09 June 2012

"The Haram Police"

I have been putting off writing about this subject for some time now, however I feel like I really need to get this off my chest. These days, I feel like I just want to give up (on life) whenever I read a "haram" comment not only on this blog but on other people's blogs and YouTube videos. Don't get me wrong, I do not mind at all being given advice from time to time but I can't help but think that more often than not the people giving it are just a combination of bored and holier-than-thou. I may be wrong but I do not think that the majority of these "advisers" actually care about the people they are publicly humiliating advising.

If you are wondering what brought on this outburst, it was a YouTube comment that I read earlier today on a hijabi's video that was telling the girl that if she isn't going to cover her neck she might as well take her headscarf off altogether. WHAT. Who on earth does this person think they are? And that pathetic argument never fails to piss me off, not because I uncover my neck but because the argument itself is ridiculous. Let me explain..

Allah (SWT) has not stated the full reasoning behind everything that He (SWT) has commanded us to do. One of those things is hijab. Let us examine the reasons that Allah (SWT) has given in the Quran for wearing the hijab:

Bism'Allah Al Rahmaan Al Raheem

"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be protect their private parts, and not to display of their zeenah except that which is apparent, and to draw their headcovers over their juyub, and not to reveal their zeenahnaught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed." [Al-Nur:31]

NOTE - A reason for covering has not been stated in this iya except the implication that following the commandments will result in success. 

Bism'Allah Al Rahmaan Al Raheem

"O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments about themselves (when they go out). That is better so that they may be recognised and not harassed. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." [Al-Ahzaab:59]

NOTE - The reason given in Surat Al-Ahzaab is that the hijab should be worn so women will be recognised (as Muslims) and not harassed.

In conclusion, the reason given in the Quran for the commandment of hijab is for women to be recognised as Muslims. Therefore, telling a Muslim woman that if she shows some of her hair/neck/ears it is basically the same as if she is not wearing it at all and advising her to remove the scarf altogether is totally absurd because even if she does only loosely wear the scarf, most people on the street will still recognise her as a Muslim.

I am not saying that the hijab should not cover everything but the hands and face but I am saying that people should realise that adherence to hijab is not a black and white subject. Whether or not we like it, the definition of hijab is still widely disputed amongst Muslims and we are simply never going to all agree on one thing.

Bottom line is, please stop calling people out in public on the Internet. If you care so much about them (which I doubt, sorry) you would send them a private message or pray that Allah (SWT) guides both you and them. As a general Internet rule, if you wouldn't say it to their face, don't write it.

"Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should entertain his guests generously. And anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet."

- Prophet Muhammed (S) -


Safiyya said...

I've learned that you can't really say anything is haraam unless the word 'haraam' is explicitely used in the ayat of the Quraan. For example ayat 2:173 where eating of pork is being prohibited and the word 'haraam' is actually used. Personally I'd like to stick to such reasoning when it's about haraam or halaal.

But I must say if I, hypothetically, go to whatever village where all the women wear niqaab, I'm not gonna wear my hijaab and western clothes like I normally do. I'd just wear like they wear, I don't want to stir up things and simply blend in.

And I can go on and on and on....


Stylish Muslimah said...

Safiyya: That's very true, I really dislike how the word haraam is thrown around so flippantly these days :S

Salam x

LK said...

Its a very intimidating word. Especially in reference to hijab. It makes it very difficult for those studying to possibly convert, converts, or Muslimahs looking into wearing hijab. All these "rules" people come up with make it so intimidating that you often want to just give up. I wonder if these ladies realize they are actually hurting the Muslim and possible convert population? I've known a few converts to give up on the idea of hijab because people kept bombarding them with "rules" even down to what colors are allowed. What they don't realize is that for some this was a very difficult decision and the subject needs to be handled with care.

Tak Pe Je said...

They don't know what WISDOM is, that's why. Had the Prophet not used his wisdom, Islam wouldn't have been as glorious.

Stylish Muslimah said...

LK: That's very true. Allah (SWT) made the religion easy, it's man who made it complicated.

Tak Pe Je: Absolutely!

Salam x

Anonymous said...

Hold up, were they wearing the hijab turban style? Or was it covering the neck but just a little loose? Becuase you ARE supposed to cover your neck. If you dont, then its like...What? But to tell them to take the hijab off completely? Can you link the vid please?

