Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A View through Hijab – By Sister Khaula From Japan


My Story To Islam :
As most of the Japanese, I’d followed no religion before I embraced Islam in France. I was majoring in French Literature at the university. My favorite thinkers were Sartre, Nietchze and Camas, whose thinking is atheistic. At the same time, however, I was very interested in religion, not because of my inner necessity but of my love for the truth. What was waiting for me after death did not interest me at all; how to live was my concern(58). For a long time I had a sort of impression that I was not doing what I should do and I was wasting my time. Whether God existed or not was the same to me; I just wanted to know the truth and choose my way of life-to live with God or without God.
I started to read books on different religions except Islam. I had never thought that Islam was a religion worth studying. It was for me, at that time, a sort of primitive idolatry of the simple mind (how ignorant I was!). I made friends with Christians, with whom I studied the Bible, to come to realize a few years later the existence of God. But then I had to face a dilemma because I could not “feel” God at all, in spite of my conviction that he should exist. I tried to pray in church, but in vain. I felt nothing but the absence of God.
I then studied Buddhism, hoping I would be able to feel God through Zen or Yoga. I found as many things in Buddhism that seemed to be true as I had in Christianity, yet there were many things I could not understand or accept. In my opinion, If God exists, He should be for everyone(59) and the truth should simple and clear to everyone. I could not understand why people should abandon ordinary life to devote themselves to God.
I was really at a loss for what to do to reach the end of my desperate quest for God. It was then that I met an Algerian Muslim. Born and raised in France, he didn’t even know how to pray and his life was quite far from the ideal of a Muslim; nevertheless, he had very strong faith in God. However, his belief without knowledge irritated me and made me decide to study Islam. To start with, I bought a French translation of the Qur’an, but I could not read more than two pages. It seemed so strange and boring. I gave up my effort to understand it alone and went to the mosque in Paris to ask someone to help me. It was a Sunday and there was a lecture for women. The sisters welcomed me warmly. It was my first encounter with practicing Muslim women. To my surprise, I felt myself very much at ease with them, although I’d always felt myself a stranger in the company of Christians. I started to attend the lecture every weekend and to read a book given to me by one of the Muslim women. Every minute of the lecture and every page of the book were, for me, a revelation, giving me great spiritual satisfaction I’ve never known before. I had an excited feeling that I was being initiated into the truth. What was wonderful, Subhaanallah (Praise be to Allaah), was my feeling the presence of God very close to me while in the posture of Sajdah (prostration).
__________
(57) Sister Khaula visited the Women’s Office of The Islamic Guidance Center in Buraidah, Al-Qassim, Saudi Arabia on 10/25/1993. She shared this information with other Muslim Sisters in the Office. 1 found it important to share with our Muslim brothers and sisters the Story of Khaula’s coming to Islam followed by her experience and advice concerning the Hijab.
(58) This is the concern of so many people in the World and especially in the West or in countries dominated by Western culture. People become “workaholic” to keep up with more and more of what they want to have. The secondary things of today are the necessities of tomorrow! The Medium way described by the Creator, Allah, is ignored except by the few.(Dr.S. As-Saleh)
(59) Allah is the God of everyone. This thought translates that God must be one. There is no nationalistic belonging to God! Being the God of everyone, He does not command some people to worship Him alone while at the same time makes it permissible for others to set up rivals with Him in worship. This means that His worship must be one and that it is not up to us to define this type of worship. The way of worship belongs to the One and Only One True God, Allah. This constitutes His religion and He had named this way: Islam.
Khula’s Story with the Hijab :
“Two years ago when I embraced Islam in France, the polemic around the wearing of the hijab at school was very hot. The majority of people thought it was against the principle of the public school which should keep its neutrality towards the religion. I, who was not yet Muslim then, could hardly understand why they were worried over such a tiny thing as a small scarf put on the head of Muslim students…but, apparently, French people who had faced the serious problem of the increasing non-employment rate and the insecurity in big cities became nervous over the immigration of workers from Arab countries. They felt aggrieved by the sight of the hijab in their town and in their school.

