The Veil in brief

I am not after controversial topics per se, but for some time I wanted to present the arguments for and against the veil. I tracked down discussions on mailing lists, articles, discussions,,, etc. I will try to present briefly what I have collected so far, and in another page (here) I will put a more detailed study.

Pro Hijab:

  • It was dictated by God in the Quran, and the prophet (PBUH) talked about it in some ahadith.
  • In all religions (Judaism and Christianity), the veil was decreed.
  • It is a sign of discreetness, in order not to get attention from staring eyes.
  • It is a sign of belonging to the nation of Islam
  • It is a tool to spread the ideas of Islam (when a veiled woman sits with a crowd, most probably they’ll watch their mouths)
  • Putting a Hijab is essential in prayers, the same goes for everywhere else.
  • “You do not have to look western to be modern.” The veiled woman defies the sexual mores of the west, with its strange compulsion to “reveal all”.
  • Where western men and women display their expensive clothes and flaunt their finely honed bodies as a mark of privilege, the uniformity of traditional Muslim dress stresses the egalitarian and communal ethos of Islam.
  • Discarding the veil in the late 19th and early 20th century was an expression for gaining women rights and fighting male dominance, now women enjoy a better environment (in elections, work, media,,,etc), consequently, this intrepretation for taking off the veil is not valid anymore.
  • Wearing the veil doesn’t affect marriage proposals, koloh esma we nassib. “if a man wants to marry me for my beauty only, beauty will fade. And he will look for a prettier woman later on“. “El tayeboon lel tayebat = the good men are for the good women. If he doesn’t like my veil, then he is not good enough for me“.
  • How could you postpone wearing the veil till you get older? Do you have an insurance against death?” 

Against Hijab:

  • There are no roots in our culture for veil; it is the results of the return of Egyptians workers from the Gulf countries (with all the Wahabi’s ideas)
  • It is a sign of oppressing women and limiting their choices
  • Sometimes we should go along the western regulations (example avoiding religious signs in public facilities) in order to be developed, learn in western institutions and work in western enterprises.
  • It became a symbol of terrorism; veiled women are harassed in the west. There is no need to go through this hassle.
  • The veil may constrain the girl from certain activities (ex: sports), as it might strangle her by accident.
  • It covers the beauty of women, a beauty that God has given her; this means that she is hiding the present of God.
  • The Quran verse doesn’t mention covering the head; it just includes covering the bosoms.
  • Until the late 19th century, veiling was neither a central nor a universal practice in the Islamic world. The Hijab was traditionally worn only by aristocratic women, as a mark of status, not as a religious obligation.
  • Many women, whose mothers had happily discarded the veil, adopted the hijab in order to dissociate themselves from aggressively secular regimes. That’s why it is a political expression, not necessarily a religious one.
  • it is an outdated dress code and a sign of going backwards and self-isolation
  • The advocates of Hijab are more business oriented, it became a trend in the Egyptian society, not a moral issue.
  • a veiled girl has a limited chances of getting married from a well established groom because he will need a freer girl to enjoy his youth with.
  • The majority of working opportunities need an unveiled woman. So veil will limit the girl’s chance of having her dream job.
  • Wearing a veil doesn’t mean that the girl is religious, and vice versa. Many veiled girls are displaying their beauties in tight clothes and sit on the Cornish with their boyfriends. There is no relation between being religious and wearing a veil.
  • Enjoy life while you are young, get married, and then wear the veil when you are more mature“.

The City – Constantine P. Cavafy

In The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell included two Cavafy poems “The City” and “The God Abandons Antony”. even though I am not a poetry fan, I loved it !

The City
By Constantine P. Cavafy

You said, “I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, a better one than this.
Every effort of mine is a condemnation of fate;
and my heart is — like a corpse — buried.
How long will my mind remain in this wasteland.
Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
I see black ruins of my life here,
where I spent so many years destroying and wasting.”

You will find no new lands, you will find no other seas.
The city will follow you. You will roam the same
streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
and you will grow gray in these same houses.
Always you will arrive in this city. Do not hope for any other —
There is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have destroyed your life here
in this little corner, you have ruined it in the entire world.

A biographical note written by Cavafy reads as follows: “I am from Constantinople by descent, but I was born in Alexandria — at a house on Seriph Street; I left very young, and spent much of my childhood in England. Subsequently I visited this country as an adult, but for a short period of time. I have also lived in France. During my adolescence I lived over two years in Constantinople. It has been many years since I last visited Greece. My last employment was as a clerk at a government office under the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt. I know English, French, and a little Italian.”

Next time I am in Alexandria I hope that I can have time and visit his museum in Lepsius Street – now renamed “Sharm El Sheik”. For more of his works, check this out

Books on my wish list: The Alexandria Quartet

“What I most need to do is to record experiences, not in the order in which they took place — for that is history — but in the order in which they first became significant for me.” ….  

