Sarkozy is Right! Burqah is NOT an Islamic Requirement!

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Thank God for Nicholas Sarkozy who said what Muslims should have been saying in the first place:  Burqah is NOT a sign of religion.  It is a sign of subservience.

The Holy Quran does not prescribe the Burqah.  Even Hijab or headscarf is a contentious issue though the latter has become a symbol of political identity more than a religious issue and therefore has become a sine qua non for multi-culturalism in the west.  However we cannot allow the question of Burqa to take a similar status.

The determinants of Islamic Jurisprudence known as the Usul ul Fiqh are:

1.  Holy Quran

2. Sunnah

3.  Qiyas

4.  Ijmah

On all four counts,  the Burqah fails the test of mandatory religious observance.  And if the rituals around the holiest Islamic gathering of Hajj is anything to go by,   Burqah goes against the grain of Islamic spirit.  After all  during the Hajj all believers are expressly forbidden from hiding their identity and there is no segregation of the sexes.  Going by the Hajj Islam appears to be a radically modern and egalitarian faith – which is the true spirit of the faith.

My only regret is that this wise statement has come from Nicholas Sarkozy, , the President of the French Republic,  and not from one of the leaders of a Muslim majority countries, especially those who have christened  their states “Islamic Republics” for clearly Islam upholds complete equality of all human beings.  Surely they don’t want their religion, Holy Book and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) associated with something they had nothing to do with?

The second issue ofcourse is whether France has the right or moral authority to ban anything. This has been done to death in the past few years but let us revisit the issue once again in the light of the arguments forwarded by those like the holiest of the holies from Darul Uloom Deoband etc.  These brilliant ideologues claim that French President’s statement is apparently against human rights.  Ofcourse these people are so shamelessly mum about the forced observance of Burqah by Saudi Arabia and that of Hijab by Iran.  But let us consider if the French Republic has the right to ban the Burqah.  The answer is overwhelmingly yes! Not only is Burqah not a mandatory religious observance but is ostensibly a security risk in this day and age.  Furthermore a ban on the Burqah will be in line with the French state ideology of “Laicete”  which is secularism with a capital S.  In this secularism goes beyond being a state principle as it is in the US or UK but becomes an active policy of the state to push religion into private space.  Is there anything wrong with having an ideology?  If so the same objection should apply to all ideologies across the board.  In that case if France is to be stopped from making this crucal decision, citizens of Iran should also be allowed to go nude in public if they so desire.  See the absurdity of the claim that the French republic has no right to ban the Burqah?

All fairminded Muslims should support the ban on Burqah if the French Republic goes along with President Sarkozy.    It is the only Islamic thing to do.



Filed under Islam

55 responses to “Sarkozy is Right! Burqah is NOT an Islamic Requirement!

  1. stuka

    agree with the sentiment but from a libertarian perspective, I am not entirely comfortable with a ban on Burkhas either.

  2. YLH

    From the perspective of a libertarian are you entirely comfortable on the ban on total nudity that exists in most countries then?

  3. farooq

    it is there in quran in the quran about burqa . Who is sarkoji he is authorised person. We have to follow prophet Mohammad SAS teachings not any others ideas who wants to get shame to islam.

  4. D_a_n

    @ YLH

    Pray Tell what will happen to all the Mullah’s who have planned future escapes from tricky situations in Burqas??? Who will speak for them???

    now don’t tell me you have issues with God fearing cross dressers? 🙂

  5. Subramanyam K.V.

    @Yasser Latif Hamdani
    Interesting argument .Before reading the article I was always of the feeling that Burqa was mandated by the holy scriptures of Islam .

  6. D_a_n

    @ Subramanyam K.V.

    it most certainly does not…piety never had a uniform!

