During the hundreds of years of oppression that the patriarchal Western civilization imposed on the female gender and particularly on Western women, some movements were launched by women to revive their rights. One of these movements is the #MeToo movement which was initially launched by famous Western women who had experienced humiliation and sexual harassment. But, will this movement find the cause of this human disaster and the real solution to it? The following is a collection of excerpts from Ayatollah Khamenei's statements on "Islam's outlook on women"-- the outlook that the patriarchal Western civilization has prevented from being heard by the world, by means of hassles and ample cants.
1. Does hijab prevent or accelerate women’s partaking in social-political activities?
There were some people who thought that as long as women wore hijab, they would not be able to enter different social and political arenas. In the case of the resistance that led to the Islamic Revolution, I know for a fact that in certain parts of the country our women entered the arena earlier than our men. They arranged street protests earlier than men. The same is true of different other events which took place after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and during the Sacred Defense Era[...]
Hijab gives women freedom and an identity. In spite of the dim-witted and superficial propaganda campaigns of materialistic people, hijab does not shackle women. By ignoring hijab and failing to cover what Allah the Exalted has asked them to cover, women undermine their own dignity and value. Hijab brings about dignity. It makes women more valuable. It increases women's dignity and respect. Therefore, it is necessary to appreciate hijab and to be thankful to Islam for emphasizing hijab. Hijab is among the blessings of God.
May 12, 2012
2. By baring women, Western civilization does not seek to give freedom to women
From the western viewpoint, the reason why women should not wear a chador and why they should not wear hijab is not that it wants them to be free. You say that you can have freedom with hijab as well. The West has a different opinion. It wants women to entertain men's eyes and it wants to use them in an illegitimate way. It wants women to a have a special appearance in society. This is the greatest insult to women. Of course, they cover it up with certain beautiful words and they give it different names.
Oct 20, 2009
3. If West aims to give women freedom, why does it ban hijabi girls from universities?
Hijab is an honor for the person who observes it. A woman's hijab is an honor for her. In the past, in most countries - I say most countries because I do not know about all counties - even in Europe until two or three hundred years ago, aristocratic women used to wear hijab (veil) on their faces. Perhaps you have noticed this in some historical movies. They used to wear a kind of hijab on their faces so as to stop others from seeing them. This is an honor for women. In ancient Persia, the wives of aristocrats and senior officials used to wear hijab. But the wives of ordinary people did not all wear hijab, and there was no obligation to do so. Then Islam stepped in and abolished all these discriminations and said that women must wear hijab. It meant that the right to wear hijab was for all women. That was an Islamic view [that brought about this change]. Now they accuse us of violating women's rights. They are the ones who have to be condemned. They are the ones who must justify why they have used women as an object of promiscuity. Yesterday, I was given the figures of domestic violence - these figures were reported a week earlier - which said that two-thirds of the women throughout the world are beaten up by their husbands! I believe this is pitiful. It moves one to tears. This violence occurs mostly in developed Western countries, and result from sexual harassment and sexual demand that men have of women. This slandering is about the issue of women. They talk about women's rights and complain that we have imposed hijab on women. They themselves have turned the lack of hijab into a law and imposed it on women. They prevent female students from entering the university just because they are wearing a headscarf. Still, they condemn us for having made hijab obligatory. Our laws are all attempts that we have made to preserve women's honor, but their laws are there to disrespect women. And there are some other slanders similar to this that the West is levelling against us.
Jan 3, 2008
4. Western societies insistence on women’s bareness is not out of advocating freedom, but out of being patriarchal
A symptom of patriarchy in the West is that they want women for men [to serve their lust]. Thus, they say that women should wear makeup so that man can seek pleasure! This is patriarchy, not freedom of women: it is actually freedom for men. They want men to be free to even fulfil their visual lusts; so they persuade women to uncover, wear makeup and exhibit themselves before men! Of course this type of selfishness was present in many men in societies that did not enjoy divine religions; it was existent in them from old times and they have it today, too: the Westerners were the utmost manifestation of it. Therefore, the issue of women pursuing knowledge, science, studying, awareness and acquiring knowledge and educations should be strictly followed up by ladies themselves and they should value it.
October 22, 1997
5. What does Islam pursue by promoting Hijab?
In order to prevent the mingling of the sexes and preserve ethical boundaries, Islam has obligated women to observe modest dressing (hijab). Hijab is a means of providing security: by observing hijab, Muslim women provide security both for themselves and for Muslim men. Wherever hijab is taken away from women, wherever they push women towards bareness and nudity, security is taken away primarily from women and secondarily from men and the youth. To preserve a healthy and secure environment wherein women can pursue their tasks and men can carry out their responsibilities, Islam has set hijab as an obligation: hijab is an outstanding obligation by Islam and its advantages are as I described.
March 10, 1997
6. The power God has given exclusively to women
The greatness of women does not depend on their ability to attract the attention of immoral men. Such an ability is not an honor for women. It will not bring about respect for them. It will only bring about humiliation. The greatness of women depends on their ability to preserve their God-given modesty. Their greatness depends on combining this ability with pious dignity and a sense of responsibility. They should use their feminine delicacy and their pious inflexibility appropriately. The combination of delicacy and pious inflexibility is particular to women. That is the advantage that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on women. Therefore, the Holy Quran mentions the names of two women as examples of religious faith for both men and women. "And God sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh" [The Holy Quran, 66: 11]. "And Mary the daughter of Imran" [The Holy Quran, 66: 12].God mentions the wife of Pharaoh and Mary as two examples of faith. These are some signs that point to an underlying Islamic ideology.
