A woman, in the pre-Islamic times, had no status of her own. She was considered as a commodity, which could be purchased or sold, deprived of all her rights, her existence being without any consequence in the society. But, when the brilliant wisdom of the Religion of Islam dawned on mankind, illuminating the world, and the entire humanity was inspired by its teachings, the dark clouds of the Days of Ignorance gradually started vanishing from the face of the world. As a result, the Muslim woman emerged in the Islamic society to take her role as a responsible member. She was restored to all her dignity, and enjoyed the rights granted to her in the Holy Qur’an. The Muslim woman, on her part, played a commendable role in the past, by turning out a pious, and a morally sound generation of human beings who were true Muslims. They, in turn, contributed further to the enrichment, growth, and advancement of the Islamic Civilization.
In fact, when a Muslim woman observes the Religion of Islam both in its letter and spirit, she earns for herself the most valuable ornaments of chastity, modesty and self-respect, as a gift from Allah. In her role as a sister, she becomes a person who is the pride of her brother; in her role as a daughter she shields her father against the fires of Hell (if he brings her up with proper Islamic values, provides for her like all the members in his family, and gets her married in a decent way to a Believing Muslim with a good religious background). And, in her role as a wife she becomes a lively companion to her husband, acting as a willing partner in a supporting role, encouraging him to accomplish all his righteous endeavors that he has set out to do. She helps him lead a complete life as his pious and good-mannered wife. In her role as a mother, she bears the most responsible burden in a married life by rearing her children, bringing them up with intense love, immense affection, and constant care along with the right Islamic guidelines. She instills in their hearts and minds, as they grow into their adult lives, the spirit and ethics required for them by the teachings of the Islamic Shariah.
Finally, after she successfully passes through these stages, she is elevated to the highest rank in the Islamic society, and becomes the pioneer in running her household on Islamic teachings, and in turn acts as an important link in shaping up the perfect Islamic society after the teachings of Islam. If she does not fulfill the duties that are required from her by Islam, in her role as a sister, daughter, and a wife, then she risks pushing herself along with her entire family into the abyss of ruin in this world and in the Hereafter.
If a woman gets out of her house unveiled, showing her adornments immodestly, she brings about her own disgrace and self-abasement. If she spends her time in public places and entertainment parks, and lives a life that is solely dedicated in the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment, then she will not have the time to look after the needs of her family who will be totally dependent on her for guidance from time to time, and for their welfare. This will, in turn, render her a complete failure in cultivating their lives as decent human beings and proper citizens of an Islamic society.
We cannot simply understand how a woman who claims to be a Muslim and professes the Religion of Islam, offers all her Obligatory Prayers, and keeps all the fasts in the Month of Ramadan, walks in public places unveiled, completely careless of the Islamic traits that are required from her by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (saws) on the subjects of guarding her modesty and chastity. She should deeply contemplate over the verse of the Holy Qur’an which reads, “And, say to the Believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornments, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls (proper covering).” (24:31)
Today, the Muslim women of our society have developed a strong liking for the Western way of life - following the Western women and taking them as their role models. They are seen to adopt for themselves Western dresses without thinking about the unfortunate consequences that may follow as a result. They have started imbibing other improper traits in their character, like freely intermingling with men, earning a livelihood by pursuing careers in order to further material comforts, and participating actively in public affairs. They are throwing all caution to the winds in forsaking other Islamic traits that are required from them by the teachings of Islam. They think illogically, persisting in their erroneous beliefs, that they have touched the highest pitch of their social development and progress in their career by embracing the Western way of conduct in life. Their success and attainments in the vocations of their choice have deluded them into thinking falsely that they have attained the pinnacle of their success and glory by accepting the Western way of life. They have laid themselves, in the process, open to abuse and exploitation by others - unmindful of the other unfortunate consequences that may result to them, and to their family because of their actions.
A woman who totally believes in the teachings of Islam holds the future of the Islamic nation in her hands by molding the character and the destiny of her children on proper Islamic guidelines. The exalted place, which she occupies in her family, is definitely far higher and more dignified for her, if she holds fast to the teachings of Islam in their entirety, than what the Western way of life has to offer her in return. Therefore, we earnestly appeal to our Muslim sisters through these lines to hold fast to the teachings of Islam and protect themselves and their family from ruin, and be careful about the beguiling ways of the Western society- which has already torn apart the basic social fabric of its families, causing a severe division in the human civilization, and driving the whole edifice, on which their society stands, to come crumbling down.
In their failings as a society as a whole, your Western counterparts can never become a role model for you to become successful in your lives, in spite of the material allurements and other social trappings that their life has to offer them. This culture has led to their degradation as a society, and can never act as an example for Muslim women to attain the highest goals of spiritual and material successes in life.
It is our earnest prayer that Allah (swt) grants wisdom to our Muslim sisters to see the negative aspects of the Western society whose moral and social structure has failed them completely. It is our desire that our sisters-in-Islam know about this fact before it is too late for them.
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org)