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women and purdah

Last updated: 22nd October 2005
Question ID: #962
Short URL: http://qa.muftisays.com/?962
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Muslimah76
22nd October 2005

 
Assalamualiakum Mufti Sahb,
My question is pretty straightforward. I come from a religious background-Alhamdulillah . We originate from North West Pakistan and Afghanistan, we are known to the world as 'Pathan,' We are fortunate enough to have close family contact with the likes Of Thanvi (ra) and Sheikh (ra). Due to that reason, many of their teachings have been implied into our family set-up.
The main one is the issue of women remaining secluded. I'd like to bring this issue to ur attention. If we think back to the mentioned Sheikhs' literature or books from any of the Deoband Scholars then it clearly prohibits women from leaving the house all together, unless there is a 'GREAT NEED.'
Then the advise is that one should cloth and cover herself in an old chaadar and hold a walking stick so that she appears to be an old woman.
Where we come from in Pakistan, this is still practised, girls are not allowed to leave the house, for education or any other purpose. SubhanAllah, there are women amongst our elders who have never left the house all their lives, all because of the instructions from our pious predecessors.
My question is, when we look at the rest of the Muslim world, and the so called 'practising muslims' in other parts of the world and here in the West, there is such a big contrast. Women are now so heavily involved in the outside world, it is thought that as long as a woman is modestly covered, there is no harm. Why is there such a contrast? Surely our Ulama could have not exaggerated these masaail.
I know a lot of Gujrati sisters, who obviously are closely linked to the same School of Thought and background who also leave the house for social purposes in the least.
These questions have being plaguing me and my cousins for some time. I was hoping you could shed some light on the issue.
JazakaAllah for your precious time. And please note we are not at all trying to mock or criticise, rather clarify for our understanding. We are afraid of asking our own Ulama in person and such anonymous systems do not exist so far. So please excuse me if you find it to be offensive in anyway,
May Allah give us all the ability to follow the rules of Shariah' in their most purest form, ameen
A concerned Sister



Answer
Ulamaa
Ulamaa ID 03
Answer last updated on:
9th December 2006
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 03
Website
Location: UK
14th Shawwal 1426 - 16th November 2005 Bismihi Ta'aalaa Respected Sister,
Assalamu'alaikum w.w.
Introduction - Being a ruling based on necessity and need, the following strict conditions will apply:
Intention: To serve in an Islamic School or to be of service in the community e.g. to become Muslim Women doctors, dentists, gynacologists etc. and not merely to further one's career in a non Islamic environment. Consultation with an local Islamic Scholar is paramount at this juncture.
The course should be sought through Open University/Correspondence courses so that one can avoid attending mixed universities as far as possible.
Permission of Mahram or husband is necessary.
If one has to study at a university or at college then it should be as close to home as possible and not to take the boarding option as far as possible.
Hijab is a word that indicates not just the headscarf but clothing in its entirety and Islamic Modesty personified. The following conditions be fulfilled when emerging out of the home:
1. Clothing must cover the entire body.
2. The material must not be transparent or see through.
3. The clothing should be loose and not body-hugging. The shape/form of the body must not be apparent.
4. Clothing must not resemble men's clothing.
5. Clothing should not resemble attire which is generally an exclsuive fashion worn by non-Muslim women
6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
7. Clothing must not be worn with the intention of pride and prestige.
As a general rule, a Muslim woman is to remain within her home. She has been created for a domestic role. It is evident from her physical, biological and emotional make-up that she is best suited for a mother/wife role. Dedicating her time and effort in ensuring that the home is in order, the husband finds peace and solace at home and children are given the best possible upbringing will guarantee a prosperous society, free from the many social ills that have plagued Western society.
As a result of openly flouting the rules of Shari'ah, many of these social problems have also crept into Muslim communities. High divorce rates, single parents, sexual affairs, custodial disputes, juvenile
Likewise, women have not been burdened with the responsibility of earning a living. This is the duty of men. Therefore, for women to take up careers which involves free mixing with men is totally forbidden. Parents/guardians should never condone such actions or turn a blind eye or else they will be held accountable in the Hereafter.
This does not mean that she is never to emerge from her home. Islam is a religion of moderation and its injunctions take into account human needs. Therefore, a woman is allowed to leave her home under necessity.
Hadhrat Mufti M. Shafee Saheb (R.A) writes in Ma'arif-ul-Qur'an, The Islamic ruling with regards to women emerging from their homes out of necessity is very clear.
Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Ahzaab, "And remain firm in your houses and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance ...." (Verse 33)
The verse indicates that 'emerging' within itself is not prohibited. Rather that emerging is prohibited which incorporates a display of her beauty and adornment.
Similarly verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzab, "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their (Jilbaab) cloaks over their themselves..." suggests that there are certain exceptions which allow a woman to leave her home provided she covers herself from head to toe with a loose fitting cloak (which covers her entire body.)
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) once addressed his noble wives, "You are permitted to leave your homes for your needs." (Muslim)
Hazrat Mufti M. Shafee Saheb (R.A) concludes by saying that exemptions to a woman remaining in her house include the necessity of fulfilling Islamic rites such as Haj, Umrah etc as well as personal needs such as visiting one's parents and Mahram relatives. However, this is conditional on ensuring that she does not display her beauty.
(Summarised from Ma'arif-ul-Qur'an - Urdu, Page 133-134, Vol 7) Needs will vary according to times. In our day and age, there are dire shortages of Muslim female teachers needed to teach Muslim girls in Islamic schools.
This will thus permit higher education on the condition that she fulfils the requirements of Hijaab when leaving her home.
Similarly, there is also scope for organising social/recreational activities provided they are arranged in accordance with Shari'ah principles. It is important, however that guidance is sought from experienced local Ulama in individual cases.
Allah (SWT) Knows Best.
Gloucestershire Islamic Academy