Thursday, 22 December 2011

Holidays into Holy Days

There has been such an increase in the volume of readers of this blog from the Northern Hemisphere, that they not only constitute the majority of  readers for recent months, but have displaced the South as all-time majority. I therefore apologise if this article reflects a Southern bias, but the points remain universal.

سليمان الكندي

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنهم ذبحوا شاة ، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما بقي منها ؟ قالت : ما بقي منها إلا كتفها قال : بقي كلها غير كتفها  رواه الترمذي وقال حديث صحيح

Our Mother 'Aishah radiyallahu anha narrated that they slaughtered an ewe [and distributed most of the meat in charity]. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم then asked, "What remains of it?" 
She replied, "Nothing remains of it besides the shoulder."
 Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم responded, "All of it remains except for its shoulder." [at-Tirmizi]

In other words a believer's focus is not limited to what is physically apparent, but his gaze stretches to Allah and the next life. The response of 'Aishah  radiyallahu anha was correct in material terms that all that was left in the Nabawi Household was the shoulder. Yet Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم wished to train her in gazing "with the light of Allah." A gaze of faith would show that the meat given in charity was "banked" in the Hereafter which is forever. The meat left for worldly consumption would be consumed and gone. Thus, "All of it remains except for its shoulder." 

The friends of Allah generally have this quality. I especially notice this ability to draw spiritual benefit from the mundane in the writings of Ibnul Jawzi. I view these few penned words to be inspired by that spiritual and mental titan of Iraq.
The following Hadith authenticated by al-Imaam as-Suyuti and al-Imaam ash-Shawkaani is often quoted in the context of "miraculous inspiration," yet in the light of the above lesson of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلمthere is no reason why the ordinary believer cannot train himself to look at the most mundane experiences "with the light of Allah."

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " اتَّقُوا فِرَاسَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ بِنُورِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ 

Abu Saeed al-Khudri radiyallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Beware the insight of a believer, for indeed he gazes with the light of Allah Most Honorable and Majestic."

The western world is undergoing a holiday season. There is no way we living in the west can expect to be unaffected. Yet there is no reason why we should not gaze at this with "Allah's light" and gain spiritual profit from what otherwise is of no gain to our eternal life.

The beginning of every holiday involves the use of some kind of vehicle or the other. Remember to recite the dua of  Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلمMore than recitation, reflect on the sublime wisdom of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the lesson he imparts. 
"Pure is He who brought this [vehicle] into our control when we were not capable." 

Reflect how these words apply not only to man taming giant camels and elephants but any modern vehicle and even spacecraft. Entering a vehicle can be a mundane activity or a means of reflection, appreciating Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and drawing closer to him. The choice is yours.

"And indeed we are moving towards our Rabb"
Every dua in one way or the other contains this reminder that we are on a journey towards Allah. Reflect on this and your journey will be free of sin. Holiday is no excuse to disobey Allah.

Many people head towards the sea or other bodies of water. An opportune time to meditate over the words of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم "The comparison of this world to the Hereafter is like a man who dips his finger in the sea and looks at what it returns."

What returns is not even a drop. When I reflected on this Hadith when visiting Mombasa, Kenya, I realised my error is thinking of this Hadith in terms of drops. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم never used the word, "drop." There was a thin film of water on my finger which only by holding my finger upright, coalesced into a drop. This world compared to the next is less than the drop compared to the sea of the Hereafter. Spend a moment reflecting on the wisdom of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and you might come home with something better than just sunburn.

Most people spend more money this time of the year than during other times. Reflect that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم refused to fix market prices as prices are set by Allah. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم explained in the Tafseer of Surah ad-Dukhaan that conditions descend upon us based upon the deeds we send to the heavens. Every purchase we make should not be limited to moaning how prices keep rising, but is a chance to reflect how the rebellious deeds of man being sent to the heavens are causing unfavourable conditions to fall back on him.

Summer heat drives us to air-conditioners, cold beverages etc. What will our condition be on the Day of Resurrection when the sun will be so much closer above our heads? The only "air-conditioner" will be Allah's Throne. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم taught us that seven categories of people will receive the shade of the Throne and there will be no other comforting shade. Let us gaze at the heat with Allah's light and ponder how we can join this exclusive club of seven.

