Monday, October 29, 2007

Are you a Muslim?...yes...are you?

I had the occassion to visit the Sharia courts here in Bahrain recently on a personal legal issue. I was forbidden to enter the court when my turn came up because I was not wearing hijab. I happen to know there is no law in Bahrain ordering women to wear hijab anywhere...much less in court...and yet this judge was ordering me to do so. His security even came out with one in his hand offering it to me....he said, its just temporary...for a moment. Not even for a moment will I wear the hijab for a man who thinks he can force his beliefs or desires on me.

I mentioned the name of the Sharia court complaints dept and the head guy there and suddenly all things were possible...I was ushered into the court with less than good grace. I stood before the judge who immediately tried to hassle me as to why I wasnt wearing hijab and that Im obligated to while in the court room. I replied that there is no law about it so I chose not to...he said there is Sharia law and its in the Quran....I replied that neither was true and he could hardly contain himself from my pertinence. I told him that I wasnt there anyway to argue about hijab...just for my case. He told me that since your not Muslim I allowed you into my court....when I burst his bubble and told that I am indeed a Muslim he nearly lost it. He mentioned in arabic(thought I didnt understand that I should feel shame for not wearing hjab then etc. He then asked me out right...are you sure your a Muslim? I said yes...Im sure he didnt believe me but thats neither here nor there. I had my venue changed to a judge that wouldnt discriminate against me based solely on my attire...wrote a scathing letter to the local paper that resulted in a lot of heat...with more to come Im told...and decided that I would no longer allow men to ask me such a question without answering in return...yes I am...are you?

Why is it that Muslim women are automatically assumed to not be Muslim or "fallen" Muslims simply because they choose not to wear hijab....dont believe its required. Why are women judged wholesale on that issue more than anything else in her life? Men have no such burden to bear...they are Muslim regardless of what they choose to wear or what sins they take delight in. Women are burdened with having to physically remind people they are Muslim or else they are deemed not "true" Muslims.

All I can say is...I hope God is watching all this and takes appropriate action when the time comes. Insha Allah....more on that later