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No doubt, woman is the object of beauty……………

April 9, 2010

All praise is due to Allah.  We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and our wicked deeds.  Whomsoever has been guided by Allah none can misguide him and whosoever has been misguided by Allah can find none to guide him.  I bear witness there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is His servant and Messenger. May peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), his family, companions and all those who follow him. Ameen

There is no doubt that the woman is the object of beauty.  But this beauty must be used for good and not be used in such a way that it becomes a source of destruction.  The vital issue of Muslim women’s modesty and dress has been and is a controversial issue, especially in our modern times.  Sadly, we are living in a world of un-ending problems of sexual crimes; perversion, fornication, adultery and constant bombardment of lewd images.  Unfortunately, it appears that Muslims have become extremely lax in observing modesty and have become influenced by the careless immodesty of the non believers.  In order to prevent the moral breakdown of Islam, it is important that we adopt the principles of modesty and decorum by following the laws of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala (SWT) in wearing the proper acceptable dress for the believers and follow the Islamic regulations between the sexes in their social relationships.

Hijab means a “veil”, “curtain”, “partition” or “separation”.  In Islam hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality. Hijab includes not only the covering of body, but methods of behaviour before members of the same or opposite sex, promoting privacy for females to ensure modesty, decency, chastity and above all, respect and worship of Allah.

The Islamic ruling regarding women’s dress is stipulated in various verses of the Quran. The very first block on the road to sin has been mentioned in Surah Ahzab (Chapter 33) which commands the Muslim woman to remain in her home:

“…and stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like that of the former times of ignorance”

This method of veiling nowadays is observed as a very small matter and ‘modern’ people consider it a disgrace and inequality between the sexes.  However, Islam observes the rights of all and does not deal with anyone unjustly.  If a woman gets a happy honoured life in the house there is nothing wrong with that.  Although equal, Allah SWT has enjoined different responsibilities upon man and woman as to maintain a check and balance in society. If a woman on the other hand, due to necessity must leave the house to work, for example, if she has become widowed, then there is nothing wrong with that, so long as she dresses modestly.

Further Allah says in Surah An-Noor (24:30-31):

“… to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brothers sons or their sisters sons or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in oder to draw attention to their hidden ornaments…”

From the above verse, we can understand that Muslim women are enjoined to draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty” except in the presence of their husbands, other women, children, and those men who are so closely related to them that they are not allowed to marry them.

Following onwards, Allah further says in Surah al-Ahzab (Chapter 33:59):

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons that are most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested.”

Allah SWT here is clearly commanding the Muslimah (female Muslim) to wear the over garment, be it a coat or a cloak and draw it round her body.  As this verse was revealed, there was an instantaneous response among the women of the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), as stated in Hadith Bukhari:

‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (sa) used to say: “When (the Verse of Quran): ‘They should draw their veils over their necks/bosoms’ was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”

Furthermore, we learn that if such a revelation was related to the blessed wives (ra) of the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then we, the unworthy must also consider the matter and follow in accordance. There is also reference to the ‘believing women’, hence applying to all Muslim women.

Although this article discusses hijab in the context of women only it is important to note however, in the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (SWT) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the women.

The Qur’an mentions in Surah An-Noor (Chapter 24:30):
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.”

There are several requirements for how the Hijab must be worn. As mentioned earlier, first and foremost the Hijab is Fard (obligatory) for every Muslim woman.  We know that the whole body must be covered.  However, the views of the scholars of the four famous schools of jurisprudence regarding which part of the woman’s body must be covered are divided into 2 camps.  Briefly, one position is that women may expose their face and hands.  On the other hand the other view is that the whole body including face and hands should be covered.  They argue that it goes without saying that the face is the focal-point of a woman’s beauty, and the main source of attraction. Hence, the face of a woman cannot be displayed or shown to a stranger in normal circumstances whether in public or private according to the general principle fixed by the verse 30-31 of Surah An-Noor as stated above.

In support of their view they bring forth the following evidences (there are many others also):

“and when you ask them for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen.”  (Surah Ahzab:54)

Aishah (the wife of the Prophet (sa) said: “Male riders would pass by us while we were in the state of ihram with the Messenger of Allah. When they would approach us, each one of us would let her jilbaab fall down from the top of her head over her face. When they would pass by we would move our face veils.” (Abu Dawood)

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this hadith narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad.)

