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Quotes on Hayaa (Modesty)

June 4, 2011 1 comment

Quotes from the Retreat:

  • Abdullah bin Umar (ra) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Modesty and Imaan are intertwined with each other. If one leaves, the other leaves by itself” (Haakim)
  • “Hayaa only produces goodness”
  • “From the words of the previous Prophets that people still find are: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish”
  • Umar bin Khattaab (ra) said: “Whosoever loses Hayaa loses Taqwa (Essentially fearing God, more complexly it means to struggle to avoid sin), whosoever loses Taqwa, his heart dies”
  • Salman Al-Farsi (ra) said: “When Allah intends the destruction of a slave, he strips him of Hayaa”
  • Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) said: “The one who clothes himself with Hayaa, the people will not see his faults”
  • “Hayaa is part of Imaan and Imaan is Paradise. Lewdness is part of hardness of the heart and hardness of the heart is in the Fire”
  • “Lewdness does not appear in anything except that it blemishes it. And Hayaa does not appear in anything except that it beautifies it”
  • Abdullah bin Masood (ra) said: Imaan is bare, its adornment is Taqwa, and its garment is Hayaa”

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Pearls Behind Veils (Final Part of Retreat Lectures)

June 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“Pearls Behind Veils” By Shaykh Irfan Kabiruddin

In this lecture, the Shaykh detailed the concept of a woman’s hijab (hijab is the outer veil of a woman but also has a more complex and versatile meaning). He started by telling us to be careful where we get our knowledge from. Knowledge of the deen is precious and you can’t afford to be confused on any subject. Although the issue of hijab is very clear, many Muslims are confused on the subject. At the very least, every knows what happens to a society when no one practices hijab.

The verses for hijab were revealed slowly, it was first revealed that men and women should interact through a curtain in Surah Ahzab. Then the deeper rulings came in Surah Nuur.

A woman’s awrah (private areas) includes her entire body except the face and hands. These are the parts that should be covered all the time even in the home. In public women should cover everything except that which appears naturally (like what becomes apparent when she is doing some work or walking). The face should also be covered in public, no one can deny the face is what holds the beauty. They should go out in a manner that does not attract, in a manner of hayaa (modesty). It is an obligation of both men and women to guard their gaze.

My Thoughts: I apologize for these incomplete notes, I think I was getting tired by then. I once heard of tight clothing being compared to latex gloves, although they cover everything, they also leave nothing to the imagination. Subhan’Allah there is so much wisdom behind the hijab, for the individual and society in general. Maybe I’ll write a list of the benefits insha’Allah (by the will of Allah).

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That which is Purer for your Hearts (Part 4 of Retreat Lectures)

June 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“That which is Purer for your Hearts” By Shaykh Mikaeel Abdur Rahman

Shaykh Rahman started the lecture by telling us the importance of our environments. If we don’t admit that our environments impact us then there will be no room for change or betterment. It is the very core of the Quran, Surah Fatiha, where we beg Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ to show us the path of the blessed people, the people who have earned the pleasure of Allahسبحانه و تعالى‎ and to keep away from those who have earned His wrath. In a hadith (saying) the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم says that a good companion is like the perfume seller, even if he doesn’t give you the perfume, sitting around him will make you smell good. The bad companion is like a blacksmith, even if he doesn’t burn your clothes you will go home with a bad smell. In another hadith, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said that a person is with the religion of his friend, so be careful who you befriend.

There is no “half deen” in Islam, you have to enter it completely. During the time of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم some Jews wanted to mix Islam and Judaism (in an innocent way, like keeping the holiness of Sunday). But it was revealed by Allah, “O people who believe, come into the deen completely.” The mind frame of the Muslim should be to suppress his desires and to practice sabr (patience). How can we expect to be successful if we never push ourselves or try to control our nafs (inner desires)? There is always a “little mufti” (great term!) in your heart that knows when you are doing something wrong, you can just look in your heart and you’ll know.

Shaykh Rahman then got into a great discussion about the intermingling of the sexes (in Islam men and women can only interact on the basis of necessity for the purpose of modesty and purity). Many people argue that their intermingling won’t lead to anything but in Islam even the purest of personalities were not allowed to intermingle freely. If ever there was a place where people would have the least danger from intermingling, it would be the masjid. Even then the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم created a separate place for the women, a separate entrance. He even told the men to wait until the women had left to leave. Anyone who says intermingling is okay must consider that it would have first been okay for the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and his people because they were the purest, there was no fear of them committing any unlawful acts, so who are we?

The first effect of intermingling is that our heart dies, this sins is such that it overpowers the heart. A slow rust develops in the heart of someone who intermingles. When someone’s heart dies, he doesn’t feel sin (meaning that he won’t understand its wrongness or feel the guilt).

