Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Tudung or Not

I was going through Primary Basic’s latest blog on the age-old Tudung issue. "Not again!" I can hear some of you crying.
For those who did not know, tudung is the Malay word for the veil that Muslim women use to cover their hair. Here its more like the head covering worn by Christian nuns and not just a simple scarf over the head.
Anway back to the issue, PB was just pointing out that people didn’t accept her personal choice/ beliefs regarding the tudung issue. Of course like all religious issues, which are very personal, this issue will also generate a lot of heat.
There are a few questions nagging my head for which I haven’t been able to obtain any suitable answer. The problem, I guess is that people will always have different opinions. What is good for you may not be good for someone else. Of course, many of my Muslim friends (mostly guys) applauded PAS’s efforts to persuade women to wear the tudung in Kelantan - including imposing fines on women not wearing it in the work place. However, is this the right approach. Do you think it is right when people wear the tudung because they are forced/under compulsion?
Does it mean that women who don’t wear the tudung are less Islamic? Several of my friends (girls) who don’t wear the tudung continuously complain that other people (Muslims, mostly men) tend to look down on them and think that they are “Easy”. In fact many of them are quite knowledgeable about the religion.
Also does it mean that tudung clad girls are not beautiful? I beg to differ. Look at the new sensation Waheeda. What is beauty? As they say, it lies in the eyes of the beholder. It may be the hair, the eyes or the lips or even the neck that attracts someone or a combination. Can you completely cover beauty? Again how much covering is enough? Is the simple scarf OK or do we need a long one that covers the top part of the body till the waist (long tudung) or do we need something like the Taliban’s recommended style? I don’t know about Afghans or other people but I definitely do not go wild after seeing women’s hair.
Looking at the latest styles/trends going around, it seems to be OK if you cover your hair only but wear a low cut dress or tight fitting clothes or a skirt with a slit right up to your thighs. Is that wrong? Not to me but some may not agree.
There are some who wear it normally but take it off every time they go clubbing. Notice a few taking out their tudung and leaving it behind in their cars before entering Hard Rock Café. Why I asked. They said it makes them more comfortable. I have noticed that many who used to wear the tudund have since taken it off after they came to KL. Of course many others who didn't wear it before have started wearing it, mostly as they get older and have kids.
Are tudung clad girls slow? I don’t think so. I know several who are really hard working, creative and as career minded as the rest. However, some companies refuse to hire them. This is of course, sad.
For me the wearing of tudung is a personal issue, something that must come from within and not because of culture or compulsion. If others decide not to wear it, well that's their personal choice too.

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