Sunday, November 16, 2008

A tale of two Muslim students

In 1994 I taught a summer ethics course, and at it a student came to class every day in a burka. The full head scarf. She was from Jordan and was a very knowledgeable Muslim. I didn't think anything about it at the time; that was what I expected of Muslims.

Later on in 1994, another Muslim student came to class from Iran. She had no head scarf. I asked her about it, and told her about the previous Muslim. She said "Muhammad commanded us to cover ourselves so as not to call attention to ourselves. Now if I were to go around in a burka, what would that do? Call attention to me. So for the reason Muhammad told us to weara burka, I don't wear one.

This reflects two different ways of applying the same passage of the Qu'ran. But not just the Qu'ran. What do Christians do about "Women should not speak in church" out of I Corinthians?


Anonymous said...

The hijab(scarf)Niqab(full cover) are contentious issues in Islam and have been for a long long time. To wear or not to wear---that is the question.
There are two things from which a muslim takes guidance---one is the Quran, and the other are the sayings/traditions of the Prophet Muhammed(pbuh) or the "Hadiths" (the two are not the same thing--the Quran is not considered as "sayings" of the Prophet, it is simply considered as revelations.). The Quran does not say anything about hijab or niqab. It says that modest women must cover their breasts with cloth(surah 24 verse31) and the wives of Prophet Muhammed(pbuh), and modest women, should wear a Jacket when they go out in order to distinguish them from other women.(surah 33 verse 59)During different periods of history, society has interpreted these verses in various ways. ---And even today, they are interpreted differently according to the perspective of the woman who decides to "wear or not to wear..."

Anonymous said...

sounds more like common sense hundreds of years ago transformed by 'chinese wispers' through the years to the traditional hijab and Niqab today.

Mike Darus said...

The second student reflects a hermeneutic that is very similar to a sound Christian application of I Corinthians in our cultural context. She sought for the underlying moral principle. It is a good approach.

Victor Reppert said...

But would you accept this move: "Premarital sex was banned in Scripture because birth control was not available. It's available now, so the ban is obsolete."