Existence - Random or with Reason?

Who are we...Why are we here...Time to take a few minutes and reflect

Debate on Dress


This discussion took place between myself and some non muslims on facebook, in this case the discussion was regarding Hijab. Please note that I will be referring to myself as TIME4TRUTH in order to mantain consistency and clarity, but the names of the other contributors shall be left unchanged. I would also like to add that there was in no shape or form any editing to the conversations in order to make them favour one viewpoint over another, nor are they fabricated. These were genuine discussions and as a consequence I would like to think everyone who took part left with more food for thought...



Christopher Mark Briggs (University of Manchester) wrote on 21 June 2008 at 17:32


"1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Fiqh Schools) .

2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.

3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body is not apparent.

4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.

5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.

6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.

7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society."

Someone on this board said that these are the rules that dictate womenís clothing for modesty purposes.

Assuming these are right, if the burka and hijab and all clothing viewed as typical Muslim dress, were to be adopted in the fashion world and hence worn by millions of fashion following women, what would happen with regard to point 5?




TIME4TRUTH replied 22 June 2008 at 13:46


The distinction in dress is only a requirement so that the Muslim dress remains modest in the way prescribed by God. Thus it should differ from the dress of the non believers, because if they donít believe in Gods command they are not going to follow his prescribed dress code and not be modest according to Gods standard.

If the non believing women started wearing the Muslim dress then they would be adhering to one of Gods commands, and therefore the prohibition on not wearing clothes similar to the non Muslims would no longer be an issue, as everyone would be dressing modestly.



Antonia Hume wrote on 26 June 2008 at 00:58


I never understood this fear that the Abrahamic religions have of the human body, and in particular of the female form.

The human body is a beautiful thing. Elegant, graceful and noble.

The female form is beauty itself. The curves of the waist and hip, the shape of the shoulders, the way a woman moves.

It does not have to be even remotely sexual. I am not sexually interested in women, yet I have an admiration for the female form because I can see its beauty without having to feel lust.

Even completely ignoring these artistic arguments, the female form is a natural thing. There is no shame in what is naturally occurring, and no should there be.



TIME4TRUTH replied on 26 June 2008 at 18:11


Islam simply recognises what you are saying, and legislates for the possible harm that could result or the risks that may arise in society due to the human body being beautiful, elegant, graceful and noble lol

Not everyone is as passive and reasonable about the human body as you, and not everyone can look at the human body and not feel sexual feelings. It is because of this risk, that Islam legislates - in order to preserve individual safety, and order in society.

The Qur'an lays down the principle of the law of modesty. In Surah 24: An-Nur: 30 and 31, modesty is enjoined both upon Muslim men and Muslim women 4:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for Greater purity for them: And God is Well-acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women That they should lower their gaze And guard their modesty: and they should not display beauty and ornaments expect what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that They must draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, or their women, or their slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their ornaments.

The following conclusions may be made on the basis of the above-cited verses:

1. The Qur'anic injunctions enjoining the believers to lower their gaze and behave modestly applies to both Muslim men and women and not Muslim women alone.

2. Muslim women are enjoined to "draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty" except in the presence of their husbands, other women, children, eunuchs and those men who are so closely related to them that they are not allowed to marry them.

The Qur'anic view of the ideal society is that the social and moral values have to be upheld by both Muslim men and women and there is justice for all, i.e. between man and man and between man and woman. The Qur'anic legislation regarding women is to protect them from inequities and vicious practices (such as female infanticide, unlimited polygamy or concubinage, etc.) which prevailed in the pre-Islamic Arabia. However the main purpose is to establish to equality of man and woman in the sight of God who created them both in like manner, from like substance, and gave to both the equal right to develop their own potentialities. To become a free, rational person is then the goal set for all human beings. Thus the Qur'an liberated the women from the indignity of being sex-objects into persons. In turn the Qur'an asks the women that they should behave with dignity and decorum befitting a secure, Self-respecting and self-aware human being rather than an insecure female who felt that her survival depends on her ability to attract or cajole those men who were interested not in her personality but only in her sexuality.

