Beauty of Concealment and Concealment of Beauty
by Prof. Zahra Rahnavard
Hadrat Zahra(A.S.) Women's University
Beauty Of Concealment And Concealment Of Beauty
Address by Sister Zahra Rahnavard at the Seminar for Studying Hejab. The Seminar for Studying Hejab was held on Sunday, 16th Dey 1364 (5th January 1986) at Farhang Hall. It was attended by some Members of the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), experts and officials of the Educational Affairs Section, Sector 11, Department of Education, Tehran. At this Seminar Sister Zahra Rahnavard gave a speech on "Zeebaiye Hejab va Hejabe Zibayi" (Beauty of Concealment and Concealment of Beauty). In view of the unique views, beautiful approach and deep study of the problem, full text of the address is given below.
Hejab is like a scenery, a panorama or a garden, a garden full of fruits of different colours. You can select anyone of the thousands of rooms with thousands of windows, and from its frame look at the garden, stretch your hand and pick off a fruit. You can pick off the entire garden at one and the same time like a single fruit, satisfy with its flavour your heart and soul, and make the garden, the hejab, a solace for your (disturbed) inner self. Of all the myriad windows through which one can look into the garden, let us have a look at Hejab through the window of beauty, a deep window, a window made of the wood of Sidra (the Lote Tree in the Seventh Heaven) with the scent of eternal memories, a latticed window with variegated glass, illumining your soul with multicolour lustre, a window of beauty of age-long human civilization, a window of centuries old human presence on the earth, or even older, a window dating back to the very age of creation or existence itself, a window of beauty!
The garden and the window, the concealment and the beauty often come close to merge in each other, and sometimes withdraw from each other.
Innumerable mysterious and esoteric windows open before this garden. So why should we study Hejab (or concealment) from the angle of beauty? ...Really, why?
For example, we can look at Hejab through the window of Imperialism, and sit down and analyze it. Due to the strategic importance and the immense mineral resources, our dear motherland has ever been subjected to invasion by the super-criminals who have always been interested in getting hold of this politico-geographically sensitive area and through the most intricate conspiracies for eroding our Islamic identity have endeavoured to deprive our nation of all the vestiges of self-defence. Fifty years ago it was on the 17th Dey (7 January) that, in servile obedience to the orders of the British and Americans, Reza Khan the accursed, ordered the abolition of hejab for women in Iran. In fact, he pulled down the national flag which was a symbol of independence and honour of Iran, and this served as a prologue to the future tragic drama of the loss of identity and the encroachment of foreign culture on the country.
We may look at the hejab from the window of economy, and then construe the abolition of hejab as an Imperialist plot for the inflow of the putrefied surplus products of the Western Capitalist countries like the readymade garments, cosmetics and even the attractive bodies of women for the publicity of the surplus commodities manufactured in their factories.
We may look at the abolition of hejab from the angle of the Imperialist morality which throws women before the eyes of the young as something pretty, snatching from them their senses and reason so that, subsequent to the loss of the sensible minds and firm resolution of the youth, the imperialists could plunder the natural wealth and resources of our country.
We may also look at the abolition of hejab from the cultural strategy of Imperialism, and then find the woman exploited as a stronghold of the western cultural domination and Occidentosis, and through the agency of "la belle dame" the Imperialists have not only bombarded our religious and national bases, but have even manouvred the complete devastation and annihilation of the sublime values like the pious feelings of love and affection, honour, dignity and sacrifice.
Today, however, we are not going to took through any of these windows. Beauty in a psychological perspective and in direct relation with hejab has kept so many persons mentally and psychologically occupied persons who, in Iran or elsewhere, are connected with this concealment or have a problem with' its content or form.
The addressee of this discourse is not a lady who is a principal, teacher, official, worker, doctor, specialist, housewife, or a school or college student. The addressees are rather the pious souls of all the women of the country striving for the elevation of the women's position.
I firmly believe that they are all noble persons, possessing gentle souls and have drunk deep from the pure spring of "the Eternal Being", and in this material world are waiting to receive the illuminating radiance of Truth.
They are noble, modest and peerless, except, indeed, a very small group of those women politically attached with the former regime who, by their heart and deeds, are still linked with the Western political and economic imperialism and receive their guidance and propaganda instructions from the foreign radios and centres of crime like CIA and MOSSAD in order to pollute and corrupt our Islamic society with full knowledge and intention.
Such elements form hardly one per cent of the aggregate in our society. I sit beside the clean souls of women, while I am fully confident that once the necessary economic reforms, so eagerly awaited by all of us, are introduced, most of the cultural losses of deviation including the issues relating to hejab and the relevant excesses and shortcomings on the subject shall also be restrained. Let us go back to "the frame of beauty".
Today most of the young women and girls, who have adopted hejab in toto and have been completely enamoured by it, have reached the truth that concealment in entirety is beautiful. What kind of beauty is this?
On the other hand, those who have adopted hejab halfheartedly, or have tolerated it under duress, in spite of possessing clean and spotless frames, try to conceal their beauty by myriad forms, fashions, hues and dyes and cosmetics, as they feel that hejab shall bring down the standard of their beauty. What a strange meaning of beauty!.
What is beauty? Where is its realm? But, O Woman, the character of the society is strangeness. The society itself breeds concealment. What type of concealment? In your own environment. your own society, there are innumerable curtains, which have been drawn on the beauty of your being. Why don't you see these curtains? Who are you?
In the society, you adapt yourself according to the judgements of the society. With in your work environs, you accept the behaviour, the type of dress, the conditions of concealment prevalent in your environment. Throughout your life, each place, every moment, each incident, every event throws a new curtain on your personality the curtain of class, the curtain of shape, the curtain of status, the curtain of reputation and the curtain of respectability. But who are you? What are you? The countless curtains lead you to the loss of your identity your own being.