In Arab countries, on the other hand, a great wave of coming back of the hijab was being observed especially among the young generation, against the expectation, shared by some Arab people and the most of Western people, of its passing away from the scene as Westenerization took root.
The Islamic revival symbolized by the current resurgence of the hijab is often considered as an attempt of Arab Muslims to restore their pride and identity which have been repeatedly undermined by colonization and economic retardation. For Japanese people, the actual adherence of Arab people to Islam may seem a kind of conservative traditionalism or antiwesternism, which (the) Japanese knew themselves in the Meiji era at the first contact with the Western culture, and because of which they reacted against the Western life-style and the Western way of dressing. Man has always had a conservative tendency and reacts against which is new and unfamiliar without realizing whether it is good or bad for him. Some people still think the Muslim women insist on wearing hijab which is the “very symbol of the oppressed situation because they are enslaved by the tradition and are not sufficiently aware of their lamentable situation. If only, they probably think, the movement of the women’s liberation and independence awakes those women’s mind, they will take away the hijab.”
Such a naive point of view is shared by the people who have little knowledge of Islam. They, who are so accustomed to the secularism and the religious eclecticism, are simply unable to understand that the teaching of Islam is universal and eternal. Anyway, there are more and more women, beyond the Arab Nationality, all over the world embracing Islam as the true religion and covering the hair. I am but an example of these women. The hijab is surely a strange object for non-Muslim people. For them, the Hijab does not cover the woman’s hair but also hides something to which they have no access, and it’s why they feel uneasy. From the outside, effectively, they can never see what is behind the Hijab. I have kept the hijab since I became Muslim in Paris two years ago…In France, soon after my conversion, I put a scarf, matched in color to the dress, lightly on the head, which people might think a sort of fashion(60). Now in Saudi Arabia, I cover in black all my body from the top of my head till the tip of my toes including my eyes…At the time I decided to embrace Islam, I did not think seriously about whether I would be able to make the five prayers a day or put the hijab. May be I was afraid that I might find the negative answer, and that would affect my decisions to be Muslim. I had lived in a world which had nothing to do with Islam until I visited, for the first time, the Mosque of Paris. Neither the prayer nor the hijab were yet very familiar to me. I could hardly imagine myself making the prayer and wearing the hijab. But my desire to be a Muslim was too strong to worry about what was waiting for me after my conversion. Indeed, it was a miracle that I embraced Islam, Allah Akbar.
In hijab I felt myself different. I felt myself purified and protected. I felt the company of Allah. As a foreigner, I felt sometimes uneasy in a public place, stared by men. With hijab, I was not seen. I found that the hijab sheltered me from such impolite stares. I was also very happy and proud in hijab which is not only the sign of my obedience to Allah but also the manifestation of my faith…besides, the hijab helps us to recognize each other and to share the feeling of sisterhoods. The hijab has also the advantage of reminding the people around me that God exists and reminding me of being with God(61). It tells me: “be careful. You should conduct yourself as a Muslim” As a policeman becomes more conscious of his profession in his uniform, I had a stronger feeling of being Muslim with hijab.
Soon, I started to put the hijab before my going out from the house whenever I went to the Mosque. It was a spontaneous and voluntary act and no body forced me to do so. Two weeks after my conversion, I went back to Japan to attend the wedding ceremony of one of my sisters, and decided not to go back to France, Now that I became a Muslim and found that I’d been looking for, the French literature did not interest me any more. I had rather an increasing passion for learning the Arabic(62).
For me…it was a trial to live in a small town in Japan, isolated completely from Muslims, But such isolation helped me to intensify my consciousness of being a Muslim. As Islam prohibits the women to disclose the body and to wear clothes which accentuate the body line, I had to abandon many of my clothes such as mini-skirts and half-sleeve blouses. Besides, the Western style fashion does not match with the hijab. I decided, therefore, to make a dress by myself. I asked a friend of mine who knew dress-making to help me, and in two weeks I made a dress with a “pantaloon” after the model of a “Pakistani dress”. I did not mind people looking at my strange “fashion”.
Six months had past since I went back to Japan, when my desire to study the Arabic and Islam in a Muslim country grew so intense that I decided to realize it. I went to Cairo where I knew only one person.
I was at a loss to find none of my host family spoke English. To my great surprise, furthermore, the lady who took my hand to lead me into the house covered herself all in black from top to toe including the face. Such a “fashion” is now familiar to me and I adopt it for myself in Riyadh, but at that time, I was quite surprised at the sight.
I attended once in France a big conference for Muslims, and in that occasion I saw for the first time a woman in black dress with a face-cover. Her presence among the women in colorful dress and scarf was very strange and I said myself: ” there she is, a woman enslaved by the Arabic tradition without knowing the real teaching of Islam”, because I knew few things of Islam at that time and thought the covering of the face was but an ethnical tradition not founded in Islam.
The thought which came to me at the sight of a face-covered woman in Cairo was not very far from that. She’s exaggerating. Its unnatural…Her attempts to try to avoid any contact with men seemed also abnormal.
The sister in black dress told me that my self-made dress was not suitable to go out with. I was not content with her because I thought my dress satisfied the conditions of a Muslima’s dress…I bought a black cloth and made a long dress and a long veil called “Khimar” which covers the loins and the whole of the arms. I was even ready to cover the face because it seemed good “to avoid the dust”, but the sister said there was no need. I should not put the cover-face for such a reason while these sisters put it because they believed it a religious duty. Although most of sisters whom I got acquainted with covered the face, they constituted but a small minority in the whole city of Cairo, and some people apparently got shocked and embarrassed at the sight of black Khimar. Indeed the ordinary more or less westernized young Egyptians tried to keep a distance from those women in Khimar, calling them “the sisters”. The men also treated them with a certain respect and a special politeness on the street or in a bus. Those women shared a sisterhood and exchanged the salaam (the Islamic greeting) on the street even without knowing each other… Before my conversion I preferred an active pants-style to a feminine skirt, but the long dress I started to wear in Cairo got to please me very soon. It makes me feel very elegant as if I had become a princess. I feel more relaxed in long dress than in a pantaloon …
My sisters were really beautiful and bright in their Khimar, and a kind of saintliness appeared on their faces…Every Muslim devotes his life to God. I wonder why people who say nothing about the “veil” of the “Catholic Sisters” criticize the veil of the Muslima, considering it as a symbol of “terrorism” or “oppression”.
I gave a negative answer when the Egyptian sister told me to wear like this even after my return to Japan….If I show myself in such a long black dress on the street in Japan, people might think me crazy(63). Shocked by my dress, they would not like to listen to me, whatever I say. they would reject Islam because of my appearance, without trying to know its teaching(64). Thus I argued with her.
Sixth months later, however, I got accustomed to my long dress and started to think I may wear it even in Japan. So, just before my return to Japan, I made some dresses with light colors and white Khimars, thinking they would be less shocking than the black one.
The reaction of the Japanese to my white Khimar was rather good and I met no rejection or mockery at all. They seemed to be able to guess my belonging to a religion without knowing which it is. I heard a young girl behind me whispering to her friend that I was a “Buddhist nun”…
Once on a train I sat beside an elderly man who asked me why I was in such a “strange fashion”. I explained him that I was a Muslim and in Islam women are commanded to cover the body and their charm so as not to trouble men who are weak to resist this kind of temptation. He seemed very impressed by my explanation, may be because he did not welcome today’s young girls’ provocative fashion. He left the train thanking me and saying he would have liked to have more time to talk with me on Islam.
My father was sorry that I went out even on the hottest day in summer with a long sleeve and a head-cover, but I found the hijab convenient for avoiding the direct sunlight on the head and the neck… I felt rather uneasy in looking at the white thigh of my younger sister who wore short pants. I’ve often been embarrassed even before my conversion by the sight of a woman’s busts and hips traced by the shape of her tight thin clothes. I felt as if I had seen something not to be seen. If such a sight embraces me who is of the same sex, it is not difficult to imagine what effect it would give to men.
Why hide the body in its natural state?, you may ask. But think it was considered vulgar fifty years ago in Japan to swim in a swimming suit. Now we swim in a bikini without shame. If you swim, however, with a topless, people would say you are shameless, but go to a South-France’s beach, where many women, young and old, take a sun-bath in a topless. If you go to a certain beach on the west coast in America, the nudists take a sun-bath as naked as when they are born. On the other side, at the medieval times, a knight trembled at a brief sight of a shoe of his adoring lady. It shows the definition of women’s “secret part” can be changed. How you can answer to a nudist if she asks you why you hide yours busts and hips although they are as natural as your hands and face? It is the same for the hijab of a Muslima. We consider all our body except hands and face as private parts because Allah defined it like this(65). Its why we hide them from male strangers. If you keep something secret, it increases in value. Keeping woman’s body secret increases its charm. Even for the eye of the same sex, the nape of a sister’s neck is surprisingly beautiful because it is normally covered. If a man loses the feeling of shame and starts to walk naked and excrete and “make love” in the presence of other people, he would then become no different than an animal. I think the culture of men started when men knew the sense of shame.
Some Japanese wives (put their) make up only when they go out, never minding at home how they look. But in Islam a wife tries to be beautiful especially for her husband and a husband also tries to have a nice look to please his wife. They have shame even between themselves and towards each other. You may say why we are “over-sensitive” to hide the body except the face and the hands so as not to excite men’s desire, as if a man looks always at a woman with a sexual appetite.
But the problem of sexual harassment so much talked about recently shows how men are weak to resist to this kind of attraction. We could not expect prevention of sex harassment only by appealing men’s high morality and self-control…As a short skirt might be interpreted by men to say: ” if you want me, you may take me”, a hijab means clearly, “I am forbidden for you. “
Three months after coming back from Cairo, I left Japan to Saudi Arabia, and this time with my husband. I had prepared a small black cloth to cover the face with…Arriving at Riyadh, I found out that not all the women covered the face. The non- Muslim foreigners of course put only a black gown nonchalantly without covering the head, but the Muslim foreigners also uncovered the face(66). As for the Saudi women, all of them seemed to cover perfectly from top to toe. On my first going out, I put the niqab and found out (that) it (was) quite nice. Once accustomed to it, there is no inconvenience. Rather, I felt quite fine as if I became a noble and special person. I felt like the owner of a stolen masterpiece who enjoyed the secret pleasure: I have a treasure that you don’t know and which you are not allowed to see. A foreigner might see a couple of a fat man and a woman all covered in black who follows him in the street in Riyadh as a caricature of the oppressing-oppressed relationship or the possessing-possessed relationship, but the fact is that the women feel as if they were queens guarded and lead by servants.
During the first several months in Riyadh, I covered only the part beneath the eyes. But when I made a winter cloth, I made on the same occasion a thin eye-cover. My armament then became perfect and my comfort also. Even in a crowd of men, I felt no more uneasiness. I felt as if I had become transparent before the eyes of men. When I displayed the eyes, I felt sometines uneasy when my eyes met a man’s eye accidentally, especially because the Arab people have very keen eyes. The eye-cover prevents, like black sun-glasses, the visual intrusion of strangers.
Khaula further says that the Muslim woman “covers herself for her own dignity. She refuses to be possessed by the eyes of a stranger and to be his object. She feels pity for western women who display their private parts as objects f or male strangers. If one observes the hijab from outside, one will never see what is hidden in it. Observing the hijab from the outside and living it from inside are two completely different things. We see different things. This gap explains the gap of understanding Islam. From the outside, Islam looks like a ‘prison’ without any liberty. But living inside of it, we feel at peace and freedom and joy that we’ve never known before…We chose Islam against the so-called freedom and pleasure. If it is true that Islam is a religion that oppresses the women, why are there so many young women in Europe, in America, and in Japan who abandon their liberty and independence to embrace Islam? I want people to reflect on it. A person blinded because of his prejudice may not see it, but a woman with the hijab is so brightly beautiful as an angel or a saint with self-confidence, calmness, and dignity. Not a slight touch of shade nor trace of oppression is on her face. ‘They are blind and cannot see’, says the Qur’an about those who deny the sign of Allah, but by what else can we explain this gap on the understanding of Islam between us and those people.” (3/1993)
Note: Khula’s article was sent (late 1993) to the Women’s Office of the Islamic Guidance Center, Buraidah, Al- Qassim, KSA.
Source : http://abdurrahman.org/women/The_Hijab_Why.pdf  (pg 43-55) – by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 quick facts on Islam!

