1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Modesty March 5, 2011

Filed under: thoughts — axinia @ 7:41 pm

image by axinia

Hayya, or modesty, is not artificial in the sense in which, for instance, obedience to many of the social laws may be called artificial. Just as wisdom and morality are learned of nature, so also does modesty come from nature. It is a quality of beauty. It is the essential quality of beauty which the great artist understands. By veiling his thought he conveys an impression many times more beautiful than does the artist who is unskilled in expression.

The poet dives into life, listening to that voice which is inaudible to those engaged on its surface. Not only poets sound the depths, for all men strive for beauty, which lies deep within each man’s spirit; but if any, after sounding the depths of life, have been able to convey something of their exaltation and their anguish at the touch of beauty, it has been the poets with their veils and clouds of language…

The highest phase of each aspect of life is covered and veiled. Christ, like every great mystic, conveyed the beauty of his teaching in veiled words. Religious language has always been symbolic; truth has ever been given through symbols, such as those of gods and goddesses, and the symbol of the cross…

In some parts of the East, women of society and education dressed for social occasions veil themselves entirely, and out of modesty leave only the feet uncovered; whilst others clothe the feet and the whole body except the sides of the waist. These customs would seem offensive to women of the same position and distinction in Western countries, who through modesty cover all except shoulders, neck and arms. Though these customs differ, all express the same tendency to modesty.

 A custom in a race called primitive by European society demands that a man shall not look at the mother of his bride; out of respect for her he must not raise his eyes to her face. It is as if dignity veiled the face of the older woman from his gaze. And this custom seems but an extreme form of that same feeling which in countries far from this race demands that the bride herself shall appear veiled at the marriage ceremony.

In the veiling and unveiling of beauty lies every purpose of creation.

The Sufi mesage of Hazrat Inayat Khan


13 Responses to “Modesty”

  1. All those mannerism are not the result of natural humbleness but ostensive superficial society pleasing behaviours .
    A bit like the hijab, who is imposing some religious doctrine to the whole societys . Bigot dress codes and attitude are acting out holier than other pompous flattery s of the own group concepts, reaffirming them through behaviour pretending humble submission.Beware of the backside of the affected decorum.Society rituals are far from being natural expressions.

  2. mirelhr Says:

    Veiling has multiple meanings that can be understood only by closely examining its social and historical context in a PARTICULAR LOCATION and TIME!!!

    In Islam’s heartlands a covered head has more than one connotation !
    places, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, where women must cover their heads; in others, notably Turkey and Tunisia, female civil servants along with pupils in state education are banned from concealing their hair. In the rest of the Middle East, most women don a veil of one kind or another, though almost none wears the burqa
    In other countries, where there is more choice in the matter, the reasons for veiling are more complex.

    the veil has become a highly contested—and gendered—political symbol. While feminist and critical race theorists have focused on the decision of individual women to cover, the veil is not merely a religious practice or individual choice. the multiple reasons that Muslim women cover is a useful first step in analyzing state regulation of veiling; it reveals the diversity among Muslim women and emphasizes that for many women, the decision to cover is an autonomous choice. But covering is not merely an individual choice; it is a religious and social practice that constructs various collective identities within a particular location at a particular time.

    The headscarfs not solely a religious symbol or practice, nor its regulation merely an issue of individual rights or liberty!!!
    The headscarf, hijab is a powerful symbol used to construct power relations between men and women, between secularists and Islamists, between the West and ‘political Islam’ in specific countries!

    The ‘mirror’ has not only two faces but many ….uniquely complex issue…

    One can say, ‘as a social practice, Islamic veiling constructs gender relations within the community’. veiling fulfills three purposes that serve Islam: (1) it conceals women from the gaze of men; (2) it sets boundaries between men and women; and (3) it demarcates the “forbidden sphere,” which is to remain private

    “The Islamic social order measures its integrity by the honor of its women, which requires, in turn, the untouchability as well as invisibility of women.”The social system thus exercises control over women’s sexuality and segregation of the sexes, both of which are fundamental aspects of Islamic masculinities in society. Within this social order, veiling maintains the boundaries of separation between the sexes and preserves order in the community

    Another possible point of view; ‘While Muslim societies such as the Ottoman Empire used the veil to construct gender relations, Western colonial and imperialist powers seized upon the veil to symbolize Islam and Muslims as inherently different, backward,and inferior!the veil as the “most visible marker of the differentness and inferiority of Islamic societies,” a symbol of both the degradation of Islamic women and the backwardness of Islamic men.This Western interpretation of gender relations between Islamic men and women constructed Muslim men as barbaric oppressors of women, inherently inferior to Western men.

