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Hijab (Niqab)- Why? — Dr. Bilal Philips


 

The covering of Muslim women has become one of the international symbols of female oppression in feminist circles.

 

1.

There are two major trends which have developed in the West over the past century. On one hand, the fashion industry has systematically unclothed women. From being fully clothed from head to toe at the turn of the century, she now wears virtually nothing when the weather permits.

 

On the other hand there has been a dramatic rise in the reported incidents of rape. In the USA in the early 90s the reported incidents of rape had crossed the 100,000 mark. And researchers estimated that the actual number was between 7 to 10 times that number since most women are shy to report rapes. The two trends are closely interrelated.

 

The woman in the West has become a sex-object with which to sell products thereby pumping up the sexual tension of the society. The Corvette is not sold based on its powerful engine or its special features, instead the car is displayed with a model in a bikini lying on it. Similarly, a new Gillette razor blade is not sold by giving details about its new titanium blades. Instead, a man is shown in ads shaving with a woman’s hand with long red fingernails coiled around hold his. The subliminal message being taught is: You buy the car, you get the girl. You buy the razor, you get the girl. 

 

2.

Islam prescribes the covering of females for two primary reasons stated in the Quran. God says in Soorah al-Ahzaab (33: 59):

Let them cast their outer garments over their bodies. That is best in order that they be known and not harmed.

 

3.

The hijab is to make the Muslim woman known in the society as a virtuous and honorable woman. Her hijab makes the statement that she is not available and not interested in any immorality. Many Muslim women who have emigrated to the West take of their scarves and outer garments because they claim it draws attention to themselves. If they expose their hair and dress in modest western dresses no one will look at them.

 

It is true that the hijab does provide a level of anonymity, as many of the woman’s physical details will be hidden. However, the intent is not to prevent men from looking. When men see a nun in her habit, fully covered like a Muslim woman in full hijab, they will turn their heads and stare at her. Similarly, when they see a woman walking in a bikini, they will also turn their heads and stare. However, the first stare is different from the second. The first is out of curiosity, having seen something unusual, while the second is out of lust and aroused sensuality. The consequence of the second is the molestation of women on a national scale while the first causes respect.

4.

The penalty in the Islamic state is very severe for rape in order to further guarantee protection for females. Where weapons of any type are used in the rape, the punishment is death. The death penalty has also been introduced in Philippines and it is being called for in India currently. However, to allow women to expose themselves and then kill those who react unduly is not practical. The law should be balanced. The circumstances, which might encourage rape, should first be removed from the society, then a severe penalty may be enacted.

 

5.

It may be said that even in societies where women are fully covered, they may still be approached and molested. However, if the vast majority of those who are molested are not properly covered, the principle of protection still applies. Even in the society of the Prophet, one thousand four hundred years ago, some women were molested and raped.

 

6.

Some people question the imposition of hijab by the Islamic state. Is it a personal choice of women or a legal obligation? It is the responsibility of the head of every family to insure that the women of his household leave the home in a legally acceptable state of dress. The state is further responsible to prevent any women who appear in public in a state of undress in order to protect public dignity and morality.

 

The West has set its own limits for dress which change according to the mood of society. At one point in time, strip joints were illegal. Now many bars have topless waitresses and dancers. In most states, a woman may not appear in public topless. However, a woman recently contested the law in Florida and won her case. Complete nudity remains public crime throughout the West, though nudist camps and nudist beaches have sprung up in different locations in Europe and America.

 

7.

There are conditions which must be fulfilled for the hijab to be acceptable. a) It should be wide and loose so as to not show the shape of the woman’s body; b) it should be made of thick material which will not reveal what is underneath; c) It should not be colorful and ornamented so as to attract sexual admiration.

 

8.

Where the hijab has become a cultural norm and women comply out of fear of embarrassment, it will not be worn properly. It may become transparent, or worn tight exposing the curves of the body, or it may become so ornamented as to be attractive by itself. It may be short so as to expose the dress underneath, or the face may be covered and the front of the hair exposed. Such practices are the result of women wearing hijab for the wrong reasons. They should be educated to realize that it is for their benefit and for the benefit of the society.

