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By Faraz Omar | Saudi Life

“You cannot fight them even when they are busy in Salah. You cannot unless they are weakened in their faith. So display all your riches and temptations, and even your women. And when they indulge in the dunya, then fight them.”

The Romans felt humiliated when Jerusalem had to be surrendered to the Muslims during the caliphate of Umar (رضي الله عنه). They were plotting to take back their lost glory by any means they could.

The advice was taken. They publicized their luxuries and paid their women to appear semi nude, especially on the pathways of the Muslim soldiers. “Everything” to them after all “is fair in love and war.”

The Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) were powerhouses of faith. They lowered their gaze and none of them fell for the sleazy ploy. They did not desire the worldly riches. “It is Allah’s provision, He gives it to whomever He wills,” was their response.*

If we look into our history, we find that the strength of Muslims was always in their Imaan. The more Imaan we had the more Haya (modesty) we had in our societies.

Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Every religion has a distinct characteristic, and the distinct characteristic of Islam is modesty.” (al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Majah and Muwatta)

We not only personified Haya through exemplary examples – and the seerah is full of them –, but we also influenced this virtue – a natural disposition Allah created in humans – among people of different faiths.

For example, one of the famous fatwas Islamophobes like to quote is a scholar’s reply (some centuries back) to a letter complaining about how non-Muslim women in Egypt were imitating Muslim women by wearing the niqab and that it was becoming difficult to differentiate between the believer and the disbeliever.

Also, it is not strange to hear that when a non-Muslim family living in Saudi Arabia goes home on vacation, the father finds it difficult to freely interact with his female friends and the little son asks mom why she isn’t wearing an abaya anymore and then demands that she does.

And “even today,” my friend said in ~2007 while narrating about a small, backward Muslim town populated around a madrasah in south India, “a non-Muslim rickshaw driver will lower his gaze when burqa-clad customers approach him for a ride.”

It is quite sad therefore to note how Muslims today are losing this precious virtue of Haya and are becoming influenced by the promiscuity and shamelessness that has permeated our homes through satellite channels, Internet and the “global lifestyle”.

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