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Islam Women in Sikhism Women in Islam

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by CaramelChocolate, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. CaramelChocolate

    CaramelChocolate
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    I wanted to offer my two cents, but the other thread ended up in a philosophical debate [which no mods controlled or moved to another thread? and did remove comments such as 'I hate Islam'].

    Before you read my contribution, please note that I use the name of the religion based on the religion and its principles and the followers based on the followers actions [practicing and non-practicing followers].

    Sikhism says that women are equal in the sense that women can carry out ANY action a man can marry. In fact to maintain this equality, men and women keep the same uniform.

    The majority of Sikhs follow the Islamic idea that the genders are equal yet there are different rules for each gender, women are expected to wear shalwar kameez at Gurdwara, cover their heads with a dupatta while men wear a rumala or a turban... if you ask a non-Sikh, men wear turbans, not women. No offence to anybody here, but even most people on this site who are women or those that know women will have uncovered hear or not wear a turban.

    Islam KNOWS it's concept of equality well and does NOT DENY that women have different rules as ordained by God due to their biology, they do not deny this.
    People need to get over the whole hijab/burqa thing. The Sikhs have created their own hijab, which is a shalwar kameez, if someone walks into the Gurdwara with jeans they are looked down upon. Tell me, where does Guruji ordain your Punjabified, culturally conditioned hijab?

    Sikhism has some good principles towards women but in reality Sikhs do not live them out. With Muslims, they do.
    On other issues, Sikhs may follow better and women less, but on the issue of women, Muslims know their rules and follow them through.
     
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  3. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa
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    Dear Caramel

    Good to hear from you after long time

    thanks for the your suggestions regarding topic .

    About statement of one of the member " I hate Islam "

    I dont think think we should remove that , it is his choice to like anytihng or dislike it . If he continue futhrt to write bashing for islam then offcourse something could be done .


    About sikh women dress code that you think is followed in Sikhism , does not hold good even in two Gurdwaras in same temple . As everybody might know this that Salwar Kammej has no relation with sikhism .It is a cultural dress code of people of northern india .

    I took some time to think about it but could not find that wearing jeans in anyway makes Girls more spirtual and also wearing Salwaar Kammej is any obstacle to spirtual journey of female . It is totally cultural issue .

    In islam you can be very true that cultural aspect that has been formed based on Shariah and Hadith is followed with overjeleously ( in islam women should cover their body except hands and face but now even face is covered )

    In Islam Prophet Muhamed revealed the relevation first to his wife and also she was first preacher appointed . even historic Mosque was built in name of famous women but in present day they have refused to allow women in Mosque and becomig preacher is beyond question .


    So in both cases Sikhs and Islam people have used their own ways /Ego to change principles of their respective religions .



    Jatinder Singh
     
  4. CaramelChocolate

    CaramelChocolate
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    Hey DrKhalsa, hope you're ok :).

    Fair enough, you don't have to agree with someones beliefs or support them... But hating them is disrespectful. Sikhs would be angered if Muslims were doing this, although this maybe going on it does not make it acceptable from either side. Sikhs and the whole of humanity need to rise above this attitude.

    As for the issue of women not being allowed in Mosques please see this article. Muslims are becoming more and more aware of what their religion says on each issue and will implment it because they know they have scriptural justification, whereas in Sikhism, cultural pressures are immense and even if a Sikh uses SGGS to support righteousness coming about in Gurdwara s/he will become a shame and a burden and possibly be rejected by the community because of how the majority of the community thinks.
    http://www.muslimyouth.net/guidance.php?a_id=506&id_fk=5&id_fkis=29&id_fkt=210

    Covering the face does actually have scriptural evidence in Islam.
     
  5. drkhalsa

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    Dear Caramel

    Well I dont fully agree with the above explanation , as even on this website many muslim brothers have everything bad possible about sikhism even to level where they called Gurur Nanak Liar and this means much more than hating sometihng for what ever reason .and still such posts have been kept intact on forum.

    Still I could be wrong , so need more time and will disscuss with others and may be your suggestion might turn out to be right one .


    About cultural pressures you mentioned in sikhism . I agree they exist but I dont agree that it is universal law . I think it deends on ones exposure to different places , and with mine experience I dont think this becomes a issue as long as one is sincere in considering Guru Granth as Guru and if you are talking about bearded and turbaned people going to Gurdwara without any regard to Guru Granth then I would say that I personally dont think they are sikhs in any sense even a sincere mosque going or shiv bhagat is more sikh . I take them as spectators and this also applies to women with same attitude whther they are in jeans or shortsor salvaar.