 

[From the book: Contemporary issues, pg. 12-14]

 

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Segregate men and women during family visits


 

People are naturally gregarious and sociable; they need friends, and friendships entail visiting one another.

 

When there are visits between families, we should block the path of evil by preventing Ikhtilaat (inter-mixing between men and women). One of the indications that such inter-mixing is Haraam is the Qur’aanic verse (which means):

{And when you ask them (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen; that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.}

[Qur’an 33:53]

Segregation of sexes

If we were to look for the evil results of inter-mixing during family visits, we would find many objectionable consequences, such as:

♦ In most cases the Hijab (Islamic attire) of women in these mixed gatherings is non-existent or improper, so a woman may display her beauty before someone in front of whom it is not permissible for her to uncover herself. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

{And tell the believing women not to reveal their adornment.} [Qur’an 24:31].

It may be that a woman adorns herself for strangers in a mixed gathering in a way that she never does for her own husband.

 

♦ When men see women in one gathering, this is a cause of corruption in the religion and morals, and provokes desires in a forbidden manner.

 

♦ In a mixed gathering, the husband and wife may argue with or ignore one another in an alarming fashion. A man might look or wink at another’s wife, or he may laugh and joke with her, and she with him. After the couple returns home, the settling of scores would begin. The man might inquire: “Why did you laugh at what so-and-so. said, when he did not say anything funny?” The woman would counter: “And why did you wink at so-and-so?” The man would retort: “When he spoke, you understood him quickly, but you do not understand what I say at all!” Thus they would trade accusations and the matter could end in enmity and even divorce

 

Some men and women may regret their luck in marriage, when a man compares his wife to his friend’s wife, or a woman compares her husband to her friend’s husband. A man may say to himself: “So-and-so talks well and answers questions; she is well-educated and my wife is ignorant; she has no education” and a woman may say to herself: “So-and-so is so lucky! Her husband is smart and eloquent, and my husband is so boring and speaks without thinking!” This spoils the marital relationship or leads to bad treatment

 

Some people may show off to one another in mixed gatherings, by pretending to have what that they do not really possess. So a man may issue instructions to his wife in front of other men and pretend that he has a strong personality, but when he is alone with her at home he is as tame as a house cat. A woman may borrow gold and wear it so that the other people see that she has such and such. However, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

“The one who shows off with something that does not belong to him is like one who wears a garment of falsehood.” (Reported by Al-Bukhaari, Fat-h Al-Baari, 9/317)

 

♦ Late-night mixed gatherings result in wasting time, sins of the tongue, and leaving small children at home alone (so that they do not disturb their parents’ evening with their cries!)

 

♦ Late-night mixed gatherings could develop to the extent of involving many kinds of major sins, such as drinking and gambling, especially among the so-called “upper classes”. One of the major sins that occur during these gatherings is mimicking the Kuffar (disbelievers) and imitating them in fashion trends and various customs. The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

(Reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, 2/50; Saheeh al-Jaami?, 2828, 6025)

 

[Dangers in the home, by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, page 8-11]

 

Beware of allowing non-Mahram (marriageable male) relatives to enter upon the wife in the home when the husband is absent


 

Some homes are not free of the presence of relatives of the husband who are not his wife’s Mahrams (unmarriageable male guardians). They may be living in his home with him due to particular circumstances, such as being students or single. These relatives enter the home without anyone raising an eyebrow, because they are known in the neighborhood as being relatives – brothers, nephews or uncles – of the head of the household. This relaxed attitude could generate a lot of evil which will earn the wrath of Allaah The Almighty if it is not controlled and brought within the limits set by Him.

 

The basic principle in this matter is the Hadeeth (narration) of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

“Beware of entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansaar (Helpers) said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about the brother-in-law?” He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The brother-in-law is death!”

(Reported by al-Bukhari, Fat-h al-Bari, 9/330)

 

An-Nawawi, (may Allaah have mercy on him), said:

“What is being referred to in this Hadeeth is the husband’s relatives, apart from his father and sons. These [his father and sons] are Mahrams for his wife and can be alone with her, therefore they are not described as ‘death’.

