Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hijab In The Workplace

The Hijab or clothing for Muslims in the workplace is often a touchy subject. This is especially so in countries or places where Muslims are a minority.

The problems are usually due lack of information on the part of management on the religious requirements of the Muslim employee.

In this light I am posting a Q and A article published by
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which I think is universally relevant no matter if the Muslim is a minority or otherwise at the workplace.

Hijab In The Workplace

Q. What are the requirements for Muslim women’s dress?

A: Rules regarding Muslim women’s (and men’s) attire are derived from the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In the Quran, God states: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty…And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers…(a list of exceptions)” [Chapter 24, verses 30-31]

Also, “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons…that they should be known and not molested.” [Chapter 33, verse 59]

In one tradition, the Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying: “…If the woman reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should be seen but this — and he pointed to his face and hands.”

From these and other references, the vast majority of Muslim scholars and jurists, past and present, have determined the minimum requirements for Muslim women’s dress: 1) Clothing must cover the entire body, with the exception of the face and the hands. 2) The attire should not be form fitting, sheer or so eye-catching as to attract undue attention or reveal the shape of the body.

There are similar, yet less obvious requirements for a Muslim male’s attire. 1) A Muslim man must always be covered from the navel to the knees. 2) A Muslim man should similarly not wear tight, sheer, revealing, or eye-catching clothing. In addition, a Muslim man is prohibited from wearing silk clothing (except for medical reasons) or gold jewelry. A Muslim woman may wear silk or gold.

(References: “The Muslim Woman’s Dress,” Dr. Jamal Badawi, Ta-Ha Publishers; “Hijab in Islam,” Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Al-Risala Books; “The Islamic Ruling Regarding Women’s Dress,” Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi, Abul-Qasim Publishing; “Islamic Dress,” Muslim Women of Minnesota; “Your Hijab and U.S. Law,” North American Council for Muslim Women)

Q. Is Islamic dress appropriate for modern times?

A: Islamic dress is modern and practical. Muslim women wearing Islamic dress work and study without any problems or constraints.

Q. Does Islamic dress imply that women are submissive or inferior to men?

A: Islamic dress is one of many rights granted to Islamic women. Modest clothing is worn in obedience to God and has nothing to do with submissiveness to men. Muslim men and women have similar rights and obligations and both submit to God.

Q. But aren’t there Muslim women who do not wear Islamic Dress, or hijab?

A: Some Muslim women choose not to wear hijab. Some may want to wear it but believe they cannot get a job wearing a head scarf. Others may not be aware of the requirement or are under the mistaken impression that wearing hijab is an indication of inferior status.

Q. Why is Islamic dress becoming an issue for personnel managers and supervisors?

A: The Muslim community in American is growing rapidly. Growth factors include conversions to Islam, immigration from Muslim countries and high birth rates for Muslim families. As the community grows, more Muslim women will enter the work force. In many cases, these women wish both to work and to maintain their religious convictions. It should be possible to fulfill both goals.

Q. What issues do Muslim women face in the workplace?

A: Muslim women report that the issue of attire comes up most often in the initial interview for a job. Some interviewers will ask if the prospective employee plans to wear the scarf to work. Others may inappropriately inquire about religious practices or beliefs. Sometimes the prospective employee, feeling pressure to earn a living, will take off the scarf for the interview and then put it on when hired for the job. Modest dress should not be equated with incompetence.

Other issues include unwanted touching or pulling on scarves by other employees, verbal harassment or subtle ostracism and denial of promotion. Many Muslims also object to being pressured to attend celebrations of other religious traditions or to attend employer-sponsored celebrations at which alcohol is served.

Q. What can an employer reasonably require of a woman wearing hijab?

A: An employer can ask that an employee’s attire not pose a danger to that employee or to others. For example, a Muslim woman who wears her head scarf so that loose ends are exposed should not be operating a drill press or similar machinery. That employee could be asked to arrange her hijab so that the loose ends are tucked in. An employer can ask that the hijab be neat and clean and in a color that does not clash with a company uniform.

Q. What are the legal precedents on this issue?

A: Many cases have demonstrated an employee’s legal right to reasonable accommodation in matters of faith. Examples:

  1. The failure of other Muslim employees to wear headscarves is legally irrelevant. The employee need only show sincerely-held religious beliefs. (E.E.O.C. v. Reads, Inc., 1991)
  2. There are no health or safety concerns at issue. (Cf. E.E.O.C. Dec. No. 82-1, 1982, also E.E.O.C. Dec. No. 81-20, 1981)
  3. Companies cannot give effect to private biases. In other words, just because an employer believes customers will be prejudiced against a woman in a scarf, that does not mean the employee can be fired. (Palmer v. Sidoti, 1984, also Cf. Sprogis v. United Air Lines, Inc., 1971)
  4. An employer must demonstrate “undue hardship” caused by the wearing of religious attire. (TWA v. Hardison, 1977) Hardships recognized by the courts include cost to the employer or effect on co-workers.
  5. Dress codes can have disproportionate impact on certain faiths. (E.E.O.C. Dec. No. 71-2620, 1971, also E.E.O.C. Dec. No. 71-779, 1970)
© 1998 CAIR. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are You Afraid To Become A Muslim ?