After all we are not like the Marxists who believe that man's identity is nothing but what is determined by the economic class to which he belongs. On the contrary, we believe that every person is "something", is a reality in himself, greater than what is granted by the society, history, class, relations or connections. The subject of self-alienation which is propounded in connection with hejab has also been alluded to in the various ideologies. For example, a Marxist believes that the exploitation and the presence of the worker in the Capitalist production within an industrialized society which takes place through profiteering have led to the worker's self-estrangement. This is an economic interpretation of self-alienation.
Existentialism explains self-alienation in a different way. According to it the presence of man as a sole voluntary, conscious being in an inert, unconscious world and also in a society where the system and its conventions are quite foreign to his internal inclinations, gives birth to self-estrangement.
According to the explanation forwarded at this point by us, a woman in. all other systems, in whatever conditions and environs, wraps her real beauty into the curtains of a variety of relations and connections. The Islamic hejab, in our connotation, is by itself a source of drawing all these curtains aside and providing her the possibility of uniting with the real beauty of her being and rediscovering her own self. This social harmony proves to be an introduction through close affinity and sincerity to her real self for the attainment of the sublime origin and supreme source of her own self or Allah, and this is the gnostic unity.
Man has not a mere economic and historic nature. These are mere curtains, intertwined, curtains over a pure and clean beauty of being. All the social positions are mere curtains drawn over the real beauty of human essence. There is inside yourself a being which, in all-earnest and anxiety, expects that you will discover it, will be sincere to it, will come to its rescue, will be in unison with it, will be all one with it, will hold it and it will hold you, so that you may return to your original source. But you have kept distance from it through innumerable curtains, have completely estranged yourself from it and have left it alone. Or perhaps, you have missed it. The entire beauty of concealment lies here. As soon as you own it, all the false identities of probability shall be gone, and your mundane status, pomp and show and material acquisitions shall disappear. You will give up the symbol of your individualism, and will become like all the others, like me, like him, like all of us, a worker, an official, a teacher, a doctor or a student. You will give up all the ostentatious distinctions and will be able to reach the estranged, real self, the self having a sublime and beautiful origin, a divine origin, and a manifestation of the divinity of God, God, who is Beautiful. In other words, now that you have attained unity at the level of the society, you may also reach unity at the level of existence.
Like the leaf of a tree, a spring, mountain, or a flower in a blowing wind or the flight of a bird, you step into the unique society of existence where all are occupied in His obeisance and prostration in His adoration. Isn't such a concealment really beautiful even more beautiful than the one you may ever run after the one which you may decorate with hues and colours in order to give yourself a prettier look but which, in fact, may drown you into you, into your own individualism, take you away from the real Beauty and would prove to be a curtain between you and Beauty .
On the one hand, beauty, the physical beauty, the visual beauty of the stature and outward appearance is itself an obstruction. The body is a curtain, (as the poet says)
"The dust of my body becomes an obstruction for the face of my soul. How happy will be the moment when I shall draw this curtain aside from the face"
The Western Renaissance was the revival of the Greek values that attached utmost importance to the value of matter and body. In their belief beauty was virtue. Thus every beautiful person was virtuous and popular. Venus, the goddess of Love and Beauty and Helen, the famous demigoddess of Troy, both were at the same time heroines of corruption, debauchery and perfidy, but how strange that they were worshipped by the Western Imperialist people whose values take roots from the Greek civilization.
These people always endeavoured to prove everywhere, particularly in their colonies, that physical beauty is the foundation of virtue. It is the body where lie beauty and virtue. As it is so, it must be exposed to the public eyes and judgement. The whole image of a woman in an Imperialist regime suffering from a cultural Imperialism is that of a beautiful being, and not the image of a mother or a source of an epic or great sacrifice. Thank God, our society has succeeded in giving birth to such great values. (Elsewhere) the idea of physical beauty is so strong that woman is also governed by it, and she finds satisfaction with herself only when she finds herself beautiful and her beauty a subject of public judgement.
This image of woman, a beautiful woman, also takes its roots as an established value in the minds of men, to the extent that even at the time of making the most important decision (in life), namely, marriage they are after finding a spouse possessing such physical qualities.
The demand of the society from a woman, the demand of a woman from herself and the demand of man from a woman all revolve round the physical beauty. But the real beauty lies in the moment the society, man and woman herself should demand from woman the beauty of the soul and the spirit and the human qualities and talents. The body which is destined to decay, to be mingled with the dust and produce (and be eaten by) worms, even at the pinnacle of its beauty is but an obstruction in the way to real beauty. The beauty of concealment, therefore, lies in the elimination of the physical values in order to revive the values of the real self of a woman in the mind of the society of man and woman.
Imperialist Roots Of The Abolition Of Hejab
"From Woman's Lap Man Ascends to the Skies". (Imam Khomeini [RA])
The Islamic Revolution of Iran, before being a political revolution for getting hold of the power, or an economic revolution dealing with the economic and class relationships, is a cultural revolution possessing a moral and spiritual value in the depth of the being of the individual and society as well as the heroes of the Muslim community of Iran. It is a gift of Allah's angels to the people which has been showered through the Imam of the Community from the hidden divine treasures to the land of the oppressed, and clean-washed the souls addicted to the hunger for power and position, the greed for amassing wealth, adoration for beauty, Occidentosis and Orientosis. In relation to the woman too, like its relationships and connections with so many other sections of the society, it brought into vogue some new values, values which have their roots ingrained in the nature of all human beings which had since been buried, in our land during the 2500 years of despotic rule, under the dust of the tyrannical breeding, etiquettes, affronts at the hands of autocracy, and which have languished in a distorted form among all the other Muslim people too throughout the period of Imperialist domination.