1) "Islam" means "peace through the submission to God".

2) "Muslim" means "anyone or anything that submits itself to the will of God".

3) Islam is not a cult. Its followers number over 1.5 billion worldwide. Along with Judaism and Christianity, it is considered to be one of the three Abrahamic traditions.

4) There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim: A) Shahadah - declaration of faith in the oneness of God and that Muhammad is the last prophet of God. B) Formal prayer five times a day. C) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan. D) Poor-due "tax" - 2.5% of one's savings given to the needy at the end of each year. E) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able.

5) There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in: A) the One God. B) all the prophets of God. C) the original scriptures revealed to Prophets Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad. D) the angels. E) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter. F) the divine decree (or destiny).

6) Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, social, political, economical, intellectual, etc.

7) Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. To become Muslim, a person of any race or culture must say a simple statement, the shahadah, that bears witness to the belief in the One God and that Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of God.

8) "Allah" is an Arabic word that means "God". Muslims also believe that "Allah" is the personal name of God.

9) Allah is not the God of Muslims only. He is the God of all people and all creation. Just because people refer to God using different terms does not mean that they are different gods. Spanish people refer to God as "Dios" and French people refer to God as "Dieu", yet they are all the same God. Interestingly, most Arab Jews and Arab Christians refer to God as "Allah". And the word Allah in Arabic appears on the walls of many Arab churches.

10) The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful, and compassionate. But Islam also teaches that He is just and swift in punishment. Nevertheless, Allah once said to Prophet Muhammad, "My mercy prevails over my wrath." Islam teaches a balance between fear and hope, protecting one from both complacency and despair.

11) Muslims believe that God has revealed 99 of His names (or attributes) in the Holy Qur'an. It is through these names that one can come to know the Creator. A few of these names are: the All-Merciful, the All-Knower, the Protector, the Provider, the Near, the First, the Last, the Hidden, and the Source of Peace.

12) Muslims believe in and acknowledge all the prophets of old, from Adam to Jesus. Muslims believe that they brought the message of peace and submission (islam) to different peoples at different times. Muslims also believe that these prophets were "muslims" because they submitted their wills to God.

13) Muslims neither worship Muhammad nor pray through him. Muslims solely worship the unseen and Omniscient Creator, Allah.

14) Muslims accept the original unaltered Torah (the Gospel of Moses) and the original Bible (the Gospel of Jesus) since they were revealed by God. However, none of those original scriptures are in existence today, in their entirety. Therefore, Muslims follow the subsequent, final, and preserved revelation of God, the Holy Qur'an.

15) The Holy Qur'an was not authored by Muhammad. It was authored by God, revealed to Muhammad, and written into physical form by his companions.

16) The Holy Qur'an has no flaws or contradictions. The original Arabic scriptures have never been changed or tampered with.

17) Actual seventh century Qur'ans, complete and intact, are on display in museums in Turkey and many other places around the world.

18) If all Qur'ans in the world today were burned and destroyed, the original Arabic would still remain. This is because millions of Muslims, called Hafiz (or "preservers") have memorized the text letter for letter from beginning to end, every word and syllable. Also, chapters from the Qur'an are precisely recited from memory by every Muslim in each of the five daily prayers.

19) Muslims do not believe in the concept of "vicarious atonement" but rather believe in the law of personal responsibility. Islam teaches that each person is responsible for his or her own actions. On the Day of Judgment Muslims believe that every person will be resurrected and will have to answer to God for their every word, thought, and deed. Consequently, a practicing Muslim is always striving to be righteous.

20) Islam was not spread by the sword. It was spread by the word (Islamic teachings) and the example of its followers. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion (the Holy Qur'an 2:256 and 10:99).

