As I have been exploring and meeting people, I have been overwhelmed with this incredible feeling of sadness as I have watched the women go by me. Kuwait is a very conservative country by Islamic standards. Upon entering the country last night, the passengers on my flight were reminded of the items that we could bring into the country. That in itself should bring your attention to just how conservative this country is.
I looked up the word “haunting” because that is the feeling I was getting as the women, who were fully covered ; were walking by me. The dictionary says haunting is “poignant and evocative, difficult to ignore or forget, continually recurring to the mind, and ominous.” The women wear a “hijab,” it is the full covering that covers the head, the face and the body. Though out my adventures in this region, I have been able to see the hijab in varying colors, however here all I have seen is black and the faces of the women are fully covered except for the slit that opens around the eyes.
Poignant, difficult to forget or ignore, and ominous seem to describe the women here so well. I am heartbroken at watching the women here. The women start wearing the hijab, pretty much at the time of puberty. It is typically stated that it is worn to maintain a certain standard of modesty, privacy and morality. Some believe “that it not only refers to the physical body covering, but also embodies a metaphysical dimension, where al-hijab refers to the veil which separates man or the world from God.” Maybe the idea of modesty, privacy and morality to some degree I can agree with however, the veil separating man or in this case women from God, I have problem with. Did I mis-read the Bible? God’s Word; that says when Jesus died on the cross the veil of separation in the temple was torn apart. Wasn’t it torn so there would not be any more separation from God.
In trying to allow you and assist you understanding in this journey I am on. I would like to give you another vision that I hope will help you understand this feeling of “haunting” I have right now. The men here and throughout this region wear a “dishdasha” (and yes I have one). Typically the dishdasha is white and that really is the case here. So here is your visual, men in white (which from our western viewpoint is purity) and women are in black. I am sitting here drinking hot tea (yes, hot with lots of sugar) and watching a husband and wife interact, or more accurately not interact. She is in the hijab, black and the slit across her eyes and he is wearing they traditional white dishdasha. She has to lift her veil to drink her juice from a straw and he is smoking his cigarette and drinking his coffee.
The dictionary says haunting is “poignant and evocative, difficult to ignore or forget, continually recurring to the mind, and ominous.” Please understand that I am not saying wearing the hijab is wrong, because I truly love this region of the world and the people of this wonderful part of the world. What I am trying to do is to let you know about this region, the people and to enable each of you to really become a part of this work that God has called me to be part of.