  7. First of all… i agree for once with Sarkozy…
    Besides, the Burqa is a development of the subcontinent … and locking up the women and throwing away the keys was a much later development in the muslim world … we have all heard of warrior women in the Battle of Uhud (Naseeba for one) and of the women nursing the injured in the various battles during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. … and of Bibi Ayesha leading the battle of the camel against Hazrat Ali …actually, i dont think Razia Sultana wore a burqa either…
    I have noticed in recent years that from the Burqa the muslim women of Pakistan are now progressing to the ninja styles that are coming on the heels of the radical, neo conservative muslim sects that have invaded that moderate land….
    we all know that Hijab means modesty … But how many understand that it is prescribed for muslim men as well as muslim women …
    in fact, muslim men are supposed to look down or away so that they do not stare or look upon a female who is not a mehram .. and when we come down to the nitty gritty, i dont think a western suit and/or jeans is muslim/hijab dress for men either. .. so if muslim women are to be locked up in burqas, let us have muslim men whipped for staring at a non mehram female …
    let us ban western dress for muslim men … the flowing robes of the arabs (with a chemise please) can be the ‘islamic dress’ for men ….
    let us REALLY go back to the 14th century … lock up the women, men wear flowing robes (with chemises) and we all travel on camels, throw away the horrible cell phones developed by the hateful West … etc etc … you get my flow!…:)
    Question: … why do all the mullahs and their ilk believe that hijab is only for women? ….
    MORAL OF THE STORY: What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander …

  8. hayyer48

    The discourse is surely about women as mens’ chattel- Male insecurities about women and definition of sexual dominion and territory.
    Men had power over women because they provide the security and the food. Now in the west they do neither except for women who like it that way and manage to get it that way.
    What is the economic impact of women who do not contribute because they cannot work except within the household. Many economies would collapse.

  9. mazHur

    If a Burqa or the scarves are not Islamic dress then what garment does the writer suggest for women to cover up their ‘feminine body parts’ as explicitly stated by the holy Quran?? How do you expect women to ‘cover up their bosoms and heads ‘ and all that is feminine from the glances of nasty public??

    Those who quote West as an example they are obviously oblivious to prevailing conditions in their own homes or country. It would be better for them to follow the
    West in things other than such prejudicial matters as ban on Burqah or scarf which act is totally against human rights , personal freedom and Democracy that are so unashamedly touted by the West.
    Proponents of western values should first try to make their country like the West in all respects and only then they might be justified in quoting and applauding the so called ‘virtues’ of the West.

  10. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mazhur mian …

    The Quranic verse speaks of bringing the veils over the bosoms.

    The inhuman, unIslamic and humiliating Burqah is not prescribed anywhere in the Holy Quran or Islamic doctrine.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    “other than such prejudicial matters as ban on Burqah or scarf which act is totally against human rights , personal freedom and Democracy ”

    Since the issue is not about West being a model… let us limit ourselves to the merit of this claim.

    If a ban on Burqah is totally against “human rights”, “personal freedom” and “democracy”, surely you must agree that a ban on nudity is equally against “human rights”, “personal freedom” and “democracy”.

    Those who throw these words in connection with human rights etc… should really agree that they would allow in theory men and women to roam about in the nude if they so please in Iran for example.

  12. mazHur

    I agree burqa as a kind of garment is not prescribed in the Quran but what about covering up the bosom and head by women?? If the burqa design is so repellent to you why don’t you suggest a way to Muslim women for covering up their ”feminine body parts’ as stated in the holy Quran??

    Your protest seems related to the ‘type or design’ of the covering or you want women to go out with open bust and hair and all that’s being done in the West? Piaray, read the holy Quran and try to understand where you are erring.

  13. kashifiat

    “All fairminded Muslims should support the ban on Burqah if the French Republic goes along with President Sarkozy. It is the only Islamic thing to do”

    A true example of totally confused, misguided, lack of knowledge & understanding of Islam & self explanatory biased fiqh & ill mentality .

  14. mazHur


    Nudity and dressing up are two distinctly separate entities. At least I do not expect any Muslim to compare ‘stripping off’ in the present context. What message are you trying to convey to the Islamic world and particularly to women?? Nudity is a universally contemptuous aspect while the burqa is just being maligned by people like you for its design??
    May I ask where in Islam is prescribed under wear for you??