    The Western or liberal assumption that women who veil lack free
    choice, however, is disputed by many feminists and scholars throughout the Middle East. Many contemporary feminist scholars and sociologists have concluded that the decision of the young university women to cover reflects a deliberate choice—a choice to embrace political Islam, to express their religious identity, and/or to challenge the secularist ban of religion in the public sphere
    some women representing younger generation acknowledge that ‘The phenomenon of Islam, on the one hand, geographically moved into urban settlements and, on the other, penetrated the central power apparatus where modern cultural values and symbols are created.
    Veiled women are not simply passive conveyors of the provincial traditional culture; they are, rather, active and self-asserting women who seek opportunities in modernism. They have come into the public scene not at the periphery, where traditions prevail, but in the urban settlements and the universities, where modernism flourishes. In this context veiling symbolizes radical Islamism, which is molded on the tension between traditionalism and modernism

    What is the meaning of the development of these newer styles of covering?
    In classical Islam, the purpose of the veil is to preserve modesty and to
    avoid drawing attention to the female body. Yet in many Muslim societies, the new form of urban covering is beautiful and self-consciously stylish.Covering has become a profitable part of the fashion consumer market in Turkey and has spread throughout the world via the Internet and global retail markets
    The headscarves depicted are close-fitting and draped over conical headpieces on the top of the head, evoking Orientalist notions of the hidden and the exotic, Islamic dress meeting global capitalist consumerism.
    description of this aesthetic—which was opposed by Islamic intellectuals
    as transforming the headscarf from a symbol of religious and political
    identity to symbol of high fashion in upper class society—as “Islamic haute
    The emergence of an “Islamic high culture,”destroys
    the secularist image of Islam as backward and lower class while highlighting class and regional collective identities. Those women
    who adopt the more fashionable forms of cover distinguish themselves from the more traditional, rural, or low-income women who wear either the simple headscarf or the outdated long, light-colored raincoat

    the new public visibility of Muslim women, who are outspoken, militant, and educated, brings about a shift in the semiotics of veiling, which has long evoked the traditional, subservient domestic roles of Muslim women
    the act of covering becomes not merely a religious practice or duty, but an individuation of women, many of whom unveil and challenge traditional gender identities within Islam and the body politic

    • What about hapless women in truly primitive, backward, oppressive societies like Afghanistan being FORCED to cover every square millimetre of their bodies with long curtain cloths 😕


      • mirelhr Says:

        Because the Quran’s injunctions are open to many interpretations, Islamic laws in different countries vary widely in what they define as modest dress — from the extremes of Afghanistan to the sartorial freedoms of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and even Iraq
        Once upon a time the Shah of Iran banned the veil, and in Afghanistan, the king’s wife took off her veil…

        In a collective society, like Afghanistan, it is difficult to maintain one’s honor given that a close relative or kin who acts in a way that makes one “looks bad” can actually brings shame for the entire clan. In Afghanistan, women are considered a source of pride!!! and one of the pillars in the core values of zan (women), zar (wealth), and zamin (property)-all of which have the power to incite blood feuds. While traditional customs elevate women’s value and status in society, the Taliban have convoluted tribal customs with their austere brand of Islam-creating a culture of impunity and a violent cocktail for those they punish, no tolerance for secular laws
        Afghanistan, its past, presence and future…Afghanistan, ‘Where God Only Comes To Weep’. I do agree
        stories of the fate of many of the women in Afghanistan, of great courage, fear & poverty.
        Islam on the one hand….Islamist Radical Islam fundamentalism on the one hand
        Living, experiencing in a particular muslim society is a must to get facts to the eyes and ears.

  3. A custom in a race called primitive by European society demands that a man shall not look at the mother of his bride; out of respect for her he must not raise his eyes to her face. It is as if dignity veiled the face of the older woman from his gaze.

    Does that mean a man cannot even look at the face of his mother-in-law or potential/future mother-in-law to see if his wife/bride resembles her mother 😕 It’s silly!

    But then again, it’s completely understandable. Such societies are SO primitive, backward and uncouth that a man (in some cases) would not even know how his own wife/bride looks like 😯 😯 😯 until AFTER he ties the knot and therefore becomes the “owner” of the woman at his supposedly “arranged marriage”. When a chap isn’t even allowed to look at the face of his own fiancée until she becomes his wife, then how would he be allowed to look at the face of his mother-in-law???

    Oh, my “God”! I thought it was only the poor, unfortunate, hapless women (and girls, including underage girls) in such uncouth societies who lead a lifelong miserable existence as sex objects, breeding-cum-child rearing machines, unpaid domestic maids and punching bags for their husbands to take out their anger on, with very, very, very little (if any at all) rights and freedoms as human beings. It looks as if the men too lead a fairly miserable existence if they cannot even know how their own wives would look like 😯 until after the marriage when they become the new “owners” of the women they marry.

