers have reported well on the reasons behind head covering. Two are Christian, and the other is a Muslim.

For informative links about Christian headcovering, please read: Why I wear a Headcovering. by Frugal Abundance at wordpress. Read also the discussion in the comments section concerning the understanding of this being different and not doing so just to draw attention to oneself.

See also the short and sweet explanation by Steve and Paula at blogspot: "Headcovering".

For an informative article on the "why" of Islamic head covering, please read: HIJAB: Fabric, Fad or Faith? by unslaved roses at wordpress. The article includes "Five Advantages," "Three Misconceptions," and "Six Obstacles to Overcome" - with some interesting points all who cover might want to consider on. This appears to be a copy from another website, but good of this blogger to post.

For some interesting reading regarding attitudes toward Roman Catholic head coverings, please read these first-person blogs as well:

“Behind The Veil”, by Soldier Pond at blogspot

old hat, new hat by No Fighting, No Biting! at blogspot

And finally, some PICTURES! A fashion show for Russian Orthodox women, many of which include a head covering. Please check them out by clicking here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's a Many Sided Thing

The subject of Christian headcovering itself covers many different areas. In reading 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, one finds themselves faced with the subjects of headship and authority pertaining to God, Christ and men, hair length of men and women, covered and uncovered glory, worship practices, interdependence of men and women, appropriateness and opinion, the concept of culture versus eternal truth, the veiling itself, and even contentiousness. I'm sure there are a number of "rabbit trails" to follow from these verses in Scripture.

The blog links for today pertain to various ways of looking at headcovering for Christians, both Catholic, Protestant and otherwise, since the Scriptures were written to "all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2).

First, from "Frugal Abundance" at wordpress, is the sweetly titled entry: "Headcovering as Civil Disobedience". Including the thoughts that: "I’m not able to start a nationwide strike, but I am able to wear my headcovering. It’s a simple piece of fabric (or more often these days a snood) but it carries so much weight behind it. My headcovering tells the world that I will not join in with the crumbling morals and distorted values of mainstream society. I separate myself", the author reminds herself and her readers that a headcovering for a Christian is indeed a symbol of more than just submission to her husband. In fact, it "symbolizes a return to morality, a return to traditional values. Which makes me think, of course a headcovering makes people uncomfortable. It’s supposed to. It acts as a wake-up call to everyone who sees it." This is not the reason to cover, but it is a result. We are often reminded that Muslim women in Western countries are dressing out of respect for their faith, and for modesty, because our first thoughts are usually that these women are merely "showing off" their faith, pushing it in our faces, disrespecting our culture and hoping that they can convert us. I think the author of this post has a point here - our Christian headcoverings are indeed a symbol of much more than just our submission to God and our husbands. To the outside world, in a way, they are an outward show of "civil disobedience". Please read the entire article at the title link.

How we and others view headcovering for Christian women can be so different. I liked the entry from "True Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter" at blogspot, who writes in "My First Latin Mass": "As soon as I walked in and saw many women wearing veils on their heads, I knew I was in a good place. I was with people who take the Mass seriously. It isn't rote for them. It isn't a drudgery. It's desirable, it's vital. It's life." It struck me that this woman was initially impressed by the seriousness of the group worshiping there, because of the first impression that was given by the many women wearing veils. It reminded me of the topic of modest dress, in which women respond with the saying that "God doesn't look at the outside, but at the heart". Which quotes from the book of Samuel in the Old Testament, and is of course true. But you know, the beginning of that verse says that "man looks on the outside". (See 1 Samuel 16:7) We so often forget that the outside really does matter, because man cannot see the heart. Consider on this, and please read the author's full report on her visit by clicking the title link above.

I also would like to suggest that if you have a chance to read the article by "Blessed Motherhood" on blogspot, titled: "Of Headcoverings, Dresses, Birth Control, and Holidays: Part I". She doesn't even mention the word "headcovering" in this part 1 (of what looks to be an interesting study of some Bible ideas), but the conclusions she reaches are clear: "We have found that our simple definition of sin as being any transgression of the law has become a little more complex. It also includes the essence of the law and personal direction by the Holy Spirit. We have also seen that one of the easiest ways to determine the answer is to examine our motives. Even something that would not usually be sin, if it is done out of rebellion, becomes sin. That makes our personal communication with the Trinity and an understanding of the Bible for ourselves essential to working out our salvation daily." Definitions, sin, the Holy Spirit, self-examination, motive, rebellion, salvation, and daily - are the key words here. Are there not many facets to the jewel which is headcovering? Please read this article, full of scripture and admonition to go beyond what is seen.

