Indonesia Aiming to be the Islamic Fashion Capital by 2020

fashion-dian-czech

Indonesia’s Dian Pelangi’s designs in Czech.

THE popularity of the hijab and Muslim fashion in Indonesia has been on the rise. A growing number of Indonesian women are wearing veil or headscarf in the world’s most populous Muslim majority market. Muslimwear has evolved from a religious and cultural movement to a fashion-savvy trend and booming industry.

The increased demand for Islamic clothing has encouraged the growth of the domestic Muslim fashion industry. In a relatively short time, muslimwear has become an important segment of the national textile industry (See Indonesia’s Textile Industry – Testing Times Upstream). The sector has been transformed from its origins in home industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to large-scale manufacturing today.

Hijab evolution in Indonesia

Before the New Order era, Muslim women in Indonesia used long scarves to loosely cover their hair. From the 1980s, the jilbab or veil that tightly covers the hair was introduced to Indonesia. However, the use of the veil in public schools and government institutions was temporarily restricted by the Soeharto administration; although this did not discourage the majority of Indonesian Muslims from observing what they felt was their religious duty. The rise in the number of women observing the hijab in Indonesia has given birth to a lucrative muslimwear industry. Since early 2000, the sector has been growing rapidly as more young, urban women adhere to the hijab. This new fashion-councious segment demanded Muslim clothing that does more than just cover the hair and body, but also feature appealing styles and designs.

To cater to this demand, a host of young, creative designers who were capable of designing fashionable and on trend Muslim fashion emerged. This included rising stars such as Ms Dian Pelangi who was named one of the 500 most influential persons in the fashion industry by UK-based magazine, Business of Fashion. In fact, a number of established figures in the local fashion industry such as Mr Itang Yunasz have moved into muslimwear design and have capitalised on this rapidly growing niche market. Islamic fashion in Indonesia is also no longer focused solely on female customers but is also targeting male customers with the launch of koko ortaqwa clothing lines.

Growing markets and customers

The hijab market in Indonesia can be divided into three segments; firstly, a simple and practical veil used by 60-70% of Indonesian women. This veil is sold in various colours and models at affordable prices; secondly, the shariah veil which is used by 10% of Indonesian women. This type of veil is longer and is available in conservative colours such as white, black and brown; lastly, the fashionable veil used by urban, middle-class women that come in a variety of colours and styles and is sold at premium prices.

The Indonesian hijab market is still dominated by the practical and simple veil model which retails for under 50,000 IDR for a headscarf and less than 200,000 IDR for a dress. Although the profit margin is low, its demand and sales volume are high which makes this segment highly-lucrative. In contrast, the fashionable hijab which is sold above the 200,000 IDR price point and even into the millions of IDR is relatively limited but offers high profit margins. The market opportunities for hijab products in Indonesia are still wide open, both for low-end as well as high-end segments due to the relatively low number of players in this sector. In addition, the demand for high-end, fashionable hijab products is not only limited to the domestic market but also the regional and international markets given Indonesia’s growing prominence as an Islamic fashion hub.

Muslimwear stores can also be found in traditional markets as well as modern malls with Tanah Abang and Thamrin City gradually becoming the wholesale centre of Islamic clothing, attracting shop owners from around the country sourcing the latest items to sell in their stores. There are also boutique stores that aim at high-end consumers with brands such as Shafira, Zara, and Rabbani, among others. Furthermore, as the number of internet users increases in Indonesia, e-commerce sites offering Islamic wear have mushroomed with brands such as Zoya, Hijup, Hijabenka and Elhijab, offering diverse product portfolios for all consumer segments. Online marketing coupled with reseller and dropship schemes offer lower operating costs and can reach a wider audience due to the absence of geographical constraints. As such, muslimwear has become a highly sought-after commodity and a rapidly growing industry in Indonesia.

Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Industry revealed that around 80% of muslimwear products are sold in the domestic market, while the remaining 20%  are exported (See Indonesia’s Garment and Textile Sector; Short Term Woes). In 2015, Indonesia’s Muslim fashion exports reached $4.57 billion USD or around 58.5 trillion IDR. The figure is lower than that in 2014 of $4.63 billion USD with an export growth trend of 2.30%.

According to data from BPS (2013), the number of companies engaged in the fashion sector reached 1,107,955 units. Around 10% of them are large companies, 20% are medium enterprises and 70% are small enterprises  (See Indonesia SMEs: Increased Government Support to Overcome Challenges). Of the 750,000 SMEs engaged in the clothing sector in Indonesia, around 30% of them are muslimwear producers, with large companies occupying 40%, while small and medium enterprises each occupy 30% respectively of the market.

Hijup, for example, now has 200 designers and growing customer base in 100 countries. With a five-fold annual turnover growth, the startup recently received seed funding from renowned global investors which included 500 Startups, Fenox Venture Capital, and Skystar Capital and has been included in the Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator programme. In February 2016, by invitation from the British Council, Hijup showcased its products at London Fashion Week.

Other rapidly growing muslimwear retailer, Elhijab, now has more than 184 retail outlets across Indonesia. Through the development of its e-commerce platform, Elhijab has managed to build its brand nationally and internationally and tap into export markets in Western Europe including the UK and France as well as the United States and the Middle East.

Going forward, Indonesia’s muslimwear exports will be focused on unsaturated markets such as the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, UK, Australia, Canada, UAE, Belgium, and China.

Increased competition

Despite making significant progress, Indonesia’s muslimwear industry still faces a number of challenges. Its product competitiveness is still low due to poor efficiency and low scalability. Other challenges faced by the country’s Islamic clothing industry include the lack of financing (See Indonesia’s Microfinance Sector Overview: Key Component for Sustainable Growth), cultural preferences, and the need to maintain the balance between upholding Islamic principles and following the latest global fashion trends.

Meanwhile, the major competitors for high-end hijab products are manufacturers from ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia and Thailand (See Indonesia and the ASEAN Economic Community – Ready for Regional Integration?). The latter, as one of the main textile producers in Southeast Asia, aims to make Bangkok a hub for muslimwear industry. Thailand’s Islamic fashíon industry is mostly located in the Muslim dominated southern provinces, with around 80% of its products exported to Malaysia before they are re-exported to various countries with an annual turnover of around $28 million USD.

Malaysia is Indonesia’s biggest competitor in the fashionable hijab segment. Hijab producers and retailers in the country have already had a head start in terms of marketing by utilising e-commerce and social media platforms; particularly Instagram, to market their products. One of the Malaysian hijab brands that has successfully gone global is Naelofar. In 2015, the family-owned company managed to record sales of  $11.8 million USD. Another leading brand is Mimpikita which was invited to shòwcase its products at London Fashion Week in 2015.

The main competitor for low-end hijab products is China which offers cheaper products (See What China’s Slowdown Means for Indonesia: A Trade Perspective). This is critical because domestic customers tend to prioritise price over quality which prompts hijab sellers to turn to reselling Chinese products instead of helping develop local products. Moreover, the hijab’s growing popularity in Indonesia and other countries has lured retailers and designers from non-Muslim countries to launch muslimwear lines themselves. The Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, for instance, hired a popular Muslim fashion blogger, Ms Hana Tajima, to design a Muslim clothing line for their brand.

In September, British model Ms Mariah Idrissi became the first woman wearing a headscarf to star in a commercial for H&M; the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer. In 2014, DKNY launched a Ramadan collection and other western brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Mango have followed suit by selling Muslim clothing during Ramadan.

