Lessons for Today
The following lecture compares three contemporary social issues with the time of the Prophet ﷺ: Gender relations, racism and drinking. The below article delves into more detail with regards to gender relations in particular.
Many of us lament that we’re no longer like the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ; that their times were different, that their circumstances were different, and that we can never be like them. This concept is often invoked when we discuss gender relations with regards to Muslim youth and how ‘astray’ our youth have gone in comparison to that noble generation.
Yet, contrary to perhaps popular knowledge, the homeboys and the homegirls of the Prophet ﷺ also struggled with their desires. They too slipped and made mistakes. And through their situations, the Prophet ﷺ took the time to coach, train and teach them, helping them transform into the great giants whom we recognize today.
Thus, let us take a look at some of the ways the Prophet ﷺ dealt with the issue of gender interaction in his community so that we can learn lessons applicable today.
Ibn Abbas radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) shares with us, “A beautiful woman, from among the most beautiful of women, used to pray behind the Prophet ﷺ. Some of the people used to go to pray in the first row to ensure they would not be able to see her. Others would pray in the last row of the men, and they would look from underneath their armpits to see her. Because of this act, in regard to her, Allah revealed, “Verily We know the eager among you to be first, and verily We know the eager among you to be behind,” (Qur’an 15:24).1
From this narration, we learn that the young men who lived in the very city and attended the very masjid of the Prophet of God ﷺ slipped and checked a girl out. And yet what did the Prophet ﷺ do about it?
Did he create a wall between the men and women’s sections? Nope. Did he prohibit women from going to the mosque, lest they tempt the men who attend? Never. In fact, he ﷺ did the exact opposite and commanded that women not be stopped from going to the House of God.2
What he did do was allow men and women to continue to be a part of the same society, working together as a community, existing cohesively. At the same time, he ﷺ helped train his community to keep their desires in check.
The below are a few incidents in which we learn how he did so:
1- Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra): “Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind God’s Messenger ﷺ 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 ﷺ 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 God’s Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet ﷺ looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet ﷺ 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….”3
Look at how the Prophet ﷺ trains Al-Fadl to be a responsible young man. He does not slam him for not keeping his desires in check. And even more importantly, he does not utter words that would make Al-Fadl believe that the source of the problem was the existence of the woman and that Al-Fadl had no responsibility in checking her out. On the contrary, he gently turns Al-Fadl’s face away, teaching him that he is the one who needs to be responsible for his actions.
And let’s look at the Prophet ﷺ teaches the rest of this ummah (community) how to interact with women.
The Prophet ﷺ does not curse the woman for being “a fitna (trial).” He does not accuse the woman of enticing Al-Fadl. He does not shun her. Instead, he facilitated for her to be able to ask a question without being checked out.
We also don’t notice her being reprimanded by the Prophet to cover her face while nearing the Prophet ﷺ or other men who are not related to her. We do not hear this narration stating that she was advised to speak behind a curtain in the future lest her beauty become a temptation for men who could not control themselves.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. The Prophet ﷺ caught Al-Fadl staring and so he gently pushed Al-Fadl’s gaze away from the woman. The Prophet ﷺ taught Al-Fadl to control his own self. He put the onus of responsibility on Al-Fadl in this incident instead of scolding the woman who caught his gaze.
Al-Fadl did not protest the Prophet’s action of turning his face; Al-Fadl did not respond with, “But dear Prophet, she is the one who is a fitna (temptation)!” or, “Prophet of God! Command her to cover herself and hide so that she never makes another man’s eyes look at her again!”
In our own communities, women are often blamed for the downfall of men. Women blame other women for dressing inappropriately, wearing too much makeup, or acting flirtatiously with men. Men blame women for the same things! The blame always ends up being on women. We end up holding the brunt of the baggage of the gender relationship.
But what about what the Prophet ﷺ taught us? Yes, we have certain dress codes and guidelines of interactions to which men and women should both adhere, but it does not stop there. This woman was beautiful (may Allah be pleased with her) and yet the Prophet ﷺ didn’t condemn her beauty or stop her from speaking with him ﷺ and asking her question. So what about our communities today?! Let us move beyond placing the blame on women. Let us actually follow the Prophetic way in which each individual takes responsibility for his or her own actions without unnecessarily blaming others for simply existing.
2- In another example, another male companion went further than simply checking out a woman. He actually kissed her! The following narration gives us insight as to how God addressed his sorrowful admittance, seeking forgiveness and guidance from the Prophet ﷺ, “A man kissed a woman. So he came to the Messenger of God and informed him about it. Then God revealed this verse, ‘And perform the prayers, between the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds efface the evil deeds,’ (11:114). The man asked the Messenger of God ﷺ if the revelation of this verse applied only to his situation. The Messenger of God responded, ‘It applies to all my ummah.’”4
What can we take from this incident? This incident teaches us that the way that God, our Creator, our Loving Sustainer, taught us to deal with slipping into sin is through connecting back with Him immediately. He sent a verse to teach us all that if any one of us messes up, we should go back to Him and maintain our daily prayers. The daily prayers “prohibit immorality and wrongdoing,” 5 and having that connection will also be a means of our continual forgiveness.6
Now, this is not to suggest that those who are involved in inappropriate relationships should simply pray immediately after getting physical and then return to that action. This companion clearly came to the Prophet with regret and with resolve, seeking a solution when admitting his fault to the Prophet ﷺ . However, what we can take is that even the greatest of the great slip and succumb to natural human desire. But when we make the same mistake that one of them did, we should do what they did to seek change: We should regret it, immediately take to seeking God’s forgiveness, and make the resolve not to slip into it again. And if we do slip? Start the cycle of asking for forgiveness over.
3- But what about someone who wants to go all the way? How did the Prophet ﷺ help prevent a man who seriously wanted to do it? Once a young man came to the Prophet ﷺ requesting from the Prophet to grant this man permission to have sex outside of marriage. The people were shocked and were trying to silence his question. The Prophet ﷺ asked him a series of questions. “Would you like it for your mom?” He ﷺ continued to ask if this man would like it for his daughter, sister or other female relatives. The man continually responded in the negative, intellectually convinced by the logical argument of the Prophet ﷺ. Finally, the Prophet placed his blessed hand on the man and prayed to God, “Dear God! May you forgive his sins, purify his heart and make him chaste.” And it is narrated that this man never got involved in what he was requesting after this experience with the Prophet.7
This man was intellectually and spiritually blessed by the logic of, connection to, and prayer from the Prophet ﷺ. We need to learn to be like the Prophet ﷺ when it comes to dealing with issues of sex. I know of young Muslim women who are afraid of getting married simply because their parents have made sex such a taboo topic that they have an intense fear of having to deal with sexual intimacy in marriage. I have also known of young men and women who really wanted to get married, whose parents refused to let them marry really awesome people who came to ask for their hand simply because of their race, and who eventually could no longer handle it and had sex outside of marriage.
