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Dalia Mogahed on The Hijab: A Case of Misplaced Blame?

Following Dalia Mogahed’s rivetting interview on the much-loved Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the following clarification on her Facebook page has created further ripples on social media.
Regarding a woman covering her head, consider these verses:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels.”

No, not the Quran.

It is 1 Corinthians 11:7-11:11 in The Bible.
The problem I think is that many people have this understanding of the head cover (whether they know where it comes from or not), as literally a symbol of man’s authority over women and her inferiority, from the Judea-Christian tradition, and wrongly assume the same applies in Islam. It does not.
Here is the Quranic verses for comparison related to this topic:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most con­ducive to their purity – [and,] verily, God is aware of all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ Sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of women’s nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms And [always], O you believers – all of you – turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state!” (The Quran 24:30-31)

Dalia-Mogahed-Daily-ShowNot about subjugation

The Quranic verses clearly are dealing with matters of modesty and privatizing the display of beauty, and begin by addressing men to behave respectfully toward women without condition. Nothing at all implies the head covering is a symbol of subjugation or inferiority to men.

Resources for seekers:

Are We Allowed to Read and Listen to the Quran While Breastfeeding and Pumping?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum.

Are we allowed to read and listen to the Quran while breastfeeding and pumping?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

Yes, you can listen to the Qur’an while breastfeeding your child.

Technically, the breast is not considered to be from your nakedness (`awrah) in front of your unmarriageable kin (mahrams).

However, in both cases it would be superior to cover yourself with a nursing cover or the like, particularly in the latter case when there are cultural sensitivities to be aware of in addition to the dictates of modesty and propriety.

Please also see: Who is a Mahram?

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Remaining Naked When Alone

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the ruling on not having one’s nakedness (awra) covered in front of animals, such as a pet bird or cat?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

In general, it is either recommended or necessary (wajib) to cover one’s nakedness (awra) even when alone, except when there is an inevitable need. Ibn Abidin deemed the latter opinion stronger, though the former is valid too, as many chose it. It goes back to the Prophet’s words (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Allah is more deserving of one’s shyness.”

Imam Zayn Ibn al-Nujaym said in his al-Bahr al-Ra’iq:

“Know that there is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that it is obligatory to cover one’s nakedness (awra) in front of others… And when alone, there is difference of opinion [as to whether it is obligatory], but the correct opinion is that it is necessary (wajib), unless the uncovering was for a valid reason, as mentioned in Sharh al-Munya.” [al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 1: 283]

Imam al-Haskafi said in “Durr al-Mukhtar,” “[To cover one’s nakedness] is a general obligation, even when alone, according to the correct opinion, unless it is for a valid reason.”

Ibn Abidin explained in his Radd al-Muhtar:

“‘Even when alone,’ that is: outside of prayer it is obligatory to cover one’s nakedness in front of others by scholarly consensus, and even when alone according to the correct opinion…

“Now, the apparent meaning of covering one’s nakedness when alone outside of prayer [in this context] is that which is between the navel and knee, such that even women do not have to cover other than that [when alone] even if it is of their nakedness (awrah) [in front of others]…

“‘According to the correct opinion,’ for Allah Most High, even though He sees the covered just as He sees the naked, sees the one whose nakedness is uncovered as leaving proper manners, and sees the one covered as exhibiting proper manners. These proper manners [here] are obligatory [f: because of the primary texts about them] whenever there is ability to exercise them.

“‘Unless it is for a valid reason,’ such as using the toilet or cleaning oneself. In the “Quniya,” several opinions are mentioned about showering naked: that it is disliked; that it is excused, Allah willing; that there is nothing wrong with it [but it is better not to]; that it is allowed for a small amount of time; that it is allowed in a small washroom…” [Radd al-Muhtar, 1: 404-405]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed all men and women that, “Modesty is from faith,” [Bukhari and Muslim] and that, “Modesty brings only good.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Going to the Salon for Hair Removal

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Assalaamu alaykum,

Is it permissible for a pregnant woman to go to a salon for removal of pubic hair? As pregnancy progresses, it is difficult for a woman to manage removing pubic hair herself.

