One Man’s Modesty Is Another Man’s Porn…

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By Big Boss

I came across the following online (at the excellent hifazenshafiee.wordpress.com blog)  in the context of criticising a female Muslim Nobel prize winner for her comments upholding the Hijaab and ended up having an interaction with the author:

”Modesty, which leads to respect for oneself and for others, is the key here. It is strange when people typecast women in the world to lie in either of two extremes; those who wander about naked and those who wear the hijab. It is the ones in between who truly respect their bodies. They are the ones who really display a higher level of intellect, not only because they respect themselves but also because they do not go about defending or propagating their way of life in an egotistical and immature manner. Kudos to the woman for her achievements, but saying it represents the highest level of intellect seems silly. Its just another way of defending one’s beliefs and desperately wanting to feel that your way alone is the supreme way.”

Unfortunately I think you need to accept that ‘modesty’ is a subjective concept. Take skirts for example: what is ‘modest’ – below knee? Above knee? How high above knee? Are hot pants o.k? How about a G – string? And who gets to decide? You? Me? Women only? Society? Which one? And according to what time frame? If you went out in a short skirt in Europe in the 40′s you would be ridiculed. Does modesty change with the times? What time should we follow?

Which civilization decides? What is civilization? The Nazis definition of ‘civilization’ was different to the Romans which was different to the Chinese. Who decides?

You see, you just showed the problem by deciding that the two ‘extremes’ were naked and ‘hijaab’. You probably don’t even realise how offensive you are being. Who gave you the authority to decide that wearing loose fitting clothes and a scarf is ‘extreme’? Do you speak for all women? You just said that wearing a scarf is as ‘extreme’ as being naked, thereby insulting all the women throughout history, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim or whatever who decided to dress like that, including Christian nuns like Mother Teresa and Mary, Mother of Christ (pbuh). I can also include the Buddhist nuns who wear even looser robes that Muslims and don’t allow their hair to be shown by shaving it.

This is why in Islam, we propose a non – human and objective criteria to transcend human subjectivity and bias i.e. God: you don’t have to accept that our criteria is from God or follow it and are free to do what you like: however, you cannot say that your opinion is objectively right either. It’s just right to you.

You said:

”Its just another way of defending one’s beliefs and desperately wanting to feel that your way alone is the supreme way.”

Good point. But then you went and made your way the supreme way by taking upon yourself to define the extremes and saying that anyone who was not following it was an extremist. This is grossly offensive to women in general, and again, who gave you that authority?

”It is the ones in between who truly respect their bodies. They are the ones who really display a higher level of intellect, not only because they respect themselves but also because they do not go about defending or propagating their way of life in an egotistical and immature manner.”

So you are agreeing with her and saying that the way you dress does effect your intelligence, except according to you, it’s the ones in your self – defined ‘middle’ who are more intelligent.

So according to you, people (presumably like yourself) who are in the ‘middle’ are superior to everyone else in intellect and self respect and maturity as well as lacking egotism. And then you criticise others for feeling like ‘their way is the supreme way’ having just said that your way is the supreme way.

You see in Islam, only God is always right, not me, not you. So you should not put – down everyone who does not adhere to your standard, especially as you were complaining about ‘extremists’. I think the reality is that you need to think for yourself instead of reflexly labelling anything practised by Muslims as ‘extreme’.

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