Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Turban in Islam

Please refer to the following news article:

Islam is not about turban and beard

From my research, discussions and debates with people of various backgrounds, I agree with many of you in that the real issue in this controversial case is whether the right of individuals to wear headgear is at stake. On top of that, the question of whether this type of lawsuit falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court is also one of the major talking points.

However, I am not really interested in the aforementioned issues nor the political or legal ramifications surrounding them, which in my opinion only serve as a moot point. What I am more interested in is whether wearing turban is an Islamic practice in the first place.

Before I begin, it is important to note that my intention is not to question or lambaste the age-old Islamic practices and belief. Rather I am honestly trying to engage ourselves in a healthy intellectual discourse that has nothing to do with politics. That said, I invite you to make corrections on any erroneous or inaccurate claims that I am about to make. I am here to learn, and I strongly believe that many of you readers are wise men who possess a wealth of invaluable knowledge to offer.

If we study the "science" and history behind turban beyond what most of us already know, it seems obvious that wearing turban is far from being exclusively Islamic, let alone Arab. People of diverse cultures, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia all regard turbans as part of their custom. Conventional wisdom suggests that the reasons for wearing turban vary greatly. Many Africans wear it to keep desert sand out of their faces and the more nomadic members of African tribes use turbans to disguise themselves from their enemies. Indian gentlemen wear turbans as a symbol of their wealth, caste and profession, while Turks also don them for similar reasons. If Sikh men wear turbans for purely religious purposes, Arab, Afghan and Persian gentlemen use them for a mixture of religious, cultural and geographical reasons.

If historical, sociological and anthropological knowledge were any indication, wearing turban can safely be ruled out as an Islamic practice. However, we have so far overlooked the Quran and Hadith in determining whether it is indeed Islamic. While the Quran makes absolutely no mention about turbans, the authentic Ahadith (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Malik) hardly indicate any significance that turban has in Islam beyond the fact that Muslims are not allowed to wear it while in the state of Ihram. Unfortunately, what we often hear and choose to believe is a collection of weak Ahadith glorifying turbans and quoted as if they were authentic.

While there is no question about whether wearing turban is part of the Sunnah, the real issue remains whether it holds special significance in Islam. Even though it is true that some parts of the Sunnah are more significant than others, wearing turban does not appear to me as being one of them. Some of you may hate me for saying this, but I personally agree with the judge for commenting that not everything that Muhammad did has to be followed. The Prophet did countless things during the course of his life, and it is simply impossible for us to emulate each and every one of them, especially since we live in a totally different era that renders many of his deeds impractical.

In my humble opinion, excessive obsession with and blindly emulating Muhammad border on idolatry, which is a grave sin in Islam. I see Muhammad as my reference, not an idol. The sole object of my devotion is Allah, while Muhammad was merely one of His many messengers. Muslims often forget that Muhammad did not establish Islam, he merely completed it. Therefore it is no surprise that many Muslims all over the world were united in blind rage when the infamous caricatures of Muhammad were made public recently, while writings and other forms of mockery on Abraham, David, Solomon and Jesus were utterly disregarded.

What appeared initially as a mere question of religious attire leads to a bigger and more important question: have we been looking at the mere appearance of Islam while neglecting its underlying form? Many modern Muslims scholars believe that Dajjal or the Antichrist is an allegory (not a creature or some scary monster as Muslims widely believe) which is essentially an embodiment of evil and ignorance prevalent during the End of Days. In many versions of the Ahadith, the Antichrist is described as being one-eyed, which is a metaphor for mankind's obsession with physical appearances (materialism) while neglecting the underlying form (substance).

There is plenty of evidence to support the above prophecy, and we really do not need to look that far and deep in order to verify it. Mankind in general makes the pursuit of materialism its ultimate goal above morality and kindness. More and more Muslims are placing greater importance on physical appearance and false religious rituals above Aqidah, Tawhid and Akhlaq. We perform all obligatory religious rituals that are expected of us without understanding what they entail. As if we have not learned from the fallacy that confuses the Arab culture with Islam, Malays equate conversion to Islam with being Malay or "masuk Melayu". On each Friday (which is Islam's holiest day, not Malay's), male and female Muslims don baju melayu and baju kurung thinking that they have something to do with Islam. When we need to perform daily prayers, the elders tell us to put on kain pelikat as if wearing a clean and sterile pair of Dockers long pants does not quite cut it. And when we do not wear songkok to prayers, some imams call us fasiq.

To make matters worse, when a group of enlightened and educated Muslims (Salafis, Qutbi and Wahhabis) attempt to abolish many false practices (bid'a) that have become synonymous with Islam, we call them deviant and kafir just because they are trying to purify and restore original Islam.

