This is why the question of the veil is complex. It raises questions philosophically, politically and personally. It is influenced by events in the outside world. The veil is elusive, recurring, a symbol of private matters made public and public matters made private. What is most amazing is how many threads of history it has taken to weave together this most complex of cloths.
“What it was to be Muslim was passed on not, of course, wordlessly but without without elaborate sets of injunctions or threats or decrees or dictates as to what we should do and be and believe. What was passed on, besides the very general basic beliefs and moral ethos of Islam, which are also those of its sister monotheisms, was a way of being in the world. A way of holding oneself in the world—in relation to God, to existence, to other human beings. This the women passed to onto us most of all through how they were and by their being and ways, thoughts, and how we should be in the world by a touch, a glance, a word—prohibiting, for instance, or approving. Their mere responses in this or that situation—a word, a shrug, even just their postures—passed on to us, in the way that women (and also men) have forever passed on to their young, how we should be. And all of these ways of passing on attitudes, morals, beliefs, knowledge—through touch and the body and in words spoken in the living moment—are by their very nature subtle and evanescent. They profoundly shape the next generation, but they do not leave a record in the way that someone writing a text about how to live or what to believe leaves a record. Nevertheless, they leave a far more important and, literally, more vital, living record. Beliefs, morals, attitudes passed on to and impressed on us through those fleeting words and gestures are written into our very lives, our bodies, our selves, even into our physical cells and into how we live out the script of our lives.” (121-122)
Some thoughts on Habitus and Islam. I love Bourdieu! This is by no means a good explanation of his sociological theories. But an exploration of inculcating Islamic principles into our daily life so that we move from just verbally saying we submit to having sincere belief.
The spiritual fire will cook you. If you retreat like a coward you will remain raw. If you don’t flee the fire you will be cooked completely, you will become lord of the table. Come to the table, be served to your companions, like bread, become help for the soul — become soul. -Rumi