 

What is referred to here is his [the husband’s] brother, nephew, uncle and cousin, and others whom his wife would be permitted to marry if she were not already married.

 

Usually people take the matter lightly with regard to these relatives, so a man may be alone with his brother’s wife. Thus he is likened to death, indicating that he should be prevented from being alone with her even more than a stranger should.”

(Fath al-Bari, 9/331)

 

The phrase ‘the brother-in-law is death’ has a number of meanings, including:

  • The woman’s being alone with her brother-in-law may lead to spiritual destruction if she commits sin

 

  • It may lead to death if she commits the immoral act (fornication or adultery) and the punishment of stoning is carried out on her

 

  •  It may lead to the woman being destroyed if her husband leaves her because his jealousy leads him to divorce her

 

  • It may mean, beware of being alone with a non-Mahram woman just as you would beware of death

 

  • It may mean that being alone with a non-Mahram woman is as bad as death. It was also said that it means, let the brother-in-law die rather than be alone with a non-Mahram woman

 

All this stems from the concern of Islam to preserve families and households, and to prevent the tools of destruction from reaching them in the first place. Having learned what the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, what do you think now of those husbands who tell their wives: “If my brother comes and I am not here, let him into the sitting room”, or a wife who tells a guest: “Go into the sitting room”, when there is no one else present in the house?

 

To those who raise the issue of trust as an excuse, saying: “I trust my wife, and I trust my brother, or my cousin”, we say, your trust is all well and good, and you should not be suspicious when you have no cause to be, but you should know that the Hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

“No man is alone with a non-Mahram woman, but the Shaytaan (Satan, the devil) is the third one present with them.”

(Reported by at-Tirmithi, 1171)

includes the most pious of people as well as the most corrupt. Islam does not exempt anyone from such rulings.

[Dangers in the home, by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, page 5-7]

 

Best and the worst row for men and women during prayer and the lessons derived from it- Imam an-Nawawi


 

Abu Hurairah [radiAllahu anhu] narrated that the Messenger of Allah [sallallahu alaihi wasallam] said:

“The best rows for men are the front ones, and the worst are the last ones. And the best rows for women are the last ones, and the worst are the front ones.”

[Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 1, no. 678, sahih]

Capture

An-Nawawi said:

“As for the men’s rows, then it is according to the generality; so the best of them is always the first of them, and the worst of them is always the last of them.

 

As for the rows of the women, then the objective of the Hadith is that of the rows that the women pray in with the men, as for when they pray separately, not with the men, then just like in the case of the men, the best of their rows are the first of them, and the worst of them are the last of them. And the meaning of the worst of the rows in the case of the women and the men, is the least of them in reward and virtue.

 

And the last of the rows of the women when attending with the men, are only more virtuous, because of their distancing themselves from mixing with the men and their sight, and the heart being attached to them when seeing their movements and hearing their speech, and similar to that, and the first of their rows has been censured because of the opposite of that.

And Allah knows best….”

[As mentioned on page 502 of Sunan Abu Dawud, vol.1 published by Darussalam]

 

Benefits [by Dr-Iftakhar]:

1] When in gatherings, men should always occupy the front seat while women should be behind them, and not the vice versa which we see nowadays.

2] As mentioned by Imam an-Nawawi that the  reason for the womens best row being the last one is

because of their distancing themselves from mixing with the men and their sight, and the heart being attached to them when seeing their movements and hearing their speech, and similar to that, and the first of their rows has been censured because of the opposite of that.

This situation is during the prayer in the house of Allah when a slave tries to be the most obedient to His Lord [where a man or women cannot think of doing sin except who comes for that purpose]. Yet, the women are commanded to remain farthest from men, so how about in today’s time when we see women walking rubbing their shoulders with strangers at markets and other places?