Answer: Assalaamua alaikum warahmatu Allahi wabarakatuh,

It is not permissible for a pregnant or non-pregnant woman to go to the salon for pubic hair removal.

The following is a summary of the ‘awrah or nakedness that must be covered of a Muslim woman depending on who is in front of her.

If it is:
1- another Muslim woman, then she must cover from the navel to under the knees (i..e including the knees). Therefore, even if the salon was owned by Muslim women, it would still be impermissible to get pubic hair removed.

2- a non-Muslim woman, then she must cover like she does in front of a man which is everything except for the face, hands, and feet.

3- a man, then she must cover (as mentioned above): everything except for the face, hands, and feet.

If removing the pubic hair is difficult due to pregnancy or other reasons, the woman is required to do that which she can without overburdening herself.

wasalaam,
Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Answered by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Is It Permissible to Remove Eyebrow and Other Facial Hair?

Hair Removal Methods: Epilators, Waxing and Creams

Removing Chest & Pubic Hair

A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra)

If I Find a Hole in My Clothes That Exposes My ‘Awra (Nakedness) After Completing Prayer, Would I Have to Repeat the Prayer?

Answered by Shaykh Omar Qureshi

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

I have a question concerning the clothing during prayer according to the Shafi’i School. If I find a hole in my sock, or perhaps anywhere on my garment, after completing salah, do I have to repeat that prayer?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaikum.

InshaAllah all is well.

Case of Doubt

Shafi’i jurists state that if a person has a doubt regarding the performance of an integral or not fulfilling a condition (Covering one’s ‘awra is a condition of the prayer) of the prayer after one finishing the prayer, then the doubt doesn’t not affect the validity of the prayer. (‘Iyana Talibin, v. 1, pg. 208)

Case of Certainty

In the case where one is certain that after completing a prayer, one has not fulfilled a condition of the prayer, it would then be obligatory to repeat the prayer.

Keep in mind that covering the feet is required for women but not for men. So a hole in the sock during prayer for a woman would affect the prayer’s validity but not for a man.

If an upright individual (as defined by Hadith scholars) were to inform you that your ‘awra was exposed during prayer, you would be obligated to accept his/her report and repeat the prayer. (‘Iyana Talibin, v. 1, pg. 227)

Allah the Exalted knows.
Omar Qureshi

Shaykh Omar Qureshi completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri – Columbia in Microbiology in 1995 and later obtained a M.Ed. in Science Education – Curriculum and Instruction from the same institution. As a teacher in Saudi Arabia, he also studied various Islamic Sciences with Sh. Salman Abu-Ghuddah. He continued his Islamic studies in Damascus, Syria at Ma’had al-Tahdhib wa-l-Ta’lim and privately with local Damascene scholars such as Sh. Hussain Darwish. Currently Omar serves as the Dean of Academics and Instruction at Islamic Foundation School located at Villa Park, Illinois. In addition to teaching, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and Comparative Education at Loyola University in Chicago, where he is focusing on Muslim moral educational philosophy.

Guidelines for Interacting With the Opposite Sex

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Being put in situations with women leaves me confused with no idea about how to interact with them.  I know the issues of khalwa and modesty are important, but I don’t really understand what they practically mean or how to put everything together.  Could  you provide some detailed guidelines on how brothers should interact with sisters in a way that is completely in line with the shariah?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Praise be to Allah. May His peace and blessings shower upon our beloved Messenger. May Allah reward you for seeking knowledge of His deen.

