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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

HAYA (Shyness)

As we all know, in our times, the spread and impact of fitnah is immense! Just look around you and you’ll see it anywhere and everywhere- media, advertisements, bill-boards, magazines, movies, on the street and so on. The world tells us messages that a person’s beauty determines how successful they are, not their personality nor good character. All these messages are corrupt! These people are echoing the same messages conveyed during the times of Jahiliyya (ignorance). And not only that, but they, without a doubt, have an impact on our lives.

With our identities as Muslims marked by the beard and the hijab, we are prone to assaults to our religious values. All because we are perceived to be “backwards” & have no sense of “style” or anything of that sort. But Brother! Sister! Do NOT give in to these corrupt messages! They only wish to destroy us and what we hold near.

So… what exactly is Hayaa?

It is normally translated as modesty or inhibition but neither word conveys the same idea as haya. Modesty suggests shunning indecent behavior but it also implies bashfulness based on timidity. That is why the adjective based on its opposite, immodest, is sometimes also used as a compliment suggesting courage. Inhibition is defined as: “Conscious or unconscious mechanism whereby unacceptable impulses are suppressed.” This is a very neutral definition with no reference to right or wrong. So one finds psychiatrist “helping” their patients overcome inhibitions.

Along with its unique connotation comes the unique value of Hayaa in Islam. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said:

“Every religion has a distinct call. For Islam it is Hayaa.” [Ibn Majah].

Hayaa plays a huge role in the lives of Muslims because it is a very important part of our Eeman (faith/belief). If we do not have any form of hayaa in us then it is most likely that our Eeman is very weak. For as it states in the following hadeeth:

“There are more than 70 branches of Iman (Faith). The foremost is the declaration that there is no God except Allah and the least of it is removing harmful things from the path. And Hayaa is a branch of Iman.” [Bukhari, Muslim].

As some Muhaditheen point out, the number 70 is a figure of speech. What the hadith tells us is that the declaration of faith is the most important part of Iman but that is not all. Iman also has to reflect itself in all kinds of actions in real life. Moreover, Hayaa is a centerpiece of most of the actions that Iman calls for. It is the basic building block of Islamic morality. When it is lost, everything is lost.

Based on such teachings, Islam brought about a moral revolution of unprecedented dimensions with haya as its cornerstone. The pre-Islamic Jahiliyya society of Arabia knew the word but did not understand its meaning. Nudity, the antithesis of Hayaa, was not only common in every day life, it was even part of the most important religious ritual of tawaf (circumbulation of Ka’bah). So were all the other evils that flow from it. Islam exterminated all of those evils and changed the society in such a way that haya became one of its most cherished values. To this day in Friday Khutbahs around the world, the third Khalifah Hazrat Usman Radi Allahu Anhu is mentioned as the person with perfect Hayaa and perfect Iman (Kamil lil-haya wal Iman). Is there any other religion that celebrates Hayaa like that?

Islam’s laws about hijab, its ban against free mixing of men and women, its teachings about gender-relations — all of these reflect a deep concern for Hayaa. For men and women who have not lost their Hayaa, these come naturally. There is a moving story from the earlier Islamic period about a woman who learnt that her young son had been lost in a battle. She ran in a panic to confirm the news, but before that, she took time to make sure that she covered herself fully in accordance with the newly revealed laws of hijab. She was asked how did she manage to do that in a time of great personal tragedy. She replied: “I have lost my son, but I did not lose my Hayaa.”

Two kinds of Hayaa: Good and Bad

The good Hayaa’ is to be ashamed to commit a crime or a thing which Allaah and His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) has forbidden, and bad Hayaa’ is to be ashamed to do a thing, which Allaah and His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) ordered to do.


What is good Hayaa?

Anyone who is a believer should build their personalities and their character with the good dimensions of hayaa. The most important is that he/she must be shy of doing ANYTHING displeasing to Allaah, with the belief that he/she will have to answer to all their deeds.

If one develops a sense such as this one, it will help the believer to obey all of Allaah’s command and to stay away from the sins. Once the believer realizes that Allaah is watching us all the time and we will have to answer for every move we make in this dunya, he/she would not neglect any order from Allaah or His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). So the stronger this sense of hayaa becomes, the more it motivates one to make sure that Allaah doesn’t see him/her doing anything forbidden. The way to develop this hayaa is that one must keep learning and absorbing more and more knowledge of our deen.