The Personal Thoughts of Kian Yit of Malaysia
(From :
I have done a research about why Islam is not acceptable to some people and I found out that it's because they fear........
Losing Your Culture

It's not true that you'll lose your culture. Lots of people misunderstand this. In the West, it is thought that when somebody becomes a muslim, he becomes an Arab too. In Malaysia, which is my country, when somebody becomes a muslim, people think that he becomes a Malay just because majority of the muslims in Malaysia are Malays.

This confusion is only brought up by narrow minded people who don't understand. Allah has made us to many races, many cultures and many languages too. It is one of the beauty of the many creations of Allah that we have our own culture and we should appreciate it.

Similarly, we shouldn't be selfish of our own culture. We should share it between our muslim brothers and sisters. Islam is a religion, not a race. An English parent would give birth to an English child, but a muslim parent might not give birth to a muslim child.


This is something which people shouldn't worry or get scared about. This is only an optional choice which you can decide later on. Circumcision does not make somebody a muslim, neither does it make somebody a non muslim. It is only a procedure of cleanliness which you right want to do to keep yourself clean.

It is stated in the hadith, sahih Muslim, it is a fitrah, meaning practice of the prophet. There is no compulsion to circumcision. Majority of the muslims are circumcised. However, I noticed that there are some muslims who are not circumcised too.

When a man urinates, some of the urine gets trapped on the foreskin. It is his duty to clean it with water. The foreskin traps smega, which is a smelly chesse-like substance on the foreskin. If it is left like that, infection will occur, thus making the foreskin swollen.

You must understand that Islam stresses on cleanliness and circumcision is one of the ways to preserve cleanliness. But if you can make sure your foreskin is clean by frequent washing, then circumcision is not necessary for you.

I noticed that some people don't want to be muslims because they fear circumcision. If that is the case, you have nothing to worry about, you can still be a muslim uncircumcised, no problem at all. Circumcision is only to be done for boys before the age of puberty anyway! After reading many articles, medical journals and after doing some research, I noticed that there are some bad points as well as good points to circumcision too. Therefore, I decided to stand neutral on this topic, meaning I neither support nor condemn it. I would say that this is a personal choice. Think carefully before you decide. May Allah help you choose.

I have more articles about how circumcision prevents AIDS and other general medical benefits of circumcision, if you would like to read it.

You Don't Know How To Speak Arabic

You don't have to worry about that. The Arabic language has been chosen as the International language for muslims. The original form of the Quran to the humans on this earth is Arabic. So, we need to learn it in order to understand and appreciate it. It so happened that Allah chose an Arab leader, our beloved prophet Mohammed SAW to begin the mission or conveying the message of Islam to mankind. Perhaps, it's because the Arabs are hard headed people and Allah wanted to improve them. If you notice, Moses and Jesus' mission was to spread the religion to the Israelites. Islam at that time was in a different form and name and therefore, it was incomplete. It was only during the prophet's time where Allah announced that on that very day, Allah has completed the religion for mankind.

Translations of the Quran and other Islamic books can be found in abundance all over the world.

Pressure From Parents, Friends and Society

Pressure is very normal but what we really want is the truth. There are lots of challenges in our lives. Lots of people want us to follow their ways, may it be good or bad. But the main thing we must realise that we are living for our own lives. If we do anything wrong, it is us that will suffer, not anybody else. So, it is most important that you make your own decision. If you make the correct decision, in the end, it will be you who benefit from it. Take it slowly, one at a time. You don't have to tell anybody that you are a muslim if the situation is bad. Why get yourself into so much trouble? Why tell your parents when you are still young and under their financial support and get yourself scolded badly left and right? That's not all. Words will travel to your relatives too and your relatives too will make you suffer. Allah gave us brains to think. Make use of it.


There is a reason to everything, similarly, there is a purpose for fasting. Look at the poor people. They fast even more often than us. We have a comfortable house to live in. Whenever we want food, we can easily go out to the shops to buy some. Allah wants us to feel how to poor people feel and suffer like how they suffer. You are allowed to eat when the sun is still down. But when the sun rises, you'll have to stop eating, stop smoking and also refrain from having sex till the sun is down again. It is not difficult to do so and this is only for one month. Is it too much to ask?

