16 October, 2019

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Kalutara Thoppiya

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Strange things happen when religious tension prevail in societies over religious symbols. On a brighter note they’re opportunities to learn, refresh one’s knowledge as to validity, acceptability of such symbol’s vis a vis theology, custom, tradition etc. How these opportunities for learning for the discerning come and why they come is a mystery to some. For Muslims they are God sent, a moment to acquire new knowledge. 

A recent video of some sightseeing tourists from the borah community visiting Kalutara Sri Lanka were subject to a rude shock. This particular video had gone viral since. A person seemingly with extremist tendencies is seen admonishing the tourists to remove their head covering. Both males and females were ordered to remove as they had apparently set foot on sacred territory. This guy further warned them saying “this is not a Muslim country”

Its important Muslims commit themselves to learning. Knowledge could always be a decisive savior. This way they’ll be in a better way negotiating untested waters. It’s also equally important in this time and age for them to be well informed when travelling places especially to non-Muslim countries. Better be well informed prior to making travel arrangements.

They should not take for granted vacuous ballyhoo vis a vis resounding pronouncements of religious freedoms and accompanying proclamations of tolerance, diversity etc. These are like on/off switches at the mercy of governments in power. And the new and trending phenomenon is the mercy and theatrics of the mob. This writer summons with nostalgia – this is not the dear Sri Lanka he left.

Donald Trump the US President making headlines atleast twice every day and representing the very bastion of democracy carried out the most unconstitutional and undemocratic exercise by imposing a travel ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. What else does one need to prove about the abject ephemerality of manmade instruments? If you believe in the people you will be left to them. The action primarily discriminates against people based on their religion. A federal appeals court held that it was “unconstitutionally tainted with animus towards Islam”.

Islam is essentially a knowledge-based religion. To carry out an act of worship you’ve got to have clear evidence from its authentic sources. This article attempts primarily as an educational tool for Muslims. Arguably, most Muslims do not have access to knowledge on these issues in the English language. Accordingly, this compilation should serve as a basic foundation for Muslim readers in sha Allah. 

The Muslim cap for males is a natural extension of the Muslim garb. Its an integral part of beautifying oneself. Its mandatory for the female Muslim and highly recommended for the male Muslim. Commonly known as thoppi  is a short, rounded skullcap not necessarily  worn for religious purposes but to be a part of the daily dress code of a Muslim. It mustahabb (i.e.,  commendable or highly recommended to cover the head in order to emulate the Prophet of Allah (may Allah exalt his mention) and his companions. In Arab countries, when worn under the keffiyeh headscarf, they are kept in  traditional white. Some Muslims wrap a turban around the cap, called an ʿimamah in Arabic. In the United States and Britain these are usually referred to as “kufis“. These are worn quite extensively. Even non-muslims sport these items as items of fashion.

A major scholar in Islam from the contemporary times Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It was narrated that the companion of the Prophet Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said to his freed slave Naafi ( may Allah be pleased with him ): “Do you go and meet people bareheaded”? He said: No. He said: “Allah has more right that you should be modest before Him. This indicates that it is better to cover the head, but if we apply the words of Allah – (interpretation of the meaning): “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying [al-Araaf 7:31] to this issue, we will see that covering the head is better among people who regard covering the head as a kind of adornment. But if we are among people who do not regard that as a kind of adornment, we do not say that covering is better or that leaving it bare is better. It is proven that the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) used to pray in a turban, and the turban is a head covering. End quote.

Another noble scholar of Islam Shaykh Al-Albānī (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“I think, performing Salāt (the five-daily prayer of the Muslim) while the head is uncovered is a detested act for a Muslim. He should be in his most beautiful Islamic appearance when doing Salāt. The Prophet (May Allah exalt his mention) said: “Allah is more worthy that one beautifies oneself, for the first part of the hadith is “When one of you intends to do his Salāt, he should wear his best clothes, for Allah “.

The early Muslims used to consider it a detested act to uncover one’s head, walk in the street and get into the mosque in such a state. This bad habit actually got into Islamic countries through colonization. Muslims regretfully adopted it blindly and hence loosing most of their Islamic characteristics. 