Towards a global Islamic fashion capital

According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard in the Global Islamic Economy Report, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers spent $266 billion USD on clothing in 2013, and are projected to spend $484 billion USD by 2019. Muslim countries with the highest clothing consumption are Turkey at $25 billion USD, followed by Iran at $21 billion USD, Indonesia at $17 billion USD, Egypt at $16 billion USD, and Saudi Arabia at $15 billion USD, based on 2012 data. This excluded Muslims in Western Europe (Germany, France, UK) and North America  who collectively spent an estimated $21 billion USD on clothing and footwear in 2012.  Collectively, the Muslim clothing consumer market is only second after the largest market in the world – the United States, with $494 billion USD in spending.

Meanwhile, the biggest clothing producers and exporters within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan. Thus far, despite its huge market potential, there is no single Muslim clothing brand that has been capable of becoming a global player due to market fragmentation and differing cultural preferences.

Indonesia has set a target to become a global Muslim fashion capital by 2020. According to the Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, Ms Emilia Suhaimi, the target is attainable since Indonesian hijabs are unique and more diverse compared to those from other countries. Moreover, the industry is backed by an ample supply of creative human resources and a rich cultural heritage (SeeIndonesia’s Creative Economy & Heritage Products – A Wealth of Opportunities). To show its support, the Indonesian government is considering assigning a standard HS code for Islamic wear.

Indonesia has routinely organised annual Islamic fashion shows to help promote the domestic muslimwear industry at the international level. These events include Indonesian Muslim Fashion Week, the International Indonesian Islamic Fashion Fair, and Muslim Fashion Festival Indonesia 2016. Moreover, the Indonesian government also encourages local Muslim fashion designers to participate in overseas exhibitions to introduce their brands to global customers. These efforts combined make Indonesia a firm contender for becoming a global Islamic fashion centre. The country’s diverse hijab designs also places it in a strong position for garnering international appeal at this key time when Islamic fashion is growing at a rapid pace both in emerging markets as well as among Muslim communities in advanced economies.

Global Business Guide Indonesia – 2016

http://www.gbgindonesia.com/en/manufacturing/article/2016/indonesia_aiming_to_be_the_islamic_fashion_capital_by_2020_11646.php

 

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Similarities between Jesus’s Teachings and Islam: Who are the Real Followers of Jesus, Christians or Muslims?

jesus mar

Robin Scott Scott

Christians and Muslims are more alike than different. Please read that which I have discovered. ~~ Robin

1. Jesus taught that there is only One God and Only God should be worshipped as taught in Deut 6:4, Mark 12:29. Muslims also believe this as taught in the Qur’an verse 4:171.

2. Jesus didn’t eat pork as taught in Leviticus 11:7 , and neither do Muslims as taught in the Qur’an verse 6:145.

3. Jesus greeted with the words “as salaamu alaikum” (Peace be with you) in John 20:21. Muslims also greet each other this way.

4. Jesus always said “God Willing” (inshallah), Muslims say this too before doing anything as taught in the Qur’an verses 18:23-24.

5. Jesus washed his face, hands, and feet before praying. The Muslims do the same.

 

6. Jesus and other prophets of the Bible prayed with their head to the ground (see Matthew26:39). Muslims do too as taught in the Qur’an verse 3:43.

7. Jesus had a beard and wore a throbe. It is Sunnah for Muslim men to do the same.

8. Jesus followed the law and believed in all the prophets, (see Matthew 5:17). Muslims do too as taught in the Qur’an verses 3:84, and 2:285.

9. Jesus’ mother Maryam dressed modestly by fully covering her body and wearing a headscarf (hijab) as found in 1 Timothy 2:9, Genesis 24:64-65, and Corinthians 11:6. Muslim women modestly dress the same as taught in the Qur’an verse 33:59.

10. Jesus and other prophets of the Bible fasted up to 40 days (see Exodus 34:28, Daniel 10:2-6. 1Kings 19:8, and Matthew 4:1-Muslims do so also during the month of Ramadan. Muslims are required to fast the full obligatory 30 days (see Qur’an 2:183), and others take it a step further by fasting an additional 6 days to increase their rewards.