Under this shower of divine benediction and in such favourable background, the Muslim woman discovered the mysteries of her being and came to realize that her existence was not confined to her body and sex, but was primarily a divine and celestial substance which was to be exalted and elevated in order that it may be salvaged and may achieve communion with its sublime, divine origin, (as promised by Allah)
"Indeed he attains deliverance who purifies his soul". (Surah al-Shams: 91:9)
Even the men of our society came to understand that woman is not a mere "beautiful and sexual thing", but is, in fact, a divine substance about which Imam Khomeini (RA) has very aptly said:
"From women's lap man ascends to the skies".
The person whom the Western Imperialism had convinced and said: "You are the sole source of pleasure! You are the ladder for the achievement of political power by the (Super) powers, kings, cartels, trusts and multinational companies"
The person who, through centuries and ages, had been a manifestation of intellectual deficiency, foolishness, intrigues and temptation;
And on whose bosom would descend abjectness and disgrace of mankind and human values;
All of a sudden became the pinnacle of human glory, the ladder that leads man to the acme of dignity. The woman, however, has attained this value and honourable position after undergoing lot of hardships. It is because, at the summit of the Islamic revolution, this gift of Allah's angels has been bestowed upon the women who have qualified themselves for it after the sacrifice of their own dear ones, their children and husbands, in the way of defending Is1am, women who carried in their bosoms their dear ones wallowing in blood after they had been martyred at the torture centres of CIA and MOSSAD executioners and dismembered after they had been killed by the firing squads of the pro-American Shah; women who had valiantly fought in the battlefield of life against the Satanic regime which was responsible for engendering the unbalanced mental, psychological and educational traits hitherto ingrained in her being. In this battle of internal and external forces they had come out with flying colours, pure and clean, with their laps being the perching places of the sublime values.
Alas! When you look back into the distant past the disgraceful life of the woman, and find the first steps dragging her into the quagmire of dishonour, on the way to the erosion of the values of her Godly essence and the noble origin of her being in order to establish and bring into prominence her physical and sexual values, and go through the history of' the woman in the decadent societies particularly in the contemporary Imperialist systems; you will come across a history full of sexual display. It will not be astonishing when, in its wake, we find intellectual slavery, because Western Imperialism with its bestial, profit-oriented and power-seeking motives used the abolition of hejab as the most powerful weapon for degrading and dishonouring woman, because Imperialism fully realized that one of the mechanisms for the decadence, downfall or elevation of a people lies hidden in the person of woman. It was the first step towards enervating or distorting the potentialities and faculties of woman a leap more forward than taken by all the other despots and power-seekers of history, so that by the display of her physical features and replacing the Islamic breeding and behaviour by the Western habits and character, Western Imperialism may drag the Muslim people to gradual annihilation and ultimately lead the Muslim men and women to cultural, followed by, political and economic subjugation.
Now, let us study the inauspicious course of the abolition of hejab in the Muslim countries, particularly in Iran, and see how the enemy started h is evil designs.
Effacement of the Self
The roots of the effacement of Muslims' self go back to the past, a distant past, to the Crusades, when the West during the Crusades learnt a large number of sciences and arts from Muslims, and within a very short span of time, with the help of these sciences and arts, the Western people succeeded in developing their own techniques and equipments, but, instead of being grateful to us, most shamefully and ungratefully they used the same weapons against us which they had borrowed from us. Travelling around the world, which took place very sparsely, became very frequent. The world travellers or tourists of yore turned into greedy traders whose voracious appetite for ownership could not be satiated by any amount of wealth.
Travelling from one place to another brings maturity in man's outlook. He can see every image, as far as he can, in the mirror of original moulds. The travellers of yesterday, who had turned into avaricious traders through penetrating eyes and long experience, entered the depths of the earth beneath its heavy surface and, in the heart of the warm and ancient lands of the Orient, they discovered untouched pearls, springs of oil and mines of gold, silver and copper. With what sort of eyes and with what type of equipments did they do it? With the eyes of greed and the equipments of covetousness and the insatiable desire for more and more. Henceforth they were not content with dealing in spices or cloth alone or stealing away (the gold and diamonds from) the tombs of the saints or rings and seals (of kings and princes). They had now turned all their attention to unearthing the hidden treasures of these lands. But it required the riches of Croesus to buy the contents of these underground treasures. Thus, it has been through robbery and intrusion that these traders succeeded in their filthy designs. It was here that they had to face an unexpectedly tough resistance from the Eastern people.
They thought and thought, how to get over this obstacle and reach their cherished goal. At last they were supported by their instinctive intelligence and specialized skill of a robber, intruder and plunderer. They came to realize that the Eastern people are endowed with a very precious object more precious than all the riches the West wanted to steal, an object which, unlike the mines, was not created by Nature and was not the product of the geological survey, an object which could not be seen by the visual eye and which could not be touched by the feeling hand.
It is the precious gem produced by the teeming millions through many a millenium with their beliefs, with their sorrows and joys, with their culture and religion, with their ancient history. This precious, exquisite and inaccessible gem is the "Self". Man can work wonders through science and technology. He can break atom. He can melt steel. He can reach the depth of the oceans. He can discover the stars and planets and can even land himself there. He can make cloth, chocolates and candies with petroleum. But he cannot have access to this "Self" through science and technology. The West knew well that unless it succeeds in getting hold of this "Self" and annihilate it, it cannot reach the depth of the warm lands of the Orient and their hidden treasures.
How could the West break this "Self" and exterminate it. Its people pondered and pondered, and chalked out plans. At first they specified their general target that they must extirpate this "Self" which was the secret behind the force and resistance of the East or must bring about the "Effacement of the Self" of the East, and breathe into its body their own soul or the soul they so much wanted to see in its body.