    About Islam Improving and following their true religion ,I think it is a good news for all humanity and I look forward to a day when they apply this to masses and not just elite class.

    I have very good friends from all hardcore Muslim countrie which include :

    Pakistan , Iran , Dubai ,Saudi Arabia ( where shieks make special trips to india/pakistan for enjyoing temporary wifes then keeping them on regular pay and also where roya; family do their HAJJ on special motorised vehicles , I cant see any such hope atleast in near future.Well I dont want to indulge in useless stories not related to this topic .
    But my observation could be wrong anf if as you said Islam is looking for ways to reform itself to its TRUE Form then It is good news for all of us and I have no Doubt that Sikhs too Can do the same to find its True Self.



    Thanks



    Jatinder Singh
     
  6. Ishna

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    By observance and recent experience with this... and I'm not necessarily saying anything negative about my experiences, I have not had many, and to judge a group based on one experience is just stupid.

    I went to the only Gurdwara within about 2 hours drive last Sunday, for the first time ever.

    While I was there I observed that almost every single male there except one or two were in western clothing. Leather jackets, jeans, etc. It was good that about half (of a congregation of about 100 males) wore dastaars. The rest wore ramaals.

    On the other hand, I was one of two women wearing western clothing. The other 100-odd females were wearing salwar kameez.

    It is a flattering garment that's for sure. All the colours and flowing fabrics are beautiful, it really adds to the atmosphere.

    However, after the service I was speaking to some girls my own age (early 20s) who asked me if I was going to get a salwar kameez and stuff. I said I was nervous about seeming pretentious, being a westerner wearing traditional Indian clothing. They said it would be great it I did wear one.

    About 15 minutes later I spoke the the woman who was my guide for the day. Independant of the conversation I had just had with the girls, she said something like this, "Are you coming next weekend, and if so shall I bring you a salwar kameez to try on, if you don't mind my preference of colour? You might feel more comfortable in one...."

    I was rather stunned by her frankness.

    Yesterday I took myself into the city and spent a couple of hours trying on different outfits and came home with a lime green and royal blue salwar kameez.

    Yes, I do feel pressured to wear one.

    Yes, I am mildly irritated by the way the males wear Western clothing yet the females are apparently EXPECTED to wear salwar kameez.

    But I will not let this be an issue to my own spiritual growth.

    I will say in defence of the salwar kameez, that it is practical over western clothes because it covers the butt. I did feel self conscious bowing because I knew I had nothing but my pants covering my butt and it would be fair outlined. *blushes* the kameez (the top part, thingy) that I bought it nice and long so I won't have that problem.

    And err... yeah.
     
  7. CaramelChocolate

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    ok so this thread is extremely old but i wanted to add my two cents.
    to be honest, if i were in your situation i would have refused to wear the shalwar kameez - politely of course.
    you know, i did my degree in the study of religions, and conducted fieldwork in a gurdwara. it was a busy weekend and the women were very dressed up in shalwar kameez. not just simple clothing. no, there was no wedding. nothing wrong with wearing any type of cultural dress in the gurdwara, but it is important to remember that the VAST MAJORITY of gurdwara attendees often have cultural ideas mixed up with sikhism and are unable to separate the two. the level of modesty should be determined as per your personal preference, and should not be by punjabi standards. PERSONALLY i like it when women dress in a way that they would have some 200 years ago, with modern clothing. a long flowing skirt to the ground, and a long sleeve top. but remember this is just a preference and i think we should all be free as to chose how to express ourselves.
    take inspiration from the gurus, which shows us that in gurbani and even in historical evidence that they criticised cultural practices. nothing wrong with you doing the same in a polite and informed way.

    infact one of my friends (born sikh) was at the harmandir sahib and was sitting outside. a man came up to her and told her she not be pointing her feet towards the gurdwara, she was polite and told him that guru nanak did the same to the kaaba in mecca, and when criticised guru nanak replied that tell me where my feet should point where god isnt.
    so using examples from gurbani and the traditionof the gurus will convince people who lack knowledge to stop pestering you.

    infact once i was in the largest gurdwara in uk once, (singh sabha southall) and a girl did matha tek to guru granth sahib in a mini skirt (perhaps in 8 inches long!). one could see everything! although i did not approve on a personal ethics level, such a value is rooted in my cultural mentality, and the cultural mentality of the punjabis who are also against that. (not that i promote miniskirts)!
     