21) Terrorism, unjustified violence and the killing of innocent people are absolutely forbidden in Islam. Islam is a way of life that is meant to bring peace to a society, whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be, among other things, a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger. Tyrant rulers and those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are simply not following Islam. These people are individuals with their own views and political agendas. Fanatical Muslims are no more representative of the true Islamic teachings than Timothy McVeigh or David Koresh are of Christianity. Extremism and fanaticism is a problem that is common to all religious groups. Anyone who thinks that all Muslims are terrorists should remember that the famous boxer Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most celebrated person of our era, is a practicing Muslim.

22) The word "jihad" does not mean "holy war". Instead, it means the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God. Some Muslims may say they are going for "jihad" when fighting in a war to defend themselves or their fellow Muslims, but they only say this because they are conceding that it will be a tremendous struggle. But there are many other forms of jihad which are more relevant to the everyday life of a Muslim such as the struggles against laziness, arrogance, stinginess, or the struggle against a tyrant ruler or against the temptation of Satan, or against one's own ego, etc.

23) Women are not oppressed in Islam. Any Muslim man that oppresses a woman is not following Islam. Among the many teachings of Prophet Muhammad that protected the rights and dignity of women is his saying, "...the best among you are those who treat their wives well." (Tirmidhi)

24) Islam grants women numerous rights in the home and in society. Among them are the right to earn money, to financial support, to an education, to an inheritance, to being treated kindly, to vote, to a dowry, to keep their maiden name, to worship in a mosque, etc., etc.

25) Muslim women wear the head-covering (hijab) in fulfillment of God's decree to dress modestly. From a practical standpoint, it serves to identify one as attempting to follow God in daily life and, therefore, protects women from unwanted advances from men. This type of modest dress has been worn by righteous women throughout history. Prominent examples are traditional Catholic Nuns, Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

26) Arranged marriages are allowed in Islam but are not required. Whereas "forced" marriages, usually stemming from cultural practice, are forbidden. Divorce is permissible, however, reconciliation is what is most encouraged. But if there are irreconcilable differences then Islam permits a fair and just divorce.

27) Islam and the "Nation of Islam" are two different religions. Islam is a religion for all races and enjoins the worship of the one unseen God who, orthodox Muslims believe, never took human form. The "Nation", on the other hand, is a movement geared towards non-whites and teaches that God appeared in the form of Fard Muhammad in 1930 and that Elijah Muhammad (a man who died in 1975) was a prophet of God. These beliefs clearly contradict the basic Islamic theology outlined in the Qur'an. The followers of "the Nation" adhere to some Islamic principles that are mixed with many other teachings that are alien to Islam. To better understand the difference between the two, read about Malcolm X, his pilgrimage to Mecca and his subsequent comments to the media. Islam teaches equality amongst all the races (Holy Qur'an 49:13).

28) All Muslims are not Arab. Islam is a universal religion and way of life which includes followers from all races of people. There are Muslims in and from virtually every country in the world. Arabs only constitute about 20% of Muslims worldwide. Indonesia has the largest concentration of Muslims with over 120 million.

29) In the five daily prayers, Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca, Arabia. It is a cube-shaped stone structure that was originally built by Prophet Adam and later rebuilt by Prophet Abraham. Muslims believe that the Kaaba was the first house of worship on Earth dedicated to the worship of one god. Muslims do not worship the Kaaba. It serves as a central focal point for Muslims around the world, unifying them in worship and symbolizing their common belief, spiritual focus and direction. Interestingly, the inside of the Kaaba is empty.

30) The hajj is a simultaneous pilgrimage to the Kaaba made by millions of Muslims each year. It is performed to commemorate the struggles of Abraham, Ismail and Hagar in submitting their wills to God.















Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SINCERELY YOURS,

I have been Muslim now for 8 months now ALHAMDULILAH!!!! To be honest, it feels like much longer which is Subhana'Allah only due to the mercy of Allah.

I have noticed MANY things and my eyes have completely opened and I feel obliged to write about it.

It's funny, many non-believers (the ones I know, or knew) seem to be extremely immersed in their worldly life. You know, it's really rare to come across individuals who will message you out of their own genuine, sincere concern to see how you are doing. A simple "hello" or "hey, how are you?" is almost like pulling teeth without any sort of painkillers. This just dawned on my a few days ago. I mean, I never really took a real notice until just recently. Why is it that non-believers, and even some Muslims are just SO BUSY that they can't even take five minutes out of their day to say a simple "hey, how are you?" or a simple "Assalamualykum?". Sure, for a non-believer it is understandable since they are so oblivious to even the smallest things. But for Muslims, it is actually sunnah to say "Assalamualykum" to your sisters.


It is narrated in : 

Hadith - Sahih Muslim 96, Narrated Abu Hurayrah
The Messenger of Allah,  observed: You shall not enter paradise so long as you do not affirm belief (in all those things which are the articles of faith) and you will not believe as long as you do not love one another. Should I not direct you to a thing which, if you do, will foster love amongst you: (i.e.) give currency to (the practice of paying salutation to one another by saying) as-salamu alaykum. 

Hadith - Abu Dawood 5178, Narrated Abu Umamah
The Prophet  said: Those who are nearest to Allah are they who are first to give a salutation. 


Is such a simple greeting so hard to say? I mean, why do so many Muslims try to mimic the West? The Western culture, from my point of view, and from my experiences, is NOT something to be proud of. It is a culture where everyone is TOO busy to even take one minute out of their day to even say hello to a loved one, or a friend.  I know many people only message you or say hello when they need something or have some other intentions other than to be sincerely concerned with your own well-being. 
What has happened to the world today? Is money and greed really the number one concern in the world?  Sadly, yes, it has really taken over the world and it seems shaitan and his ways are winning over the weak souls. 

I get confused often, I mean, I know a few people (excluding maybe ONE), non believers, who are just so immersed with the dunya and with their own selves that it amazes me how selfish they truly are. I never noticed this before as I used to be just as selfish, although I still always was the first one to message my friends (without intentions, well, maybe to go hang out) saying "hello, how are you?"  I mean it just takes two seconds to type this, especially with phones these days, that make it absolutely "dummy-proof" for you to type slow. Ok, i understand you are busy with your "new baby" or your new "love life" but are you seriously so selfish that you can't even return a simple greeting or see how someone is doing? For all I know, if I dropped dead tomorrow (Allah knows best) they wouldn't even KNOW! Well, that just shows you the type of quality friends that are out there these days, close to NULL. 

Quality friends, do they exist? I don't know in the Western world I know they don't (from my experience). In Islam, definitely. I love my sisters with all my heart and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. If only the non believers would open up their EYES and see how true sincerity is done, than we would all be loving one another like how the Prophet (pbuh) once did. My sisters are genuine, sincere, and so loving. How is that I became Muslim just recently and I have found more quality friends now than I once ever had in my whole 20 some odd years ? The quality of the sisterhood I have can't be compared to the non-believers way of friendship. I'm not even sure how it works anymore to be honest. All I remember is that they are just as selfish, insincere, and only care about their own well-being. Yes, there are the ODD one that I have in my life who still cares genuinely and takes the time to send me the occasional message. But come one, ONE out of ..........????

