HAYA- What’s ‘dupatta’ gotta do with it? Tuesday, Jul 31 2007 

Muslim matters has an interesting discussion going on here. Although the series brings out a lot of issues, one particular that interested me was the issue of ‘haya’. More specifically, haya in terms of clothing among girls especially the way Indo-Pakis view it.

Last Tuesday, during our study circle, some of the Pakistani mothers brought up an issue of raising their teenage daughters. Among their concerns was the dress code at home. Basically, the mothers want the daughters to be dressed modestly at home, i.e. no shorts or sleeveless and prefer if they keep themselves wrapped with a ‘dupatta’ (piece of cloth used to cover from shoulders down to the chest i.e. the places of ‘zeenah’). I wasn’t surprised because I myself come from a Pakistani background. However, I was surprised because the mothers were trying to find an ‘islamic’ excuse to enforce their daughters to do so in the name of ‘haya’ and modesty. They were concerned that if they let their daughters roam around the house in shorts (up to their knees or below) or sleeveless then they will lose from their modesty.

These girls, those mothers were talking about, are quite friendly with me. They had spoken to me before about this problem. They wanted me to convince their mothers to allow them to be ‘comfortable’ at home as long as they don’t cross their limits Islamically. I sort of found myself stuck in a ‘battle’ between mothers and daughters on this issue!

However, I must admit: I am on the daughters’ side on this issue. These girls, mashaAllah, properly cover themselves when they step out of their homes, some even cover MORE then their mothers. They are very modest and shy in public. Since, I believe that they are observing their ‘haya’ at the right place, I believe they should be allowed a bit more freedom at home. For instance, one of these girls was taking a Qur’an class with the Imam of our Masjid. Since she was going to sit in front of the Imam, she felt so shy that she borrowed my niqaab! If the same girl wants to wear shorts (up to her knees or below) or sleeveless at home, I honestly do not see any problem with that.  

I tried to convince their mothers that they must keep in minds that their daughters are not growing up back home where every girl covers herself with a ‘dupatta’ (although now-a-days the purpose is totally defeated). If these girls are covering themselves properly in public places, then they should be given the freedom at home at least. Secondly, haya is not bound and limited to a ‘dupatta’ alone because if this was the case then all the Arab ladies will be considered shameless!

Some mothers seemed convinced but some were still hesitant. Since, I am fairly close to these mothers too, I could give them my honest opinion on this. I truly hope they think about it because it is a quite serious matter for their daughters.

It is quite interesting though, that this is a general trend among many Indian/Pakistani families. The girls are brought up in a certain way and with a certain dress code at home. The mothers themselves are not comfortable with their daughters being dressed in a “different” way at home because of their own upbringing and the environment they had seen around them. However, now that they raise their daughters in Western lands, I honestly believe that they need to realize the difference of place and time.

It could raise a number of problems. Firstly, the daughters may rebel, especially if they feel that they already fight a battle outside their homes with their hijabs & jilbabs then why can’t they be “comfortable” at homes.

Secondly and more seriously, it may arouse marital problems later in their lives. If the mothers successfully instill this shyness, allow me to call it ‘extra’ shyness, and then the girls may not be able to dress/act in certain ways in front of their husbands leading to intimacy problems. I know of some of my Pakistani friends who couldn’t even wear a nighty just because they felt ‘too shy’!

One respected Arab sister, who is a marriage counselor in Houston, asked me once why Pakistani girls were so shy. She told me how majority of the time newly wed Pakistanis have intimacy issues just because girls are too shy and can’t comply with their husbands’ demands. I think my dear Pakistani mothers must keep in mind that the boys who will be marrying their daughters are not those boys anymore who would be content with their wives if they simply put some makeup and jewelry on. Unfortunately, not only time has changed but even the environment around our youth.

Allah’s Mercy Knows No Bounds Monday, Jul 30 2007 

This is a very nice reminder from my cousin. Indeed, we tend to forget about the Mercy of our God. How can anyone claim that Muslim’s God is not Merciful. I have heard/read about this often, as if all the Mercy is only shown or talked about in other faiths and Islam only deals with horrible punishments. InshaAllah one of these days, I wanted to compile some of the beautiful names of Allah azzawjal and show that most of His Names and Attributes are indeed about Mercy and forgiveness.


By: Asma Saiyed

It was Ramadaan. The Haram was absolutely jam packed. It seemed almost like Hajj. But that day I thought I could beat the crowds. I wanted to pray in the courtyard in front of the Kaa’ba. I thought if I could get there in the middle of the day, right after dhuhr, I could probably go before every body else and find a good spot to pray. So instead of praying in my usual spot, I decided to head for the courtyard. However I had walked only a few feet when I realized my mistake. The courtyard was already full. Everyone had already taken their places for salaah and there was no way I could even dream of finding a spot there. So I decided to go back. But that was also an utterly fruitless effort. People had already gathered behind me in a long line and there was no chance for me to go back. I looked hopelessly to my right and then to my left but, to my disappointment, all I could see were rows and rows of men and there was absolutely no place to go. I was stuck!

And then to my dismay they called the adhaan. It was then that I started to panic. All I wanted to do was to find a nice spot to pray, but there I was, stuck in the middle of the crowds with absolutely no place to even move an inch! How could I pray at that spot in the middle of all the men?!! A feeling of urgent desperation overcame me and shaytaan started to play with my mind and I started to despair.

How unfortunate I was! There I was, standing in the middle of the Haram, in Ramadaan, wanting to pray and yet I couldn’t! Maybe I wasn’t given the opportunity to pray in the best spot because of my previous sins, I sadly thought to myself. All the mistakes of my flawed past came rushing to my mind. I thought of the many times I had disobeyed Allaah, the way I had broken His Laws and the times I didn’t value His Limits, oh…how I did not practice Islaam the way I was supposed to.