  15. mazHur

    @Zeenath Jahan


    the meat of one is poison for the other too!!

  16. yasserlatifhamdani


    Your distinction between “design” and substance” is your own…

    Like I said Quran calls for the covering of the bosom alone. It was obviously a reference to those communities which went about with open bodices. I don’t think there are many non-Hijabi Muslim women running about with their breasts uncovered.

    Given that Burqah is not part of religion.. and you made it a matter of personal choice and freedom… surely you would agree that nudity would also be personal choice and personal freedom. Your claim that nudity is “a universally contemptous aspect” shows how little you know of the world. Now I am not advocating nudity but I am just showing you the logical conclusion that one must inevitably arrive at by claiming that Burqah – a tool of misogynist oppression- is an issue of personal choice and freedom.

    Your best bet is to prove that this is ordained by Islam… in which you can claim freedom of religion with limited success… but my friend that is going to be a tall order now that you’ve accepted otherwise.

  17. Ali Ahmad

    so an ignorant liberal Mullah preach us and issue a fatwa that covering of body or veil is not in Quran and verses in Surah Nur and Surah Al Ahzab which this liberal Mullah has never read in entire life are not about Hijab and face covering.

  18. mazHur

    Here is the Ayat from Quran..

    The entire body must be covered with the exception of those parts that are allowed to be exempted. The Holy Quran states in Surah Nur (24:30-31)

    “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty that will make for purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should not display their beauty andornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof, that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hand posses, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you believers! Turn all toward Allah that you may attain in bliss.”

    How do you interpret it??

    Nudity, as I said earlier, is not the issue here. You may try a hand on this topic separately. However, in the paasing, I must add that nudity is at least has nothing to do with Islam nor it is ‘prescribed’ by the Quran. By referring to it and posing like a ‘know all’ you are merely trying to plead Haram as Halaal. Next time you would say eating pork is also a ‘personal matter’-maybe your personal matter I have no concern with!

  19. yasserlatifhamdani

    Precisely because I am not a Mullah but a simple lawyer, I’ll quote to you the exact verses which you refer to:

    24:31 = tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their coverings over their bosoms


    33:59: Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons: that is most convenient, that they ,should be known and not molested.

    I wonder how they would be known if they were in the Burqah? Why is Bosom specifically mentioned and not the face or hair? The whole thing seems to sagacious advice to protect against molestation… certainly not law. Law would require punitive action.

  20. yasserlatifhamdani


    I object to the use of the English word veil … the Arabic word means to cover.

    You made nudity an issue after your claimed that the ban on Burqah was an infringement on personal freedom. By your logic a ban on nudity is also an infringement on personal freedom.

    Burqah has nothing to do with Islam as I proved by quoting the relevant Quranic provisions… especially those that Ali Ahmad mian quoted above.

  21. Tanvir Khan

    You have succinctly & crisply expressed what I have been scared to express for a long time. While the Quran can be interpreted differently by different people, my own reading and understanding of the Quran concurs with you in that the Quran requires the Burqa neither of Men nor of Women! Again (just for emphasis), neither or Men or Women! Thank you for your courage in expression your position. Its people like you with the clarity of thinking who will bring about a better understanding of the Quran and Islam.

  22. Tanvir Khan

    Just to add to Zeenath Jahan’s comments above, our prophet’s first wife was a very successful business person. She didnt wear a Burqa. In fact She probably had typical meetings with other vendors/customers, communicated with men/women in the normal course of business, sent/received correspondences related to the business, conducted meetings to manage her business, managed the financial/profitability aspects of the business, hired/fired employees & reviewed their performance, etc.etc. The point I am making is that women in business was a normal part of the culture during the days of our Prophet and (again) neither Men nor Women wore Burqas then !

