O Allah! Help us to say the truth and to behave truthfully. You are our witness—for if some individuals have abandoned us because of our true-to-You relationship, guide them to al-Haqq as we mean no unfriendliness to Your subjects. And have the love of our dearest Prophet (pbuh) protect our Prophet (pbuh) from any misinformation about him and all misrepresentations of him (pbuh).
In this installment we shall visit a hadith announced by Allah’s Prophet (pbuh). No one disagrees about its wording. Rather, they differ about understanding the Prophet’s intent from its agreed upon wording. Here is the hadith:
روى البخاري عن ابن عمر أن النبي قال يوم الأحزاب: لا يصلين أحد العصر الا في بني قريظة. فأدرك بعضهم العصر في الطريق. فقال بعضهم لانصلي حتى نأتيها. وقال بعضهم بل نصلي لم يرد منا ذلك. فذكروا ذلك للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فلم يعنف واحدا منهم
Al-Bukhari narrated [the following incident] with Ibn ‘Umar as its source that the Prophet (pbuh) said on the Day of the [Battle of] al-Ahzab [the Arabian-mushrik grand military alliance against the Prophet’s city-state of al-Madinah]: No one should pray al-‘Asr except at [the quarters of] Bani Qurayzah. Some Muslims [consciously] encountered ‘Asr time on their way [to Bani Qurayzah]. This is when some Muslims said: we will not pray [al-‘Asr] until we [physically] arrive there. Others said: we, rather, are going to pray [al-‘Asr now before arriving at Bany Qurayzah]. He [the Prophet (pbuh)] did not intend for us [the way you others understood him; i.e., that we [literally] delay our ‘Asr prayer until we reach the neighborhood of Bani Qurayzah]. This [difference of understanding about the Prophet’s words (pbuh)] was brought to his attention, and he (pbuh) did not reprimand [or take issue with] any one of them.
From what we know the chain of narration seems to be the same chain. The only different word used in this hadith is that the prayer in most narrations is al-‘Asr. In other narrations, it is al-Zuhr prayer. For all practical purposes there is no contrast in the general meaning of the hadith whether it was al-‘Asr or al-Zuhr. It should be pointed out that in Sahih Muslim, unlike in Sahih al-Bukhari, the prayer mentioned in the hadith is al-Zuhr.
So, one understanding of the above hadith by some Muslims was reasonable. They prayed al-‘Asr immediately when ‘Asr time set in because they understood the Prophet (pbuh) to have suggested that they make haste and be in the district of Bani Qurayzah as soon as possible. While other Muslims understood the Prophet (pbuh) to mean that they should literally and physically pray al-‘Asr only upon arrival in the district of Bani Qurayzah. And that was also a reasonable understanding of the Prophet’s hadith.
And when the Prophet (pbuh) heard of their different or dissimilar understanding of his statement he did not scold one side against the other or tell off those who may have “misunderstood him”. He made room for their “better judgment” in good faith. You may want to take this as a yardstick and gauge the attitude of some “holier than thou” personalities around whose limited knowledge and over-anxious egos are quick to condemn other Muslims because the other Muslims, in good faith, don’t see things exactly the way they do.
Make no mistake about it – we the Muslims of the world are awakening. As we wake up, we want to be as vigilant as possible concerning the cultural mistakes and historical missteps that caused us to move away from the light of Allah (swt) and the enlightenment of the Prophet (pbuh) – a digression that culminated in centuries of colonial occupations and decades of Zionist colonialism. Our Qur’anic and Prophetic Islam are enough to do away with all the resulting problems provided we understand who we are. Today, we the rational Muslims are caught between two deadly intensities: the ignorance of fellow Muslims and the animosity of avowed enemies.
Let us, then, tackle an issue that is a center-piece of contention in hadith collected works and is fueled by our self-inflicted ignorance and ignited by our belligerent external enemies. As we scrutinize this issue you will realize that it can be traced to untruthful statements ascribed to our honest Prophet (pbuh). The issue we will scrutinize has to do with hijab (the proper dress code of Muslim women). Obviously much has been said and written by friend and foe about Muslim women’s hijab. We shall try in a couple or more articles to get to the bottom of this issue without having to answer to the nonsense that accompanies arguments for or against the hijab.
In certain Islamic quarters the topic of hijab which is particularly defined by the covering of the face begins with a known fact: that Islam forbids fornication and outlaws adultery. And from this mutually agreed upon fact, the ignorant “Islamic” argument goes on to say that a woman who shows her face is actually inducing illicit sex. Therefore, revealing the face leads to zina (adultery) – a moral crime that is severely punishable by Islamic law. And so whatever leads to such an unlawful crime is itself unlawful. This Islamic “fiqhi” illiteracy catches on with the orientalists and their power-structures who then begin their mental and military assaults against the Muslims raising the banner of women’s rights and equality. Take a deep breath and calm down as we examine this provocative issue in light of divine Writ and His illustrious Apostle (pbuh).
We all know that when Muslim women carry out their Hajj and ‘Umrah and perform their salat do so without covering their face. May we ask: are Muslim women, who are accomplishing their Hajj, ‘Umrah, and the five daily salat without concealing their faces, in violation of the Qur’an and “Sunnah”? Are they arousing men’s sexual instincts, and thus tempting them into the sin of adultery?
As far as we know, and would like correction if we are wrong, our principled Prophet (pbuh) did see women’s faces on different occasions, in the masjids, in the markets, and in the streets. This writer is not aware of an occasion when he told these women that they had to obscure their faces. Are we to believe that pro-niqab (face-shrouding) scholars are more knowledgeable than our proficient Prophet (pbuh)?
For those who are still not able to understand this clearly, let’s put this issue to the acid test.
