Reviving Our Sense Of Gheerah
by Sister Fatima Barakatullah
We live in societies in which most men and women have lost their sense of modesty, women are obsessed with their appearances and wear clothes to be seen by others and to attract the attention of other men even if they are married! They have lost their sense of shame. Marriage is often looked upon as old-fashioned and short term affairs and frivolous relationships are the norm, everyone waiting to attract a better partner and feeling totally justified to dump one partner for another at the drop of a hat. Feminism too has reached its peak and men and women are told to suppress their natural emotions. Men are not even embarrassed when their wives are dressed up and attract the attention of other men, they don’t mind if another man sees, chats, laughs and even dances with their womenfolk and if they do mind, they are told not to be so possessive!
In Islam we have a concept of Gheerah. Gheerah is an Arabic word which means protectiveness or jealousy. It is a good type of jealousy, like when a man feels jealous or protective over his wife or sisters and other-womenfolk and doesn’t like other men to look at them. It is a natural inbuilt feeling Allah has given men and women. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam had the most Gheerah for his wives and all of the companions were known for their Gheerah. All Muslim men should have a collective sense of protectiveness for Muslim women as Allah says in the Qur’an, the meaning of which is:
“The Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…
” (Surah An-Nisaa, Ayah 34).
Men who do not care about how their women behave and appear in front of other men and don’t enforce hijaab upon their wives or women-folk are called Dayyooth. Being a Dayyooth is a major sin and a detailed description of this evil characteristic can be found in adh-Dhahabee’s book of Major Sins (Kitaab ul-Kabaa’ir).
A story of Gheerah
To further understand the quality of Gheerah, we can look at an incident that Asmaa’ radi allahu anha the daughter of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq radi allahu anhu and sister of Aisha radi allahu anha relates about herself. Abu Bakr was a wealthy merchant and he married his daughter Asmaa’ to the great companion Az-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam radi allahu anhu who was a very poor man but a man of great piety and one of the companions who were promised Paradise. Asmaa’ relates:
When az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land nor wealth nor slave…”, so Asmaa’ had to work very hard kneading dough, going far off to get water. “And I used to carry on my head,” she continues, “the date stones from the land of az-Zubair which Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madeenah. One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam, along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered az-Zubair and his Gheerah and he was a man having the most Gheerah . The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam understood my shyness and left. I came to az-Zubair and said: “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it, but I felt shy and I remembered your Gheerah.” So Asmaa’ declined the offer made by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wassalam. Upon this az-Zubair said: “By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden on me than you riding with him.” (related in Sahih Bukhari)...