Unbearable thirst? Avert your gaze from Coke and Pepsi and look with Allah's light. Whoever drinks Kawthar water from the blessed hands of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم will never feel thirst ever again. In  which category of Kawthar applicant will I be associated with?
1.      An imitator of the Muhajirun who sacrificed everything for Islam?
2.      The Ansaar who helped Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and those who sacrificed?
3.      The people of Yemen who embodied the qualities of Imaan i.e. hear and obey?
4.      An ordinary Muslim who just makes the mark?
5.      A rejector of the Sunnah whom the angels will block from Kawthar and Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم himself will chase away?   

The end of the year is also the time of announcing examination results, graduations and congratulations. How will I do in the examination of the grave? 

May Allah grant that we all be recipients of the best of congratulations - the angels lining up and congratulating us as we enter Jannah - aameen!!

سلم عليكم طبتم فادخلوها خلدين 

Peace be upon you! You have done well! Enter here forever!!! [az-Zumar: 73]

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Lemons into Lemonade

عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله خير ، وليس ذاك لأحد إلا للمؤمن ؛ إن أصابته سرّاء شكر ؛ فكان خيراً له ، وإن أصابته ضرّاء صبر ؛ فكان خيراً له . رواه مسلم 

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "The affair of the believer of most amazing. His affair is good in its entirety, and that is for none but a believer. When happiness comes to him, he is grateful and that is good for him. When harm strikes him he is patient and that is good for him." [Muslim]

It is amongst the miracles of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that his words were concise, yet are a deep ocean from which more and more pearls can be extracted from ever deeper levels. Besides the obvious injunction of inculcating the qualities of gratitude and patience and adopting them as per occasion, the Hadith also implies that situations are not always good or bad for an individual in themselves, but become good or bad depending on our attitude. This theme is found in other Ahadith as well. For example, when Mu'aaz bin Jabal radiyallahu 'anhu bids his final tearful farewell, Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam clarifies that however geographically far he may be, he is in fact close to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam as long as he adopts Taqwa. In contradistinction, one who has no Taqwa is far from him however physically close he may be.

Death is the decree of Allah. Those who misbehave and break the laws of Allah, such as inheritance and Hijaab, make the situation into a bad one for their Aakhirah. Those who are patient and uphold Allah's Laws, despite their personal grief, make the same situation into a benefit for their Aakhirah.

At the end of the year many Muslims are going to graduate from various institutions with various qualifications. This is not an accomplishment in itself. Some will use their achievements for personal aggrandisement  and accumulation of wealth. They will become armchair generals in their old age and berate everyone besides themselves for the state of the Ummah. see Othello & the mental dichotomy of muslim intelligentsia. There will be others who will earn a Halaal income and use their every resource in service of Allah. They are successful.

A personal defect I have to work on, is my penchant for focussing on negatives. I should be grateful that Allah has given me Tawfeeq to overcome this in one matter and turn a negative into a positive.

A certain school catering for "special needs" primary school students in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg is said to be possibly the best in the country for this purpose. Wednesdays first period is religion period. Other students would go to their religious teachers, but up until now the Muslim students had not been catered for. An Egyptian mother had her own mini Tahreer Square and arranged for me come in on Wednesdays. 

However, the principal stipulated that she wants a written report of whatever I teach. Besides my laziness for report writing in general, I somehow got the impression that the other religions were exempt from this requirement. (Did I mention that the school administration is Jewish dominated?) I put up a weak defence that I would not formally teach for the first 2 weeks, so would not report in the beginning, but it then occurred to me to use the advantages of what is supposed to be an incumbrance. In effect, Islam can be explained to a Kaafir in the same way I would teach special needs youngsters. These people would never be interested in learning about Islam in an authentic manner, but by me presenting my reports in a certain manner, they would be forced to hear the words of Allah and His Rasul  sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, like it or not! Lemons into lemonade....