As parents, we need to consider the approach of the Prophet ﷺ when it comes to discussing sex and sexual desires. The Prophet ﷺ openly addressed this man’s concerns about sex in a public setting. He didn’t make this topic an untouchable taboo. How much more of a right do your own children have for you to have open conversations with them in the privacy of your own home? However, don’t make it all awkward for your kids. Develop an open relationship with them before they’re old enough to have these conversations so that you don’t come off really weird and make them uncomfortable. If open communication is a natural dynamic in your family, such conversations will also occur organically, God willing.
Furthermore, as community leaders, we need to have open dialog with our members about these issues. If the family structure of our congregants doesn’t provide the security and openness needed to understand sex and related issues, we should have strong relationships with our communities so that we can help be a resource and means of guidance.
3. Additionally, during the time of the Prophet ﷺ, just like today, even his married companions had sex outside of marriage. Committing adultery is a serious issue, especially as it involves emotionally hurting one’s family. But in the incidents described, the Prophet was not quick to punish. He turned a woman away who came to him—asking for him to punish her so that she would be purified—continuously and consistently. He gave her so many opportunities to never come back to him and never receive any type of physical consequence, to simply live in repentance. But she, like others, came back over and over again until he finally established the consequence.8
The point in mentioning this is simply that this existed during the time of the Prophet ﷺ with the world’s greatest generation. They slipped just as we do, yet they were man or woman enough to beg God for forgiveness and recognize they had made a mistake. And even with some members in his community making a mistake and going all the way outside of marriage, the Prophet ﷺ did not ban men and women from working together and interacting with one another. Instead, he taught the men and women in his community to work together, professionally and respectfully, but with the warmth of true brotherhood and sisterhood.
Most of the examples I have chosen with regards to gender-relation scenarios explicitly mentioned men as those who acted upon or wanted to act upon their desires, but the same applies to women! Ladies are often put under the bus when it comes to talking about women’s sexual needs and desires, minimizing the reality that many women do in fact have strong sexual urges and fight themselves not to act upon them. Men and women alike can take from the lessons we’ve discussed from the lives of those living in the society of the Prophet ﷺ and actualize the concepts of self-responsibility, continual connection with God and intellectual and spiritual strength to overcome desires or repent and turn to Him continuously when falling.
Many in our communities today suffer from a lack of understanding gender relations. Women are sometimes not even allowed into the masjid because of the fear that their presence could somehow cause craziness. Women are often blamed as the ultimate cause of men being led astray in regards to gender issues. In my personal experience, men are rarely reminded that they must uphold their end of the gender relations’ bargain as well, other than by ignoring women’s existence or ensuring that women are behind the mosque’ wall and far from being a fitna for men’s lives. And in my perspective, this lack of understanding of the Prophetic method in training his community—which is quite different from completely segregating his community—is also one of the reasons many in the West are dealing with a real marriage crisis. (These are all huge issues stuffed into one paragraph; I feel their mention is essential when discussing gender relations, but they will individually be addressed in future articles, God willing).
A few general suggestions on how to deal with gender issues in our communities:9
- For Oneself: Understand that we are individually responsible for ourselves, our dress and our actions. Both men and women have specific interaction and dress guidelines and each should try their best to adhere to those instructions. However, a person’s struggle with not maintaining those guidelines (either actions or dress) is NEVER a reason for someone else to put the blame on them. If you are attracted to someone, regardless of how they are dressed or undressed, it is your individual responsibility, as a male or female, to respectfully avert your gaze from checking that person out without blaming them for being distracting. Your actions are always on you; if you slip, keep the blame to yourself.
- For Men: Use your male privilege to create spaces which accommodate women to flourish into dynamic, knowledge-seeking, dawah-giving, masjid-attending Muslim women. Women’s existence is not the problem. If you can’t deal with women respectfully and professionally, don’t blame them for existing. Challenge yourself to follow the Prophetic method of training: Hold yourself fully accountable for your own actions, just as the companion who stared, or who kissed, or who wanted to go all the way or who actually did, and understand that women are your “partners”10 as you are theirs.
- For Women: Societies in general put the blame on us. Because of this, we have to bear the burden of responsibility, as women, to demand spaces be created for us to seek and spread knowledge and become involved in community growth. Never allow for someone’s mental or verbal harassing of you for existing to be the reason you stop attending the masjid or seeking knowledge. We NEED women who are willing to be strong enough to deal with the drama we constantly have to face to help create space for women so that, God willing, and with the support of our male partners, we will begin to see a shift of return to the Prophetic society of respectful empowerment.
- For Young People: We know most of your hormones are raging and that you often do not have a place to deal with the realities of your mistakes and your desires. Finding a balance, especially without the ability to speak openly with your parents about it is difficult. Find mentors in your community who you can speak to and seek support from. And if you’ve slipped a bunch of times, know that Allah is always ready for you to come back and be near Him!
- For Parents and Community Leaders: We need you to nurture our young people. Open conversations and tangible examples of successful gender interactions and respecting, honoring and empowering women- and guiding men to know how to empower themselves by both taking personal responsibility and supporting the empowerment of women- are needed for the successful transition of your generation’s leadership to theirs.
- For Everyone: We all make mistakes—even the Companions did! Take the time to turn every mistake into an opportunity to return back to our Creator! He is always ready for us.
The companions, were not born as gender-relation ballers. They converted to Islam with baggage and carried it into their Muslim lives.
Through their efforts, they struggled to actualize a crown Qur’anic axiom describing gender interactions, and it is the very one we must continue to work towards despite our confusion, our cultural (mis)understandings and our struggles:
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey God and His Messenger. Those – God will have mercy upon them. Indeed, God is Exalted in Might and Wise.”11
- ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Tayalisi, Baihaqi, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Nasai. Authenticated by Albaani (#3472 in his Silsilat al-ahadith al-sahih). [↩]
- Narrations can be found in Sahih Muslim, amongst other places. [↩]
- Bukhari [↩]
- Bukhari [↩]
- Qur’an 29:45 [↩]
- “The five daily prayers and Jumu’ah to Jumu’ah is an expiation of the sins committed between those times so long as one is not guilty of major sins.” [Bukhari] [↩]
- Al Hakim [↩]
- Narrations of this can be found in Sahih Muslim. [↩]
- As inspired by my beloved friend, Sana Iqbal. [↩]
- From the Prophet’s last sermon: “Do treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.” [Bukhari] [↩]
- Qur’an 9:71 [↩]
Controlling people so that they don’t ‘accidentally’ ever make mistakes, is like preventing a child from playing with a stove, but all through teenagehood, adulthood, and old age, never taking effort to increase his capacity so that soon he can operate a stove to do useful things, safely and with responsibility. The training might involve the teenager burning a finger or have narrow misses with hot oil, due to inattention or messing up, but one recovers from things like that and thereafter learns to do it better. (and by the way learns the vital skill of HOW to recover from it – aloe vera, first aid, etc. – so that IF even as an adult he has a careless lapse, at least he already knows what to do and it won’t be seen as ‘game over i might as well give up’). And, we all can see from this analogy that a child learning by doing but under good supervision will learn well but probably safely, compared with a child that only learns by looking or even banned from the kitchen (doesn’t learn much) or a child forced to learn by himself since nobody will bother coaching him (might die in process and burn house down).
