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

In Search of the Beautiful Body

Niqab3

There seems no limit nowadays to the extent that women (and men) are prepared to go to in order to achieve that ‘perfect look’. Forget false eyelashes and wigs, we are now talking scalpels, implants and liposuction!!

Cosmetic surgery amongst film actor/actresses has been common place for quite some time now, but these days, it wouldnt be too hard pressed to find ordinary women on the street who are more plastic than real! Indeed, in some circles, having multiple facelifts has become a status symbol: the more you have, the higher you are in the status rankings.

If questioned whether cosmetic surgery was Islamically correct or not, then without doubt, most Muslims would instinctively respond by saying that it isnt, for the simple reason that it would be interfering with Allaahs creation. And certainly, this would be the correct response.

The Companion, Ibn Masood, radiAllaahu anhu, once said (quoting what he had heard the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, say): “Allaah has cursed the tattooers and those who have themselves tattooed, and those women who have their teeth filed for beauty and those who have their [facial] hair plucked and thus alter Allaah’s creation.” A woman remarked, “What’s all this?” So Ibn Mas’ood – radiAllaahu anhu – said: “Should I not curse one whom Allaahs Messenger cursed? And it is in the Book of Allaah!” She said: “I have read the Quraan from cover to cover, but I did not find that in it.” He replied: “If you had read it thoroughly you would have found it.

Allaah says, ‘Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it and whatever he has forbidden, retrain from it’” [Sooratul-Hashr (59):7]. 1

So the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, forbade women from performing these three practices which the women commonly did for the sake of beauty in those days – seemingly ‘insignificant’ practices for which they would incur the CURSE of Allaah. And this forbiddence isnt just restricted to the procedures mentioned in the hadeeth.

Because Allaah says in more general terms in His Book: “So set your face truly to the faith, Allaahs handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind, [Let there be] no change in the creation of Allaah.” 2 [Soorah ar-Room (30):30].

Therefore, it is obligatory for us to accept the creation of Allaah as it is, not making any alterations to it.3

More importantly though, it is also obligatory or us to believe that all of Allaahs creation is beautiful, because Allaah, the Khaaliq (Creator) does not create anything except with beauty and perfection, which is why He says to mankind: “You can see no fault in the creation of ar-Rahmaan [the Most Merciful]. Then look again: can you see any rifts? Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out.” [Soorah al-Mulk (67):3].

This may all sound quite strange when we consider how often we hear women complaining about their appearance. In fact, it is estimated that over half of the Western women today actually perceive themselves to be ugly. In addition, surveys show that nearly all women feel under pressure to “look good”.

As a result, the quest for beauty has become a serious preoccupation for many women. Open up any womens magazine and you will not fail to find a single one which doesnt contain tips on how to “look good”, or which dont contain huge adverts promoting new creams that halt the aging process or concealers to hide wrinkles, etc.

Beauty today is big business. Beauty contests are very profitable and – contrary to popular belief – more are spawned every year. The cosmetics market is a multi-billion dollar industry; the demand for cosmetic surgery is growing at a tremendous rate. All three industries promote the same notions o beauty that women everywhere are expected to meet: mainly a white, European, “Barbie-doll” like standard. The pressures on women to conform to these standards are enormous and few are able to withstand them.4

The fact is that Western women today may complain that they are not treated with equality and respect, but it is they themselves who have made it acceptable for society worldwide to see women merely as beauty-objects who are there to be ogled by the men who in turn are the (im)polite voyeurs. When viewed in this light, we find that beauty contests are not too dissimilar to reality itself: just as the tallest, slimmest blonde girl gets the title in the beauty contest, in the real world its the tallest, slimmest blonde girl who gets the man!

In Islaam, beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, beauty is in the whole of creation, because Allaah – the One free of all imperfections – is the one responsible for it.

And as Allaah says: “Your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses: no choice have they. SubhaanAllaah! And far removed is He from the partners they ascribe [to Him].” [Soorah al-Qasas (28):68].