  23. Bloody Civilian

    sagacious advice to protect against molestation… certainly not law

    and it is only rational for the advice to become less important/relevant as the threat of molestation reduces. which, takes us back to Zeenath Jahan’s comment: where does this threat of molestation come from? which leads us to the answer given by Hayyer48.

  24. Bloody Civilian

    The discourse is surely about women as mens’ chattel

    and as another learned friend pointed out recently: chattel is the part of property that is not even a fixture.

  25. Anwar

    Enjoyed this post though the discussion that followed was a bit taxing.

    It all boils down to male chauvinism… Burka is a cultural interpretation of the Book by a few.

    I remember whenever we visited our folks in the village, my mother used to cover herself well as soon as the car arrived at the outskirts… Partly as a respect for the expectations of elders and partly due to social pressures that existed (in her mind).
    But in the post Zia era, this has spread like a disease. Thanks to our Saudi patrons.

    Look, I outlawed this attire in my harem long before Sarkozy even thought of doing this in France. If history is any guide, Burka is symbolic and it is there to haunt the French for their past sins.. and I find it a bit entertaining as this drama temporally evolves in to new acts directed specifically towards the minorities in France.

    French Burka need not be our concern. We need to uplift the women folks and give them equal access to opportunities and education in Pakistan even if they like to use this wrapper for a generation or two.. With time they will get tired, guardians of chastity will die and new scholarly interpretations of the scripture will ease the pressures.

  26. mazHur

    some of my comments have not appeared on the page. It seems they have been censored after being put on moderated. thus, mostly one-sided and hand picked comments are being published here and some of the comments posted here are off-topic.
    here is the discussion is about Burqa and not ‘the status of women’ or ‘roaming about in the nude’.

    YLH in his simplicity (or ignorance ) is trying to prove haraam as halaal. He says nudity is a personal matter. Okay, then what about dragging heroine? Sodomy? Suicide bombing?? Eating pork and drinking wine?? Fornication? Incest? and so on.

    I regret to note that Western influence seems to have made some people forget that they are Muslims or even humans…..they write just for the sake of writing with the sole object of misleading unsuspecting people into something they don’t know ( because they are not sincere to their faith nor read and understood it).

  27. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mazhur mian,

    Your comprehension skills leave a lot to be desired.
    By your logic, even nudity is an issue of personal freedom.

    Since you’ve obviously not applied your mind to what is written, I cannot waste my time till you do so.

  28. D_a_n

    @ Mazhur..

    are you seriously suggesting that The Burqa and it’s impact on others is the same as the impact of incest, Heroine and suicide bombing?

    not the sharpest tool in the shed now are we?

  29. mazHur

    @ D_a_n

    I only said

    1. Burqa is merely a design or style of an attire for women to cover their AWRA or feminine parts and the holy Quran hasn’t specified this design. In fact it is a cutural adaptation and not necessarily a symbol of oppression.

    2. Burqa or any kind of attire, including shalwar Qameez etc is a matter of personal choice. Why make a fuss about it?? Don’t wear a Burqa if you don’t like it, O women, but by the tenets of the holy Quran a woman is bound to cover up her AWRA or SATAR as it is called………by other means such as a mere sheet of cloth or even a lab coat.

    3. I am not for burqa or against it. It is simply a dress. If women want to wear it voluntarily then what’s all this fuss about? However, I think hiding the face, hands and feet is not Islamic.

    4. It was YLH who stirred the pot ie the topic of nudity calling it a matter of ‘personal freedom’. If we take for granted that nudity, like the nude animals, is a matter of personal freedom then YHL and the proponents of unIslamic outlook toward Islamic laws should also consider the plethora of other things such as I’ve quoted as ‘examples’, to be also included in the ‘personal freedom’ list!!

  30. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mian Mazhur,

    Stop tying yourself up in knots.

    You said Burqah was an issue of personal freedom. I pointed out that to millions of people nudity might be a similar issue… but we ban nudity in public don’t we and rightly so?