Stylish Muslimah said...

Anon: I'm not linking it sorry. She had her neck uncovered. We all know that the neck should be covered, hijabis don't need to be told.


Albie said...

This makes me so sad :( I'm a revert Muslimah living in the West, and I just started covering. I don't think that we should be judging one another's hijab at all -- and we especially shouldn't be saying bad things about other Muslims. "Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (17:53)"

...if someone really wanted to give Naseeha, why wouldn't they just do it privately?? :( Sad day...

Stylish Muslimah said...

Albie: Yes it is unfortunate :( Good to hear about your hijab! Hope you're having a good experience with it do far :D

Salam x

Gail said...

Assalaam waliekum.
I have seen the word, "haraam" used ALOT and I don't like using it unless I know for a fact that the matter at hand is haraam.
I strongly believe in advising in public on online because what was said on the Internet can effect millions of people. And inahs'allah the issue is straight-up wrong, then privately advising the person who posted the comment is not going to help the few thousands who read it.
Most times, the poster don't care for what is said unless it's to agree with them. I have seen Muslims tell other Muslims and reverts some pretty twisted stuff.

Stylish Muslimah said...

Gail: So would you find it acceptable if a Muslim on the bus called you out in front of everyone because of something wrong that you were doing so that the people on the bus could "benefit" as well? I have to disagree with you on this, in Islam we should cover up people's sins, not publicly make an issue out of them.

Salam x

Gail said...

@Stylish Muslimah
First, I would be careful enough to avoid airing my dirty wash in public for my Muslim brothers and sisters or for whoever to see. That's a trend among Muslims today that they think showing their sins in public is acceptable to make them more human to non-Muslims.
A good example being the All-American Muslim show, in which the Muslims on that show admitted and publicly aired with proud stuff like eating pork, having boyfriends, getting piercing & tattoos and not wearing hijab. Plus you have Muslimahs blowing up Youtube with justifications of them not wearing hijab.
This brings me to "...in Islam we should cover up people's sins", can you tell me more about that one?

Second, being in public one-on-one with another human being is totally different from being on Blogger, Facebook etc. In public, you can be face to face with that person and they then know what the deal is. On the Internet, people can delete your private messages to correct them.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me, Zainab, if this outburst was in anyway fueled by my wedges/heels comment on you last post. I can honestly say my comment was based off of sincerity. May Allah keep us all on the straight path.

- huda

Gail said...

@Stylish Muslimah
Well,I usually avoid doing sins or airing my dirty wash in publicly in reality or online. And I tend to wear proper hijab that covers everything but my face and hands because a woman's neck is part of her awrah and she does adorn it with pretty things.
The women of Pre-Islamic times would wear their hair, breast, necks, earrings, forearms and ankles out to look good despite them wearing the veil.
So most of the time, Muslimahs have no problem with me as far as what I tell or show them. Also me being corrected on a bus is not the same as being corrected online. And your bottom line to all this was the correcting online not in reality.
Public and Internet are two different spaces. Public calls for tact and kindness. With public situations, you can single out that person depending on the situation. Pull them to the side and tactfully correct them. Calling out someone on the Internet is needed at times, especially when the person is straight-up wrong about something. Singling out that person is not going to remedy or benefit the couple of thousands who read the post and think it's the truth. It's killing two birds with one stone: correcting the misguidance of the poster & correcting the trouble of the post.
Could you explain to me the "in Islam we should cover up people's sins"?
Now I definitely don't like the wrong,"well if you are not going to do that, then why just give up."
There's always a better way of correcting someone than that.

qatheworld said...

I don't necessarily think that every item of advice must be given in private and we never speak up when seeing something wrong, though I don't think that's what you're saying. You are speaking up now in fact about not giving advice badly and tossing haram around! :)

Absolutely, we are not supposed to make haram anything that Allah did not make haram. There are many things we are told to do in Islam where if we don't do it, it's not doing "haram", there are different levels. Some things are more important than others. For example, eating pork is specifically mentioned as haram (along with other types of animals such as those with talons and fangs, which nobody ever seems to mention even though some people do in fact eat such animals). However we are also not supposed to stuff ourselves with any kind of food, as one hadith says we leave 1/3 for food, 1/3 for water, and 1/3 for air. However this does NOT mean that if you stuff yourself at dinner it's "haram." It's not good, but it's not "haram" because Allah did not say it was haram.

