HIJAB IN ISLAM
MUFTI WASEEM KHAN
Different meanings have been drawn from the word ‘Hijab’ in different societies through the ages. It is however, mostly and grossly misinterpreted in societies lacking Divine Guidance. The usual understanding of such people is that it is outdated, uncivilized, and a way of depriving women of any advancement and progress. Many of these people see Hijab as ‘hiding away the woman’, and it is understood to be ‘an old fashion of women’ that is not keeping with the times of the modern world. For some, Hijab prevents one from excelling in different ways and is seen to be a hurdle in fulfilling one’s objectives and goals in this world.
The list goes on and on with such remarks and statements, and it seems that every new generation gives a new interpretation of this teaching in Islam.
It is however, strange to note that while these critics have taken the time to investigate and give their thoughts on what hijab is, they have failed to investigate the disastrous and horrible results of ‘Non Hijab’ in the world.
There is no doubt that adherence to religious teachings requires a certain amount of discipline and self restraint from an individual, however, this is the sacrifice one makes to live a life of respect and intergrity, chastity and purity. On the flip side of this, it has to be admitted that the non-adherence to religious teachings has brought about such freedom and loose behavior among human beings, that it has taken ‘man’ out of the respect, dignity, honor and decency with which he was created.
The absence of Hijab has brought about nakedness, nudity and lewdness in the society. Shamelessness among men and women has become the order of the day. Indecent and immoral behavior have become so widespread that ‘fornication’ and ‘adultery’ have become ‘normal’ and ‘Okay’ for the masses. These and many others are the disastrous effects and results of Non-Hijab which our critics fail to see due to their internal blindness. In summary, Hijab is none of what the critics have written. Instead, it is a sacred Institution that involves a wide range of measures to safeguard the chastity of the woman, the home and the family life.
Hijab brings womanhood back to a woman, it returns to her the chastity, dignity, prestige and respect which was given to her by Allah, the Almighty.
History bears testimony to the fact that civilizations were at the sublime when Hijab was being observed by them in one form or the other. The curves of their downfall rose with the gradual banishment of Hijab from them.
Anyone who goes through the annals of history would find that the Greek Civilization was at its peak of grandeur and glory when the Greek woman was queen of the home.
Her sphere of duty was restricted to the four walls of that kingdom where she held a position of authority. Her chastity was held in high esteem. To guard it, female apartments in their houses were segregated from those of males and there did not exist any misconception of mixed gatherings, and the phenomenon of equal job opportunities for both the sexes, unwed mothers and children out of wedlock were nearly unheard of.
The Greeks, however, could not maintain those standards and gradually fell victim to the human weakness, thus allowing their womenfolk to leave the home and quench the thirsty wandering eyes. They destroyed the sanctity of the Hijab and with the destruction of this indispensable institution, they soon lost the sanctity of womanhood. With immeasurable loss, the Greek nation started regarding matrimony as an unrealistic and unnecessary restriction, and considered adultery and fornication as lawful.
The uncontrolled sex and licentiousness soon started covering the natural course, and with the passage of time, illicit relations and unlawful indulgences came to be regarded as part of religion. Appreciation and pride became the lot of these women who failed to remain faithful to their husbands. Prostitutes and vagabond ladies started influencing decisions upon which depended the very life and death of the Great Greek kingdom.
In a nutshell, the destruction of the chastity of womanhood destroyed the very womanhood itself which in turn led to the destruction of the Greek home. Once the Greek home was destroyed, the Greek Empire came down with a thud. History bears clear testimony that having suffered this heavy blow, the Greeks have not been able to recover their past glory until this day.
As mentioned before, Hijab/Purdah is a sacred institution that embodies a wide range of measures that are all focused on the protection and preservation of the chastity, modesty and purity of women.
These measures incorporate a woman’s dress and clothing, her conduct in open and public places, her manner of speech, the intermingling with the opposite sex and being alone with such people. It also comprises of a woman’s traveling alone to distant places, protecting her modesty and adopting the ways of the opposite sex. These are just a few which are part and parcel of the concept of Hijab and the law of Modesty which have been given to Muslim women.