Now, in order to achieve this object, they used the following two methods:
1. Debasement of "the Oriental Self"
The first method is the one adopted by all the despots and dictators of history. The holy Qur'an refers to the story of Pharoah in (almost) the following words:
"The Pharoah assembled the people of his land and said to them:
'O People, behold what gardens full of fruits I have! What cool and roaring rivers are under my control! How precious bracelets and earrings I have! (Now decide) whether I am better or this Moses who is penniless and is in tatters, and does not even know how to talk," (Derived though not literally from Surah al-Zukhruf: 43: 51-52)
The Qur'an concludes the story thus:
"Then Pharoah debased his people, and they obeyed him." (Surah al-Zukhruf: 43:54)
So the West adopted, the method of humbling "the Oriental Self" and showing itself as great, important, powerful and wealthy.
2. Obliteration of the Manifestation
The second method adopted by the West was the obliteration of the manifestation of this "Self", or, in other words, destruction of whatever is the outward exponent or external display of this "Self" or its nature, or according to the famous saying, destroying the form in the hope of putting an end to the content, or ruining the exterior for destroying the interior. Of course, later the West adopted some more subtle ways.
Progressive and Reactionary
Initially the West exploited a psychological peculiarity of human being which has also been emphasized by the holy Qur'an, where it says:
"But man wishes to explode his advance (ment)." (Surah al-Qiyamah: 57:51)
What is meant by man's advancement. The Qur'an emphasizes the aversion to love for what is old and advocates the love for whatever is new and novel, the desire to eat fresh fruits and the desire to experience newer and newer phenomena not experienced before. Now, the West came to the East and told its people. "Whatever you have is old, and belongs to the past, to the bygones. It is the product of lack of civilization. Whatever we have is new, fresh and modern. If you have culture, customs, laws, dress, architecture, art, literature, language or whatever else, let you know that it is all out of date. In our stock lies a lot of fresh and modern commodity. Come and take away this commodity," At first the West did all this through its traders, and then it also used force and at last it fulfilled its designs through the Westernised intellectuals and thinkers.
In our country Mirza Malcolm Khan  was the pioneer of this movement, until we had Taqizadeh  who would proclaim: "Let us be Westernized from the head to the toe!"
They were followed by their successors who are still there, and whatever troubles we have experienced in the post-Revolution period had been at the hands of these very persons.
At last one day the Eastern people came to hate themselves. The West had so much propagated that "the Oriental Self" is rotten and out-of-date. Consequently, the Eastern people felt an aversion to their "Self". They felt ashamed to think of their "Self". This was the best ground for the growth of Occidentosis. This was the beginning of the cultural Imperialism of the West, which later led to the tragic plunder of the Eastern mines and other resources. Now that the Eastern people had obliterated their "Self", they would easily fall prey to the insinuation of adopting what was superior from the West, the occidentosis, to give up their aversion to and estrangement from the West (and bring it to their own land, and hand over their own control and domination in its hands. It was all accepted very easily and with pleasure. This process was accomplished rapidly with the help of the 'Westernised intellectuals and indigenous rulers of the land.
The Self of the Muslim East is "the Islamic Self"
Let us mention here that in every corner of the world this "Self" has its own type. It is in one form in the Far East and in another in the Middle East. The Muslim East for the last one thousand and four hundred years has experienced all its sorrows, joys, heroes, history, art, literature, marriage ceremonies, mournings, births and deaths under the shade of Islam.
Therefore the Self of this part of the East is an "Islamic Self". In the Lexicon of the plunderer West, the "Effacement of the Self" of this part of the East is an exact synonym for "Obliteration of Islam". In other words, the "Self" which the West has been keenly busy destroying in this part of the world is the Islamic character of these people.
The West has an extreme aversion to this "Islamic Self". It is for the following reasons.
1. The Islamic Self is a source of unity and force for a great part of the people of the world who are by themselves a "Superpower", and if this unity persists, it would lead to rapid annihilation of the Western  powers.
2. The Islamic Self means a Self demanding justice, opposed to the amassed force and wealth and against atheism and infidelity.
3. The Islamic Self is basically one seeking God and demanding justice and stands to assemble the whole world around this centre.
4. The Islamic Self, in view of its relationship and common affinity with human nature and being, has its roots in the depth of human psychology, and therefore it possesses a strong power of resistance to the blows of its opponents. We have observed how in spite of all the hostile machinations (by the West) from the Safavid period, particularly during the last half century, aimed at the effacement of our dear people, with the success of our Islamic Revolution under the able leadership of Imam Khomeini, the power of resistance of this "Islamic Self" has been fully realized by all the enemies and how the latter were thrown into the abyss of defeat and despair.
Muslim Woman is the most Living Manifestation of Islamic Self
As already mentioned, the second method adopted by the West for Effacement of the Islamic Self has been the obliteration of the manifestation (of this Self). In their view whatever is a manifestation, sign, expression or product of this "Self' must be obliterated. So the Algerian language must be changed from Arabic to French, the Indian language from Urdu to Hindi  and local dialects to English. The Turkish script must be replaced by Latin, our architecture must be replaced by Western architecture, our art by Nihilism and our local dress by Western dress.
The most important of all these, and the most living manifestation (of this Self) is woman, the Muslim woman. If they succeed in changing this manifestation of our Self, this Lap bringing up our Self, if this can be changed, the enemies would succeed in striking the biggest blow on "the Islamic Self."
Of course, the Eastern woman has an external self and an internal self. She has an intellect and a soul and a peculiar feminine character. The Muslim woman occupies the most distinct place among the Eastern women. Her pecularities are greater and her relationship with the identity and Self of her people is deeper and she has stronger roots than the rest of the Eastern women. Now, what should the West do to change her? What should be the plan of the West, and which of her weak points should be exploited? Is Muslims' bias  in encountering women a weak point? If it is so, how is it to be tackled?