A long time ago I heard about this novel, I tried to read it but as I was too young to understand it I didn’t continue it, plus my father didn’t like it that I read such a controversial novel (I didn’t read it all so I don’t know what’s controversial about it!).

 I was reminded by this novel today when I read in el Ahram that today is the birthday of Lawrence Durrell the writer of this novel (he was born in 27 Feb 1912).

That’s why I decided to dig for this novel once again. I like the idea of telling the story from more than one side !

The Alexandria Quartet is a tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and commercial success, the books present four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II.

As Durrell explains in his preface to Balthazar, the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject-object relation, with modern love as the subject. The Quartet could be seen as operating in a similar manner as Rashomon in that it offers the same sequence of situations to us through the points of view of several different people. It carries the concept further by allowing individual perspectives to change over the course of time.”

The four novels are:

In, I found an interesting review: “Durrell is writing spatially as well as sequentially. The first book, Justine, leaves gaps in the reader’s knowledge to reflect the gaps in the narrator’s knowledge. The second book, Balthazar, retraces the same material and fills in some of the gaps as the narrator learns more. The third book, Mountolive, tells the story in the form of a traditional novel (third person) and fills in most of the gaps. The fourth book, Clea, is set later in time; it once again leaves gaps to reflect what the narrator doesn’t know. This is a fascinating approach, but to enjoy it, you must be willing to endure unanswered questions that reflect the narrator’s lack of knowledge (including some, in Clea, that will never be answered).”

This book seems to be an interesting read, one that needs lots of time in order to enjoy it 🙂

just kidding

قلنا مزحه-جوليا بطرس

قلنا مزحه و لا بد رح يرجع يحكينا تاري القصه عنجد مابدو يحاكينا
سلمنا من ببعيد و سلمنا بالايد و هو عالاكيد لا سلم و لا رد

سالنا و ما كان مره يجاوبنا اذا كانو زعلان خلي يعاتبنا
لولا حدا يقولوا و كلمه صغيره يوصلوا بالبال رح يضلوا و لا بدا هالقد

زعلنا من زمان مره و رضينا هو اللي كان كان يحاكينا
مارح يخطر على بالوا بكره يرضى لوحالوا يا ناس بيحلالوا يبقى وحدو عنجد

 قلنا مزحه و لا بد رح يرجع يحكينا تاري القصه عنجد مابدو يحاكينا
سلمنا من ببعيد و سلمنا بالايد و هو عالاكيد لا سلم و لا رد

I like this song by Julia Botros, I’m not 100% sure but I think it is written and composed by Ziad Rahbani. It’s very hard to understand the words while listening to the song (and even reading the lyrics, some phrases I don’t quite understand)! The tune is very fast, but here the story goes: he is ma`moos from a joke she made and doesn’t want to talk to her. Quite simple.

The Weekend

The weekend is over, and here we are on a Sunday evening, 4 and half days away from the next one.

I had a pretty busy weekend. On Thursday I had some mashaweer, and I had the DELF exam. Akhiran. It wasn’t very hard, I hope to pass it.. Ya Rab. The conversation’s topic was about the advertisements in the public TV. Easy, but I was tensed a little bit at the beginning. My examiner was a nice man, I really felt we had a chitchat, not an exam. But generally I am suspicious with easy exams more than the hard ones, I feel that there is always something fishy, and that there were tricks I didn’t discover.. Rabena Yostor.

Anyway, I arrived home pretty late, hurried to get ready for the Opera’s ballet (One Thousand and one night). I went with some friends (Thanks D). Generally I am not that cultured of a person to attend Opera’s events, but once or twice per year are enough for me. I am not a big ballet fan, I like the costumes, the lights, the music, the story, the movements, the general atmosphere of dressing up and heading to the opera house, but in general I prefer listening to some talking every now and then ! (that’s why I can’t listen to Lounge music for a long time unless I was having some quality time with friends)….

El mohem, I loved the show, but when my brother told me about Omar Khairat’s concert in the AUC on Friday I definitely said no, kefaya culture for the time being. One of the nicest things in the evening is that by mere chance I saw MANY people I know!!! including one of my best friends who went there with a group of her university buddies and was sitting in the same row ! 

All of this was in Thursday. On Friday I had few stuff to do in the morning, seeing my family and one of my friends. By night we gathered in the house of my friend and decided to play games, we played Chinese checkers and Hangman on the computer, and it was a heated competition between the two teams  🙂 (can you imagine that we played hangman for almost 3 hours non stop!)….

Saturday morning was spent in a lecture and doing other trivial stuff, then the rest of the day was spent in deep antakha. I read parts of Maalouf’s Samarkand (didn’t finish it yet, but so far I love it), saw Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (didn’t find it that funny, but that’s another post), then slept at 10 pm (this should be recorded in history, me spending quasi the whole day at home and sleeping early !! )

Bas keda

Medieval Mosques Illuminated by Math

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.