So it is from the wisdom of Allaah that He has chosen to create some of us short, others tall, some fat, some thin, some dark-coloured, some light – all are beautiful and perfect in their own right. That is why we are taught from the Sunnah, the beautiful duaa (supplication) that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, would say: “O Allaah, as You have made my appearance beautiful, likewise make my character beautiful.” (Allaahumma kamaa hassanta khalaqee fa hassin khuluqee). 5

As Muslims, we must believe that evil and imperfection cannot be attributed to Allaah. 6

The desire to change any aspect of ourselves means, in effect, that we are dissatisfied with Allaahs choice and His handiwork, and that there is imperfection in what He has created. Thus to say about ourselves or anyone else that we or they are ugly is a great sin.

This point was reinforced by the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, when he once saw the Companion, Amr ibn Fulaan al-Ansaaree, radiAllaahu anhu, whose izaar (lower garment) was hanging low (to the ground), so he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, ordered that he raise it. Amr made an excuse saying that he had skinny shins (i.e. he was embarrassed to show them), so the Prophet responded by saying: “O Amr! Verily Allaah – the Mighty and the Majestic – has created everything in the best form.” 7

All this is certainly not intended to discourage women to look after themselves and adorn themselves in lawful ways (e.g. wearing nice clothes, having nicely done hair, etc.). Indeed, adorning oneself is something that the wives are obliged to do for their husbands and Allaah rewards the woman who pleases the husband when he looks at her. 8

But with these tremendous pressures on women to conform to the ideals set by the marketing media, it may be hard for Muslim women to resist feeling insecure or uncomfortable about their appearance. Consequently, many Muslim women have shed their hijaabs for the sake of following fashion; Muslim women too develop inferiority complexes about themselves.

We must bear in mind that this search for the ‘body beautiful’ is, in reality, a deception from Shaitaan. Shaitaan has vowed that he will create such false desires in mankind.

He has said (as stated in the Quraan): “Surely I will arouse in them [mankind] false desires; and certainly I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah.” [Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4):119].

May Allaah always keep us safe from the false promises of Shaitaan, for Verily He is the One who guides to the Truth.
——————————————————————————–

Notes
1. Reported by Ibn Masood and collected in Saheeh Muslim (English trans, vo1. 3, p.1166, no.5301). This incident is a good illustration of the status which the Sunnah held in front of the Companions.

2. Note that this forbiddence applies to the whole of creation, not just human beings. Therefore, defacing any part of Allaah’s creation is haraam. By extension, this ruling also applies to all forms of genetic engineering, which are carried out on farm animals, for example, in order to procure more profitable meat from them.


3. This is with the exception of those things which have been prescribed in the Shareeah, e.g. clipping the nails, shaving the underarms and around the private parts, etc.


4. In fact, some women go to such extremes that it results in them developing health problems – anorexia nervosa – for instance. The carcinogenic nature of breast implants are also well documented now. No doubt, the future will reveal more harmful effects of these artificial means of changing creation.


5. One hadeeth which contains this supplication mentions that this duaa should be recited on looking in the mirror. However, the chain (isnaad) of this hadeeth is not authentic. But it is authentically reported as a supplication to be recited at any time. (See Ibn Taimiyyah’s al-Kalimat-Tayyib with al-Albaanee’s footnotes.)


6. For an explanation of this important aspect of belief, please refer to The Prophet’s Prayer Described (p.15).


7. Saheeh – collected in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (vo1.4, p.200).


8. See Musnad Ahmad, an-Nasaa’ee and others. Also, it is forbidden for the husband to invoke ugliness upon the wife – as was a common practice amongst the pre-Islamic Arabs.

source: originally appeared in Ad-dawah ilallah magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3.

 

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

Status and Roles of Women In Islam..

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As a daughter:

(1) The Qur’an ended the cruel practice of female infanticide, which was before Islam. Allah has said: “And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs use to do) is questioned: For what sin was she killed.” (Qur’an 81:8-9)

(2) The Qur’an goes further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy. Allah has said: “And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief. He hides himself from the people because of the evil whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.” (Qur’an 16:58-59)

(3) Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the Day of Judgment as this (and he pointed with his fingers held together).”

(4) A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.” The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.

(5) Islam neither requires nor encourages female circumcision. And while it may be practiced by some Muslims in certain parts of Africa, it is also practiced by other peoples, including Christians, in those places, a reflection merely of the local customs and practices there.

As a wife:

(1) Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love, and compassion, and not just the mere satisfying of human sexual desire. Among the most impressive verses in the Qur’an about marriage is the following:

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them; and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”(Qur’a n 30:21, see also 42:11 and 2:228)

(2) A female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. According to the Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent.

