Muslim Headshawl

I am a Muslim.

Nine years ago I stayed at a Muslim boarding school in Indonesia. While I was there I wore a head covering (jilbab, in Indonesian), joined a religious fast, and avoided physical contact with boys.* None of that was required, and the girls I stayed with were constantly urging me to take off the jilbab because of the heat (I was fine, and so were they). The jilbab was part of the uniform, but it really came into its own as a flirtation device.

Here’s how it’s done (based on lots of observation):

1. Spot a boy you like.

2. Giggle as if you’ve never seen a boy before.

3. Watch carefully for the exact moment the boy tries to meet your eye.

4. Quickly hide your face with the side of your jilbab.

5. Giggle as if you are Shocked and Apalled that a boy would dare look at you.

6. Repeat.

Speaking of jilbabs, I recently saw the head of the Australian Muslim Women’s Association on TV. This is an organisation that represents and protects Muslim women (and the head is a woman, of course). Although she and her staff receive many calls for assistance from Muslim women, her organisation has never had a woman call to say that her husband or father is forcing her to cover her head.

It’s worth repeating: Women in Australia are covering their heads because they choose to cover their heads.

So if you respect women’s rights – let them.

To many Westerners, the jilbab or burka is a symbol of the oppression of women. To Muslim women, it is a symbol of a compassionate God, a symbol of beauty, and a symbol of personal pride in who they are.

So I’m proud to wear it today.

Since we’re here, here’s my one-minute lecture on what it means to be a Muslim. 

 The five pillars of Islam.

1. The creed (said three times in Arabic): There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet.

2. Giving to the poor.

3. Fasting (from dawn to dusk for up to forty days).

4. Pilgrimage to Mecca (for those who are financially able).

5. Prayer five times a day.

You’ll notice suicide bombs don’t feature.

I have read the Christian Bible, and an English translation of the Koran, and the Bible (rather embarrassingly) is much more violent. The Koran utterly condemns violence against innocents, and also condemns starting wars – a true jihad can only be fought in self-defence. Suicide bombs are definitely not allowed in the Koran’s principles, as any Muslim can tell you.

I have personally stayed in an entire town of Muslim refugees from a people group murdered and dispossessed by Christians.

So don’t you dare tell me Muslims are violent.

Obviously, killing and mutilating people of another faith doesn’t agree with the Christian faith, either (despite the disturbing parts of the Old Testament).

I am a Muslim because a girl at that boarding school in Indonesia cared enough for me to ask me to say the creed three times, which I did. That makes me a Muslim – technically. In reality, I am a Christian – mainly because I’ve met Jesus and after that he’s a bit difficult to ignore. (Side note: Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet, but not as important as Muhammed. Both religions trace their spiritual lineage to Abraham, so we have a lot in common.)

In my opinion, the only crucial difference between Islam and Christianity is that Muslims must earn their way to paradise (Allah mercifully forgives sins, which certainly helps), while Christians are given total forgiveness and a free ticket to paradise because of Jesus’ death – so we can just chill           salvation-wise, except that we (hopefully) respect God enough to be good people too.

The commandments given by God and Allah are virtually identical – love your neighbour, help the poor, practise hospitality.

I sometimes wear a cross. Muslims sometimes cover their head. That is all.

Today’s awesomeness is Steffmetal.com’s # 45: Worship a new God.

Yesterday, Don Miller sang Christmas carols near what turned out to be a terrorist bomb. He wrote a blog today about terrorism and extremism far better than I could (this is G-rated, so go ahead and read it).

http://donmilleris.com/2010/11/30/the-war-on-extremism/

*Easy to do, since boys are gross anyway.

Published by Felicity Banks

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

12 thoughts on “Muslim Headshawl

  1. An interesting article, I too believe no one should be allowed to criticise a religion without at least reading its main text and discussing with people knowledgable in that area about the fundamentals of its teachings.

    I am not sure I can agree with your statement by the Australian Woman’s Muslim Association though. As a political lobby group (call it what you will, that is what it seems to be doing a lot of), can it be trusted in this regard for such a statement? Isn’t that like trying to believe some “Christian Woman’s Freedom Group” saying they get a call a day from concerned/scared Muslim women?

    But yeah, it is sad that people associate the far left and far right of particular groups with the entire group, whether it be Muslims, Christians, Americans etc…

    1. Hi Greg. Yep, extremism can claim any religious system for its own, and it’s unfortunate for the innocent religion that gets blamed. I do believe the statement by the Australian Muslim Women’s Association, partly because their whole job is to look after Muslim women, and partly because the claim that women’s headwear is a personal choice correlates exactly with my own experience. I’ve met dozens of Muslims in both Australia and Indonesia, and even in Indonesia no-one that I met was forced to cover their head (although in Australia women are “forced” to cover their breasts, which is just fine by me).

  2. Are you sure we are forced to cover our breasts? There was a girl stripping in the Tram in Melbourne who would argue with that statement, and a couple of guys who were looking on who would probably argue that it certainly shouldn’t be forced on us!

    1. Ann: Isn’t the internet wonderful? An intelligent conversation on religion turned so quickly to, “Boobs! YEAH!!!”

  3. In reply to your comment “In my opinion, the only crucial difference between Islam and Christianity is that Muslims must earn their way to paradise (Allah mercifully forgives sins, which certainly helps), while Christians are given total forgiveness and a free ticket to paradise because of Jesus’ death – so we can just chill salvation-wise, except that we (hopefully) respect God enough to be good people too.”

    You have a wrong understanding of Bible teaching.But i don’t blame you as there are too many false preacher of Christ out there.
    There are too many quote on Bible that i guarantee you do not say we get a free ticket to paradise….just a few. Read it yourself if you are sincere to know.

    1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

    1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

    1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

    I also recommend a book “Searching for God knows what – By Donald Miller”.
    It has enlighten me to not follow religion,rather God.

    God Bless and as you muslim say it ‘Allahu Akbar’

    1. Lee: I really like Donald Miller too, and I have good news – Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” or as you said yourself 1Co 3:15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” which means it’s God’s love that saves us, not the works (which may or may not be “good enough”).

      But God’s love also changes us from the inside out so that we become better people – so our faith, which God gives us, is shown by our good works.

      But it’s clear that we are saved by God, not by our own goodness. “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6.

      Romans and Galatians both talk about this in detail. When you understand that salvation is a gift, not something you’ve earned, every good thing that you do becomes sweeter.

    2. Lee: I really like Donald Miller too, and I have good news – Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” or as you said yourself 1Co 3:15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” which means it’s God’s love that saves us, not the works (which may or may not be “good enough”).

      But God’s love also changes us from the inside out so that we become better people – so our faith, which God gives us, is shown by our good works.

      But it’s clear that we are saved by God, not by our own goodness. “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6.

      Romans and Galatians both talk about this in detail. When you understand that salvation is a gift, not something you’ve earned, every good thing that you do becomes sweeter.

      Louise

    3. Reread 1 Co 3:15 and note that HE is saved, showing that the person is saved regardless of his works… so in point of fact, that verse promotes the idea you are rejecting..

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