By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be “quasicrystalline” designs, Harvard University’s Peter Lu and Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.” Source: Yahoo news, (Turkish mosque)

 Historic buildings in the Islamic world are often covered with breathtakingly intricate geometric designs. Both artists and mathematicians have long puzzled over them, wondering how the patterns were created…. In fact, the pattern isn’t random. Steinhardt says if you do the math, you see that it all fits together in predictable way. (source: NPR) Imam shrine in Iran)

Isn’t it just amazing!! This is one of the reasons I love walking in the streets of Islamic Cairo and gazing in the beautiful decorative tiles, just amazing!

Ana tir fil sama

Do u remember this song???

أنـا طيـر فـي السمـا

أنا طير في السما بعشق بالوما
عاش قلبي ونما من غير نمنمة وبسيط إنما عايش ملحمة
ويعيش له سمة وينول أوسمة ويبعتر شوق من غير لملمة
أنا طير في السما بعشق بالوما

أنا طير طيار عديت أسوار حطمت جدار ونزلت بحار
وطلعت نهار من ليل جبار

ده العمر عمار والقلب خضار مش عين في الجنة وعين في النار
ولاتحزن يوم لأ متبسمة
أنا طير في السما بعشق بالوما

أنا طير وبطير بجناحي أمير واستنى وأسير ولاكنت أسير
والعمر قصير أنا قلبي كبير

ويساع مشاوير وقليل وكتير ولايعشق غير النور والخير
ويخاف إن سهم اليأس رمى

أنا طير في السما بعشق بالوما

Till now I can’t understand what he means by “ba3shak belwamma” !!

Rembrandt and self portraits 

Yesterday in the art appreciation lecture given by Camel in el Kotob Khan, we were discussing the Baroque art, emphasyzing the works of the Rembrandt. We were discussing an important note on his self-portraits.

He was a prolific painter of self-portraits, producing almost a hundred of them (including some 20 etchings) throughout his long career. Together they give us a remarkably clear picture of the man, his appearance, and more importantly his deeper being, as revealed by his richly-weathered face.” ()

Plus, Camel told us that Rembrandt was a lonely man, he didn’t have friends, and his wife died young, so he had no one to converse with except himself ! (there are other theories explaining why he drew himself that much, but that’s another story)

Isn’t this what blogging is all about at the end? Writing down ur thoughts, interests, specific points in life, so in 10 or 20 years you’d go back and trace how you have grown to be that person. Right?


I love Charles Aznavour. I talked about his songs (Que C’est triste Venice and Hier Encore), this time I will share with you one of my favorites.

Remember Notting Hill ? Where Julia Roberts was the star and Hugh Grant was the bookseller and they fell in love. If yes, then u’ll definitely remember the last scene ending with this song. She.

Charles Aznavour always makes versions of the same song with many languages. This one he sang it in French, English, Spanish and Italian!

In one way or another, I feel like he is talking about Eve in general 🙂

She may be the face I can’t forget
A trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay.
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day.
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into heaven or a hell.
She may be the mirror of my dream
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell.
She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry.
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I’ll remember till the day I die,
She may be the reason I survive
The why and where for I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough and rainy years.
Me, I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is she.
She! She.

And in French

Toi, par tes mille et un attraits
Je ne sais jamais qui tu es
Tu changes si souvent de visage et d’aspect
Toi quelque soit ton âge et ton nom
Tu es un ange ou le démon
Quand pour moi tu prends tour à tour
Tous les visages de l’amour
Toi, si Dieu ne t’avait modelé
Il m’aurait fallu te créer
Pour donner à ma vie sa raison d’exister
Toi qui est ma joie et mon tourment
Tantôt femme et tantôt enfant
Tu offres à mon cœur chaque jour
Tous les visages de l’amour
Moi, je suis le feu qui grandit ou qui meure
Je suis le vent qui rugit ou qui pleure
Je suis la force ou la faiblesse
Moi, je pourrais défier le ciel et l’enfer
Je pourrais dompter la terre et la mer
Et réinventer la jeunesse
Toi, viens fais moi ce que tu veux
Un homme heureux ou malheureux
Un mot de toi je suis poussière ou je suis Dieu
Toi, sois mon espoir, sois mon destin
J’ai si peur de mes lendemains
Montre à mon âme sans secours
Tous les visages de l’amour
Toi! tous les visages de l’amour


Few days ago, we fixed the frequency of OTV (12398 horizontal). So far, I find it nice, I didn’t watch much of its programs yet, just the news (in our 3ammeya), and I liked it. And there was another program called “Messak sokkar Ziada” or something like that, their material was nice, but the presentators were mestazrafein shewaya. My friends say that el 3esseili program bardo is interesting, we’ll see. I’m waiting for the documentaries, I also expect that they will broadcast short movies made by young directors. As for the movies they have,, fa balash atkalem ahssan, none of them caught my attention aslan. Anyway, with a capital of $17 million (LE 96.8 million), I think that the channel will have a lot to offer (hopefully).