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The blame is not on the one who does not accept advice. Rather, it is on the one who presents it inappropriately

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Monday, 20 June 2011

Gender Osmosis

Assalamu alaikum. In my religion of Islam, whenever Almighty Allah prohibits something, He closes all the avenues that lead to it. However, in our desperate bid to become western in culture, we tend to forget the dangers of going against Allah and we just focus on how to satisfy our whims and caprices. Things that are repugnant to our ‘fitrah’ are so beautified in our eyes by Satan to such an extent that when we are admonished by righteous people we become furious and nay we start seeing good people as evil and evil people as good.  Indeed one of the greatest ‘fitnah’ (trial) of our time is that of ‘gender osmosis’ or what you may call ‘free mixing’

The fitnah of free-mixing can not be overemphasized. The causative factor of this social cancer from my own personal submission is indeed the absence of Hayaa (modesty and a sense of shame) from the teeming population of the Muslim youths. Hayaa is undoubtedly among the salient characters of the nobles and people of high moral standard. It is said so beautifully that whoever has been forbidden from it has been forbidden from all good and whoever has been crowned with it has obtained honor and nobility and been bestowed with complete good. {Mawaarid ath-Thamaan Li-Duroos AZ-Zamaan by Abdulazeez As-Salamaan}.

What Allah out of His infinite mercy has decided for us as harmful and evil, man out of his ignorance and short-sightedness has opted for the direct opposite. Today we find ourselves leaving  in a society were the boundary line that used to define different genders has been completely erased and whoever tries to make any sincere effort to retrace back the line is seen as a negative factor in the chain of the 21st Century  “Civilization”. Allah out of His infinite mercy revealed a verse in the Holy Qur’an to rescue our lustful inclinations; “And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Faahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” Surah Isra’I: 17:32

Scholars have explained that Allah did not address the issue of Zina with a direct connotation but instead prohibits anything that leads to it. “And come not near” and you will agree with me without any fear of contradiction that the first step towards Zina is initiated through the avenue of free-mixing. We are so engulfed in this social menace that sometimes you are perplexed and cannot categorically state what is meant for men or women.  Shaykh Muhammad Bin Ibrahim Aal-Al Sheikh, the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said: Free mixing between men and women can be of three types:
  1. Mixing of women with men who are their Mahram (husband and men whom she may never marry, e.g. father, brother, son etc). There is no doubt that this is permissible in Islam.
  2. Mixing of women with non-Mahram men for evil and depraved purposes. There is no doubt that this type is not allowed (haram) in Islam.
  3. Mixing of women with non-Mahram men in educational institutes, shops, offices, hospitals, get-togethers, parties etc.
Indeed the third category is more pronounced in our lives today and hence we have to travel through Qur’an and Sunnah to scout for exit route.
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)…” Surah Noor: 24:30-31
And let them (Muslim women) not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (Surah Al-Noor 24:31)
Again, the Sunnah also provides solutions for us when we find ourselves in unwanted condition for free-mixing.  In the Mustadrak of al-Hakim, it was narrated by Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA) that our Master (saw) said; “O ‘Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” A golden advice from our Master (saw) to control our lusts in the midst of the opposite sex. The dangers are overwhelming and the sin is all encompassing. This is demonstrated in a hadith narrated on the strength of Abu- Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (saw) said: “The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk,… and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it.”
It was alluded by Shaykh Sami al Majid that when scholars warn against the free mixing of men and women, they are not talking about the mere presence of men and women together in the same place. This is something that is definitely not prohibited by Islamic Law. Men and women gathered in the same place at the time of the Prophet (saw) in the mosque and in the marketplace. They walked down the same roads and public thoroughfares. However, if such gatherings will involve immoral acts such as crowding that will lead to physical contacts and indulging in un-Islamic activities it is forbidden. In the law book entitled al-Fawakih al-Dawani, there is a discussion of when it is permissible to refuse an invitation to a wedding party. It says: "An invitation may be refused if there is any clear wrongdoing at the party, like the mixing of men and women." [Al-Fawakih al-Dawani (2/322)].

My most beloved Muslims, what cuts deep in to my emotions and deprives me of rest is the ugly sight of Muslims who claim to believe in Allah and love His Prophet (saw) mixing freely in an unlawful manner and they foolishly believe that, this is the crux of civilization. We have collectively failed to realize that when we over mix with the opposite sex unnecessarily, we loose our worth, modesty, integrity and value and this will later on become a stigma to us and our children.  

Aisha At-Taymuriyyah said it so beautifully that: “By my modesty, I have risen above all my contemporaries”. Let us all subdue our whims and lusts in the midst of these overwhelming temptations and embrace a decent life epitomized by personal modesty and self worth.