Rashadi Foundation

Is Modesty Keeping Back Muslim Sisters from Contributing to the Wider Society?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A few decades ago, the innocent hardworking Western housewife/homemaker was told that she was unaccomplished, inferior and a worthless person if she stayed home to look after her family. She was called a parasite who fed off her husband’s earnings. She was told that her worth is in the amount of money she makes. Modesty and meekness was a virtue which must be shunned, she was commanded.

This, she did and half a century later all the repercussions, side effects and vices associated with abandoning modesty have caused havoc to society and become so firmly rooted that recuperation and healing from it is far out of sight.

Single parenting and the tsunami of problems that come with it has become a norm in society. All sorts of sexual harassment, including rape, physical and verbal assaults, modelling, prostitution, pornography, sex-trafficking are on the rise and no sort of legislation and policing is curtailing these diseases. Rather, if one leak is blocked several other wells of filth are opened. Even in the so-called elitist of jobs, sexual harassment is rampant. The Harvey Weinstein effect is simply the tip of the iceberg. From it many Western women are only now learning that being sexually harassed by men is not something that should be accepted as normal. This fact was something their modest great-grandmothers and those before them knew very well and never tolerated.

In recent years, the satanic media has turned its focus on the Muslim woman, a new market to sell its immorality to. They prop up ‘Muslim’ musicians, comedians, actors and even female social activist to be ‘role-models’ for our innocent, naive and unadulterated Muslim sisters. Where some Muslims may fall to this trap, the practicing Muslims will not be lured to this deception of glitz and glamour.

However, I was dumbfounded and appalled when I recently attended an all sisters program in which the female panelist, including some graduates of Islamic seminaries and others, were discussing the role of a Muslim woman in society. They repeated almost verbatim the rhetoric spitted out by the satanic media to the Western homemaker. Cooking and cleaning, which are essential parts in looking after a family, was scorned upon. However, there was a ‘religious’ twist to it. Catchy slogans like, “Give back to society,” and “Get out there and contribute to the betterment of civilization,” were chanted.

It was as though these ‘intellectuals’ did not know that when Allah Ta’ala instructed the Muslim woman to stay home[i] and afforded her the full opportunity to raise a wholesome family, by burdening the husband with earning a livelihood, that she is making the greatest contribution to society and building a solid foundation for humanity and the world. Wholesome families equal wholesome societies. Broken families translate into the chaos and mayhem prevalent in all modern kuffar societies.

One of the panelist made the most shocking pronouncements when she scolded those innocent sisters who opted to wear the niqab. She said that you should stop trying to hide behind the niqab and stop using it as an excuse to remain aloof of the wider society. She said that you all think that you are going to be modest but you need to stop being lazy and get out there. There is no need to cook three meals for your family and you should teach your children to heat up food, were some of her instructions.

Looking after ones’ family and observing Islamic Hijab was wrongly understood to be an issue of Eastern (Asian) culture and then the solution given by this ‘Islamic’ panelist was to adopt the Western culture of frozen foods, microwavable meals and abandonment of Islamic Hijab.[ii] Ironically, they never gave an ‘Islamic’ point of view rooted in the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the Salaf of the Ummah.

I was left wondering if these sisters ever heard the countless ahadith with regards to modesty and hayaa. Apart from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ informing us that modesty and hayaa brings nothing but good[iii], that hayaa (modesty) is all good and that all aspects of hayaa (modesty) is good[iv], there is a particular hadith that I would like to draw the attention of our readers to. Imam Bukhari collected this narration in the most authentic book after the Book of Allah, ‘As-Sahih’. The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by a man who was chastising his brother regarding hayaa (modesty) and was saying, “You are very shy.” It was as though he was saying, “It has harmed you.” On that, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Leave him, for hayaa (modesty) is (a part) of Imaan (Faith).”[v] Subhaanallah, we should all take a lesson from this and never belittle anyone’s sense of hayaa and modesty.

Many of these sisters in the audience who are practicing the laws of Hijab religiously, are making the greatest contribution to the betterment of the ‘wider’ society by looking after their families, which is the instinctive duty and Islamic responsibility of women, and by learning the Deen in an Islamically segregated environment. Many are also teaching the Deen to children and adults in the sister-sections of makatibs, madaris, masajids and in the protective confines of their homes. This latter method was what our role-models, the Mothers of Believers رضي الله عنهن adopted. They taught the Deen of Allah from the confines of their homes behind a screen as the Quran instructed,[vi] not in an open mixed gathering as some may try to make us believe.[vii]

As Muslims, our currency is thawab and rewards of the Hereafter and we are also constantly on the lookout for bargains. For a Muslim sister, modesty, remaining in the confines of a secured home and from within contributing to the ‘wider’ society by raising an intelligent and righteous family, being a bedrock to her husband, learning and teaching the Deen and contributing in all those areas where Islamic segregation is practiced, when it does not clash with her other important duties, is the best value for her time. Yes, some sisters ‘live in the kitchen’ and are negligent of other acts of ebadah and worship. This obviously is not part of our religion. However, this does not mean that going outside and abandoning the Hijab by working side by side with non-mahram men, whether as a career or voluntary work, is to be advocated. That is also not part of this religion. Neither are we saying that a husband should not help at home. Of course, he should. And why not, when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ himself used to help out his family at home.[viii]

I would also like to remind myself and all our Muslim sisters that the Leader of the Women of Jannah did not have a career outside of the house, rather she was the most righteous woman and her job was homemaking.[ix] This status is for none other than our leader, Fatimah رضي الله عنها, the beloved daughter of the Prophet ﷺ.[x] Subhaanallah, the homemaker reigns supreme and is by far the most accomplished woman in the history of mankind. Taking care of a family is surely not a job for the lazy.

Your worth is not in the money you earn or the headlines you make in exposing yourself to all and sundry, rather our worth is in obeying the dictates of modesty and taqwa as set out by Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger ﷺ, not by those influenced by the barrage of obscenity coming from a society who has forsaken God for over a century. It is concerning these people that all the Prophets عليهم السلام throughout history said, “When you feel no shame (hayaa), then do as you please.”[xi]

May Allah Ta’ala adorn us with hayaa (modesty), grant us a life of hayaa (modesty) and may He resurrect us amongst the people of hayaa (modesty). Aameen

Also see here.

[i] “And remain in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance.” {Surah Ahzaab: 33}

[ii] See here for details on the dress code of Islamic Hijab.

[iii] Sahih Bukhari #6117

[iv] Sahih Muslim #37

[v] Sahih Bukhari #6118

[vi] “And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.” {Surah Al-Ahzaab:53}

[vii] Also see here for a misunderstood issue of women nursing in Islam.

[viii] Sahih Bukhari #6039

[ix] Sahih Bukhari #6318

[x] Sahih Bukhari #3624

[xi] The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “One of the sayings of the early Prophets which the people have got is: If you don’t feel ashamed (from Haya’: pious shyness from committing religious indiscretions) do whatever you like.” Sahih Bukhari #6120

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