So in brief, we can see there are two valid view points on the hijab. One view held by the Ullima is that the niqaab (covering the face) is wajib (compulsory) and other Ullima hold the view it is Mustahab (recommended and the best thing to do but not compulsory).

According to Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albaani’s findings the following rules of hijab are applicable:

  1. The whole body, except for the exempted parts should be covered.
  2. But any veil, which in itself becomes an attraction, is to be avoided.
  3. Garments should not be semi-transparent.
  4. Dress should not be tight fitting.
  5. Garments should not be perfumed.
  6. The form of dress should not in any way resemble that of men.
  7. Garments should not reflect worldly honour.

There is also an indivisible part of a Muslim woman’s hijab:

1. Lowering the gaze.

According Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi the most precious ornament of a woman is modesty and the best expression of modesty is in the lowering of the gaze. This is a Quranic injunction for both men and women as mentioned above. See Surat An-Noor 24:30-31.

2. Not intermingling with men in such a way that their bodies come in contact or that men touch women.

Ma’qal ibn Yasar narrated that the Messenger (sa) of Allah (SWT) said:

“It is better for one of you to be pricked in the head with an iron pick than to touch a woman whom it is unlawful to touch”. (At-Tabarani with and authentic chain)

3. The Muslim woman walks and talks in a dignified and business-like manner, avoiding flirtatiousness in her facial expressions and movements.

Flirtatious and seductive behaviour are not the characteristics of a believer. Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al-Ahzab, verse 32:

“Then do not be too pleasant of speech, lest one in whose heart there is a disease should feel desire (for you)…”

4. A believing woman does not draw men’s attention to her concealed adornment by the use of perfume or by jingling or toying with her ornaments/jewellery.

Allah (SWT) says in Surat An-Noor, verse 31:

“They should not strike their feet in order to make known what they hide of their adornment…”

From the evidence that has been presented, it is clear what the minimum requirements of hijab are. It is also clear that the hijab is an order from Allah (SWT) and not something which has been ordained by man or specific cultures. Not only is hijab the outer covering of a woman, but it is also the manner in which the believing woman behaves and conducts herself. Let us be of those whom Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran thus:

“The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers… and they say, ‘We hear and we obey.’” (Al-Baqarah,2:285).

Today, Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies
who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketers, hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’. Western society says women who loose their virginity, or wear clothes that are revealing/semi naked should be exalted and classed as the ‘free’ woman. There has been a proliferation of sexualised images of girls that are teaching our children, our daughters, our sisters to turn to vast uncovering and exposing of their body parts. The TV, papers and magazines condition our children and to imitate the kuffar, to dress immodestly, indecently expose themselves, to indulge in free mixing and to commit much haraam activity.  No doubt, the consequences of this are dangerous and its corruption is tremendous.

The veil is not a uniquely Islamic convention; the practice has a long history in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Catholic nuns engage in the practice and there are several references to the practice in both the Old and New Testaments. Ironically, the representation of veiling in the Bible is much more problematic than those in the Qur’an or the Hadith, because the Judeo-Christian sources imply that women should be covered because of their inherent inferiority. So then why is it that today Western Women who wear veils are not considered oppressed? If we look at the example of how Virgin Mary is portrayed or Mother Teresa and other nuns.  When a nun wears a traditional head covering, which is essentially the same as hijab, she is identified as a pious woman whose life is devoted to her faith whereas the Muslim woman who wears hijab is all of a sudden oppressed and that Islam has restricted her ‘Freedom’.

We must remember Islam is not a religion restricted to the masaajid, it is a complete way of life.  Islam is the religion that determines every aspect of a Muslims life; what you can eat, what you cannot eat, what you can wear, what you cannot wear, what you can and cannot say etc.  This is the beauty of Islam that it determines every aspect of a human’s life from the day he is born till the day he dies.  Everything Allah Azzawajjal has ordained for us carries benefit.  Hijab opens so many more doors than it closes, spiritually and socially. It is unfortunate that there are so many obstacles to our finding this joy and fulfilment, but our best course of actions is to be aware of them, deal with them, and continue this form of jihad (struggle) in the way of Allah. Insha’Allah we will all receive great blessings and heightened spiritual benefits from our efforts to obey His wise commands, and never forget, no matter how difficult it is, that Allah never puts a burden upon us more than we can bear, and the more we persevere, the more blessings we receive, insha’Allah.