11. Jesus taught to say “Peace to this house”  it (see Luke 10:5), and to also greet the people in the house with “peace be unto you”. Muslims do exactly what Jesus did and taught. When we enter our homes and the homes of others we say “Bismillah” and also greet with “as salaamu alaikum” (peace be upon you) as taught in the Qur’an verse 24:61.

12. Jesus was circumcised. Circumcision is 1 of the 5 fitrah in Islam, so Muslim men are required to be circumcised. According to the Bible in Luke 2:21, Jesus was eight days old when he was circumcised. In the Torah, Allah/God stated to the Prophet Abraham that it is an “Everlasting covenant” (see Genesis 17:13). In the Qur’an verse 16:123 Muslims are required to follow the religion of Abraham. The Prophet Muhammad said, “The Prophet Abraham circumcised himself when he was eighty years old.”

13. Jesus spoke aramaic and called God”Elah”, which is pronounced the same as “Allah”. Aramaic is an ancient, Biblical language. It is one of the Semitic languages that also include Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopic and the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian language of Akkadian.

The Aramaic”Elah” and the Arabic “Allah” are the same.

The Aramaic “Elah” is derived from the Arabic “Allah”, and it means “GOD”. “Allah” in Arabic also means”GOD”, the Supreme GOD Almighty. You can easily see the similarity in their pronunciation so this concludes that the God of Jesus is also the God of the Muslims, of all mankind, and all that exist. (ze shared)

Dian Pelangi’s Vibrant Designs Juxtapose the Modern and Traditional Will Appear in New York City (again)

dian pel

Award-winning Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi will present her latest collection on the runway at Couture Fashion Week New York. Marking the designer’s first appearance at the event, the highly-anticipated fashion show will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday February 14, 2015 in the Broadway Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Times Square in the heart of New York City.

Dian Pelangi studied fashion design and pattern making at the Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in France. She is a young prolific entrepreneurial fashion designer pioneering and pushing the boundaries of Muslim fashion both nationally and internationally. She draws inspiration from the colors of the rainbow which is reflected in her multi-talented skill set and fine eye for detail, color and artistic flair. Her trademark style includes vibrant color palettes and an unwavering loyalty to traditional Indonesian artisan techniques of vivid tie-dye, exquisite songket and lavish batik.

The designer’s elegant and unique amalgamation of traditional and modern, of design and art, of sacred and universal, has established Ms. Pelangi’s place of influence among a broad demographic of fashion followers. Her growing clientele includes singers Dewi Sandra and Siti Nurhaliza, as well as royals Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan and Princess Nadja of Hanover (Germany).

dianpelangiMs. Pelangi has presented her collections at prestigious fashion events in Paris and London, as well as at Jakarta Fashion Week. She was featured by CNN as one of the “Future Top Indonesian Designers of 2010”, and named one of the 24 “Most Inspiring Women of 2013” by Tabloid Wanita Indonesia Magazine, as well as one of SWA Magazine’s “50 Indonesian Business Women of 2012.” She is also the youngest member of Asosiasi Perancang Pengusaha Muda Indonesia (APPMI) which in 2012 published her best-selling book Hijab Street Style. Her designs have also been featured in international publications, and she has served as brand ambassador for Wardah Cosmetics, Pertamina-Pertamax and AMD Processors.

Click for tickets and more information.

http://www.couturefashionweek.com/dian-pelangis-vibrant-designs-juxtapose-modern-traditional/

Tunisian scientist wins Muslim beauty pageant in Indonesia, calls for free Palestine

muslim beauty
PRAMBANAN

A TUNISIAN woman called for a free Palestine as she won a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia on Friday, seen as a riposte to Western beauty contests.

Eighteen finalists, who include a doctor and a computer scientist, paraded in glittering dresses against the backdrop of world-renowned ancient temples for the contest in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Computer scientist Fatma Ben Guefrache was announced the winner and received a prize which included a gold watch, a gold dinar, and mini pilgrimage to Mecca.

“May almighty Allah help me in this mission, and free Palestine, please, please, free Palestine and the Syrian people,” the tearful 25-year-old woman said.

