THE HIJAB

The Hijab is a practice in Islam that has been subject to a lot of criticism from western media and advocates of women rights. It is viewed by many(usually non-muslims) as a practice that is designed to restrict the freedom of women in Islam. Some countries, for instance France, have gone to extents of passing laws that prohibits or make it illegal to wear the Hijab in public places. These laws are clearly an infringement on the basic right to freedom of religion that each human being is entitled to. What really needs to be understood is that, every religion has its practices and they are followed because they hold a certain significance to the followers of that religion. The Hijab is a practice in Islam that clearly needs to be understood by all.

The Hijab, as defined by wikipedia, “is a veil that covers the head and chest, which is particularly worn by a Muslim female beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males. It can further refer to any head, face or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to a certain standard of MODESTY. It not only refers to the physical body covering, but alo embodies a metaphysical dimension, where Al-Hijab refers to ‘the veil which separates man or the world from God’. Hijab can also be used to refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere. Most often, it is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of MODESTY, PRIVACY and MORALITY.”

By definition, modesty is the state or quality of being modest. It is a state in which there is a lack of vanity or there is a regard for decency of behaviour, speech, dress etc. Modesty can be translated as simplicity. Going by its definition, modesty thus, is a virtue or state that is to be sought by every human being. It is a state that is accepted and believed, by any rational being, to be a vital ingredient necessary for the growth and development of any sound and moral society.

Modesty in Islam concerns both men’s and women’s gaze, gait, garments and genitalia. The Holy Qur’an, Sura 24: 30-31, 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, Allah(SWT) 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 of their adornment except that which is apparent(like palms, eyes etc) and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands fathers, their sons, their husbands sons, their brothers or their brothers sons, or their sisters sons, or their women, or the (female) slaves whom their right hand possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And O ye believers, turn ye all together towards Allah(SWT), that ye may attain bliss.”
The Hijab therefore is for both men and women but for each, a direction or how to wear the Hijab has been given. It is a symbol of modesty for all and a way of attaining bliss and the pleasure of Allah(SWT).

The Hijab as a symbol of modesty, is therefore something to be applauded, encouraged, embraced and also something to be proud of. It should not be viewed as archaic or as a bondage or restriction to the freedom of any individual(as is the case with western cultures with regards to Muslim women). As Muslims, we embrace the Hijab with pride, honour and strive to continue upholding it as a symbol of MODESTY, PRIVACY and as a KEY to preserving the MORALITY in our society.

May Allah(SWT) continue to guide us, give us strength to stand up for truth, forgive our shortcomings and make us steadfast in seeking His pleasure. May He grant us His mercy and make Jannah our final Abode. Ameen.

(c) Dhulhulaifa

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THE TRUTH

The world no doubt has lost its morality. The things that are simple and easy have now become complicated and hard. Values, respect and morality have become a thing of the past. What was once viewed, acknowledged and believed to be right has been thrown away. The strength and guts to tell things as they are has vanished and no one seems to be able to stand by what is right. Friends are now afraid to tell you things as they are. They are scared to tell you the truth about yourself, the world around you, and what they truly feel. Sound unbiased advice is hard to come by. Everyone seems to be comfortable with the position things are because they are afraid that when they actually say what needs to be said, they risk losing that comfort. But what comfort is greater than living with a clear conscience? What comfort is there in knowing you haven’t done what is right?
Everything that happens in the world has a direct or indirect effect on every individual. A decision taken miles away can affect an individual who has no knowledge of such decision. Action taken years back can have a lasting effect on generations to come. Have we as humans performed the duty of preserving humanity? Have we taken decisions and actions that were designed to protect our sanity? Have we preserved what is important? The answer to these questions clearly point to the negative. We have not.
Who is to blame for the decay in morality? Who is to blame for the situation we find ourselves in? All around the world, there is chaos, injustice, corruption, suffering and war. Are these our fate? Was man created to inherit all these? Clearly not but they are now the norms everywhere. So who is to blame?
“Evil only prevails when good men stand back and do nothing”. I know that the fight against evil is not a simple one but the truth is in the presence of light, darkness disappears into the shadows. It hides behind the image the light falls upon. That said, the fault is entirely ours. Yes, ours. Each and every individual in the world is responsible for the way things are. Each of us share the blame in actions we took, in actions we didn’t, in words we said, in words we didn’t, in decisions we made, in decisions we didn’t make. We all are responsible for the way things have turned out to be.
We constantly talk about forgetting the past for it is gone and focus on the future that is to come, a future we have no idea how it will be. But how can we focus on the future forgetting the past? The past is gone, yes, but the actions and decisions of it are there to make us learn, to make us know the ways in which things should be done and ways in which they shouldn’t. Forgetting the past entails leaving behind valuable lessons, assets, and a great deal of knowledge. The past is as important as the future we look forward to. If we forget the lessons and teachings of history (the past), how are we to change things for the better? How are we to correct our wrongs? How are we to ensure that others don’t fall into the same mistakes that we had fallen into? We are thus left with repeating the same mistakes over and over again until it eventually becomes a habit. Do we wish to be excellent in chaos, injustice, and corruption? Or do we wish to be excellent in peace, justice, fairness, and love?
The simple and good things in life have always and will always be free- Kindness, love, respect, morals, happiness, joy etc. Why not protect and invite these unto ourselves to salvage what is left of our humanity? Why not protect the innocence of young minds from the evils that is within us? Why not make the world a better place?
I plead with the world, let us work towards making this place the heaven that it was created to be. Stop the violence, stop the injustice, stop the stigmatization and stop the lies.
Let’s start by becoming who we were created to be- Creatures of love. Let’s start by guiding our actions, by loving and becoming fair to ourselves. There is always a chance to chase the darkness and it’s by becoming the light.

(c) Dhulhulaifa

FORGIVENESS

In this journey of ours, we meet and we sometimes also leave. Friends become strangers and strangers become friends. In the middle of it all, sometimes time takes charge and sometimes trusts are betrayed.

But before anything else, we were told and taught of a power beyond our comprehension, a gateway to everything beautiful, a source to everything we desire and a mercy beyond doubt and immeasurable. We were taught that forgiveness is a gift only a relative few are blessed with. It’s the highest thing to seek and the easiest to get (from the Almighty) but the hardest to give (we humans).

What we give, we get back in return. What effort we put in, we get results equivalent. What we sow, we reap. Karma it is generally called.

Wisdom dictates that to get forgiveness, we have to ask for it while mustering the strength to give it also. There may be instances where this would seem not achievable because of the immensity of the offense but the choice has always been left to us.

As said by Roselyn Payne, “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”. So,

  • For the frowns and aches I caused, forgive me.
  • For the moments I made you feel sad, forgive me.
  • For every regret caused by my actions, forgive me.
  • For the quiet times I didn’t keep in touch, forgive me.
  • For the times I wasn’t there when needed, forgive me.
  • To anyone who ever made me regret, I forgive you.
  • To anyone who has ever made me sad, I forgive you.
  • To anyone who has ever tested my patience, I forgive you.
  • To anyone deserving of my forgiveness, it has been granted.

Oh Allah! Forgive our shortcomings and grant us your mercy. Make us amongst those who will benefit from your abundance here and in the hereafter. Ameen.