Everyone understands this concept for such skills but somehow struggle to see that religious adherence follows the same logic. That’s why many of our communities react like children to issues big and small that entail thoughtful, mature responses. We ourselves condition our communities to remain infantile. To “play safe”.
Really good article mA!
Couldn’t agree more with the fact that we really do need more sisters taking a lead within our community, not just in terms of official positions, but in terms of influence, creativity and guidance.
Many are already doing so mA, but until we, as an Ummah, get rid of the unfortunate mentality of the two extremes – sisters are objects of pleasure to be abused or wily temptresses to be cursed and locked away – not only will our sisters not reach their full potential in worshipping God, but as men, neither will we.
Behind every successful man is Satan, lying in ambush with him, but standing by his side is his sister in faith, supporting Him and encouraging him to remain steadfast (and vice versa of course).
Ma sha’ Allah.
Great article. WIll cause sleepless nights for many mullahs.
lool! i was thinking of that before reading your comment 😛
Typical Paki comment,come out of this mentality and learn from these reverts/converts
p.s. this article is not divine,from Quran or Sahee Hadith,its open to debate
Nice article, masha’Allah. Just like you said, we often see a disconnect in our communities from the reality of life amongst the Muslims at the time of the prophet (sAaw).
I agree with a lot of what you said but I have a few reflections/critiques, if you don’t mind me sharing…
First, I don’t think it’s befitting the elevated status of the Companions to refer to them as “homeboys.” And it’s especially not proper to say the female companions of the Prophet (sAaw) were his “homegirls.” I understand that’s modern slang for ‘close friend,’ but we need to maintain a certain etiquette when talking about the greatest generation of all humanity.
Regarding comparing the interaction of the male and female Companions to interaction between male and female Muslims today, I think there are some major relevant differences that need to be addressed if we’re going to examine the state of Muslims today in light of how the Companions lived. For example, the companions had WAAAAAAAAAAAYY more modesty than we (men and women) do today, which is a key factor in setting standards for what constitutes appropriate interaction.
In the example you shared about the male companions looking at the female companion’s beauty, the limit of her beauty was in what was ‘normally apparent,’ (i.e. her face). She definitely didn’t wear tight clothes or perfume, which, unfortunately, is not uncommon amongst many sisters today (just one example- men have their faults as well).
So, while I wholeheartedly agree that each individual is responsible for controlling themselves, in addition to pointing out that the Prophet (sAaw) did not completely cut off the interaction between men and women, we need to emphasize the need to emulate the modesty taught by the Prophet, and implemented by the Companions, when interacting with the opposite gender, in order to truly offer a balanced perspective on this issue.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
I totally agree with you. Also, what about the narration where women of the Sahaba used to cling to the walls. Also, there is the hadith that the best prayer of a women is in the innermost chamber of her home.
However, other than that, I think the article was pretty good.
JazzakALlahu khair to the author
Unfortunately those (and many other) narrations have been taken out of context and have manipulated by many in seeking to push their own agenda.
W/re to the women “clinging to the walls” of Madinah at the time of the Prophet (saw), as Sh. Abu Halim Al-Shuqqah points out, in his encyclopaedic work examining the true status and interactions of women at the time of the Prophet (saw), this was merely to avoid touching/bumping into other men.
The streets of Madinah were very narrow at the time of the Prophet (saw). By walking into the middle of the road, overcrowding etc. was more likely to occur.
Incidently, it was specifically to avoid overcrowding, that the Prophet (Saw) asked another door to be opened into the mosque for the women (and not because women need a separate door per say).
I would further add that the narration which states that the best place for a women to pray is at home, should not be used (as it so often is) to say, words to the effect, that the best place for a women to be is at home.
As Sh. Yusuf Q points out, if Allaah (swt) says, in Surah Al-Nisa, the punishment (later abrogated) for women who commit adultery is to be “confined to their homes” , then how can this be the reward/desired for pious, righteous, God-fearing women as well?
The women at the time of the Prophet (saw) were proactive in the community and their community prospered as a result. It’s time we follow their sunnah and not our own cultural practices.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Still, the women of today act nothing like the women of the Sahaba (RA). The partition is not a bidah, it is a very good thing. Didn’t Umar RA build it? And didn’t the Prophet sallahualayhiwasalam command us to follow the sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs?
@ Gibran Mahmud
The men also don’t act anything like the men of the Sahaba (RA).
These same men who pretend women are disruptive at the mosque are the ones who freely interact with western women at work, wheres at the mosque women at least cover unlike men who come dressed like westerners.
Men should stop acting like kids and take responsibilty.
You narrated that incident wrongly…it is giving very wrong meaning to the reader…that incident of the women who was given chance to save her self after zinna(which was in the end stonned till death..)…it wasn’t like that as desrcibed by you…
Plz narrate the whole incident so that people can get clear idea…JAZAKALLAH
In all honesty, despite many of the good points made here a lot of this article has a whiff of man-bashing to
Does a woman or man have any responsibility to the effect they have on others? it. “oh..just look somewhere else!”. According to what you have said, if someone dresses inappropriately and causes others to stray does that person not bear some guilt? There are hadiths also to support a sharing of responsibility (but not excusing sin on either). If a man uses provovative pictures of women to promote their marketing campaign you would be the first to jump and critise them for exploiting others.
Personal responsibility must be balanced with collective responsibility. the prophetic way is not a “free for all” where only the most moral survive and everyone else is stuck in the gutter. There are protections and barriers for both genders.
“Personal responsibility must be balanced with collective responsibility” .
I totally agree with you .
Sister, this is a very well written article and was much needed. Unfortunately much of our ummah has a misunderstanding when it comes to proper gender relations. I think the practical advise you gave to both, brothers and sisters was very well put. You took the words out of my mouth.
Jazakum’Allahu khayr for sharing your reflections. Dr. Umar Faruq Abd’Allah has a CD set on Famous Muslim Women, and in it mentions a book by a former student of Shaykh Albani – may Allah have mercy on him – who noticed the issue of gender relations. He compiled a book of sahih narrations – perhaps using only Sahih Bukhari and Muslim – showing narrations which demonstrated how the life of women in that society differed from the culture some Muslims have chosen to adopt today. This may be the same book that was banned in at least one country as well, if I understood one of my teachers right, yet it is all Sahih ahadith.
If you find this book, it may help you in future writings insha’Allah, and perhaps even Dr. Umar’s CD Set.
May Allah help us see things as they truly are and grant us the same that the Messenger SA asked for his Companions, Ameen.