Another type of hayaa is more of a social aspect concerning others besides Allaah. Normally these things often come in regard with ones relationship with family. For instance a child not wanting to do something displeasing to his mother, or a wife not wanting to do something displeasing to her husband or even a student who is careful about saying something incorrect in front of his teacher (daa’ee). Last but not least is the type of hayaa in which the believers become shy of themselves. This is when they have reached the peek of their Eeman. What this means is that if they do, or say, or see, anything wrong or even commit the tiniest sin, they start to feel extremely bad and embarrassed or they feel extreme guilt in their heart. This builds a high degree of self-consciousness and that is what strengthens the believers commitment to Allaah.

What is bad Hayaa?

This negative aspect revolves around a person’s shamefulness or shyness of doing something that Allaah has ordered us to do through the Qur’aan or our Prophet’s (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) sunnah. This constitutes the shamefulness or embarrassment of doing a lawful act or something that is ordered upon us from Allaah. Meaning for someone not to follow an obligation of Islaam, due the fact of being shy infront of others about it. This is totally forbidden because then one is giving the people of this dunya more respect than the One who Created this whole universe. It also means if someone is shy or afraid to seek knowledge of Islaam for worldly reasons, because they do not want others to see them or to know of their ignorance. This once again goes contrary to what Allaah has told us in the Qur’aan, which is to seek knowledge and preach it to others.

In this society there are many examples. People will go out an get degrees in law schools, or science, or engineering and they will put four to six years of their lives studying for this stuff that will only benefit them in this world. Why? You ask? Well most likely, in this society people including Muslims, choose their careers according to how much money they will make and what status they will have in this society as to being a lawyer or a doctor etc. They do not realize that in Islaam the BEST stature of a Muslim is that of a “daa’ee” or a teacher of Islaam. These Islaamic teachers and scholars are even higher in the eyes of Allaah then one who only sits at home and preaches or does ibaadah. If they want to study law, why not Islaamic Shariah? If they want to study science, why not Islaamic Science? So this explains how people consider the worldly careers to be of higher value and are embarrassed to even express an interest in Islaamic Studies. Only because they will not be considered as high as the other “educated” people. This is having the bad hayaa or “shame” of something that is encouraged to us by Allaah and His Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).

Another proof of bad hayaa is that which is extremely popular amongst our sisters in this western society. That is what the rest of this essay will be focused on. One of the most important aspects of hayaa, for women, is that of guarding their chastity and their modesty. To do this they must follow the order from Allaah telling them to keep hidden themselves and their adornments from all men unlawful to them in marriage. Now this order involves all the aspects of hayaa for those who do follow it. The believing and following women are ashamed of disobeying Allaah. They are shy of the opposite gender in this society because of what they might experience if strange men look at them and lastly they have hayaa because they are ashamed of going out in public and committing this grave sin of displaying their beauty is public. There are many women in this society who claim that they have hayaa but to follow the order of hijab is backwards and that women in this society shouldn’t have to cover, is obviously disbelief. For if someone really had hayaa they would never contradict ANYTHING that Allaah has ordained upon us even if they did not exactly like the idea. A woman’s hayaa comes from her modesty and her shyness and her fear of Allaah, so how can she have hayaa if she walks around in public unveiled? Proof lies in the following hadeeth:

Abdullah Ibn Umar (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“Indeed hayaa (modesty) and Iman are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well.” [Bayhaaqee]

There are many verses in the Qur’aan and many ahadeeth explaining the reasons behind observing Hijab. The Islaamic Shariah has not stopped at giving the Commandments of Hijab, it has also clarified every such thing which directly relates to these commandments and, with the slightest carelessness, may result in vulgarity and immodesty. In other words such things have also been forbidden in order to close the doors to indecency and lewdness, in return providing a stronger pillar for hayaa. Modesty (hayaa) and maintaining one’s honor are of primary importance in preserving the moral fiber of any society. This is why modesty has been called the ornament of a woman, which protects her from many sins and which prevents ill-intentioned men from daring to have bad thoughts about her. This hayaa has been made a part of her nature to safeguard her from being abused by immoral men.

Narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu), that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“When lewdness is a part of anything, it becomes defective; and when hayaa is a part of anything it becomes beautiful.” [Tirmidhee]

So it is only obvious that Hijab plays and extremely important role in regards to Hayaa. For Hijab prevents lewdness and Hayaa backs this up and then person’s eeman becomes even stronger. So both things work together in a partnership. At the time of our beloved Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) as soon as the verses of Hijab were revealed, all the Quraish and Ansar ran home to their wives and daughters and close female relatives to tell them to cover themselves. The ones who had veils used them and the ones who did not have veils made some right away. For instance the following hadeeth tells us:

Narrated by Aa’ishah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhaa):

“May Allaah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse “That they should draw their veils over their bosoms” was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them. And when the verse “That they should cast their outer garments over themselves” was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.” [Abu Daawood]

This indicates that all these women wanted to guard their modesty which is why they followed out the orders of Allaah. Yet, another verse talk about the level of modesty in Aa’ishah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhaa).