*sigh*

That is why I find Islam so beautiful. The sisters (practising) ones care so much about your well-being and put you before themselves and its all for the sake of Allah. THEY ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT YOU! And they are truly sincere. A simple "Assalamualykum, how are you sister?" goes a LONG WAY, not just in this dunya but in The Hereafter. Don't forget Allah is ALL KNOWING, ALL HEARING, ALL SEEING and all your deeds will be recorded, even the smallest ones that you don't think twice about!

I'm sure many of you know about the story of the Israelite prostitute who was forgiven her sins by Allah swt because she fed a thirsty dog with water. The action sounds easy, but she had to struggle down the well, up the well, down the well again, with water filled in her shoe that she clasped with her teeth so she could climb up the well to feed the thirsty dog some water. She knew the dog was just as thirsty as she was yet she chose to put her needs second. Her sincere concern for the animal's needs was what earned her Allah's mercy!

If we could all just follow the true teachings of Islam and use our sincere intentions to help one another, and to educate the non believers, imagine the amount of rewards and mercy we would earn from Allah swt? Not just in the dunya but also in the Hereafter!

It starts with a simple, sincere, "Assalamualykum sis, how are you?"


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brought tears to my eyes!!



So beautiful Mashaa'Allah!!! This video makes me cry because I wish that my family would see the beauty these Chinese Muslims see.

*sigh*
Inshaa'Allah may Allah guide my family one day.

M O D E S T Y. in the light of Qur'an & Hadith


QUESTION: I would like to know about Hijab in the light of Qur'an & Hadith as how our Muslim women should cover their body? Some people are saying that covering of face is not necessary and also not prescribed through our religion and thus only body can be covered. What are the opinions of most prominent Islamic scholars or four Imams?

ANSWER: Is it necessary for a woman to cover her face in the presence of strangers (who are not her designated Mahaarim) according to Shariáh? This question is answered in this article in the context of the claim that the veil or Niqaab is primarily 'a social requirement and custom according to the environment and custom, and according to the environment and customs of a particular country.' In endeavouring to answer the question, we will confine ourselves to a brief examination of the relevant Qurãnic verses.


Surah An-Nur, Verses 30 and 31
'And Say to the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bossoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or their (Muslim women) (i.e. sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful'

It is apparent that upon a plain reading the purpose of the verse is to eradicate promiscuity, fornication and adultery and all the preliminary steps that lead directly to the commission of such shameful acts. The references to 'lowering their gaze', 'drawing their veils over their bosoms' and 'striking their feet to draw attention' indicate that all acts or omissions which in the ordinary course leads directly to sexual promiscuity and FITNAH are forbidden.
In order to totally eradicate sexual promiscuity and FITNAH, the verse goes on to say that a woman is not permitted to display her beauty and charms except in degrees to her husband, father and the other classes of person specified in the verse. The exempt class would constitute the MAHAARIM, and any other would qualify as strangers or GHAIR MAHRAM. The principle fixed by the verse is, therefore that a woman cannot display her beauty to any male person other than the persons exempted by the verse. 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 as stated above. She is permitted to display her beauty to the exempt class (the MAHAARIM) for obvious reasons of close contact, and because of the considerably lesser danger of sexual promiscuity and FITNAH within that class. (Zamakhshari)

The Shariáh, however, is practical, dynamic and takes into account the real situations of life. A woman may in the case of genuine need be forced to expose her face in the presence of strangers. For example, when she appears in court to give witness, etc.
It is against this background that the preceding portion of the verse 'they should not display their beauty and charms except what must ordinarily appear unavoidable' falls into proper perspective. The words 'Illaa maa dhahara min'haa' are in context an exception to the general rule, and cover those cases of genuine need and necessity when a woman is forced to expose her face in the presence of a stranger. That is how the great commentators of the Noble Qurãn have interpreted the verse.

Take the following two examples,
'Women must not display any part of their beauty and charms to strangers except what cannot possibly be concealed.' (Ibn Katheer)
'Why is the woman permitted to display her external beauty and charms? Because to conceal that would cause her inconvinience. A woman is forced to deal in commodities with her own hands. She is compelled by genuine need to expose her face especially at the times of giving evidence, litigating in court and marriage. She is compelled to walk the streets and expose her feet, especially poor women. This is the meaning of 'illaa maa dhahara min'haa' that is 'except what the situations of ordinary life compel her to expose'. (Zamakhshari)
A further point is the interpretation of 'illaa maa dhahara min'haa' has been highlighted by the well known scholar, Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). He states that the verb used is that of the first form 'dhahara' and not 'adhhar' which in forth form signifies a deliberate exposure or display. The use of 'maa dhahara' indicates that the exposure of the face is confined to need. (Imdaadul Fataawa vol. 4 p. 181)
It follows from the aforegoing that upon a proper interpretation of the verse the face and hands of a woman can only be exposed to strangers in a situation of genuine need where concealment would cause her serious inconvinience. 

However, genuine need is not open to wide interpretations.

SURA AL-AHZAAB - VERSE 53
'...And when you ask them for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen...'
The meaning of this verse is clear: the companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) were ordered to communicate with the wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) from behind a screen and not directly face to face. It is obvious that this instruction is not limited to the wives of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaau Álayhi Wasallam). The verse has general application and the fact that the noble wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) are specifically mentioned emphasises the importance of the subject matter. The distinguished jurist, Abubakar Jassa (RA) in his Ahkaamul Qurãn states:
'This order, although revealed specifically in relation to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) is general in application because we are ordered to follow him.'
Similarly, the well known commentator of the Noble Qurãn, Imaam Qurtubi (RA) in his Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qurãn states:
'All women are in effect covered by the terms of the verse which embraces the Sharée principle that the whole of a woman is 'Áwrah' (to be concealed) - her body and voice, as mentioned previously. It is not permissible to expose those parts except in the case of need, such as the giving of evidence...'

SURAH AL-AHZAAB - VERSE 59
'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way)...'

In his commentary to this verse, Allama Abubakar Jassas (RA) states the following:
'This verse proves that a young woman is ordered to cover her face from strangers, and to manifest SATR and modesty in public so that doubtful people may not be desirous of her.'
It is sufficient to quote the following authentic commentators in their interpretation of the verse:
'They (women), shall cover their faces and bodies with their outer garment when they appear in public for a valid reason.'
'They shall cover their faces and...'
Ibn Ábbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) states that the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye.'
And Allah Taãla Knows Best


Why Women Should Wear the Veil?