The Shaytaan (Satan) flows through man the same way blood flows in the body (i.e you never feel the blood flowing but it’s there). No intermingling can be harmless because the Shaytaan can easily turn it into something greater. The Shaykh related a story from the Bani-Israel of a man named Barsee, who was considered a very pious and trustworthy person. Once three brothers left their sister with him because they had to fight in a battle. Barsee’s initial reaction was to say no because he lived alone, but he allowed her to stay in a separate place by his house. In the beginning, he would leave the food out and she would just get it herself. Then (through the Shaytaan’s whisperings) he thought this arrangement might be rude, so he dropped off the food himself. Soon it occurred to him that the girl might be lonely so he started to talk to her. Eventually through these small steps, Barsee engaged in unlawfulness with her and she became pregnant. Since he was known to be so pious, Barsee didn’t want to ruin his image or answer to the girl’s brothers. This led him to murder her. (There was another part to the story I am forgetting, but eventually the brothers found out what happened and Barsee was brought to justice.)

Never think of yourself as safe from dangers like wealth or the opposite gender. Environment is everything and since we live in a non-Muslim environment, we have to bring Islam into it. The Shaykh suggested that we be the ones who people come to with questions about Islam, that we let it be known we’re Muslims. If people can walk around freely with blue hair, full body piercings and tattoos, why can’t we have the slightest bit of pride? Here in America, it’s okay to be weird.

The best thing is to leave environments of temptation, but if we have to engage, the first make sincere dua (prayer) to Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ that He make those environments safe and good for us.

My Thoughts: Masha’Allah Shaykh Rahman is such an excellent speaker, I highly recommend listening to this lecture (link is in part 1). This topic is so relevant to every single Muslim. So many of us will freely intermingle with the opposite gender without any modesty, and who can deny the intense beauty of modesty? It’s just simply a beautiful thing to possess, its something that when someone has it, it overtakes their personality and makes everything about them beautiful.

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Protecting the Gaze (Part 3 of Retreat Lectures)

June 3, 2011 Leave a comment

“Protecting the Gaze” By Shaykh Mohammed Hafiz Abdullah

In today’s society, hayaa (modesty) is discredited instead of being praised, it is even looked upon as a negative trait. Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ says in the Quran, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts, that is purer for them. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts.” This quote means to restrain our eyes from the unlawful things, and from looking at the opposite gender. It also means to restrain our eyes from other people’s properties (like looking at people’s houses and wealth with admiring eyes). It is zina (unlawful intercourse) of the eyes to look at the opposite gender with lust. The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم even cursed those who go out in public dressed in a manner to attract the opposite gender.

The Shaykh also talked about how much sweeter your ibadat (prayer) will become if you could restrain your eyes from the unlawful. Whenever someone restrains the eyes from the unlawful out of fear of Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎, Allah changes that effort into Imaan (true belief). It is no wonder that today it is so hard for us to obey and act upon the rulings of the deen. Our hearts have not tasted that sweetness. When a person truly starts to taste the sweetness of Imaan, it’ll never leave his heart.

Our hearts are connected to our eyes, when we look at something, we start to admire it and think more and more about it. If that thing is good then alhamdulilah, but if that thing is bad then it could have catastrophic effects on the heart. If we protect our gaze then our hearts become stable, it’ll be easier for us to follow Allah’s commandments. And the more we let our eyes wonder, the darker our hearts will be.

Next time you consider letting your eyes wonder, think about how Allah is watching me, how disliked this thing is by the Prophet of Allah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. Consider the effect it will have on your heart.

My Thoughts: This is truly an important topic especially in our time, where modesty is practically unheard of. I heard in another lecture by Shaykh Khalid Abdul Sattar I think, that we should definitely avail of these 24/7 stores, and go grocery shopping after Fajr when there are fewer people (that might be tough but I try not to go mall-type shopping at nights/weekends/holidays etc). This is the importance of our environment. Even if you regularly protect your gaze, just consider the television, when else do you blankly stare at people of the opposite gender for one hour straight? Especially people who are made to look attractive. Just the TV in itself is killing our hearts. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ purify our darkened hearts.

P.S. Protecting the gaze is proactive endeavor, we have to walk in a way that we’re not looking around everywhere (not stop ourselves after we’ve already looked).