Narrated Aa’ishah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhaa):

“I used to enter my house where Allaah’s Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was and take off my garment, saying that only my husband and my father were there; but when Umar was buried along with them, I swear by Allaah that I did not enter it without having my clothes wrapped round me owing to modesty regarding Umar.” [at-Tirmidhee and Ahmad]

If women in today’s society choose not to wear the veils, but some belief in their hearts, than they might be categorized as Muslim women but not Mumineen. The truth is that Hayaa is a special characteristic of a Mu’min. People who are ignorant of the teachings of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) do not concern themselves with Hayaa and Honour. Hayaa and Iman are interdependent; therefore either they both exist together or they both perish.

Thus, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) has said in one hadeeth,

“When there is no hayaa left, then do as you please.”

Merits of Hayaa

There are many merits of Hayaa if one wants to know. Here are some just to list a few.

1. Allaah loves Hayaa. We know this by the following hadeeth:

“Surely Allaah (is One who) has hayaa and is the Protector. He loves hayaa and people who cover each others faults.” [Bukhaaree]

2. Hayaa itself is a Greatness of Islaam as our Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) indicated:

“Every way of life has a innate character. The character of Islaam is hayaa.” Or “Every deen has an innate character. The character of Islaam is modesty (hayaa).” [Abu Daawood]

3. Hayaa only brings good and nothing else. Our Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“Hayaa does not bring anything except good.” [Bukhaaree]

4. Hayaa is a very clear indication of our eeman. As the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) had mentioned to the Ansar who was condemning is brother about being shy:

“Leave him, for Hayaa is (a part) of Faith.” [Bukhaaree]

5. Last but not least, Hayaa leads us to PARADISE. As the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) told us:

“Hayaa comes from eeman; eeman leads to Paradise. Obscenity comes from antipathy; and antipathy leads to the fire.” [Bukhaaree]

The actual word Hayaa is derived from Hayaat. This means life. It is only obvious that when someone has Hayaa in them, they will LIVE a life of Islaam. On the other hand if they do not have Hayaa they are living a life that is Dead “Islaamically” but alive according to this dunya.

The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“Hayaa and Trustworthiness will be the first to go from this world; therefore keep asking Allaah for them.” [Bayhaaqee]

To conclude, we must understand that Hayaa is important for both men and women. Men are to control themselves by getting married as young as possible or if they cannot afford that they should fast.

Women are told to conceal themselves so that the men will not be over taken by the whispers of shaitaan and will not disrespect or take advantage of the women. There are many verses in the Qur’aan that have clearly explained how we have to behave and Allaah is All-Knowing therefore He knew that we would face these problems living in this society, and that is no excuse to change Islaam and only practice what we feel is right. Allaah has told men how to guide their modesty and has told women how to guide their modesty. If either one of them refuse to follow the commandment of their Lord, may Allaah have mercy on them and may He guide them to the straight path.

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allaah is well acquainted with all that they do.

And 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; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty…” [Soorah an-Noor (24):30-31]

All praise is for Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad [Salallahu Alayhi Wassalam), his family, his campanions and his true followers until the Day of Judgment. Ameen


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Miss USA 2010:Into the hole of the lizard we enter!

A few days ago while reading a Malay tabloid, a lead news item on its World News page entitled ‘Wanita Islam pertama menang Ratu Cantik USA’ (First Muslim woman won Miss USA) caught my attention and made my heart beat faster. Accompanying the news were three pictures of the woman, including one she was clad in bikini. She was Rima Fakih, an Arab (Lebanon)-American representing Michigan.

The word ‘Muslim’ made me sad. It was used in the wrong place. Why must ‘they’ highlight and associate ‘Muslim’ with a beauty contest? What were ‘they’ up to for splashing the news around the globe? Were ‘they’ trying to prove something by announcing that ‘finally a Muslim had made it’, she was declared the fairest and prettiest girl in the United States?

Does it mean that the Western world has no more grudge against Muslims, because Muslims too could be chosen to the highest spot or achievement including Miss USA? If Rima proceed to become Miss World or Miss Universe, would ‘they’ proudly declare that she was ‘the first Muslim woman to win the prestigious title’? So Muslims women were at par with ‘us’; they were a part of ‘us’, quiet similar to the slogan of former President George W Bush, “you are with us or we will fight you.”

