Muslim writer says he ‘ABHORS’ burkas & calls for the Koran to be taken in modern context
A LEADING Muslim religious commentator has said he “abhors” the Burka for what it stands for as he warned “everyone knows but does not say” the Koran needs to be taken in the context of the modern era.
By Alix Culbertson
PUBLISHED: 06:00, Wed, Nov 23, 2016
Dr Zia H Shah, chief editor of the Muslim Times and a GP in New York, penned a blog post calling for Muslims all over the world to acknowledge the progress over the centuries, instead of treating the Koran’s teachings as gospel.
He wrote: “Since September 11, 2001, I have come to abhor this article of clothing, given its association with the Taliban and it becoming a symbol of lack of human rights in the Muslim societies, compared to the Western world.”
The physician, who writes about all religions and science, revealed over the years the women in his family have become more relaxed with the traditional dress they wear, as society progresses.
Dr Shah revealed his late grandmother owned a burka – with the full face and body covering – but he never remembered her wearing it or having any type of emotions or associations about the traditional Islamic dress until the Taliban hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
He said his mother wore a black veil and separate black dress during her twenties through to her forties when it was “not uncommon to hear from devout Muslims that only hands and feet of women can be uncovered in public”.
Burkas cover the entire face, head and body.
But he added she just wore a Hijab – a headscarf – in her fifties through to her seventies, with no make-up which is what many of the ladies in his family dress like now.
Quoting the Koran, Dr Shah highlights verses about modest dressing which say Muslim women should “restrain their eyes and guard their private parts and that they disclose not their natural and artificial beauty” to anyone apart from male members of their family.
He said that verse is interpreted differently whether believers think Allah is ‘dead’ or ‘living’ as he likened it to a “vigorous debate” in the United States about the nature of the constitution and how it should be interpreted, with liberals tending to argue it is a living document and conservatives claiming it is “dead, dead, dead”.
He added: “This same ‘living’ versus dead argument often happens in religion.
“Those who argue for ‘dead’ are often conservatives, and they are hurting their own cause.
“It is proper for all of us to deliberate before breaking with long-held tradition.
Dr Shah said Muslims need to move with the times.
Dr Shah says his female relatives are more likely to wear the hijab than a burka now.
“However, insisting that the understanding of sacred text is frozen puts the most fundamental belief of religion at risk.
“When any religious person claims that a sacred text is ‘dead’ – in that the understanding of its meaning is fixed forever – they are directly at odds with their own idea of a living, active God.
“Each one of the Muslims, whether conservative or liberal, young or old, man or woman, actually has seen many examples in their lives that the Holy Koran is to be interpreted in the context of time, whether he or she fully realises it or acknowledges it or not.”
A man takes a selfie in front of a fire from oil that has been set ablaze in the Qayyarah area
Dr Shah argues the “world is dynamic and so is the Koran” which is why “modest dressing will look somewhat different in different times and places”.
He added: “The Quranic principles are profound and everlasting, but, the details are negotiable.
“This is an age of information and younger generations are very proficient in quickly finding out relevant details on any issue.
Bosnian reporter receives death threats for criticising burka.
“So, the apologists of Islam need to do due diligence if they want to remain relevant.
“I do love the Quran and study it every day. But, I am also a pragmatist and do not want to hold any positions that a little Google search or listening to a few videos in YouTube exposes.
“Welcome to the new world and a more rational understanding of the scriptures.”