The 18 finalists were required to wear the Muslim headscarf and judged not only on their appearance, but also on how well they recite verses from the Koran and their views on Islam in the modern world.

“We want to see that they understand everything about the Islamic way of life – from what they eat, what they wear, how they live their lives,” said Jameyah Sheriff, one of the organisers.

Winner of the 2014 World Muslimah Awards Fatma Ben Guefrache (R) of Tunis reacts and touchs her crown as Miss Muslimah 2013 Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola (L) of Nigeria looks on during the grand final in Prambanan, Yogyakarta. Photo: AFP

Winner of the 2014 World Muslimah Awards Fatma Ben Guefrache (R) of Tunis reacts and touchs her crown as Miss Muslimah 2013 Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola (L) of Nigeria looks on during the grand final in Prambanan, Yogyakarta. Photo: AFP

The World Muslimah Award first drew global attention in 2013 when organisers presented it as a peaceful protest to Miss World, which was taking place around the same time on the resort island of Bali.

While it remains popular in some countries, British-run Miss World has faced frequent accusations that it is degrading to women, and a round in which contestants pose in bikinis has been a lightning rod for criticism.

In an effort to appease hardliners, Miss World organisers axed the bikini round for the Bali edition, but the event still sparked demonstrations from Islamic radicals who dubbed it a “whore contest”.

‘HEADSCARVES NOT SCARY’
British contestant Dina Torkia said she hoped this year’s World Muslimah Award would not only provide a contrast to Western beauty pageants, but would also dispel prejudices against Islam.

“I think the most important thing is to show that we are really normal girls, we are not married to terrorists. This scarf on my head isn’t scary,” she told AFP.

However the 2014 pageant has faced challenges, with seven finalists dropping out and others struggling with Indonesia’s complex bureaucracy to obtain visas.

Most who pulled out did so because their families did not want them to travel alone, Sheriff said.

The Indian contestant missed her initial flight as she was being questioned by officials who were suspicious of a woman travelling alone and wearing a headscarf, although she managed to get on a plane later.

Others have gone to great lengths to take part in the fourth edition of the event, with Masturah Jamil quitting her teaching job in Singapore after her employer would not give her time off to participate.

Organisers hope to present positive role models for Islamic women around the world and the contestants, who are aged between 18 and 27, include a newly qualified doctor from Bangladesh.

But not everyone was enjoying the final rounds, with Britain’s Torkia saying her initial optimism had turned into disappointment.

“I came into this competition hoping that I would leave with my faith increased, but so far it’s been a lot about promotion and media and looking nice,” she said.

Friday’s finale caps a lengthy process, which included an online audition followed by two weeks of events in Indonesia.

During their time in Indonesia, contestants have visited orphanages and nursing homes, and had their pictures taken at Borobudur, a famous Buddhist temple close to Yogyakarta, Java’s cultural heartland.

The finale takes place on a stage against the backdrop of Prambanan, a ninth-century complex of Hindu temples on the island of Java that is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Hosting the event at a Hindu site was a conscious decision to show that Muslims are accepting of other religions, organisers said.

The Straits Times/AFP
Sat, 22 November 2014

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/tunisian-wins-muslim-beauty-pageant-calls-free-palestine-20141122

Indonesian “Hijabers” oppose Westernization

hijaberhijabers-community3
COMBATING the Western influence in the Indonesian community, several Islamic business networks are promoting Islamic products in a campaign to preserve the Islamic values in the Muslim-majority nation.

“I think Indonesia has become too Western,” Risti Rahmadi, a member of Hijabers Community, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, November 9.

“Younger Indonesians spend most of their time hanging out at malls, and they forget to pray.”

The 37-year-old Muslim woman, Rahmadi, believes that the only way to lure the new segments to the thriving Muslim market is through fighting western consumerism.

Being a member of the Hijaber, an Islamic all-women business network, Rahmadi has noticed an increase in the demand for Islamic products including events that are hosted by Islamic groups.

