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Monday, April 28, 2008



Let us analyse the “Aurah” (Arabic term for “nakedness” ordained under the Islamic code for modesty) or what in Singapore is referred to as the “Tudung issue”.

What is the Islamic ruling on the Tudung for Muslimah?

It is very clear that there exist a code for modesty for Muslims men and women. Muslim jurists from every school concurred, as the basis for such ruling has been well authenticated from the Qur’an
[1] and the Sunnah[2] of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w[3]. As regards the aurah for Muslim ladies Allah s.w.t. has decreed thus:

"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful."
(Qur’an: Surah Al-Ahzab: 59)

He (Glorified and Exalted) also says:

"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms."
(Qur’an: An-Nur: 31)

And this has been further elaborated in a Hadith
[4] where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said to Asma', daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them): "O Asma'! Once a girl reaches puberty, nothing of her body may be seen (by non-mahrams) except this and these, (he pointed to his face and hands while saying so)."

Yet, there have been attempts by certain quarters to try and incite Muslims to oppose this long-held view. If it comes from non-Muslims, it may be quite understandable. Unfortunately, such view now seems to be advocated by certain Muslims, especially those whose values and thoughts have been very much influenced by trends alien to the values prescribed by Islam. Or perhaps there are those who conveniently assumed that all this while, the practice amongst Muslim ladies in matters of dressings are ‘acceptable’ and we should maintain status quo. When faced with the truth regarding the Islamic rule (hukm), they express their own ‘uneasiness’ on the issue, as it would mean a need for them now to change and conform. Whatever may be their excuse for non-compliance, it is a matter left for the individual Muslims to consider, as they would be answerable to Allah s.w.t. regarding this matter. Even if they prefer not to comply, this does not change the Islamic ruling on the matter that it is religious obligation ordained by Allah and His Messenger s.a.w. And Muslims know that to declare something which is clearly forbidden (haram) by Allah and His Messenger to be permisseable (halal), tantamounts to an act of renouncing Islam (termed as “irtidad – murtad” – meaning “act of renouncing” - “one who have renounced Islam”) – Na-‘uudzubillaah-min dzaalik! (We seek Allah’s protection from this!)

Irrelevant argument

Some complain, “Why raise this issue now? Why was it not brought up during our parents times?” They lament, “Our parents were good Muslims, even though their mode of dressing was not what you are now advocating!” And some even expressed their resentment and anger with an added statement “do you think that by not dressing up the way you are saying, it makes them lesser Muslims than you?” Some stoop low by bringing irrelevant arguments to divert the discussion with, “You think Muslim ladies wearing hijab are so perfect? They too commit many other sins, even ‘worse’ sins than those without hijab!” Some go to the extent of confronting Asatizah and well-meaning Muslims for their bringing up this matter now, seemingly to them it is done with a sinister ‘holier than thou’ kind of motive, whereas they forget that “to exhort one another to the truth (Qur’an: Surah al-Asr)” is a community obligation, nay, a prescription for not becoming losers (haa-siruun – from - husr).

Education of Muslims: gradual implementation – wisdom in Da’wah

Muslims have to admit that our practice of Islam is never perfect, yet we are enjoined to strive towards a higher level of perfection. Our “today must be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today” (from the saying of our Prophet s.a.w.) And in matters of Da’wah (task of inviting or calling towards Islam), Muslim scholars have applied wisdom (hikmah) in prioritizing areas of concern for Muslims to adhere, emphasizing gradual education, applying patience and tolerance (tasamuh) with regards to what has yet to be improved. We understand Da’wah and education of the Ummah to be a long, evergoing process and have its own stages of practices (maraatib al-‘amal). Therefore what may in the past be seen as though ‘ignored’, are those aspects, not as yet seen as appropriate to be stressed at that time, because there were other much urgent requirements to be emphasised – viz. building of conviction (iman), focussing upon instructing them with greater understanding of Islam and inculcation of goodly disposition (akhlaq) as Muslims.

