Wednesday, July 6, 2011

‘A well-guarded treasure even on the fields’

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Say: "If both men and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up." (Our'an, 17:88)

I am in the habit of cutting interesting news items from newspapers and magazines and then have them stacked in a small file for later reading pleasure or for reference.

Recently while sorting the file, I found two news items that contradicted each other - one from a Malay daily 'Sinar Harian', dated 8th June 2011 with a heading 'Diskriminasi FIFA' (FIFA’s Discrimination) which reported Iranian Olympics women football team was barred from the football pitch before taking on a Jordanian side because all its members had covered up in Islamic code dressing including wearing the 'tudung' (head scarf).

The other news item was from New Sunday Times dated June 12th 2011 that reported Germany's women's Word Cup team had stripped off for Playboy.

Well, in today's world, it is okay to expose one's body but it is against 'the norms' of civil society for women to appear in covered up attires. So it was thumb up for the German football team but not for the Iranian side. They have been informed by FIFA that they would not be allowed to compete unless they remove the ‘hijab’.

The Iranians who refused to adhere to such ‘regulation’ were not welcomed so they had to leave the stadium in Amman; thus giving a 3-0 win to the home team side. It was the Federation of Football Association (FIFA) ruling, so that's it - Muslims nowadays were at the feet of 'those' Western 'masters' - we follow their sets of rules or they dump and level us as extremists and terrorists.

Also in April this year, an Iranian women soccer team was stopped by FIFA from competing in an inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore; just because the team members donned on the hijab.

The Iranian Olympic Committee has called on Muslim states around the world to protest to FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the event, but as usual the Muslim world remained silent.

Bahram Afsharzadeh, the secretary general of Iran’s Olympic Committee, claimed the decision is a violation of Muslims rights.

Ali Kafashian, the president of the Iran Football Association, has written to FIFA to ask them to reconsider their decision, claiming that due to religious beliefs their team will be able to participate in the competitions only if they are allowed to observe the Islamic dress code.

FIFA had passed a ruling in March 2007 that the hijab is forbidden in matches. It came after a Canadian Muslim was expelled from a match for donning a hijab.

The decision; taken by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body which decides the laws of the game and is made up of the four FA’s from the United Kingdom and FIFA, cited law 4 which lists the basic equipment that players are allowed to wear and does not include headwear except for the goalkeeper.

Brian Barwick, the then chief executive of the Football Association and a member of the IFAB that took the decision, claimed at the time "it’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law 4 being adhered to."

Afsharzadeh said the decision taken by FIFA proves that it does not care about such issues as nationality, religion and race.

"It is also an indication of creating obstacles on their part in the way of the women’s progress," he added. "Iran’s National Olympic Committee has forwarded copies of a protest letter to the IOC and a number of other leading officials around to consider the issue," Afsharzadeh said.

Meanwhile, in its letter to Iran Football Federation (IFF), FIFA said they had no choice but to disallow Iran girls’ football team from participating.

"Taking into consideration the clear position stated by (the Olympic committee of) Iran, the FIFA executive committee had no choice other than to decide that Iran will not be able to participate," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke stated.

The Iranian Olympic Committee has called on Muslim states around the world to protest to FIFA and IOC regarding the banning of wearing hijab by Iranian sportswomen, but reactions from Muslims what more from Muslim states are unheard of.

Muslims remained silent, but in my opinion they should support the call and form an united front to defend Muslim women’s (Muslimah) right to hold to their religious obligations including when taking part in sports.

Iran which had staged numerous women’s sports meet such as the Islamic Countries’ Games, is very committed that their sportswomen adhere to the Islamic dressing code be it they were in the fields, gymnasiums or swimming pools.

Dr Ghafouri Fahd, the former head of Physical Education Organization of Iran had this to say: “There are many Muslim women who are deprived of taking part in the World and Olympic events due to having their Islamic cover. To this effect appropriate measure should be taken against such cruel condition.”

Faezah Hashemi as the President of the First Islamic Countries Women's Sports Solidarity Games said: “Praise be to Allah who bestowed upon women honour and grandeur so much so that such great women as ‘Hawa’ (Eve), Asiah, Maryam (Mary), Khadija, Fatima and Zeinab (peace be upon them all) had and still have enormous part in the revival and betterment of women in the World.”

So to our Muslim sisters, our models should be these righteous women, not those from the Western world such as the German’s football team who had stripped off from ‘all the belongings’ including their modesty.

In my opinion if these sportswomen could wear skimpy outfits, then there should be no discrimination for Muslimah to wear ‘hijab’ when they are on the field. But wait, that is not the case; the Iranian football team had experienced the double faced (lidah bercabang) of those in power in the Western world.

Regarding how the West treats women, an American woman convert, Iman Daglas in her book, ‘A Well-Guarded Treasure’ (Darussalam) wrote: “People are so eager to simulate the people of the West, while in America and Europe, morals have deteriorated to the point that they no longer exist.

“There people would give anything to reverse the moral decline, yet it is too late. Things have gotten so out of control that there is no turning back. It is truly the most overwhelming problem facing the 21st century.

“Women, especially, are treated with absolutely no respect. To so many men, women are nothing but objects, to use any way they choose. When he is done with her, he just throws her aside and goes on to the next women.

“Women have allowed this to happen, by giving up moral and modesty, by not guarding their chastity and virtue; they have allowed themselves to become nothing more than cheap objects of men's desires.”

How true are these words I thought, my heart is full of sympathy for those German ‘football girls' and their ‘counterparts’ (women with the same way of thinking) all over the world; when you are young with your ‘solid’ and beautiful bodies; they (the men) would put you on the front cover of their magazines or parade you on the red carpet or modeling stage; but when your beauty fades away and skin wrinkle, your body wrecks and shrieks because of old age, only then you realize the truth.

The men would dump you; the same way the leaders of Western world including those in international sports organization had done to Muslimah athletes just because they refused to follow ‘Satan’ orders!

As for the Iranian women football squad and pious Muslimah who feared Allah SWT dan His law; the ‘loss’ in this world is nothing because He who rules all the worlds has given this assurance: “And those who have fear of their Lord will be driven to the Garden in companies and when they arrive there, finding its gates open, its custodians will say to them, ‘Peace be upon you! You have done well so enter it timelessly, for ever’.” (Qur’an, 39:73)

Allah SWT also says: “Such people will be repaid for their steadfastness with the Highest Paradise, where they will meet with welcome and with ‘Peace’. (Qur’an 25:75

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