Another one of the great scholars Shaykh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: an imam leads the people in prayer and he is not wearing anything on his head. What is the ruling on that? He replied: There is nothing wrong with that, because the head is not part of the awrah (essential parts of the body to be covered) rather what is required is to pray in a lower and upper garment, because the Prophet ( may Allah exalt his mention) said: No one of you should pray in a single garment with no part of it over his shoulders. But if he wears his adornment and dresses fully, that is preferable, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying [al-Quran 7:31] But if he is in a country where it is not customary to cover the head, then there is nothing wrong with leaving it bare. End quote. Majmoo Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baz, 10/405, 406.

Where rule of law and justice fails everything fails, importance of this issue cannot be over-emphasized. This is not a political ideal but a simple test on the will of the legislators. Just requires sincere attempts to summon the will and work for all Sri Lankans, for their wellbeing and prosperity. 

Copious amounts of pages in a nation’s constitution should necessarily find its way to the lavatory if there is no will on the part of the legislators to implement what’s written in those pages.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    3

    Very subjective opinion. None of this is in the Quran. It’s customary to cover the head for males. Period.

    • 0
      5

      Sarrij

      Please read the article with understanding.

    • 11
      1

      Couldn’t really make out what Mr. Idroos (may Allah exalt his mention) is trying to get at. Is it really necessary to have all these salutations (may Allah be pleased, etc) when writing in English? Is Allah really all that interested in whether or not one wears a cap ?

      • 3
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        OC
        GAM comes under governing bodies who decide what HE (it could be SHE or even IT) likes and dislikes. When governing bodies lack authority, people like NI take over.
        But life goes on, despite all the battles in the name of GAM.

  • 9
    7

    This writer does not have a deep Islamic knowledge to comment on this issue. first of all, Sri Lanka badly needs tourism industry to flourish.. so, we should be careful in dealing with all international communities. or any tourist. They come to us, with hope that they get some good treatment from us .. So, this man who shouted at them is rude,, Moreover, Buddhist teaching does not tell anything about head covering. to call people to undercover scarf near temple is a Buddhist religious innovation. Neither Lord nor Buddhist teaching tell to uncover head scarf,….so, this is a religious innovation created by some Sinhalese to create community tension out of hatred,,
    sense of humour is more important in all religions. unfortunately is it gone in many radicals in all religions.

  • 8
    8

    Typical apologist for Islamic racism coming out with this rubbish. It is mandatory for anyone entering a Buddhist temple to remove his footwear and head cover. It is considered an insult to Buddha when someone enters the temple covering his head. When a Muslim wants to visit a Buddhist temple he has to remove his cap and shoes. He cannot say it is customary for a Muslim to wear a cap and therefore we cannot remove it even if we are going inside a Buddhist temple. If a Muslim does not want to obey the rules of a Buddhist temple then he must act as a gentleman and not try to enter the temple. In this instant it is clearly seen that the people had told the Muslim racists to remove their shoes and head wear, for which they had turned abusive. This clearly shows that Muslims do not show respect to other religions. In a Mosque it is mandatory that you have to cover the head when praying. Can a Buddhist enter a mosque without covering his head and hurl abuse when stopped. These Muslim fanatics have gone to Buddhist temple not to pay respects but to create trouble. They are accusing Buddhists of spreading hated when Koran is instigating hatred against non-Muslims. I do not understand why the police did not arrest them for Blasphemy like what they do in Muslim countries and put them behind bars.

    • 9
      4

      Lanka Perera:

      “In a Mosque it is mandatory that you have to cover the head when praying. Can a Buddhist enter a mosque without covering his head”

      That shows your knowledge is limited about Islam. I think you should learn more about Islam because you write a lot about it.

    • 2
      3

      Is Buddha insulted by someone wearing caps? Isn’t he the enlightened one; free from all ego and self? So how come Buddha is insulted by a funny little hat? And didn’t Buddha reach parinirvana and freed himself from samsara? So how come he’s still around being insulted by Borahs and their hats? Or is it a lot of you so called Buddhists who have a special stick up the rear going around finding things to be offended about. Grow up man! You guys act just like the Muslims now, like how they go berserk when someone draws their prophet.

  • 6
    1

    The zoo keeper’s instructions to visitors to take off their hats when walking in front of cages housing primates ( monkeys, chimps,. gorillas etc. who are evolutionary closest to mankind) are purely meant to contain his inmates and avoid unnecessary work for his zoo workers.

