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Salam I've been dealing with this question for some time now and was wondering what your thoughts would be about its answer. What's the right level of husband and wife showing love and affection in public? Some people don't seen to care about it at all; they hug, kiss etc. in public; Some are more strict. And most would simply say, "that's ok, let'em enjoy their time together." But I think it has different aspects; every culture has some sort of decency norms in this regards. like what would you feel if your parents kissed (that kind of kiss) in front of you? or if it's ok, what would you think of a Shaykh or scholar who holds the hand of his wife walking on the street (obviously more intimate gestures seem more shocking). Some time ago, I met one of my friends with his wife on the street, he introduced his wife to me like "this is *her first name* my beloved wife." Then after some time, I have a class about Protocols with foreign visitors and the teacher of that class -who looked, sounded and acted pretty 'westernised'- said: "Under any circumstance, one never introduces his wife to a male friend, it has a very bad meaning!." What are your thoughts?
Islam and Christianity as Abrahamic religions take a similar approach on the issue of decency, chastity and modesty but when it comes to apply the principals mentioned in the Holy books pertaining to these issues we see that Muslim authorities view that more practical than Christians. Why is that? Is it to avoid public objection and complaint of having strict religion and rulings? The same thing for which Islam is convicted by human rights associations? Are Christian authorities sacrificing the truth on account of their congregation. When we study the Bible we come across some verses that never ever have been applied in any Christian society nor we see any religious verdict providing what Bible requires faithful believers to do regarding above mentioned issues. Take a look at these verses and try to guess which one is Quranic and which one is biblical? “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.” ( 2:9) And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof And let them wear their head coverings over their bosoms And not display their ornaments except to their husbands ..(24:31) “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.”( 3:3) Very interestingly that only the second is from Quran and the two other are biblical,( 1 Timothy 2:9) &( 1 Peter 3:3) So why we have no verdict upon these Biblical verses, how church wants to apply true Christianity in society without having practical rulings for its congregation?
dear brothers and sisters Salam Alaykum. this is a long essay on the topic of Hijab I tried to cover new challenges in this article, your note are greatly appreciated. through your complementary note added to this essay we could support the aim of Islam. Hijab And Modern Challenges, Freedom of Choice And Gender Equality “And tell the believing women to reduce some of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which necessarily appears and to draw their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their sons...”(Quran 24:31) At first glance, this Qur’anic verse seems like an unfair statement aimed to restrict women’s freedom. This verse in a sense contradicts what society and media as well expect women that her worth lies in her appearance and she should keep herself pretty to look desirable to men. In fact, they look down to such thoughts regarding modesty and decency. Nowadays, however, we see this spreading idea, that a women is free to dress up as she likes, is being triggered even among Muslim societies. For instance you might face many teenagers in Muslim communities who are not pleased to be labelled indecent dressers by parents, elders, and teachers but they are. Here is where freedom, religion, modesty, and modernity challenge one other. Covering skin flaws with a heavy make-up, wearing short clothes which cling to your body, expose your beauty, and attracting others to your physical appearance are what modern society expects you to apply. In contrary to what modernity says, none of us would argue this fact that all Abrahamic religions demands woman to dress decently, cover up her privet parts and try her best to look modest as much as she can. “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.” (1 Timothy 2:9) “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.”(1 Peter 3:3) Taking a new look at human, religion says that men and women are valuable because of their righteous deeds they do, the moral values they have, and the way they behave to others; Not the way they dress and go out to society. Actually the way religion thinks of human is perceived by the modern world to be imposing oppression on women. All feminist activists see roots of diminishing women’s right and violence against her in religious teachings. To them, religion restricts human freedom of choice and looks down to woman as a second citizen. Such objection is that evident that if you start delivering speech with respect to the issue of Hijab saying that religion requires men and women to observe modesty and decency in their social life you will be facing this challenge that “our body our choice”. “No one has right to tell us what to wear what not to wear”. Adherents of modernity maintaining the idea of gender equality say, human being has right to choose his lifestyle and dressing as he likes regardless what impression his clothes would have on others. No one, with no excuse could diminish others’ freedom. This essay is aimed to study the topic of “Hijab” considering the concept of gender equality, liberty, and freedom of choice as a modern issues. Gender equality What is initially meant by this controversial topic was to indicate that men and women should receive equal treatments in social and political situations such as participating in politic, having access to education, and whatsoever. But nowadays we see what aimed to benefit women turn out to exploit her. One of the reasons, feminist movements through which started encouraging women to dismiss what they used to regard based on their traditional costume was the newborn issue of sex equality. They maintain that to make distinction between men and women results in women oppression and would cause them to be confined to house works and child upbringing. Thus, women should admit that they have the same right as well as men in every aspect of social life and the time women used to be housekeepers, dress in their traditional clothes, and not to go out to the society to take part in social situations has passed. Meanwhile, media played an influential role in this ground. Portrayal women in mass media in one hand was inspiring the spirit of women being equal to men, doing the same jobs as men in factories and in the other hand was lightening the spirit of modesty and decency among women. In addition to this, one cannot help but notice that what some so-called religious scholars did also led women to welcome such freedoms that modernity claim he has brought for them. The advent of modernity, waning religion considerably in the world, and spreading such movements across the globe consequently caused increasing gender equality tendencies among the youth and now, as a fruit of it one could easily see that morality in the modern communities is on the decline. Many of youth following the sex equality empowerment throughout the world tend to dress unisex clothes, shoes, jewelry, and hairstyle and keep themselves fashionable at every expense. No matter what impression it conveys, the way that they dress. But Islam unlike the ongoing thoughts toward woman holds a different view upon this issue. Islam in one hand maintains that man and woman are equal in status, worth, and value before God. And both of them are capable of reaching highest levels of spiritual growth. This notion is that obvious through Quranic verses that God presents a devoted woman in the Quran as a role model for all believers both male and female.  