Why the burqa and the crucifix are not equivalent

Byzantine crucifix

In the feverish reaction to Boris Johnson’s burqa/letterbox comments- and they were jokes that both the BBC and the Guardian have made in the past – this statement from Ruth Davidson caught my eye:

“If you use the analogy of Christianity, would you ever write in The Telegraph that you should have a debate about banning Christians from wearing crucifixes?…It’s the same argument but it’s in a different faith so why are the parameters different for one faith and not the other?”

Good question. There are two issues at stake: first, the libertarian principle that women should be allowed to wear what they want without interference from the State. This is Boris’ perfectly reasonable position which got lost in all the hissy-fitting from the political establishment. (I also argued against a ban some time ago in this debate.)  Then there’s the second issue, which is what religious attire represents in the first place and what that says about our values. Are there intellectual and theological reasons to be more concerned about a woman in a burqa more than a woman (or a man – important) with a crucifix? What do these objects say about our society?

Boris said in his article that he “finds no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.” I wish politicians would take time to study the Qur’an before they make claims about it. Here’s what it says.

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron) and to draw their veils all over juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, FACES, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brother’s sons or their sister’s sons or their women (i.e. their sisters in Islam) or the (female) slaves who their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (Sura 24:31, Hilali Khan)

The hadith behind  this verse reads:

Narrated Aisha: “May Allah bestow His Mercy on the early emigrant women. When Allah revealed: ‘And draw their veils all over their juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, FACES, necks and bosoms)‘ – they tore their muruts (a woollen dress) and covered their heads and FACES with those torn muruts.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4758)

Sura 33:59 “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely  except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free, respectable women) so as not to be annoyed.” [Hilali Khan; Yusuf Ali translation has ‘molested’ here.]

“Bodies, faces, necks and bosoms” is not in the arabic in the Qur’anic verses, but the Hadith clarifies that face covering is intended.  Allah wants the believing women to cover their faces. And the motivation is sexual: that’s why servant men who have “lost vigour” and small children with “no sense of the feminine sex” are permitted to see their women unveiled. The burqa is Allah’s way of controlling men’s sexual urges.

All of this is very disturbing. Why is Allah telling only women to cover up to such an extreme and not men? Why does Allah think that the sight of a woman’s face or hair or ankles will lead a man into uncontrollable lust? Even a woman stamping her feet is suggestive. Where is his command to men not to molest women? Doesn’t this all contribute to a culture that sees uncovered women as fair game? Isn’t that what the #metoo movement has been campaigning against?

There is no Biblical injunction to wear a crucifix. Men and women can wear them, they are unisex. But you are not less of a Christian if you don’t wear one: being a Christian is all about being in relationship with Christ, through repentance and faith in his death on the Cross for your sins. What’s in your heart is what counts. I wear one because I like to be reminded of Jesus and his extraordinary sacrifice, and because it reminds me to try and represent Him well to whoever I’m dealing with, as they will have noted it too. And it might spark an evangelistic conversation. Nor does my crucifix affect my  peripheral vision or my body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight. Do politicians really not see the difference?

Some people might get offended by why I put the equivalent of the electric chair round my neck; but then I can go to the Bible and show them how this torturous death was not the end for Jesus, and how it’s the only death that brings life for us. There is a happy ending.

But wearing a cross can still land you in hot water. In 2006  Nadia Eweida was disciplined  for refusing to cover hers up at work, yet didn’t make for days of outraged headlines. (She went to court in 2013 and won.)

Some women will choose to wear a burqa – though undoubtedly some will be pressured by peers or husbands – and free choice is good. But otherwise there is stifling heat, increased risk of accidents, loss of public identity and the inability to simply feel the wind on your skin. What kind of god does that to women? No happy ending here.

Jesus is superior to Allah

Jesus is superior to Allah.