Here is a copy of my first report:

_____________ School: Islamic Classes Report
Lesson 1: Islamic Greeting
Date: 12th October 2011

·         Had intended the first two meetings at least should be informal introductory meetings.
·         Spent 10-15 minutes in informal chat, getting to know and understand the students.
·         Concern that students would be aloof at initial stage unfounded. Students exhibited desire to express themselves.
·         Students insisted on learning something.
·         Commenced lesson on Islamic greeting, a basic emphasised in Islam.
·         Elicit response from students, “How did you greet me when I entered?” Correct group response.
·         Meaning of, “Salaam” not known. Played hangman game where answer, “PEACE” was achieved.
·         Muslim character, well-wishing, peace unto all.
·         Origin of Salaam – creation story of Adam peace be upon him.
·         Muslims manners require mentioning alayhis salaam (peace be upon him) after all prophets.
·         Exercise – recite name of prophet – Adam, Moses, Jesus…..  to elicit Islamic response.
·         Role play – each student to act as Adam (عليه السلام) and greet the “angels” who must reply.
·         Importance of Adam  (عليه السلام) in Quraan as father of ALL humanity. Hence Islam emphasises brotherhood irrespective of race, age, creed etc.
·         In first speeches when Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) entered city of Madinah he said, “O people! Spread the greeting of peace amongst you.”
·         Every lesson to be permeated with Islamic creed directly or indirectly – monotheism of God and example and pure character of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).   
·         Role play – student to choose example with partner of greeting situation and enact.

سليمان الكندي
Sulayman al-Kindi

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Animal rights & Muslim wrongs

I really need to reread Talbeesul Iblees (Satan's Deception) by Ibnul Jawzi. In fact, all Muslims need to. I do not know which deception was most prevalent in Baghdad in those days, but these days Satan seems to have perfected the art of turning worship into sin, whilst the worshipper still deludes himself into thinking that he will be rewarded. A relevant issue is Udhiyyah (sacrifice of 10 Zul Hijjah).

The South African SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has graphic footage of Muslims completely ignoring the noble teachings of their religion and acting most viciously during Udhiyyah. Our usual knee-jerk reaction can be, "That is just more Islamophobia. They hate us. It's a Jewish conspiracy!" or we can be mature, admit there is a problem and rectify ourselves.

We are the followers of that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wa sallam who showed us how to be human. Never mind abandonment of finer teachings of not letting one animal see another being slaughtered, footage shows Muslim breaking the tails of beasts as they force them to face Qiblah; beating them with metal pipes and even inserting sticks into the anus to make them move; and other horrors.

These poor souls not only give Satan a share in their "worship," but disgrace Islam in front of the Kuffar. Let us remind ourselves who it was that taught the world to be kind to animals. What an utter disgrace that they should teach us what is in our Hadith.

"Verily Allāh Most Honourable and Majestic has written kindness for everything. So when you kill, kill in a kind way. When you slaughter, slaughter in a kind way. You should sharpen your knife and put the slaughter-animal at ease." [Ibn Mājah] Thus spoke Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and thus is the way of the Muslim - kindness to all of creation including animals. Let alone being rewarded for fulfilling the rights of Allāh and humans, a Muslim is rewarded for showing kindness to "every living animal". [al-Bukahri, Muslim]

 Allāh does not overlook any good deed, however insignificant the deed or the recipient. Whilst the dog is unclean, Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, “A dog was circling a well. It was close to death due to thirst. A prostitute from the Children of Israel saw it and removed her leather sock to give it water. Because of that, she was forgiven.” [al-Bukhari]

Conversely Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam showed great concern over abusing the weak and defenceless, be they orphans, women, slaves or animals. He forbade hunting [including fishing] for mere entertainment, “If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgment, “O Rabb!  That person killed me in vain!  He did not kill me for any useful purpose.” [an-Nasaai]

Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was greatly distressed to see an undernourished camel. He exclaimed, “Fear Allāh in regards to these beasts which cannot speak [for themselves]. Ride them kindly, eat them kindly.” [Abū Dāwūd]

Even slight misuse is not allowed. Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam passed by people sitting on their mounts, not riding. He said, “Ride them healthily and leave them healthily. Do not make them into seats for your chatter in the roads and markets. Some mounts are better than their riders. They remember Allāh Most Blessed and High more than the rider.” [Aḥmad]

Let alone physical mistreatment, Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was even distressed at emotional trauma of animals. Once some men removed two chicks from a nest. The mother circled them, beating her wings in grief. Upon determining what happened, Rasūlullāh sallallahu alayhi wa sallam ordered them to return the chicks to their mother.” [Muslim]

May the day come when once again we are emulators of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and examples unto the rest of the world instead of embarrassments. 