In the matter of dress and clothing, the Holy Quran has spoken in great details regarding the dress of a woman, identifying to her the manner of covering herself and what areas of the body can be exposed (due to necessity).
In Islam, a Muslim woman has been ordered by Allah to cover her entire body with the exception of the face and the hands upto the wrists. In this regard, Allah says, ‘O Prophet! Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must (ordinarily) appear thereof’. (Sura An Nur verse 30-31).
As mentioned by many great scholars, the head of which is Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), the above verse gives an allowance for women to expose the face and hands up to the wrists. According to him and other great commentators, the phrase ‘that which appears thereof’ refers to the face and hands up to the wrists. There are other great scholars who hold the opinion that covering the face/hands is compulsory. This difference of opinion however, is only with regards to the face and the hands (up to the wrists). Besides these areas, there is the total agreement of all the scholars of Islam which includes the Sahabahs, Tabieen, Tab’ut Tabieen and those after them, that the other areas of the body of the woman must be covered properly. This is clearly established from the verses of the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S.A). It therefore means, that while covering one’s head with the head-cover (khimar, scarf), a woman must not expose her ears, neck, nape, chest etc. All these parts must be covered since they are all concealable areas of the body, and exposing them is sinful.
With respect to the manner of dressing, a woman is not allowed to wear tight-fitted clothing. The dress of a woman must not reveal the shape of her body nor should it reveal the parts of the body. It must be loose to the extent that it does not show up the body. Wearing such tight-fitted clothes are against the teachings of Islam, and instead of covering the area of one’s body and maintaining self dignity, it serves more to show off the body and provide attraction to the opposite sex. It is for this reason, Allah has commanded the Prophet (S.A) to order the believing women to cover their bodies with their outer and loose garment. The verse states, ‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over them’. (Sura Ahzab verse 59). As mentioned by the scholars, the purpose of this order/command is to ensure that Muslim women cover themselves properly so that the parts of their body are not revealed.
With respect to wearing thin clothing, this has been outrightly prohibited in the Shariah of Islam. In this regard, Imam Baihaqi has recorded the tradition of Aisha (R.A) in which she said, ‘Once my sister Asma came to visit me. She was wearing a dress made of some thin Syrian material. When the Prophet (S.A) saw her, he said, ‘These are the kinds of clothes which have been prohibited in Sura Nur’. He then asked Asma to change into something different’. (Baihaqi)
In another tradition, Dihya Kalbi (R.A) said, ‘Once the Prophet (S.A) was presented with some material fromEgyptcalled Qibitiyah. He gave me a piece of it and said, ‘Make a shirt for yourself and give the rest to your wife to make her scarf, but ask her to put a lining underneath so that her body cannot be seen through it’. (Abu Dawood)
Once Aisha’s niece, Hafsa bint Abdur Rahman came to visit her. She was wearing a scarf made of thin material. Aisha (R.A) took it and ripped it up and gave her one of her own scarves made of a thicker material’. (Muatta of Imam Malik)
On another occasion, some women from the tribe of Banu Tamim came to visit Aisha (R.A). They were wearing dresses made of thin material. When Aisha saw them, she said, ‘If you are believers, this is not a type of dress suitable for believing women. But, if you are not believers, then do as you please’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi).
All these traditions clearly indicate that it is not permissible for women to wear such thin clothing through which their bodies can be seen.
Going further into the aspect of dressing for Muslim women, it should be understood that it is also prohibited for Muslim women to wear (their) clothing in such a manner that allows their physique (of the body) to be revealed. This is an area which many sisters do not pay attention to, and while covering themselves, they are yet revealed. Besides the fact that some Muslim sisters wear tight-fitted ‘tops’ or ‘upper garments’ (which is totally haram), they go to the extent by wearing short ‘tops’ which reach only up to the waist. This manner of dress allows the physique of their posterior, thighs and legs until the ankles to be revealed to the eyes of the public (both male and female).