I felt that Allaah had rejected me and didn’t think of me as even worthy of praying 4 rakaah in His Masjid. He has deprived me of the tawfeeq and the honor to pray at His House, the Kaa’ba. I felt weak, miserable, hopeless and depressed. But then, all of a sudden, I looked up and there it was, on one of the pillars of the Masjid, an Ayah of the Qur’aan was inscribed, one of the most beautiful ayah that I had ever read in my life!

I felt like that ayah was there for ME…It was meant to be read by ME. My heart was absolutely overcome and I started to cry. It was the ayah from Surah az-Zumar :

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

“Say: ‘O My worshipers, who have sinned excessively against themselves, DESPAIR NOT of the Mercy of Allah! Verily, Allah forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Most Merciful.”

Subhaan Allaah! Can there be an Ayah more beautiful than this??!! Seeing the ayah right there, just when I needed it the most was just too much for me. I cried and I cried. I had the irresistible urge to prostrate to Allaah subhaaahu wa t’ala right then and there and beg Him to forgive me…beg Him to overlook my mistakes and shortcomings. How ungrateful I was!

For indeed it is His Mercy that encompasses all. And it is His Mercy that forgives all. All it takes from us is just one sincere repentance and He will forgive us. After all, isn’t He ar-Rahmaan and ar-Raheem? No matter how big the sin or sins that you have committed, no matter what your past has been like, if you come back to Him with one sincere, sincere tauba, coming from the heart, He will forgive you.

The Prophet (sallallahu alihi wasalam) said: “Allaah says, ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call on Me and put your hope in Me, I will forgive whatever you have done, and I will not mind. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky, then you were to seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you and I will not mind. O son of Adam, if you were to come to me with an earth full of sins, and you were to meet Me not associating anything in worship with Me, I will come to you with an earth full of forgiveness.’” (Tirmidhi– hasan).

Surely, the Bounty of Allaah is immense and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. His Mercy is the greatest…greater than His Wrath and greater than the greatest of our sins. Indeed He is more merciful to us than a mother towards her child. So never, ever despair or lose hope. If you repent sincerely, it will wipe out whatever came before it.

“O you who believe! Turn to Allaah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will expiate from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow.” (Surah at-Tahreem:8)

Be aware of the Greatness of the One against Whom you are sinning, seek forgiveness for your sins, weep for the error of your past ways and adhere strictly to the path of Allaah. And do beware of despairing of the Mercy of Allaah. It is one of the traps of Shaytaan.

“And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord, but those who go astray?” (Surah al-Hijr:56)

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth?” Say: “To Allâh. He has prescribed Mercy for Himself…” (6:12)

What is it with Mothers? Saturday, Jul 28 2007 

When I was small, I was very attached to my mother. But as I grew older, I realized that I and my mother are practically from different planets, especially when I was in high school. I think she believed I was growing up in Pakistan! I begged, pleaded, cried, and threw tantrums (I guess I didn’t try food boycott…it might have worked) but, mashaAllah, Allah azzawjal has made my mother very persistent.

Time passed by and I got married, alhamdullilah, in a rather early age 🙂 Then, I had my own life, my freedom, my way of living my life! I enjoyed it and I loved it. My disagreements with my mother didn’t reconciliate rather increased, especially when I had my own children. I had ‘my way’ of raising them. (more…)

Still Alive! Friday, Jul 20 2007 

JazakAllah khair to all those who sent concerned emails about me. I am very much alive alhamdullilah, just hadn’t have time or inspiration to write anything. InshaAllah I will try to keep y’all posted!

‘I just wanna talk…I’ve no BAD intentions!’ Wednesday, Mar 14 2007 

(This letter and some of the excerpts are taken from http://www.islam-qa.com)

“I am a young woman from a very well-known family. All my life I have been religiously committed and of good character, as all will attest, but for some reason I got to know a young man. I wanted to help him because he had suffered the calamity of his father’s death, and he is responsible for his siblings and his mother, but he went down the path of keeping company with bad people. I advised (which was not even a face to face communication!) him and I felt it was my duty to stand beside him and advise him sincerely. Eventually he returned to his studies and gave up those bad friends, and he changed completely. His mother asked him the reason, and he told her. She spoke to me and thanked me for being patient with her son.

One day he came for a visit to see me, and I did not know why I did not hesitate. I went to see him, and I felt as if he was my brother. We spent some time together and what happened happened, unfortunately. Now he wants to come and propose marriage to me, but it is impossible. He is three years younger than me, and he is not of the same nationality as me. Now I am pregnant and I want Allaah to conceal my sin and I want to repent. I know that I have done wrong, and you will criticize me severely, but I want to repent and I want a solution.”

Ø Perhaps this letter can be a lesson to those who claim that a relationship between a man and a woman can be “innocent”.

Ø And it can be a lesson to those who claim that such relationships are ‘Islamically’ acceptable if they are for the purpose of giving advice, especially religious advice!

Ø And to those who want to “water down” the religion to allow relationships between men and women in the name of modernity.

Ø And to those who claim that woman are able to control their desires and emotions and similar justifications.

Ø It is a lesson for those who are heedless of the laws of Allah and pay no attention to the warning of our Rabb, against following in the footsteps of the shaytaan,

Ø It is a lesson to those who continue to take gender relations lightly until they find themselves in deep trouble.

No doubt, this girl must have been careful to protect her chastity initially. (more…)

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