A once stylish girl who used in her 20s to save up for the latest Guess cloths and Revlon make-up, Rahmadi now dresses modestly as a proud Indonesian Muslim who dons the hijab and uses a mobile app to remind her of prayer times.

Wearing headscarves was often associated with an unfashionable life.

This has all changed nowadays.

In modern Indonesia, hijab turned to be a fashion item, as YouTube viewers can find thousands of Indonesian women offering tutorials on how to fashionably wear hijabs.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. Islamic fashion is part of a growing appetite for Shari`ah-related industries and assets, ranging from finance to halal food.

Modesty and religion are the cornerstones behind the fast-growing Islamic fashion industry, which is making a mark on runways from Indonesia and Dubai to Monte Carlo.

The booming Islamic market has apparently succeeded in Indonesia by offering several services like hosting live shows for celebrity preachers and Qur’an text-message services.

Too Islamic

Besides the surging demand for Islamic services, a demand for cloths and jewelry with an Islamic twist has been high during the past few years in Indonesia.

Reny Feby, a jeweler from Jakarta, has joined Hijabers 3,000-member team to combat the Western influence through her designs which prices ranges from $500 (385-euro) for brooches to $50,000 for diamond rings.

“Fifteen years ago, no one wanted to buy my jewelry because it was seen as too Muslim, and I used ‘proudly made in Indonesia’ as my tagline,” said Feby, 42, wearing orange beads and an electric-blue headscarf.

“But now Indonesians are proud to buy local and Islamic fashions, and the elite who buy my pieces use them as status symbols.”

Like many business owners, Feby believes that the reason behind the increasing demand for Islamic products is the “fast expansion of the middle class” during the recent years in the Southeast Asian country, with an economic growth of more than 6% annually.

According to the World Bank, the annual per capita income (GDP) has steadily increased from $890 in 2003 to about $3,000 in 2011.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.

Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, make up nearly 12 percent of the country’s population.

The booming global halal industry is expected to grow from about $1 trillion in 2012 into a $1.6 trillion industry by 2018, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specializing in Muslim markets.

Locally, Indonesian Muslims are literally “consuming their Muslim faith in a very tangible way”, according to experts.

“A lot of the pious Muslims in the middle class want to show to the people around them they’re living pious lifestyles — through their clothes, schools, the shopping they do and the books they read,” Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at Australian National University in Canberra, said.

OnIslam & News Agencies
Sun, 9 November 2014

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/479539-indonesia-hijabers-combat-westernization.html

‘Jilbab’ phenomenon: Religious or cultural?

JILBOAzis Anwar Fachrudin
YOGYAKARTA

HOW do we deal with the so-called jilboobs, an Indonesian term for Muslim women wearing the jilbab (Islamic headscarf) while at the same time wearing clothes that emphasize their breasts (boobs)? The phenomenon of jilboobs would not be startling if we properly understood the case.

First, let’s raise again the old question: Why is the jilbab (the popular Indonesian name for hijab) a religious obligation for Muslim women? Most Indonesian Muslim women would not know the rational answer, the raison d’etre or, in terms of Islamic jurisprudence, the ‘illat al-hukm.

Many Indonesian Muslim women most likely wear the jilbab only to follow the mainstream trend — the tradition, or rather the popular culture within the Muslim community.

Hence, the emergence of jilboobs. Many would answer that the jilbab is a religious obligation only because it is God’s command, regardless of His reason. Others do not want to just criticize and they ask why their hair is considered aurat (a part of the body that should not be exposed to sight).

Precisely on the latest point, a paradoxical reasoning emerges and should be examined. If a woman’s hair is aurat because it could spark a man’s lust, what if her face accentuates her beauty more than her hair? Should it be veiled, too, as many Muslim women today wear the niqab?

Again, what about her voice if it could arouse a man’s desire? Or why should not men take care of their dirty minds rather than coop up women?

