forehead jewellery

For all my Muslim sisters who are “reclaiming the bindi”

I was curious as to the cultural implications of the bindi/ tika since so many Desi Muslims have become offended at white women (and only white women) who appropriate the bindi/ tika and are seeking to “reclaim” it. So I searched through different fataawa from scholars in the Indian subcontinent and found some interesting opinions.

Zakir Naik answers some questions from Hindu’s:

BINDI AND MANGALSUTRA

Why do the Muslim married women not put  bindi or tika on the forehead and wear Mangalsutra, like Hindu married women?

Bindi or tika
 
Bindi is derived from  the sanskrit word bindu, which means a ‘dot’. It is usually a red  dot made with vermilion powder and is worn by the Hindu women between their  eyebrows on their forehead.

Bindi is considered a  symbol of ‘Parvati’ and signifies female energy which is believed by Hindus  to protect women and their husbands. It is traditionally a symbol of marriage  and is worn by the Hindu married women. It is also called as tika.

Bindi has become a fashion
 
Nowadays, wearing bindi has  become a fashion and is even worn by unmarried girls and women. The shape of  the bindi is no longer restricted to a dot and is available  in various shapes, including oval, star, heart shaped, etc. It is even  available in different bright colours like blue, green, yellow, orange, etc.  The material of the bindi is no longer restricted to  vermilion powder, but is made of coloured felt and other material. It is also  available in a variety of designs in combination with coloured glass,  glitter, etc.

Mangalsutra
 Mangalsutra means a thread of good-will. It is a necklace worn specially by  Hindu married women as a symbol of their marriage. It consists of two strings  of black beads with a pendant usually of gold. The black beads are believed  to act as a protection against evil. It is believed to protect the women’s  marriage and the life of her husband. In southern India, mangalsutra is  called tali, which is a small gold ornament string on a cotton cord or a gold  chain.

Hindu Married women are never supposed to remove their mangalsutra.  It is only cut off when a Hindu lady becomes a widow.

Allah Is the Protector
 Allah (swt), our Creator, is the best to protect human beings. We do not  require any red dot or black thread to protect us from evil. It is mentioned  in the Glorius Qur’an in Surah Anam Chapter 6 verse 14

“Say: Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah,  the Maker of the heavens and the earth?”
                                    [Al-Qur’an 6:14]

It is mentioned in several places in the Glorius Qur’an  including
 Surah Ali Imran Chapter 3 Verse 150 and Surah Alhajj Chapter 22 Verse 78

“Allah is your Protector, and He is the best of  helpers.”

Wearing a bindi or mangalsutra signifies  a lack of faith in Almighty God, our Creator, who is the best to protect.

Against the Islamic Dress Code
 
Wearing a bindi or mangalsutra is  a sign of Hindu women. The Islamic dress code does not permit a Muslim to  wear any sign, symbol or mark which is specially significant of a non-Muslim.

In Islam, Both Married and Unmarried women should not be Teased
 Once, a Hindu friend of mine, while mentioning the benefits of mangalsutra said  that it easily identifies a married women, and thus prevents them from being  teased and molested. According to Islam, each and every woman, whether  married or unmarried, Muslim or Non-Muslim, should neither be teased nor  molested.

Faraz Rabbani issued this fatwa in response to a question:

I would like to know if it is permissible for women to wear a bindi/tikka or those little decorations on their head when getting married? I have seen many Muslim women wearing this however, I have been told by my older relatives (who are very cultural making it hard to believe them) that this is not allowed in Islam as it is imitating Hindu culture. However, Hindus only use it as it plays a significance in their religious traditions whereas the Muslim women I know who use it, only use it for the purpose of decoration and making themselves look beautiful but not to offend anyone or Islam.

Answer:

Walaikum assalam,

Given the religious connotations of such a practice, one is expected to avoid it.

As for other people, one should correct them in a positive, wise, and gentle manner that keeps in mind priorities and promotes the good rather than turning them away from the good and from the guidance of the Shariah.

See:

How to Command the Good and Forbid the Wrong

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani.