(3) The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership of the family, within the framework of consultation (see the Qur’an 2:233) and kindness (see the Qur’an 4:19). The mutuality and complementary nature of the role of husband and wife does not mean subservience by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed Muslims regarding women: “I command you to be good to women.” And “The best among you are those who are best to their wives.”

The Qur’an urges husbands to be kind and considerate toward their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him:

“…And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.” (Qur’an 4:19)

It also outlawed the Arabian practice before Islam whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased (see the Qur’an 4:19).

(4) Should marital disputes arise, the Qur’an encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and goodness. Indeed, the Qur’an outlines an enlightened step and wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their marital life. In the event that dispute cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Qur’an prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses (see the Qur’an 4:35).

(5) Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Qur’an esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right – male and female alike – to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment based upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her marital contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason), and the wife’s initiative without a cause, provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband. When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it. The Qur’an states about such cases:

“And when you have divorced women and they have fulfilled the term of their prescribed period, either take them back on reasonable basis or set them free on reasonable basis. But do not take them back to hurt them, and whoever does that, then he has wronged himself.” (Qur’an 2:231, see also 2:229 and 33:49)

(6) Associating polygamy with Islam, as if it was introduced by it or is the norm according to its teachings, is one of the most persistent myths perpetuated in Western literature and media. Polygamy existed in almost all nations and was even sanctioned by Judaism and Christianity until recent centuries. Islam did not outlaw polygamy, as did many peoples and religious communities; rather, it regulated and restricted it. It is not required but simply permitted with conditions (see the Qur’an 4:3). Spirit of law, including timing of revelation, is to deal with individual and collective contingencies that may arise from time to time (e.g. imbalances between the number of males and females created by wars) and to provide a moral, practical, and humane solution for the problems of widows and orphans.

As a mother:

(1) The Qur’an elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second to the worship of Allah:

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say, ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (Qur’an 17:23-24, see also 31:14, 46:15, and 29:8)

(2) Naturally, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) specified this behavior for his followers, rendering to mothers an unequaled status in human relationships. A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said,“O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Then your mother.” The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Then your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: “Then your father.”

As a sister-in-faith

(1) According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Women are but shaqa’iq (twin halves or sisters) of men.” This saying is a profound statement that directly relates to the issue of human equality between the genders. If the first meaning of the Arabic word shaqa’iq, “twin halves,” is adopted, it means that the male is worth one half (of society), while the female is worth the other half. If the second meaning, “sisters,” is adopted, it implies the same.

(2) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught kindness, care, and respect toward women in general: “I command you to be good to women.” It is significant that such instruction of the Prophet (pbuh) was among his final instructions and reminders in the farewell pilgrimage address given shortly before his passing away.

(3) Modesty and social interaction: The parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are based on revelatory sources (the Qur’an and Prophet’s sayings) and, as such, are regarded by believing men and women as divinely-based guidelines with legitimate aims and divine wisdom behind them.They are not male-imposed or socially-impose d restrictions. It is interesting to know that even the Bible encourages women to cover their head: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:6).

The legal and political aspect of women in Islam

(1) Equality before the law: Both genders are entitled to equality before the law and courts of law. Justice is genderless (see the Qur’an 5:38, 24:2, and 5:45). Women do possess an independent legal entity in financial and other matters.

(2) Participation in social and political life: The general rule in social and political life is participation and collaboration of males and females in public affairs (see the Qur’an 9:71).There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in law-making, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield. Such involvement in social and political affairs was conducted without the participants’ losing sight of the complementary priorities of both genders and without violating Islamic guidelines of modesty and virtue.

Conclusion:

The status which non-Muslim women reached during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman’s part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the two World Wars, and due to the escalation of technological change. While in Islam such compassionate and dignified status was decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organizations, but rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness.

If this indicates anything, it would demonstrate the Divine origin of the Qur’an and the truthfulness of the message of Islam, which, unlike human philosophies and ideologies, was far from proceeding from its human environment; a message which established such humane principles that neither grew obsolete during the course of time, nor can become obsolete in the future. After all, this is the message of the All-Wise and All-Knowing God whose wisdom and knowledge are far beyond the ultimate in human thought and progress.

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