The debate around clothing (Burkini, Niqab, etc.) aimed at covering or hiding the female body often appears, particularly in the eyes of Anglo-Saxon populations, to be futile, useless or like a Franco-French fad.

Very often, those who express their concern about the development of religious or secular prudishness are served up with the facile argument of freedom of choice, without asking the question of the internalized, historical, social, religious or cultural constraint that weighs on women.

France, the country of human rights, would deny its own values.

On this issue, Muslims will often explicitly invoke the concept of decency.

They will declare to try to score a first point by borrowing the codes of liberal democracies, that the choice of the burkini or the thong belongs to the women while implying that decency is obviously on the side of those who cover their bodies.

According to the author, this religious or secular prudishness invites not only to despair of man, to exempt him from his responsibility, but even more, illustrates the renunciation of the ideal of perfecting the human spirit.

Before demonstrating that religious or secular prudishness is a strong symbol of this renunciation, let us ask ourselves a few questions.

Why do some women, mostly Muslims, cover their bodies?

To answer this question, the reader is invited to carry out the following thought experiment.

Let us imagine a possible world, as Leibniz would say, in which human beings would be evolved to the point that each man would be able, without effort, even in the proximity of a naked and beautiful woman, to resist his impulses and to return to this woman a simply benevolent look.

In this ideal society, the only function of clothing would obviously be thermal protection and would therefore not be intended to hide parts of the body, including those that a part of modern humanity still considers intimate.

Question: Aren’t the Amazonian tribes whose members evolve naked without the males yielding to the irrepressible urge to jump on women more evolved than certain societies which are content to impose on women to cover their bodies to prevent them from being victims of uncontrolled male impulses?

Is covering women to prevent men from jumping on her, not refusing to attribute to women the status of human beings ? Is this not reducing her to a carnal object, to a simple body without a soul?

In the same way that thermodynamics studies ideal gases, consider a woman who has not internalized the religious, family, cultural and social constraints discussed in the introduction.

If such a woman decided to cover her body, what could be her motivation?

Could a woman who does not have a good image of her body, or even of herself, fall into this category?

Would she not be justified in covering her body to escape her own gaze and that of the other?

Between on the one hand, a big and aged woman who walks naked on a naturist beach, and who, without being troubled or embarrassed by the gaze of men or women, evolves in the most natural posture possible, and on the other hand, a woman who, because she is ashamed of her body or fears the gaze of others, covers herself widely, who is the happiest?

Is it better to clean the outside of the cup or to purify its contents?

Is it better to live with shame or to work on yourself to never be ashamed of your own body again?

Would a fulfilled woman, at ease with her body, fearing neither the disapproving gaze of her siblings, nor sexual assault, nor the wrath of an angry God, considering that it is up to man to control his impulses, have a single reason, if not protection against the cold, to hide her body from the eyes of the other?

We wanted to ask these questions before tackling the real subject of this article, namely, the erroneous idea that it would be advisable to take for granted the fact that human beings are destined never to improve themselves and in particular to remain an eternal slave to his own impulses.

Prudishness is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.

For example, the use of prudishness as a technique for maintaining social order emerges from the ultra-dominant interpretation that moderate or fundamentalist Muslims have of the Koran.

Only a man, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, understood in his time that such an interpretation amounted to despairing of the human race and to denying men and women the ability to perfect themselves.

Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, the African Gandhi, was at the origin of this liberating vision of Islam which goes far beyond religion.

The liberating vision of Mahmoud Mohammed Taha

In order to be more explicit, we will place ourselves in the perspective of a believer.

Mahmoud Mohammed Taha deemed that it was during the first preaching of Mohammed (Mohammed), during the so-called « Meccan » period, that Mohammed delivered his unique ontological message.

According to him, the verses, which Muhammad delivered to the members of the powerful Quraysh tribe, were spiritual, powerful and merciful. Monotheism was strongly affirmed there. The omnipotence of Allah, the beauty of his creation, his merciful and omniscient character, were declaimed.

The human being was called to submit to the plan that God envisions for his creature. The law underlying this message was ontological. And submitting to Allah’s will was the corollary of its creative purpose, namely the perfecting of the human being.

The Meccan message was addressed to a complete man, endowed with reason. This is why the possibility of drinking wine was considered a blessing, « a sign for people who reason » (Sura 16, verse 67).

The suras of this first period were stamped with tolerance, respect and admiration for the followers of other monotheisms.

Mohammed appeared particularly well-disposed towards Jews and Christians, considering that the truth was also to be found in previous revelations.