Imperialist Tactics, Weakness of Muslims' Bias and Treacheries Perpetrated by the Satanic Regime
In order to execute their nasty plans against woman as a manifestation and exponent of Islamic Self, there were two internal factors which had been effective and paved the way for it.
Weakness of Muslims' (not Islamic) Bias Against Women
On the one hand, it was long since Islam had been divorced from the field of social activity, and what was left of it was nothing more than its outward appearance and shell. On the other, the usurping tyrant powers had prevented the religious leaders and intellectuals from discovering and disclosing the Islamic practical solutions for the vexing problems of the society. This was why as a general mental attitude of Islam, particularly in regard to its relationship with woman, conditions had been created which were responsible for the opinion that not only Islam did not provide any support to woman, but it had also plenty of laws which were directed against the womenfolk and granted right of domination to man, and thus brought the shelterless Muslim woman under the yoke of heavy pressure.
But they realized that if the womenfolk who find no supporter among the so-called Muslims come to have even an iota of information about their real rights and the power (granted to them by Islam) they would throwaway this yoke and release themselves from it.
This propaganda that Islam is against the womenfolk has been carried on by the Imperialists, under one pretext or the other, through their mass media in the East and the West, their news imperialism and groups associated with the Americans and the USSR as well as the other anti-revolution members of SAVAK and pro-monarchy groups, and every now and then they are raising a hue and cry against Islam and the Muslims. At one time they raise the question of inequality of man and woman in Islam, and at another they harp on the issue of hejab, and so on.
In fact, however, (under the illuminating and guiding leadership of Imam Khomeini), millions of common womenfolk have returned to their divine nature, to the dignity of their own Self, and under the loving patronage and protection of the Islamic Republic of Iran we are advancing towards preparing the ground for new legislation, so that on the basis of the Islamic laws and precepts suitable laws may be framed for this period of time for the rights and true worth of the womenfolk in order that all the oppressed women of the world may come to realize that the only way of their deliverance is the path of Islam and not the Capitalist, humanist or Communist ideologies, and that the only guarantee for materializing this objective is the Islamic revolution.
B. The other internal factor has been the multidimensional enervation of woman for the last over two thousand years. The Satanic regimes, which attached importance to woman from the sexual point of view, kept women in a state of extreme ignorance and lack of information and awareness. They had put woman's mind so much in inertia that with the least analysis she could take the most relentless foes for good and reliable friends and most deceitful hell for a paradise of kindness and favour, as all the plans for corrupting women implemented by the Imperialists have been misunderstood by a large number of women as friendly acts.
It was with this background that the Imperialist enemy turned towards the Muslim women and, in order to annihilate the Islamic identity of our people, he took up the mission of breaking the Muslim woman into pieces. He thought out the way to obliterate' the identity of the Muslim woman. He tried to find out the common factor between the identity of the Muslim woman and the Muslim community. He made "hejab" his target, as it was the manifestation of the Islamic character of a Muslim woman as well as the symbol of Islamic nature of Muslim community's self.
The Tragedy of Abolition of Hejab
Reza Khan, the founder of modern Iran on the foundations of three pillars: Occidentosis, Infidelity and subservience to Imperialism, first brought his own wife and daughter without observing hejab in the official functions, and later through a decree made it compulsory for women to appear without the conventional head-cover but wearing a Western chapeau in all gatherings and functions. How Surprising it is that this obnoxious practice which was started by the Occidentosis-stricken and the stooges of the British Imperialists in the beginning was later recognized as a true movement for advancement and emancipation and progress of women by the American Imperialism in the later Pahlavi period, and the nonobservance of hejab was considered to be a synonym for women lib!
Although at first the brave Muslim people of Iran opposed this Imperialist conspiracy due to the just and proper religious orthodoxy, but they soon came to realize that behind this so called movement for abolition of hejab, the ban on the use of the special dress of the clergy and the disuse of the traditional dress of men was hidden nothing but a dangerous conspiracy of eroding the Islamic identity and Self of the Iranian people and handing over the country to the foreigners.
They came to understand that this anti-Islamic movement was, in fact, a movement against the political, cultural and economic independence of the country. This was why they sought refuge in the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in the holy city of Meshed and took sanctuary in that holy shrine. At the time of the brutal attack on the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) by the agents of Reza Khan, a Western stooge, they took themselves to defend their Islamic identity, beliefs and self, and soaked the floor of the Gowharshad Mosque of Meshed with their own blood.
Whatever the nature of the tragedy of abolition of hejab might be, at first it had to face a strong resistance from the noble Muslim men and women spearheaded by the clergy and the students of religious institutions. The genera! massacre at the Gowharshad Mosque in Meshed was but a part of the bloody defence of the holy dress and this manifestation of the Islamic and divine Self of our oppressed people.
For our Islamic Self there has not been a greater tragedy than the abolition of hejab. Likewise, on the body of Islamic identity of our people one could not think of a deadlier blow than the separation of this divine symbol from the Iranian belief and this most penetrating and effective Islamic message from the hearts of the people. As soon as this lofty and exalted flag of Islam and nobility fell down from the hands of the people, it was replaced by ignominy, dishonour, unlimited freedom, villainy, cruelty, ostentation, depravity, debauchery and loss of complete freedom and independence. May God break the hand of the Western and Eastern system of oppression that has thrown us for the fast fifty years in the abyss of ignominy of the isolation from our exalted Islamic Self!
Analysis of Abolition of Hejab among the Marxists having Orientosis and those having Occidentosis
The Islamic Revolution of Iran has in practice been a crucible in whose burning flame all beliefs, schools, groups and factions have been put to test:
How better it would be if persons are tested on the anvil of experience so that everyone who has an alloy may suffer disgrace. The Marxists, the Capitalists, those suffering from Orientosis and those suffering from Occidentosis and the gleaners in spite of their apparently different theories are unanimous, united and supporters of one another in opposing Islam, fundamentals of Islamic Revolution and the spiritual values of women including the observation of hejab by Muslim women. They have been in unison with the Western Imperialism, particularly the American Imperialists, in their hue and cry against hejab.