The poor people are forced to do it for all their lives. Then we'll know how lucky we are to live a comfortable live and our duty next is to help the poor.

Another explanation for this is that fasting is a very healthy practice. Our stomach has been working for 24 hours a day non stop every year. So, it's time to give it a rest. Besides, it'll help us slim down a bit too if we are overweight.

Islam is liberal. Travellers, the sick and pregnant women are not expected to fast. They can replace the fast when they are prepared to fast.

Praying 5 Times A Day

How would you feel if you have been invited by the ruler of your country to see him just once in your lifetime, because he wants to listen to you and solve your problems? You'll feel honoured and great, right? But this is different.

The Creator of the universe wants to see you! He's asking you to approach Him 5 times a day, to talk to him, so that He can help you in your life, insha-Allah. Isn't that marvellous?

As for me, the ruler of my country has never asked me to approach him before. Who am I anyway? I don't have a high status, neither am I rich. But look, what has the Creator of the universe has invited me to do. Praying 5 times a day is not taxing. Once you are used to it, you'll enjoy doing it. You should know why you are praying and the meaning words which you say, then only you'll appreciate the very essence of prayer.

Changing Their Ways

We must not be afraid to change whatever we have done wrong. Allah is merciful. He forgives as long as you sincerely repent and make sure never to repeat the same mistakes again. Allah won't punish somebody who realize that he has done wrong about something and decides to return to the true path.

This problem usually happens to people with high status, especially teachers of religious schools. Some of them think that if they suddenly tell people that they have done wrong, and tell them the correct thing, people will look down at them, and will ask them what they have been doing all this while. This action of admitting your mistakes is not shameful but rather honourable. We are human and it's only human nature to make mistakes. But it is our responsibility to check on ourselves and also help other people check on themselves and correct them if necessary.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Never Forget The Victims - The Palestinians

The continuous suffering of the main victims of Zionism, the Palestinians,
is off the front pages of newspapers and the mass media at this moment.
This is how the Zionists and the Zionist controlled mainstream media would like things to be while on the ground the Israeli regime strangles and shackles the livelihood of the Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
At the same time the Israeli troops and illegal settlers kill off four or five Arabs each day no matter if they are men, women or children.
This is just a continuation of the process which had been carried out by the Zionists even before the creation of the Israeli state. The policy of Arab extermination, written or otherwise, is evident from the following quotes from the Israeli Prime Ministers:-

David Ben Gurion
Prime Minister of Israel
1949 - 1954,
1955 - 1963

"We must expel Arabs and take their places."
-- David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."

-- David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

"There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?"
-- Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122.

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."

-- David Ben Gurion, quoted in The Jewish Paradox, by Nahum Goldmann, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978, p. 99.

"Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves ... politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country."
-- David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky's Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan's "Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.

"If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel."
-- David Ben-Gurion (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth's Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).

Golda Meir
Prime Minister of Israel
1969 - 1974
"There is no such thing as a Palestinian people... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist."
-- Golda Meir, statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.

"How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to."
-- Golda Meir, March 8, 1969.

"Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen."
-- Golda Meir, 1961, in a speech to the Knesset, reported in Ner, October 1961

"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy."

-- Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971

Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel
1974 - 1977,
1992 - 1995
"We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!"
-- Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

"[Israel will] create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the west Bank to Jordan. To achieve this we have to come to agreement with King Hussein and not with Yasser Arafat."
-- Yitzhak Rabin (a "Prince of Peace" by Clinton's standards), explaining his method of ethnically cleansing the occupied land without stirring a world outcry. (Quoted in David Shipler in the New York Times, 04/04/1983 citing Meir Cohen's remarks to the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee on March 16.)

Menachem Begin
Prime Minister of Israel
1977 - 1983

"[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs."

-- Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the 'Beasts,"' New Statesman, June 25, 1982.

"The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized .... Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever."
-- Menachem Begin, the day after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine

Yizhak Shamir
Prime Minister of Israel
1983 - 1984,
1986 - 1992

"The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya (=Jewish immigration), and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country."
-- Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declares at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service.

"The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It's that simple."
-- Yitzhak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997.

"(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
-- Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
1996 - 1999

"Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories."
-- Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.

Ehud Barak
Prime Minister of Israel
1999 - 2001

"The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more"....
-- Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time - August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

"If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force...."
-- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000.

"I would have joined a terrorist organization."

-- Ehud Barak's response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Ha'aretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.

Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister of Israel
2001 - present

"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands."

-- Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours...Everything we don't grab will go to them."
-- Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

"Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial."

-- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online