No matter how you look at it, it's not just about putting something on your head at church.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How To Keep the Head Covering from Falling Off

Helpful tip from "Offbeat Modeset Dress" at wordpress: doing your hair a certain way can help keep those coverings from falling off. Maybe this is nothing new to you, but maybe again it is. Click here: The Heidi Braid and Headcovering

Jewish Women's Hair Covering

Answered by Anna of Domestic Felicity on blogspot - newly and joyfully married, living in Samaria:
A question from a reader: "I wonder why you wear a head covering now that you are married? Is it a Jewish tradition or is it for religious reasons?"

If you have questions about the tradition of married Jewish women covering their hair, please read her candid and plain answers, from the example of scripture, from reasoning, and for the purpose of modesty and a sign of being married. She even answers the question of certain women who cover their own hair with wigs, as is a tradition in some places. I've always appreciated reading articles on "Domestic Felicity", as this young woman struggled to learn of and live in the "old ways". Please click here and visit the article: "Why I cover my hair."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hijab not required...

"The Middle Path" wordpress blog writes an article from another point of view regarding hijab - Islamic head covering for women. He states that since the Quran and other highly regarded early writings do not specifically state that modest dress includes a head covering, then it is not required. Also, that apparently the definition of modesty has changed. Do you agree? Click the title link above to read his whole article.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"A cheap resource for headcoverings…"

"tkmuskrat’s blog about modesty, headcovering, and biblical femininity" posts an excellent idea for finding an easy and cheap head covering - dollar stores.

Read her own words here - Modesty and More

Photo from

Are You What You Wear?

Two articles appeared today in blogs which seem to ask that question: are you judged on what's on your head? Well, of course you are. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to judge rightly, because there are so many different reasons why someone wears something on their head. See other entries here and at my webpage for more on that. Here, specifically, are Sikh men and a lovely black Muslima woman.

Ladies first: "Kameelahwrites" at blogspot in response to an earlier article about being black, about being black and Muslim, about being Muslim, and of course, wearing hijab, in "A Comment I never responded to...". The discussion is interesting and touching at the same time, almost as struggle to define herself. Part of the struggle:

This is hard for me because I am not really sure what to call my "own." I am Black-yes, but I am not really sure what that means to me. I did not grow up around my parents family and as such culturally all I know is tofu, Karachi chicken and random visits to the halal meat market where most folks either wore the safety-pin under the neck or the "Benzair Bhutto" look. So, what exactly is my tradition? The woman at my masjid did not always wear hijab and for those who did it was a badu wrap. That was not necessarily "my own" either because I am not from West Africa, nor am I from the Middle East or South Asia. I wish I could say that I opted for a hybrid of all of these articulations but I know I didn't; I strategically chose the "safety pin of death." If I were to borrow from NOI and the way they wore their scarves then I'd end up with a hybrid of sorts but at that point in my life I actively chose to disassociated myself from NOI because I wanted to be seen as a "real" Muslim and not to be confused with the Muslims many "real" Muslims thought were Black bandits stealing and manipulating "real" Islam.

The second blogger is from the Discrimination & National Security Initiative, whose article, "Through film, discussion, let's unlearn prejudice", begins with this illustration:
Three days after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a gas station owner stepped outside his Mesa, Ariz., shop and was shot to death.

The victim was an Indian Sikh. The shooting was in retaliation against Osama bin Laden. But the only thing Balbir Singh Sodhi had in common with bin Laden was that he wore a beard and turban.

They were from different countries and religions and spoke different languages. Sodhi was a law-abiding small-business owner who believed in the promise of America, its entrepreneurial spirit and its freedoms.

The article goes on to review the screening of a new documentary, "A Dream in Doubt," which goes further into this story and others like it. Just because a man wears a head wrap doesn't make him a terrorist. The photo above is from an article called "The Sikh On the Street" at MrSikhNet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Somali Fashion Show

Somali fashion show
By Bonnie Washuk, Staff Writer for the Lewiston, Maine,

To show the difference between a hijab (head covering) and a jilbab (coat) and why they wear them, a group of Edward Little and Lewiston high school students are hosting a Somali fashion show.

The show is to help bridge community cultures with something everyone, especially females, can relate to - fashion.

. . .