However, to many Muslims who literally interpret “Islam” as “submission”, such a criticism against what Islamic law has been ruling could be considered as opposing God’s command.

That is, just raising critical questions is sometimes, or even often, prohibited. Many Muslim women, therefore, seek to take the middle way: wearing veils while featuring their breasts as they, by nature, want to keep fashionable.

Second, looking back at the context of when wearing the jilbab was originally required through spiritual revelation, it could be concluded that the jilbab is most related to the sociocultural system of earliest Islam.

Muslims can find two verses on the jilbab in the Koran: al-Ahzab 33:59 and an-Nur 24:31. Many classical Islamic references state that an-Nur 24:31 was a response toward the dress traditions of the Arab women of jahiliya (pre-Islam, literally meaning “ignorance”).

In the jahiliya period, women went out in public with naked breasts and revealed their necks to show off their adornments. Their veils were drawn backward while leaving the front parts wide open.

Al-Ahzab 33:59 was revealed after the Battle of Khandaq (5 hijriyah), while an-Nur was revealed long after that; so, Muslim women were obliged to wear jilbab just from the last years of Muhammad’s era as a Prophet.

The context of the al-Ahzab revelation was that the munafiqin (hypocrites) attacked Muslim women who, at that time, wore no jilbab and so both free-born and slaves dressed the same. Al-Ahzab’s verse was then revealed to protect free women — their jilbabs distinguished them from slaves and saved them from disrespect.

The verses were very connected to a past social system in which there were slaves. The limits of aurat for slave women was the same as for men at the time: from knee to navel. Slave women were allowed to perform prayers while keeping their breasts naked.

The second caliph Umar ibn al-Khatthab once even ordered a female slave to take off her veil because the veil, or jilbab, was an item of dress reserved for free women (libas al-hara’ir). And, at that time, there was no discourse on whether the slaves’ naked breasts incited men’s desire and lust.

This stipulation could be found in many classical books of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) — but for many the era of slavery is part of a lost memory.

The substance of the obligation for the jilbab, according to contextual interpretation, was to satisfy a sense of public decency.

This kind of interpretation is, of course, rejected by conservatives who favor the strict word of the scriptural sources — or the text rather than the context.

The epistemological interpretation of this conservative fiqh, in terms of the philosophy of Islamic law, is that what should be given more consideration is the generality of the text, not the particularity of the context.

So in this way we can know why a majority of Muslims scholars still persist in saying that the jilbab is an obligation, even though we no longer live in an era of slavery.

There is a kind of scripturalism that embodies conservative clerics’ methodology of interpretation and is more dominant among Muslim communities.

The result is that Muslim women take the middle way. Time shows the evolution of the Indonesian Muslim woman’s veil.

Before the 1980s, many Muslim women, including the wives of clerics and former first lady Sinta Nuriyah Wahid, the wife of the late president Abdurrahman Wahid, wore veils, but their hair and neck were still visible.

As the reformasi approached wearing the jilbab became predominant among Muslim women (and since then this term became popular). And now, the hijab has become more popular than the jilbab and even more and more women are wearing the niqab.

In the past, the jilbab as a religious obligation was not an overwhelming subject of discourse even among Islamic scholars.

Some consider the phenomenon of the hijab and the niqab as being related to the rise of the politics of identity within the Muslim community as a way to fight against the influence of Western culture.

It reveals that the dress code is very related to culture or tradition rather than religion. And it is not unique to Islam. Christianity and Judaism have had similar codes. According to Nasaruddin Umar in his article in the Journal of Ulumul Quran, the concept of the hijab as a head covering had been established in the Code of Hammurabi (2000 BC) and then in the Code of Assura (circa 1075 BC).

As we see, there is an evolution in female dress codes. It might be the very nature of sociocultural systems that dress codes always deal with the places and times of various cultures and civilizations.

The jilbab is no exceptional. So, in the light of this way of thinking, jilboobs may not be a problem at all.