I wish parents could have access to articles like these, it’s all fair enough the young people understand gender relation stance as this anyhow and it’s difficult to tell your parents otherwise. Most backward parents who believe in complete segregation, and holding a cold and closed stance with their children NEED enlightening articles like this, most of these parents can’t read English either so do you see the irony in such a beneficial article missing the target completely by not being so universal?
A very nice article, thank you very much for sharing this knowledge with us. Kirana’s comment is also greatly appreciated.
Very good read.
May Allah (SWT) reward you.
I go to a university
where a number of girls dont even try to
maintain those Islamic guidelines let alone struggle.
They intentionally dress n behave immodestly
and cause fitnah and problems for brothers n me.
Still they are not to be blamed or condemned ?
Is that close to what u want to convey dear author ? or am I mistaking it ?
Such a situation is very familiar to me. In my humble opinion, a man should only look at himself and completely avoid the fitnah and troubles caused. If you can, show respect to people even if they don’t respect themselves. We are not to condemn or blame others, but rather just to do what we think is right for us. It is not ours to judge.
Dear Brother McHalal,
I sense you are facing tremendous trials and pain. I’ve come to the conclusion that interactions with the other gender form some of the greatest tests we can face as human beings.
No doubt interactions with the other gender is causing you pain and confusion and frustration as some women around you are not doing what they were commanded.
The question however, is, what you will gain by blaming them and condemning them. You may feel better in the short run, but blame and condemnation is not going to make them change their behavior, right? And thus, your trials will continue…
The only empowering thing that can be done in such circumstances is to control your behavior, which would be to lower the gaze, and perhaps avoid such situations where you interact with them to the extent possible.
Difficult to lower your gaze? There are a whole host of behaviors which could help:
1. Fast, as the Prophet (s) noted fasting helps control desire.
2. Stop listening to music – except nasheeds – as music greatly increases desire.
3. Stop watching television, movies – full of sexual content these days.
4. Control your diet – I’ve noticed that if one can manage to control one’s diet, especially addictive components like sugar, one gains control in other areas of one’s life.
5. Give as much sadaqah as possible. Giving for Allah’s sake purifies our wealth, and therefore, ultimately ourselves. I have been giving 30% of my income to zakat for about five years now and have noted incredibly dramatic improvements in my life.
5. Pay off interest bearing loans as soon as possible and dont take ones in the future. (As charity purifies, interest corrupts).
6. Make constant and regular dua asking Allah to help you lower your gaze. Wake up at Tahajjud and play Salat al Haja, begging Him. I have done the same and noted dramatic results.
7. If you are watching pornography, stop. If you can’t you maybe addicted. Get help.
May Allah help us all with our trials…
– A sister who cares.
I totally agree about the diet thing. You are what you eat. Eating too much meat and beef can cause increase in body heat and that will attack your self control. Eating more veggies, fruits and dairy products and including soya milk definitely helps.
Exercising daily and staying away from music and movies helps a lot. It did to me.
Self control is all about identifying all the causes for losing it and then one by one finding a solution or a counter-measure for it. Just lowering your gaze wont help. Satan will twist your brain and has couple more tricks up his sleeve.
Dear sister , much of what u wrote down is already in my knowledge.Except the diet thing.
but I am so glad to find out that u took out a portion of ur time to help somebody u dont even know about.All these tips are so beneficial if you act upon them.They really help you.Ive experienced that.
May Allah reward and bless you in this dunya and aakhirah 🙂
sister? oh i am a guy 🙂
JAK. Great points. I like the point at the end about sisters still being active in the community and at the masjid despite resistance.
I have been wondering the past week if one reason Islam advises minimal social interaction between nonmarried men and women, is because genders start taking on behaviours of the other. As it is nowadays, women are becoming more androgynous, men more feminine, homosexuality is too common, etc.
This relates to the use of logic and intellect to make a point, as you mentioned.
Masha Allah, may Allah reward you generously! I was in very much need of this article. Alhamdulillah..
Some good points here. But in the recommendations, NO mention is made of sisters’ responsibility in dressing appropriately – come on, let’s not pretend it’s not an issue at all.
Didn’t Aisha (ra) (one of THE strongest women who would always claim her rights) reflect that if the Prophet (saw) could see the way women were dressed in the mosque after he had passed away, he would have told them to stay away.
Totally agree about men taking responsibility for their actions and lowering their gaze – but balance means BOTH men and women need to take responsibility. I say this as a sister.
Thank you for the article in any case, may God reward you.
Didn’t you see point #1? Why would you assume that it does not address sisters simply because it also addresses brothers at the same time? Personal responsibility is applicable to both sides in both dress and actions.
Good example of Aisha (RA)
Actually people want ease and twist events and accept only those which favor them which is wrong,
Allah says in Koran,” enter in the deen completely”
when people do it partially,the problems arise
[…] Ibn Abbas radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) shares with us, “A beautiful woman, from among the most beautiful of women, used to pray behind the Prophet ﷺ. Some of the people used to go to pray in the first row to ensure they would not be able to see her. Others would pray in the last row of the men, and they would look from underneath their armpits to see her. Because of this act, in regard to her, Allah revealed, “Verily We know the eager among you to be first, and verily We know the eager among you to be behind,” (Qur’an 15:24).1 […]
A very nice article, a type of article that I was looking for since a long time. Answered many of my queries. JazakAllah.
“”the Prophet ﷺ did not ban men and women from working together and interacting with one another. Instead, he taught the men and women in his community to work together, professionally and respectfully, but with the warmth of true brotherhood and sisterhood “” (sounds kinda opposite to wats written in scripts and practices of early generation)
Respectfully and professionally are nice words,impossible to achieve and last thing on any ones mind,may be a few do it
there are some good points in the article (such as men look and blame themselves instead of blaming women of causing Fitna……which actually makes a man victim and women a devil,which is totally un islamic)
but the article otherwise is geared more towards liberation and openess for women and in gender mixing and propogating female as bread winners and working mums instead of lousy housewife which is wrong.
Any leniency/softness in these issues should only be for Reverts/Converts.(cause they are in extreme challenge and accepting Islam is Already a big achievement)
but born muslism should be more practicing and should not find excuses and short cuts (unless in extreme test)
So you assume a ‘convert/revert’ has less taqwa than a ‘born muslim’ .. ?
You’re absolutely wrong. I can share with you a kazillion examples where ‘converts/reverts’ have way more taqwa, obedience and strict adherence to the sunnah, than ‘born muslims’..
And giving titles such as ‘converts/reverts’ is in itself a ‘racist’ way … it’s like you are standing on a pedestal and looking down upon someone else.