    The men in such filthy, uncouth societies are so insecure about themselves that they want to force women into covering themselves with long curtain cloths, forcibly prevent them from working, studying, driving or even talking with a man who is not related to her. The savages wouldn’t even want to allow women to leave their houses unaccompanied by a male relative. What miserable creatures such men are! They are a shame upon mankind and and a disgrace to civilisation 😡

    Even if it was about the “security” of women, it exposes the sheer uncouthness, barbarism and sub-humanism of such savage societies 😡 If a woman cannot even step out of her house alone due to fear of criminalised vermin loitering on the streets and looking to attack her, it means the society is extremely savage, uncivilised and barbaric 👿 A society that cannot ensure even the basic safety and security of women in the 21st century is not even human!!!

    No wonder the savage barbarians bought up in such uncouth societies as well as the pitiable women raised in such filthy “cultures” look at the modern 21st century women in the civilised societies (who stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and have equal rights and opportunities) and term them as “whores”, “sluts” and “uncovered meat” who deserve to get sexually assaulted because of the way they dress and because they go to work, study, drive and travel on their own.

    Women’s days may come and go every year, but the plight of hapless women and girls in the sub-humanly uncouth societies and “cultures” seems to remain the same. It is such a pity 😦


  4. I can hardly bear the legitimation of the repression of women presented as aspects of dignity in a culture on the international women s day.
    Intelligent men knows that each dehumanising affects their own life.
    I recognise this thoughtfulness in aspects of you guys,side by side forward looking we care together for humanity.

  5. seeker2008 Says:

    What about the other veiling ?

  6. Like the veils in front of their concepts some wear to not face reality?

    • That kind of veil sounds exactly like what I would refer to as a “bubble” 😉

      This kind of veil arises out of a similar mindset as the one prevalent in the filthy, uncouth “cultures” that force their women and girls to wear long, head-to-toe covering curtain cloths.


  7. seeker2008 Says:

    I am talking about the other type of veil as when Rumi says

    No one knows
    what makes the soul wake up so happy.

    Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil
    from the face of God.

    • mirelhr Says:

      A thousand new moons appear.
      Roses open laughing.

      The body turns entirely spirit.
      Leaves become branches in the wind!

      Why is it now so easy to surrender,
      even for those already surrendered?

      There’s no answer to any of this.
      No one knows the source of joy.

      -not a duality of happiness and unhappiness, but singular joy.

      • seeker2008 Says:

        Its always nice to hear from you Mirel. There was this book put put out by the Jerrahi order I believe called the 99 beautiful names. One of them was al musawwir the shaper of beauty I believe is the translation.

        I think that the headscarf issue is very important in our times. I hope my comment didn’t disparage that. I also agree that some people, and perhaps all of us to an extent keep ourselves from the truth. I think this is why as the Sufi Poet Maghribi says to walk in His district one must walk with His feet.

        However there is a veiling that even more subtle than these mentioned about the purpose of life itself as Hazrat Inayat Khan alludes too. In many ways like the examples he refers to, the essence of what he is also saying at least I feel is a veiled. What do you think cher amie?

  8. Is it a mere coincidence that when the order of the first two letters of the word VEIL are changed, one gets the word EVIL 👿

    Those long, filthy, head-to-toe covering curtain cloths that the sub-humanly uncouth societies force their women to wear are indeed a sign of an evil 👿 society – one where women are treated as little more than cattle, child-breeding machines and unpaid, bonded labourers to do domestic chores. Those long curtain cloths that the mulloid gangsters and pathetic menfolk of some muzzie societies force their women to wear is a sign of mediaeval uncouthness, uncivilised mindsets and low IQed pea-brains which wallow in the Bronze Age crap that “two women are equal to one-half of a man” 😡

    But treating women like despicable creatures is not the monopoly of the muzzie hordes alone. Delve deeply and the “holy books” of every uncouth religion state that women are somehow sub-human and are to be treated as such in societies that are primitive enough to follow such uncouth, unevolved religions and the despicable, low IQed lowlives that appoint themselves as God’s middlemen and peddle such religions to the naive, gullible, clueless hordes.

    Nothing can be more evil and uncouth that what the stinkingly uncouth religion of Hinduism prescribes for women. Just like the religion of the muzzies, that of the savage hindoid hordes also loudly and proudly declares that all women are sub-human creatures. It goes one step further and states that all women are born of supposedly “sinful wombs”.

    At least the muzzie religion gives women the right to divorce (theoretically) and permits divorced women as well as women whose husbands have passed away the right to remarry. The uncouth Hindu religion is too sub-satanic to give even a basic human right to widowed women. The treatment prescribed by the satanic Hindu religion to widowed women is so nauseating that even a towel-headed, semi-literate mullah interpreting the Koran in a mountainous Afghan cave would be forced to puke in sheer disgust at the uncouthness of the sadistic, sub-satanic Hindu religious texts and the perverted pigs that voraciously gulp down cow’s urine while peddling such shitty “religious” texts and the sub-satanic crap they contain to the hopelessly naive, clueless gullibles who are tricked, deceived and cheated into believing the BIG LIES that such savage uncouthness is the be-all and end-all of supposed “spirituality” 🙄


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