First, if women’s faces are to be veiled then why are Muslim men told to deflect their vision when looking at them? The admirable Qur’anic ayat reads: “Say [O Muhammad] to the committed Muslims to elude eye contact and safeguard their [sexual] urges – that is most proper for them [to do].” Al-Nur, 30.
Obviously, an order to deflect a man’s vision means to un-focus on the face. And it may happen that a man may catch sight of a woman’s face and when that happens, he is counseled by the Prophet (P) to avoid staring at her. A hadith that is well-suited with this is:
...لا تتبع النظرة النظرة فان لك الأولى وليست لك الآخرة
…Don’t follow up a glance [at a woman] with another glance as the first glance is yours but the following is not yours [i.e., not to your benefit].
وحدثت عائشة قالت: كان نساء مؤمنات يشهدن مع النبي صلاة الفجر متلحفات بمروطهن – مستورات الأجساد بما يشبه الملاءة – ثم ينقلبن الى بيوتهن حين يقضين الصلاة لا يعرفن من الغلس – تعني أنه لولا غبش الفجر لعرفن لانكشاف وجوههن –
In a conversation ‘A’ishah said: Committed Muslim women used to attend salat al-Fajr with the Prophet (pbuh). They were enshrouded in silk or fur apparel – their bodies covered in something similar to a shawl. Then they would return to their homes after salat is over. They could not be recognized because of the [night’s] darkness.
This means that if there was no darkness of night, these women would have been identified which would also mean that they did not have their faces veiled.
Third, a woman known as Umm Khalaad comes to the Prophet (P) with a veil over her face asking about her son who was killed during one of the battles. Some of the Prophet’s companions asked her with bewilderment: You come asking about your son with your face veiled? This honest woman responded: If I have suffered the loss of my son, I have not suffered the loss of my modesty (and self-consciousness).
The fact that the companions were surprised at this woman wearing a veil over her face tells us that wearing it was not considered a matter of Prophetic principle or a Qur’anic code of conduct.
The long and short of it is that the informed and educated view countering the niqab narrative is that a Muslim woman may show her face and hands. Some well-read ‘ulema would add to that the appearance of her feet.
It’s a humiliation that the hounds of hell are huffing and puffing to bring the House of Islam down while poking fun at the Islamic code of dress and many Muslims are “taking it in” emotionally and keeping it out mentally, instead of the Muslims exposing the crass materialism, the sex-confused, and the pornographic culture of the ungodly, “Islam hates us” Euro-American polity. During times like this we the Muslims should be elucidating on the value, honor, and dignity of the Islamic dress code as outlined in the Quran and projected by the Prophet (pbuh) and those belonging to him.
The norm in an Islamic society is to dress; the norm in its nemesis society is to undress. The secularism and atheism that have come out of Euro-American history have done away with adultery and fornication and replaced them with legally acceptable consensual sex; continuing down this path families are becoming extinct.
Our misinterpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith gave us local customs and parochial beliefs that have disparaged our own mothers, sisters, and daughters… In some of these more primitive communities a woman is allowed to exit her husband’s home only when it’s time for her to be administered her funeral services! You may have heard of incidents in which a wife whose father falls ill asks her husband for permission to visit her ailing father and the husband says: ‘no’. And then when her father passes on, she asks her husband to be among her family and pay her last respects and express her bereavement at the loss of her father during the funeral rituals and still the husband says: no. This narrow-minded male bigotry did not pop-up from nowhere. It is traced (you guessed it) to a “hadith”. This is it:
ان امرأة كانت تحت رجل. فمرض أبوها فأتت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالت: يا رسول الله ان أبي مريض، وزوجي يأبى أن يأذن لي أن أمرضه! فقال لها النبي: أطيعي زوجك! فمات أبوها، فاستأذنت زوجها أن تصلي عليه فأبى زوجها أن يأذن لها في الصلاة! فسألت النبي فقال لها: أطيعي زوجك! فأطاعت زوجها ولم تصل على أبيها فقال لها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : قد غفر الله لأبيك بطواعيتك لزوجك..!!
أخرجه عبد الله بن حميد عن ثابت عن أنس
A married woman was enduring her father’s ailment and went to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: O Messenger of Allah! In truth my father is ill and my husband does not allow me to pay him a visit! So, the Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Obey your husband! Subsequently her father died. So, she asked her husband to let her attend her father’s funeral prayers but her husband refused to allow her to offer [such] prayers for him [her actual father]! Then she [went and] asked the Prophet (pbuh) who replied to her saying: Obey your husband! So, she obeyed her husband and did not offer funeral prayers for her [own] father. Consequently, the Prophet (pbuh) said [to her]: Allah has forgiven your father [his sins] because of your obedience to your husband!!
Even though the above “hadith” has gained traction in some very outmoded settings in the Muslim world, is not found in the Sahih books of hadith. The above “hadith” is in contradiction of the ayats in the Qur’an that impress upon sons and daughters to be dutiful and courteous towards their parents. Children are Islamically obliged to pay tribute to their parents. The above “hadith” intends to virtually chain a woman to her home and could amount to “domestic slavery” or “gender bigotry”. Besides there is an authentic hadith that says:
ان الله أذن لكن أن تخرجن في حوائجكن
Indeed, Allah has consented that you [women] are to go out [of your homes] for your needs [and requirements].
As we are explaining this most important subject of “mis-hadiths” you can just tune into the back-and-forth on women’s issues that have become part and parcel of the current developments in Afghanistan.
…those who convey Allah’s [wondrous] messages [to the world], and stand in awe of Him, and hold none but Allah in awe: for none can take count [of man’s doings] as Allah does. Al-Ahzab, 39