‘born muslims’ ..sounds so stupid. Everyone is born on the fitra of Islam and Tawheed…but everyone then should re-discover islam within him/herself whether or not they were born to a pair of sheikh/sheikha or to a family of hindus… both of these individuals will have to go through an effort to realize Allah’s grandeur, existence and then worship.
u did even get the iota of wat i said
i m honoring reverts and easily they are the finest amongst all humans due to their sacrifice,as u must have heard the famous saying ” u are a muslim by chance,i m a muslim by choice” and most have taqwa at its zenith but sometimes females living in non muslim culture and society are not in such position to practice islam easily as compared to some one living in muslim country with all muslim family,frends,neighbours,rituals …..
financial burden,divorce,single motherhood, prejudice from immigrants muslims(sorry but true ) and other factors put their already upside down life more trembling
so they should be given lenient and easier options and advices from scholars if they come to them in these matters.
Islam besides being general is also a ” case on case basis religion”
wat i mean is that one should acquire the tough opinions for themselves and be lenient to others
This article sounds as if allllll Muslims should act like this which is wrong
Allah will judge everyone according to ones circumstances.
Lowering ones gaze in ” sin city Las Vegas is miles apart from lowering it in Sahara desert”
as financial law says ” high risk yields high return”
This is to all brothers who are upset that ‘women wearing tight clothes’ and ” intentionally dress n behave immodestly” should also be blamed.
You should understand a simple concept… When someone is ‘purposely’ or not-so-purposely creating fitna for you, then that person is kind of outside of islam.. and you have to deal with the fitna yourself.
It’s like, I’m upset, we’re not blaming the bars and mtv-type channels for not being modest and creating fitna.. their job IS TO create FITNA…your job is to lower your gaze!
And, leave those ‘girls creating fitna’ to repent and seek their own guidance. If some of those girls are people you personally know, advice them sincerely for their own good..not for your own benefit!
and that’s it.. stay lowering your gaze and Allah will reward you.
This article is mentioning that… just because women and men talk to each other, doesn’t mean we need mosque partitions…
it’s funny, you can go to a big office with all kinds of women working and you interact with them all openly and laugh and giggle with them, and I can only bet you ‘hi 5 them’ and give them the casual hug when they get promotions, but that’s all good, cuz they’re not muslim… but..you get all Fitna’ed if some really decent modest muslim women were to sit and discuss Islam and other relevant issues on a round table with you guys? No NO .. they should discuss it sitting in another room with a loud-speaker whilst we only hear their voice… come on.. i hope you get the logic!
wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
You should look at how gender segregated the Salaf (Sahaba and following two generations) were.
Also, the masjid partition is certainly a good thing and certainly not a bidah. Obviously what could we do when women today do not dress a fraction like the women of the Sahaba?
Why look at the sahaba when you have the Prophet’s example?
When Sumayya (RA) was martyred by Abu Jahal through a spear tearing apart her abdomen,the Holy Prophet (SA)was present there and he only advised her to be patient and told her reward is Jannah.
The Prophet (SA) did not stop Abu Jahal when he could easily have done that.
So why muslims should fight and cry for Palestine,Syria,Kashmir,Afghanistan,Burma etc…….
why should Muslim not just sit quietly and not stand up against tyranny as Sahaba did at so many occasion(rome,Persia…)?
Should nt we follow the Prophets (SA) example and just advise the dying people and let tyrants have their way?
It means that all the actions and saying of Prohet (SA) were in particular circumstance and not general and only a well educated and intellectual Ulema/Sheikh/jurist can tell that and not some tom dick and harry
But that is the real question….how gender segregated were the Salaf, really?
The common assumption seems to be that they were totally segregated, and therefore we should also.
But assumptions are not reality.
This is not only for you but in reply to everyone who’s saying that “the woman back then didn’t dress like woman do nowadays. They wear tighter clothes etc”. Well some women back then used to go around topless. That’s a fact. There were pagan women walking around topless and they even used to go around ka’ba in that state (this was forbidden the year before our Prophet did Hajj). The awra of slave girls is the same as men so there were slave girls who were topless. So you are wrong in saying that men face greater temptation nowadays.
So by saying that they are actually kinda ‘out of Islam’ ur admitting that they should be blamed.
And…they should be.
I can tell u about me , If I were to confront a non muslim women , I wud show equal amount of respect to her n lower my gaze.
GR8,i m with u 100%
The thing is guys should look at girls as classmates or colleagues and behave normal. They should just avoid the wrong thoughts developing in the head and avoid thinking about it. If thoughts still come, they should strangulate it inside the head before they turn into ‘actions’. Learn self control and have a clean mind, then it wouldnt matter if girls are around or not.
^Thank you for acknowledging these points, alhamdoulilah we need more Muslim men like you in this world!
This article was very well written and exactly as you remarked once again – men MUST lower their gaze at that is directly in the Qur’an. [24:30] These are Allah’s words and any man that argues with that is arguing with Allah.
You can’t even blame “Shaytan” on the day of judgement for “making” you stare – Allah won’t accept that!
Women have their own problems to deal with as do men, and I wonder how would it even be a problem to you men unless you were constantly staring uncontrollably towards women? You have the ability to control that, and so rather than constantly blaming women – your commandment from Allah, lowering the gaze, is something you need to work on.
So again as this wonderfully written arcticle has mentioned, we all need to focus on our OWN self and our own struggles, and find a way to deal with it instead of pointing the blame on everyone else – this is the way shaytaan gets to you, by making us lazy to overcome our sins by telling ourselves that everyone else is to blame.
I had just commented above that those Muslim men who complain and blame women for their lack of self-control are often the ones who choose to freely interact with non-Muslims openly and in an Non-islamic way. They are two-faced.
I am a professional and I see how Muslim men behave both in the workplace and outside: it’s as if they lead a double-life.
Men should take responsibility for their own behaviour and control themselves and stop acting as if they can’t. They are not animals. If the can have self-control outside the mosque they can certainly exercise it inside the mosque where all women cover. If they cannot then rest assured the blame is on their side.
We have so much expectation from women and young girls and yet allow young men to do whatever they want. From my experience of living in the west for the past 30 years and having grown-up children, girls are better behaved than boys. Young Muslim men often date, go partying and can go out whenever they want but girls are restricted.
Parents play a big role. They need to teach the same values to their children regardless of gender and should expect the same from theirs sons and daughters.
thank you for initiating this debate. I can totally relate to his sentence “We NEED women who are willing to be strong enough to deal with the drama we constantly have to face to help create space for women…”.
I am very involved in a mosque but it’s like a constant fight and struggle to be respected, as leader, by some men. It is sometimes very tiring and we feel like giving up, but many sisters (and brothers) encourage us to keep going, for them…because we are strong enough to deal with this constant pressure…
I had a question, you said it personal responsibility, and we should simply lower our gaze. But in western culture it’s considered inappropriate to not look the person in the face or in the eyes while talking to them. what do you suggest for that?
Looking at the face is absolutely fine… it’s when you start gazing/staring at everything else but the eyes, that makes it bad… such as looking at the lips, the bossom, the back and of course, gazing in a way as to ‘check out the body’ for your own eye-satisfaction..
But if you know your intentions and you’re having a decent conversation and looking at someone’s face… that’s absolutely fine!
From which part of Quran and Sunnah do you conclude that looking at the face , I mean continously looking while talking ( without any feelinngs or mean intentions ) is permissible ?
