Islam has always suffered from many false charges against it due to the misunderstanding of its true teachings. One example of this is the wide spread false notion that Islam in general deprives women of their rights and forces them to go behind the veil.
The Islamic veil is condemned by non-Muslim and regarded as a sign of backwardness and a thing of the past which is no longer practical in the daily way of life today. They think that it is a burden and a restriction which has been imposed on Muslim women to deprive them on them of their freedom; they see it as if it was a chain with which the cruel Muslim man has tied his poor wife or daughter or sister of any other woman under his rule, because of his selfishness or jealousy.
But if one looks with a deeper glance on this subject, it will be found that the veiling of women is not something that Islam has invented. The previous revealed scriptures also contain some traces of similar teachings and Islam came only to complete and perfect them.
The revealed religions teach women to be modest in clothes and actions. If we study the Bible we will find that it teaches that modesty and reverence demanded the veiling of the face of the woman and that the veil was used by ladies of high rank.
In the Old Testament we read about what Rebekah did before Isaac in the following passage:
When Re-bek'ah raised her eyes, she caught sight of Isaac and she swung herself down from off the camel. Then she said to the servant 'who is that walking in the field to meet us?' and the servant said 'It is my master' And she proceeded to take a headcloth and to cover herself. (Genesis: 24: 64 and 65)
In the New Testament we also read:
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head for it is one and the same as if she were a (woman) with a shaved head. For it a woman does not cover herself let her also be shorn; but if it is disgraceful for woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. (1 Corinthians: 11: 5, 6)
From the above, it is obvious that the Bible regards the veiling of women as a pious act. But the present day commentators of the Bible, in their efforts to prove that its teachings do not in any way deprive women of their freedom, have denied this fact because they thought that it is a burden on women.
Similarly even some of the modern day Muslims have also followed the same course for the same reason, and they have tried to prove that even Islam does not put this restriction on Muslim women. But they were not successful because, unlike the Bible, the text of the Quran is preserved in its original form and hence it is impossible to get away by twisting the meanings of its verses. Yet this reveals that the lack of the proper knowledge of the wisdom behind the Islamic veil prevails even among the Muslims.
The majority of Muslim women misunderstood the teachings of their own religion and they do not recognise its implications nor its benefits. Admiring the modern societies, they have followed blindly the false notions regarding the liberation of women and they have adopted some wrong ideas and consequently many of them rebelled against the teachings of Islam relating to the observance of the veil, and they went on indulging in the way of life of the modern society with all its false glitter.
Some other Muslim women, as a reaction to the rebellion of their ignorant sisters, have adopted the opposite course and they observed these teachings of Islam in such a manner that they have put on themselves some burdens that Islam did not prescribe and by so doing, they became a cause for more rebellion against the Islamic veil and they pushed the non-Muslims farther away from seeing the beauties of Islam.