And in the other hand Islam affirms that men and women were created different physically and emotionally and equipped with special tools to fulfill complementary roles and functions in society. Thus, there should be inherent distinctive characters leading them to different conducts and expectations. However woman, whose way of creation differs from men should be treated and expected in her social life not the same as man. What is our concern pertaining to this issue, men and women differences, is to discover accuracy of the old thought that women should cover their body in front of non-relative men and not to expose their beauty except for their husbands. No one would argue that physical attractiveness plays a significant role in arousing sexual tendencies in society. And men and women are involved in this issue, nevertheless gender stereotypes suggest that male place more importance on the physical appearance and attractiveness than what females do. And very interestingly studies say that female are more likely to emphasize their beauty and apparent attractiveness rather than men. These two different yet complementary traits that men and women carry are the key roles in constructing family life that through which the cycle of human life continues on the earth. For these physical characters along with moral attitudes could bring a couple together under the contract of marriage in order to create a family and take care of children in all aspects, financially and spirituality. Actually this blessing difference in addition to other different attitudes result in warmth, honesty and faithfulness of wife and husband toward one another. Given what is mentioned regarding the physical attractiveness the nature of men that rates it more than everything and the role of physical appearance in happy relationship, one is justified to say that freedom of choice should not lead to sexually distracting dress or the society will regress to promiscuity which effects the family, the principle base of society. Freedom of choice Now, it is time to deal with this question that we will be asked even if we admit all arguments above that why women should go through this unfair limitations concerning such simple matter of dressing? When do we want to respect freedom of choice for women and stop depriving them of their liberty? Who would guarantee that it will not reinitiate confinement of women to her home and diminish her rights? As a matter of fact freedom of choice has become a good excuse for all those who are not disposed to submit to the concept of Hijab, regardless they are politicians who see their interest in it, pseudo- enlightenment movements who could through which increase their popularity in society or ignorant women who have found it good excuse and justification to remove their Hijab. But to be honest, it should be said that wearing hijab or modest clothing actually meant to respect laws of freedom of choice. All of us believe that freedom of choice should not lead to harming others in society. One is free to do whatever he wishes as long as he is not annoying others. So there must be kind of restrictions within freedom otherwise it would not sound reasonable. And now the question is that why none of us object such limitations to our freedom? Rather we have accepted it? And found it compatible with human rights? The answer is so simple. We are living in a community and this is the commonly accepted way by which we could communicate and respects people. Nobody has right to harm others physically and emotionally out of his freedom. But now this question arises that why every one of us easily accept to go through limitations in order to respect other’s health, properties, rights and so on in society but when it comes to the concept of Hijab all would complain? Campaigns will be launched to support human rights as if a massacre occurs. Why nobody seeks to break down this issue a little further to see if what religion says comes true or not? All religion says is to treat human as a human, value him out of his morality, spiritualty, and the status he has before god , not because of his wealth or physical attractiveness. Indeed religion affirms the role of modesty in peace of mind and inner peace. Hijab is not a hindrance to our freedom rather is to respect our freedom. How the one who is shouting out in streets and public areas would be treated as a transgressing of the law, why he cannot say “my mouth, my choice”? The same goes with the Hijab. Let’s describe a modern western street. Women are free to come out dressing transparent clothes, miniskirts, exposing their breasts and cleavage and nothing wrong with them even if they wear skimpy clothes. And men are allowed to wear baggy trousers pulling it down in a way that their underwear exposed and put on a clingy T-shirts the way that shows their muscles. Well, nobody can go against his inherent nature. As a male and female we grow up with natural tendency upon the opposite sex and marriage aimed to direct lustful desires to avoid promiscuity in society. We can’t walk in street closing our eyes, nor can we object any of such indecent instances in society because we will be told “our body, our choice”! Now, how even a believer, the one who has no will to betray his wife could go home not imagining of all those unwillingly pictures he has faced during the day? Is it an appropriate answer to say close your eyes? Suppress your nature? Isn’t it the same as to say “close your ears”! Try not to be disturbed by shouting? Conclusion Religion, a group of laws pertaining to human life physically and spiritually which is revealed by his creator, tries to present an appropriate model for life that through which human could find his role in creation. As long as human is thinking of diversity for his animal instincts he is a modern animal nothing more. What religion holds is that one should not dedicate all his life to fulfill his animal urges nor should he dismiss it. Talking of chastity and modesty, religion suggests that house and family life should be the only option that men and women are allowed to enjoy their sexual life.  - Quran 49:13: Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you.  - Quran 16:97: Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life And We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.  - Quran 66:11: And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe, the wife of Firon when she said, My Lord! build for me a house with you in paradise and save me from Firon and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people.  - Quran 49:13: Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you.
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