By Mohamedhussein Kara (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Image Source: http://thecompanion.in/lets-talk-hijab-men/
Over the course of the years, ‘Hijab’ was given numerous definitions. Although each definition has become a topic of concern, it was always associated with women, while ironically, Allah in the Qur’an commands men to observe Hijab before he does to women. That’s right; Islam places the primary responsibility of Hijab on men and not women:
“Tell the believing men to cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof….” – Quran (24:30-31)
Indeed, before he addresses women to conceal their bodies, he warns men to lower their gaze. For some reason, a lot of men seem to think they can simply force a woman to observe Hijab while the Quran is clear, we aren’t allowed to do that at all, the burden of modesty lies with us.
In today’s hyper sexualized society, many of us would much rather ignore the concept of lowering the gaze and glancing inappropriately at females because there is no harm in “just looking” right? Yet, we are not aware of the disastrous effects it can have on our thinking, because it is the seed of desire that leads to deviant behavior, as reported by Prophet Issa. Many of us might believe in lowering our gaze, but there is no denying that this is an aspect of our Hijab most of us still need to perfect. Even a few unlawful peeks over time can cause us to abandon our modesty and openly start “checking out” girls.
According to psychology, the things our eyes perceive are stored in our memory. These images then slowly accumulate subconsciously over a period of time and slowly lead a person to physically manifest them, hence the alarming rate of youth today getting addicted to pornography, and then cannot help but channel their desires into unlawful manners. These vile acts can be put to an end by avoiding such thoughts and images in the first place – which can be achieved by the lowering of the gaze.
When Zulaikha tried to seduce Prophet Yusuf, she covered an idol nearby. When Prophet Yusuf inquired why, she replied by saying that she did not wish for it to witness her sin. Prophet Yusuf’s response to her encompasses the true essence and serves as the perfect standard for us to judge the immorality of our actions. He said “if you exhibit shyness before a stone that does not see, it is more befitting for me to exhibit shame and modesty before the all-seeing and the one who is aware of everything that is manifest and concealed within me.”
Hijab is a critical Islamic teaching, but it seems like most men forget to apply it first and then blame women for dressing provocatively. Let’s stop obsessing over women and try to reform ourselves first.