سليمان الكندي

Monday, 10 October 2011

Evolution & the 10 year old

Its's quite daunting teaching Islam to a 10 year old who has not had the benefit of a formal Islamic education system and in addition to the challenges of just living in the west, learns in a school not very conducive to inculcating the Islamic spirit. Oh for the days when al-Imaam Maalik rahimahullah could snub the Abbasid Emperor's request that he leave al-Madinah and teach his children in Baghdad. The Imaam was adamant that one goes to seek knowledge, it does not run after you. Today we have to maintain the Dien as we can, or am I a contributor to lowering the value of knowledge? But I digress...

On Thursday my rather bright student asked, "You say that Allah created Adam, but science says that we are evolved from apes." Before getting to the summary of my reply, note the following indications of how the poor boy has already been affected:
  1. "You say..." - as if this is my own queer view, not absolute fact.
  2. "Adam"  not "Aadam عليه السلام"

Me: Science does not say that. Some people say that, but its not science. I just saw a documentary a few weeks back about how scientists who do not believe in evolution lose their jobs, get fired and are oppressed because they do not believe in evolution, or even just because they want to discuss the possibility that evolution is not true. They are not even allowed to bring their evidence. There are many scientists in the world who are not Muslim, but they do not believe in evolution. As scientists they believe that there is a Creator. Now tell me, what does the word "theory" mean?

Student: Something which might be?

Me: Exactly! It's not an absolute fact. You will say, "My theory is.... I theorise..." In other words, "I think so." Its not something that is definitely proven. Even those who believe in it will call it the "theory of evolution."Evolutionists have never given any absolute evidence for any stage of evolution. Whereas the opposite is true.  Evolution can be disproved at any stage. They claim that at every stage the animal changes to something better. They say from a single celled animal fish came which became amphibians which started walking because they wanted to come onto the land. They became apes and then humans.

Student: Isn't it that there are bush babies somewhere in there?

Me: Maybe, whatever that is. Let's just look at the fish story. You go a lot to Durban isn't it?

Student: Yes.

Me: Does your daddy fish?

Student: No.

Me: Okay, ask him to take you fishing. Now if you take a fish and throw it on the beach, have you ever see it grow legs because it needs to walk on land?

Student (laughing): No.

Me: Okay. Shame. Let's give the evolutionists another chance. What will happen if you take 20 fish and throw them on the beach?

Student: You'll have 20 dead fish.

Me: Let's be patient with the evolutionists. Take a thousand fish.

Student: A thousand dead fish.

Me: A million?

Student: The sea will be empty. 

Me: Yes, a million dead fish without legs..... Now even the evolutionists must admit that there is an Allah who designs everything. They will say "nature saw a need", "nature made a change". Who or what is nature to have its own mind and  decide these things? Let's start at the the single cell when there were no creatures who could see. Now how does the first creature decide, you know what, seeing will be a great idea. Let me me grow a pair of eyes! Let's say you were born blind. Can I explain the difference to you between blue and red? 

Student: No.

At that moment his cousin walked into the room wearing a T-shirt with a print of cars of various colours. 

Me: How does that creature decide it needs to see the difference between the red car and the green car on Riyaad's T-shirt? Who can have made sight, the first eye, besides Allah?

Having already gone 4 minutes over schedule I had to cut short and dismiss him, but what was clear that my 10 year old student could grasp facts which academics will not. Another day, another battle...this one won. 

سليمان الكندي

Friday, 30 September 2011

“We found our forefathers doing so” – errors in Dua

When Ibrahim alayhis salaam confronted his people about their idolatry, their response was, “We found our forefathers doing so.” [ash-Shu‘araa: 74] In other words, custom and tradition of society and that which has been handed down and what we do is of greater gravity than divine authority and truth. Whilst we might be saved from the evil of idolatry, the sad fact is that our attitudes are hardly much different from the Babylonians who at least had the decency to be frank about it.

So fixed are we in transmitting and perpetuating our customs, that often the learned practise what they learnt as children from society instead of authentically teaching society what Allah and His Rasul sallallahu alayhi wa sallam command. A case in point is Dua. Instead of rectifying people who innocently make mistakes in their recitations, Dua booklets and textbooks are printed which perpetuate these mistakes. Why? Because we found our forefathers doing so and perhaps we are too lazy to change. Even more amazing is when “references” are quoted yet the error is continuously printed instead of what is actually in the mentioned source book.

