A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

The Impossible Dream

The Impossible Dream
“الحلم المستحيل” by Leila Shawa

With your eyes closed and your mouth covered, you can’t even eat ice-cream.




[Self] Restraint; Control; Constraint; Suppression


  1. NAS
    Hi Nas,

    I think I’ve made it clear, that I was stating a personal opinion. I’ve even acknowledged the fact that I don’t know much about the SHAREA (Islamic law) considering the Niqab issue.
    So, I don’t see how I’m “SPEADING MISINFORMATION”,man,this is a little bit harsh. I might be wrong, but I was stating my opinion, and I have every right to, though I’ve never presented it as FACTS or owuld ever do.

    Now, I was onjly quoting what I’ve been told from other Muslims (BTW the guy’s mom and sisters wore a niqab, and that was his answer regarding the issue, and he didn’t find it offensive to discuss such issue, though I think he only put up with me, because he was hoping to convert me to Islam). I’ve said “From what I’ve heard, SOME think….” So it’s clear I’m not generalizing or presenting this as a fact!

    Now, in Islam it does not have to be documented in Quran to be considered SHAREA. I guess the Niqab advocates would have their own interpretations and sources to back their stand on this issue.

    I’ve made it clear that Niqab is not commonly worn by devoted Muslim women in Jordan. Which does not contradict with what you’ve said that Niqab is not obligatory, so I’ve never said it’s obligatory.

    Okay to cut this short, what I’ve basically said that, Niqab is not common in Jordan, though some claim that it’s obligatory because of Sunnah (The Prophet wives), I don’t see how this contradicts at all with what you have said!

    Now, you are right! I can’t know if these women in Jordan who wear Niqab are extremists or not, because I can’t talk to them at all! I mean they’ll immediately leave the room if it happens to be only me and her alone. She only answers back in few words with her head facing the floor. Well I’m not complaining about her customs, she has the right to act the way she wishes, but I could easily tell from where she comes. Did I mention that all females in Zarqawi’s close family wear Niqab? Did I mention that Niqab became popular in Gaza thanks to Hamas’s teachings and charitable works?

    Again, I got nothing to say about the Hijab issue, I think Muslims have the right to act according to their religious customs, whether it’s obligatory or not is a matter that Muslims discuss alone. I’m only concerned about the Niqab,and what makes a women put it on!

    God, I don’t want to offend anyone!
    I firmly believe that my comment was balanced, and no one should be offended the way you sounded, but please Nas and anyone else have no hard feelings , Peace people…
    Nas take it easy….

    Peace-Salam,make Falafel not war :)

  2. Nas

    Roba I respect your opinion but allow me to say the following:

    1- hijab comes from the root hajaba, to conceal. this is the context that it is used in in the quran. the word sitir is used for screen. we base the word today as a piece of cloth covering the hair, we use it in the context of “dress code” that is legislated by law (such as countries like saudia and iran) when in reality it represent a framework, the same way the word Islam is not reserved to the Quran or a few acts of worship but represents a way of life.

    The hijab is actually the moderate way of dressing that imposed on both men and women and it is made obligatory in Islam. it was only until recently in light of Islamic history that the word ‘hijab’ has been restricted in meaning a piece of cloth.

    Even if we are to factor in terminology as used in the quran it is still not open to interpretation because the Prophet pbuh explained and elaborated the ayahs 30 and 31 of surat al-nur, hence what was made fard in the quran was backed by the sunnah in several authentic hadiths. when these verses were revealed and the Prophet explained them the women of medina got up to quickly adhere to those words. He also told Asma, Abu Bakr ra’s daughter to dress everything except for the hands and face as he pointed to them to indicate so. famed scholars like ibn abbas who were of his companions followed with the same interpretation.

    In other words, do not depend strictly on the word “hijab” in the quran to be the sole indicator simply because in modern times it is used to indicate a piece of cloth. hijab is a concept, a framework that is without a doubt made mandatory in these ayahs. and if it was not demonstrated or explained by the Prophet pbuh then we’d have a much more controversial subject at hand.

    2- While in some countries it is imposed by law it shouldnt be. In other words the stupidity of mankind today does not erode what Islam says about hijab in the first place.

    3- what the romans or greeks chose to wear is different as the hijab carries a religious meaning behind it. women also wore it in the jahelyeah. in other words simply because doses of it were known to exist historically does not make it a practice that was copied or inherited by Muslims. the same arguement then can be made for prayer as people who worshiped the sun would bow and prostrate similar to some of the actions we as Muslims incorporate into our prayer. the same arguement can be made to say that the zakah is just a copy of taxation systems. in other words by stripping it of it’s religious connotations we render it something different.

    4- as far as i know the abbasids banned the niqab not the hijab because they felt it was a misuse of the concept. sometimes the word “niqab” and “hijab” have historically been switched around so that the latter means the former and vice versa. again you cannot ban the concept of hijab, it is not whittled down to a piece of cloth but a way of life. the abbasids used bans as safegaurds in order to curb associating wrong practices with something religious. some of them were temporary such as sculpting and music.

  3. Nas

    Firas, you’re free to state a personal opinion but even in doing so one must practice a bit of consience no? in the same manner if i knew little about an aspect of christianity it would be improper of me to say “this is what i heard and this is what i think” even if its in the form of an opinion.

    and just because the woman leaves the room or doesnt talk to you doesnt make her an extremist or originating from extremism. just because zarqawis sisters or family members wore it doesnt make them extremists. by saying you just know where they come from is a bit harsh.

    i did not take offence and i know your intentions are good, im simply suggesting that if you dont know a certain thing about Islam or if your opinion is based on misinformation then it’s best not to tell someone who is asking about Islam what you know…or dont know for that matter. common sense :-)

  4. Salam Roba,
    whatever people say, thanks for sharing. This paining is very nice. It really made me stop and think.

    please share more of Leila Shawa’s work with us.

    very nice.

  5. Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!

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