Women can display there beauty, but only to those who can fully appreciate it without the risk of unwanted advances and possible harm. Harm such as the raising of lustful desires outside marriage, risk of molestation and rape, sexual exploitation, seeing women as objects of sexual desire etc. These harms over a long period of time, can damage society and have an effect on the family structure. Anything that damages the family, will eventually damage society

Please check out:


Have a nice day!



Antonia Hume wrote on July 2008 at 05:04


//Not everyone is as passive and reasonable about the human body as you, and not everyone can look at the human body and not feel sexual feelings. It is because of this risk, that Islam legislates - in order to preserve individual safety, and order in society.//

Shouldn't the person who is unable to control themselves then be the one restricted, rather than women?

If a man cannot control himself, shouldn't the man be the one to wear a chastity belt, rather than a woman having to hide her whole body?

Would it not make more sense in this day and age to teach women to defend themselves against a man who can't keep his hands off? I learn a martial art, and am quite capable of fending off someone who is coming on too strongly.

I also know that rape is not about sexual attraction, but about power. Again, the fault is with the one doing the attacking, not with the one being attacked.



TIME4TRUTH replied on July 2008 at 13:03


Men are restricted, they are commanded in the Quran to lower their gaze and guard their modesty aswell as women. I think you are getting two things mixed up here.

Islam says women and men should dress modestly, and save their beauty for those who can fully appreciate it without any risk of harm. I donít believe dressing modestly is some kind of unfair restriction. You have to understand Islam is a system from the creator which deals with everything in our life, and it aims to bring benefit and prevent harm.

Men and women exist, there is no escaping this. Human nature does not change, on the whole around the world men find women attractive and vice versa. This can and does result on unwanted attention which can and does lead to harassment, abuse or rape.

This Islamic principles simply aim to reduce this risk, by recognising the human conditions and legislating for it. In doing so, it asks that men and women dress modestly. This is perfectly reasonable and sensible.

In this day an age or any day an age, the fact will always be that sexual attraction exists and therefore the Islamic principles will always apply because as i said times may change but human nature remains. Women should learn self defence if they can, to protect themselves.

Islam is a system sent down by the creator for the whole of mankind, and therefore applies to everyone everywhere. To teach martial arts to women all over the world is not only impossible, but not practical and not likely. Even it was taught, it would not be dealing with the problem in proper fashion. While it aims to cure the unwanted attention, Islam seeks to prevent it. Prevention is better then cure. Just because you can fend someone off, does not mean someone else would be as skilled to do so aswell. The possible variations are infinite, and as such the Islamic principle is better as its easier to apply anywhere in the world at any time, and would be more effective on the whole. Its a logical choice

Rape may not be about sexual attraction in many situations, but it is in some in so far as that many cases occur initially due to a lust for the opposite sex. Rape along with being harassed, abused, molested and unwanted attention can be largely put down to sexual feelings and lust. This would be greatly reduced under the Islamic system, as statistics show. Islam provides general principles for the majority of people.

The rapist is at fault in any case, and as a result he would be duly punished.



Antonia Hume wrote on 10 July 2008 at 02:02


That would be a somewhat valid argument, if the Islamic system ACTUALLY WORKED to reduce rates of sexual assault.

Unfortunately, in the real world, it doesn't. A large proportion of sexual assaults are perpetrated by the victim's partner (in fact, women are most likely to be attacked in their own home and by someone they know), which means that shielding the woman from the world at large won't help.

For the rest, whether they are motivated by power (which doesn't really care how visible the woman's body is) or lust (which wants most that which is forbidden to it), hiding the body is not going to help in the slightest.



TIME4TRUTH replied to on 10 July 2008 at 15:56


I think it is a very valid argument indeed. The Islamic system does and would work but sadly there are hardly any states which apply the Islamic law correctly. Even states such as Saudi which attempt to fully implement the correct procedure, the results are excellent in reducing sexual assaults.

Brother Ahmed gave you the link to the statistics before but I remember you said you were pressed for time so you probably missed it. Here is the link, check it out:


The instances of sexual assault are far lower then in most other nations.