I have heard MANY people make comments, including in person, to the effect that "if this person is not going to wear the hijab properly she shouldn't wear it at all, it reflects badly on muslims." I find this whole attitude disturbing. This is like saying, "if she's going to wear that skimpy bikini, she might as well just go naked, we can see everything." Which I've also heard, in person. But obviously if you were to take this literally, it's NOT the same thing any more than it's the same if the woman goes naked on the beach instead of the skimpy bikini. People go through different stages of hijab sometimes in terms of what they think is okay. We each know what we think is "required" and I'm not talking about dressing to try to blend into the community (that would be a laugh since I live in a non-muslim-majority community). However since the idea is to cover, I think any amount of covering is better than no covering. Islam is not about absolutes. Would they say "if you're not going to fast the entire month without ever lapsing, you may as well not even try" to a new convert (another thing which is even MORE clearly required, and a "pillar" of Islam, which hijab is not) This was never the attitude of the prophet Mohammed pbuh. You do the best you can, you seek to improve, you ask forgiveness. Allah knows what is in your mind. Perfection is not expected. Striving for improvement is. Helping other people nicely is a bonus in which there is reward. Telling someone to take off their hijab because it's not up to par is the antithesis of that.

Stylish Muslimah said...

Gail: The Prophet (S) once said that we should cover up the sins of others in this life so that Allah (SWT) may cover up our sins on judgement day.

Huda: No not at all! :)

qatheworld: Yes I'm speaking up now but I'm not talking about individual people, therefore nobody is being called out. It's OK to talk about general things but not about individual people.

Salam x

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite posts! Brilliant. x

Arezu In Wonderland said...

I totally agree with your post sister.

XO Arezu

Stylish Muslimah said...

Anon + Arezu: Glad you liked! :)

Salam x

Rachida said...

Assalamu alaikum sister! I liked your post. It is a big trend of haram polices nowadays. If you want to advice someone it should be done in a nice way and privately- so not to cause any embarassement for that person. They way you deliver your advice is very important. It's important not to scare people away from Islam. Be soft in your manners with other people and (Inch Allah) Allah will treat you softly on the day of judgement. One thing I don't understand is why so many muslim men post "advices" publically on youtube hijab videos concerning the hijab faults they found with that girl/woman. Why in the first place are men watching those kind of videos, which are made by muslim women for muslim women, they are busy with acting as haram polices but somehow they forgot their obligatory duty of lowering their gaze.

Fatima said...

Okay so this is soooo off, but the picture scared me...**ahhh**
Anywho, I think the way this should have been handled is not to have gone ahead and acted condescending, but to have informed the muslimah that hijab covers the neck. If you are truly the scarf wearing hijabi, then you WOULD cover the neck. What I mean is, you know, I have seen "hijabis" who wear the tightest clothes and everything and then another who doesnt wear hijab but loosely clothes. I think we can decide for ourselves who the true hijabi is.

Gail said...

@Stylish Muslimah
Assalaam waliekum.
You are right. My husband directed me here:
Of course, I wouldn't want to put the sins of my fellows on burst. However if they know what they are doing wrong plus they publicize it; that's their issue and they can't be surprised when people give them bad commentary on what they are doing.
Now, I understand where you are coming from with this. You are coming at it from the perspective of hijab poofs, heels, convertible scarves (which I'm like whatever about) until a sister tries to justify her wearing of that stuff. I'm coming from the view of Muslims who promote clear wrongdoing online like they being all proud about celebrating Christmas, making their own interpretations of the Quran celebrating the Prophet pbuh's birthday with birthday cakes and other Western birthday things etc. I still stand by speaking out against whose who post misleading things online publicly.

Stylish Muslimah said...

Fatima: LOL I enjoyed reading all your comments today. Someone is seriously procrastinating xD

Gail: I sort of agree with you. The only time I would ever call someone out publicly is if they were making false claims about Islam, not if they were simply doing something wrong - especially regarding hijab. What we sometimes fail to realise is that the vast majority of hijabis already know what they have to cover, but we all choose to cover to different extents. Anyway, I think we should be focusing on bettering ourselves rather than belittling others.

