Preamble -

There are some (unfortunately Muslims included, especially Muslim feminists) who claim that the hijab is not compulsory for Muslim women. They claim that it is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran. But the Quran is not the only source of Islamic Law. There are other sources which includes Ijma (consensus among the scholars). See this link for full explanation - The Science of Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul Fiqh) 

To those who say that the hijab is not compulsory for the Muslim woman, I challenge him or her to quote me any Islamic scholar who is trained in Islamic Jurisprudence who says that is so. Failing which, he or she will just have to admit that his or her source is from a person who is not trained in Islamic Jurisprudence. 

(I am not trained in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence either, but I follow closely to the teachings of mainstream Islamic jurists.) 

Halimah Yacob, the longest serving PAP Muslim woman politician and a very quiet one too -

Too quiet, I might add. Too quiet on the tudung issue, that is.

Halimah Yacob. Longest serving PAP Muslim woman in Parliament. If she, a practising Muslim woman who covers herself up, does not speak up on the tudung issue, would it not erode the efforts of others who campaign for the hijab to be allowed for Muslim women? All the PAPpy govt has to do is to say, "If Halimah doesn't make noise about it, why should you?"

Actually, it can also be argued that she doesn't make noise because she's too highly paid. Remember Ngiam Tong Dow's statement?


The tudung issue -

An online petition is making the rounds, seeking to petition the G to allow Muslim women working in “frontline” jobs – such as nursing – to wear the hijab.

Once the petition reaches the targeted 20,000 signatures, it will be delivered to several key people in the G including, among others, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin and CEO of MUIS, Mr Abdul Razak Hassan Maricar.

Those who wish to support the cause, can sign here - petition for hijab to be allowed

The article mentions the tudung case in 2002, where four Primary One girls were banned from schools because of their tudung. Two prominent Muslim leaders spoke on the issue. One was the former Mufti, while the other was the then much younger and inexperienced newly elected MP, Halimah Yacob.

This is not the first time that the wearing of headcoverings for Muslim women have come up as an issue in Singapore. It brings to mind the tudung controversy that took place in February 2002 when four girls were suspended from primary school for wearing the tudung.

When the issue broke out, the mufti said then that when confronted with a choice, Muslims should prioritise an education over wearing the tudung (The Straits Times, Feb 6, 2002). But that was about education, what about the workplace? Should Muslims prioritise their career over wearing the tudung?

The G, likewise, has stuck with the line that there are larger issues to prioritise than whether one should wear the tudung.

At the time, Member of Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob said: “Rather than continue to be caught in the tudung issue, Singaporean Muslims should focus on the bigger issues, such as how to uplift our community and how to make Singapore more competitive and socially resilient by participating in the ongoing debates in the Economic Committee and the Remaking of Singapore Committee.” (The Straits Times, Mar 12, 2002)

The incident happened in 2002. I don't blame the ex-Mufti because he was actually an employee of the govt. He could not do much. I am also willing to give Halimah some space because at that time, she was just elected and probably was not very experienced in handling such matters. As such, she was probably taking a safe route. 

But today is 2013. Halimah has had more than 10 years of political experience, which includes being in a ministry as well as being a Speaker of Parliament. That's quite a helluva experience and I can no longer say it is inexperience or naivete is the reason why she remains silent.

Halimah Yacob is a practising Muslim woman. She also dresses up as one. She is seen as a leader for Muslim women. She is seen as a representative of Muslim women. Yet, this iconic Muslim woman leader says nothing about the hijab ban in govt service? Eh? Isn't this seen as an endorsement by her that it is OK for the Muslim woman to have her hijab off because the govt says so? 

The tudung issue in Singapore is now more than 10 years old. It has been a long time. Too long. It is about time Muslim women leaders like Halimah spoke up. If she doesn't, there's only one explanation. Ngiam Tong Dow is dead correct. When you pay these people too highly, they won't speak up against govt policies. 

So Halimah, how long must the Muslim community wait for you to speak up on the tudung issue? Till you retire like Ngiam Tong Dow?




*The author blogs at http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.sg