I mean , this is a completely new idea for me.
That’s absolutely fine really? Not for those who want to be strangers. Allah tells us to lower our gaze and we have people here saying no we don’t have to…. It’s really amazing how secure some people feel from the traps of shejtan….
This is what I have been saying all along. I’m glad you published this. May Allah bless you.
Thank you for a much needed article 🙂
Jazaakaa Allahu Khayran, i agree that it would be great if men and women could work together in pleasing Allah.
In this day and age we live in very strange times. The problem is not that women are “fitnah”. The problem is when a believing man or women does not acknowledge his/her own responsibility.
Yes men and women both have desires, this is a test from Allah. I don’t like it as a female when a guy is staring at me and alhamdulillah i am very modest (no make up no perfume full black hijab and abaya).
Most of the time women can tell when they are receiving inappropriate attention from men. When you see this as a women it’s not like you should run and hide. But do try to avoid being near to men like this or remind him by lowering your own gaze. When i’m at uni if during a lesson i’m talking with a guy and he is staring at me (in a way i don’t like) i continue talking and lower my gaze. I have seen even non Muslim men respond to this by looking away from me, alhamdulillah.
For the men if you see a very pretty girl who has beautified herself up, you lower your gaze. It’s your eyes you can never blame or judge that girl even if she’s a Muslim. Remember on Judgement Day we cannot even blame shyadan for any of the times we disobeyed Allah. So for your own souls brothers lower your gaze.
I feel comfortable with gender segregation. In my culture i enjoy that women sit with each other and socialize and men sit with each other and socialize. This is not bidah nor does it go against Islam.
The reality is that you will have to interact with the opposite sex. So we need to follow what the prophet (SAW) taught us and in shaa Allah we can achieve success in this world and in the hear-after
May Allah forgive us all and guide us.
Young guys : raging hormones is a problem? really?
Raging hormones or strong desires is only a moment of weakness. Dont think crap, keep your mind clean. Ofcourse satan will twist your mind and put thoughts about girls and getting physical and stuff ,just ignore. Creativity cannot reside in a sick perverted mind, so sacrifice all this crap and let creativity come and blossom.
Learn a new sport, learn new hobbies like a new art form, careful observe your diet and identify foodstuffs which cause raging hormones and which calm them down. Exercise regularly and make short term goals and try to achieve them. Hangout with your guy friends and try to help them out of bad habits.
I know guys who spend weekends at NGO`s teaching english and math to orphan kids. Work on your career, read about inspiring people, try to earn lot of money and do lot of charity. Help the poor, feel the pain of fellow muslims facing an ordeal in other countries.
In short always keep your mind occupied with our next goal, your next game, your next artwork, your next to do thing. Still there will be raging hormones but only moments of weakness, barely a couple of minutes in a week.
Just brainwash yourself out of it and as one Sheikh said whenever you sin just punish yourself by giving money. First time give 100$ in charity, then 200, then 500, then 1000 and so on. That will remind you not to sin.
Be overoccupied by good lawful things and feel pure within.
Great article sister. I totally agree with all the points you have made here. When it comes to gender relations, I think the main issue we are dealing with as muslims is the polarization of two groups. The SSH (Shut your mouth Stay Home) and the CMT (Contemporary Modern Thinkers). And in between, you have a group of individuals who strive to find the middle way.
It is true we should encourage both men and women to engage actively in the community, but for married individuals this should be balanced with family responsibilities. You cannot build a STRONG community without STRONG families. Often times, I have seen sisters and brothers so engaged in the community that they have neglected their family obligations and created some huge vaccum in their marriages. This issue is rarely discussed and needs to be addressed.
I cannot teach men to lower their gaze and act all decent. I would rather ask my daughter or my sister to stay away, cover yourself and avoid praying at segregated mosques.
I pitty your daughter and/or sister then.
I assumed if you had a son he would be unable to control himself either.
How will he function in a society where women are not dressed modestly? Will he be able to work and interact with women at work?
Or will he have a double-standard: one around non-muslims and one for when he is around Muslims?
[…] Ibn Abbas radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) shares with us, “A beautiful woman, from among the most beautiful of women, used to pray behind the Prophet ﷺ. Some of the people used to go to pray in the first row to ensure they would not be able to see her. Others would pray in the last row of the men, and they would look from underneath their armpits to see her. Because of this act, in regard to her, Allah revealed, “Verily We know the eager among you to be first, and verily We know the eager among you to be behind,” (Qur’an 15:24).1 […]
Awesome article, masha’Allah!
A very good article sister. I really hope and pray that we (specially men in our society) realize the truth and follow it.
[…] Did he create a wall between the men and women’s sections? Nope. Did he prohibit women from going to the mosque, lest they tempt the men who attend? Never. In fact, he ﷺ did the exact opposite and commanded that women not be stopped from going to the House of God.2 […]
We are not the sahaba, mentioning how they had flaws somehow makes it seem like we are alike but this is a fantasy. To encourage men and women to engage one another more actively is very irresponsible. Aisha r.a out mother when she saw the behavior of women after the time of the prophet said that if it was not for the Hadith of our messenger she would have forbade women from going to the masjid… This was when she was living so reflect on this when comparing incidents of the sahaba and comparing us to them. Clinging on to a few narration a here and there and using them to encourage men and women to work together is really problematic. None Muslims have put man and women in the same workplace and now we are trying to follow their lead.
I’m a bit saddened by your comment on “None Muslims have put man and women in the same workplace and now we are trying to follow their lead.”.
Haven’t men and women always been working together in the Prophet’s time? To farm, trade and manage livestock?
Didn’t the Prophet s.w.t work with Khadijah a.s (she was essentially the business owner that he represented) before they married?
Salaam. I have often noticed over the years that it seems to be most frequently males who talk about and advocate relatively strict separation of the sexes. Why is this? What do the women think about the matter? To my way of thinking, they should have just as much to say as the men.
wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
It’s not about men vs. women. The barrier between women and men is the stongest fiqh opinion on this matter and most predominant practice. By no means is it at all against the sunnah or the command of the Prophet sallahualayhiwasalam(rather, the opposite is true) as I think this article is possibly suggesting (unless you want to say Umar RA went against the sunnah), nor is it at all detrimental to women.
The fact is it the the obligation of men to lower their gaze as this article makes clear and it is the obligation of women to dress modestly.
The masjid is one of the few places is this fitnah filled world where a young guy like me can find some relief.
“The masjid is one of the few places is this fitnah filled world where a young guy like me can find some relief.”
I would say as a female, the above is true for me too.
I try to fast as many days as I can, and lower my gaze too, the fitna available nowadays is just as difficult for the women.
It’s equally important that I am able to maintain a good job where I am able to practice my faith freely, and be a contributing member of society.
The benefits of having active and observant Muslim women interacting within the social sphere must surely be worth preserving.
I am a Muslim woman and I would like to share with you the knowledge I have come about.