As regards Islamic practices, Muslims here are firstly taught the bare essentials concerning their obligatory practices gradually, according to certain priority. We value the educative approach. More of these would be increasingly taught when enough motivation are present, as it would be unwise to harp on their knowing the legality (i.e rules - ahkam) alone, without inculcating in them also the will, conviction and motivation to want to practice them. Thus in the case of “Tudung (headscarf)”, some one did remarked, “How is it that now more Muslim women are donning the scarve?” The obvious answer to this is that “these Muslim women today have gained a greater understanding of Islam and have stronger conviction to want to practice it!” What should be appreciated is that Muslims here do not impose ‘draconian method of enforcement’ in our practice of Islam. Most of them chose to don it out of personal conviction and sense of responsibility. This being the outcome of proper education concerning the aurah. So, when this personal choice to practice an aspect of their religion is ‘thwarted’ by any one, it would be regarded by Muslims as being ‘insensitive’ to their religious needs or even regarded as downright discriminatory, because Singapore is a nation that clearly sanctions the right and freedom for everyone to practice one’s religion.

Starting them young

The realization amongst Muslims here towards adhering to the covering of “aurah” has been slow but an increasing phenomenon in Singapore. There were no campaigns nor were there organized programs. It can be attributed to the general education of Muslims on Islam. With greater understanding, individual Muslim ladies took upon themselves the initiative to don what is Islamically, the approved attire. It went almost unnoticed. Although the ruling applies to adult Muslims (those who have attained to the age of discernment – 'aqil baligh), some of these parents were even concerned for their school-going daughters' proper upbringing. They would prefer to start them young, as covering of the ‘aurah’ is actually an educative inculcation of modesty. Some sought the permission from school principals for them to be allowed to don the required scarf. Several had been given the permission, as at that time this was the prerogative of and at the discretion of the school’s principal.

When more and more Muslim parents began to follow the trend, the issue was then referred to the Ministry of Education for an official policy. It was by then, no more the discretion of school principals. When the official Ministry’s stand of not acceding to these requests, an avenue for accommodation were somewhat closed. Some school principals and community leaders even callously advised these parents with “if you want your daughter to be attired Islamically, then, go send them to the Madrasah.”

Coincidentally (and we feel it is relevant to mention), the trend of parents sending their children to Islamic schools (madrasah) began to increase. Amongst some of the the reasons cited by some of these parents who felt compelled to enrol their daughter into madrasah, was the opportunity for them to be modestly attired (the aurah covering). When the ‘CE-Madrasah’ issue ended with the government putting a cap on Madrasah enrolment thereby limiting the annual intake of Madrasah cohorts, the stage was set for some parents (i.e. those who could not get their daughters enrolled into Madrasah), with no choice but to confront (and perhaps test) Ministry of Education new ruling which, to them, tantamounts to banning a legitimate religious practice (the using of ‘tudung’) for students in all national schools. When the new semester started, parents enrolling their daughters for primary school donning the Muslim headscarf captured the media's attention. The media sensationalised the case. It generated public interest. Thus the “Tudung issue” begun.

Although it had been rightly pointed out that these young girls (enrolling into primary one) clearly were below the age, therefore technically are not immediately affected by obligatory rule for Muslim girls to observe the 'aurah' in dressing, yet the authority (Ministry of Education) were completely silent as to whether Muslim girls who attained to that age would be granted the permission. If such assurance was given, it could have easily diffused this matter then. The issue was in reality, not limited to these parents alone. Many Muslim parents, who have daughters in secondary schools, felt that on this the Ministry of Education matter should have given some leeway. Based on past precedence, some school principals have shown greater understanding when they exercised discretion to allow such requests. With the ministry's new decision, which was perceived as ‘rigid’ and 'uncaring', the case of these Muslim parents involved in challenging the system gained many sympathizers.

School uniform vs. religious rights

To many Muslims, the issue here was that the Education Ministry’s ruling on school uniform runs counter to their belief in the right to practice an aspect of Islam. And it must be noted that what was requested was for the Ministry to accommodate their needs by incorporating slight modification to the school uniform. Afterall, there was precedence in the case of another minority group with regard to the wearing of the turban in schools. Unfortunately, the way things were debated; many misconstrued their intent as though these Muslims were against the school uniform. It was not an absolute case of their demanding abolition of the “school uniform” for their “religious needs”, but it was more of seeking a ‘win-win’ accommodation of still donning the shool uniform while yet conforming to a religious needs.