To some in the Western world, Rima had made Muslims all over the world proud by winning the title, but to Muslims holding to the words of Allah SWT and His prophet, Muhammad peace by upon him (pbuh), she had disgraced and put a great insult to them.

Muslims women should cover up their bodies, not displayed them as what Rima had done. Showing off one’s ‘awrah’ (parts that elicit desire), what’s more in skimpy outfit that covered only one’s private parts was totally against Islam. So Rima had insulted Islam, so it’s a disgrace to have the word ‘first Muslim’ attached to her.

Beauty pageants were created by Westerners; the first modern American pageant was staged by PT Barnum in 1854, but his beauty contest was closed down by public protest. Now, more than a hundred years later, girls from all over the world including Islamic nations, took part in events such as Miss World and Miss Universe where they took stage showing off their assets, parading in bikinis in front of thousands, perhaps millions of eyes, watching television telecast.

It seemed that minds of some Muslims had been corrupted into believing and following the footsteps of non believers. They were actually exploiting weakness of the fairer sex in the name of business. Women were mere objects to satisfy their goals. Many women do not realise this fact, their body and beauty were subjected to hungry wolves who were actually taking advantage of their weakness.

Regarding the tendency of Muslims to follow the footsteps of non-believers, a hadith from Bukhari and Muslim, narrated Abu Sa’id, r.a. noted the Prophet peace be upon him (pbuh) said,

“Surely, you will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, in everything as one arrow resembles another, (i.e. just like them), so much so that even if they entered a hole of a sand-lizard, you would enter it.”

They said, “O Allaah’s Messenger! Do you mean to say that we will follow the Jews and the Christians?”

The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Whom else?” (By meaning the Jew and Christians)

Its an irony when some ‘Muslimah’ (Muslim women) were fighting hard to uphold their religious rights in wearing hijab and niqab in some European countries and in North America, some choose to follow the free lifestyles of Westerners. Some Westerners who were enemies of Islam and who do not have correct information about Islam, received with open arms people like Rima Fakih, the new Miss USA.

Not long ago, Westerners regimes and the puppet government they installed in Kabul had Vida Samadzai taking the world stage as Miss Afghanistan 2003. She was the first Afghan woman to participate in an international beauty pageant since 1974. Vida was condemned by the fundamentalists in her homeland for parading in a bikini at the Miss Earth contest. So, it was the West that liberated Afghan women, not into light but going back to the ‘jahiliah’ (dark) period of the Arabs before the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) where women were treated as sex objects. Then, the Arabs even had their baby girls buried alive.

Commenting on eagerness of the world’s media to portray Rima Fakih as the first Muslim to be chosen Miss USA, a Muslim scholar, Dr Azhar Yaakob when interviewed by the writer, said readers should not be confused between an Arab and a Muslim.

He said the attitude of some Arabs were really bad, Muslims and non Muslims should not looked at them for examples. “They gave bad impressions about Islam, the good values mentioned in the Qur’an were absent from them.”

Rima Fakih gave a very negative impression about Islam in an era when more and more educated women all over the world especially in Europe and North America embracing Islam to reclaim their rights and dignity.

Women enjoy more protection and respect within Islam compared to any other faith, wrote Dr Y Mansoor Marican in his note ‘Invitation to Understanding Islam’ .

He writes: “The rights of a Muslim woman include the right to have her survival and sexual needs met by her husband, a marriage contract, and divorce, refuse a marriage proposal and maintain her name when entering marriage.

“She also has the right to inheritance, own and run her own business, exclusive possession of her assets and disposes them in ways that she considers appropriate. In the spiritual realm, women are equal to men as the only distinction amongst the Believers is the level of their piety.

The status accorded to women in Islam is best exemplified in the reply of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when asked about Paradise:

“It is at the feet of the mother.” (Bukhari)

Of course beauty pageants organized by Westerns were totally against Islam. Wearing revealing outfits what more women parading in bikini are unacceptable as ‘Muslims, male or female must cover their ‘awrah’. Westerners treat women like filth; beauty pageants were their platform to downgrade the fairer sex to the lowest level of mankind.

Western politicians and media criticize Islam as anti-women. They fear the growing trend amongst young, educated women all over the world to embrace Islam to reclaim their rights and dignity. Just about everything that feminists in the West strived for in the ‘70s was already available to Muslim women 1400 years ago.