The many different ways of the present day ‘modern Islamic dress’ falls into this prohibited way of attiring, and while many sisters think that they are up keeping the law of Hijab in Islam, they are, in reality, violating the teachings of the Holy Quran and the beautiful Sunnah of the Prophet (SA).
Sisters must fully understand that Hijab, as it relates to attiring, is not only about covering the head, in fact, it includes covering other parts of the body also, as we have explained in our previous issue of the Sabeelur Rashaad brochure. Along with this, attiring/dressing must be done in a manner where one’s body or physique does not become visible to others.
Hijab, as a whole, is a sacred institution which is founded on piety and righteousness, and hence, all that which is connected to it must be deep rooted in piety and righteousness. It therefore means that in the manner of ‘dress’, the ‘fear of Allah’ (taqwa) must be a guiding principle, so that one does not succumb to the satanic whispers of revealing that which Allah has ordered to be concealed.
The Holy Quran states, ‘O Children of Adam! We have sent down to you clothing in order to cover your shame and as an adornment. And the best of all garments is the garment of the piety’. (Sura Al A’raf (7) verse26).
The Principle of piety must therefore be the driving force behind one’s manner of dress. Once this is present/found, then the type of clothing, as well as the manner of attiring will all be in conformity to the laws of modesty, shyness, morality, decency and chastity. In this way, the woman’s dress will not be a means of displaying evil intentions and motives, nor will it be a means of seduction and attraction to the opposite sex, but instead, it will be one which represents a high degree of shyness, decency, purity and modesty.
On the other hand, if the fear of Allah is not the guiding principle in one’s attire, then the external covering of the body may not be sufficient to resist the temptation of falling into many wrongs that are in total violation of the concept of Hijab in Islam. It is on account of the absence of this fundamental value, we see that many Muslim women get involved in activities that are sinful, indecent and unchaste, although they may be from among those who cover themselves completely or partially. It is for this reason, Allah informs the believers in the above mentioned verse, ‘And the best of all garments is the garment of Piety’. (7:26). In a similar manner, we see that the very verse which ordains Hijab (for women) ends with the words, ‘And Allah is well acquainted with all that you do’.(24:30)
Another very important aspect of ‘Hijab in Islam’, is that which pertains to the conduct and behavior of a woman. When one looks at the teachings of Islam, it becomes very clear that a woman has been given a tremendous amount of guidance with respect to her conduct and behavior. These guidelines go beyond that of the attire and dress, and extend to the manner of speech, interaction, outward behavior, intermingling with the opposite sex, etc. The reason for these divine instructions, which have been given specifically to women, is due to the great differences which exist between a man and a woman. This has been clearly highlighted in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (SA). As evident, these differences are not only confined to duties and responsibilities, but they go straight back to the creation of the woman with respect to her qualities, emotions, feelings and the nature with which she has been created.
The same has been admitted by many renowned writers of the present day. In this regard, the French Nobel Laureate, Alexis Carrel wrote, ‘The differences existing between man and woman do not come from the particular form of the sexual orgasm, the presence of the uterus, from gestation, or from the mode of education. They are of a more fundamental nature. They are caused by the very structure of the tissues and by the impregnation of the entire organism with specific chemical substances secreted by the ovary. Ignorance of these fundamental facts has led promoters of feminism to believe that both sexes should have the same education, the same powers and the same responsibilities. In reality, woman differs profoundly from man. Every one of the cells in her body bears the mark of her sex. The same is true of her orgasm and, over all, of her nervous system. Physiological laws are as inexorable as those of the sidereal world. They cannot be replaced by human wishes. Woman should develop their aptitudes in accordance with their own nature, without trying to imitate the males. (Alexis Carrel, ‘Man, The Unknown’ as quoted in ‘Woman in Shariah’ pg.1 and Woman between Islam and Western Society pg.35).