Now, that we have come to understand the methodology of the Imperialists regarding the abolition of hejab, it would not be out of place if we also analyze hejab in the opinion of the Marxists (those having Orientosis) as well as those suffering from Occidentosis. However, before we continue the analytical study of the Imperialist roots of the abolition of hejab, let me point out two explanations of these phenomena at which I have arrived recently. Hejab is like a gate of a green garden, a wooden gate whose colour has faded, which is not so pretty that whenever you open it you may come across a pleasant garden of spring on whose branches you would find the illumination of divine light. In this respect, hejab is a prologue to gnosis. If you dare come close to this gate and open it, enter its threshold, you shall explore that green and pleasant garden of spring and that eternal light.
The other explanation is that hejab for a woman is what fire was for Abraham, so that when among the rising flames of fire he surrendered himself to the Almighty One, every flame turned into a bough and every amber into a flower, till at last the burning fire turned into a cool garden for Abraham.
A woman who accepts hejab and surrenders her heart to its hidden laws succeeds gradually in exploring the spiritual garden, and becomes so much habituated to it that whenever she is away from that garden her heart starts singing sad songs like a nightingale (away from its flower}. Thus the enemy started with the intrigues for damaging and eroding the "Self" of the Muslim women through taking her away from hejab. If we have time we shall try to analyze the attitude of every school towards hejab. As regards the Imperialist roots of the abolition of hejab to which brief reference has already been made, we have to discontinue that discussion in order to go deep into the matter, and refer briefly to the analysis of the hejab by the Marxists. They analyze hejab in two ways, both of which as usual have economic roots. The first of their analyses about the Imperialist roots of the abolition of hejab is that they believe that during the days of Reza Khan, the accursed, which coincided with the unlimited growth of capitalism and its transformation into Imperialism, abundance of capital and piling up of surplus products, the Western Imperialism, in order to save itself from insolvency which was the natural outcome of such economic conditions, found it indispensable to export its capital as well as its products to other countries, so that it could invest its capital in their industries and also sell its products to the unfortunate people of these countries, and thus protect it from lying in the god owns and going waste and rotten.
For this purpose, Reza Khan, who was a stooge of the West, took himself to abolish hejab by force, so that firstly women who, as a result of their dress, which had been an obstacle in their easy movement, had become inactive should be free to work in the factories run by Western capital, and secondly by the abolition of hejab there could be some activity in the consumption of the commodities exported by the West, and at the same time the women through their beauty and sex-appeal could be used for the publicity of the Western commodities. So Reza Khan, the accursed, resorted to the abolition of hejab more than forty years ago, so that he could save the Western capitalists who were on the verge of insolvency.
According to the second analysis of the Marxists, as Islam is a feudal religion, hejab is also based on a feudal system of dress. As during the historical stages of evolution feudalism is replaced by capitalism, a system higher and more advanced than feudalism, we may conclude that when society has passed the stage of feudalism and entered the stage of capitalism, it is said to have attained capitalist stage.
In the view of the Marxists, Reza Khan's time was a period of progress of the bourgeoisie, non-enlightenment and decline of feudalism. So according to the above conclusion, the abolition of hejab, which is one of the characteristics of the feudal age, manifests advancement, and is, in fact, a historical evolution in the dress of women. This is the reason why the Marxists have very delightfully welcomed this glorious evolution in their writings of that period as well as of the present period, because, according to their analysis, the dress of a Muslim woman (as worn by the Iranian ladies) is a reactionary dress.
In view of the above two analyses by the Marxists, you may notice that, in their consideration of the hejab in both the ways, they have one thing in common with Reza Khan and Imperialism, namely, that the present dress of the Muslim (Iranian) women is not worth wearing. The difference, however, is that the Capitalists say that the reason for their opposition of the present dress of Muslim women is that the abolition of the present dress has an economic utility for the Capitalists, while the Marxists assert that the abolition of the Islamic dress is a sign of evolution and advancement from the stage of feudalism to the Bourgeois stage and a proof of progress and development. They link the end of the so-called discussion about reaction and advancement with the summit of hejab. As regards the opinion about hejab of those suffering from Occidentosis, being at the same time a class-analysis too, according to their view whatever is Western or has a Western brand is a sign of advancement, and whatever has an Eastern brand, particularly the Eastern Islamic one, is reactionary. The dress of the Muslim women, which has no prototype or pattern in the West is a reactionary dress as compared to the dress of the latest Western fashions. Reza Khan himself believed that he wanted to guide Islam towards the gates of advancement. One of such gates was the abolition of hejab and civilizing and modernizing the women!
This is why you may find that in the opinion of the nobles and aristocrats of Reza Khan's time, the majority of whom consisted of Western educated persons and intellectuals or those suffering from Occidentosis, the dress of the Muslim women is the dress of illiterates, the lower classes and the maidservants. In the words of Dr. Shari'ati:
"The wife of a Europe returned graduate does not observe hejab! while his maidservant and illiterate mother observe hejab." According to the above opinion, hejab is a sign of illiteracy, poverty and backwardness, because according to the view of such persons, suffering from Occidentosis, and patronized by Reza Khan, human beings are either advanced, fashionable, a la mode and in the Western style, or the reactionary men, growing beards, or women wearing chador and observing hejab in the style of Muslims.
Meanwhile, the roots of reaction and advancement in our country, as well as in other Imperialist colonies, are exactly linked with this problem that everything which is imported from the West and is based on a new and latest fashion is advanced, and on the contrary, whatever has come down from the past, and belongs to the East, particularly to the Muslim East, is reactionary.