    Unless you can prove that Burqah is a religious requirement in Islam, you don’t have a valid argument against a ban on it. And I’ve already shown and you have accepted that Burqah is not a religious requirement in Islam. Now by quoting incest etc, you’ve seconded my argument that personal freedom is NOT absolute and hence an unIslamic symbol of misogyny and backwardness like the Burqah may be banned.

    To try and present this as I am promoting nudity is dishonesty of the highest order… but then what does one expect from people like you anyway.


    Restricting the burqas presence is taking away a Muslim womans right to choose how she expresses herself and her religion. One way or another, requiring that a burqa is worn or requiring that its not, the government is dictating what she can or cannot wear giving her no choice but to submit. If, as Sarkozy says, its a question of freedom restricting the presence of the burqa is inhibiting Muslim womens freedom, not promoting it.
    Saudi Arabia, where women are required by law to wear it. The fact that it is mandated is what makes it oppressive, not the garment itself
    Regardless, As with any religion or religious act, what it symbolizes should ultimately be up to the individual who practices it

  32. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Re: Freedom, burqa and nudity

    Let me try to answer on Mazhur mian’s behalf.

    Mazhur mian opposes the ban on burqa in France becuase of obvious reasons. But he wud also refer to the personal freedom of France and hold the ban on burqas in France (and other Western countries) as being violative of their individual liberties. OTOH he wud not oppose a ban on nudity in Islamic countries (like Pakistan) becuase being Islamic countries these countries are expected to ban nudity in public any way. No Islamic laws are being violated by banning nudity so ban on nudity in countries like Pakistan is fully justified.


  33. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Majumdar

    Your post makes sense except France’s concept of Laicete is a departure from or at the very least a restriction on the value of individual liberty as it were. If France is not allowed to adopt secularism with a capital S as a state ideology, then Muslim majority states should not be allowed to adopt Islam in bold, capital and italicized font as the state ideology.

    So my point that France’s ban on Burqah is valid stands (your point would be valid in say the US or UK).

  34. Majumdar

    Mazhur mian,

    Okay, then what about dragging heroine? Sodomy? Suicide bombing?? Eating pork and drinking wine?? Fornication? Incest? and so on.

    Since you have asked our opinion, I will offer mine. Fornication, eating pork and drinking wine seem OK. So is sodomy, if done with mutual consent. Incest and suicide bombing are certainly
    not kosher. As far as dragging heroines go, no heroines, whether Hollywood or Bollywood or Lollywood shud be dragged anywhere against their will.


  35. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Personally I have my reservations on the ban on burqa and I dont see why upholding either the right to ban a burqa (or wear it) shud be seen as being a sine qua non of secularism. Yes, no Muslim woman shud insist on her right to get a driving license or a passport with a veiled face- there obviously is a security issue there. But I am not sure that a lady going to a mosque or a shopping mall or just taking a walk in the neighbourhood shud be banned from wearing a burqa. It is a bit like a Sardarji’s turban really.


  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    French concept of Laicete or Secularism with a capital S goes beyond the normal conception of secularism that we would like to see in Pakistan, India, US or UK for example.

    It makes perfect sense for the French state to ban the Burqah from that angle. In any event Burqah is not part of religion … so the French are well within their rights to ban them just like it is prohibited to go nude in public in France.

  37. D_a_n


    ‘ I am not for burqa or against it. It is simply a dress. If women want to wear it voluntarily then what’s all this fuss about? However, I think hiding the face, hands and feet is not Islamic.’
    Fair enough and It’s not something I would want to argue with. but then there’s this part of me that does believe that this is a tool that belies a certain type of mentality which has done harm and brought no good. I would be happy to see the back of it…

    However, YLH the lawyer has put it best I believe:

    If France is not allowed to adopt secularism with a capital S as a state ideology, then Muslim majority states should not be allowed to adopt Islam in bold, capital and italicized font as the state ideology…