The teens will model and explain what they wear, which ranges from traditional to modern to ultrafeminine special occasion outfits. During an editorial board meeting with the Sun Journal, nine high school students said their style of dress reflects their individuality, religion and pride in being a Muslim.

"We wear it because it's part of our religion. It's also who we are," said Muna Hussein, 17. "It shows us as individual persons."

For more information, links and photo gallery, please click the title link above to go to the full article.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"The Curse of 1920"

Well, I stumbled across this little gem, and wondered, "Wow. I wonder what my friends would make of this." So I'm posting you a link to "The Curse of 1920" - that was the year of the amendment to allow women the right to vote. What do you think of his subject material? You can contact me privately at my email address (in the about link), or just write here if you want. Or don't say anything.

From the quotes page: Without question, regarding the Curse of 1920, men are clearly the losers. Women’s rights began the War on Patriarchy; women’s suffrage began the War on Government; Democrat Johnson began the War on the Black Man; women’s rights began the War on the Unborn; the courts began the War on the Family, particularly on the man; women’s rights and African Voodoo Zimran music began the War on Modesty and the War on Youth; and there is no question that the Curse of 1920 with its women’s rights and Zimran music began a War on the Man! Not only has masculinity suffered greatly, both naturally and governmentally, but the man himself has clearly been the greatest fatality of this Curse! The Curse of 1920, without a doubt, has been an attack on the man! The black widow spider lives! [p. 251]

To be honest, some of it sounds like something that my Grandmother used to say.

This author, Gary Naler, has also written a companion book to this one called, "Coverings."

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Wonder of a Dupatta

"The Wonder of a Dupatta", from A Trip To Delhi at blogspot, is a wonderful article detailing the usefulness and beauty of the dupatta - the head covering - and so much more - of India. I really like the salwar-kameez outfits that the author describes here. Click the link above and check out how practical and lovely the truly "old fashioned" head covering scarf is!

More about what the dupatta is here: India Dupatta from Behind the Veil

(this photo is of Noor Jehan (1926 – 2000), who was a famous Punjabi and Urdu singer and actress)


You can read an article I liked about the salwar kameez at my other blog, here: Old Fashioned Lady.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Muslim Head Covering - 2 Points of View

A matter of choice; Clothes don't define who a Muslim is, belief does

An interesting article on head covering and modesty for the modern Muslim, as found in the Northern city of Sudbury, Ontario. Also, as reported by individual experience and personal conversations with others from various backgrounds. Helps to not generalize, I think.

One photo at the 2nd part of this story here.


More on Turkey:
In other news regarding Muslim head covering, more discussion on the situation in Turkey, from the point of view of the Canadian, in the article: "Turkish democracy is a fragile thing" by Harry Sterling, of The Ottawa Citizen.

A Question About Christian Headcovering from History

Question from, from August of 2006:
"Can any of you who do not (or anyone who does) believe in a "literal" interpretation of I Cor 11 name one significant, conservative, Bible commentator prior to 1800 who espoused the theory that the headcovering was hair ? or something to be taken as "symbolic only" ? or a cultural thing that applied only to this time/ situation ?"
A link to this forum was posted recently by rileydad at wordpress. Sometimes, in our study of a subject, it is important to notice how the subject has been approached in history. And this subject of Christian women covering their heads during prayer and prophecy as written in 1 Corinthians 11 has always - apparently - been understood literally.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Airport Screening and Coverings

TSA Pilots New Security Screening Procedure Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) posts in the "Panthic Weekly":

Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a new pilot program called Checkpoint Evolution. The new procedure will be tested at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and directly affect Sikh Americans in the DC-Metropolitan area.

On March 21, 2008, SALDEF was one of a select group of organizations invited to evaluate the new screening procedure before it was publicly announced by TSA. As per TSA, the new screening procedure is designed to be more "soothing" for the passenger whereby allowing behavioral officers to better identify potential threats to the nation’s airports.

From start to finish, this new procedure combines increased technology with relaxing sounds and visual effects for the traveling public. The increased use of visual placards informs passengers of their responsibilities and the use of better technology could allow passengers to move through security faster and be screened more efficiently.

For the moment at BWI, the screening procedure remains the same for Sikh Americans. The significant difference is, if the metal detector alarms, the traveler has the choice to either walk through a Whole Body Imaging Machine, thereby potentially forgoing any physical contact with the turban, or be patted down by a TSA officer.

. . .

SALDEF applauds TSA in developing a new screening process which would generally refrain TSA officers from touching the Sikh turban.

