Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Recently, deadly protests have broken out across Iran after authorities supposedly detained a woman, Mahsa Amini, and eventually killed her for violating Iranian laws regarding the Hijab. The killing of this woman and the brutal nature of Iranian authorities is surely horrifying and detestable — if it indeed happened as they say. Initial reports stated she died in police custody and soon escalated to state that she was brutally beaten. Footage was released claiming to show her being violently arrested, but this footage was reported to be false by multiple sources. The Iranian government then released footage showing Amini arriving to the police station and speaking with police officers peacefully, before she fainted with no apparent cause. The reason I have not cited any sources for these claims is because reports are still transient and fluctuating. Videos are being leaked on social media platforms, bots are manipulating the Twittersphere, politicians are spewing propaganda, and there is surely involvement by our friends at the Three Letter Agencies (TLAs). These confounding variables have led to an increasingly common conundrum among the Western Muslim observer: two mainstream positions that are both antithetical to a normative Muslim code of ethics. At the risk of stating the obvious, this article is written to address Muslim commentators in the West who have the ability to learn the real teachings of Islam, as opposed to a warped Khomeini-worshipping religion.

The first position is less common but nonetheless present. It is the position of those who are loyalists to the Twelver Shia Iranian regime. This group, comprised mostly of leftists, has been basking in the rays of cognitive dissonance as their hate for all things Islamic comes in conflict with their love for anti-American authoritarian regimes. These are the same individuals who unequivocally support other dictators like Bashar al-Assad because he is “anti-imperialist.” This obviously erroneous position will not be discussed further in this article.. 

The second position is what has spread like a wildfire. It is the position of platitudes, individualism, hedonism, and, ironically (or not really so), ex-Muslims. Average lay-Muslims have taken to social media in droves to make declarations such as “There is no compulsion in religion” or “I support their right to choose.” Of course, none of these are actually well thought out platitudes. What is also unsurprising is that the entire subreddit known as r/exmuslim is being inundated with posts from the undead army of radioactive apostates whose posts echo the same platitudes being recycled by Muslims on the mainstream platforms, with the only difference being their overt rejection of the religion in its entirety. It has one wondering: does the average lay-Muslim ever stop and question themselves when every opinion they hold about public affairs is entirely similar to those of the r/exmuslim community? 

In any case, there are a few points to be made. Firstly, the use of the Qur’anic verse translated as “there is no compulsion in religion” is completely erroneous (sorry Tumblr Muslims). This verse is in specific reference to the impermissibility of  forcing an individual to utter the testimony of faith and become  Muslim.  However, it is not impermissible, for a government claiming Islam to mandate certain acts upon their population. Anyone who has comprehensively studied the Islamic tradition knows that government entities may enact punishment upon those who do not pray Salat, pay the Zakat, and so on. In fact, there is historical precedence for this in early Islamic history, when the Muslims went to war under Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) against various factions who refused to pay the Zakat. They did not have a “right to choose” to observe Zakat. And although it may be true that Hijab is not as foundational to the faith as paying Zakat or praying Salat, this is not a prerequisite for a ruling entity to have the liberty to enforce a rule. In fact, a particular action does not even have to be  obligatory according to the Shari’ah in order for the ruler to have a right to enforce it. The only hard red line that is drawn is enforcing acts that are indisputably understood to be impermissible in the Islamic tradition. 

Through this understanding, one may begin to see the flaws in speaking about religious obligations in terms of “choice.” Secularization of the minds of Western Muslims has resulted in their inability to think about religion in terms of obligation to avoid punishment, but they have no problem thinking about Western laws in these terms. If one was to walk around completely naked in the United States, they would be arrested and charged with a crime as punishment for their behavior. Similarly, we must become comfortable with the reality that if one is to contravene the laws of Allah, whether that is neglecting the Salat or refusing to wear Hijab for one reason or another, this will manifest itself as a crime in the hereafter with its due punishment barring any pardon or forgiveness from Allah. There is more written about this topic as it pertains to Hijab here.

Secondly, and at the risk of angering the national syndicate of uncles that think Democracy and $1 Mushrik-slaughtered McChickens are the gift of God to man, orthodox Sunni Islam has come to an unequivocal consensus that rebelling against a Muslim government is a heinous and sinful act. Such rebels, termed Bughat, are to be dealt with severely by the ruler, who is well within his right to do so. The wisdom of this scholarly consensus is evident in the fact that the overwhelming majority of protests against brutal governments, especially in the modern world of fighter jets and guns, result in increased bloodshed and stricter governmental constraints. The Islamists that have exacted their fetish for rebellion and power upon the Arab world, leading to more oppressive governments and unfathomable bloodshed, should be the first to realize this. Even though it may hurt modern-day sensibilities, the fact of the matter is that decimating your entire nation and spilling the blood of countless Muslims for the sake of a handful of lives is not worth it. Throughout history, Muslim populations have generally come to terms with this fact, with many a brutal Sultan being tolerated. Perhaps it is the lack of halal food consumption that is resulting in the lack of halal thoughts and the incapability to digest a basic principle of social order (…there is something to be said about consuming water-boarded cow meat at Burger King and consequently having an affinity towards an animalistic lack of divinely ordained social order), but that is also a discussion for another time. In any case, the only oppourtunity for serious discussion regarding this matter is in the event f a Muslim ruler forbids an action that is considered mandatory by the consensus of the Muslim scholarly class, such as Salat itself. 