As to your perception that the Islamic system would not work in the real world, last time i checked Saudi was part of the real world lol even though it is far away. On the contrary, the Islamic law recognises the very real problems that can arise and they real measures required to practically eliminate any risks of harm. In an unreal world, people would be taught martial arts.

Where assaults are perpetrated by a partner, the Islamic law will sanction this individual like he is a criminal. You say most the assaults are by people who know the woman. Research breaks this down further, and shows that the criminals consist of: Pre-martial partners, dates, boyfriends, neighbours, work colleagues and family members aswell as partners.

Exposure to the husband is natural and as a result cannot be avoided, but regarding the other group of people commonly found to assault women Islam does not allow a great degree of physical exposure because it realises the risk that can arise. Not to say that an assault may not take place if the woman does not overly expose herself to these people, but it is clear that the instances would be very few if at all.

This proves that a woman dressing modestly will prevent the risk of harm arising in certain situations, and as such the Islamic system is correct. Lust is to want something and for the initial attraction to take place attraction to the opposite sex must exist in some form. There is no way you can deny this cant be due to a womans physical appearance or her beauty, because that is just denying reality.

Lets argue that 50% of the rape cases are due to power and 50% due to physical appearance (I am being generous here lol). In this situation, without Islamic intervention there would theoretically be 100% rapes. With the Islamic system, the 50% for appearance would be greatly reduced if not totally eradicated. Wherever the possibilty exists, Islam legislates. It aims to reduce any risk, and as such you cannot deny it would do that. Remember it aims to bring benefit and prevent harm.

I understand as an individual you feel this may be harsh, but as a general principle it is sound and only has the interests of society as a whole at heart.



Antonia Hume wrote on 11 July 2008 at 00:27


Reported sexual assaults, or actual sexual assaults? Even here, those stats have to be estimated because many rapes (particularly those perpetrated by a partner) go unreported.

How many women there are taught to believe that their partner has certain "Rights" to her body? How many women would go against the family matriarch (or whoever is in charge) and testify against their husband?

So you are saying a woman should have no contact with any man, just in case? Never have a man over? Because those neighbours and friends, if they are inclined to, will rape her regardless what she is wearing. She should have no contact with men other than her husband, if we take this to the logical conclusion.

Wouldn't it be a much better idea to educate the MEN on how to behave around women? To teach them not to try to get sex from a woman that shows a lack of interest?

//Lets argue that 50% of the rape cases are due to power and 50% due to physical appearance(I am being generous here lol). In this situation, without Islamic intervention there would theoretically be 100% rapes. With the Islamic system, the 50% for appearance would be greatly reduced if not totally eradicated. Wherever the possibilty exists, Islam legislates. It aims to reduce any risk, and as such you cannot deny it would do that. Remember it aims to bring benefit and prevent harm.//

So why isn't every woman in western society raped? Why am I not raped every time I wear a short skirt? It hasn't happened, and I don't feel the need to cover up or anything like that.

Like I said: To prevent harm, men need to be taught how to behave, and they need to be taught how to respect themselves and feel confident and comfortable within themselves (this will reduce the need for men to feel more "powerful" by raping a woman).

Teaching men (or rather, boys; it is better to start earlier) to read facial expressions and body language will help them understand when a woman is uncomfortable with their attention.

Teaching them how to respect other people will help reduce this "unwanted attention", because they will know when it is unwanted.

The problem isn't with how a woman dresses: It is always with the man who attacks.

Society needs to treat the CAUSE, not the SYMPTOM.

And the cause isn't how a woman dresses, otherwise everyone who ever went swimming at a European beach would be raped, because there people give you odd looks if you are NOT topless, because it's just not in the culture to be fully dressed at the beach.

I know for a fact that not everyone is, because my parents and all their friends often went to nudist and topless beaches, and none of them ever got assaulted in any way.



TIME4TRUTH replied on 11 July 2008 at 14:40


So now you refuse to recognise statistics, whatever your view maybe on them you cannot deny that they are fewer than other nations. I accept and respect your view, but you can only deny so much after which you just become ignorant.