Salam x

RuaNour said...

I actually just finished posting about this on Dina Tokio's facebook page. Advise should be given in private if you sincerely care. I also believe that no one is perfect, so don't point fingers, negativity or rude comments do nothing for both parties involved. Also, I dislike the term haram police because (to me anyway) its belittling something within our religion I see that people laugh when they say "Haram Police". Everyone should be responsible for their deeds what they do on this earth, and if you sincerely care for someone, don't put them down, don't criticize but advise privately and kindly. I started wearing hijab a while back, right after I started getting into my religion, and for some reason anytime I said salam 3laykom to any sister, I didnt even get a smile back... And one day I went home and I was like what sisters... there is nothing like that and took off my hijab... but al7amdillah Im wearing it now and I realize that not everyone is perfect and not everyone will do what is in our Sunnah correctly so we should all just be a little kinder and invest time in perfecting our akhlaq and strengthening our iman before we can humilate others. Lastly, I think it's wrong for someone to say this is Haram and this is Halal mean while it's just their opinion.

قال الله تعالى: {قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن والإثم والبغي بغير الحق وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطاناً وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون}

Stylish Muslimah said...

RuaNour: I also really hate that about the sisters not even smiling to return a Salam. It's such a big thing in Islam, don't understand why they wouldn't do it. Anyway, well done for putting your hijab back on, may Allah (SWT) reward you :)

Salam x

Umm Gamar said...

@Gail,I agree to an extend that if a CLEAR WRONG is being publicize as HALAL then advising publicly online is also needed as millions are exposed to the Internet and new-comers could easily be influenced. It is alarming that nowadays, Muslims and non Muslims alike are spreading falsehood about Islam. On the other hand, why oh why is Hijab being discussed with so much aggression and pursuit??!Ya Sater,until when are we going to look at other more dire causes like helping the needy, raising good children, being kind to our parents (these are all important issues in building a strong ummah).

P/s- How I dislike the All American Muslim show, for reasons that are so obvious.

your eyes are countries said...

The haram police are everywhere, sadly enough, hiding behind their computers. I have to admit it is frustrating seeing hijabis with skintight clothes on, with their necks showing, but at the end of the day at least they won't be hung by each strand of their hair, inshallah? Instead of criticizing them on the internet, we should make dua'a for them. Allah knows best.

Gail said...

@Umm Gamar: Assalaam waliekum.
I think the reason why hijab is discussed with passion is because it's something that every Muslimah is familiar it and like my husband says very frankly: "It's getting to the point where nobody wants to wear it anymore. They want to fit in with the non-Muslims."
I can understand his point due to the fact I wear abayas, khimars, and other stuff that some fashionable Muslimahs consider "old-fashioned".
It amazes me how some women (non-Muslim or Muslim)think they can't function straight because they are wearing one extra hand-length of cloth.
The All American Muslim show was the example of misguidance in full swing. Alhamdiallah, it only aired eight episodes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for saying this! I actually just read another blog today that was being very judgemental and nit-picking other hijabis about whether or not what they were wearing was correct. You are right, there are so many different opinions about what is and isn't correct; what is most important is that a person's own faith and relationship with Allah-- what they wear is between them and Allah, only he can judge them.

Anonymous said...

Right now my challenge from Allah are the non-Muslims around me. Trying my best to handle them. So when fellow Sisters in Islam are unkind to another Sister, it saddens my heart. I used to read blogs to feel the support of the Islamic Sisterhood. What a pity that we sometimes can't treat each other better. Inshallah perhaps it'll improve.

Mira said...

I always try to follow the rule: if you point a finger at someone, there are three others pointing back at you.
What makes people think that they have the right to publicly judge others. The quran also says (this is from
Memory not quoted) that the best of us in the eyes of Allah are the ones who are the most pious. I wear hijab, but i know many muslimahs who dont, who i think are sometimes much better than me at adhering to other parts of islam. It just means that we all have flaws and things that we're working on. So unless you think that in the eyes of Allah you are the most pious, which by the way is arrogance, another great sin, keep your hateful opinions to yourself. And if you truly want to help someone, send them a private message thats laced with love not hate. Keep your arrogance in check.