Distraction or Attraction?


Clean and pure. That is the ideal society which Islam advocates. It is the society where the honour of every daughter, sister and mother is given the highest degree of respect. Hence even merely looking at a non-mahram woman (except by accident) has also been denounced in Islam. Our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said that Allah Ta`ala said: “The glance (at a non-mahram) is a poisonous arrow of Shaitaan. The one who will restrain himself from it for My sake, I will grant him such Imaan in reward, the sweetness of which he will taste in his heart.” This is the unparalleled respect and honour that Islam affords women.

In order to maintain the purity of society, segregation of males and females has been strongly emphasised. Women have been commanded to generally remain indoors. If they do venture out for any genuine need, the Qur’aan has forbidden them from displaying themselves and has commanded them to don a jilbaab (a loose outer garment which conceals the body, commonly referred to as the cloak). Since it is human nature that an attraction exists in both males and females for the opposite gender, the jilbaab is meant to serve as a distraction from the glances of men. While the jilbaab (cloak) would completely conceal the beauty or figure of the person wearing it, due to it being completely plain and simple nothing on the jilbaab itself would invite any glance in its direction.




Alas, the jilbaab (cloak) which was meant to be a means of concealment and a means of distracting the gaze away from the one wearing it has now become a source of direct attraction. An entire fashion industry has erupted around the cloak. Branded cloaks have become the norm. Any brand name will do, even if it means “No Name” (Bidoun Ism). If you cannot afford the genuine branded item, you may pay a hundred riyaals to have the name “Sharqiyah” embroidered on a cheaper cloak — just to show off. The brand label on the matching scarf must also be clearly displayed. A cloak without Swarovski crystals is not worth being called a cloak in many circles. Often the amount spent on a single “designer” cloak which would be worn on the odd occasion, is enough to feed a starving family for a few months. What was supposed to be a loose outer covering has become a figure revealing garment. The neck, which is part of the satr of a woman, is completely revealed with the V-neck styles. While many women feel very happy wearing such cloaks, the happiest is undoubtedly Shaitaan. His constant effort is to strip people of hayaa (modesty and shame). He would therefore be feeling ecstatic that he has succeeded in transforming the cloak which was meant to turn gazes away from it, into something that attracts glances towards to it.

One crucial question remains: Is it permissible to wear a fancy/designer/attractive cloak? Certainly! There is no harm whatsoever in wearing it – provided that if one goes outdoors due to any genuine need one wears a plain unattractive jilbaab over it!!

Finally, let us sit up and take note of the slide into immodesty and shamelessness and take concrete steps to reverse the tide. May Allah Ta`ala grant us the reality of hayaa. Aameen.

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