The One from whom the Angels Express Hayaa (Modesty): (Part 2 of Retreat Lectures)

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“The One from whom the Angels Express Hayah (Modesty)” By Shaykh Mohammad Farhan (I think)

This lecture is about Uthman ibn Affan (ra), a close companion of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. Uthman ibn Affan (ra) was six years younger than the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. He was born into the very wealthy and noble family of the Quraish tribe. His father was a wealthy businessman but he passed away young. Uthman’s (ra) life from the beginning was in keeping with the deen, he didn’t worship idols nor did he drink alcohol. It was said that Uthman (ra), at one point, was running Makkah because of his wealth.

When the Prophetﷺ first received the words of Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎, Uthman (ra) was away on business, when he returned he heard that Abu Bakr (ra) was following a man named Mohammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم . Uthman (ra) asked Abu Bakr (ra) about the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and went to meet him, as soon as Uthman (ra) saw the Prophet’s face, he could tell that this man is not a liar, and as soon as the Prophet began to tell him about the basics of Islam, that there is one God, that we have to give charity, tell the truth etc. Uthman (ra) found these words so attractive that he immediately accepted Islam.

Uthman (ra) was an early convert and faced all the tribulations and hardships of the time, he went through all the migrations and fought in the wars. He is one of the ten ashra’mubashireen (the ten companions that were given the glad tidings of Jannah-heaven).

Uthman (ra) had great modesty and beautiful character, on one occasion the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم had a dream in which he was doing Umrah (six years after the migration to Medina). So he gathered the believers and prepared for Umrah. When the people of Mecca saw the Prophet approaching they thought he was there for war. Everyone decided to send Uthman (ra) to negotiate with the Meccans and allow them to preform Umrah. However, false rumors began to spread that Uthman (ra) had been murdered. The Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم response was truly beautiful, he put his hands together and said one of them was Uthman (ra). He gathered everyone and vowed to bring justice to Uthman’s (ra) killer. This was the Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم love for him.

When Uthman’s (ra) wife left him because he accepted Islam, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم married him to his own daughter, Ruqiayyah. However, Ruqaiyyah also passed away and soon the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم married Uthman to another daughter.

The reason this lecture was called “The one from whom the angels express hayah” is because on one occasion, Aisha (ra) noticed that the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was sitting casually when Abu Bakr and Umar bin Khattab (ra) came in, and he did not really adjust his seating. But when Uthman (ra) came in, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم fixed his shirt and pulled his legs in. When Aisha (ra) asked the Prophet about this, he said “If the angels express hayaa in front of Uthman, then why shouldn’t I?”

My Thoughts: I don’t understand what kind of hayaa must have been in the heart of Hazrat Uthman (ra) that the angels felt modesty towards him, subhan’Allah. The Shaykh also included the famous quote about hayaa: “If you want to commit a sin, do it in a place where Allah and His angels aren’t watching,” because hayaa in front of your Lord means having the sense to stop yourself from sin because you know He’s always watching.


Our Mother of Modesty (Part 1 of Retreat Lectures)

May 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently attended the Spring Youth Retreat in Hamza Masjid, New York. This retreat had about six lectures from different scholars on the issues of hayaa (modesty). This is such an important topic, and masha’Allah the scholars did a wonderful job covering it. These are the notes I took, I’ll put them up in parts. They’re not exactly comprehensive. You can listen to the lectures here.

“Our Mother of Modesty” By Shaykh Abdur Rahman Ahmad

This lecture covered the traits of the wife of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, Aisha (ra). She possessed a great deal of hayaa, a perfect role model.  She was the daughter of Abu Bakr (ra), the closest man to the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, she was born into a family of Muslims. When Aisha (ra) was six, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم had a dream in which Jibraeel (as) appeared three nights in a row and showed the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم Aisha (ra) and told him she was going to be his wife. After the Battle of Badr, she was of a suitable age to live with the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. Her waleema (wedding reception) was an event of simplicity and modesty. It was in her house that the wahi (revelation) used to come to the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم

Hayaa is actually something that prevents you from doing anything unlawful, anything evil whether in private or in public. There is a voice inside the heart that gives you a little hint, a little whisper that prevents you from doing the sin.

Aisha (ra) had so much knowledge that the sahabah (companions of the Prophet ﷺ) used to come and study from her. Her knowledge included:

  • Understanding of the Quran and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet)
  • Skilled language, she could memorize and recite poetry easily
  • Medical knowledge (When the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was nearing his death, many people used to prescribe him medicine and herbs and Aisha (ra) would learn a great deal from that)

Aisha (ra) was only 18 when the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم passed away yet she transferred many hadiths, and was considered the greatest scholar.

My Thoughts: Subhan’Allah if we could be an inch of what Aisha (ra) was, then we’re set! It’s so crazy how people think Islam doesn’t respect women, if they could only look at the status of women in the Prophet’s time then they would have no question. These women are great role models for women and men.