IN a final judgment that cannot be appealed, Egyptian Administrative Supreme Court last Monday upheld a decision issued by the President of Cairo University banning women academic staff from wearing the veil.
The Middle East News Agency reported that the court had dismissed an appeal filed by 80 veiled researchers at Cairo University; thereby upholding a previous verdict delivered over two years ago in favor of the decision to ban veil for the academic staff.
Personally, I believe the bold ruling is written with golden water and should be extended to all countries where the veil is worn without restraint. My personal opinion is that wearing of veil is about personal liberty, while a person has the right to choose a dress that is suitable and dear to him but for a person who is driving and holding a mobile phone to wear veil, we will not know if he is a man or woman when they meet us in public places such as clinics, hospitals and so on. A veiled woman may ask you to remove your dress and she will not allow you to see her face, which is not acceptable.
In my viewpoint, Islam does not exhort the use of veil, as it emanates from the desert traditions and culture. Allah the Almighty differentiates us from other creatures by our shapes and faces to enable us tell between the master and servant. He also created animals, for instance, as living beings to cohabitate with us since inception. They have semblance in faces and shapes to the point that you can’t differentiate this one from that one. It is difficult to single out one giraffe from another, as well as a cow from its sibling, etc. Why then should you hide what Allah creates to differentiate one person from another?
The verse for hijab (veil) stipulates “that a woman believer should cover her bodies”, which means her chest and did not stipulate covering the face at all, while jurisprudence and the expounders did not give such an instruction!!
Do any of our officials possess boldness of the Cairo University President to prevent women employees from wearing the veil at work and refuse to meet visitors in veil? If veiled women or their relatives have issues with the decision, they are free to seek judicial redress in Kuwait. We are in a lawful state, so we shall accept the court ruling even if it’s against our viewpoint.
Shall we live to see that bright day in our dear country, Kuwait? Some European countries banned wearing of veil in public places but we say they are Christian countries that are against Islamic norms. What then can we say about this totally beautiful judgment delivered in a deep Arabian Muslim nation, which is enough to note that Al Azhar University is located there?
By Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil