Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
What is the reality of muru’ah (lit. manhood)? Is it considered to be a quality applicable to men only?
The scholars have defined muru’ah (proper behavior) as the emulation of the character traits of one’s peers in one’s present time and place, as Imam an-Nawawi has said in his Minhaj. What is meant by “the character traits of his peers” is their permissible actions, not those that contravene acceptable decorum, as is in al-Tuhfa. And in al-Mughni it is stated that muru’ah is the emulation of those who adhere to the way of the Shari`ah (Islamic legal code) and its etiquette. Thus there is no consideration for the character traits of one who does otherwise.
Among the examples of acts which contravene muru’ah are:
– eating in the marketplace
– Walking through it without covering one’s head (s: with a hat, etc.) or without covering parts of the body other than the nakedness [s: which is obligatory to cover], for those for whom such acts are unbecoming.
– Kissing one’s wife on her lips or her face, or placing one’s hand on her chest, in the company of people or another man who is marriageable to her
– Entertaining people excessively with humorous stories or musings such that it becomes a habit.
– Engrossing oneself in playing chess, or playing even a little of it on the street. Ibn Hajar said in the Tuhfa that even being present in each of these cases takes the same ruling.
– Continuous dancing for someone whom dancing is appropriate. As for the person for whom dancing is not appropriate, he loses his muru’ah by doing it once.
These examples are among the many that the jurists have mentioned and among those that occur in real situations. In all of these cases, the person who does these acts loses his muru’ah and his testimony in court is not accepted by the judge.
The consideration of muru’ah is not specific to men only. Rather, it is a condition for anyone who wants to testify to the judge.
As for the ruling of a person who performs an act that makes him lose his muru’ah, according to the soundest position, it varies according to circumstance, as is stated in the Tuhfa. If a person is responsible for testifying in court, then it is impermissible for him to do that which makes him lose his muru’ah. This is because it involves his making others lose their rights. The Tuhfa states, “[This is because] it is unlawful for him to cause the removal of [the testimony] that he shoulders, which has become like a trust that someone else has placed in his care.” As for a person who is not responsible for testifying in court, it is not impermissible for him to do something which makes him lose his muru’ah.
فمن أمثلة خرم المروءة الأكل في سوق والمشي فيه مكشوف الرأس أو البدن غير العورة ممن لا يليقُ به ذلك، ومنها قُبْلةُ زوجته في فمها أو وجهها أو وضع يده على نحو صدرها بحضرة الناس أو أجنبي، ومنها إكثارُ حكاياتٍ مضحكةٍ للحاضرين أو فعل خيالات كذلك بأن يَصيرَ ذلك عادةً له، و منها إكبابٌ على لعب الشطرنج أو فعله بنحو طريق وإن قلَّ، قال في “التحفة” :” وينبغي أن حضورَه فيه هذا التفصيل “. اهـ ومنها إدامة رقص ممن يليقُ به الرقصُ, أما من لا يليق به فتسقط به مروءته من مرة، وغير ذلك مما ذكره الفقهاء ومما قد يقع في الواقع. ففي كل هذه الصور تسقط مروءة متعاطيها فلا يكون أهلاً للشهادة عند القاضي.
واعتبارُ المروءة ليس خاصاً بالرجال، بل هو شرطٌ في كل مَن أراد الشهادةَ عند القاضي.
أما حكمُ تعاطي الشخص فعلاً يُسقطُ مروءتَهُ؛ فالأوجهُ أن فيه تفصيلاً كما في “التحفة” وهو: أنه إن تعلَّقت بالشخص شهادةٌ حرم عليه تعاطي ما يسقطُ مروءتَه؛ أي لتفويته حق الغير قال في “التحفة”:” لأنه يحرم عليه التسبب في إسقاط ما تحمله وصار أمانةً عنده لغيره “. اهـ أما إن لم تتعلَّق به شهادةٌ فلا يحرم.