Women throughout the world spend millions of Dollars on facial beauty. Companies manufacturing 'beauty' products make a colossal figure in sales. It would be nothing short saying that the products used on the face far exceed other products. This in itself proves that humans are particularly possessive of their looks - facial expression. People especially women take great pride and time in making up their faces.
Allah Ta'ala has placed the beauty of man and woman in the face. Perhaps the busiest part of the body is the face - used extensively in communication. The face communicates the person's mood and facial expressions and expresses the character and mannerism.
Because so much of identification is assembled by the face, least to mention the beauty of women, Muslim women are required to hide away their beauty. The veil forms part of their concealment.



The Noble Qur'an declares:
"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women so as not to be annoyed." (Ahzaab 59)
Furthermore, the Noble Qur'an declares in Sura Nur verse 31, that the believing women 'should not display their beauty and ornamentation' except to their husbands and immediate family (Mahrams).
Allah Ta'ala says clearly that a woman's body should be covered by loose-fitting, non-transparent clothing so that the shape of her body is not revealed. The Hijaab hides the beauty of the woman's form.
No one can dispute that a woman's primary focus of beauty is her face. Therefore, if Allah Ta'ala places so much of emphasis on hiding the beauty of a woman's body, it's only logical that the centre of greater attraction - the face - should without a doubt also be covered.
Referring to the wives (Radhiallaahu Anhunna) of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) warns the men:
"And when you ask (His ladies) for anything you want, ask them from behind a curtain: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and theirs." (Ahzaab 33:53)
If Allah Ta'ala expects the prophet's wives to be so guarded then surely none of the believing women can claim greater purity of heart and consequently exemption from the directive to hide their beauty.
Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiyallaahu Anha) says, '(during Hajj in the state of Ihraam) when the male should walk in front of us while in the company of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), then we would drop our veils from the head over the face.'
This Hadith emphatically shows the manner adopted by the honoured wives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). They have exemplified an extremely dignified way of life for the women of the Ummah.

[Source: Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

http://www.shariahprogram.ca/islam-qa-women/hijab-face.shtml

Friday, November 18, 2011

NIQAB WOMAN SPEAKS FOR ALL OF US PIOUS MUSLIMAHS !!!

Oh' poor Mona looks like she is going to cry at the end of this segment. Clearly she needs to READ THE QUR'AN A LITTLE MORE CLEARLY.


The Noble Qur'an declares:
"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women so as not to be annoyed." (Ahzaab 59)

Hijab, Niqab or Nothing?

 Clearly the 'Miss'is' in the middle needs to pick up the Qur'an and start reading .


The Noble Qur'an declares:
"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women so as not to be annoyed." (Ahzaab 59)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

m o d e s t y.

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Modesty is a virtue through and through, or said: Modesty is a goodness complete.” [Muslim]


Once the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) passed by a man who was admonishing his brother regarding Haya and was saying, 'You are very shy, and I am afraid that might harm you.' On that, Allah's Apostle said, 'Leave him, for Haya is (a part) of Faith.' [Bukhari]


This hadith tells us that there is nothing bad about modesty. Therefore, if something is purely good, then however much you have of it, it can only be good for you. This is something to especially remember in these times when ‘moral’ and ‘modest’ are portrayed as ‘backward,’ ‘oppressed' and 'under-confident.’


A person with Haya does not show off his mind, body, or anything else. Haya is translated as modesty but it includes all of the following meanings as well: self respect, bashfulness, having scruples, having awareness of Allah. This word is a prime example of how much is lost in translation from Arabic to any other language.

So..I would like to help you see and perhaps maybe you will understand the importance of posting pictures on twitter, Facebook and anywhere else online... If we are supposed to lower our gaze from the strange men in public what is the difference than online? Especially if these men get to STARE at your picture. We should all be lowering our gazes and worry about the anger of ALLAH and the jealousy of ALLAH !!! Not whether people will think we look beautiful without hijab in pictures. Woman in the West compared to Muslim women are different so we should not copy them nor try to be more like them. The Western women dont understand the concept of saving your beauty for your Creator and your husband only that is why they don't wear hijab or know what the meaning of hijab is. They don't have modesty because they don't have iman. So what makes US different from them is that we are modest because we (should) have iman, and we know that in Islam it is essential to gaurd our adornments and to not show it off. MODESTY IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

I used to always wish I was shy and quiet and not loud and unruly with the "HEY LOOK AT ME " attitude!

 On the Day of Judgement we are not going to worry one bit about how our hair looks, or if our make up is applied on properly, or if the next brother is "looking at us" (which they shouldn't be!!! lower your gaze!) but instead we will be worrying only about ourselves, we will be naked, suffering from the sun's extreme blistering, scorching heat just wishing we had at least one INCH of shade!!!



I mean, if some man in public took a picture of you without knowing, wouldn't you feel a little violated and not the say the least, disgusted?! >.<

If Allah tells us women to lower our gazes and to gaurd our adornments, that applies everywhere and not just in public. Everything we say and do ( even online) will be recorded.

FEAR ALLAH.

Modesty is a sign of iman. If Khadijah and Aisha (may Allah be pleased with them) didnt do it, we shouldn't either ( by that I mean anything against the sunnah, especially when dealing with our own modesty) . Again, Modest is a sign of iman as the Prophet (pbuh) said in the above Hadith.

Allah helps those who want to help themselves and don't forget Allah is ALL KNOWING, ALL HEARING, ALL SEEING whatever it is that's going on in your heart.

Soooooo that being said my beautiful sisters, we all want to help each other make it to Jannah right? So maybe work harder at the intentions of wanting to wear hijab (PROPERLY) and work harder with intentions to remove your photo off Facebook (Ewwww perverts!!!) and Twitter AND work harder to FEAR ALLAH!!!!!!!!
We are all aiming for the same thing, being neighbors in Jannah. If we can only work hard and pass our daily struggles in the dunya, inshaa'Allah I will see you all in The Hereafter (if Allah wills)

Tell me how it goes! I love hearing your improvements to preserve Islam the way of the Salafi! Step at a time and with the right intentions Allah will guide us all :) and if anyone dares call you oppressed because you are veiled remember this : “The West interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of their sexuality. But when I traveled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Muslim attitudes toward women’s appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one’s husband. It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channeling - toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home.”—Naomi Wolf

Xxoo


DO YOU NEED SOME "BACK UP"  ON WHERE IT STATES IN THE QUR'AN AND AHADITH? 
PLEASE REFER TO POST " MODESTY IN THE LIGHT OF THE QUR'AN AND HADITH" 

JAZAKALLAH KHEYRUN!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"FREE-MIXING"