Regarding women, the Prophet (pbuh) said that,

the world and all things in it are valuable; and one of the most valuable in the world is a virtuous woman.

One day a woman asked the Prophet what were her duties towards her husband.

To her, he replied: “A wife should not leave her home without her husband’s permission. Women are the twin halves of men.”

God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, daughters and aunts.

The rights of women are sacred. See that women are maintained in the rights assigned to them.

When a woman performs the five daily prayers, and fasts in the month of Ramadan, and is chaste, and is not disobedient to her husband, then tell her that she can enter Paradise by whichever door she chooses.

So, to all women, aim to be a Queen of Paradise not a Miss Universe or Miss World who would be thrown into the fire of Hell! –


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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Cover Girl

Aliya with Mother!

Nine years ago, I danced my newborn daughter around my North Carolina living room to the music of Free to Be…You and Me, the ’70s children’s classic whose every lyric about tolerance and gender equality I had memorized as a girl growing up in California.

My Libyan-born husband, Ismail, sat with her for hours on our screened porch, swaying back and forth on a creaky metal rocker and singing old Arabic folk songs, and took her to a Muslim sheikh who chanted a prayer for long life into her tiny, velvety ear. She had espresso eyes and lush black lashes like her father’s, and her milky-brown skin darkened quickly in the summer sun. We named her Aliya, which means “exalted” in Arabic, and agreed we would raise her to choose what she identified with most from our dramatically different backgrounds.

I secretly felt smug about this agreement—confident that she would favor my comfortable American lifestyle over his modest Muslim upbringing. Ismail’s parents live in a squat stone house down a winding dirt alley outside Tripoli. Its walls are bare except for passages from the Qur’an engraved onto wood, its floors empty but for thin cushions that double as bedding at night. My parents live in a sprawling home in Santa Fe with a three-car garage, hundreds of channels on the flat-screen TV, organic food in the refrigerator, and a closetful of toys for the grandchildren. I imagined Aliya embracing shopping trips to Whole Foods and the stack of presents under the Christmas tree, while still fully appreciating the melodic sound of Arabic, the honey-soaked baklava Ismail makes from scratch, the intricate henna tattoos her aunt drew on her feet when we visited Libya. Not once did I imagine her falling for the head covering worn by Muslim girls as an expression of modesty.

Last summer we were celebrating the end of Ramadan with our Muslim community at a festival in the parking lot behind our local mosque. Children bounced in inflatable fun houses while their parents sat beneath a plastic tarp nearby, shooing flies from plates of curried chicken, golden rice, and baklava.

Aliya and I wandered past rows of vendors selling prayer mats, henna tattoos, and Muslim clothing. When we reached a table displaying head coverings, Aliya turned to me and pleaded, “Please, Mom—can I have one?”

She riffled through neatly folded stacks of headscarves while the vendor, an African-American woman shrouded in black, beamed at her. I had recently seen Aliya cast admiring glances at Muslim girls her age. I quietly pitied them, covered in floor-length skirts and long sleeves on even the hottest summer days, as my best childhood memories were of my skin laid bare to the sun: feeling the grass between my toes as I ran through the sprinkler on my front lawn; wading into an icy river in Idaho, my shorts hitched up my thighs, to catch my first rainbow trout; surfing a rolling emerald wave off the coast of Hawaii. But Aliya envied these girls and had asked me to buy her clothes like theirs. And now a headscarf.

In the past, my excuse was that they were hard to find at our local mall, but here she was, offering to spend ten dollars from her own allowance to buy the forest green rayon one she clutched in her hand. I started to shake my head emphatically “no,” but caught myself, remembering my commitment to Ismail. So I gritted my teeth and bought it, assuming it would soon be forgotten.

That afternoon, as I was leaving for the grocery store, Aliya called out from her room that she wanted to come.

A moment later she appeared at the top of the stairs—or more accurately, half of her did. From the waist down, she was my daughter: sneakers, bright socks, jeans a little threadbare at the knees. But from the waist up, this girl was a stranger. Her bright, round face was suspended in a tent of dark cloth like a moon in a starless sky.

“Are you going to wear that?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said slowly, in that tone she had recently begun to use with me when I state the obvious.

On the way to the store, I stole glances at her in my rearview mirror. She stared out the window in silence, appearing as aloof and unconcerned as a Muslim dignitary visiting our small Southern town—I, merely her chauffeur. I bit my lip. I wanted to ask her to remove her head covering before she got out of the car, but I couldn’t think of a single logical reason why, except that the sight of it made my blood pressure rise. I’d always encouraged her to express her individuality and to resist peer pressure, but now I felt as self-conscious and claustrophobic as if I were wearing that headscarf myself.