The separation between men and women did not actually exist until about 300 years after the Prophet’s death (peace be upon him). It was adopted from Persian customs.
There was originally no physical “barrier” between and women other than the woman’s Khimar (scarf that covered her body modestly), and in prayer the women would sit behind the men. The Muslim men at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were much more respectful of a woman’s space and the fact that she was an equal. This was of course when Islam had risen in Arabia.
Many common Muslims may talk about “fiqh” and “Quran and sunnah” on this issue – speaking of how women and men should be completely separated – however we know that this is highly impractical (not to mention, what will this do for people of homosexual orientation?) They will speak of it very vaguely, and most of the time they cannot give you specific answers because their knowledge is primarily indoctrinated by culture and ancestors, rather than doing their own research and gathering historical evidence, as well as actually reading and understanding the Qur’an and Sunnah themselves – in my opinion, this is the real fitnah among Muslims today.
Good article, appreciate the way in which contemporary issues are addressed, putting forward the way the Prophet (SAW) specifically dealt with them in his time.
The main point is especially important to highlight, haya’ is not a woman issue with hijab, it’s a Muslim issue where men and women both have to play a complementary role. It’s not just “men control yourselves” or “women cover yourselves”, but both of these and even more to do for both beyond that.
It is unfortunate that women are blamed for these issues – I believe that men are given additional leadership responsibility, but if such responsibilities and authorities are abused, it becomes easy to scapegoat others due to their own weaknesses.
Although this is a sad reflection on our ummah, solution-oriented people focus on what is good and working and attempt to build on that. Articles such as this are part of the ongoing wake-up call for men that the injustice and abuse ongoing in our role must end, and that we are taking steps to have the conversation and acknowledge the problem are positive developments.
I think we need to a little honest here. Yes men havent taken their responsibilities as well as they should have. However, women can be equally as abusive within a relationship; its just that it can take a more obscure and hidden form.
The statistics prove otherwise: abuse is committed against women, and women suffer far more from domestic abuse and violence than men do.
Statistics assume that reporting is 100% accurate, consistent and representative of the overall sample. This is clearly not always the case. Lets not even go into the level of false reporting and the victim mentality that can be adopted by some.
“abuse is committed against women” hmm…..so would you say that its a one way street?
I dont doubt that when it comes to physical abuse that women are affected more. HOWEVER, emotional abuse can be just as damaging (and sometimes even more damaging) than violence. Most males are expected to just ignore this under the guise of “be a man, just put up with it” , “love but dont try to understand women” etc.
JazakiAllah khair to the author, there were many beneficial points in the article, mashaAllah.
It’s also important to note that it is important to take Islam as a whole now that the whole religion has been revealed to us. These incidents may have taken place at a time before the ayat of hijab were revealed. You can find many other narrations from ahadith in which sahabiyat (not just the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa salam’s wives, radiAllahu anhunna) were observing more strict separation from men, and wouldn’t appear with their faces uncovered, etc.
As a rule, we can’t make generalizations from a specific set of incidents to make a certain point (even though it may be correct,) without taking all examples and looking at this topic in the religion as a whole. And Allah knows best.
Sister and brothers,
If a woman is dressed unappropriately she will have to face God for her transgression, likewise if a man is to gaze at that woman he will face God for his transgression, thus the woman will be responsible for her actions and the man will be for his. So yes modesty in a woman is of the utmost importance because it is what God wants from a woman, but lowering your gaze in the face of temptation is also of utmost importance because it is what God wants of you. So yes the responsibility is shared between men and women in that one should have modesty of form and the other of the eyes but one is only responsible and accountable for his/her own actions so instead of lamenting about what the other is doing, how about we each just work on what God has asked of us.
Also was addressed is that the whole religion has been given so we should strive to follow it without straying. We are but human and even when trying we can continue to make mistakes or make decisions not befitting us and thus this article is allowing for human frailty but more importantly for the Almighty’s mercy. Thankfully the almighty will be more merciful than some of the commenters on here.
The comment below by M S Sheikh is an example of those.
We are not to judge or blame others. Only Allah can, and he is often quoted as being merciful.
To those who criticize, blame women, and misinterpret this article, what have you done to contribute to your Muslim community?
Maryam AMIREBRAHIMI has done a great job.
This article has certainly impacted many. I know of many women friends who think that way even though we have adult children, so this isn’t just about the young generation.
Parents have a big role to play in raising their male children to respect women and not give free reign to their sons and restrict their daughters.
You are supposed to cover up, you are supposed to not to steal. If you can’t condemn/criticise the one who does not observe the former then what is the justification for considering the latter wrong/condemnable?
Men are supposed to lower their gaze and control themselves since they are different than animals.
You are not entitled to tell people how to practice their religion unless you are a scholar and even then you can guide but not condemn and blame. This is unfortunately what happens often: crimes are committed in the name of religion. Algeria had a civil war that spanned more than a decade because extremists were preaching hate at mosques.
It is an interesting article with many good points and pieces of advice. However the word “slipped” has been used so many times in the article that it gives the impression that slipping is normal/ok/expected.
Today when some of our young people are indulging in adultery and sex crimes the requirement is that they should be told about the gravity of their acts in Islam, you have chosen to tell them that it was done or people wanted to do it in the time of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and by his companions also.
Quote: If you are attracted to someone, regardless of how they are dressed or undressed, it is your individual responsibility, as a male or female, to respectfully avert your gaze from checking that person out without blaming them for being distracting. Your actions are always on you; if you slip, keep the blame to yourself.
Dressed or undressed, don’t check out and don’t blame the person? Who would you stop or blame if a man roams about naked or half naked? surely not the public who check him out.
Quote: Committing adultery is a serious issue, especially as it involves emotionally hurting one’s family. Hang on, emotionally hurting ones family? In which world do you live sister? What about the female who suffers afterwards especially if she becomes pregnant? The act results in abortion, trauma, suicides, feeling of disgracing the family, the guilt feeling, and above all what is the fault of the child born out of wedlock, who is killed or thrown onto a rubbish tip. And if allowed to live the child is not owned by his father. Such children suffer throughout their lives.
Finally have you not read the following: Females are required to cover up their attractive features or something to the effect.
I think the article has something positive to contribute in terms of how we should deal with ppl with doubts or slips or addictions in this area. With wisdom and compassion. This is islam.
However when it comes to gender relations we definitely cannot take a few incidents and superimpose that understanding on the whole topic. For a proper understanding surely all the ayat and ahadith need to be considered and not a few incidents to build a case on.
I love this article. MashaAllah this was very well written. There will always be critics and very unnecessary traditional/cultural views here, but this article is perfect for relating to the people of modern day times in North America, and I see no problem with using modern day terms either. Thank you for this enlightenment and I will share this article with my family and friends! It’s people who publish articles such as these which inspire me to see the beauty and simplicity of Islam 🙂
…..if only the girls could become men for a day and realize the scale of temptation they cause…probably then they would realize the importance of modesty…as for the guyz who lower their gaze,,,,,,,a salute from me..