Below is my mail mentioning some examples. Names are omitted because this is not a personal issue. Many have fallen into this error. Our aim should be to rectify ourselves and society.
Muhtaram Mufti Sahib
السلام عليكم

As per our telephonic conversation Tuesday morning, I have perused the _______’s __________ and noted places which need attention. Whilst nothing earth-shattering in nature, these are the sacred words of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Surely Ulama should take extra care in their narrations, especially when printed and passed onto the youth to learn (incorrectly). These errors have become institutionalised upon the tongues and hearts of the public and instead of being rectified, they are perpetuated.

Kindly pass onto those responsible for the printing dept. For the record, what I note below is not “new” research from my feeble mind, but have been noted by esteemed Asaatizah at Zakariyya and Azaadville.

1   Dua before eating

Page __ states it to be بسم الله وعلى بركة الله
[bismillahi wa ala barakatillahi] Reference is given as Haakim. The reality is that the word على  does not occur in al-Mustadrak lil-Haakim, which only states:  بسم الله و بركة الله (see below)
Even more authentic of course would be simply بسم الله  as narrated by al-Imaam al-Bukhaari rahimahullah:
ياغلام سم الله وكل بيمينك وكل مما يليك" رواه الإمام البخاري

وإنما الموجود في المستدرك : من حديث ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما ...أتوا بيت أبي أيوب فلما أكلوا و شعبوا قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : خبز و لحم و تمر و بسر و رطب إذا أصبتم مثل هذا فضربتم بأيدكم فكلوا
بسم الله و بركة الله
هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد و لم يخرجاه
تعليق الذهبي قي التلخيص : صحيح . 4/107 و 7163 من إخراج الوادعي .
ومثله في شعب الإيمان 4604 : ...رواه أبو مجاهد عبد الله بن كيسان عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس فذكر الحديث بزيادات و قال أبو أيوب بدل أبي الهيثم و مما زاد قال : فهذا النعيم الذي تسئلون عنه يوم القيامة فكبر ذلك على أصحابه فقال : بلى إذ أصبتم مثل هذا فضربتم بأيديكم بسم الله و بركة الله فإذا شبعتم فقولوا : الحمد لله الذي هو أشبعنا و أروانا وأنعم علينا و أفضل فإن هذا كفاف هذا ... اهـ
فالله أعلم .

2   Dua after Eating

Page ___ states this to be :
الحمد لله الذى أطعمنا و سقانا و جعلنا من المسلمين
[alhamdu lillahillazi atamanaa wa saqaanaa wa ja’alanaa minal muslimeen]
Reference is given as Tirmizee.

However, the words “min al-” is not to be found in the Hadith in Tirmizee.
باب  ما جاء فى قول رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قبل الطعام و بعد ما  يفرغ منه

It is instead:
الحمد لله الذى أطعمنا و سقانا و جعلنا مسلمين

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Italy's Niqaab Ban - broader issues of reaction vs proaction

Having received an email from "a group of students opposed to ignorance and racism of any form:Veil-ation" regarding their inititive to address Italy's proposal of banning the Niqaab, I thought it appropriate to discuss an issue which has been on my mind for some time. As I mentioned in the article, Soccer Crosses vs Nabawi Banner," I too had had the mentality of reacting to every situation affecting Islam and never going beyond the box of even thinking of applying the Sunnah approach of being proactive.

Please see my response to the students below, followed by the original email.

سليمان الكندي

السلام عليكم

I certainly agree with the sentiment that silence might be construed as surrender and ask Allah to grant success to all your good ventures. My only concern is that when these kinds of issues arise, most Muslims, even intellectually capable ones, fall into the rut of reaction as opposed to the proactive approach of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

For example, the knee-jerk response to the spate of insults towards the sacred personality is the usual, "Death to America! Death to Denmark!" Would Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam not be more pleased with active dissemination on what an amazing personality he actually was? Should a Kaafir rightfully ask, “I do not understand this reaction of the Muslims to a man long dead. Please explain to me why you love him so,” how many Muslims would be able to explain anything about his beautiful personality for 15, 10 or even 5 minutes? Could they mutter anything beyond, “Born in Makkah died in Madinah”? Screaming “Death to America!” is so much easier.