The evidence for the impermissibility of rebelling against a government is quite clearly stated in many ahadith, such as [1] [2] [3] and [4], among many others. The great Imam, Badr al-Din al-’Ayni (d. 855 AH), wrote in his expansive commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari known as ‘Umdat al-Qari regarding one such hadith:

“Obeying the commands of the ruler is obligatory so long as he does not command one to sin, as one must not obey a created being in sinning against The Creator […] (In contrast with the Khawarij), The overwhelming majority of the (Sunni) ‘Ulama have stated that rebelling against a tyrant and rising up against his tyranny is not obligatory, nor is it obligatory to depose them unless they commit Kufr after having been Muslim or if they stop establishing the Salat. As for any sort of tyranny excluding the aforementioned, it is categorically impermissible to rebel against them […] In abandoning rebellion against the ruler, the sanctity of wombs and property as well as the sparing of Muslim blood is upheld.” [5]

As al-’Ayni clearly states, inevitable theft, rape, and murder are not means that justify the ends of some starry-eyed vision of a ruler more just than the current tyrant. Life is too short to spend it in death and destruction. One is best advised to keep the peace as much as possible and prepare for what matters: the reckoning of the afterlife. Naysayers from among the Islamists (read: CIA pawns) and Marx-Cosplayers will have a hard time digesting this fact, but there is no room in orthodox Sunni Islam for the introduction of Bughat-culture. The ultimate purpose of the Shari’ah is to govern human beings in a manner that will maximize their ability to enter Paradise through the obedience of Allah. In order to successfully govern humans over hundreds and thousands of years, there must be some hard rules regarding the instigation of turmoil when it will only make things worse. 

Thirdly, it is imperative Muslims approach media outlets with the realization that it is always in the interest of those doing the reporting to create a frenzy. The same tactics are employed without fail every time a country goes to war or imposes sanctions, and this behavior only ends up hurting the native population itself. The clock is ticking for the Iranian government, and the hordes of secular atheists burning Hijabs in the streets (yes, many of the protesters are not Muslims…Iran has a huge atheism epidemic on account of degenerate theology and a clerical class that rivals Satan’s own harem) may soon see the fruits of their actions in the form of Western subjugation. This is an old story.

Fourth on this list is a general assertion: a Muslim must not have any doubt that the proper implementation of the Shari’ah according to the divinely promised vector of preservation — the scholarly class — is the best way to achieve as just a society as humans can maintain. The scapegoating of a Hijab mandate is shallow —  does anyone truly believe that lifting the Hijab mandate will create a utopia to challenge the likes of Bikini Bottom? In fact, this entire issue is the result of corrupt authorities, not the Hijab. So why was the response not a call for the implementation of Islamic corporal punishment (Hadd) laws upon the ones who killed Mahsa Amini? Is this not justice? Here is a sneak peek to the answer: Muslims are not the ones doing the thinking here.

Additionally, there is also a popular post making rounds, claiming that the women of India who are fighting to wear the Hijab are somehow fighting the same fight as the secular Iranian population. Any sane person should realize that Muslim women in India fighting for the ability to perform an obligation of Islam in a non-Muslim country is absolutely dissimilar to secular Iranians burning the Hijab and wreaking havoc for the right to contravene the laws of Islam without punishment. This is an insult to the women in India who have fought and suffered for their right to obey Allah’s commands; they wear the Hijab out of their submission to Allah, not out of some hedonistic fetish to do as they please without anyone regulating their behavior.  

These thoughts will likely be met with raging leftists, liberals, ex-Muslims, and lay-Muslims who are too steeped in their binary view of the issue to think at a deeper level (but I thought binaries were oppressive?). No, I do not think that oppression is okay, nor am I talking about that. Nor is it a valid argument to deflect the conversation with accusations of inhumane sentiments. I am also not a shill for the Iranian regime. They are deviants in religion, social dynamics, sexual practice, and almost everything else. I am not minimizing the gravity of the death of Mahsa Amini, as I believe in the sanctity of all human life. I am also not “mansplaining” Iranian women or “policing their methods of protest.” In fact, I am not even addressing them. The only exposure they have had to religion is a masochistic, historically laughable, and morally decrepit sect known as Twelver Shi’ism. I reckon the majority have not even been exposed to actual Islam. I realize that I have conveyed my words in a relatively harsh manner, but I have no doubt that some outlet out there will publish a similar article with an infantilizing tone (and perhaps a coupon for a free pedicure and back rub) so that these sentiments may be more digestible for the softer constituents of the public audience. For now, I present you with the thoughts of a Muslim with the luxury of thinking about the theoretical details and ethical lessons to be learned from a situation that is occurring far from this land (I think I just beat all of you to checking my privilege first). There is so much more to say on this topic, but attention spans will inevitably bottleneck our engagement.

