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CLOTHING AND PURDAH

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MISCELLANEOUS Porblem (MASA'IL )

GLOSSARY (Explanation of Islamic Term)

1. It is not permissible to adorn boys with bracelets, necklaces, and other types of
jewellery. Nor is it permissible to make them wear silk. It is also not permissible to make
them wear amulets (ta'wiz) that are wrapped in silk, gold or silver. It is not permissible for
them to wear clothing that has been dyed with safflower or saffron. In short, whatever is
not permissible for men, should not be worn by young boys as well. If the woof is made of
yarn and the warp is made of silk, it will be permissible to make them wear such clothing.
Similarly, if the fur of velvet is not made of silk, it will be permissible to wear it. Such
clothing can be worn by men as well. If the border of the garment is of silk, it will be
permissible to make boys wear such clothing as long as the border is not more than four
fingers in width.

2. A hat or any other garment which has gold or silver embroidery work done on it will only
be permissible for boys if the embroidery is not very dense. If the embroidery is so dense
that only the embroidery and not the cloth is visible from a distance, then it is not
permissible to make boys wear such garments. Similar is the case with silk embroidery. If it
is very dense, it will not be permissible to make boys wear it.

3. There is no difference in remaining naked and wearing very flimsy clothing such as
muslin, lace, and other similar fabrics with which lingerie is made. It is mentioned in the
Hadith that women who wear such flimsy clothing will be regarded as naked on the day of
judgement. It will be more deplorable if the dress and head gear are both made of such
flimsy fabric.

4. It is not permissible for women to adopt the dress and appearance of men, nor is it
permissible for men to adopt the dress and appearance of women. Rasulullah sallallahu
alayhi wa sallam has cursed such men and women.

5. It is permissible for women to wear jewellery. However, it is preferable not to wear too
much of jewellery. A woman who wears very little jewellery in this world will be given a lot
of jewellery in the hereafter. It is not permissible to wear tinkling jewellery such as those
that are worn around the ankles. It is not permissible for little girls to wear such jewellery
as well. It is also permissible to wear jewellery that is made with anything other than gold
or silver. For example, it is permissible to wear jewellery that is made with brass, gilt, tin,
etc. However, rings that are made of anything other than gold or silver are not permissible.

6. Women are ordered to cover their bodies from head to toe. It is not permissible for them
to expose their bodies to ghayr mahrams. However, it is permissible for an old woman to
expose her face, palms, and feet below the ankles. It is not permissible for her to expose
the rest of her body. At times the head covering falls off slightly and she goes in the
presence of ghayr mahrams in this way. This is not permissible. Not a single strand of hair
should be exposed in the presence of ghayr mahrams. In fact, the hair that falls off her
head while combing her hair, and the nails which she has clipped should be left in such a
place where ghayr mahrams will not be able to see them. If a woman is not cautious in this
regard, she will be sinful. Similarly, it is not permissible for a woman to allow any part of
her body to touch any part of a man's body. This rule applies to men as well.

7. It is not permissible for a young woman to expose her face in the presence of ghayr
mahrams, nor should she stand in a place where she could be observed. We learn from
this, that the custom of exposing the bride's face in public where all the men can observe
her is also not permissible. To do so is a major sin.

8. If a woman's face, head, chest, arm or calf gets exposed in front of her mahram, there
will be no sin on her. However, her stomach, back, and thighs cannot be exposed in front of
her mahram as well.

9. It is not permissible for a woman to expose her body from her navel till below her knees
even before another woman. Some women bath naked in the presence of other women.
This is a very shameless and forbidden act. It is also forbidden to force a woman to expose
her body and to bathe her on the ceremonies that are held on the sixth day after child
birth, and the fortieth day after child birth. Under no condition should she expose her body
from her navel till below the knees.

10. If there is a dire need, it will be permissible to expose that part of the body which is
necessary to expose. For example, if a woman has a boil on her thigh, it will be permissible
for her to expose just that area where the boil is situated. Under no condition should she
expose more than that area. This could be done by wearing a very old pants or sheet and
cutting that area of the pants where the boil is situated. The doctor can then inspect that
area. However, it is not permissible to show that area to anyone other than the doctor. This
is irrespective of whether the person is a male or a female. But if this boil or wound is not
in the area between the navel and below the knees, it will be permissible to expose it to
another woman. In the same way, at the time of some inspection, it will only be
permissible to expose that part which is necessary. The same rule applies to a mid-wife.
That is, at the time of need it will be permissible to expose the body to her, but it will not
be permissible to expose more than what is necessary. During child birth or at the time of
taking some medicine, it will not be permissible to expose more than what is necessary. It
is not permissible for a woman to be completely naked. The method of doing this is to wrap
a sheet around the body and whenever the need arises, the woman could open the sheet
for the mid-wife. The thighs and private parts should not be exposed. Apart from the mid-
wife, it is not permissible for anyone else to see her body. To be completely naked and to
sit or lie down in the presence of all the other women is absolutely haraam. Rasulullah
sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah's curse is on the one who looks at the satr of
another person, and the one who exposes her satr to others." One has to be very cautious
with regard to mas'alas of this nature.