Apr 21, 2010
7. Does Islam suppress women’s freedom and dignity by promoting hijab?
In the Islamic school of thought, there is a sheltering and veiling space between men and women. This does not mean that women live in a separate world from that of men; no, men and women live together in the society, in their working environments—they interact with one another everywhere, they cooperate to resolve social problems, they work together to manage affairs in the battlefields and they work together to manage family affairs and raise children. However, outside the home and outside the family environment, this protective distance and this shielding space is certainly preserved. This is the main point in the Islamic model. If this is not observed, the society will be afflicted with the same depravity that the West is plagued with today. If this point is not observed, women will be left behind in heading towards the values—the case of which [women pioneering in moving towards values] has been witnessed in the Islamic Iran.
Statements made during a meeting with a group of nurses
November 13, 1991
If they say, "Why do you not give women the freedom to appear without hijab?" we should answer, "Why do you give them this harmful and threatening freedom in such a way?" What is being pursued in the west regarding the issue of immodesty and lack of hijab makes one distressed. One wonders what they want to do and where they want to go.
You may have more information in this regard but I also have a lot of information about what is being done on this issue. These things are done at different levels which range from higher levels to occupational levels, living conditions and other such things. In the Islamic discourse, respect towards women and the characteristics, dignity and delicacy of women should be highlighted. By delicacy, I do not only mean physical delicacy. As well as physical delicacy, I mean the delicacy of women's psychological and intellectual structure and also the delicacy of their responsibilities.
May 11, 2013
8. Humiliating the female gender and turning women into tools for men's pleasure has been done by Western civilization and media
If a woman is determined to distinguish herself in western societies, she has no choice but to make use of her sexual appeal. Even in formal ceremonies, women should dress in a way to appear pleasing to their beneficiaries - namely, men.
I believe this is the greatest blow, the biggest insult and the greatest injustice as far as women are concerned. Unfortunately, there is a cultural norm in western culture according to which women are considered the giver and men are considered the taker. Other societies followed the west and made efforts on its path. And this norm has been established in the world. If somebody says something that goes against this norm, they create uproar against him. For example, if in a society women are prohibited from wearing make-up in public places, they will create an uproar. But there will be no uproar in the world if the opposite is done - that is to say, if immodesty is promoted among women in a society. When a society promotes modesty and discourages make-up among women, dominant propaganda machines of the world create an uproar about it. This shows that there is a culture, a policy, a strategy that has been followed for many years in order to consolidate this wrong and insulting position for women. And unfortunately, this has already happened.
May 22, 2011
9. What does West pursue by promoting immodest dressing?
Islam values family. Today all the West’s squabbles and propaganda fusses against Muslims is over the issue of family. Look how frantic they get over the issue of hijab! If hijab is observed inside the Islamic Republic, they try to demonize it. If it is observed at universities in Arab countries—where young female students have chosen out of their own will, awareness and desire to wear hijab—they react hysterically. If it is observed among political parties, again they react hysterically. If hijab is practiced at their own schools, even primary schools, in their own country—even though the schools run under their authority—they get frantic about it. Hence, this is the point of conflict.
October 12, 1994
Unfortunately, they have established their culture throughout the world. They have acted in a way that today one of the most important responsibilities or the most important responsibility of women is to put themselves on display and put their beauty at the service of men's pleasure. These things have become the main qualities that women should have. Unfortunately, the world has become like this. In the most formal meetings, such as political meetings and different other meetings, men should wear long pants and modest clothes, but if women appear as nude as they can, it is alright. Is this normal? Is this natural? Is this a natural process? They have done this. Women should put themselves on display and they should become objects of pleasure for men. Is there a kind of oppression which is worse than this? They call this freedom and they call the opposite behavior restriction. This is while hijab and modesty earn women respect. This gives women protection. They are taking away this protection on a daily basis. And they give different names to what they do to women. The first consequence or perhaps one of the first consequences of this behavior was that the family was destroyed and undermined. When the family is undermined and destroyed in a society, corruption will be established in that society.
May 1, 2013
The corrupt western world tried to impose its wrong and misguided redefinition of women on the people of the world - which was degrading to women. They tried to convince the world that in order to develop a personality, women have to look attractive to men. What kind of personality is that? They said women have to give up their modesty and morality and use their physical appeal in order to gain the approval of men. Is this humiliation or respect? Influenced by Zionist elements, the ignorant and intoxicated western world presented this idea under the guise of respect for women. And some people were taken in. The greatness of women does not depend on their ability to attract the attention of immoral men. Such an ability is not an honor for women. It will not bring about respect for them. It will only bring about humiliation. The greatness of women depends on their ability to preserve their God-given modesty. Their greatness depends on combining this ability with pious dignity and a sense of responsibility. They should use their feminine delicacy and their pious inflexibility appropriately. The combination of delicacy and pious inflexibility is particular to women. That is the advantage that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on women.
10. Islam respects women, West wants them as means of satisfying pervert men
The next issue is the issue of valuing decency and modesty in women. Any move that is taken towards defending women should be based on women’s modesty as a fundamental pillar. As I previously mentioned, since this has not been observed in the West—that is, the decency of women has not been attended to and has been neglected—such unrestrained lewdness has emerged. The negligence of the modesty of women—which is a key element in the character of women—should be prevented. Decency and modesty of women are a means of honoring and glorifying the character of women in the eyes of others, even in the eyes of depraved and lustful men. A woman’s decency and modesty is a source of respect and character for her. Islam values the issue of decency and modesty in women. Of course, decency and modesty of men are also valued. Decency and modesty are not exclusive to women; men must be decent, too.
October 22, 1997