Aliya before wearing Scarf !

As we maneuvered our cart down the aisles, shoppers glanced at us like we were a riddle they couldn’t quite solve, quickly dropping their gaze when I caught their eye. In the produce aisle, a woman reaching for an apple fixed me with an overly bright, solicitous smile that said “I embrace diversity and I am perfectly fine with your child.” She looked so earnest, so painfully eager to put me at ease, that I suddenly understood how it must feel to have a child with an obvious disability, and all the curiosity or unwelcome sympathies from strangers it evokes. At the checkout line, an elderly Southern woman clasped her bony hands together and bent slowly down toward Aliya. “My, my,” she drawled, wobbling her head in disbelief. “Don’t you look absolutely precious!” My daughter smiled politely, then turned to ask me for a pack of gum.

In the following days, Aliya wore her headscarf to the breakfast table over her pajamas, to a Muslim gathering where she was showered with compliments, and to the park, where the moms with whom I chatted on the bench studiously avoided mentioning it altogether.

Later that week, at our local pool, I watched a girl only a few years older than Aliya play Ping-Pong with a boy her age. She was caught in that awkward territory between childhood and adolescence—narrow hips, skinny legs, the slightest swelling of new breasts—and she wore a string bikini. Her opponent wore an oversize T-shirt and baggy trunks that fell below his knees, and when he slammed the ball at her, she lunged for it while trying with one hand to keep the slippery strips of spandex in place. I wanted to offer her a towel to wrap around her hips, so she could lose herself in the contest and feel the exhilaration of making a perfect shot. It was easy to see why she was getting demolished at this game: Her near-naked body was consuming her focus. And in her pained expression I recognized the familiar mix of shame and excitement I felt when I first wore a bikini.

At 14, I skittered down the halls of high school like a squirrel in traffic: hugging the walls, changing direction in midstream, darting for cover. Then I went to Los Angeles to visit my aunt Mary during winter break. Mary collected mermaids, kept a black-and-white photo of her long-haired Indian guru on her dresser, and shopped at a tiny health food store that smelled of patchouli and peanut butter. She took me to Venice Beach, where I bought a cheap bikini from a street vendor.

Dizzy with the promise of an impossibly bright afternoon, I thought I could be someone else—glistening and proud like the greased-up bodybuilders on the lawn, relaxed and unself-conscious as the hippies who lounged on the pavement with lit incense tucked behind their ears. In a beachside bathroom with gritty cement floors, I changed into my new two-piece suit.

Goose bumps spread across my chubby white tummy and the downy white hairs on my thighs stood on end—I felt as raw and exposed as a turtle stripped of its shell. And when I left the bathroom, the stares of men seemed to pin me in one spot even as I walked by.

In spite of a strange and mounting sense of shame, I was riveted by their smirking faces; in their suggestive expressions I thought I glimpsed some vital clue to the mystery of myself. What did these men see in me—what was this strange power surging between us, this rapidly shifting current that one moment made me feel powerful and the next unspeakably vulnerable?

I imagined Aliya in a string bikini in a few years. Then I imagined her draped in Muslim attire. It was hard to say which image was more unsettling. I thought then of something a Sufi Muslim friend had told me: that Sufis believe our essence radiates beyond our physical bodies—that we have a sort of energetic second skin, which is extremely sensitive and permeable to everyone we encounter. Muslim men and women wear modest clothing, she said, to protect this charged space between them and the world.

Growing up in the ’70s in Southern California, I had learned that freedom for women meant, among other things, fewer clothes, and that women could be anything—and still look good in a bikini. Exploring my physical freedom had been an important part of my process of self-discovery, but the exposure had come at a price.

Since that day in Venice Beach, I’d spent years learning to swim in the turbulent currents of attraction—wanting to be desired, resisting others’ unwelcome advances, plumbing the mysterious depths of my own longing. I’d spent countless hours studying my reflection in the mirror—admiring it, hating it, wondering what others thought of it—and it sometimes seemed to me that if I had applied the same relentless scrutiny to another subject I could have become enlightened, written a novel, or at least figured out how to grow an organic vegetable garden.

On a recent Saturday morning, in the crowded dressing room of a large department store, I tried on designer jeans alongside college girls in stiletto heels, young mothers with babies fussing in their strollers, and middle-aged women with glossed lips pursed into frowns. One by one we filed into changing rooms, then lined up to take our turn on a brightly lit pedestal surrounded by mirrors, cocking our hips and sucking in our tummies and craning our necks to stare at our rear ends.