11. During pregnancy, if the mid-wife wishes to inspect the stomach, it will not be
permissible for the woman to expose her body below her navel. She should cover herself
with a sheet or any other covering. It is not permissible to unnecessarily expose the area
below the navel even to a mid-wife. The custom of exposing this area to the mid-wife when
she is carrying out her inspection, and exposing it to one's house members; is not
permissible.

12. It is not permissible to touch those parts of the body which one cannot even look at.
The parts of a woman's body which cannot be looked at, cannot be touched by others as
well. Therefore, it is not permissible for a masseuse (female who massages) to massage
the thighs, etc. even if she inserts her hands beneath the clothing whilst massaging.
However, if she wears a glove and massages the thighs by inserting her hand beneath the
clothing, it will be permissible.

13. It is wajib to make purdah with the kaafir women who come into one's home. This also
applies to maids and domestic servants who are not Muslims. The purdah that has to be
made with them is the same as that which has to be made with ghayr mahram males. The
exception is that the face, wrists, and feet can be exposed to them. The head should also
be covered. Remember this rule very well because the majority of women do not act
according to the rules laid down by the Shariah in this regard. In other words, do not
expose the head, the entire hands and the calves in front of them. It should also be
remembered that if the mid-wife is a kaafir, then at the time of delivery, it will be
permissible to expose the private parts. However, it will not be permissible for her to look
at the other parts of the body. (Because there is no need for her to do so)

14. It is permissible for a woman to expose her entire body to her husband. It is also
permissible for the husband to expose his entire body to his wife. However, it is not good to
do so unnecessarily.

15. Just as it is not permissible for a woman to appear in the presence of a man or to
expose her body in front of him, it is also not permissible for a woman to look at a man.
Some women are under the misconception that although it is not permissible for men to
look at them, it is permissible for them to look at men. This is absolutely wrong. To stand
at the door way and look at men, to look at them from an elevated place, to come in the
presence of the bride-groom, etc. are all not permissible.
16. It is not permissible to sit or lie down with a ghayr mahram in solitude or in private.
Even if both man and woman are sitting separately at a distance, it will not be permissible
to do so in private.

17. Just as it is not permissible to expose oneself in the presence of a ghayr mahram male,
it is also not permissible to expose oneself in the presence of one's spiritual guide.
Similarly, an adopted son is regarded as a ghayr mahram. By adopting him, he does not
become one's real son. Purdah will have to be made with him just as purdah is made with a
ghayr mahram male. Purdah will also have to be observed with all one's ghayr mahram
relatives. These include, the husband's younger and elder brothers, sister's husband,
husband of the husband's sister, and also one's cousins irrespective of whether they are the
children of one's maternal or paternal uncles and aunts.

18. It is not permissible for women to come in the presence of hermaphrodites, castrated
persons, and even blind persons.

19. Some women offer their hands to bangle-vendors (and jewellers) so that they may
pass the bangles through their hands. This is a shameless and prohibited act.

MISCELLANEOUS Problems (MASA'IL)

1. It is mustahab to remove the hair of the pubic region and the armpits once a week. If
one does not remove these hairs weekly, one should at least remove them every fortnight.
If one cannot even do this, one should remove them before forty days. If a person leaves
these hairs for more than forty days, he will be sinning.

2. It is makruh for women to call their husbands and parents by name as this shows
disrespect. However, certain occasions may demand that they be called by name. In such
circumstances it will be permissible to call both the husband and parents by name. Under
all conditions and in all circumstances, one should always be mindful of being respectful to
one's husband and parents.

3. It is not permissible to burn any living creature, e.g. it is not permissible to smoke bees
in order to get rid of them. It is also not permissible to catch bugs, flies, mosquitoes, etc.
and to throw them into a fire. However, if there is no other way of getting rid of them, it
will be permissible to do so, e.g. at times it is difficult to get rid of bees. In such a case, it
will be permissible to smoke them. It will also be permissible to get rid of bed-bugs by
pouring boiling water on the bed if there is no other way of getting rid of them.

4. It is not permissible to take bets, e.g. a person says: "If you eat a full kilo of sweets, I
will give you R1. But if you cannot do that, you will have to give me R1." In other words, it
is not permissible to take two-sided bets. However, one-sided bets are permissible.

5. When two persons are talking in privacy, one should not go and sit near them. It is a
major sin to try and listen to their conversation. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the day
of judgement, boiling lead will be poured into the ears of the person who tries to listen to
the private conversation of others despite their disapproval. We learn from this that it is a
major sin to spy on the bride and bride groom or to try and listen to their private
conversation.

