Why hijab is important in Islam

Updated 30 November 2012
0

Why hijab is important in Islam

This is the concluding part of the article.

One of the main reasons for the hijab ban in a country like France is secularism, a system in which government functions with little or no connections to religion or religious institutions. Religion does not dictate political decisions or thinking. As a philosophy, secularism is the belief that life can best be lived with little or no reference to God or gods. In secular societies, people do not assume religious beliefs to be widely shared and over time religion becomes less important in their lives. The obvious danger of this philosophy is that it encourages atheism and agnosticism. There is an emphasis on rationalism and a denigration of religions and religious teachings.
France is a pure secular states as noted in the first sentence of its constitution (1905) “France is an indivisible and secular Republic…” In relation to the hijab, the President of France, Jacques Chirac, is quoted as stating, “What is at stake is supporting the principle of secularism, which is one of the pillars of our Republic.” Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the Prime Minister of France, has stated, “Secularism in France is a fundamental value, particularly in France’s foremost Republican sanctuary, her schools, where every young person is learning about citizenship, universality, and where he or she must benefit from the principles of equality and liberty, the neutrality of public service.” Seventy percent of French people support the hijab ban. This is also one of the main reasons that hijab is banned in the secular countries of Turkey and Tunisia.
Islam is a threat to these governments since it is quite the opposite of secularism. Islam is not only a religion, but a deen, a way of life. As a way of life, it is comprehensive, covering virtually every aspect. A Muslim is not able to separate religion from the rest of life for the deen is the life. A true practicing Muslim breathes, walks, and lives Islam, even down to the smallest details. Upon rising in the morning, she remembers Allah. She immediately washes for pray and completes the fajr prayer. She eats with his right hand during meals. During social interactions she follows Islamic etiquette. Hijab is a part of this way of life and as such it cannot be altered or removed. The religion of Islam pervades both private and public life. These cannot be separated and one cannot say that she i1l be religious in private life but not public life. An individual takes her deen to public life when she wears hijab. She takes her religion to public life when she refuses to shake hands with males. The religion comes into play during social interactions, economic transactions, and political decisions. A Muslim can never live a “secular” life. Unfortunately, this is what nations are forcing Muslims to do, even in so-called Islamic countries. But, Allah has guaranteed to preserve the religion and to reward those who work for His cause in its protection.
The second reason given for the hijab ban is reflected in the following quote by Jacques Chirac —“Regardless of their origins and their convictions, French men and women have the same rights, the same duties, and they have a right to the same respect and the same opportunities.” The goal of these societies is to make men and women totally equal or the same; exactly identical in rights, duties, and opportunities. It is somehow strange to think that by removing hijab men and women will somehow become magically equal in status. These people also assume that women who wear Hijab are oppressed, subjugated and in need of liberation. They seem to think that Muslim women want to be liberated and to be told to remove the hijab. It is as if they are doing a favor for the Muslim woman.
From an Islamic perspective, it is important to realize that although men and women are similar in many ways (i.e., spiritual), Allah Almighty has created specific rights and responsibilities for each gender in certain realms of life. He has not only done that, but He has also created each gender uniquely to best fulfill the duties that have been assigned to each. Science, in fact, has affirmed these concepts. This does not imply the superiority of one gender over the other since both roles are honorable and operate in a complementary manner. They are both essential for effective functioning of the society. One may ask the question, “If Allah Almighty had intended for men and women to be equal or the same, would it be necessary to have two genders?”
A Muslim woman does not need the “freedom” that is being offered, for she is already liberated. Her liberation comes through submission to her Lord and Creator. The hijab liberates her from the focus on worldly and lower desires and elevates her into the domain of spirituality and nearness to Allah. The “liberation” they promise is only subjugation deceptively shrouded in the cloak of goodness. There can never be liberation in disobedience to Allah.
Although secular countries proclaim to support freedom of religion and speech, these can easily be compromised in defense of the secular philosophy. The following quote highlights this fact: “The European Court in Stasbourg protects secularism when it is a fundamental value of the state. It allows limits to the freedom of expression in public services, especially when it is a matter of protecting minors against external pressures.” In these societies, everything is upside down, even to the point of giving minors rights above their parents. In essence, what they are doing is taking control from parents and giving it to the state. So, it is no longer parents who are telling their children to wear hijab, but it is the state telling them to take it off. There is still no freedom, only a different force. This is not much different from saying that you have come to liberate a country, only to occupy it yourself.
In Islam, the rights of parents are sacred and honored. Allah commands the believers to obey and respect their parents and this is often placed next to submission and obedience to Allah in importance. They are attempting to tear down this fundamental aspect of the deen and the culture, but this cannot be allowed. From an Islamic perspective, parents can force their daughter to wear hijab since this is a religious obligation. They are only requiring her to do what is best for her, her family, and her society. This is really no different than enforcing a curfew or placing limitations on friends or outings. In reality, it is more essential since the benefits are immense. It is important to note that girls are not obligated to wear hijab until puberty, but they should be taught about the essentials of hijab from an early age. If they are properly taught the beauty and meaning of hijab, they will willingly make their own choice to don it when the time is right.

n Courtesy of www.islamweb.net


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
0

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.