The Danger of Women Freely Mixing with Men, and Especially in Relation to their Participation in the Work Arena of Men 
A Fatwaa from Shaykh 'Abdul 'Azeez Bin Baaz (rahimahullaah)

http://www.troid.org/
"PIVOTAL QUOTE"
The open call, or its intimation, for women to go out to work in the same arena as men, resulting in the mixing of sexes, citing the necessities of this age and the demands of civilisation as proof, is indeed a very dangerous matter.
The following Fatwa was taken from the book entitled, 'Mushaarikatul Marr'a Lirrajuli Fee Maydaan 'Amaliihee',
All Praise is due to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds, and may the Prayer and Peace be upon His trustworthy Messenger and upon all his family and Companions.
The open call, or its intimation, for women to go out to work in the same arena as men, resulting in the mixing of sexes, citing the necessities of this age and the demands of civilization as proof, is indeed a very dangerous matter. It has dangerous ramifications, bitter fruits and disastrous consequences. And this call is made despite it conflicting with stipulations in Islamic Law, which requires a woman to remain in her home to fulfill the duties which are particular to her.
Whoever would like to see from close proximity the immeasurable [damage] which has been caused by the mixing of the sexes, then let him consider with fairness and impartiality, seeking only the Truth, those societies who have succumbed, whether [by] choice or by force, to this affliction and he will find grievance and regret from both the individual and society because of the feeling of the woman [being away] from her home and the [resultant] breaking up of the family.
This we find mentioned, not only by many authors, but throughout the media, solely because it is the destruction of the society and its foundations.
There are many clear, authentic proofs which forbid the seclusion of a man with "Al Ajnabiyyah" (i.e. literally; a foreign woman - it includes all those women whom a man is permitted to marry by Islamic Law.), his looking at her and those steps which lead to the occurrence of what Allaah (Ta'aala) has forbidden. They are unequivocal in forbidding the mixing of men and women because it leads to what is not commendable.
The ousting of the woman from her home, which is her domain and base in this life, is her removal from her nature which Allaah (Ta'aala) created her upon.
So the call for women to step into the arena of men is a great matter of great danger for the Islamic society. The resultant mixing of men and women is one of the leading causes of fornication, which fragments the society, cheapens its value and undermines its morality.
It is clear that Allaah, The Blessed, The Exalted, created for women a particular physique, which differs completely from the physique of man. With it, He prepared her to carry out her duties in her home and among women. And due to this, the plunging of women into the arena designated for men must be considered her removal from her nature. That is a great injustice to a woman and is the extinguishing of her personality. The effect of this is passed on to both the males and the females of the next generation.
They are deprived of education, tenderness and affection, because the mother has been separated from her responsibility in these matters and completely removed from her domain, out of which it is not possible for her to find peace, stability and tranquility. The condition of those societies which are entangled in this is the strongest proof for what we say. Islam has designed for both the husband and the wife particular duties and it is for each one of them to fulfill those duties in order that the building of the society, both inside and outside the home, may be completed.
The man is responsible for expenditure and earning while the woman is responsible for bringing up the children, tenderness and affection, suckling the young, weaning them and all other duties appropriate to her, such as teaching the young and the management of their schooling, their medical care and so forth.
For a woman to abandon her household duties is tantamount to the ruin of the home and its occupants and there follows as a consequence the break up of the family, to such an extent that the society becomes but a form, an image with neither reality nor meaning.
Allaah The Sublime, The Exalted says: {Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 4 Ayah 34)
This noble Ayah (1) points out that it is the custom of Allaah (Ta'aala) in His creation that man has guardianship over women and is a degree above them.
The meaning of Allaah's Ordering a woman to be settled in her home and forbidding her from At Tabbaraj (i.e. for a woman to display of her beauty that which evokes the desires of men, and which it is obligatory for her to veil) is the prohibition of Al Ikhtilaat, which is the mixing of men and women in the same place of work, buying and selling, picnics or travel and so forth. This is because the plunging of women into this arena leads to her falling into that which is forbidden, and that is a violation of Allaah's command and the neglect of His Law, which it is obligatory for a Muslim woman to abide by.
The Qur'an and Traditions of the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), both show that the mixing of the sexes and all that might lead to it, is not permissible.
Allaah, The Sublime, The Exalted says: {And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As Salat (Iqamat as Salat), and give Zakat and obey Allaah and His Messenger. Allaah wishes only to remove Ar Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a thorough purification.} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 33 Ayah 33)
And so Allaah (Ta'aala) Ordered the Mothers of the Believers (2) - and all Muslim women are included in that injunction to be settled in their homes because in that is their protection and their being distant from the causes of immorality. A woman leaving her home unnecessarily could lead to "At Tabarraj" and other harm. They are also ordered to do righteous deeds, such as the performance of Prayer, the paying of Zakat and obedience to Allaah and His Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), which all protect her from committing vile and reprehensible actions.
They are then directed to what will benefit them in this world and the next, which is to be in continual touch with the Qur'an and the Prophetical Traditions, both of which remove impurities from the heart and purify it from iniquity, guide to the Truth and to that which is correct.
Allaah, The Exalted says: {O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the Believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen
themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 33 Ayah 59)
And so Allaah (Ta'aala) ordered His Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), the transmitter of the Message from his Lord, to tell his wives and daughters and all the women of the Believers to shroud themselves with their Jalabeeb (3) if they had to go out for a particular need, in order that they would not suffer harm from people with corrupt hearts. And so if this matter is of such importance then imagine her stepping into the arena of men, mixing with them, exposing her need to them through employment and by so doing, relinquishing much of her femininity and losing her modesty. All this, in order to achieve an equality of the two sexes which are different both in meaning and form.
Allaah, The Sublime, The Exalted says: {Tell the Believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts).
That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All Aware of what they do. And tell the Believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron), and to draw their Khumaar (4) all over their Juyoob (5) (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)...} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 24 Ayat 30-31)
Allaah (Ta'aala) ordered His Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), to inform the Believing men to lower their gaze and to guard themselves against committing adultery and fornication and then He, Exalted made it clear that it was more befitting them. It is clear that guarding the self against committing adultery and fornication is achieved by avoiding its causes and there can be no doubt that leaving the eyes free to gaze, and the mixing of men and women at work and elsewhere are some of its major causes.
These two matters, lowering the eyes and guarding against immorality which are demanded from the Believer, are impossible to achieve while he is working with "Al Marr'a Al Ajnabiyyah" (once again: literally a foreign woman. It includes all those women whom a man is permitted to marry by Islamic Law), as his colleague or partner.
And so Allaah (Ta'aala) ordered the Believing women to lower their gaze and to be chaste and not to display their ornaments, except those which are openly apparent, He also commanded them to let their head coverings fall down over their breasts, which would include her covering her head and face.
So how can the lowering of the eye's chastity and the concealing of a woman's adornment be achieved when she goes to work with men and mixes with them, all of which guarantees the occurrence of that which we should be wary of?