6. It is not permissible for the wife to discuss or announce the private affairs and
conversations that transpired between herself and her husband. It is mentioned in a Hadith
that Allah Ta'ala becomes extremely angry when a person discusses or mentions all that
transpired between him and his wife.

7. It is not permissible to joke with a person to such an extent that he feels insulted or
angered by the joke. One should only joke to the extent that the other person laughs and is
amused.

8. It is not permissible to wish for death or to curse oneself when afflicted by any problem
or calamity.

9. It is not permissible to play dice games, cards, etc. If these are played for money, they
will be regarded as gambling and will therefore be absolutely haraam.

10. Once boys reach the age of ten, they should not be allowed to sleep or lie down next to
their sisters, brothers or mothers. Once girls reach the age of ten, they should not be
allowed to sleep or lie down next to their brothers and fathers. However, the son can sleep
next to his father and the daughter can sleep next to her mother.

11. When a person sneezes, he should say Alhamdolillah. It will be wajib on the person who
hears him saying Alhamdolillah to say Yarhamu kumullah. If the latter person does not say
this, he will be sinful. Upon hearing this reply, the person who sneezed should say
Yaghfirullahu lanaa wa lakum. However, it is not wajib, but mustahab on the person who
sneezed to give this reply.

12. After sneezing, a person said Alhamdolillah which was heard by several persons. It will
not be wajib on all of them to give a reply to it. If one of them gives a reply, it will be
sufficient. However, if none of them gives a reply, all will be sinful.

13. If a person sneezes continuously, it will be wajib to say Yarhamu kumullah up to three
times and not more.

14. When a person mentions the name of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, hears it or
reads it, it becomes wajib upon him to send salutations to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa
sallam. The person will be sinning if he does not do so. But if his name is mentioned several
times, it will not be wajib to recite the durood each time. It will be sufficient to recite it
once. But if a person moves from his place and takes his name or hears it again, it will be
wajib to recite the durood again.

15. It is not permissible to shave the head of a child in such a way that a certain portion is
entirely bald and another portion is left long. Either shave the entire head bald or leave all
the hair unshaven.

16. It is not permissible for women to apply perfumes or any other fragrant creams,
lotions, etc. in such a way that ghayr mahrams get the smell of the fragrance.

17. It is not permissible to give clothing which is not permissible to wear, e.g. it is not
permissible for the husband to purchase clothing that is not permissible for his wife to
wear. Similarly, it is not permissible for a tailor or dressmaker to sew clothing which is not
permissible for Muslims to wear.

18. It is not permissible to read short stories, novels, novels based on love and beauty
which are of a fictitious nature. It is also not permissible to look at books and magazines
that have pictures of men and women in shameless clothing or no clothing at all. Books
containing love poems should also be abstained from. Books and magazines of this sort
should not even be purchased. If they are found in the possession of one's children, they
should be burnt.

19. The custom of making salaam, shaking hands, embracing each other is also sunnah for
women. Women should adopt these Islamic customs among themselves.

20. If a person is a guest at someone's house, he should not give any food or anything else
to a beggar from his host's house without the permission of the latter.

GLOSSARY
Explanation of Islamic Terms

Arsh: The throne of Allah Ta'ala.

Banu Isra'eel: Literally means the children of Isra'eel. It refers to the progeny of Hadrat
Ya'qub alayhis salaam.

Barakah: Literally means "blessings". It refers to the experiencing of abundance in things


which are apparently insignificant or little, both in value and amount.
Burqah: A head covering worn by women.

Dua: Invocation to Allah, supplication, prayer, request, plea.

Durood: The sending of salutations upon Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

Eid ul-Ad'haa: The 10th of Zil Hijjah. Literally means "the festival of sacrifice". It is referred
to as ad'haa because it is on this day that animals are sacrificed in the name of Allah and
for His pleasure alone.

Eid ul-Fitr: The first day of Shawwaal. Literally means "feast of breaking the Ramadaan
fast". It is referred to as fitr because it is on this day that the month-long Ramadaan fast
comes to an end.

Fard: Literally means "compulsory". In Islam it refers to those acts and things which are
compulsory on a Muslim. Abandoning or abstaining from a fard act is a major sin. Rejecting
a fard act amounts to kufr.

Ghayr mahram: Refers to all those people with whom marriage is permissible. Based on
this, it is also incumbent to observe purdah with all ghayr mahrams.

Haid: Monthly periods or menstruation experienced by a woman.

Hoor: Large-eyed women of paradise promised to the believers.

Ibaadah: Literally means "worship". In Islam it refers to all those acts with which one
renders worship to Allah Ta'ala.

Iddah: In Islamic law it refers to the period of waiting during which a woman may not
remarry after being widowed or divorced.