After the building of the Masjid in al-Madinah, Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, examined the city. At that time trade was entirely in the hands of the Jews. The local Arabs were farmers and the Muhajirun from Makkah had no possessions to speak of. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam personally chose a land and appointed Abdurahmaan bin Awf radiyallahu anhu to set up a Muslim business district opposed to the Jewish monopoly, to teach trade to Muslims and supervise their weights and implementation of Shariah, etc. Nobody questions the sincerity of the promoters of BDS (Boycott, Disinvest, Sanctions) against the Zionist terrorist entity. One only asks that certain aspects be in line with the above Sunnah. Proactively provide an alternative first, then react.

As a well-wisher who has heard of your Islamic zeal and intellectual acumen, it is my hope that Allah uses you and your colleagues to disseminate an understanding amongst Muslims and Kuffar of the beauty of Hijaab, and not just settle for reacting to the latest hostilities. I also suggest that rather than add to the negativity with the phrase, “An initiative by a group of students opposed to ignorance and racism of any form: Veil-ation,” would a more positive phrase such as “Students promoting understanding and tolerance” not be more constructive?

Please note that these lines are written as a well-wisher addressing certain broad concepts I had been meaning to follow up on. I do not personally know any individual of this group and have no right to pass judgement.
و السلام
سليمان الكندي

From: XXXXX[]
Sent: 13 September 2011 10:26 PM
Subject: Spam: Veil-ation: Banning the Veil is a Fail

Italy is planning on becoming the third country in Europe to ban the Niqab. If something is not attempted by us to show our disapproval of these Islamophobic and ignorant laws being passed, our complaceny might be mistaken for surrender. Stand up in unity with Muslims around the world and let the Italian government, and any other leadership in the world too, know that we will NOT stand for our basic rights being violated. Doing your bit is easy, just follow these steps:

1. Copy this email address into the "send bar" to send an email directly to the office of the Italian President:

2. Sign your name and the country you come from at the end of the letter below (translated into Italian as well) to personalise your request.

3. Forward this email to as many people as you can and let the movement spread- let us UNITE against injustice!

An initiative by a group of students opposed to ignorance and racism of any form: Veil-ation.

Ai rappresentanti del governo italiano
Vi imploro di riconsiderare con attenzione l’approvazione della legge intesa a bandire l’uso del niqab in Italia. Poiché l’Italia si vanta di essere un paese democratico che promuove i diritti umani e consente ai propri cittadini di vivere secondo le proprie convinzioni, il bando di un indumento religioso quale il niqab sarebbe molto ingiusto e mostrerebbe che il vostro paese usa due pesi e  due misure, non rispettando il diritto alla diversità. Il niqab è un simbolo di modestia per coloro che hanno fede nell’Islam, e un profondo significato religioso sta dietro il suo uso. Molti ignorano questo, per cui abbiamo deciso di illustrare i principali benefici e  le caratteristiche del Niqab.

Niqab significa semplicemente ‘coprirsi la faccia in pubblico’. Non è un comandamento prescritto da Dio, ma piuttosto un comandamento imposto come atto buono e casto. Si parla del niqab con reverenza e ammirazione, non come un segno di degradazione o oppressione. Perché mai Dio avrebbe voluto discriminare le donne, parte della Sua creazione? Nell’Islam quante vestono il niqab vengono apprezzate per le loro conoscenze, la pietà e per il contributo alla società. Esso è un supremo segno di purezza e dignità, e non solo permette alle donne il più alto grado di virtù ma serve anche cone garanzia  di sicurezza e come protezione dai mali della società. Considerate queste salde ragioni e i chiari benefici che stanno dietro il niqab, non si riesce a capire perché debba essere bandito. Per questo molte donne nel ventunesimo secolo scelgono di onorare il niqab, che garantisce loro più diritti e più rispetto di ogni minigonna.

Secondo Souad Sbai, membro del conservatore “Partito delle Libertà”, la proibizione del niqab “aiuta le donne a uscire dalla segregazione e dall’oppressione”. Come chiaramente detto sopra, il niqab non è segno di degradazione e oppressione, ma piuttosto una scelta da onorare e da garantire alle donne in Italia.