 

Women’s attendance at ‘Eed prayers – Sh. Salih al-Munajjid


 

Hafsah [radiAllahu anha] said:

“We used to prevent prepubescent girls from attending ‘Eed prayers. Then a woman came and stayed at the fort of Banu Khalaf, and told us about her sister. Her sister’s husband had taken part in twelve campaigns with the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and [she said]: ‘My sister was with him on six of them. She said: “We used to treat the wounded and take care of the sick. My sister asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whether there was anything wrong with her not going out [on ‘Eed] if she did not have a Jilbaab. He said: ‘Let her friend give her one of her Jilbaabs so that she may witness the blessings of ‘Eed and see the Muslims gathering.’”

 

When Um ‘Atiyah [radiAllahu anha] came, I asked her: ‘Did you hear the Prophet , sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, [say this]?’ She said: ‘May my father be sacrificed for him’ – and she never mentioned him without saying ‘may my father be sacrificed for him’ – ‘I heard him saying that we should bring out the young girls and those who were secluded, or the young girls who were secluded, and the menstruating women, so that they could witness the blessings of ‘Eed and see the gathering of the believers, but those who were menstruating were to keep away from the prayer-place itself.”

(Reported by Al-Bukhaari, 324).

 

 

The ‘young girls’ (‘Awaatiq, sing. ‘Aatiq) are girls who have reached adolescence or are close to it, or have reached the age of marriage, or are very precious to their families, or who are spared from having to do humiliating work. It appears that they used to prevent these young girls from going out because of the corruption that arose after the first generation of Islaam; but the Companion did not approve of that and they thought that the ruling should remain in their time as it had been during the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

 

“Her Jilbaabs” – she should lend her some of her clothes that she does not need.

“Secluded” – they would have a curtain in the corner of the house behind which virgins would stay.

“Menstruating women” – Huyyad, sing. Haa’id – this may refer either to girls who have reached the age of puberty, or women who are having their period and are not Taahir (pure).

 

“Menstruating women should avoid the prayer-place itself” – Ibn al-Munayyir, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:

“The reason why they should avoid the prayer-place is that if they stand with the women who are praying even though they are not praying, it may appear that they have no respect for the prayer or are careless, so it better for them to avoid that.”

 

It was said that the reason why menstruating women should avoid the prayer-place is as a precaution, so that women will not come near men for no reason if they are not praying, or so that they will not offend others with their blood or their odor. The Hadeeth urges everyone to attend ‘Eed prayer, and to co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety. The menstruating woman should not forsake the remembrance of Allaah or places of goodness such as gatherings for the purpose of seeking knowledge and remembering Allaah – apart from mosques. The Hadeeth also indicates that women should not go out without a Jilbaab

 

This Hadeeth tells us that it is not proper for young women and women in seclusion to go out except for a valid reason. It states that it is preferable (Mustahabb) for a woman to wear a Jilbaab, and that it is permissible to lend and borrow clothes. It also indicates that ‘Eed prayer is obligatory (Waajib).

 

Ibn Abi Shaybah, may Allaah have mercy on him, also narrated that Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them both, used to take whoever he could of his household out to the ‘Eed prayers. The Hadeeth of Umm ‘Atiyah, may Allaah be pleased with her, also states the reason for the ruling, which is so that women may witness the blessings of ‘Eed, see the gathering of the Muslims, and share the blessings and purification of this day.

Muslim Women Praying

 

At-Tirmithi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his Sunan, after quoting the Hadeeth of Umm ‘Atiyah, may Allaah be pleased with her.

“Some of the scholars referred to this Hadeeth and allowed women to go out to the ‘Eed prayers, and some of them disliked this.

 

It was reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: ‘I do not like for women to go out to ‘Eed prayers nowadays. If a woman insists on going out, her husband should let her, if she goes out wearing her shabbiest clothes and not adorning herself. If she insists on adorning herself, then she should not go out. In this case the husband has the right to stop her from going out.

 

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: ‘If the Prophet , sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had seen what has happened to women, he would have stopped them from going to the mosques, just as the women of Bani Israa’eel were stopped.’

 

It was reported that Sufyaan al-Thawri, may Allaah have mercy on him, did not like women to go to the ‘Eed prayers in his day.”