Some women argue they are not ready to wear the Hijab.  What they really mean is ‘I am worried what people will say.’ But what does this mean? They are more concerned about the people and do not fear Allah’s punishment.   A large number of Muslim girls use the excuse that they will wear Hijab after marriage, because they think that not wearing Hijab will help them to get married more easily!! SubhanAllah, do these girls think that they will get a good husband if they disobey Allah? In fact, Allah may punish them by giving them a bad husband!! Allahu ‘Alam.

If all the people are pleased with you but Allah is not, what have you gained? If Allah is pleased with you but none of the people are, what have you lost?

We all know applying Islam selectively in our lives is tantamount to burning the pages of the Qur’an. Although the haram path can be tempting because it is easy, we should remember that wherever Muslims live and whatever we do in life we should live according to the Shariah.

Allah (SWT) says:

“The good and the evil are not alike even if the evil looks like the good and is followed by the majority. So fear Allah, O you that understand; that (so) you may prosper” (Surah Al-Ma’idah: 100)

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala has warned us in the Quran of the consequences of compromising our Deen (religion/way of life):

“So do you believe in some part of the Book and disbelieve in some. The penalty awaiting those who do this is nothing but humiliation in this life and the severest of punishment on the Day of Judgment” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 85)

Furthermore, is it not a great honour that we have been chosen to be Muslim women. Allah (SWT) has chosen US to follow the Prophet Muhammad (sa) and the Mothers of the beleivers.  He (SWT) has made matters easy for US by choosing us to be Muslim whereas other women are upon another religion other than Islam.  So we should be in good cheer and rejoice in the blessings of Allah (SWT) for we are blessed with this beautiful religion and perfect guidance.

One woman says: “I wear the Hijab, Niqab, and overhead Abaya because the Qur’an commands me to cover my hair, neck and chest in the Hijab (Surah 24 & Surah 33) and I wear the Niqab and overhead Abaya because the strong Hadiths order me to do so (See Bukhari). I cover my entire body to protect my modesty and because my beauty is only for my husband’s eyes, not for anyone else in this life. I cover like a crow to be like the wives of Muhammad (sa) and because the Prophet (sa) ordered his followers to follow the strong Hadiths and the Qur’an. I fear Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’aala) and the fires of Jahannam, which is why I cover. I want to be known as a righteous woman and a human being, not a sex toy for men who can’t lower their gaze who don’t fear Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’aala). Remember that Bukhari is the most authentic collection of Hadith and that if we don’t follow the strong Hadiths then we are disobeying the Prophet (sa) and disobeying Allah (Subhanna Wa Ta’aala). I follow the strong Hadith and the Qur’an. They are my guidance and Jannah is my goal.”

 

TabarakAllah!! What an example, this Muslim woman surely fears no one but Allah SWT and is wearing the Hijab with pride.

 

So hasn’t the time come for us sisters to show our love for Allah and His Rasool (sa) by obeying their commands, to educate the world that we are not being oppressed? Should we not prepare ourselves for That Day when we will be asked: Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet?  What is your religion? Once our time is up and our account is closed, all that will remain with us will be our righteous deeds. Nothing of this world will go with us, not our wealth, our cars, our gold or our silver, ….nothing!  We will be stripped of even our clothing and placed in the grave just like the generations before us.  How can we die upon not fulfilling one of the basic obligations upon, that being the Hijab?  You Can Do It… Give Your Excuses A Black Eye! We should do it to please Allah and set an example and be a beacon for the children of the Ummah.

This source of purity and means of success shows Muslim women who wear Hijab are more liberated than any other woman and what she has no woman will ever have!  May Allah (SWT) guide the Ummah to abide by this important aspect of the Sunnah which the Prophets wives used to characterise themselves with and may Allah help us spread and convey this message to the darkest corners of the world.  Ameen

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