I know that airport screening and head coverings of any kind can bring trouble. Let's hope that this will help alleviate some of that trouble for those who don't want to uncover at the airport - for non-threatening reasons of course.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Blogs on Catholic Headcovering

Is the covering of women’s heads in church of Divine Law? - short article from "aelianus" at exlaodicea.wordpress, re-quoting 1 Corinthians 11, and posing this thought:
Whether it is still enshrined in ecclesiastical positive law is irrelevant. If it is of Divine Law it is binding. In the past even the Holy See has invalidly attempted to dispense Divine Law so the fact the Holy See is not enforcing this law at present is of no great theological significance.

The blog “feminine genius” reacts to WDTPRS on chapel veils, from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of "What Does The Prayer Really Say", is a response article, apparently a response to a response to a previous article which had been posted here. It gets a little complicated, but following along in the discussion brings up some interesting thought.

One interesting thing for non-Catholics to note is that the Roman Catholic Church had originally required that women cover their heads when attending worship services, but in the past half century when women's head covering was declining in use all over the Western world, the Church took the requirement away, and left it up to personal opinion. Since headcovering wasn't required, apparently many just quit and didn't take the time to see the benefits of headcovering (as in many other Christian churches, I think). The author of this blog reminds his readers of his opinion:
To be clear, I maintain that there is no longer any obligation under the Church’s law for this, but I think it is a good custom that recommends itself for various reasons.

Read the whole discussion at the linked title above.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fashion in Jewish Men's Head Coverings

Yarmulkes for The Fashionable Faithful", by LISA A. FLAM, is an interesting reading, reminding us of the non-commandment and non-specific injunction (is that the right word?) for Jewish men to cover their heads. This neat little article even includes a photo slide show with captions to help you understand the concept of wearing the yarmulke.

The yarmulke as it's known in Yiddish, or kippa in Hebrew, is a headcovering "worn as a sign of respect to remind one always that God's presence is over us and as a sign of respect whenever we say a blessing," says Rabbi Joel Meyers, a leader of the Rabbinical Assembly, which represents rabbis in the Conservative Jewish movement.

While the skullcap is among the most recognizable Jewish symbols, it is not sacred, which makes it acceptable to adorn it with sports logos or TV characters, says Meyers, who usually wears a knitted yarmulke.

"The important thing is the wearing of the kippa, not what's on the kippa," Meyers said, recalling one given to him with a propeller he thinks signifies "spiritual uplift."

It seemed a little disrespectful to me, because I liken them in my mind to our prayer veils. But they are not really as much symbols of prayer, but are symbols of their group and style of life, almost like "team colours" (which they are available in). I have noticed before how the various style of a head covering can mark a particular style of faith or understanding within a faith, and that is true here with the Jewish men's head coverings as well. You learn something new every day.


And while we're talking Jewish head covering, you might enjoy this cute little story from West Bank Mama, who reminds us that wearing a head covering as an outward show that you are "not available" doesn't always work. :D

In Turkey: the Symbol

"In Turkey, head scarves are potent political symbols", says Anne Applebaum, of
It can be a little wisp of fabric, nothing more. It comes in longer versions, shorter versions, versions that cover the hair, others that cover the face. According to Le Monde, you can even get a Viennese stylist to design one in the manner of "Catherine Zeta-Jones or Naomi Campbell," with a whiff of supermodel glamour.

But whatever shape it takes, and whatever you want to call it, the political controversy surrounding the scarves that many (though not all) Islamic women use to cover their heads will not go away. The debate surrounding head scarves, banned in French schools and some German state institutions, has just re-emerged at the center of an extraordinary lawsuit, one that could, if successful, bring down the Turkish government.
What really is the problem in Turkey between the secular and the religious? Why can't the people "just get along"? Read more information in this article, as well as links to other articles. It's because the covering is not viewed as a personal or individual choice made by women of many religious backgrounds, but primarily viewed as a political symbol of Islamic rule over the secular in Turkey. Read more at the linked title. Consider her thoughts:
Fairly or not, in certain Turkish communities, a head covering in fact marks the wearer not just as faithful but as a believer in a particular version of Islam. Fairly or not, the head scarf carries with it, at least in Turkey, partisan connotations, as well as a suggestion of the wearer's views of women.

Christian Headcoverer

Welcome homemaker and homeschooler "The Not so dull Life of Anita" at blogspot to the list of headcovering Christians who write blogs about that choice. This article includes her thoughts on dressing modestly as well.