In a similar manner, Professor Steven Goldberg has written, ‘The central fact is that men and women are different from each other, from gene to the thought to the act. These differences flow from the biological natures of man and woman’. (Woman between Islam and Western Society pg.35).
Muslim women must therefore understand that in Islam, laws and instructions that govern their conduct and behavior, have been given in consideration to their distinctive disposition, soft natured traits and their feminine characteristics. It is on account of these delicate qualities, we find that women in general have a natural tendency and inclination to be private, soft spoken and peaceful.
Women should therefore view the guidelines of the sacred shariah as a means of protecting their chastity and womanhood, and should not look at these as a means of ‘demotion’ in our so called ‘western liberated society’.
From among the divine guidance which Allah has given to His female servants (Muslim women) is that which is connected to their voices. It is common knowledge that the voice of a woman can be a means of attraction to the opposite sex. The manner of speech and the alluring, charming and attractive voice of a woman can be used as a means of seduction on the path of women. It is a well known fact that today, many ill mannered women use their voices and manner of speech to captivate the hearts of those they desire. In a similar manner, sometimes a woman may be innocent of any such intent, however, the opposite sex may find pleasure, excitement and enjoyment in listening to the female’s voice.
It is in order to protect the Muslim women from falling prey to such evils, and to preserve their honor, Allah Has guided them in this regard by saying, ‘Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of evil intent) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner’. (Sura Al Ahzab (33) verse32).
Here, the believing women are commanded that when the need arises for them to speak to a male who is not blood related to them, then they must refrain from speaking in their normal, soft, gentle and pleasing way. The soft and tender nature of the voice, as stated by Allah, can create ill desires in the hearts of those who have evil intent. The Quran states that the woman must speak in a straight and sensible manner, which must be upright and scrupulous in nature. She must not adopt ‘a manner of speech’ or speak in such a voice that seeks to produce or create passionate desires in the hearts of those who are spoken to. All these are totally haram / unlawful for a woman.
Muslim sisters must therefore take note of this teaching of the Holy Quran which is also part of the Institution of Hijab in Islam.
From among the teachings of hijab, a woman (in Islam) is also commanded to refrain from the open intermingling and mixing with the opposite sex, especially with those who are not blood related (to her).
This conduct of the ‘open intermingling’ has created and brought about many problems and has destroyed many marriages. It is the key to becoming involved in unlawful relationships and it is the entrance to sinful actions.
Human experiences have shown that when a male begins to interact with a female, then a sort of attraction and likeness gradually develops over a period of time. Even if people are innocent and free from evil thoughts, the domination of one’s inner emotions and feelings soon take the lead, and a person finds himself/herself in a position where he/she becomes some-what inclined to the other. The little smile, the soothing voice, and the soft spoken words are nothing but tools of Satan, which he uses to lure a person to evil thoughts and unlawful desires. Short moments of interaction and mixing between the male and female, soon develop a relationship that may be long lasting or short lived. In any case, many sins are the result of this ‘open mixing’ that we see in today’s world. Even among many Muslim women, this is something that has ‘gotten out of hand’ and in numerous cases, we find that a number of Muslim girls become very friendly with Muslim boys. The ‘courting’ and ‘going out’, the long hours of talk over the phone, the texting, and the ‘roaming about’ has become part of their lives. These sins have brought such a pleasure to many of our youths, that they do not feel a sense of guilt of the grave sins that they are committing. In this behavior, there seems to be no difference between a Muslim and a non Muslim, and instead of turning to the path of divine guidance in Islam, they allow themselves to be gobbled by the western culture.
Many Muslim parents have lost their daughters to ‘drug addicts’ and ‘street boys’ because of their relaxed behavior towards ‘the free mixing’. Many see it as ‘no problem’, however when the result of this dawns upon them, they are not ready to accept it. Today a number of our young Muslim boys and girls are involved in many haram (unlawful) activities, and it seems that the parents have become blind to what is taking place in our society. They allow their young sons and daughters to ‘lime with friends’ , ‘go to the camps’, ‘live on their own’ for higher education and ‘to have a little bit of freedom’. However, when these boys and girls ‘mix and mingle’ and ‘no longer remain single’ the parents are quick to put strict restrictions on them saying, ‘no phones’ ‘no friends’ and ‘no liming again’. They even go to the extent of forcing the girl to marry someone against her will, only to avoid her from marrying the ‘boyfriend’ whom she picked up while exercising her ‘right’ to ‘mix and mingle’ as okayed by her parents.
