Jakarta: Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir reiterated that according to Islamic teachings, the face and palms of Muslim women were not aurat – parts of the body that may not be exposed in public.
Quoting the organisation’s edicts council, Haedar on Saturday said that adult female Muslims must cover all parts of their bodies except their faces and palms.
“This is shar’i (in accordance with syariah), ” he said during the opening ceremony for the national executive meeting of Aisyiyah, an Islamic NGO in Indonesia.
The Muhammadiyah women’s wing held the national meeting, themed “Movement and Dynamics of Spreading Progressive Islamism”, that ended yesterday at the Aisyiyah University of Yogyakarta in Sleman regency.
Haedar said that the council based its edict on the Quran and hadiths and had concluded that doing otherwise was contrary to the two texts.
He added that the extraordinary piety and observance Muslim communities displayed in their religious practice deserved to be welcomed warmly as part of the current dynamics in Islam.
At the same time, he also noted the recent development of the “hijrah movement” of Islamic revival amid life changes, especially among the upper-middle society.
Haedar cited as an example the “phenomenon” of Muslim women covering up their entire bodies, including their face and palms, which had caused public controversy.
This phenomenon, he continued, could be because such women were extremely dedicated to the hijrah movement, or because some non-mainstream Muslim women believed that contemporary Muslim fashion did not follow syariah.
“It is now our task to make them understand the Islamic views of Muhammadiyah. That is the key to progressive Islamic teaching, ” said Haedar, underlining the importance for everyone to avoid conflicts between living in society and living according to one’s religious beliefs.
He also highlighted the importance of instilling values to prevent people from misinterpreting moral and spiritual values as violence, conflict, hatred and hostility.
“It’s time for Aisyiyah to be a pioneer and engine of progressive Islamic teachings based on deep, broad and substantive Islam, ” he said.
Aisyiyah chairperson Siti Noordjannah Djohantini said that some 300 members from the country’s 34 provinces had attended the meeting during the weekend.
She added that the meeting was “special”, because it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Aisyiyah Bustanul Athfal kindergartens, which were first established in 1919 during the pre-independence era, when it was difficult for indigenous people to access education.
“The initiative proved Muhammadiyah’s and Aisyiyah’s commitment to education, ” said Noordjannah. — The Jakarta Post/ANN