Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cultural practices vs Islam....

As a revert to islam I get frustrated when I am told one thing and later through research i find out that it is a cultural practice and not even a part of islam. So often you hear people making excuses when it comes to reverts that instead of telling them the truth it is better to mask the truth because they are "new" to the religion. What happens is you teach the revert a bad habbit which becomes hard to break and they then fall into the cycle of cultural practices which go against islam. For example, there is a woman who is quite active at my husbands masjid and is very friendly with the brothers and is the only woman present during meetings (no mahram, etc) and out of shyness the brothers refuse to say anything to the sister because they dont want to scare her away from islam. I decided to say something to the sister and she then went to ask the imam of the masjid and he denied making comments that what she was doing was haram. It is good to be active in the masjid however a sister should not be sitting in groups with the brothers or working one on one with a brother, regardless if other sisters are not active, she still needs to follow islamic guidelines. So you can imagine when she heard from the imam that what she is doing ok and that i was wrong, made me look like a liar, even though i was trying to teach her the correct teachings of islam. When confronted the imam said he said what he said so that he would not make the revert sister lose interest in islam. If we teach reverts the proper way first then they will appreciate it more than having to relearn something and practice something haram!!!
With that said I am reminded of a muslim wedding i attended not to long ago. It was segregated, however when i walked into the sisters area on a HUGE screen for all the sisters to see was her soon to be husband on a live video cam from the brothers room for all the sisters to look at. Imagine how the sisters would react if it was the men watching the women on a live cam from the room next door? When i asked why we were watching her soon to be husband on camera i was told that there was nothing wrong with, however in islam we are told to lower our gaze. Many sisters make excuses claiming that we are allowed to look at strange men because we are supposed to know how they look when they get married (excuses), however you dont see men using that excuse to look at a sister. Double standards!!!! I tried to explain the logic to some sisters of this double standard however their eyes had glazed over and they looked at me like i was talking a foriegn language....
Toward the end of the night, the new husband of the bride was ushered into the ladies room to join his new wife on the stage for all the sisters to gaze at. When i asked other sisters why they were looking at the guy they looked at me like i was crazy and said there was no harm on it, making comments about how cute the couple looked, etc. Let me ask this, why is it ok for sisters to look at the guy but not the other way around? In islam we are taught to lower our gaze not look at other men that our not our mahram!!!
The excuse that we need to know how the guy looks once he is married is weak. It is important for the brothers to look at and see the guy who has just gotten married so that they will be able to recognize the brother as married vs single. It makes no sense for the women having to see what the man looks like, especially since all women are supposed to be accompanied by a mahram (guy) who would be able to recognize the guy if they were in public.
Sisters please, take a few minutes to analyze the real islam vs cultural islam.
I am going to copy a fatwa about free mixing that was important to mention since a lot of men and women mix and mingle at work or at university. Another problem is muslims who mix with their in-laws and close friends thinking this is ok because they grew up together (cousins, uncles who are not their mahrams, etc), again this is a cultural practice!!!!
Please wake up before its too late!!!!
Who bears the consequences of mixing – men or women?
If you discuss with some brothers about the ruling on free mixing between men and women at work, they say that it is normal situation that a man works, and that he is not sinful for continuing to do so. Please advise these brothers bearing in mind that chances of employment in our country are limited.

Praise be to Allaah.

Mixing between men and women at work has bad consequences and obvious evil effects on both men and women, including the following:

1 – Haraam looking. Allaah has commanded both believing men and believing women to lower their gaze. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All‑Aware of what they do.

31. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent…”

[al-Noor 24:30-31]

In Saheeh Muslim (2159) it is narrated that Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about an accidental glance and he ordered me to avert my gaze.

2 – It may result in haraam touching., which includes shaking hands. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If one of you were to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle, that would be better for him than his touching a woman who is not permissible for him.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani from Ma’qil ibn Yasaar; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 5045.

