Today's Reminder

March 27, 2023 | Ramadan 5, 1444

Living The Quran

Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) - Chapter 33: Verse 59 (partial)

"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters as well as also all (other) believing women that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments (when in public): this will be more conducive to being recognized (as decent women) and not annoyed."

The social role of women requires mixing with men. Islam does not permit any discrimination between men and women, nor does it advocate a segregation between them as it may be widely understood because of cultural practices or views. What Islam forbids actually is that a man and a woman cannot stay together in seclusion and privacy (khalwa), if they are not married to each other and a sexual relation between them is possible. But men and women as individual and groups can meet in public. Modesty is required in the outdoor dress of both Muslim women and men. However, there is no specific uniformed dress recommended for a Muslim woman. Purda, chadoura, abaya, quftan or hayek are local fashions preferred by women in different places and may be changed in any time according to the change of taste. These designs or fashions should not violate the basic and permanent requirements of an Islamic dress. The Quran underlines such requirements for a woman's dress in the verse above.

Islam allows any dress that fulfills the required modesty for a decent woman, and the creativity of fashion designers has to combine elegancy and modesty in a woman's dresses since one does not negate the other. The attractiveness and respectability of a woman — the same as of a man — are due to one's personality as a whole, with all intellectual and psychological dimensions, and not to what is exposed of one's body. It is against the human dignity and equality to focus on the physical attraction of a woman in her social performance with men. In an open society, a fair assessment of the merits of an individual (male or female) should consider the whole personality and one's commitment to and fulfillment of the moral and social responsibilities toward one another and toward the society as a whole, as men and women all are awliya of each other in enjoying the doing of what is right and forbidding the doing of what is wrong.

Compiled From:
"Muslim Women - The Family and The Society" - Fathi Osman

From Issue: 883 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Action and Participation

To be Muslim is to act according to the teachings of Islam, no matter what the surrounding environment, and there is nothing is Islam that commands a Muslim to withdraw from society in order to be close to God. It is actually quite the opposite, and, in the Quran, believing is often, and almost essentially, linked with behaving well and doing good. The Prophet, peace be upon him, never stopped drawing attention to this dimension of Muslim identity, and its authentic flowering entails the possibilities one has of acting according to what one is and according to what one believes.

This "acting," in whatever country or environment, is based on four important aspects of human life: developing and protecting spiritual life in society, disseminating religious as well as secular education, acting for justice in every sphere of social, economic, and political life, and finally, promoting solidarity with all groups of needy people who are forgotten or culpably neglected or marginalized. In the North as well as in the South, in the West as well as in the East, a Muslim is a Muslim when he or she understands this fundamental dimension of his or her presence on earth: to be with God is to be with human beings, not only with Muslims but, as the Prophet said, "with people," that is, the whole of humankind: "The best among you is the one who behaves best toward people." [Al-Bayhaqi]

Compiled From:
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 82

From Issue: 582 [Read original issue]


Goodness' Sake

There are many people who love virtue. They love to pardon those who have wronged them. They love acquiring religious knowledge, exhibiting good manners, and behaving ethically. It is the way they are, even without formulating any conscious, deliberate intention to be that way. They love what is good in the same way that people love beauty, comfort, and camaraderie.

It is good for people to have such tendencies. They benefit those who possess them as well as the people around them. A natural love of virtue is something desired in Islam, even without formulating a specific intention to do something good. Such deeds are worthy of blessings in their own right.

Having such a conscious intention to do the deed for Allah’s sake just adds to the deed's blessings.

This means that doing good for the sake of doing good is something Allah and His Messenger have enjoined upon us. Every virtuous deed we do voluntarily through our actions, our wealth, our influence, or our gifts is something encouraged by Islam.

When we do so because of our good natures, this is virtuous. This is blessed.

We might begin an act of virtue without thinking about it, but then renew our intentions so we do so consciously and deliberately for Allah's sake, thereby increasing our reward.

Good deeds do not go unrewarded. True goodness is never unnoticed by Allah. This is why Allah rewards unbelievers in this world for the good deeds that they do, even though they do not have the intention to do so for Allah.

Compiled From:
"Doing Good for Goodness' Sake" - Salman al-Oadah

From Issue: 887 [Read original issue]