The Muslim parents who brought their daughters to school wearing the ‘hijab’ was potrayed as some kind of ‘villians’ or at least the ‘trouble makers’ who dares to challenge the Ministry’s rule and of instigating change in the status quo. Whether this Education Ministry’s rule is fair or otherwise, whether such rule contradicts the religious right of the citizens or not, was conveniently overlooked. The rationale and reason for their actions were swept away with a heavy-handed ultimatum of the Education Ministry – “conform to our rule or else your daughter will not be allowed to study in the national school.” Their action was hastily and simplistically put down as a form of ‘rebelliousness’, whereas these parents have valid reasons and concern for wanting the Education Ministry to accommodate a genuine religious requirement of the ‘aurah’ dressing for Muslim girls. Having anticipated that the ministry would not change their rule on the school uniform, these parents were prepared and stuck to their cause to defy the ultimatum. It was to them a matter of principle, involving their constitutional rights. By this time, the issue attracted wider attention of some opposition politicians and even from those across the causeway. It may be that some people may want to politicize the issue for their own end, but many have no political agenda but rather they are motivated by a genuine concern for their rights. And the longer this issue is left unresolved, more opportunities are given for the ‘aurah’ issue to be used by the few with political aims to gain support from amongst the ‘disgruntled’ masses. Although, this “politicization” of the issue somewhat tends to further complicates the issue, yet, it does not take away the merit of the case that it actually pertains to a perceived deprivation of a religious right of a citizen due to a rigid ruling.

Twisted arguments and misrepresentation of issue

Some people attempted unfair accusations (especially in the media) as though these parents were acting ‘irresponsibly’ for not considering their daughters education. They suggested “Why not just send them to school minus the ‘tudung’? Why insist on the ‘tudung’ and deprive your daughters’ educaton?” They have prejudged these parents and the ‘tudung’ as the cause and were to be blamed, whereas they failed to see that these parents genuinely wanted their daughters to study in the national school. And the ‘tudung’ (if the Education Ministry allowed), do not in any way obstruct them from getting their education. Who or what placed them in this (false) dilemma? What was the real obstruction? If we were honest and objective we would see that the real obstruction to these young girls educational pursuit in the national school was in actual fact, the ‘rigid’ ruling of the ministry of Education, which directly barred and prevented them from doing so.

Some parties harped on this twisted potrayal of the ‘irresponsible’ parents. While projecting these innocent young girls as being the victims in this saga, the media reporting and comments made by certain quarters, singled out their parents to be the culprit by their seemingly ‘irresponsible’ act. Some who knew that as Muslims, these parents had in fact a valid reason for doing so, but yet for some reason or other they prefer that the issue to remain as status quo, sought to evade any reference to the Islamic religious rulings specific to the act of depriving Muslimah from carrying out her religious obligation.

Religious view from the Mufti
[5] of Singapore (MUIS) sought

As has been the practice, Muslims faced with certain issue on Islamic matters usually sought the advice of the Mufti of Singapore, as the Chairman of the Fatwa
[6] Committee of MUIS (the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore). Usually, the nature of the issue presented pertains to personal Islamic laws affecting individual Muslims. Generally, every Muslim acknowledges that covering the ‘aurah’ is obligatory, but the issue to Muslim parents was “what if the authority refuses to accede to the request for their daughters to don the hijab? What should they do?”

As the question was being asked by the Muslim parents, and with the given reality that they (the parents) do not have power to directly affect the Education Ministry’s decision over the uniform rule, the Mufti’s advice evaluated only from the position of the parent as individual Muslims being faced with two constrains – between the obligation of covering the ‘aurat’ and the equally essential obligation for education. Under such circumstance and following the juristic principles, the parents were advised to place the pursuit of education as the higher priority, as the non-conformity to the aurat rule was one ‘imposed’ upon them and hopefully a temporary obstacle. Thus the situation was regarded as an exception, and to be understood as a temporary solution to their ‘dilemma’. On hindsight, the Mufti’s advice was an exception to the rule; a temporary way out and should never be misapplied as though it is applicable at all times and for every circumstances.

