“Through the Veil,” Weeks 10 & 12: Muslim Women and Defining Identity

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Being exposed to the prevalent dialogue around the hijab, its meaning, its usage and its place in the world inspired me to create this watercolor painting. The portrait depicts facial features of a woman that lay behind a semitransparent veil and aims to capture the essence of the masked/blended beauty and identity of Muslim women. This notion is mentioned in the following selection from the Qu’ran:

“Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters and the women folk of believers to draw their veils closely around them. This will facilitate their being identified for who they are and will save them from molestation….God is forgiving and merciful.” Surah 33.59

The woman’s hijab, originally believed to function as a marker of Muslim identity and a protector of sexual purity, has become a symbol of Islam in a modern construction. In an article we read by Rahat Kurd, she states that “The Quran commands men to lower their gaze and to dress and to behave modestly in front of women. Women, furthermore, are commanded to dress modestly so we will be publicly recognized as Muslims. These injunctions clearly indicate Islam’s support and approval not only of women’s access to public space but also their active presence in a multi religious, multicultural society.” So with that, the hijab should rather be seen as a positive indicator of one’s identity and one’s personal act of worship. The veil should not be seen as a cover-up against the threat of men or barrier to women receiving a modern education and exuding ambition.

Published in:Uncategorized |on May 6th, 2014 |No Comments »

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