The jilbab and its various interpretations will ultimately be judged by human history.

We know today many Indonesian Muslim women are not veiled. There are also many who are veiled but not considered shar’i (to be adherent to the sharia stipulation), which means there are many Muslim women who
may voluntarily sin — or be considered sinful?

Public rationality will determine the survival of the jilbab.

As we know, religion is revealed for the sake of human benefit and interest.

___________________

The writer is a graduate student at the Center for Religious and Crosscultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University.

The Jakarta Post
Fri, September 12 2014

JILBO1

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/09/12/jilbab-phenomenon-religious-or-cultural.html

A Revert’s Journey to Islam via Morocco, Chicago and Florida

Liza VoglYazTheSpaz

ISLAM is a religion growing every second. Stories of those who were drawn into the religion serve as a source of inspiration to us all.

In my first article on reverts, I wrote about my mother’s journey to Islam, which took place over 30 years ago in America. This week I will share the story of a close friend of mine who became Muslim only two years ago, as well as her experience throughout as a white American.

Lisa Vogl, 30, grew up in a Christian family – her father’s side is Catholic, her mother’s Baptist. She was never brought up too religiously but her mother was very spiritual, which is how she was brought up.

At the age of 18 she enrolled in an all-girls school, Chatham College, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she took up softball as a sport. After her first year, she decided to take a year off to travel and gain some internship experience. In the first half of that year, she interned at Disney World while working two other jobs at the same time.

Lisa went on the trip for a cultural experience, but ended up leaving with so much more – she left with Islam in her heart

With all the money that she’d saved and collected, Lisa decided to travel to Morocco for three months, where she taught at the American Language Center. Lisa describes living in Morocco as ‘the most amazing and humbling experience’ of her life. The family she stayed with at the time lived in a 200-square-foot room. They slept and dined all in the same place, and there was no hot water to shower with. It was during her time in Morocco that she first knew anything about Islam. Lisa went on the trip for a cultural experience, but ended up leaving with so much more – she left with Islam in her heart.

When she returned to the USA, she got a job at a bank in Chicago. At the time, she had no idea that working with interest was haram – not permissible – in Islam. ‘Ironically, something within me actually didn’t feel right working there,’ she states in hindsight. This was one reason she quit – because the job just didn’t feel right in her heart. The other reason was that she wanted to pursue her passion in photography.

Lisa gave up everything at that point to go to photography school in Florida. In her first year there she took a videography class in which the students were asked to make a mini-documentary on a subject of their choice.

At the time, she was working with Project Downtown, a local charity, which gathered at a mosque every other Sunday to feed the homeless. She had worn a hijab every day in Morocco, but it was more to follow a cultural norm and blend in with the locals. Since she never got to fully understand the true meaning behind the hijab, she decided to do her project on it.

To start her research she called on her friend Nadine AbuJubbara, whom she had met at the charity outings. Lisa interviewed Nadine, asking questions like, ‘Why do you wear hijab? Do people judge you on the streets? What are the misconceptions about hijab?’

People will judge no matter what, but we as Muslims must be willing to change the perspectives of those we come in contact with, in order to see the change

Nadine’s answers were so compelling that Lisa’s eyes completely opened to the reason why women wear the hijab. Because of that interview, she decided to look further into verses of the Qur’an about the hijab, and from there, she delved further into the religion of Islam. She started meeting with scholars, watched YouTube videos and read more into the Qur’an. Over the next nine months she began comparing the Bible with the Qur’an and found that they were very similar. A key difference, she felt, was that the Bible has been changed many times whereas the Qur’an, which has never been changed, is the direct words from God.

On 29 July 2011, the Friday before Ramadan, Lisa Vogl became a Muslim. She tells me how her life has completely changed since, and how she has had so many blessings that she is grateful for.

Aquila Style
Tuesday, 26th March 2013

Lisa Vogl

Lisa Vogl

http://www.aquila-style.com/focus-points/lisa-revert-to-islam/32614/