As Salamu Alaikum,
I completely agree ‘girls’ could learn much from being men for a day.
No doubt ‘boys’ could also learn much from being women for a day.
In fact, no one REALLY knows what another person is going through unless they completely ‘walk in their shoes.’
Instead of making oneself the victim through this kind of thinking ‘woe me, I’m surrounded by fitna of scantily clad girls!’ – why not put yourself in the position of one of these girls? Try to walk in their shoes? Try to see what fears and pressures and challenges they may face?
Okay, that maybe too challenging…it takes someone with a big heart to really be willing to step into your tormenter’s shoes and see the world from their point of view.
But at least take charge of your situation – and say, ‘I’m won’t be a victim’ and lower your gaze, don’t listen to music, don’t watch TV (much less porn!!), don’t play video games with babes, spend lots time at the Mosque, fast, eat healthy food, give tons of charity (it really purifies), learn the Din as much as possible and remember Allah constantly and ask HIM to help you.
If you really turn to Him, and really strive to follow His straight path, know that He will never turn you down. Never.
The trial a man faces is that of lowering his gaze and avoiding temptation, the struggle of which women cannot imagine. If they could, it would be easier for all of us. So that’s what women could learn if they could be men for a day. But what is it that men can learn from women? What trials do women face in this regard? Women face perhaps a greater number of trials than men do, such as domestic abuse, oppression, etc. But specifically when it comes to gender relations, what tests do women have to go through?
Is the desire to look beautiful a great trial? How about wanting to show off? Being overly friendly with guys? Gossiping, spreading rumors? Attracting men (unintentionally or intentionally) with the way they walk, laugh, talk and behave? Is all of this a trial to a woman? I highly doubt it. I think this just comes naturally to women, and it’s part of the way they are created by Allah in His Wisdom. But women remain unaware of the effect they have on men with their desire to look good, and hardly seem to be making an effort to control their nature (it seems).
I know that because of the media and societal expectations, women feel compelled to look a certain way. If that’s what you mean, then I admit, I can understand that it must put a lot of pressure on women. In that case, the desire for beautification would be an external, not internal factor, and therefore a struggle for women to overcome. If it is an internal factor having to do with vanity, pride and obsession with appearance, then it would not be a trial but a disease of the heart.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding your post entirely. Did you mean women also face a great trial in trying to lower their gaze from good-looking men?
@ Ahmed Saleem
I can tell you as a Muslim woman who lives in the west and wears the Hijab, I have had many trials: before and after wearing the Hijjab, both in Muslim countries and the west.
When I go out I am easily noticeable with my hijab and prone to discrimination. This is not the case when a Muslim men go out as the majority dress like westerners.
You should try to understand and educate yourself about the situation of women. If you have female friends or relatives you can start by having a conversation about it.
As for domestic abuse, oppression suffered by some women these are horrific things that cannot compare to the challenge men go through such as being tempted.
Why is it that we only talk about men being distracted by women?
Men are also disruptive and disrespectful when they bow during prayers and have their underwear, and sometimes even their skin and part of their butt, show. Why is this never mentioned or talked about? Women have also desires although less than men since men react more to visuals.
“Is the desire to look beautiful a great trial? How about wanting to show off? Being overly friendly with guys? Gossiping, spreading rumors? Attracting men (unintentionally or intentionally) with the way they walk, laugh, talk and behave? Is all of this a trial to a woman? I highly doubt it. I think this just comes naturally to women, and it’s part of the way they are created by Allah in His Wisdom.”
SubhanAllah you are generalizing all women to be this way and going as far to say it comes naturally?!? Then what about men who flirt with women, sweet talk them, influence them in having relationship and then discarding them like used tissues? Are all men like this? By your logic even these come naturally to men, don’t they? And then is it again the woman’s fault that these men created so much fitna!
Today even once chaste and hijabi women fall for such men and are trapped when these kind of men have physical relationships and leave them, moving on with thier lives and what are them women left with? they are no longer virgins and are not accepted by the above kind of stubborn muslim men who want “pure” wives in their impure lives.
Widen your perspective brother, every is facing their own tests here. You are not alone being tested
“Verily We know the eager among you to be first, and verily We know the eager among you to be behind,” (Qur’an 15:24).1
Ref 15:24 does not seem to belong to the Aya quoted.
this is the correct citation alhamdulilLah
And We have already known the preceding [generations] among you, and We have already known the later [ones to come].
The meaning of the Sura 15:24 are as above.
The meaning of the Sura 15:24 are as above.
[…] Gender Relations in the Prophet’s Society by Maryam Amirebrahimi Contrary to popular knowledge, the homeboys and girls of the Prophet ﷺ also struggled with their desires too. Let us learn some of the ways the Prophet ﷺ dealt with gender interactions. Also see: Prophetic Narrations You Have Probably Never Heard of (Part II) by Yusra Owais (Amatullah). […]
As salam wa aleikum sister.
I have great desire and interest in establishing a masjid where men and women prey in the same area as we once did during the times of Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu aleihi wa salam. I have a plan to reach this goal. Part of the plan is to acquire the funds and location needed to construct such a facility. The other part is to educate muslims and non muslims on prophetic teachings of gender interactions. The later has not been properly thought out yet. What would be the first step to start such an education process throughout the muslim communities in the states? Currently, do we have access to english translated books on this topic to disseminate to the masses in a cost effective manner? One of the problems I have noticed, is that people refuse to even consider such knowledge or accept the notion of muslim sexes coexisting, partially due to cultural training. How difficult of a task would it be to incorporate such knowledge into our public school system curriculum? Is it even possible in the states? My goal is provide such knowledge to a specific set of an audience, mainly the men and women below the age 40-30 and younger generations currently and in the future, since the younger population is more susceptible to change and correction of their ways, as compared to the older generation which has mostly accepted and rooted their values and beliefs as unchangeable, of course this does not apply to all. One way I intend to tackle this issue in the future is through the use of video production of islamic knowledge in the form of dialogue between mature agents and animated series of events geared towards children and adolescents. Such a simple concept is of course an enormous project which will take many years if not decades to gain traction, but I truly want to tackle such a heavy issue which is largely being overlooked by the imams and parents and youth. If you can share any wisdom on preparing for such a task, I would greatly appreciate it. I’m currently being trained in the field of Journalism and Media Communication, minor Psychology, and intend to apply this training to address our issues to find solutions and enact positive changes. I’m also part of the real estate market remodeling/renting/flipping houses. I intend to use this experience to acquire the needs for necessary facilities in the future. Again, any advice or direction to others who might shed further light on the matter would be greatly appreciated.
Jazzak Allah khair.
As salam wa aliekum wa rahma Allah wa barakatu.
[…] Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra): “Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind God’s Messenger ﷺ 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 ﷺ 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 God’s Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet ﷺ looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet ﷺ 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….”3 […]