The issue of women wearing the veil is discussed, as well as the debate that donning a veil is a religious necessity.
‘Abd Allāh Kamāl reviews the factors behind the spread of the veil, and the effect of the Muslim Brotherhood on Egyptian women, inducing them to wear the veil.
He says that instead of imitating Su‘ād Husnī’s [a famous actress] clothes and haircut, they are following in the steps of Nūrā, Shams al-Bārūdī and Suhayr al-Bābilī, retired actresses.
The spread of the veil, he says, was due to the historical revenge of al-Sādāt following the age of Nāsir. Al-Sādāt opened the political arena to the Muslim Brotherhood. The group played a significant role in confronting Nasserism in universities. Dissatisfied with the deal with al-Sādāt, the group leaned to their own intellectual alternative, through mosques and gatherings they were permitted to hold.
This alternative is based on keeping women hidden, urging them to wear the veil, and stay at home. The group had a two-fold approach: the first is a political one that aims at eradicating Nasserism and communism, while the second is a political and social one that achieves silent victories over women.
The writer also noted that the culture of the Persian Gulf played a role in the spread of the veil. Its religious constants and Bedouin values forced their way into Egyptian society through those who seasonally return to Egypt. This was strengthened by the generations brought up in the educational institutions of the Gulf, as the Egyptian labor force was directed there, accompanied by their families.
As time moved on and the door remained open to new additions to the basics of Islam, extremism added the veil to the religion. It tried to convince people that leaving it off humiliates the principles of Islam, and removing it renders the individuals’ religion incomplete.