There are many other disastrous situations like this, and it is all on account of the privilege of ‘the open and free mixing and mingling of the sexes’ which many parents give to their children.
Besides this, the distasteful effect of the ‘free mixing’ is also seen at another level. This occurs with Muslim married men and women who, ‘while seeing it as no problem’, continue to mix freely with the opposite sex. This takes place, to a large extent, in the work place where free and open intermingling between the opposite sexes is seen as a normal and casual thing.
Knowing that ‘emotions have no bounds and feelings have no limits’, we find that even though men and women have been married, the open and free mixing with the opposite sex brings about a new dimension in their lives, which eventually leads to the ruination of their marriages. Many illicit relations have taken place and many marriages have been broken. A lot of cheating and dishonest behavior has taken place, all on account of the wicked and evil culture that is referred to as ‘the open and free mixing of the sexes’.
How many husbands have lost their wives? And how many wives have lost their husbands? due to the ‘free mixing’. The numbers are too many and the disaster is too grave.
How true are the words of the Prophet (SAS) who said, ‘No man sits alone with a woman except that Satan is their third companion’. (Tirmizi) It means that Satan is there with them, trying his best to incite them with evil intent and thoughts and tempting them to fall into his trap of wrong doing.
The harms that come about to both sexes as a result of free mixing is now becoming clear to Westerners who have practiced free mixing on the widest scale. They have seen that it leads to a fall in standards of education, conduct and morality and have now begun to segregate male and female students in some universities of education. A number of great Muslim educators, who have visited Europe, America and Russia, have witnessed this segregation. For example, Professor Ahmad Mazhar Al Azmah who was sent by the Syrian Ministry of Education to Belgium, visited a number of schools there. On a visit to a girls’ elementary school, he asked the principal, ‘Why do you not let boys and girls mix at this level of education?.’ She replied ‘we notice the harm that mixing can do to children even at the elementary level’. (Shaksiyah Al Mar’ah Al Muslimah pg. 80) In America, there are more than 170 University branches in which male and female students do not mix. They were set up because the educators and supervisors noticed the harm that was caused by mixing, even in a society that is used to mixing in every area of social life.
The evidence of the harm caused by open and free mixing between the sexes is too vast to be enumerated. All of it points to the wisdom in putting an end to mixing, and protecting the Muslim societies which adhere to Islamic guidance from its destructive, harmful effects.
It is in this regard, Allah has given the law of modesty which outlines to the Muslims, both men and women that they must protect their hearts and eyes from lustful thoughts and gazes.
In this respect the Holy Quran states:-
‘(O Prophet) Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them. And Allah is well aware of what they do’.(24:31)
Here, men have been ordered by Allah to lower the gaze so that it may not fall upon that which has been prohibited to look at. This includes looking at a woman, her body and beauty with lustful and evil intentions.
It is clearly understood that when it is not allowed to gaze/ stare at women, then to a greater extent, one will not be allowed to freely mix with them since this causes him to violate the law of ‘lowering the gaze’.
Men have also been ordered to protect their modesty by adopting a conduct and behavior that conforms to the high level of morality and virtue which Allah Has given to them. It therefore means that in one’s speech, movements, behavior and conduct, a man must refrain from doing any thing that amounts to immodest, immoral or shameful behavior.