(Reported by At-Tirmithi, 495).

 

 

Umm ‘Atiyah, may Allaah be pleased with her, gave her Fatwa in the Hadeeth mentioned above a while after the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had died, and it is not reported that any of the Companions disagreed with this. The words of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her: “If the Prophet , sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had seen what has happened to women, he would have stopped them from going to the mosques”, do not contradict this (provided that women are meeting the Islaamic conditions attached to their going out)… It is better if permission is given only to those women who are not going to look at men or be looked at, whose attendance will not lead to anything undesirable and who are not going to rub shoulders with men on the street or in the mosque. (i.e., women whose going out will not cause Fitnah or temptation to her or to men).

 

Men should check on their womenfolk when they going out for the prayer to make sure that their Hijaab is complete, because they are the “shepherds” who are responsible for their “flocks”. Women should go out in shabby clothes, not adorned or wearing perfume. Menstruating women should not enter the mosque or prayer-place; they can wait in the car, for example, where they can hear the Khutbah.

 

[Eid Etiquette and Rulings, page 12-16 by Shaikh Salih al-Munajjid]

 

 

Understanding the spouse’s psychological frame of mind- The story of Qadi Shuraih


 

This is necessary for the compatibility and longevity of marriage. But despite this, many couples do not bother to give this issue any attention. This involves the likes and dislikes of each other and what pleases and displeases each other. Also, this is something which is not understood by merely asking the spouse, bu also by observation and insight.

 

The best example to illustrate this point is the story of Qadi Shuraih who says:

“I married a man from the tribe of Tamim. On the first night I made ablution and offered prayers. She joined in. When I finished, I asked Allah to make her a means of blessings, to grant me pleasure from her good qualities, and to protect me from her bad. Then I praised Allah. She said: ‘I am a stranger for you. Whatever pleases you I will oblige and whatever displeases you I will avoid.’ So I told her what I liked and disliked. She asked: ‘Would like my family to visit me?’ I told her that since I was a Judge, i would bore them. Then she asked me which neighbors I preferred, so I informed her.”

 

“I lived with this women in happiness and bliss for a whole year. Then, an old women came to the house who was ordering my wife around. On enquiring,  I found  out that she was my mother-in-law who immediately asked me: ‘How are you with your wife?’ I said that she is the best wife I could have. The mother said: ‘There is no worse person than the one who is spoiled. If she puts you in any kind of doubt then hit her.”

 

The mother would then come every year to our house and give advice to her daughter. I lived with my wife for twenty years and only once was I angry at her. And that too was my mistake.”

 

[This story is mentioned in Al-Iqdul Farid]

 

 

 

Spiritual training for the members of the household


 

‘Aa’ishah [radiAllahu anha] said:

“The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to pray Qiyaam at night,

 

and when he prayed Witr he would say: ‘Get up and pray Witr, O ‘Aa’ishah’”

(Reported by Muslim, Muslim bi Sharh Al-Nawawi, 6/23).

 

The Prophet, [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], said:

“May Allaah have mercy on a man who gets up at night and prays, then he wakes up his wife to pray, and if she refuses he throws water in her face.”

(Reported by Ahmed and Abu Dawud. Saheeh Al-Jaami’, 3488).

 

 

Encouraging the women of one’s household to give charity is another means of increasing faith. This is something very important which the Prophet, [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], encouraged, when he said:

“O women! Give in charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell.”

(Reported by al-Bukhaaree, Al-Fath, 1/405).

 

One of the new ideas is to have a box at home for donations to the poor and needy: whatever is put in the box belongs to them, because it is their vessel in the Muslim home.

 

If the family members see an example among them fasting on al-Ayyaam al-Beed (the 13th, 14th and 15th of each Hijri (lunar) month), Mondays and Thursdays, Taasoo’aa’ and ‘Aashooraa’ (the 9th and 10th of Muharram), ‘Arafah, and frequently in Muharram and Sha’baan, this will be a motive for them to do likewise.

 

[40 Recommendation by Shaikh Salih al-Munajjid, page- 14,15]

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