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  8. findingmyway

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    I really don't understand the issues here. I wear both Western and Eastern clothes to the Gurdwara and to the supermarket and weddings. Its my choice and no-one says anything. No-one has ever looked down on it or really cares. Wear whatever you are comfortable in. A lot of my non-Indian friends love Indian outfits and jump at the chance to try them.

    I do however draw the line at mini skirts in the Gurdwara. They are completely not practical. In the Gurdwara a lot of time is spent sitting down or bowing down. There is absolutely no possible way to do either of these activities decently in a mini skirt! :shock:::cool:::34::doh:
     
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  9. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Findingmyway ji I agree with your comments and that is the experience also of females in our families.

    Just some thoughts if it adds to the dialog.


    • Both males/females
      • Modesty is the guiding principle for most occasions
        • Some examples of immodesty for general attendance
          • Male adults
            • Wearing open shirts showing chest hair
            • Wearing excessive body ornaments
              • Long chains showing above the shirts or through open shirts
              • Tveets (little metal like pendants usually with ashes) from some kirya karam and bhamin, babey garbage
              • Ear rings
              • Excessive rings on fingers/toes
              • Excessive arm bracelets
            • Wearing “cholas” (open flowing cloth shirt which goes to just below your knees) with little leg covering with pajamas (indian pants)
            • Wearing “kashera” derived contraptions going below knees (common with some babeys, etc.) with hairy legs showing below
          • Female adults
            • Wearing low cut top shirts
            • Wearing semi transparent tops
            • Wearing low cut jeans
            • Wearing extremely tight fitting jeans and tops
          • There is more leeway for the kids as for them it is more a social, cultural and a religious play ground
            • Doesn’t mean you don’t encourage them to behave
      • Special occasions
        • For example for weddings, birthdays and such occasions, some exuberance in what you wear is perceived as normal

    Following from way back post by Ishna ji,

    “About 15 minutes later I spoke the the woman who was my guide for the day. Independant of the conversation I had just had with the girls, she said something like this, "Are you coming next weekend, and if so shall I bring you a salwar kameez to try on, if you don't mind my preference of colour? You might feel more comfortable in one...."


    I was rather stunned by her frankness.”



    • Some observations
      • There is extreme accommodation and understanding generally for people attending with different cultural backgrounds
      • These are not my comments but from female members of my family where they say a western woman wearing or trying Indian clothes,
        • The comments are generally very complimentary
          • Look how beautiful she looks
          • That color of dress looks so good on her
          • Culturally many are not exposed to such situations and many will try to “help out” and at times it might appear as though “they are putting demands or looking for conformance”
            • Sometimes their inner thoughts may be "wow" she will look so gorgeous in such and such color/pattern
            • It is not a statement that what you wearing is not good
          • Obviously we cannot generalize and there may be some who are not as generous and are picky

    Hope the comments are still current or appropriate this being a very old thread.

    Regards.

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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  10. CaramelChocolate

    CaramelChocolate
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    such hysteria surrounding the female body.
    i agree with everything you said findingmyway, and whilst i disagree with miniskirts we should not infringe on the free choices of others.

    there are two extremes to this
    islamic/ultra religious societies have an obsession about hiding the women and the extreme form of course is burqa- women is completely hidden and dehumanised in the name of modesty and therefore not a part a part of society
    extreme secularism can lead to woman (and this is only in the last hundred years) being expolited for their body (prostitution, adverts, revealing clothes). this is also dehumanising as it treats the woman like a doll do be looked at.
    so both sides can be seen as oppressive.

    in fact, i did fieldwork in a karamsar gurdwara and this was a regular weekend (not a wedding event). and it seemed as if i was at a fashion show. nothing wrong with self expression but where do we draw the line. simple clothes are good, dont draw attention to oneself. remember one's body can be covered with loose clothing and still the clothing can draw attention.

    so these are both sides. there needs to be a comfortable balance, self expression but not self sexualisation and not the hiding of women. and the same can may be applied to men. skinny jeans, muscles and tight tops, gelled hair are also examples of this trend going in men.
     
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    #9 CaramelChocolate, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  11. Ishna

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    Wow, this is from way back. Good to see I've updated my avatar...


    I totally agree with Jasleen ji and Ambarsaria ji.

    I agree with you, Caramel ji, in theory regarding freedom of choice, but it gets fuzzy when that freedom of choice impacts on others, which is where we need to be considerate of others and think that "my mini-skirt may offend others" and choose not to wear it.

    I always wear salwar kameez to Gurdwara Sahib and feel very comfortable in it. I don't feel right in any other clothes there. I don't get to wear my salwar kameez anywhere else -- my family don't want to be seen with me with it on. At the same time I feel Western pressure on how I should dress. I want modesty and comfort.. I'm expected to wear tight clothes and low-cut tops. It's annoying.