In a similar manner, women have also been commanded by Allah to protect their modesty by lowering their gaze. Allah says, ‘And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty’. (24:31)
The law which is established in this verse for both men and women is that of ‘Ghadd-al basar’ which means the lowering of the eyes/gaze. The objective of this order is to stop people with evil intentions from casting lewd looks at others. It is a known fact and it is witnessed on a daily basis, that when the intermingling of the sexes occur, then it becomes totally impossible for one to lower his/her gaze. Open and free mixing of the sexes cause the gaze of a person to be uncontrolled, and no matter how much a person may try to implement ‘the order of Allah’ to lower the gaze, it is found to be extremely difficult, because of the compromising position one has found himself to be in. It therefore shows that mixing and mingling of the sexes cause one to openly violate the law of Allah, which has been given to the believers, both males and females.
The above verse of the Holy Quran also establishes the law for women that they must not be in such state/place where people are encouraged and invited to look at them. Allah Has ordered men to lower their gaze, and He Has also ordered women to lower their gaze. Both these injunctions clearly tell us that it is totally haram (unlawful) in Islam for one party to look at /stare at the other party when there is no valid shariah reason for doing so. Men have been ordered to refrain from casting lustful gazes or casting looks with bad intentions to women. Women have also been ordered to refrain from being in such states/places which encourages the looks and gazes of men. This law tells us clearly that the modern day trend of girls’ placing their photos on ‘facebook ‘ on the internet, is totally haram, and a grave sin in Islam.
Muslim women and girls who are guilty of this are openly violating the command of Allah in the Holy Quran, and are neglecting the teachings of the Prophet (SAS). Women and girls who behave in this manner are deemed to be unchaste and immodest in Islam. They are no different from the ill mannered western women who display themselves to enticed and attract the opposite sex. Men and young boys on the other hand, take advantage of these situations, and use this opportunity to repeatedly cast evil and lustful glances at these pictures that are placed by our ‘Hayaa-less, immodest’ Muslim women and girls on the so called modern-day facebook. It is extremely sad and highly disappointing to see that our Muslim women/girls have fallen to this Satanic trap. It seems that they have sold their honor and modesty for the price of being noticed by men. What a deplorable state! The Islamic law to these women/girls who are guilty of this major sin is that they must immediately remove their photos from the facebook and sincerely repent to Allah for this grave wrong.
This prohibition also includes the act of Muslim women/girls placing their email addresses, contact numbers etc. on the internet where men /boys have the full liberty to contact them and be their ‘so-called friends’. The ‘chat box’ also has the same prohibition. Today it is extremely sad to know that many Muslim sisters are involved in these haram activities with no sense of guilt. They seem to enjoy what they are doing and continue to carry-on this haram type of ‘interaction’, and ‘communication’ over the internet, thinking that it is ‘normal’ and ‘okay’. These, my dear sisters, are totally condemned in Islam and are regarded to be haram. So please stay away from these activities for the preservation of your honor, respect and your Imaan.
The Holy Quran has also ordered the believers to guard their modesty and chastity, and a great part of modesty and chastity is that a Muslim woman should not find herself with any male who is not blood related to her. The common scene of Muslim boys and girls ‘liming’ with each other, whether alone or amongst others, is totally haraam (unlawful) in Islam. This behaviour ruins the reputation of both the boy and girl, and in the eyes of the Shariah they are termed to be without Haya, that is, ‘shameless’ (a person lacking shame or Haya).
In different verses of the Holy Quran, Allah has revealed many guidelines/injunctions which are aimed towards minimizing, and cutting off ‘the open and free mingling’ of the sexes. In Islam, ‘privacy’ and ‘being concealed’ are sublime qualities of a woman, and these are loved by Muslim women. A Muslim woman sees it as unchaste and immoral to be ‘open’ and ‘free’ in speaking to males that are not related to her. She considers it mean and immoral to be seen ‘liming’ with boys/men, and she finds a natural dislike within herself to be alone with a man who is not married to her or is not a blood relative.
These feelings are on account of the natural instinct and ingrained quality which a woman is created with. Those who go against this natural inclination to love privacy and modesty, are actually altering and changing the pure nature which has been placed in every cell and nerve of their body by Allah, the creator of mankind.