  38. I am finding that Westernism and Modernism are increasingly being treated synonymously … they are not …this error has led to many muslim maulanas to hold up the style of life prevalent a couple or more centuries ago vis a vis women and the treatment of women (but of course they will never give up their Pajeros for a camel!)
    I believe Muslims can join the modern world while holding on to their own cultures and rejecting Western culture if that is what they want… culture and tradition is not religion!
    But, if ‘Hijab’ means “modesty” it would of course mean no bikinis etc for muslim women … and it would also mean no swimming trunks for muslim men…
    Am I wrong to believe that modest behaviour in men has also been addressed in Islam?
    QUESTION: It has always puzzled me (as a woman) …Why does the Islam of most muslim men/ulema/whatever begin and end by locking up their women?

  39. mazHur

    @ D_a_n
    then Muslim majority states should not be allowed to adopt Islam in bold, capital and italicized font as the state ideology

    EDITED! There is no sense in comparing ideology of one’s own country with that of the French or any other nation. If we are Muslims we are Muslims otherwise, in the language of the holy Quran itself, simply hypocrites.

  40. bonobashi

    @Zeenath Jahan

    I have bad news for you.

    It is not Muslims alone who lock up their women as the first (sometimes the last) religious act. This is true of rigid Christians and some Hindus as well. There has been some historical speculation that the Hijab was actually a Central/South Asian introduction, and that Arabia had originally nothing to do with it. The close reading of the Quran that some have provided during the course of this discussion provides ample evidence supporting that speculation.

    You may have to look back to around 10,000 BC to see what led to this peculiar state of affairs. For fear of bringing a hornets’ nest about my ears, I shall leave it at that, except to say that the overthrow of older Mother-based religions occurred perhaps around that time. Unfortunately, it has been such a complete suppression of earlier modes and cultures that nothing can be said of those times with any certainty. Only fragments of linguistics, women’s practices (stri achar), some strange myths which are baffling on first reading, scattered clues such as this give us tantalising clues to what religion was originally, or for that matter, what society and culture were originally.

  41. hayyer48

    Zeenath Jahan:
    While modernism and westernism are not synonymous modernism is meaningless outside the western context. In its simplest sense modern means what is currently the mode. But for non westerners there is little if any change between the past and the present, unless you have been westernized to whatever degree, and then you are modernized to that degree.
    Women are locked up because men dont want to rear children they have not fathered. It is a male conspiracy to ensure that they don’t get at each other’s women. It is a pact of honour between men, which they think makes them honourable men. In Europe they hoped to achieve the same with chastity belts.
    It is the same reason that polygamy prevailed more than polyandry. A man was always sure that his wives bore only his children. Polyandrous husbands never know.

  42. D_a_n

    @ Mazhur…

    ‘then Muslim majority states should not be allowed to adopt Islam in bold, capital and italicized font as the state ideology’…

    Arent they already?? At least their own understanding/perception of it? Pray tell what is Saudi Arabia doing for example..and again, your response alludes to the fact that you believe that the Burqa is what Islam requires a woman to wear…and there lies our disagreement..

    the line I re-produced by YLH was not about us towing the french line..I believe that particular point was that we should not be have any issues with France banning things that she sees fit while we also do the same…

    ‘If we are Muslims we are Muslims otherwise, in the language of the holy Quran itself, simply hypocrites.’

    Again, if by being Muslims you mean we must declare the Burqa as the garment of faith then that is just not true…it has been discussed in earlier posts in light of what the Quran says..

    ‘On the other hand, Bangla Desh was stripped off the Greater Pakistan on a different ideology’..

    err…it was quite a few things that caused one party to sue for an ugly divorce but ideology is not how id describe it (to be charitable..)

  43. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mazhur mian,

    Without getting into why Pakistan was created which you don’t have a clue about and I don’t want to waste my time educating you… you could atleast do us all a favor by reading what is written before responding like a blind man.

    If Iran for example has the right to have Shia Islam as an ideology, France has the right to have Laicete as its secular ideology. If you can’t allow France its right to have an ideology no Islamic state should have the right to have an ideology either.