When it was my turn, my heart felt as tight in my chest as my legs did in the jeans. My face looked drawn under the fluorescent lights, and suddenly I was exhausted by all the years I’d spent doggedly chasing the carrot of self-improvement, while dragging behind me a heavy cart of self-criticism.

At this stage in her life, Aliya is captivated by the world around her—not by what she sees in the mirror. Last summer she stood at the edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stared at the blue-black outline of the mountains in the distance, their tips swaddled by cottony clouds, and gasped. “This is the most beautiful thing I ever saw,” she whispered. Her wide-open eyes were a mirror of all that beauty, and she stood so still that she blended into the lush landscape, until finally we broke her reverie by tugging at her arm and pulling her back to the car.

At school it’s different. In her fourth-grade class, girls already draw a connection between clothing and popularity. A few weeks ago, her voice rose in anger as she told me about a classmate who had ranked all the girls in class according to how stylish they were.

I understood then that while physical exposure had liberated me in some ways, Aliya could discover an entirely different type of freedom by choosing to cover herself.

I have no idea how long Aliya’s interest in Muslim clothing will last. If she chooses to embrace Islam, I trust the faith will bring her tolerance, humility, and a sense of justice—the way it has done for her father. And because I have a strong desire to protect her, I will also worry that her choice could make life in her own country difficult. She has recently memorized the fatiha, the opening verse of the Qur’an, and she is pressing her father to teach her Arabic. She’s also becoming an agile mountain biker who rides with me on wooded trails, mud spraying her calves as she navigates the swollen creek.

The other day, when I dropped her off at school, instead of driving away from the curb in a rush as I usually do, I watched her walk into a crowd of kids, bent forward under the weight of her backpack as if she were bracing against a storm. She moved purposefully, in such a solitary way—so different from the way I was at her age, and I realized once again how mysterious she is to me. It’s not just her head covering that makes her so: It’s her lack of concern for what others think about her. It’s finding her stash of Halloween candy untouched in her drawer, while I was a child obsessed with sweets. It’s the fact that she would rather dive into a book than into the ocean—that she gets so consumed with her reading that she can’t hear me calling her from the next room.

I watched her kneel at the entryway to her school and pull a neatly folded cloth from the front of her pack, where other kids stash bubble gum or lip gloss. Then she slipped it over her head, and her shoulders disappeared beneath it like the cape her younger brother wears when he pretends to be a superhero.

As I pulled away from the curb, I imagined that headscarf having magical powers to protect her boundless imagination, her keen perception, and her unself-conscious goodness. I imagined it shielding her as she journeys through that house of mirrors where so many young women get trapped in adolescence, buffering her from the dissatisfaction that clings in spite of the growing number of choices at our fingertips, providing safe cover as she takes flight into a future I can only imagine.

Krista Bremer is the winner of a 2008 Pushcart Prize and a 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She is associate publisher of the literary magazine The Sun, and she is writing a memoir about her bicultural marriage.

JazakAllah Khair for reading,share your views in cmnts,

SHARE WITH SOURCE BACK LINK,PLS!

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

The Inner Beauty or Out

We live in a society where we are constantly being judged by our appearance and actions. Words such as ‘slag’ and ‘desperado’ are now so commonly used but have you ever stopped to think, why is it that such vile words are being spread by the younger generation? There was a time where the colour of our skin determined our status in society but that was all set to change. An odd 20-30 years on, improvement has been made but to what extent?

If you were to go and stand in the middle of the bull ring, approximately how many university students do you think you will see? 50? 100 maybe. Due to the recession, the numbers of university applications have raised steadily making it even more difficult to get into our desired field. Would you say that it is the level of education that makes or breaks a person? Is it our skin colour or family background? Maybe it is our appearance or possibly our wealth? In honest truth, I believe that it is none of these. Think of an individual’s character as being a jigsaw. If a piece is missing, then their character is not complete. It’s missing an important piece. It is a piece that keeps the whole jigsaw together. A piece that when fitted in, can reveal a picture. That missing piece – beauty. You see, there is a difference between appearance and beauty.

An individual can change their appearance in order to please others but beauty, beauty is within. The beauty of an individual cannot be seen but merely expressed. This is known as the inner beauty of a person. We all have it, but most of us don’t appreciate it. I suppose appearance can also be referred to as being the ‘outer beauty. So which is preferred? The inner beauty or out?

We have all been blessed with beauty both on the inside and out.

But have we not been provided with garments to cover our outer beauty?