It is in order to preserve this modesty, shyness, privacy and honour, Allah has issued many guidelines to Muslim women. In one verse Allah says to them, ‘And play your role by being in your houses and do not keep exhibiting your beauty and decorations like what used to happen in the days of ignorance’ (33:33)
While commenting on this verse, the great Mufassir (commentator) of the Holy Quran, Abu Bakr al Jassas writes, ‘This verse points out the fact that women are ordered to play their role in the house and are forbidden from loitering outside of their houses’. (Ahkaamul Quran)
Continuing in the same manner of discouraging the open and free mixing between men and women, Allah says, ‘and when you ask women for an article, ask for it from behind a curtain. This is a purer way for your hearts and theirs’. (33:53)
Guidelines such as these are given to safeguard men and women against evil inclinations which may come about due to the open and free mixing with each other. In this manner, there are many other verses of the Holy Quran, which order Muslim men and women to adhere to the laws of modesty and chastity, by refraining from the ways of the non Muslims in the matter of free and open mingling of the sexes. The West sees this as ‘no problem’ and they decorate this behaviour, with the word ‘socializing’, only to make good, a thing which is bad. Muslims should not fall to this trap, and they should not be caught in the bait of those fishing for followers. We must remember that the culture that invites us to this behaviour is the same one that has given the license for ‘homosexuality’ and ‘lesbianism’. It is the same culture that supports the recent disrespect shown to the Prophet (S.A), and it is the said culture that condoned the desecration of the Holy Quran and Masaajid, which recently occurred. With these wrongs to their credit, how can Muslims who possess the light of Imaan, follow such mean trends and traits which are all found on ‘loose and licentious behaviour’.
The blessed Prophet (S.A) has warned us about being with women alone and has said, ‘Beware of being with women alone’. One of the companions asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about the younger or the elder brother of the husband?’ The Prophet (S.A) replied, ‘He is death’. (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi).
In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Do not call on women alone in the absence of their husbands, because Satan moves in you like blood’. (Tirmizi)
These traditions show clearly that the Prophet (S.A) strongly discouraged and prohibited men from being with women alone and vice versa. The disastrous and shameful result of this behaviour is well witnessed by many people, and even if there were no religious prohibitions, good sense and the love for decency would have been sufficient to disprove this conduct. This prohibition also includes the free mixing and mingling of the sexes even when they are amongst others and are not alone. It is for this reason, we see that when women visited the Masjid (for Salaah) at the Prophet’s time, he would order the men to remain seated in the Masjid until all the women have left. Even in the case where the women came out for Eid Salaah, he (the Prophet S.A) placed them in a separate area where they did not mix with the men, and after the Salaah, there was no so called ‘socializing’ between the males and females as we see today. The Prophet (S.A) was very firm on this law, and he did not allow any situation to arise which brought about the open mixing and mingling between the sexes.
In short, Islam condemns the conduct of ‘open and free mixing between the sexes’ and guides the believers to that which is purer for their conduct and their hearts. Historical facts and personal testimonies have shown the ugly side of this behaviour, and we continue to witness the breakdown in families, the divorce and separation cases, and the pre marital unlawful relations that result on account of this ‘loose’ and ‘free’ behaviour. This fact has been plainly stated by the Encyclopedia Britannica. Commenting on the increasing rate of divorce, separations and breakdown in family relations in Western society, it states, ‘Actors, authors, and other groups that have many contacts with the opposite sex tend to have a high divorce frequency’. (Encyclopedia Britannica (1984) vol.7 pg.163).
This Western report links the high rate of divorce and breakdown in family relations to the regular open and free mixing and contacts between the sexes. This is significant in that it proves that the degree of freedom of the sexes in society has a marked bearing on the instability of married life.
As Muslims, we have been given the Holy Quran as our Book of guidance. Our duty is to follow its teachings as explained by our beloved Prophet (S.A). Insha Allah, if we do this, then our lives will continue in this world with respect and dignity and we, as well as our family members, will be protected from the many evils that surround us.