  44. mazHur

    @ yasserlatifhamdani

    I can see who’s the maddest person on this page.
    The one who’s trying to be his brother’s keeper.
    France can go its way that’s none of my concern as I don’t live there. But for a nation which brags about human rights, women rights and freedom of bla bla bla it’s disgusting to impose ban on a particular kind of dress for women. Next time they would ban shalwar Qameez…don’t know whether laacha is allowed there. I am for laacha!

    Again, I will repeat to make the ‘sage’ lawyer understand that I never said I was for the Burqa. I only said Islam directs women to embrace modest and decent dress to cover up their AWRA or Satar. Modestly is equally essential for men but evidently burqa is not their problem (though shalwar qameez or kurta is)

    Religion is not law. My two kids are top lawyers and they know who a madman could be. As a lawyer you ought to be spending more time in your profession rather than meddling in futile religious controversies and using offensive terms for others. William James rightly termed them as ‘functionally illiterate’ of the “Leisure class’………who twist facts and try to drown them the drain through useless arguments and justifications. Such people suffer from ‘inferiority complex’.

    I don’t know whether France has promulgated a law on banning burqa. If they have then as good Muslims we ought to respect the law of the country where we live. But there is yet no harm in lodging our protests or endeavoring to convince others through dailogues rather than calling others mad or fools! They can do the same to you as well, then what would be the fun>??

    Try to be nice!

  45. Nayla


    Your piece is hit on spot.

  46. Rambler79

    Yasser Latif Hamdani,

    I expected something better from you. The issue here is not Burqa. You are right that Quran doesnt specifically talks about Burqa but it does talk about a specific clothing for Muslim Women. Burqa is more of a cultural term. As long as security matters are concerned, no many women cover their faces anyway. Most modest muslim women wear lose clothing with a head scarf. If this is what a government can not tolerate then it should revise its values. Moreover, Sarkozy clearly said that Burqah is a symbor of subservient and abasement. I find it pretty harsh. I as a Muslim woman who wears a lose coat over my outfit and cover my head, feel that these are very strong comments that Sarkozy has made

  47. bonobashi


    While Yasser Hamdani can more than capably defend himself, your response does seem a little unfair. It is precisely the burqa that is the issue; as far as I know, for women who are majors, or rather, more precisely, not school-going, there is no objection to the kind of garb you have described, a loose coat and a covered head. It is only the burqa outside schools, and within schools, the headcovering that is banned by the French state.

    With respect, and with all the circumspection of an outsider offering a comment on your highly-respected religion, it is difficult to accept your equation of the burqa with loose clothing and a head scarf, and the consequent conclusion that the French, by objecting to the burqa, have objected to the symbol, not the precise object, and therefore have objected to the loose clothing and the head scarf. Don’t you think that this is far-fetched, and comes within the category of picking a quarrel where there is none?

    “Moreover, Sarkozy clearly said that Burqah is a symbor of subservient and abasement. I find it pretty harsh.”

    Why so? Protection is needed not for self-confident, self-assured, above all educated women such as you seem to be, but those who are uneducated, and whose menfolk use their ignorance to impose false religious restrictions on them. We are speaking of France; I could speak to you with great force of the miserable state of Muslim women in Bengal. If you can read the book “Divorce and Muslim Women”, by Dr. Syed Abul Hafiz Moinuddin, and remain unmoved, I will take back all my remarks.

    In these cases, the burqa is a symbol of subjugation, not of liberation; liberation occurs when the liberated person is aware of all her choices and takes a choice, undeterred by coercion or by social sanction.

    With the utmost respect for your views and sentiments, I submit that it is for oppressed women unaware of their rights and deliberately kept unaware of their rights that protection is necessary, not for the gender elite.

  48. bonobashi

    Symbor (sic), and not as it is copied.


  49. Woo!!!,

    What happened to personal freedom?