‘This beauty that I have is just a simple part of me. This body that I have no stranger has a right to see’ (The Veil, by Dawud Wharnsby)

In the Qur’an it says ‘“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

So why do we here in the West feel pressurized to look good, not for ourselves but for others? Why do we feel that hours should be spent perfecting our makeup and ensuring that our clothes are so tight that it looks as we have wrapped ourselves in plastic? None of us are perfect but we should strive to be some of the best Muslims around.

Money doesn’t bring happiness nor does having the perfect body shape. We are all different and unique in our way and at times, we need to be reminded. The outer beauty is what draws attention to one’s self and portrays us in a negative way.

The inner beauty is what makes us the person that we are today. Our inner beauty cannot be taken away from us and if anything, it can grow in time. It may not be physically observable but its presence can be felt. It’s a shame that in society, we are not judged by our character but merely by our appearance.


So which is preferred? The inner beauty or out? The real beauty or the fake? I know what my answer is, but what is yours Sisters? think it!

Sister Alima

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

When Does a Woman Become More Beautiful?

One day, Myself – forever forbidding me from good, and enticing me into evil – asked me, “When does a woman become more beautiful in your eyes?”

I asked, “Why do you want to know?”

Myself said, “If I tell you, will you answer my question? ”

I said, “Yes!”

Myself said, “Satan – our grand teacher – is making a survey of what makes the woman more beautiful in the eyes of men”

I asked, “What’s this survey for?”

Myself said, “He wants to make an encyclopedia that will be distributed among the Satans of mankind and Jinn. He wants our approach to be more scientific! Now tell me, when does the woman become more beautiful in your eyes?”

I asked, “Do you have ways of making a woman more beautiful in the eyes of men?”

Myself said, “Yes, there are many ways, mannerisms and looks. Each man has his own inclinations”

I said, “Perhaps you could mention to me some of these and I will choose!”

“OK! Do you prefer a fair or dark woman?” “Neither!”

“Do you like the one with long or short hair?” “Neither!”

“The thin or fat one?” “Neither!”

“Do you like the one who uncovers her hair?” “NO!”

“Do you like the one who wears tight and short clothes” “NO!”

“What about the one who uncovers her shoulders and thighs?” “No way!”

“What about the one who sways from side-to-side while walking, strikes the floor with her high heels and speaks softly to men??” “NO!”

“You didn’t like any of the ones I mentioned to you? I can’t think of anything else?” “Really? Try to remember!”

….(silence)… then Myself smiled slyly, “YOU WICKED!! You like a woman when she is wearing a bikini?!!”

“Yuck! No!!”

….(silence)… then Myself smiled again, “You evil man!” “What?”

“You like the woman who shuts the door and says come?” “NO!”

“I’ve run out of suggestions; you tell me what makes a woman more attractive to you?”

“OK! When the woman blushes and goes all red”

“Goes all red? I don’t understand?”

“She becomes more beautiful when she lowers her gaze”

“Lowers her gaze?!! What’s wrong with you? Speak clearly!”

“The woman becomes more attractive, when she becomes more modest and shy. Modesty is the thing that attracts me and many other men. The more a woman is modest the more attractive she becomes….Do you understand??”

This article is loosly adapted from the Arabic original – written by Ibn Muhammad –

JazakAllah khair for reading,
pls share with friends,
King
slave of ALLAH!

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

7 Conditions For a Woman’s Dress


A Hijab is a word that indicated the following conditions :

1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Fiqh Schools) .

2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.

3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body is not apparent.

4. The female clothing must not resemble the man’s clothing.

5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.

6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.

7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one’s status in society.

The reason for this strictness is so that the woman is protected from the lustful gaze of men. She should not attract attention to herself in any way. It is permissible for a man to catch the eye of a woman , however it is haram (unlawful) for a man to look twice as this encourages lustful thoughts.

Islam protects the woman, it is for this reason that Allah gave these laws. In today’s society womankind is being exploited, female sexuality is being openly used in advertising, mainly to attract the desires of men and therefore sell the product. Is the woman really free in today’s society ? The answer is obviously no, the constant bombardment by the media as to how the ideal woman should look and dress testifies to this.

Islam liberated woman over 1400 years ago. Is it better to dress according to man or God ?

Allah has stated in the Quran that women must guard their modesty.

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. ” [Quran : 24.31]

Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty ; that will make for greater purity for them, and God is well aquatinted with all they do. ” [Quran : 24.30]

And O ye believers turn ye all together toward God, so that ye may attain bliss. ” [Quran : 24.31]

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