It is astonishing to note that the Marxists and those suffering from Occidenteosis have reached the same conclusion in their final analysis of the dress of the Muslim women. It is not only with the Marxists and those suffering from Occidentosis, but the Imperialist West, who is the mother of all Occidentosis, also sees eye to eye with the Marxists as regards this analysis.
In our study of the Imperialist roots of the abolition of hejab, we have reached the following conclusions:
1. Effacement of Self is an Imperialist method. In order to impose their own culture on the oppressed country, the Imperialists first degrade its identity and Self in its own eyes and then give another identity to it according to what they like.
2. The Self in the Muslim East is the Islamic Self, and so the effacement of Self here is identical with the effacement of Islam.
3. The Muslim woman is the manifestation of the Islamic Self of her own people.
4. The dress of the Muslim women is the common factor between 1the Islamic Self of the Muslim people and the Self of the Muslim women.
5. The Marxists believe that the abolition of hejab had a sole economic objective, and its final aim was to benefit the capitalists. At the same time they believe that the hejab-oriented dress is a feudal dress, and with the evolution of the society and its entering the stage of Capitalism, this dress will automatically become extinct. In other words, the abolition of hejab will take place parallel with the evolution and advancement.
6. Those suffering from Occidentosis believe that hejab is a symbol of reaction, while the nonobservance of hejab, being a Western phenomenon, and that too modern and progressive, is a symbol of evolution and advancement.
Now the important problem is that, in principle, every explanation which is formed without taking into consideration the indigenous mechanism and on the basis of merely dry theories shall be deficient and shall lack the capacity of analysis and appraisal of the problems.
The Indigenous Mechanisms
In the East, particularly in our own country, and that too especially during the period of Islamic protection of the Muslim countries, there existed the indigenous mechanism that "Woman is the manifestation of the collective honour of a people". Well, if this manifestation were subjected to disgrace and dishonour, it would naturally lead to shattering the morale of those people. You may have noticed that in war countries that overpower the enemy in the battle as the first step violate the honour and chastity of the enemy's women. Apart from it's being good or bad, such mechanism after all exists.
The Imperialists with the programme of forcible abolition of hejab have, in fact, implemented the same old method of victorious countries in the countries falling under this programme, though in different manner, in the manner compatible with the twentieth century. This act was an exact violation of our national honour. In other words, while they implemented the abolition of hejab with the aim of effacement of Self and the effacement of Islam, at the same time they also implemented it with the object of injuring and violating our national honour through dishonouring women.
Now, you can notice how superficial it is to study the problem of this horrible! tragedy on the basis of economic analyses or on the basis of the idea of advancement, and how much source of joy it is for Imperialism that with a few flimsy and high-sounding analyses we should most pathetically fail to dig deep into the causes and effects of these violations, look to the other side of the picture and try to find out their solutions. It is because if the abolition of hejab has solely an economic content and on the other hand if the hejab oriented dress is a feudal dress, we may reach the conclusion that although the abolition of hejab has some economic and exploitative causes, yet as the non-observation of hejab itself belongs to the period of human evolution, it would be better to abolish exploitation, and also to put an end to the economic domination of Imperialism in Iran, and never return to this reactionary dress. In view of the analysis made by us, out non-reversion to this dress would mean the non-reversion to our national Self, namely, the Islamic Self and secession from our Self, or, in other words, willingness to undergo the Imperialist domination and acquisition of an artificial and Western Self of cultural Imperialism and surrendering before an artificial and Western Self, or acceptance of economic as well as political subjugation.
In view of the explanation of the Indigenous mechanisms, it is not necessary that the dress according to the hejab system in the period of the "Tragedy of the Abolition of Hejab" may have all the scholastic dimensions of Islam, which are now being discovered under the able leadership of Imam Khomeini and the favourable background of the Islamic Revolution.
Was the Muslim woman during that period exactly sacrificing, seeking justice and combating injustice? Although the history of the Islamic movements, during the last hundred years and even before, clearly shows that the Muslim women wearing this completely Islamic dress have been fighting Imperialism throughout the Muslim period, in this respect we are not idealist, but find that in the Islamic period the meaning of hejab system has been more developed and more profound.
Anyhow, whatever it might be, this hejab system was the manifestation of the honour, Islamic relation and identity of our people and protector of the supreme values and the symbol and manifestation of our Islamic character, and with its presence beside several Islamic and indigenous manifestations, it proved that the outward as well as inward and spiritual impenetrable appearance of the society was self-dependent.
In this way the Western Imperialists who, after the experience of sending the tourists and traders with the double-faced personality of tourists and traders had not succeeded by forcible penetration of their ideas through the intellectuals suffering from Occidentosis in dissipating the Islamic Self, by abolishing hejab from among the Muslim women, found the first signs of their success, in the wake of which lay their control of the warm waters of Persian Gulf and the valuable underground wealth of the East as well as the conquest of this strategically important region of the globe.
This is why when we study the abolition of hejab from solely political point of view (apart from the scholastic content of the hejab which must be dealt with separately), we find it to be a conspiracy of the Imperialists, which was undertaken in order to get hold of our land and its resources. Therefore, are we not justified in adopting this dress as the supreme stronghold for our struggle against Imperialism in order to recapture our property and regain our honour, identity and Self?
Of course, we can use hejab as a weapon against the Imperialist plunderers. It was exactly why the Mohammad Reza Shah regime would not allow the women and girls observing hejab to enter the universities and offices. This is also why the revival of this dress as an anti-Imperialist dress excites antipathy among the organizations associated with the USA, so that they oppose this dress in order to appease their lords. This opposition is actually an opposition from the US quarters, which is being raised by the American stooges. This is why now whosoever opposes this dress, and this opposition be aimed against the ideological principle of adopting the Islamic dress, whether it is expressed through demonstrations or other channels, whether it is inadvertently or advertently in pursuance of the American orders, and whether it is raised by the Marxists in accordance with their own ideological reasons, their words and deeds are considered to be in line with the American wishes. It is because as the abolition of hejab was an Imperialist plan, opposition of the adoption of hejab is in fact an Imperialist act. Is it justified for our indigenous forces to be in harmony with Imperialism?