Eventually, this initial message will be rejected by the people of Makkah. Mohammed will get little support and will even be forced to flee to exile in Medina.

In Medina, the status of Muhammad changed. He was no longer the « warner » but the temporal and spiritual leader of the Medinan community.

Confronted with the principle of reality, he seemed to renounce the ideal of the Meccan message to deliver verses which were no longer addressed to the being, to the individual, but to the community that he intends to guide.

The suras of this period are more severe. The law is getting tougher. Some prohibitions become absolute and tolerance is no longer appropriate.

While verse 43 of Sura 4 of Madinan origin forbids believers to approach the prayer hall while drunk, until they understand what they are saying.

Sura 5, later, stigmatizes the consumption of alcohol and establishes an absolute prohibition: “O believers! Wine, games of chance, statues, arrows of divination are an abomination invented by Satan. Get away from it so that you succeed. »

Medinan preaching moves away from the highly spiritual ontological message of Mecca to spread a message simply adapted to the circumstances and the low spiritual level of its listeners.

The sanction is intended to be adapted to the roughness of the morals of the people of which he is the envoy. The time for announcing eternal and immutable truths is over. The principle of reality catches up with the one who represents himself as living a prophetic experience, who henceforth legislates, ensures the political and military conduct of the Medinan community.

The situational nature of the verses from Medina encourages Mahmoud Mohammed Taha to think that the absolute prohibition of wine is not intended to apply forever.

It is only a measure of circumstance due to the imperfection of the human community that he rubs shoulders with every day and whose faults he knows. It is intended to maintain social order despite the high degree of imperfection of the inhabitants of Medina.

For this great Muslim thinker, however, freedom remains first and the improvement of the human species is the ultimate goal assigned by God to his creature.

The prohibition of the consumption of alcohol, the amputation of the hand, the authorization to hit one’s wife and all these prescriptions which today seem to come from a bygone era are therefore destined to disappear.

Thus, to consider the eternal maintenance of religious or secular prudishness, of the prohibition of alcohol, of hudûd, these legal penalties prescribed by the Koran or the Sunna, therefore amounts to renouncing the improvement of the human being and consequently to disobey the first command that God assigns to his creature.

Beyond the Koranic context, we believe that the imperative of individual development, even if it has a sometimes high social cost, must always prevail.

Because at a time when technology makes available to everyone instruments of unfortunately effective destruction, humanity risks perdition at any time.

With post-modern philosophy, the crisis of foundations has appeared. Relativism, nihilism have continued to flourish.

While René Descartes thought he could base his philosophy on his famous « Cogito Ergo Sum », humanity is no longer able to agree on a philosophical or ethical basis capable of giving meaning to human life and defining a way of action.

Today, according to the author, the foundations of the new philosophy to be created can be summed up in two words: Conservation and improvement of the human spirit.

These two concepts are two parts of the same body, inseparable and dependent on each other, as are the Siamese.

Without conservation of the human species no possible improvement of the human spirit and without improvement of the human spirit of the human species there is no possible conservation of the human species.

For a believer, covering the female body to inhibit the sexual urges of the male should be seen as a renunciation of the commandment to perfect the human spirit.

About two thousand years ago, Jesus declared to his audience that “All sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. « . He continued: “Whoever speaks against the Son of man, he will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him either in this age or in the age to come. »

Thus, insulting Jesus, insulting Muhammad, insulting Moses… will be forgiven.

On the other hand, insulting the grain of sound spirit that God has instilled in the spirit of every woman and every man, will not be forgiven. For to refuse the first commandment of God to perfect the spirit is to blaspheme against the spirit.

The conservation of his creature being the primordial goal of the creator, he derogates from the rule of forgiveness because the disobedience of his creature to the rule of perfecting the spirit would be likely to generate a risk of perdition for humanity.

Thus everything that dispenses the human being from aiming for the perfection of his species and in the first place his individual perfection is a crime against the spirit, the only one that Jesus declares to be unpardonable.

In conclusion, even if religious or secular prudishness is not in itself the worst danger for humanity, it is a case in point of a new destructive paradigm which can be summed up as follows:

I demand that society adapt to my own neuroses because I don’t want to have to work on myself to free myself from them. I claim the right not to perfect myself, not to adapt.

Thus, the male who wants to cover the woman so as not to be tempted, is only claiming the right not to obey the first commandment, namely, the perfecting of the human spirit.

Copyright – Copyright: Jean-François Le Drian 2022


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