3 – Mixing may lead to a man being alone with a non-mahram woman, which is haraam because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man is alone with a woman but the third one present is the shaytaan.” Narated by al-Tirmidhi (2165); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

According to another report: “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him not be alone with a woman who has no mahram present, for the third one present will be the shaytaan.” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Hakaim, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him; it was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ghaayat al-Maraam (180).

4 – Another of its evil consequences is when a man becomes infatuated with a woman, or vice versa, which is due to mixing and prolonged interaction.

5 – That may lead to the break-up of families. How many men have neglected their wives and lost their families, because they were infatuated with a female classmate or colleague? How many women have lost their husbands and neglected their homes for the same reason. Indeed, how many cases of divorce have been caused by haraam relationships formed by the husband or wife, and mixing at work was the thing that lead to that.

For these and other reasons, Islam forbids mixing that leads to these evils. The evidence for the prohibition on mixing has been discussed in detail in the answer to question no. 1200.

The natural situation for women is to stay at home, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance” [al-Ahzaab 33:33].

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This means: stay in your houses and do not come out unnecessarily. End quote.

Those who should work to earn money and do different jobs and professions are the men, but even though this is the natural way and the woman is the one who is transgressing the limits and crowding with men in the workplace, and going out fully adorned, and doing things that Allaah has forbidden, all of that is no justification for a Muslim man doing that which Allaah has forbidden him to do, rather he will be questioned about his actions. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another” [al-An’aam 6:164].

The Muslim is enjoined to adhere to the limits set by Allaah, and not to transgress them just because other people do so; rather he is required to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil as much as he can, not to take the fact that people do evil deeds as a justification for falling into them himself. Hence our advice to every Muslim is to strive to keep his heart free of the effects of fitan (tribulations and temptations), especially the fitnah of women of which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have not left after me any fitnah that is more harmful to men than women.” Agreed upon.

He should also keep away from those places which the shaytaan takes as a starting point to gradually tempt people from one sin to another that is worse than it. We should have certain faith that the one who puts his trust in Allaah will find that He is sufficient for him, and if one fears Him, He will grant a way out. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine”

[al-Talaaq 65:2-3]

So the Muslim should strive to find work where there is no mixing with women; if he cannot find it, let him fear Allaah as much as he can, by lowering his gaze and avoiding talking to women unnecessarily, or going beyond that to laughing and joking, or being alone with a woman, for a huge fire may start with a single spark.

May Allaah help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Sacrifice4Allah said...

Great post! So true about people mixing culture and Islam! It is sad. When culture contradicts Islam people refuse to leave it because 'it is what we do in our country/community/my parents did this' etc etc.

That is a dangerous mentality to have. It is especially an irresponsible thing to do or say when there are new brothers and sisters who come to Islam.

M.J. said...

Wow, what in the world! I understand the imam wanting to keep her interested, but he LIED. What's the point in "keeping someone interested" if you're misrepresenting things to them? That's just absolutely mind-blowing. I'm happy to see the sister went to check for the truth after you told her because inshAllah she will double-check his answer in the same manner and have a chance towards the truth. May Allah swt guide us all, ameen.
Btw, I notice the same thing among women you mentioned at my masjid. I think it's a problem that's unfortunately pervailent in the Ummah. I've had bad experiences with women not observing the hijab of their eyes as well and I didn't like it. I just don't understand it :/

Thirst For Knowledge said...

I agree for an imam to lie is absurd! He does more damage than good by lying. I too have a huge problem at my masjid with women not adhering to the proper hijab. Some will come into the prayer room and even pray with half a hijab and short sleeve shirts. Another issue is talking in the prayer room. So many sisters will sit and chat while other sisters are praying or reading quran which i find very distractive. It's important for sisters to remember that it's good to go to the masjid however we must be dressed properly and have proper ettiquites while sitting in the masjid. A lot of sisters come there to hang out and gossip, which is very sad.