Mufti Abu bakr Karolia answered a similar question

In the name of Allah the All-Knowing

1) The bindi also known as the ?holy dot" is seen in Hinduism as a symbol of Uma or Parvati, which are names of a Hindu deity who is a consort of Shiva (which is another idol of the Hindu faith). A bindi is believed by Hindus to protect women and their husbands through these idols. None of these Hindu notions have a place in Islamic doctrine.

Even though the bindi has now become a decorative item of jewellery in other continents such as Europe and America. For a Muslim Female, whether young or old to deliberately impersonate or resemble other religions is extremely sinful and Haram.

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam has said,
?Whosoever impersonates a nation will be from them (on the day of Reckoning)?.(Mishkaat)

A Muslim male or female does not adorn him or herself with symbols of idols and deities other than Allah.


Scholars of Deoband issued this fatwa:

Assalaamu ‘alaikum Is it permissible for a woman to wear a tika or mathaputi (forehead jewellery)? Do these have any religious connotations for hindus? JazakAllah khairan.

Answer

(Fatwa: 633/628=M)

Tika (forehead jewellery) is a Hindu custom. Muslim women should refrain from using it. The Hadth says: من تشبہ بقوم فھو منھم

Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband


I thought these were interesting and could help the Muslims out a lot. These are all Desi scholars so I’m sure they are well aware of the culture and as we all know culture does not come before deen.

vintagelespionage  asked:

Hi Liam, I was wondering if you could help me understand something. I struggle to understand culture appropriation sometimes (I'm a white scottish female) because I don't really feel like I have much of a culture, the closest thing would be wearing kilts, old scots literature, ceilidh dancing ect. but if say an American were to do any of these things I wouldn't be offended. I suppose we Scots aren't often oppressed for these things so does that mean it doesn't count? I saw a post recently (cont)

(cont) about white girls wearing bindis and the girl was mad because we haven’t had to ‘take any of the oppression for that’ which is true in most cases. But then shouldn’t people wear whatever they want? If it’s not on your body then why does it bother you, y’know? People wear rosary beads and crosses as a fashion statement and it doesn’t bother me. This is when I fear I start to sound very ignorant and so would appreciate your say so I’m not a complete asshole and don’t even know why :)

It’s good that you’re worried about feeling ignorant and are seeking to correct this, rather than choosing to stay uninformed. So good on you for that!

I in no way claim to be super well-informed on this, and as a whitecishetmale am probably not the best person to ask? But I’ll do my best and leave the floor open for people to correct me, and recommend you keep an eye on the notes for better info from others.

The big problem with cultural appropriation, and why it’s not really considered an issue for us, is the institutionalised oppression associated with cultural adornments like bindis, burqas, etc. While South Asian people get abused and oppressed for wearing symbols of their faith and beliefs (especially amidst Western culture), white people get praise for wearing ~alt fashion~ and it’s pretty gross. Living in Scotland, you probably know someone who at least once has referred to a bindi with the term “P*ki dot”. I have. While disgusting slurs like this are still being used by white people, there is no justification for some to also decide it’s now something they’d like to have for themselves. It’s parasitic and weird and confusing wow

Appropriation of symbols of Christianity can’t be compared, especially in a Western civilisation, because they have little to no history of oppression behind them. It doesn’t bother you that crosses are worn as a fashion statement because people don’t, or very very very rarely, get beat up on the street for wearing one. You’ve probably never been made fun of on a playground for having one. They just aren’t comparable.

A culture is a shared experience. History, belief, upbringing, prosperity, and especially hardship are all a part of that. If you come from another background and adopt parts of that culture without experiencing all of these facets (especially as a fashion statement), that’s appropriation. Sometimes it’s beneficial! Sometimes it’s problematic, other times it’s straight-up racist. But that is for people of that culture to decide, not the people who just want to wear pretty forehead jewellery.

I don’t know if this was the post you’re already referring to but I’m gonna redirect you to this post that my friend Vondell recently reblogged for reference, because it displays a really important perspective about that idea of the way these symbols are treated in a Western society

Also something that can be applied to this discussion is this thread posted by my friend Marina, about white people’s use of the n-word, as it contains some great points about institutionalised oppression and white people’s unnecessary need to control facets of a race

Again, this is all just stuff I’ve picked up, so anyone please feel free to correct or develop on anything you see here!