    How can the liberal facists support this ban? Just because this particular mode of dress is associated with Muslims and Islam.

    Well thanks for exposing yourself, you are nothing more than a desi verson of O’riley.

  50. bonobashi


    I think you have the wrong end of the stick. This is not about Islamophobia; it is about human rights. If it was about Islamophobia, I really wouldn’t be here, not because I am either a Muslim or a friend of Islam, but because I simply don’t know enough about the subject of religion.

    The essential problem here, if you will please pause to catch a breath and stop hyper-ventilating, is that of two sets of personal freedom clashing with each other. On the one hand, we have a woman saying that she feels secure and comfortable wearing a garment which protects her from lewdness and loose comment; on the other, we have a government and state apparatus that says that it is the essence of their state that distinctions, including visible distinctions, which go on to build differences between individual citizens of the state, must be removed, and that to the extent necessary to do that, individual freedom may be curtailed by the state.

    Which are you arguing for? Please be careful when you reply, because there are perils on both sides. If you are arguing, as in the present case you may be (you really haven’t said much yet), that individual freedom is an innate right, and that it is superior to any rights of the state, I will then ask you why there is such rigid state sanction of individual liberties elsewhere, in the opposite direction. If I wish to be lightly dressed in, say, a religious conservative milieu such as Corsica, or Sicily, it could lead to state prosecution. Why? Why should not my individual freedom stand over those state rulings?

    You may have noticed that I have the diabolical and thoroughly advantage of coming from a milieu where a fully-naked man is allowed by society, and is even given alms by pious women.

    But we digress; we are considering the matter of fully-clad women of pious persuasion, or even women of relaxed religious views who wish to avail of the protection of all-enveloping clothing.

    Can the state restrict individual freedom, on the grounds that some expressions of such freedom are inimical to the interests of women, all women, and that allowing some individuals to deviate will put pressure on the others who do not wish to adopt the deviation?

    I believe so; these were the grounds on which Bentinck abolished the murderous practice of Sati; these were also the grounds on which an enlightened Chinese democratic government banned women from binding their feet. Please note that in both cases, individual freedom, highly held expressions of individual freedom, were at stake. The state in both cases intervened on the grounds that allowing some Indian women to immolate themselves, and allowing some Chinese women to bind their feet would build unbearable social pressure on others, not so willing, to follow suit. Does a parallel suggest itself?

    Coming to your comment about liberal-fascists: I have come across this term occasionally but it confuses me. What exactly does it signify?

    Finally, the last line of your post seems to be a very individual and personal message. It is not clear to whom it was addressed. I am wracked with uncertainty in case you have addressed them to me and I am being offensive by not responding. Of course, if you intend them for consumption elsewhere, I shall stand aside and avert my eyes from the spectacle to be.

  51. bonobashi

    ‘thoroughly’ => ‘thoroughly comprehensive’

  52. yasserlatifhamdani

    Kimi mian,

    How could a ‘liberal’ be the desi version of Oriley.

    I’ve already de-constructed the personal freedom argument… let us see you first proclaim the right of people to go around nude in public as well for that personal freedom argument to have any water.

    My objection to the Burqah is that it does not fall under religious observance and as such it has nothing to do with Islam…

  53. Pingback: REBUTTAL:Sarkozy is WRONG on the Burqah Issue « Pak Tea House

  54. Umair Javed

    As pointed out by the recent op-ed in the NYT the burqah is perhaps another example of religious syncretism, found to be the clothing of choice for bedouin women in Arabia dating to pre-Islamic times. However the religiosity attached with the burqah is something that has been expounded under the Salafi school of thought. As far as the French state is concerned, it would be acceptable for all to ban headscarves if all other religious symbols such as the christian cross and the sikh turban are also banned in public space. It really is quite interesting how the Europeans cannot deny their Christian heritage but spring up in bouts of xenophobia when Islam creeps up in the public realm

  55. YLH

    Crosses, jewish skull caps, sikh turbans are all covered by the same law that applies to headscarf.