    Soma

    • 1
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      the next time i go to parliament as a visitor i will remember that.Thanks.

  • 7
    1

    Similar restrictions are there when entering mosques.

  • 6
    1

    It is common courtesy to remove head wear at places of religious worship. If , for whatever reason someone is unable to do so , they could refrain from entering such premises . There is an element of arrogance in certain people which is not conducive to peaceful coexistence.

  • 7
    1

    A Buddhist Temple is a religious place of worship, just as a Muslim Temple/Mosque is. And within that premises of Temple or Mosque certain rules both cultural and religious prevail. Just as a woman cannot enter a Mosque without covering her head (that is if the woman is allowed in that Mosque) the same woman cannot cover her head at a Buddhist Temple. Clear and simple rules, and if someone can enlighten the others why this is so complicated to some I would be delighted.

  • 9
    0

    What is Nishthar Idroos attempting to arrive at?
    Did he not see the NZ PM visiting a Muslim Holy Place? he attire…
    Why not at Kalutara? Tourists or nor the norms have to be followed.
    We went into the Nalluur temple. Yes there are norms there too you have to follow.

    At the kalutara Bodhiya its written in english and was shown to the Bora people.
    Ones presentation at a holy place the rule is both Cultural & religious.

    NISTHAR IDROOS CREATING A MOUNTAIN FROM A MOLE HILL.

    • 1
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      Anyone can do as they please but no one should be forced to do anything.

  • 8
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    Brother Nisthar,
    It is absolutely wrong to say that Islam is a knowledge based religion! Are you sure what you are talking of or still immersed in religious bias and ignorance. Are you referring to knowledge or intelligence? Knowledge is just accumulating some already written or said information without ever analysing it or questioning it or debate about it. Two plus two is knowledge or may be call it education. But knowledge, like you, can only just blindly repeat what is being said in Quran and nothing else. No analysis, no thinking or no proof needed. It is like how students memorise poetry or religious hymns. Nisthar, your knowledge and the knowledge of the guys who checked the visitors are just the same.These Buddhist guys have a set knowledge, read or told to them, that this is a Sinhala Buddhist country, blah……blahhh. You refer to Quran and they refer to what is being told by another ignorant guy. Both you and they have a set of knowledge but both sides do not really know why not or what for or is it rational or not. All because there is only “knowledge” but no intelligence and thus the followers are a bunch of stupid, brainwashed, blind human beings just follow the heard without the mindset or ability to question why it has to be done. It is rational that one has to be clean when going to a place of worship, or entering a house, all for hygienic reasons. Have you noticed how stinking guys at times travel with you in trains or buses or even planes. So there is no need for the thoppy being compulsory besides just a tradition. In all cultures such practices are there but they are not sacred or holy but just a tradition and to preserve ones cultural identity.

    • 1
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      Nathan

      The greatest knowledge Islam has to convey to you and the world at large is that your creater and the creator of the heavans is one and you will meet Him.

  • 1
    0

    .” Both males and females were ordered to remove as they had apparently set foot on sacred territory. “

    Where is this bhuddhist temple that commentators are talking about?Is that guy telling them not to wear it in srilnka which he says is a bhuddhist counttry?If so it is a serious matter.

  • 5
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    Is Idroos on drugs ?

    • 4
      1

      He grows a beard. Same thing.

      Soma

  • 3
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    But when one goes to a place of worship then rightly or wrongly they have to follow the practice and sentiment. It is mere respect to the place and the people who follow that faith. Nothing more. Same thing happens in Mosques too so what this big fuss. Can any woman enter a mosque without covering her hair? same thing here too. Muslims must learn to understand that there are others too and other religions too besides Islam.

  • 2
    0

    I read Mr Idroos’ article with passing interest and I am not qualified to comment on the various points except to say that compassion and understanding is best when dealing with visitors who fail to understand local customs. However, on a different matter, some of us have been trying to get our learned judges to abandon the powdered wigs they wear when on the bench – a throwback to old colonial times. Quite anachronistic in the 21st Century.

  • 1
    0

    idroos has wasted bandwidwith .
    lot of crap .

    do all Sunni arab Or Irananian shias wear the thopy ?

    This what Happens when you try to put thopy on others too.

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