Overall, I hope that these words will elicit a deeper level of engagement from the readers and underscore the need for a  nuanced approach to such situations. It is unbefitting of a Muslim to react like a trained dog drooling for a snack every time there is a public thirst for virtue signaling on the internet. These are trying times, and I have come to learn that finding yourself entirely shoulder-to-shoulder with the enemies of Islam is cause for concern — you may be already integrated into their ranks. We pray for Allah’s protection and mercy.

Works Cited:

[1] link

[2] link

[3] link

[4] link

[5] al-’Ayni, Badr al-Din. ‘Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari. Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah, Vol. 14, pg. 308.

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

About the Author: Khalid Ansari is a student of all subjects with a particular interest in those affecting Muslims in America and abroad. 

Disclaimer: Material published by Traversing Tradition is meant to foster scholarly inquiry and rich discussion. The views, opinions, beliefs, or strategies represented in published articles and subsequent comments do not necessarily represent the views of Traversing Tradition or any employee thereof.

9 thoughts on “Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

  1. Trash article. Were the four Sunni Imams committing a heinous and sinful act by rebelling against the orders of certain Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs?

  2. “Orthodox Sunni Islam has come to an unequivocal consensus that rebelling against a Muslim government is a heinous and sinful act. ”

    Too bad most “Muslim governments” aren’t Muslim at all.

    Is the UAE government Muslim?

  3. Thank you Khalid Ansari. Your article is a breath of fresh air in what has become a discourse heavily polluted by confused and colonized Muslims, parroting liberal mainstream talking points without an inkling of realization. Useful idiots.

    The fact that you have to preempt the barrage of labels and the angry gaze of cancel culture (Muslims are quite adept at it too now) in the penultimate paragraph is a testament to the tragic level of adherence the Muslim masses have to the prevailing secular, liberal narratives propagated by the usual suspects.

  4. I don’t think I’ve seen a TT article where the author refers to themselves in the first person. Sounds like how someone would talk in a conversation. With random parts with tangents and sophisticated words added in later. No focus or anything it was a whole bunch of Kitchari. What is this McChicken reference is this some Tik Tok meme trend you Zoomers talk about. This is bakwas disgrace. Trash. I found spelling and grammar mistakes in just one reading. Horrible

  5. Exmuslims is a part of social engineering and are exaggerated online. Anyone can claim to be exmuslim to spread the propaganda and that has been happening for a while only online .

    Nice post in general

  6. What about the following Hadiths which I will list that specify that obedience to rulers refers to rulers who rule by the law of Islam, meaning the Sharia? In the Hadiths linked in this article, all of them describe the ruler as a “Muslim ruler”, and unlike what we mean today when we say “Muslim” ruler to mean someone who self-identifies as a Muslim, in light of other Hadiths as well Koran verses what “Muslim ruler” used to mean was a ruler who actually ruled by Islam. The Hadiths linked in the article also say to obey rulers even when they are corrupt, which is true, but they do not mention transgressing the laws of Allah (meaning the Sharia). Others Hadiths, which all contextualize other Hadiths on this topic, clearly state that the condition of obedience to a ruler is that the ruler applies the Sharia. Additionally, 5:44 of the Koran states that one who does not rule by the revelation of Allah is a disbeliever. So, someone cannot be a “Muslim” ruler if they negate the Sharia in any way, because the Koran itself declares such people to be infidels. These are the Koran verses and Hadiths I’m referring to, one of these Hadiths even shows the Prophet sawas directly affirming the right of the people to fight the ruler if they see him straying from the Sharia:

    Koran 5:44 “…Whosoever rules not with what Allah has sent down of revelation—such are disbelievers”

    Hadith of Tirmidhi 1706: The Prophet sawas said, “If a mutilated Ethiopian slave put in command over you, then listen to him and obey, *as long as He upholds the Book of Allah among you*”.

    Hadith of Sunan Ibn Majah: The Prophet sawas said, “Among those in charge of you, after I am gone, will be men who extinguish the Sunnah and follow innovation. They will delay the prayer from its proper time”. Ibn Masud asked, “Messenger of Allah, if I live to see them, what should I do?” The Prophet sawas said, “There is no obedience to one who disobeys Allah”.

    Sahih Bukhari 7055-7056: Narrated Junada bin Abi Umaiya:
    We entered upon ‘Ubada bin As-Samit while he was sick. We said, “May Allah make you healthy. Will you tell us a Hadith you heard from the Prophet (ﷺ) and by which Allah may make you benefit?” He said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) called us and we gave him the Pledge of allegiance for Islam, and among the conditions on which he took the Pledge from us, was that we were to listen and obey (the orders) both at the time when we were active and at the time when we were tired, and at our difficult time and at our ease and to be obedient to the ruler and give him his right even if he did not give us our right, and not to fight against him unless we noticed him having open Kufr (disbelief) for which we would have a proof with us from Allah.”

    1. The author is not a jurist and its a job of jurist to design the law based on hadiths, considerinf the chain of narrators and other criteria.
      Cherry picking will get you no where “pauline”

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