I will begin by stating that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and devotion to the will of God. I mean, did you know that when we greet one another we say, “Peace be upon you”? Did you know that we get rewarded for smiling? So, if Islam is so peaceful, why are women forced to cover themselves you ask? Let me tell you: We are not forced. We choose to cover ourselves because we see the beauty in the command.
We choose to submit ourselves to the will of God because we feel the beauty in the command.We choose to be identified as Muslim females who are highly ranked in Islam. Accordingto the Holy Qur’ān, we are to cover ourselves because “That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.” (33:59) Being “abused” refers to not being harmed, i.e., the verse in total means to be known as being a Muslim to avoid being harmed.
Being “known” in this context refers to being identi-fied as a Muslim. Being identified as being honest, trustworthy and full of strength. Beingidentified as promoting peace. Being identified of knowing our worth as females. “Abused” here refers to remaining safefrom any trouble or affairs thatwhich does not concern us. Therefore, covering ourselves is a blessing from God. An hon- our, for God only instructs us to do that which will benefit us in this world and in the Hereafter.
Furthermore, along with modesty of the outer garments, modesty within the inner self should also be displayed. We are to demonstrate acts of kindness, friendliness and respect. We are to make people feel welcome. We are to show you the beauty of Islam by displaying good character because Islam is beautiful. Our God is beautiful. His creation is beautiful. You reading this, you are beautiful. Let these words resonate in your mind: Muslim women are not oppressed. Muslim women are protected.
So, the next time you see a Muslim female in class, ask her how she’s doing. I am pretty sure that she will respond with a warm smile. She might even offer you a samoosa or two!
*Zeenat is a second-year BSc student.
She is the secretary of the Muslim Students Association and also part of Maties Rugby.