How is it possible for a Muslim woman to lower her gaze while she is side by side with "Al Ajnabee" (literally a foreign man. It includes all those men whom a woman is permitted to marry by Islamic Law), on the pretext that she is participating with him or is equal to him in all that he does?
Allaah (Ta'aala) has forbidden all the causes of that which is prohibited and so He has ordered women not to use enticing speech with men because that can awaken in men a desire for women.
Allaah, The Exalted says: {O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty to (Allaah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 33 Ayah 32)
What is meant is the sickness of lust, so how can that be avoided while the mixing of the sexes is occurring?
What is quite clear is that if she goes out to work with men she most certainly will speak with them and they will speak with her, and she will beautify her speech for them and they for her. In addition to that, Shaytaan makes immorality appealing and calls people to it, until they fall prey to him. And so Allaah (Ta'aala) in His wisdom has ordered women to be veiled.
That is only because amongst people there are those who are righteous and pure and others who are adulterers and fornicators. Thus, veiling/concealing prevents, Insha' Allaah, temptation, hinders its causes and by it purity of the heart of both men and women is achieved as well as the distancing of suspicion and accusation.
Allaah, The Sublime, The Exalted says: {And when you ask (the Prophet's wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.} (The Noble Qur'an: Surah 33 Aya 53)
And the best screen for a woman, after the covering of her face and body with clothes, is her house.
Islam has forbidden women to mix with "Al Ajaanib" (i.e. plural of Al Ajnabee), so that she does not expose herself to temptation, directly or indirectly. It requires her to be settled in
the house and not go out, except when obliged to, and to do so with the decency required by Islam.
Allaah (Ta'aala) has termed her remaining in her home "Qaraaran" (i.e. lit. being settled, stable, steady or still.), and in it is the subtlest of meanings, because it contains the settling of her self and the tranquillity and delight of her heart. The leaving of that stability leads to the disturbance of her breast and her exposure to that whose outcome is not commendable.
Islam has prohibited a man's seclusion with "Al Ajnabiyyah" under any circumstances, and it has forbidden her (the woman) to travel except with her "Mahram" (6) in order to curtail the description of Shaytaan.
For this reason Allaah's Messenger (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said: "I have not left behind me a trial more harmful to men than women." He (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) [also]
said: "Be wary of the life of this world and be on your guard against women, because the first trial for the Israelites was through women."
It is possible that some of those who call for the mixing of the sexes depend upon the superficial meaning of some of the texts of Law, the real meaning and purpose of which are not perceived except by he whose heart has been illuminated by Allaah (Subhannah wa Ta'aala) and who has been given understanding of Allaah's Religion and has gathered all the evidence together, until it has been unified in his mind, so that no part of it is separated from any [other] part.
A misunderstanding has occurred, for instance, because some women accompanied the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), on some military expeditions. The correct explanation for this, however, is that they did so with their "Mahaarim" (i.e. plural of Mahrim), in order to achieve many benefits and it did not lead to what is feared for them nor [did it lead to] immorality because of their Faith and Piety, [and] their supervision by their "Mahaarim" and their care about remaining concealed following the Revelation concerning it, in contrast to many of the women of this time.
It is clear that a woman's leaving her home in order to work, is a completely different situation from when the women went out with Allaah's Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) on a military expedition. So to compare the one with the other must be considered an incorrect analogy.
We must also ask what it was that the Rightly Guided predecessors understood concerning this matter. There can be no doubt that they understood the meanings of the texts better than other people and were closer to the implementation of the injunctions of the Qur'an and the Traditions of the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam).
So what has been constantly related by them throughout history?
Have they extended the range of a woman's activity, as those who call for the mixing of men and women claim, and thus reported that what has been mentioned in the texts is that a woman can work in every field of life with men, so that she competes with them and they compete with her? Or did they understand that these matters were limited and did not go beyond them?
If we examine the Islamic conquests and military expeditions throughout history, we do not find this mixing of men and women. However, the call today for the recruitment of a woman as a soldier, who carries weapons and kills like a man, is nothing more than a reason to ruin and breakdown the morals of the army, in the name of 'relaxation' for the army.
This is because there occurs quite naturally between a man and a woman, affection, intimacy and relaxation through conversation when they are alone together; and as one thing can lead to another, it is wiser and more prudent and further from future regret to close the door of temptation.
And so the prime objective of Islam is the promoting of that which is beneficial and the averting of [all that is] evil, and closing the doors of its causes. It has been mentioned previously that the mixing of men and women at work is a major cause for the decline of a people and the corruption of its society.
It is also an historical fact that one of the main reasons for the decline and decay that happened to the old Roman and Greek civilisations [and others] like them, was the emergence of the woman from her particular domain into that of the man's
[domain] and their competing together. This led to the corruption of the morals of the men and their abandoning that which would push the community to a material and spiritual development.
Also, if the woman is busy outside the home, this leads to the man becoming idle, causing a decline and collapse of their (the men's) role, and the corruption of the family, causing the collapse of its structure and the corruption of the morals of the children. As well as this, it also leads to the violation of the principles which Allaah (Ta'aala) has declared in the Qur'an, which is that man has been placed as the guardian.
It is also the objective of Islam to distance a woman from everything which contradicts her nature, and so [it is for this reason that] she is prohibited from being entrusted with public governorship, such as the leadership of the country, the administration of the Law and all those duties which carry public responsibilities.
This is because the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam) said: "Never would a community succeed which entrusted the direction of their affairs to a woman." (Related by Al Bukharee in his collection of authentic Hadeeth.)
And so the opening of the door for her to step into the arena of men must be considered contradictory to what Islam wants for her of happiness and stability. And so Islam prohibits the enlisting of a woman in that which is outside her proper arena and field of activity.
Besides what has been mentioned in the Qur'an, and the Traditions of the Prophet concerning the difference between their two natures and duties, experience has also proven - especially in those societies where men mix freely with women - that men and women are both by nature [not] equal. And those who call for the equality of the fair sex with men are either ignorant, or pretending to be ignorant of the basic differences between them.
Footnotes:
Ayah - The Qur'an is divided into 114 Suwar, or Chapters. Each Surah is divided into a variable number of Ayat (plural). The total number of Ayat in the Qur'an is 6236.
Mothers of the Believers: A title given to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam).
Jalabeeb: plural of Jalbaab. A loose outer garment that covers all a woman's body. Some of the commentators have said that a woman should cover her head and face with it, except for one eye; in order that it be known that she is a free woman, and so not to be exposed to any harm.
Khumaar: The plural of Khimaar. It is what is used by a woman to cover her head. The commentators have stated that during the times of ignorance (Jahileeyah), before Islam, the women would leave their 'Khumaar' to drop down from behind, and due to the widened opening of their gowns at their front, their necks and necklaces would be exposed.
Juyoob: The plural of Jayb. The original meaning of the word is the opening in a garment through which the head passes. Some of the commentators have stated that it refers to the position of the opening and so the meaning in the Ayah would be 'their breasts'.
Mahram: A person whom it is not permissible for a woman to marry by Islamic Law, such as her father or brother.