MODESTY Pronunciation: 'mä-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’s 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 ‘modern’ 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 remain. 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’s 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’t 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’s 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’an: “She (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 “clothes of the times” for women such as Mary, and that women have since become more “modern”. It is important to carefully reflect on these issues and decide what exactly being “modern” 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’t mind being called “backward.” Glancing across the Atlantic to Europe shows what is in store for American women. Following in the footsteps of Europe, nudity in

public will become common place, and very sexual advertisements will entertain the eyes of TV viewers during normal television hours. Again, women are being taken advantage of for their looks. Islam makes it very clear to men that women are to be highly respected and treated with kindness and gentleness. It is intolerable for her to be reduced to an icon, selling beer, food, a movie, a TV show, etc. To protect privacy, husbands may not tell other men about his intimate relationship with his wife. Furthermore, dating women and having pre-marital relations with them because they “love” them, often resulting in the girl being regretful, hurt, and left with nothing, is not permissible. Many relationships are based in the American culture on desire, filling in the word love to erase internal guilt people have in participating in pre-marital relations. The popular form of dress is has become no more than a daily fashion show in our schools with girls being convinced they much flaunt their sexuality in order to be admired, loved, and popular. In return, guys get to talk and think about, and stare at these girls as much as they desire. In return, they will tell a girl they are “in love” with them, and soon after, the girl will give away everything about herself, for free. A Muslim man may not look at or touch a woman until she is his wife and until he has gone through the proper channels to know her. He must involve her family; obtain her agreement to marry him, and pay her a dowry, proving that he can financially support her. This is the bare minimum any woman deserves. Returning to the concept of the veil we understand it is more than just a piece of cloth, or style of dress; rather, it represents an entire

ideology. Women are equal to men, but we are different in nature, and this must be accounted for. Women today are not ‘celebrating their femininity,’ as modern pop culture claims. They are selling their femininity, sexuality, and everything in between, for free. The Islamic veil is not only a physical covering, but a spiritual expression. Muslim women all over the world live with modesty, inner `strength, and character. Islam frees women from conceit and vanity, frees women from being mere sexual objects, frees women from spending their time to please the eyes of men instead of their Creator. This true liberation gives women the respect they deserve and shows that the creation of Allah is beautiful and perfect in its natural form. The beauty and softness of a woman should not be taken for granted. “O man! What has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord? He created you and formed you and proportioned you and assembled you in whatever way He willed” (Qur’an: Surah Al-infitar:6-8)

Muslim Women And The Veil

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A Glimpse At the Wisdom Behind Modest Dress!

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