Unfortunately, the Mufti’s advice, which was meant only for the Muslim parents concerned, was misconstrued as though it can be equally used by the authority that ‘imposed’ the rule on school uniform, as justification for their action. The Education Ministry and community leaders, who tried to deflect the blame only on to these parents, should have sought relevant advice from the Mufti on that matter specifically to themselves i.e. “what is the Islamic ruling with regard to someone enforcing rule which deprives a Muslimah of her right to follow dictates of her religion, rules which tantamount to making her take off and expose her ‘aurat’ (i.e nakedness)?” This would have been relevant.

Instead, the Mufti’s advice that is specific only to the parents concerned was somewhat misdirected, and reports concerning it seemed to be slanted to suggest as though the imposition of the Education Ministry’s uniform rule (even though it contravened the Islamic ‘aurah’ rule) is justified under Islamic law. Perhaps they may have hoped that this kind of twisted argument would go unnoticed. Comments, opinions and media coverage shamelessly echoed such line of twisted argument. It is similar to the case of one who has been bullied. Clearly as the victim, he cannot be blamed. But the bully cannot resort to using a twisted argument by then saying, “Since, in your religion you are not going to be faulted if I bully you into committing a sin, so it is alright for me to continue bullying!”

The avoided (ignored) questions

The authority and certain community leaders seemed determined to defend (or perhaps “give in” to) the Education Ministry's stand on the 'tudung' by confining their argument ad nauseam that "the Mufti has already given his advice for the Muslim parents on this issue." But the general Muslims are aware of not just this, but in fact they wish to know more regarding the ruling on the "tudung". To them this issue had been left unresolved for quite a long time. Objectively, there are four specific questions, which one can ask regarding the 'aurah' rule, viz.:

[1] What is the rule on the covering of "aurah" (nakedness)?

Every Muslim already knows this that it is obligatory.

[2] What is the Islamic ruling upon a Muslim/Muslimah who is forced to take off (uncover) his/her "aurah" (nakedness)?

This is the question from which the Mufti responded by giving advice basing on the rule of (Al-akhz bi akhaf-al-dhararayn.) "(When faced with two evils) to choose the lesser one” and the Mufti seems to hold the opinion that education of Muslims (a general benefit for the community) has a greater priority over the 'aurat' ruling (which to him is personal concern individually). Perhaps he may have also evaluated it from the perspective of a Muslim/Muslimah being 'forced' and invoke the dharuriyyah
[7] ruling for them viz.: (Iza dhaq al- ‘amr ittasa’) “When situation constrains, it permits the opening of wider choice.” Thus, from the Mufti's advice, it implies that the parents were regarded as sinning under compulsion – i.e. forgivable.

Although there are other Islamic scholars who may have a different views on this, i.e. whether the situation really falls under a state of real constrain (dharurah
[8]) is debatable, and Muslim scholars should ascertain the validity for regarding the situation to be so. And furthermore, even if there are presently such constraints, the Muslims must seek a way to remove these constraints. Not to simply continue to be in a perpetual state of sinning. Those who apply those constraints may have been uninformed or misinformed, and therefore may be given the benefit of doubt. They must be told the truth and not be allowed to continue doing what, Muslims regard as tantamount to an act of religious discrimination. It becomes a community obligation (Fardh Kifaayah[9]) to strive to remove any constraints towards carrying out a religious obligation. Muslim scholars would include such ruling to underscore that the advice given under dharuriyyah rule must be regarded as a temporary measure and efforts must be made to remove the constraints. Unfortunately, the Muslim public generally may not be aware of this aspect. There was no mention of this aspect of the rule in the advice of the Mufti highlighted by the media and comments made by the authority. Any attempts to engage the debate into expanding the discussions towards this were somewhat discouraged. There was even an attempt by certain quarters to 'close' the debate in the media.

[3] What is the Islamic ruling regarding those who force or compel a Muslim/Muslimah to uncover her "aurah" (nakedness)?