Lizzie questions the Islamic dawah team on the position of Jesus in Islam. Islam teaches that Jesus is more just than Allah, and a better creator (Allah is a little slow…)

Sahih bukhari 4: 55: 657: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will JUDGE MANKIND JUSTLY; he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” Abu Huraira added “If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): — ‘And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him. Before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them.” (4.159)

Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your RESCUE from Hell-Fire. (Sahih Muslim 037:6665)

Allah would admit IN HIS STEAD a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire. (Sahih Muslim 037:6666); (Sahih Muslim :037: 6668);(110 Hadith Qudsi)

And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah. (Sura 3:49)

Ibn Kathir on Sura 17:12 Salman Al-Farisi and Ibn `Abbas mentioned the story of Adam, when he wanted to get up before his soul reached his feet. When his soul was breathed into him, it entered his body from his head downwards. When it reached his brain he sneezed, and said, “Al-Hamdu Lillah” (praise be to Allah), and Allah said, “May your Lord have mercy on you, O Adam.” When it reached his eyes, he opened them, and when it reached his body and limbs he started to stare at them in wonder. He wanted to get up before it reached his feet, but he could not. He said, “O Lord, make it happen before night comes.”

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Which Qur’an do you follow?

Which Qur’an do you follow?

The DCCI team tries to to find out which of the three (32, strictly speaking) Arabic Qur’ans the Islamic dawah team recites, and which one will intercede for them on Judgement Day?

Abu Umama said he heard Allah’s Messenger say: Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, al-Baqara and Surah Al ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu’awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1757)

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Did Aisha consent to marry Muhammad?

Did Aisha consent to marry Muhammad?

Godwin questions the camera-shy Islamic Dawah Team if Aisha gave her consent to marry Muhammad.

Narrated Aisha:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234)

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More Qur’ans, more differences

More Qur’ans, more differences.

Hatun and Lizzie look at two different arabic Qur’ans. The Sho’bah Ibn Ayyassh Qur’an which has 504 differences from the Hafs Qur’an, and the Khalaf Al Aasjer Qur’an which has 2,629 differences from the Hafs Qur’an. Different letters, different words, different sounds, different pronunciation, different meanings…

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More UK Islamic Terror Plots

More UK Islamic terror plots.

Hatun and Lizzie talk about recent Islamic terror plots on Prince George and PM Teresa May, and how these would-be Jihadis are inspired by the Qur’an.

“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” Sura 8:60

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Word of Allah becomes a man!

Word of Allah becomes a man!

Hatun and Godwin look at Islamic teachings on the Quran. How can the Qur’an intercede and appear as pale man?

Abu Umamah reported:I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “Read the Qur’an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection.” Sahih Muslim 9: 991

An-Nawwas bin Sam’an reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “The Qur’an and its people who applied it, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection preceded with Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Al-‘Imran arguing on behalf of those who applied them.” Sahih Muslim 9:992

Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Prophet said: “Indeed there is a Surah in the Qur’an of thirty Ayat, which intercedes for a man until he is forgiven. It is [Surah] Tabarak Alladhi Biyadihil-Mulk.” At tirmidhi 5:42:2891

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet said: A surah of the Qur’an containing thirty verses will intercede its reader till he will be forgiven. That is: “Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the sovereignty” (Surah 67). Sunan dawud 6:1395

It was narrated from Ibn Buraidah that his father told that the Messenger of Allah said: “The Quran will come on the Day of Resurrection, like a pale man, and will say: ‘I am the one that kept you awake at night and made you thirsty during the day.” Sunan ibn majah 5:33:3781

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Cherry-picking your religion?

Cherry-picking your religion?

Daniel talks to a Muslim on a variety of topics, showing that you can’t pick and choose with the Qur’an, and that you need to be consistent in your methodology when you critique Islam and Christianity.

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Shabir Yusuf refuses to answer questions on Islam!

Shabir Yusuf refuses to answer questions on Islam!

Shabir Yusuf and his team travelled to Speaker’s Corner all the way from the North of England to address misconceptions about Islam, yet when DCCI gave him an opportunity to do so, he refused… wonder why?

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