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Published by: api-25980564 on Oct 18, 2008
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Pronunciation: 'm\u00e4-d&-stE
Function: noun
Date: 1531

1 : freedom from conceit or vanity
2 : propriety in dress, speech, or conduct

One of the biggest wisdoms behind why
Muslim women choose to wear the Islamic veil
and dress is modesty.

Muslim women are told by Allah in The
Quran (24:31, 33:59, ) to dress modestly and
wear a head scarf, and it is explained how in the
Hadith (sayings) of The Prophet Muhammad.
Understanding the wisdom behind this act of
faith will shed light on one of the most liberating
actions a woman can choose in regards to her
physical body.

According to the definition in Webster\u2019s
dictionary found above, the first benefit in being
modest is it frees an individual from conceit or
vanity. Paying too much attention to our
appearances can create vanity. Feeling vane is
a form of arrogance. Arrogance hardens our
hearts and can stifle the spiritual growth of a
human being. When an individual is
preoccupied constantly with worrying about their
appearance, their ability to focus on their true
purpose in life becomes difficult. For the Muslim,
that purpose is worshipping the One Whom
Created us all.

Islam asks both men and women to be
more concerned for their after-lives than this life,
dedicating each second to worshiping The
Creator, and to not let the life of this world lead
them astray from the straight path. Thus, the
entire way of life Islam provides is meant to
assist us in our journey. When we die, neither
our material possessions nor our appearances
will avail us. Only our good deeds will. The
Muslim dress code is one facet of a way of life to

assist us in concentrating on achieving those
deeds which are pure and blessed by God.

Beauty is only one aspect of a human
being, but unfortunately, in our \u2018modern\u2019 society,
it is the aspect most heavily focused upon by
both men and women. The danger of this
obsession has now shown its face; in a society
where bulimia, anorexia, and other eating
disorders are crippling our mothers, sisters,
daughters, friends and other loved ones. If we
live long enough to grow old, the beauty of our
youth will fade no matter how hard we try to
keep it. The emphasis, therefore, seems silly
when one imagines the stress women place on
their physical bodies, which will return to dust,
instead of on their actions and deeds which will

On the other hand, Islam does not suggest
that a woman neglect herself. First and
foremost, her health is stressed over her
physical appearance. Our bodies have rights
over us; we must stay healthy for the sake of
ourselves and our families. Severe dieting, of
course, is not healthy. Nor is the reason that
motivates most women to diet: men.

It\u2019s undeniable that women are often
jealous of the physical appearance of other
females. It creates tension between a husband
and wife. This physical competition leaves the
female to compare herself with other women,
whether on television, in a movie, a co-worker,
or just a woman passing on the street. Islam
doesn\u2019t allow room for women to become
objects of lust and desire, and whether the
Western woman wants to admit the truth or not,
she all too often becomes just that.

Muslim women dress, respectively
speaking, as they please around their
husbands, family, and female friends. Simply,
she refrains from allowing the outside world to
use her looks as a way to judge her. From a

husband\u2019s point of view, his wife is too priceless
to trust other men to respect her, and a truly
respectable man does not take pride in having
his wife viewed in public for her appearance.
Therefore, Islam encourages modest dress to
reduce the outward display of sexuality, and
confines it to its true proper time and place.

Many women have different opinions of
what dressing modestly is; however, Islam relies
on the definition from God, The All-Knowing, and
All-Wise. The same interpretation of modesty is
found throughout Judaic and Christian tradition.
Nuns and Orthodox Jewish women also dress in
a similar fashion.

In Christian art, Mary, the mother of Jesus,
is always pictured in loose, soft flowing modest
gowns with her hair covered and she was known
for her chastity. As it says in The Qur\u2019an: \u201cShe
(Mary) said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that
no man has touched me, and I am not
unchaste?" (19:20).She is truly a role model for
all women to look up to, especially considering
that Allah chose her for the miracle birth of
Jesus. She is also considered the best woman
who will have ever walked the earth! Therefore,
Muslim women continue to follow the same
tradition of modesty as Mary.

People often argue that those were the
\u201cclothes of the times\u201d for women such as Mary,
and that women have since become more
\u201cmodern\u201d. It is important to carefully reflect on
these issues and decide what exactly being
\u201cmodern\u201d means. If it means that women will
continue to define and redefine themselves
according to fashion trends, men, and media,
then a Muslim woman wouldn\u2019t mind being
called \u201cbackward.\u201d

Glancing across the Atlantic to Europe
shows what is in store for American women.
Following in the footsteps of Europe, nudity in

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