Perhaps it would be fitting for me to sum up my whole point with a personal tale. I personally know a few Muslim fellows (Americans, Malaysians, Sudanese, etc) who are considered "pious" and never fail to don their favorite headgear. One of them used to tell me once, "Every time before I go drinking and nightclubbing, I will never miss reciting surah Al-Yasin after Isha' prayers."



Kak Chik said...

Very interesting "endless" discussion. But I have to agree with you on one's not how you dress that makes you Muslim or not but then this is not an excuse to expose one's aurat and still claims one to be a good Muslim. A good person maybe but a good Muslim is supposed to play by the rules and not bend them as they like. So since the turban is not "a rule" (tidak disyariatkan) therefore it's okay both ways. Pakai tak pe, tak pakai pun tak pe.

But this discussion will lead to the hijab issue which is also an Islamic headgear. I'm in the midst of finishing up an article on hijab, so let's wait before delving into that one.

Kak Chik said...

Oh and another thing (being the obsessive compulsive me), you didnt write PBUH or S.A.W behind the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) name. I'd rather you put it to glorify Him.

Ammar said...

I always believe in the rule of sticking to Sunnah and Al Quran for guidance. If something, or someone says it's part of Islam, mesti kena hadith or ayat in the al-quran to back him up. Of course, we cannot take it literally la. If the hadith says we have to teach our children, how to use a bow and arrow, i don't think it's meant as literally teach him to shoot an arrow, but how to survive and defend himself. Correct or not?

And I agree with Mrs Ammar. I think it's better if you add PBUH or SAW after Prophet Mohamad S.A.W's name.

Anonymous said...


We are writing to inform you about a book related to what is happening now in the Middle East released by Olive Grove Books entitled THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY. This book takes place in Beirut.

Because the region of Palestine and the repercussions it holds for peace in the Middle East between the PLO and Israel are critically important, the issues discussed via this spy-thriller makes it interesting and informative so that people all over the world can understand exactly how both sides think and how that thinking has led to continual violence in the Middle East.

If these issues had been understood and discussed 18 years ago, perhaps two wars in the Persian Gulf, the Sept. 11th catastrophe and this new Beirut War would not have happened.

That aside, it is never too late for peace.

With your consideration, we at Olive Grove Books hope you give THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY its rightful place in history and on your web site and store book shelves.

It is a book, which has come of age, and is so timely that it is a must read for everyone who wants to understand what is going on in the Middle East.

With appreciation and gratitude,

Sincerely, from the publisher,

Robert Spirko, author
ISBN: 0-9752508-0-9
Olive Grove Publishers


MENTOR, Ohio – THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the September best-seller list at Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor.
“It is time for the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the Camp David Peace Talks, resume where they left off and "freeze in place" the already-agreed-upon negotiating points,” Spirko says.
“The Iraq Study Group should make this recommendation a top priority before trying to put-in-place a new strategy for Iraq – mainly because ramifications of a peace agreement between both sides will resonate deeply throughout the Muslim world in the way Jews and Muslims interact toward each other. It could have a profound ripple effect including how the United States is perceived by Islamists.” he emphasizes.
“I have communicated that first step to the James Baker III and Lee Hamilton study group. It is important that both sides in the Middle East region are willing to come to their senses,” Spirko reiterates.
He uses the following analogy for peace. “The Camp David accords have precedent and continuity through previous agreements. It's like a marriage where both spouses in an argument storm away mad. They don't divorce and then try to resume their relationship; rather, they come back together, settle their differences, and resume the marriage where they left off. It must be the same for the Middle East Peace talks."
Spirko’s book predicted terrorism against the United States & Israel in his book which takes place in Lebanon. It is eerily similar to the Beirut War which took place last summer between Hezbollah and Israel.
Spirko says if these issues had been understood and discussed 18 years ago, perhaps two wars in the Persian Gulf, the Sept. 11th catastrophe and the new Beirut War would not have happened.
“That aside,” he says, “It is never too late for peace.”

MEDINA, Ohio - When it comes to spy novels and Middle East intrigue, after 16 spell-binding years, the gripping story behind the Middle East quagmire - its issues of nuclear weapons and the quest for a Palestinian State - is finally being told in a ground-breaking new book entitled, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY.

Author Robert Spirko created the work in such a way that every reader in the world will understand all the intricate issues in the Middle East and how close the region actually came to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

Mr. Spirko has a unique way of holding the reader in his grasp as the plot of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY unfolds. He literally takes you from your armchair and immerses you into the lifestyle of the Bedouin, the Israeli, the PLO and the mindset of the Middle-Easterner.

THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY is not just another spy-novel; it is the quintessential spy-thriller because it forces the reader to understand how both sides "think" and why that thinking ultimately led to repeated wars in the Middle East.

Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. In working for peace, and after several frustrating years, he put down his analysis in writing and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell.

But, nobody was listening.

Today, all that has changed, thanks to Olive Grove Publishers who decided to give his book a chance.

When the Palestinian question came to a festering crisis in 1990, he had already predicted several of the actual events before they occurred. For instance, Spirko predicted the Intifada and Persian Gulf War, missing the actual invasion date of Kuwait by only one week. He did this through spectacular supposition, analysis and prediction based on what he was "seeing" in the region.

When Spirko typed his manuscript, he set the work to fiction, about what he thought might occur soon in the Middle East involving weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation, the Palestinian uprising before it occurred, and how the Palestinian question begged to be answered, little did he realize that every event he described in the book would eventually transpire.

His story of what was really happening behind the scenes in the Middle East is truly astounding and remarkable, and his contribution to the Camp David Peace Talks in 2000, formulated a solution to the Jerusalem question. When the BBC got wind of it, they termed it "as nothing short of brilliant" - Jerusalem becoming the simultaneous capitals of both Israel and Palestine in congruous or concentric zones.

Spirko originally copyrighted his book on October 20, 1987, in the U. S.
Library of Congress where intelligence agencies reviewed his work.

Today, finally, somebody is listening.

Spirko feels that both sides must return to the Camp David Peace Talks and resume where they left off and "freeze in place" the already-agreed-upon negotiating points.

"It's like a marriage where both spouses storm away mad in an argument.
They don't divorce and then try to resume their relationship, they come back together, settle their differences, and resume their marriage. It must be the same for the Middle East Peace talks," Spirko says.

The story begins in Beirut, Lebanon, once a great financial capital of the Middle East, which lay in ruin, having been systematically blasted to rubble during 20 years of inexhaustible civil war and siege by Israel, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and Lebanese factions. Soon, the quest for a Palestinian State would be framed by these events; namely, the invasion of Kuwait by a neighboring rogue state, Iraq, with Saddam Hussein's goal of seeking nuclear parity with Israel.

In Mr. Spirko's story, Rick Waite, a forgotten UPI correspondent, and Adrienne Waters, a Pulitzer Prize journalist from the London Times, meet-up in Beirut with a PLO operative named Ahmed, who discovers a secret intelligence memo about a secret plan to destroy Israel.

In the ensuing chase to find the answer to this secret communiqué and what it means, a deadly race against time begins as the unlikely trio tries to halt the launch of a secret weapon from a hidden PLO base camp in the Syrian Desert. U. S. and British intelligence operatives have their own agenda, and attempt to stop whatever is going on to save the entire region from a nuclear holocaust.

Spirko weaves a tale of chilling duplicity and thrilling action, as the characters evade and devise a method to announce the discovery of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles to the rest of the world - all while United Nations' delegates bicker endlessly.

An executive at BookMasters, Inc., says, "The book is absolutely stunning in the manner in which Mr. Spirko, tells his tale. He is truly a master as an analyst, and it's totally unlike anything else we've ever read in a spy-thriller. It keeps you turning pages and won't let you quit - until the very end. And, what an ending it is! If you crave twisting plots, thrilling spy-action and intriguing characters, then this is the book for you."

Spirko, whose own background includes a stint in the U. S. Air Force and has given his advice to the National Security Council in Washington, D. C., has a degree in journalism and knows first-hand about the newsroom and what it takes to be an intelligence field agent. His knowledge of the trade makes the story real, daunting, and strikingly similar to "The Year of Living Dangerously."

"THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY drips with reality," quips a book reviewer from Olive Grove Publishers. "If books were rated by Siskel & Roeper, it would be given a two-thumbs up."

Not since, Casablanca, do characters as earthy as Rick Waite, or as beautifully mysterious as London Times reporter, Adrienne Waters, or as desperate as PLO operative, Ahmed, bring fresh characters to a story that will be remembered by readers for a long time.

The novel is a mass market paperback produced by Olive Grove Publishers, and can be purchased at area bookstores through Ingram Book Group, New Leaf Distribution, and Baker and Taylor, priced at $14.99, ISBN 0-9752508-0-9. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY can also be ordered on the web at, or email orders from:, or from Barnes & Nobles, Border's, Dalton's, & Follett bookstores at colleges and universities, WaldenBooks,,, and other popular retail bookstores. Or, readers and store managers can call 1-800-BOOKLOG, or 800-247-6553 direct, to order.

For readers who want to know what was really going on in the Middle East prior to the Persian Gulf War, Sept. 11th, and Iraq War, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, is a must read.