    I agree with Caramel's statement about the two extremes.

    I also envy the Indian ladies, because the colour of their skin makes their colourful salwar kameez outfits look so beautiful. Me, the pasty whitey, looks like a clown! Hehehehe

    The problem comes about when we are forced to wear something we don't want to. I have been in Darbar Sahibs in jeans and long skirts and no-one has ever said anything aside from the incident I spoke about in 2006. Looking back, I think she was trying to accommodate me and include me more than judge me and I should have embraced her kindness when I had the chance instead of getting all defensive and insecure.

    And I do get a lot of compliments when I wear it! The Indian (not Sikh that I could tell) at the petrol station one morning on my way to Gurdwara commented on it too. *blush*

    I appreciate the fact that salwar kameez and bright colours adds to the atmosphere in the Gurdwara, just like seeing sardars with their tubans on! :)

    Ishna
     
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  12. Roop Kaur

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    I think it's purely up to the individuals themselves as to what they wish to wear.

    I personally LOVE wearing the salwar kameez- the main reason being that I find it extremellllyyy uncomfortable to be sitting in cross-legged for hours at a time!

    If a Westerner wishes to wear a salwar kameez, then that's even more awesome! The women look absolutely beautiful in those bright colours. Plus, it's not always that a woman can pull off a hot pink coloured outfit
    :happykudi:
     
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  13. findingmyway

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    I am normally quite open minded but when it comes to mini skirts in Gurdwara, I am going to say a big NO NO. If said person in mini skirt is sitting in front of me I really do not want to be exposed to the details of their behind and underwear when matha teking exactly because I am not obsessed with the human body!! Sorry to be blunt but that's the way it is! Long skirts, saris and lenga's also have the same practical problems but not the decency problems.

    There is a fine line between personal choice and respect for others as Ishna ji puts it well. If we all were governed by personal choice only, society would soon degenerate. Everyone has different boundaries. The person in the mini skirt has made a choice to go to Gurdwara so they have no excuse not to respect the etiquette there. I don't go to Vatican city and demand to be allowed in with bare shoulders, I do not go to my Chinese friends house and refuse to take off my shoes as I should be allowed to choose etc. People don't seem to like to think of the effect of their actions. Modern society has become all about me!

    Put into a wider context the balance between personal choice/freedom and the respect for the population is played out constantly around us - in discussions over the media, the laws, security measures etc.

    Apologies for the digression. Trying to relate back to the thread starter, one of the choices Muslim and Sikh women have is to cover hair. In Sikhi, the reason for wearing a dastar has been discussed and include looking after kesh, identity and equality with men. If women have other reasons please discuss. Women in Islam also cover their head with a hijab. The quoted reason for this is modesty. I would be interested in hearing from a Muslim woman's perspective why they choose to wear a hijab (or even burqa)?
     
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  14. Charan

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    I once asked a Muslim girl why she chose to wear the hijab, and she said it is because God sees women as 'diamonds' and tries to, through the hijab, protect them from indecent thoughts from men. And that made me think. Why should a woman who is not, in any way, trying to create such thoughts, do something about it? Is it not rather the man who has these thoughts who should change? Are most women who go bare-headed trying to purposely create such thoughts in the minds of men? Is it not the duty of these men to get rid of such thoughts, through.... for example Naam Simran? And if you're not religious, there are other measures one can seek to control one's thoughts. Controlling indescent thoughts is a moral duty that applies to every human being, religious or not. "Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults.”
     
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  15. Ambarsaria

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    Charan ji good points.

    I do believe however that one needs to be very honest about classifying thoughts.

    Let me sight an example.

    Example: We were quite young under 10. The beggars use to pass by our house and the neighbourhood. These will be females and males. I remember one day a lady beggar came by. She had scanty and tattered clothes. One of the kids seeing nakedness, went to mom and said, "Mom tell her to cover herself or I am going to touch her". It would be and was a funny incident in a way.

    At what point an action or thought becomes indecent?

    The important thing is to not create taboos about boys liking girls, boys wanting to meet girls, etc., as the more taboo it is the more a person sees the novelty of the same.

    Just some thoughts to ponder.

    Sat Sri Akal
     
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  16. Charan

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    Thank you ji ::cool:

    Maybe you have another way of looking at this than I do, but I honestly don't or would ever find this "funny".

    Couldn't agree more. It is only a big deal if you make it a big deal.
     
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