It was unfortunate that the media seemed to favour 'closing' the debate after the Mufti's advice was given. If we are objective, there should also be another question to ask. This pertains to the Islamic ruling on those who forces Muslim/Muslimah to uncover his/her "aurah" (nakedness). Just as it is regarded as sinful for Muslims not to cover his/her "aurah", others who compel them to remove their covering (of aurah) would also be guilty of sin. The "aurah" must be viewed as a code of modesty, not a religious symbol (as mistakenly presented by some people when discussing the issue). Any act to compel him/her to expose his/her "aurah" therefore actually can be interpreted as tantamount to an act of outraging the modesty of Muslim/Muslimah.

Some may argue that the school uniform rule only stipulates a requirement which the Ministry have set. A prerogative, which we too agree, to belong to the Ministry concern. Whether to conform or not, they argue, is a matter still left to the Muslim parents. They would say: "Well, if these parents feel strongly about the 'tudung' for their daughters, they have a choice of not sending their children to the national school." Thus, they conclude that the ministry cannot be faulted as having forced anyone and cannot therefore be term as 'compelling any one'. Such technicality and strictly narrow legalism has no merit as it purposely avoided a moral question: "In the first place, does the rule discriminate any one due to their religious belief and practice?" If it does discriminate, then the argument that the Ministry offers a so called 'choice' is not a choice at all, because one way or the other, the Muslims will be faulted and are being penalized – i.e. either that of committing a sin or, being deprived of getting good education in the national school. Perhaps in the past the Ministry may be given the benefit of doubt for not realizing that its rulings on uniform may have put Muslims in this dilemma. But, now that it has been made known, to still persist in enforcing rigidly the rule demanding those Muslimah students in school to take off their ‘tudung’ is discriminatory, and would be regarded as an act of compulsion.

[4] What is the Islamic ruling regarding Muslims who are in positions of influence in society, but who do not use their influence in efforts for removing the impediments for Muslims to observe the "aurah" rule?

This question would be the next one following logical sequence to previous questions. In our community, there may already be Muslims in the position of influence. As the issue pertains to a religious obligation, which requires efforts of every Muslims to help overcome the "dilemma" faced i.e. to remove the constraints - this therefore falls under the category of Fardhu Kifaayah
[10]. Those, especially who are assuming community leadership and have the ability within their power to do something about it, are therefore under a religious obligation to express their objection to such ruling which constraints Muslims from carrying out a religious obligation. They have a duty to convey what is the truth. They cannot remain neutral on the issue. If they chose to be neutral towards the Ministry's rule, for example by expressing neutrality when asked by the authority concerning it, their so-called 'neutrality' is misplaced and inappropriate as this may inadvertently be giving it their consent to the ruling. Their so-called 'non-interference' (what some may try to justify such attitude) as a Muslim when called upon to comment but chose not to with their silence is still unacceptable and it may be perceived by the rest of the Muslims as an act of betrayal. We as believers should heed the command of Allah s.w.t. " O you who have attained to faith! Remain conscious of Allah (taqwa) and [always] speak with a will to bring out [only] what is just and true [qawlan sadiida][11]. – [whereupon] He [Allah] will cause your deeds to be virtuous, and will forgive you your sins. And [know that] whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained to a mighty triumph. (Qur'an: al-Ahzab: 33: 70-71) And lest we forget, it is explained in the Qur'an, that Muslims who are hateful of any clear commandments from Allah and the Prophet, it is a sign of their hypocrisy (nifaaq), which they harbour in their hearts[12].

[13]’ advice sought

It was unfortunate that while the Ministry was adamant in not acceding to the request of these parents, the media and some community leaders were seen to be eagerly arguing for the justification to the Ministry's ruling without giving a fair consideration for the parents' case. Granted that in matters of setting the school uniform rule, the prerogative lies with the Ministry concern. Yet, what the Muslim community was concern was whether in setting this rule, they have considered adequately the religious right of the citizens. Many wondered whether the MUIS (Islamic Religious Council) had fully advised the ministry regarding this matter. When these parents involved in this issue were directed to meet representative from MUIS, the impression they had was that MUIS was trying not to address the right and wrong of the Ministry's rule but to advise the Muslim parents to overcome their dilemma as one being constrained by situation.

