My Dear Muslim Sisters,
I think you are more than me used to the brazen hypocrites who say ‘Muslim women are oppressed’ one minute, then go on to oppress you the next.
This European Court did their job to uphold the sanctity of the secular capitalist order by ruling in favour of a big powerful company and against a lone Muslim employee. They proved they don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘justice’.
Although they claim to ban philosophy and politics from the workplace, this ruling is itself grounded in secular-liberal politics, which is a philosophy in itself. If they were consistent in their own beliefs of tolerance and freedom of religion then they would have not meddled in the personal attire of Muslim women.
So this ruling will backfire spectacularly as they seek to justify other practices at the workplace such as Christmas parties or wearing of poppies. By doing this they will only further expose their own hypocrisy, which we must articulate to our friends and colleagues. The real aim of this ruling, my dear sisters, is to bully you into conforming to secular liberal norms – for you to choose between your job and your deen – as if you couldn’t find another job or another way of seeking the Rizq that Allah has written for you!
But if bullies are supposed to pick on the weak, these bullies have not.
They picked on you, my sisters, without realising how strong you are.
For you are a group of people so independent minded that you bucked the trend of the past half century – against all the pressures of the liberal marketing industry, and sometimes even against family pressures.
You, my dear sisters, with your hijab and jilbab, have been perhaps the most visible sign of Islamic revival across the world during my lifetime.
When I was young there were virtually no women wearing this Islamic dress.
They said they left you free to choose – and they hate that you chose slavery to Allah rather than slavery to those with power, to the fashion industry, to peer pressure and much more besides.
You, better than anyone, know that in following ayah of Quran that ordains this dress saying
وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ
‘to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests’ [Surah Al Nur 24:31]
You weren’t submitting to any man – but to the Creator of Man.
I am aware there are some of my Muslim sisters who believe in Allah & His Messenger, pray and fast and give zakah – but who do not follow this instruction because of fear, intimidation, negative attitudes from family, friends or society in general. I would love to see an Islamic society that removed that fear.
But in the absence of that I am reminded our great heroes of the past – who offer an example to me and you, that there are tests for those who remain steadfast and supportive in implementing and conveying Allah’s Deen. They are the four greatest women in history – the four highest women in Al Jannah.
The first, Saiyeda Maryam the mother of ‘Esa – may Allah’s peace be upon them both, was the mother of one who conveyed Allah’s Message – and she bore the pains of child birth in a miraculous birth – and bore the pains of slander and vilification from some in her community.
The second, Saiyeda Fatima az Zahra may Allah be pleased with her, was the loving and supporting daughter to her father the Prophet ﷺ who shared in some of the suffering of the abuse that was put upon him as he ﷺ carried Allah’s Message.
The third, Asiya may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of Firawn, was a lone believer in the house of the worst of tyrants – isolated and later persecuted – preferring to ask Allah for a house in the Akhira –
وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا امْرَأَتَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
‘And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.”‘ [Surah Al Tahrim 66-11]
Finally, our mother Khadijah may Allah be pleased with her – the first to have Iman in the Messenger and this deen. The great support to the Prophet ﷺ , who shared his hardships. A woman who spent her wealth in helping to spread and establish this faith. A woman so great that Bukhari narrates that Jibreel alaihi salam once visited the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah, coming to you with a dish. When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil, (fatigue, trouble, etc.).”
I pray Allah makes you, my dear sisters, those of you who have taken this burden, of this status and calibre – and endows you with the like of their sabr and their reward, and keeps you safe in His Protection.
Indeed, you humble us all.
Your brother, Abdul Wahid