Un vecchio ragionamento a favore della proibizione del niqab allude a una minaccia per la sicurezza. Una qualche credibilità in questo ragionamento  deriverebbe dal fatto che il niqab fosse stato usato come travestimento per minacciare qualcuno. Ma nessun niqab, nella storia italiana, è stato mai usato da gruppi per compiere azioni violente. È stato solo usato da donne fedeli all’Islam per ragioni religiose. Oltre tutto bandire un costume religioso per queste ragioni giustificherebbe la grave assunzione anti-islamica che attribuisce tutti gli attachi terroristici a musulmani; i recenti atti di violenza commessi in Norvegia provano il contario.
Secondo Barbara Saltamartini, del medesimo “Partito delle libertà”, “L’approvazione di una legge proibizionista porrebbe fine alla sofferenza di molte donne obbligate a vestire il niqab o il burqa, che annullano la loro dignità, e le metterebbe sulla via dell’integrazione”. Il niqab è opzionale, e commenti come quello citato sopra provano il profondo fraintendimento e l’ignoranza presenti tra i leader politici in Italia. Occorre al contrario incoraggiare il riconoscimento della differenza e il rispetto per gli altri, piuttosto che promuovere boicottaggi e  proibizioni basati sul bigottismo.

È dunque chiaro che è interesse dell’Italia non bandire il niqab: approvare tale legge significherebbe violare i diritti delle donne. L’Italia è ampiamente stimata in tutto il mondo, e sarebbe dunque una grave ingiustiza per la storia del vostro paese l’approvazione di tale legge chiaramente razzista, che finirebbe col compromettere  tale immagine dell’Italia. Vi imploriamo dunque di astenervi dall’introdurre nel vostro ordinamento democratico né ora né in futuro una simile legge!

To the Leaders of Italy
I implore you to carefully consider the passing of the law in your country which will soon ban women from wearing the Niqab. As a country which prides itself on its democratic principles and affording its citizens the basic human right to choose how they should live, banning a religious garb such as the Niqab is most unjust and will only portray your country as one with double standards and a lack of general respect for diversity.  The Niqab is a symbol of modesty for those in the Islamic faith, and has a deep spiritual meaning behind its use. Many are ignorant of this, and so we have decided to outline the basic benefits and noble characteristics of the Niqab.

Niqab means, simply, to cover ones face when out in public. It is not a commandment that is compulsory as prescribed by God, but rather a commandment that has been deemed a good and chaste act. When we discuss the Niqab we do so with reverence and admiration, as the Niqab is not a sign of degradation or oppression. Why would God discriminate against women, a segment of His creation? By wearing the Niqab, women in Islam are appreciated for their knowledge, piety and contribution to society. It is the highest sign of purity and dignity, and not only affords women the highest degree of virtuousness but acts as a screen for her safety and protection from the evils of society as well.  With such strong reasoning behind its use and the benefits of the Niqab so obviously apparent, one finds it difficult to see why it was banned. One can also find it easy to see why so many women in the twenty first century are choosing to honour the Niqab, as it affords them more rights and respect than any short mini-skirt can. 

According to Souad Sbai, a member of the conservative Freedom People Party, the reasoning for the Niqab ban is because they feel they “...have to help women get out of this segregation … to get out of this submission.”   As has been clearly stated in the paragraph above, the Niqab is not a sign of degradation or oppression, but is rather a choice that should be honoured and afforded to the women of Italy. 

The age old reasoning for banning the Niqab is cited as that of it being a security threat. This reason would hold some form of credibility if the Niqab has ever been used as a disguise to pose a threat to anyone. On the contrary, in the history of Italy, not once has the Niqab been used by groups to carry out violent attacks. It has only ever been worn by women is Islam who have recognised its importance and decided to wear it out of religious reasons. Also, banning a religious custom on this basis would be making the most grave and Islamophobic assumption that all “terrorist attacks” are carried out by Muslims, and in light of recent events in Norway I think we can all agree that this is most certainly not the case.

Also, according to the vice president of the Freedom People party, Barbara Saltamartini, “Final approval will put an end to the suffering of many women who are often forced to wear the burqa or niqab, which annihilates their dignity and gets in the way of integration.”  The Niqab is optional, and comments like this only reveal the deep misunderstanding and misconceptions which exist amongst your leadership. Let us rather work towards recognition of each other’s adversity and respect for one another, instead of bans and boycott based on ideas of bigotry.

It is apparent from the above reasoning that not banning the Niqab is not only in the best interest of your country, but to pass this act is also in direct violation of the rights of a portion of the women in your country. Italy is spoken of only in the highest terms around the world, and so it would be a grave injustice to the natural history of your country as well as the current population to tarnish that reputation with the passing of a law so obviously racist in its foundation. We implore you, therefore, to refrain from passing this law- now, or anytime in the future of your democratic state!