These parents sought PERGAS’ advice on the matter when they collectively came and had a closed door meeting with us. This happened after their recent meetings with officials in MUIS. Although they may have felt bitter about MUIS and the Mufti, we tried our very best to remain objective in assessing their case and also shared with them our concern on the matter. PERGAS understands that perhaps MUIS and the Mufti may have certain constrains when advising them on the matter which we may not as yet know. The parents expressed great disappointment and felt discriminated against, for which they would hoped that MUIS and other Muslim organization would be equally concerned. Yet, from their perspective, MUIS was rather agreeable towards the education ministry’s school uniform rule and were interested only to advice Muslims or were rather interested only in convincing them to comply with the rule. As the actual advice by the Mufti and MUIS was not as yet been made known publicly, PERGAS refrain from commenting but waited for its official press statement regarding it.

Review: Mufti’s Statement and selective individual comments
from Asaatizah[14]

When the media highlighted that the Mufti had advised these parents to send their daughters to school minus the tudung, many people pick up Mufti’s comment and echoed the view that these parents should have abided by his advice. The general Muslims were not convinced of this, even though coming from the eminent religious authority of the Mufti. Perhaps sensing that amongst many Muslims, the Mufti’s credibility may not be sufficiently convincing, the media then sought individual comments by selective Asaatizah. How these were reported added further controversies, as these only harp on the question of “if the individual Muslims are constrained by factors beyond his control.” The general Muslim public, were rather eager to know how or what the Islamic ruling on the Ministry’s imposition of the dress code itself. How does Islam rule it? How does Islam see the act of disallowing the putting on of modest dressing? The debate, facilitated by the media, was seen as ‘biased’, narrowing the perspectives to merely on exceptions rather than the rule. So much so that it may even be misconstrued as though the general Islamic rule on modesty has changed.


[1] The Book revealed in perfect Arabic from God to Muhammad s.a.w., the unlettered Prophet over a period of 23 years.
[2] literally meaning “the way, law, or tradition” referring to the codified sayings, practices and consents of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. The Qur’an and the Sunnah being the primary sources for Islamic teachings and legislation, unanimously accepted by every school of jurisprudence amongst Muslims.
[3] s.a.w. (abbreviated from Arabic which means “Salutations, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him”) – a respectful address whenever the Prophet’s name is mentioned.
[4] Literally meaning “Report or news” of the saying from our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. – Refering to corpus of recordings compiled and meticulously authenticated and serves as the second primary source of Islam.
[5]Mufti” -Usually a senior and reputable Islamic scholar (a jurist) appointed to issue decrees pertaining to Islamic rule regarding Islam and the practices amongst Muslims. This office is under MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) and inevitably; the decisions made by the Mufti are seen also as the official decision from MUIS.
[6]Fatwa” – literally “decree or ruling” pertaining to Islamic rule regarding Islam and the practices amongst Muslims – decided upon by the Mufti or committee of Islamic scholars and jurists.
[7]dharurriyyah” refers to “specific essentials” which must be given greatest priority, whereby an exception can be granted for waiving a general rule.
[8] A situation or circumstance where the rule of exceptions can be applied. It is like state of emergency.
[9]Fardhu Kifaayah” – this is a technical term which means “a fixed obligation to be sufficiently complied (by the Community)” or set of obligations, which has to be fulfilled Muslims. Although not every Muslims must do it, i.e. this duty can be done by only a few, yet as long as it is not sufficiently carried out, every Muslim is deemed to be in sin and collectively liable before God.
[10] As previously explained "a community obligation". Every Muslim would be deemed liable for it and those with the ability especially, would bear the greater responsibility.
[11] The expression "qawl sadiida" signifies, literally "a saying that hits the mark", i.e. truthful, relevant and to the point; it obviously relates to speaking to others in a manner devoid of all hidden meanings.
[12] An interesting reference can be found in al-Qur'an (Surah al-Baqarah: 2: 6-20)
[13] PERGAS – acronym from the Malay “Persatuan Ulama’ dan Guru-guru Agama Islam (Singapura)” meaning “The Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association.” Founded and registered in Singapore since 1957. Amongst the important objectives of this association (Islamic Da’wah and education being the primary ones) is also to address issues affecting Islam and Muslims in Singapore.
[14]Asaatizah” plural from “ustaz” (literally “Mister” or “Sir”) – a respectful address for Islamic religious teachers. An individual female Islamic teacher is referred to as “ustazah”.

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