During our search for the Imperialistic roots of the abolition of hejab, we have noticed that the first aim of the abolition of hejab from the Imperialist point of view has been the dissipation of the Islamic Self, or in other words, our "National Self". According to another analysis, this act was aimed at the conquest of the Muslim woman and getting hold of her as a stronghold, a stronghold through which the Imperialists could bombard and aim at the most distant and most important targets. Is it not a fact that the Imperialist West has bases in all the regions under its control, the air, naval, military and even cultural bases? But which base can be more effective than the Eastern woman? From inside this base, the Imperialist West made the most heinous incursions into the divine values. As already mentioned in the preceding pages, the conquest of woman by the Imperialists had also some indigenous backgrounds. Of these, two main reasons were the ignorance of the women in consequence of their age long strangulation and enervation and the existence of indigenous laws and Muslim beliefs which not only failed to support women but were also against them and at the same time in favour of the male domination.
Anyhow, the Imperialist West with these two favourable backgrounds, coincident with the forcible abolition of hejab, presented the ideas of woman's lib, education and activity along with the so. called support of the cause of women and equality of man and woman as the antidote for the religious beliefs and the indigenous laws accompanied by the material for makeup, jewellery, attractive dresses, entertaining programmes of broadcasting as well as other modern Western articles and gifts as the initial traps for hunting the Eastern woman.
The Eastern woman fell a prey to this trap quickly and of her own accord, firstly from the upper class, then the middle class and so on. Now the Eastern woman is at the disposal of the Imperialists who can exploit her in whatever way they like. We cannot realize the various types and kinds of their exploitation unless we come to find out the Imperialists' final aim, namely, controlling all the Eastern regions, exploiting and plundering the natural and mineral resources. The most important problem for the Imperialists, after the effacement of the Self and conquest of (Eastern) woman, was how to change the position of ambiguous, mysterious and legendary modesty and innocent piety of the Eastern woman into a sex-oriented atmosphere. The Imperialists know fully well that when sex overpowers a person, it kills in no time his or her faith, reason, intellectual faculty, awakening, myth, legend, the power of protest and revolt, honour and conscience.
The Imperialists fully realized that the great mystics propagating (human) love, the brave heroes, the legendary women known for modesty and freedom, noble men believing in human dignity, profound feelings, souls having fathomless depth and high intellectual faculties considered their glory to be indebted to the milleniums full of their national and historically ancient teachings, culture and civilization, and in the Islamic countries they considered themselves indebted to the Islamic precepts, precepts that present the highest virtues to mankind. This is why when sex fills the atmosphere of the society, intelligence, power of revolt and awakening all disappear.
The youth, men and women, unaware of the plunder, robbery and enslavement were happy with this opium, while the Imperialists in order to add to the sex-orientation of this atmosphere enhanced The sex-appeal in women through various types and kinds of scents, cosmetics, dresses and coquetry which were the result of long researches and designings by psychologists and sociologists. Of course, they adopted all these methods in order to add to the sex-appeal in women, and sex came to be the strongest driving force among the Eastern people. There was a time when in the Eastern society (the excessive lust for) sex was found in any person, it was considered to be a kind of disease, a malady of the, type of leprosy or a satanic and despicable ailment. But now under the spell of the Imperialists those who lacked attachment with sex in the society were considered to be abnormal and sick. Now, that the Imperialists have presented sex as the best source of entertainment for the brains of those falling a prey to Imperialism, they can exploit it to their highest benefit. You know that side-by-side with the development of technique, growth of capitalism and the birth of multinationals (or cartels) the malady of surplus production also takes place.
Now, what should they do with the surplus products? The capitalists supply a lot of such junk to the naive customers of their own countries. But what can they do with the large quantity of the products lying in surplus in their godowns. How can they get rid of the evil of the surplus commodities. They export them to the colonies and neocolonies of the East. How can they sell these articles in these countries? Through the women. They intensify the sex-appeal of women by the use of cosmetics and jewellery. Then they exploit this sex-appeal for the publicity of their commodities. A washing machine is advertised along with a (half) naked woman. The choppers, mattresses, blankets, carpets, garments, furnitures are all advertised through women, that too for a society, where the best mental entertainment of a large number of its individuals constitutes sexual entertainment.
This is not the only economic exploitation of the Eastern woman by the Imperialist West. In another respect, woman, besides being a source of publicity for the commodities, is also herself the highest customer of these commodities, as she always buys these commodities for her own use. She is the one who is always buying dresses and cosmetics in order to appear more attractive and beautiful. She is the one who buys and uses the commodities, and thus saves the capitalists from insolvency.
It is here that our pure and fighting women succeeded in finding out exactly the Imperialistic roots of abolition of hejab, and in its wake they also realized the Imperialistic roots of the fashions and cosmetics and adopted for themselves the pure, simple and unostentatious dress, the dress of the Islamic school, as the most powerful stronghold for the struggle against Imperialism.
 Mirza Malcolm is one of the vanguards of Occidentosis and the founder of the British Freemasonry in Iran.
 Taqizadeh is one of those who in the first term of the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), formed after the introduction of Constitutional government in Iran, uttered such words.
 Here by West is meant the roots of the belief under which Marxism and Capitalism have developed.
 The author has used the word "Hindu". Perhaps she means the Sanskritised Hindi being used in India today instead of Urdu or simple Hindi in pre-partition days. (Translator)
 Here by Muslims' bias is meant the misconceptions imposed on Islam as its manifestations by the ill-informed rogues in contrast with pure Islam.