For all the talk about the sacredness and inviolability of the shariah, this term itself occurs only once in the Koran and not with any legal injunction, but with moral connotation. The term shariah simply means a clear path or way or road. The rules that are supposed to govern the attire of women are rules devised by men as part of the Islamic fiqh or jurisprudence, and not designed by God.
The burqa and the niqab are lingering relics of a patriarchal, misogynic, and tribal culture. What they do is not simply cover a Muslim woman's anatomy but govern her mindset. Even though the original message of the Koran came to elevate the position of bedouin Arab women and make women in general more independent and productive, centuries of rigid fiqh-orthodoxy disallowed that independence to grow and instead subjugated the women into a state of male-dependent procreative machines.
The guardians of the fiqh, the so-called ulema, denied women any formal education, deprived them of income-generating employment, rejected them from any social and public involvement and kept them under permanent house detention.
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