The veil doesn’t come from God
Why does Islam put the burden of modesty on women? asked Nikhat Sattar. In many Muslim nations, including in parts of Pakistan, women “are restricted to the most horrific cage-like garments” so they won’t provoke sinful desires in men. But in the Quran, “modesty and shyness are basic requirements for men and women equally.” In fact, the Quran gives instructions to men first, telling them to lower their gaze and refrain from staring at or harassing women. Only in a later verse does the Quran tell women to be similarly modest. And “nowhere does God enjoin men to enforce laws related to modesty upon women or to restrict them in any way.” Instead, each person is responsible for his or her own actions. One passage describes how, when a beautiful woman came to the Prophet Mohammed with a complaint, another man began staring at her but the Prophet turned his own face away. Notably, he did not ask the woman to veil her face. It is not, therefore, Islam that is to blame for the repression of women, but rather patriarchal customs in some Islamic cultures. Isn’t it time for “the focus of societal development and moral training to shift toward boys and men”? If men want to be the “moral police,” let them police themselves.