In Islam, interactions between the sexes are permitted within certain limits specified by the Quran and the Sunna. To some, these limits might appear to be very strict. However, there is a divine wisdom underpinning the limits set down by the Shariah. In adhering to the boundaries set by the Sharia, we can uphold the Quranic command to the believing men and women to be awliya of one another, or protecting friends, while at the same time maintaining the modesty and purity of heart that come from obeying Allah and His Messenger in this regard.

In brief, when interacting with a woman who is not a member of your unmarriageable kin or your wife, you must avoid khalwa, or seclusion; guard your gaze; and obviously, avoid any physical contact.

In more detail:

Khalwa

Khalwa takes place when one man or more than one man are alone with one woman in a place where no one can see them or enter. If there are two women and a man, for example, this is not khalwa. However, when there is only one woman, this situation is considered as seclusion, and becomes unlawful. Obviously, this is for the protection of the woman and the man (or men) so that a situation will not arise where the male becomes tempted and the woman possibly harmed.

If you are in a situation where you are in a room with two or more women, this is not khalwa and there is no need for you to be uncomfortable.

Guard Your Gaze

Guarding your gaze is a good practice that fosters modest interaction between the sexes. The Quran commands both believing men and women to guard their gaze. Unfortunately, many Muslims have lost this practice. What guarding the gaze means is that you should refrain from staring at a woman’s face (if she’s not a member of your unmarriageable kin or your wife). It does not mean keeping one’s eyes glued to the ground. In Western societies, guarding one’s gaze can sometimes be interpreted as a lack of assertiveness or respect for the other person.

However, with Muslims, guarding one’s gaze indicates respect for the other person’s space and modesty of intention. Our scholars have said that looking at a woman’s face is permitted in certain occasions. For example, if you are seeking a woman in marriage, it is permitted to look at her face. If you work in any type of job that requires you to look at people and interact with them, looking is permitted as long as you don’t look with desire. If you are a teacher, looking at your female students is permitted as long as you don’t look more than necessary or with desire. In short, be modest and respectful.

If You Can’t Look, You Can’t Touch

According to the Shariah, where looking is not permitted, then touching is also unlawful. This can be a sensitive topic for Muslims living in the West where handshaking is commonplace and is considered a polite thing to do. Shaking the hand of someone from the opposite sex is unlawful.

According to our scholars, the Prophet, peace be upon him, never shook the hand of a woman who was not a member of his unmarriageable kin or his wife. So you should do your utmost to avoid shaking hands. But try to do it in a way that does not offend the other person. For many non-Muslims, if you simply explain to them that your religion (or culture) does not permit shaking hands and that you mean no offense, then usually people are okay with that.

Covering the Awrah (Nakedness)

Covering the awrah or one’s nakedness. Another requirement of interaction between the sexes is that everyone should observe Islamic modesty or covering the awrah. For men, this means covering what’s between the navel and the knee. For women, this means covering the whole body except the face and hands. Obviously, this is possible in a Muslim gathering. But there are very few places in this world where you will encounter women who are always covered. Obviously, if you live and work in the West, everyday you will see women who are not properly covered. What you need to do here is to simply be modest, behave respectfully, and avoid looking at women without need.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when you find yourself in a situation with women, Muslim or otherwise, simply be modest and respectful. There is no problem with talking to a member of the opposite sex or working with that person when there is a need. As long as we adhere to these boundaries, inshallah everything should be fine.

There is no need to be uncomfortable when there are women around. I have seen some Muslim brothers who when they sight a woman or hear her voice, immediately start scowling or act very tense. This is unnecessary. I have also seen Muslim brothers who feel very comfortable chatting with non-Muslim women, but as soon as a Muslim woman comes around, they ignore her and won’t even give salaams. This too is unnecessary and looks very strange to the non-Muslim observers.

What’s important to remember here is the example of our Prophet, peace be upon him. He was modest, respectful, and kind to everyone. He also interacted with women when there was a need to do so. He is the best example for us.

I hope this is helpful to you.

And Allah alone gives success. And Allah knows best.

(Umm Salah) Zaynab Ansari