How many women are taught men have rights over their body? Sorry I dont follow, this sounds like a generlisation. I would like to know what you base this idea depicting women as slaves of men.

How many women in any nation report rape? You see you are totally blinded by your prejudice, you fail to realise this is a global problem and women all over the world feel reluctant to report sexual assaults because of the embarrassment they feel (for no reason may i add - its not their fault) and the prospect of cross examination in a court room. Another assumption you are sticking with is that all rapes are committed by husbands. Sure some might be, but to say that all or the vast majority are is incorrect and false. The statistics in this regard are very accurate.

The point is that men and women will have contact in numerous situations, friends neighbours work colleagues strangers etc etc. The modest dress code reduces the risk of the women from suffering the risk of harm which can manifest itself in a number of forms e.g. harassment, abuse, unwanted attention, molestation, feelings of sexual lust and attraction. Rape is not the only result, and Islam does not only prescribe for this - it has a wider problem in mind.

Men are educated on how to deal with women, as i keep telling you but you seem to be ignoring me. Islam deals with the problem from a number of perspectives; the presence of one measure does not justify the removal of another. Islam provides a robust method of dealing with the situation fully.

Every woman does not need to be raped (there you go on about rape again). There are other harms that i have mentioned which can have a detrimental effect on the individual, their safety and mental state and the society as a whole as the ripple effect can have infinite consequences. You cannot simply give individual examples and then deny that the problem does not exist. The fact is that the Islamic dress code would reduce the instances; maybe you feel it is at too great a cost of freedoms but Islamically where society benefits in the long run the costs are justifiable. The problem does exist, and harm does occur. This part of the Islamic law aims to deal with this part of the problem. Anything that happens outside that as you say will happened regardless, but where a measure can improve or help the situation - Islam provides it.

And by the way Iím not telling you to cover up, thatís your choice. This was a discussion started by someone else and Iím just giving the Islamic view on it. Please don't feel like i am attacking you, this is just meant to be an exchange of views.

Men are taught how to behave by the Islamic teachings, but in reality people do make mistakes because of human nature. In this situation the law acts as a barrier to reinforce the safety of society and women. I think you feel that Islam simply deals with women and does not prescribe anything for the men.

For example the Quran states:

ďTell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest.Ē (An-Nur: 30-31)

This applies equally to men and women. And again, I must remind you as you keep saying it - not all rapes are committed by husbands, not all rapes are because of power trips. Furthermore, Islam does not only seek to prevent rape - but seeks to prevent other types of harm too.

Teaching one to read anotherís facial expressions is a good idea. But is this the measure you think will prevent the sort of harm I have mentioned? I mean it seems like you will accept anything no matter how impractical or impossible it is to impose all over the world, apart from the Islamic system which would be a lot simpler and makes more sense. Not to say your measures are bad, they would be great education for people. But the Islamic system would be far more effective, and a good base to work from.

Islam teaches people to respect others, male or female so I donít follow how a separate system teaching the same thing would be more effective. Only difference is Islam has more measures in place, as you say people will know when attention is unwanted. Education can be great, but there will always be those who donít follow correctly or misread peoples signals. In Islam the effect of this will be reduced.

The problem is wide ranging and has a number of factors. To address the problem in the most effective fashion possible, all factors have to be looked at. Behaviour of men is one factor, and the way certain women dress is also another. To attribute the whole thing to rapist husbands on a power trip is simplifying the problem and is totally false. You cannot deny that the Islamic system would be better in protecting women from certain harms or risks of it.

There is more than one cause; the problem is not as simple as you make it out to be. So I agree the cause has to be dealt with, whether it is the attitude of males towards women or female modesty. Islam promotes a system which does not make women a object of sexual attention or gratification and treats her more then a piece of meat. She is appreciated for her mind over her body, when it is obvious a male will focus on the body at first instance over the brain.

As i have said in my previous posts, men and women should behave modestly. This will reduce harm suffered by individuals and society as a whole. May not eradicate it at all, but will greatly reduce it. You admitted as much yourself so to go round in circles over the same point seems like a waste of time. Correct implementation of the Islamic system would bring the majority of society benefit and prevent harm.