In the name of Allah, The Most Merciful and The Most Beneficent.
‘’Everything psychological is biological’’ said some of the most revolutionary thinkers of the past. Thinkers who were solely dedicated to the field of psychology. Now, psychology isn’t the only thing I wish to talk about here, this post is to delve deeper into the sociological and Islamic issue.
More than ever before, we have been hearing about the insecurities projected towards women. I say ‘hearing’ because quite directly put, this is not the worst of times. Infact, barbarism was in its finest shape when people were extremely barbaric. The only difference between then and now is that now we lay greater emphasis on education as we believe that the certain tool is directly relative to civility/chivalry, which might be partially true. But there is always more to the world than what we see.
In any given society, and especially in the community I have been exposed to, I hear some of the most incredulous arguments put forth that ‘rationalize’ the moves of some lowly men and women too. It has been reported that one in three women are exposed to some amount of sexual harassment in their lifetime. The statistics might scare you, but each and every one of us, women, are witnesses to it. Smooth and flat, men humbly and proudly state that ‘we’, the women have brought it upon ourselves.
Now before you draw that sword out from the satchel to slay my words, hear me out. I do not believe in immodesty. I do not believe in women seeking validation from the very crooks who do not dignify her. I do not believe that women have to go against God’s commandment to guard our modesty. I firmly believe that women are bound to embrace modesty and guard their assets, not because we want to ‘protect’ men’s feelings, rather because that is the honour that God has bestowed upon us.
Back to square one, men and surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, many women state that the number of sexual assault cases have been increasing drastically because of the personal choices of a woman. When the case hits the headlines stating ‘woman harassed in a bus stop’ or anything of that sort, the society rises on its feet to barge into her ‘secluded’ world, and know how she dresses and dressed when the incident occurred, and also to admonish her for letting herself loose in the hands of the goon. And I ask the world, have you lost your mind?
Fairly speaking, the one at fault is the man who laid his disgusting fingers on the girl who didn’t ask for it. Sure, what she wore must have not been acceptable to you, but how do you accept that a man’s hormone is everything that controls him within? How do you accept that it is in his ‘biology’ to do everything that he prefers to do? How do you accept that ‘women’, even the ones at your own home are merely objects who deserve to be subjugated to the vilest acts just because of who they are? If you believed that it is the ‘biology’ alone, then breaking it quite clearly, you need to accept that it is in the ‘biology’ of a woman to want to look and feel beautiful. So, by your argument, the woman isn’t at fault too. How vile has the world become to abandon the morals and ethics that we had been taught in the past? One’s nature does not normalize the disgusting acts put forth by him.
Now coming to the Muslim community, where thousands of men and women believe firmly that it is all the ‘woman’s fault. Why? They have got this argument which goes somewhat like this: God Knew the nature of men, which is why He asked the women to cover. If she doesn’t do so, how can we ever blame the man?’’ Because Oh holy zamzam water! Men are absolutely noble and benevolent individuals that they just can’t ever commit anything wrong! If this is what the Muslims have learned from the Quran and Sunnah, and the Islamic history, then it is extremely distressing to admit that we haven’t learned much at all. In fact, nothing authentic.
People out there throw the words like, ‘fitnah’ (trials and tribulation) and ‘haraam’ (forbidden) so carelessly. According to them, more than ever before, ‘fitnah’ is at the peak at the moment, which can also be said to be true. But what they basically mean is the fitnah pertaining to immodesty, as women these days choose to dress immodestly. And this for the Muslim brothers out there and the sisters is the main cause of the internal disturbances, and all the blame must be put on women because the men just couldn’t lower their gazes! How incredulous!
If you ever, I mean ever in your life decide to read through the pages of Islamic history, or at least pick up the book of Seerah-Un-Nabi (biography of Prophet (Peace be upon him), you will find that ‘fitnah’ by all means was widespread across the deserts of Arabia. Talk about haraam of the three W’s, and it was just everywhere. Wine, Women and Wealth. Those three had been the 'be all and end all’.
Just picture this, there is this land where men are drowning in the scent of wine, and giving it up is just out of question. Where men take pleasure in the women they want, where daughters were buried alive and wealth could just be acquired in any manner. Be it Riba (interest), or the 40 thieves stealing the gold mountains! Amidst such a situation, and also while other vile acts evolved in the community, Islam entered in the most blessed manner. The religion had been introduced as the ‘truth’ and as the religion of peace. It didn’t condemn the acts they were doing at first, rather laid its fundamentals at first and grasped the community by its sheer eloquence. It gradually cleared the roots of evil.
The Quran and Sunnah changed the hardest of hearts into the most blessed ones. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (R.A) was one of the strongest men who consumed wine interminably during the days of ignorance. After he had embraced Islam and the verse which prohibited alcohol was revealed, he gave up drinking altogether. Why? For the sake of Allah, for the love of Him, for the fear of Him and to attain complete purity. What lesson does this teach us?
We learn that it is not the presence of evil that turns us evil, rather our association with evil. The community which states that men can’t lower their gaze or keep their hands to themselves because it is in their ‘fitrah’ to be attracted towards women boundlessly, then know that it is in his ‘fitrah’ to fear and love Allah. What then has pushed him to commit the evil act?
Clearly, his own inability to control his desires and to satiate the animal within him. Lowering the gaze is a commandment which men and women must adhere to, it is not a choice. Covering up in the right manner is a commandment revealed to men and women, it is not a choice. Looking at women in a way that disgusts anyone out there is not because it is in their hormones, but because they have let the devil play in the finest manner. If we truly followed Sunnah, we wouldn’t be playing the blame game. Rather, we would take the blame upon ourselves and truly accept that we have sinned. Yes, by law you would perhaps look towards them, but anything that is more than that is completely unacceptable. As our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, One look is allowed, and the next becomes haram.
He (Peace be upon him) did not admonish and threaten women if a man lost his control, rather he ensured that the men stay in their noble bounds. An authentic hadeeth clearly reflects this: Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu anhu): "Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind Allah's Messenger (Sal Allahu alaihi wa Sallam) as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th Dhul-Hijja) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet (Sal Allahu alaihi was Sallam) stopped to give the people verdicts (regarding their matters). In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khatham came, asking the verdict of Allah's Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa Sallam) held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her. (Sahih Bukhari)
That hadeeth up there shows that the Prophet didn’t blame the woman as she chose to show her beauty (not aware what she had got covered), rather he shifted the chin of the Sahaba to stress on the point that ‘he’ must NOT be looking at her. When we read the Islamic history, we would know that at the times of ignorance, some women didn’t even choose to clothe themselves. Nudity wasn’t confined to the virtual devices back then, rather it was out in the open. The believers lived amidst these conditions, and they stayed in bounds. They didn’t go around screaming ‘fitnah!’, ‘Fitnah’, rather they remained low key and relieved their desires in a halal manner and kept it all under control.
Akhi (my brother), if there is a will, there is a way. In our community, we need to learn to stop playing the blame game. You cannot just fault the girl for wearing jeans to have aroused the man, rather it was his fault to have behaved miserably! She could walk around with anything, if one truly controlled the whispers of the devil and feared God and maintained his modesty, he would know exactly where to look.
Ukhthi (my sister), stop seeking validation from men. You have been commanded to dress modestly, for the sake of you. You are the one to be honored, you have been given this command by Allah. This is not in the interests of Dunya alone, it is in the interest of hereafter too. Just because you want to flaunt your beauty, don’t trade the true honour that you have been blessed with. You are so much more than a pretty thing. You are a woman of power, intellect, choice and most importantly Deen. Guard thy hearts, and guard thy body.