March 2017— The European Union, through its highest legal courts, under the warped framework of Secular Liberalism has declared that employers can ban outward displays of “any political, philosophical or religious sign” that they deem fit. This ruling was a direct response to the legal plea of Muslim women who faced difficulties or in cases termination from their workplace for wearing the Hijab. Behind the seemingly general language of the ruling, the European Courts have sent a clear message, that the practice of Hijab— and by extension any command that Allah ﷻ mandates— is only valid in so much that it conforms to the deen of Secular Liberalism.
As much as some would like to believe otherwise, there lays deep tension between Secularism and Islam, a tension built from the roots of the two ways of life. Fundamentally, Secularism dictates that there’s a separation between church and state and in practical terms, meaning that God has no power or place outside of the confines of individuals or superficial beliefs. Therefore, the expression of any way of life is reduced to the most trivial superficial displays or “symbols,” that fit nicely within the Secular frame of individual freedom that has no bearing on society. The problem of course is that, Islam is built on a specific Aqeedah, or basis of belief, which establishes that Allah ﷻ is the only God worthy of Worship, that Muhammad ﷺ is His slave and final Messenger, and that the revelation therefrom is the basis for all thoughts of life— from the social, economic, or political systems which govern humanity. The Muslim women wear the Hijab therefore, from a conviction of this Aqeedah and as an indication that Allah ﷻ and what He commands is supreme over all else. This is what is unacceptable to Liberal Secularism and the status quo, as it wishes for the practice of Hijab to also be manifested through its framework as a mere freedom that can be given or taken away— as exemplified by the court ruling— and not as a mandate from Allah ﷻ that one must submit to.
وَلَن تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلَا النَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
“And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance.” If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper.” [TMQ 2:120]
So what does this all mean?
For the thinking Muslim the absurdity of seeking Muslim rights working within the system of Secularism becomes abundantly clear, as the ideals it claims to uphold of freedom are only selectively applied in order to legitimize the system itself while simultaneously working to dilute Muslims from their identity. As Allah ﷻ reveals to us in the ayah above, the disbelievers will never approve of the believers until they conform completely to them, and accordingly the approval we seek, and the protection we rely on is from Allah ﷻ alone. Therefore, the method in which we choose to see the world, define ourselves, and seek our protection must be from Allah ﷻ, as exemplified by the best of examples:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” [TMQ 33:21]
What believers must mirror with conviction and clarity when faced against a society hostile to the truth, catered to the rich and powerful, formidable and seemingly unshakable, and with a competing ideology of life— as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the early believers found themselves stacked against— is to stick uncompromisingly to the truth and work diligently to establish the Islamic way of life as ordained by Allah ﷻ. Accordingly, our response to the Hijab ban and increasing hostility from Secular Liberalism is to hold closer to the rope of Allah ﷻ and to cement Islam within ourselves, our families, and our communities.