Iftaar: The time of opening one's fast. This time commences immediately after sunset.

Ihraam: Two pieces of unstitched cloth which are donned by the person performing hajj or
umrah.

Jumu'ah musjid: Refers to the musjid in which jumu'ah salaat is offered. It is also referred
to as a jaame musjid. It is generally the main musjid in a town or city.

Kaafir: Literally means a "disbeliever". In Islam it refers to one who rejects Allah and does
not believe in Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam as the final messenger of Allah.

Kaffarah: Literally means "penance, atonement, expiation". In Islamic law it refers to


redemption from the omission of certain religious duties by a material donation or a ritual
act.

Kalaam-e-majeed: Refers to the Holy Quran.

Kalimah: Refers to the basic tenet of Islam, i.e. bearing witness that there is none worthy
of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

Kuffaar: Plural of kaafir.

Kufr: Refers to the state of disbelief.

Kurta: An Urdu word meaning "shirt". However, due to constant usage, it refers to the long
flowing robe worn by Muslim men and which has come to be regarded as an Islamic dress.

Lungi: A loin cloth worn by men especially in eastern countries. A lungi is wrapped around
the waist and extends up to the ankles.
Mahram: Refers to the person with whom marriage is not permissible and with whom strict
purdah is not incumbent.

Makruh: That which is disliked or detestable but not forbidden.

Meelad: Literally means "birth, birthday". In this context it refers to the birthday
celebrations held in respect for Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. In most cases these
celebrations are innovations which are accompanied by many other evils.

Miswaak: A thin stick or twig which is used to clean the teeth.

Mt. Uhud: Name of a mountain outside Madinah.

Muharram: The first month of the Islamic calendar.

Mustahab: That which is preferable or desirable.

Nafl: That which is optional.

Nifaas: Refers to the flowing of blood after child-birth.

Purdah: An Urdu word meaning "seclusion". It is an equivalent of the Arabic word "hijaab".
Refers to the seclusion of women from strangers. There are different stages of purdah, the
highest of which is that the woman should not come out of her home except for a valid
Islamic reason.

Qada: Literally means "carrying out or fulfilling". In Islamic jurisprudence it refers to


fulfilling or completing those duties that one may have missed due to some reason or the
other.

Qiblah: The direction in which one faces when offering salaat.

Qiyaamah: The day of resurrection.

Qurbaani: Literally means "sacrifice". In Islam it refers to the sacrificing of animals solely
for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala on the day of eid ul-ad'haa and the two days following it.

Rajab: The seventh month of the Islamic calendar.

Rakaat: Literally means "bending of the torso from an upright position". In kitaabus salaat
it refers to one unit of salaat which comprises of the standing, bowing, and prostrating
postures.

Ramadaan: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Sadaqah: Literally means "charity". This word is also used as an equivalent of zakaat.

Sadaqatul fitr: Refers to the charity that is given on or prior to the day of eid ul-fitr. For
further details, refer to the chapter on sadaqatul fitr.

Sajdah: The act of prostrating.

Salaam: Literally means "peace". In salaat it refers to the saying of "as salaamu alaykum
wa rahmatullah" which denotes the end of the salaat. It is also a way of greeting among
Muslims.

Satr: An Urdu word derived from the Arabic "sitr", which means "cover, shield". In the Urdu
context it refers to that area of the body which has to be covered. It is also referred to as
the "aurah".

Sehri: Refers to the meal partaken before dawn by the person who intends fasting. For
further details refer to the chapter on sehri and iftaar.

Sha'baan: The tenth month of the Islamic calendar.

Shirk: Polytheism or ascribing partners to Allah Ta'ala.

Subah saadiq: Literally means "true dawn". It refers to the time when whiteness
(brightness) can be noticed on the breadth of the horizon. It is at this time that the time of
fajr salaat commences.

Sub'haanallah: Means "glory to Allah".

Sufis: A term used to refer to mystics or saints. Such persons are also known as the auliyaa
of Allah, i.e. the close friends of Allah. These are the persons who have dedicated their
entire lives in the ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala.

Surmah: Antimony. A black powdery substance that is applied to the eyes. It is sunnah to
apply surmah.

Tasbeeh: Saying "sub'haanallah". A rosary that is used to glorify Allah Ta'ala is also called a
tasbeeh.

Umrah: Commonly referred to as the lesser pilgrimage. It is similar to hajj with the
exception that many of the rites of hajj are left out and that it could be performed
throughout the year.

Wajib: Literally means "obligatory'. In Islamic jurisprudence it refers to that act which has
not been established by an absolute proof. Leaving out a wajib without any valid reason
makes one a faasiq and entails punishment.

Zikr: The remembrance of Allah Ta'ala.

Zil Hijjah: The last month of the Islamic calendar.

Zil Qa'dah: The eleventh month of the Islamic calendar.

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