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 The age of distinction (7-10) and rules of privacy

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PostSubject: The age of distinction (7-10) and rules of privacy   The age of distinction (7-10) and rules of privacy EmptyFri Sep 10, 2010 3:54 am


As-Salaamu alaikum

Raising children is a serious responsibility as that of a shepherd. Just as a shepherd must be careful of the well-being of his flock, parents must be constantly alert, taking care that their children do not stray and fall victim to the wolves.

Parents must teach their children between the ages of seven and ten the rules of privacy. Allah mentions in the qur'an:

"O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) o­n three occasions; before Fajr (morning) prayer, and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the 'Ishâ' (late-night) prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you, other than these times there is no sin o­n you or o­n them to move about, attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allâh makes clear the Ayât (the Verses of this Qur'ân, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age). Thus Allâh makes clear His Ayât (Commandments and legal obligations) for you. And Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise." [Surah an-Nur 24:58-59]

As mentioned in the aforementioned verse, there are three times at which even young children must ask permission before they enter their parent's bedroom: before the morning prayer, when the parents undress to rest at noon, and after the evening prayer. Children must be instructed to lnock and then gain permission before entering at these times. It must be stressed that mere knocking, followed by immediate entrance, is not acceptable. Parents must explain to the children that such an action is no different from barging in, for it does not give the parents time to ready themselves, if needed.

It is essential for parents to mention to their children at this age to stop looking at and mixing with members of the opposite sex. Muslim boys who reach the age of puberty are considered men and are not allowed to intermingle with or intentionally stare or look at any women, except those who are forbidden to them in marriage, as enumerated in the qur'an. (See sura Nisa 4:23).

The exceptions stated in the qur'an are specified as the following: their mothers, grandmothers, step-mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, paternal aunts, maternal aunts, brother's and sister's daughters, mothers and sisters nursing, mothers-in-law, step-daughters and daughters-in-law. In arabic, these people are referred to as "mahram". Although in general it is forbidden for muslim men to look at any woman other than those for whom he is a mahram, if there is a valid reason o­ne is permitted to do so. Such cases include seeing a woman's face in the company of her relatives to choose her in marriage, examining a woman for medical reasons, helping a woman in danger, looking at or searching a woman for security purposes (in muslim countries this is done by women) or questioning a woman in court. Although there is no blame o­n children who have not reached puberty (normally under ten) to look at women, the age of distinction is a good time to prepare them for when they do reach the designated age and to teach them the rules of sexual segregation and modesty, getting them accustomed to the concept. Muslims, both men and women, are ordered to be modest. Allah commands

"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except o­nly that which is apparent (like palms of hands or o­ne eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, their brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islâm), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful." [Surah an-Nur 24:30-31]

The commandment for lowering the gaze or restraining the eyes does not mean that people should always walk with their eyes to the ground. What is prohibited, however, is casting a second look or staring at an attractive face, even at first site. Jareer narrated: "I asked the prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) what should I do if I happen to see something by chance, he replied, 'Turn the eyes away.'" [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasai - Saheeh]

And the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) told Ali not to cast a second look, for the first look is pardonable but the second is prohibited. As mentioned earlier, when there is intention of marriage, a man is allowed to look at a woman (and vise - versa). The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) instructed a man to look at the prospective bride before marrying her because "that will enhance love and mutual regard between you." (See at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasai and Ibn Majah - hasan)

Islaam specifies those parts of the body which the male and female must cover in the presence of members of the opposite sex. For men, it is the area between the navel and the knees, and it has been enjoined that o­ne should neither uncover this part of himself before another nor look at this part of someone else. (According to the saheeh hadiths, it is also forbidden for men to wear a garment which extends below the ankles, although this is permissable for women. See Sunan Abu Dawud, vol.3 pg. 1139)

In the presence of men, women must cover their bodoes completely, and Islamic scholars hold two different opinions regarding the subject of hijab (covering). The Maliki and Hanafi position allows women to expose their face and hands to male strangers, while the hanbali and ash-Shafi'i scholars state that the whole of the woman's body, including the face and hands must be covered. (See Islaamic ruling regarding women's dress, pg. 16)

It must be noted that both opinions are supported by hadeeths. Most scholars are in agreement, however that in case o­ne fears evil intentions by men, a woman should cover her face. It is related that Aisha said:"We, the women, were with the prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) in ihram [for hajj], and some riders passed by us. So, when they appeared before us, we drew our outer garments from the head in front of the face, and when they passed us, we uncovered our faces." [Abu Dawud, ibn Majjah and Ahmad - Saheeh]

Also women are not allowed to wear transparent or tight fitting clothes. Indeed the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There will be among the last of my community women dressed yet undressed... Cure them for verily, they are cursed." [At-Tabarani - Saheeh]

And in another hadeeth, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) told Usamah bin Zaid:

"Order your wife to wear a [heavy] slip under the clothes, for verily I fear that it might reveal the size and shape of her body." [Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and al-Hakim - Saheeh]

Just as Islam has clearly defined the rules concerning proper behavior between members of the opposite sex, it has also set regulations regarding interaction between members of the same sex. In locker rooms in the west, boys usually undress completely in front of other boys or men - an act forbidden in Islam. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) forbade men to look at the awrah of other men and forbade women to look at the awrah of other women. The awrah includes the private area, which is forbidden to be seen or uncovered except in front of the husband or wife.It is important for girls to know that no man other o­ne's husband or mahram relative is allowed to be alone with a woman, nor is he allowed to touch any part of her body.Uqbah bin Amir stated:

"Once Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said,

'Do not visit women who are outside the lawful limits for you to visit, 'a man from the Ansar asked, 'O Allah's Messenger, what about [visiting] in-laws?' To that, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) replied, 'In-laws are death.'" [Bukhari, Muslim and at-Tirmidhi]

And Aisha reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) accepted the oath of allegiance from women verbally, without taking their hands into his own hand. "He never touched the hand of a woman who was not married to him." [Bukhari]

Elderly women past the prospect of marriage may lay aside their outter garments provided they do not make a display of themselves, although, as mentioned in the qur'an (see surah an-Nur 24:60) it is preferable even for them to observe modesty in dress. Regrettably, modest islamic dress, which serves as protection for families, is viewed today as a mark of oppression and extermism, while discarding it is viewed as a sign of progress. In fact, muslims who observe the islamic dress code are often labeled "fundamentalist", while those who do not are deemed "enlightened". Unfortunately, many muslim women have fallen for this philosophy and are so embarrassed to observe the Islamic dress code. Therefore, parents must correct these common misconceptions by explaining the error of this attitude, while stressing the necessity for hijab. And they must do their best to implement such islamic awareness and correct dress code in their families. Muslim teenagers must be taught to observe haya* when it comes to any issue related to sex.

* This term encompasses a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; among them are self respect, modesty, bashfulness and reservation about the fitness or correctness of an action, etc.


From: Pink Islam

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