WARREN, Ohio - When both sides walked away from the peace table at Camp David in 2000, Robert Spirko, author of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY warned negotiators Ehud Barak of Israel and Chairman Yasser Arafat that they would descend into the abyss of hell.

"And, they did," Spirko says, "and, so have we." Spirko is a native of Warren and a former Tribune staff writer.

That warning came after both sides had already agreed upon Jerusalem as the simultaneous capital of both Israel and Palestine, according to Spirko.

"When both parties agreed on Jerusalem, an issue they both said they could never agree on, then left the peace table over reparations and the right of return, 8,000 lives were lost in the ensuing four years, including America's 9/11 catastrophe," Spirko reveals. "Chairman Arafat should have taken the deal. He had 90% of what he wanted. The Israelis offered to build upon that later if Arafat would stop the suicide bombers.
Chairman Arafat would take the same deal today if it was offered, but it may be too late."

He explains, "The failed talks were a catastrophe for both the Middle East, and the United States, and the only way out is to resurrect the peace talks at Camp David, freeze the already agreed upon points, and resume where both parties left off."

Spirko has given his advice to the National Security Council in Washington, D. C. over the years, and is a 1965 graduate of the Kent State University School of Journalism. He studied for his MBA at Kent State University and currently analyzes geo-political trends as an investment advisor.

He wrote the book as a spy-thriller detailing what and how the quest for a Palestinian State turned into an ongoing disaster predicting Iraq and Iran would seek to develop weapons of mass destruction. The yet-to-be-resolved "right of return" and reparations were ignored by both sides at the 2000 Camp David Peace Talks. Those issues could have been negotiated later. Ideas presented by Mr. Spirko at those peace talks included letting both sides have the right to name Jerusalem as each nation's capital, an idea that the BBC in Great Britain termed as "brilliant.".

"The idea was to create simultaneous capitals for both countries-Palestine and Israel-with Jerusalem as the capital of each using congruous zones and a neutral governing district involving representatives from both sides with God as the central sovereign because they both believe in the same God, whether He is called Allah or Jehovah," Spirko reiterates.

"As we speak, Israel’s Ariel Sharon lies in a coma and Yasser Arafat is dead. Israel agreed to a withdrawal from Israeli settlements in Gaza, and a partial withdrawal in the West Bank. That could have been achieved six years ago at Camp David. Now, Hezbollah and Hamas have thrown a monkey-wrench into the scenario which could lead the United States and the world into World War III.”

Spirko’s book takes place in Beirut, Lebanon. It details what he thought would occur in the Middle East before the actual events; namely, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Intifada, and other events leading up to Sept. 11. His analysis, written as a novel in 1987 and copyrighted in the U.S. Library of Congress that year, warned that the Middle East was heading toward nuclear Armageddon if a rogue Arab state, Iraq or Iran, obtained nuclear weapons. For 17 years publishers refused to publish the book because they told Mr. Spirko that the events he described in his book "couldn't possibly happen."

MEDINA, Ohio - "The Middle East is heading toward a new World War if Syria and Iran continue to aid and abet terrorism and try to develop nuclear weapons to threaten both Israel and the United States," says Robert Spirko, author of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a book which predicted both wars in the region.

He says both Iran and Syria are treading on dangerous ground in their quest to continue the war in Palestine and in attempting to enrich uranium for use in an atomic bomb.
Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. He wrote down his analysis, and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell.

THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY predicted many of the events that occurred three years later, even the firing of missiles which hit Israel.

"The United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China will never allow them to obtain enough nuclear technology to construct weapons of mass destruction," says Spirko.

Spirko, whose book foreshadowed the Persian Gulf War by three years, and the resultant Iraq War following the Sept. 11 attack, warned the consequences would be catastrophic for those Muslim nations who insist on continuing down that nuclear path.

"The chief threat in the region I see right now is the threat to Saudi Arabia by Al Quaida. If Al Quaida were to overthrow the present royal family in Saudi Arabia, cutting off the oil supply to the western nations including Japan and China, it would bring down entire world economies.
France and Germany would be begging us to go to war to retake those oil wells. It would be World War III," he emphasizes.

If such a scenario were to occur, France and the European economies could collapse in a matter of weeks.

"And, it's all related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which I said back in 1987 that is the crux of my book. It always has been, and always will be until it's settled. That linkage is exactly what Osama Bin Laden stated in a taped message aired the weekend before the election in November. Whether you believe him or not is beside the point. That's what's he told us, and we'd better take that into account."

"We are again on the threshold of peace in the Middle East. But, we're also on the threshold of World War III. We better get it right this time, " Spirko emphasizes.