You have said Rajah... in your talk. Do you know that he was agaionst purdah? Why does Islam degrade woman by keeping her behind the veil? Isn't a hindu women modern in her shalvar khameez?
Answer by Dr. Zakir Naik
The sister has asked a very good question, that I spoke highly about Rajah... in my talk, and about the reform he brought in hiduism, but he even spoke against the hijaab system that is there in Islam and [she is asking if] I know that. And why does Islam degrade the women by keeping her behind the veil? And is a hindu woman who does not wear a veil and wear a shalvar khameez, is she modest?
The sister should understand, that if I appreciate certain points of a person, that does not mean i agree with all his points. For example, four years back, the home minister of India, Mr. Advani, he suggested a law that the rapist should be put to death. And I appreciated that he agreed with the Islamic philosophy that the rapist should be put to death. But when I appreciated Mr. Advani, that doesn't mean I agree with him totally. But I do agree with the suggestion that a rapist should be put to death, just as Islam says. Similarly, Rajah..., I appreciate him, he's a great reformer, I really respect him. I also know that he was against the hijaab system, which is mentioned in Islam.
So today, if we analyze the modesty level of a human being it differs depending upon the surrounding they live in. For example, there are certain muslim countries in the arab land who say that if anyone looks at a woman, or stares at a woman, it is considered immodest. [if] Anyone stares at a woman, it is immodest. In India, as long as you don't touch a woman, you are modest. Therefore, when they greet - the ladies and the gents- they fold their hands [together in front of their chest] but they don't touch anyone. If you don't touch a woman, you're [considered] modest [in India]. In some of the western countries, shaking hands is modest. If a man shakes hands with a lady, it is [considered] modest [in the west]. And if you don't shake hands, it is considered that you are not friendly. In other western countries, if you kiss a woman that is modesty. If you go beyond kissing, it is immodest. Some western countries, as long as the man and the lady, anything they do, as long as they do willingly, it is modest. So different people have different levels of modesty, depending upon where they live. For example, in america, if a lady wears a mini-skirt or shorts, she's considered modest. But the same girl, if she comes to India, and she wears a mini-skirt and shorts, they will say she is immodest. When I gave a talk in america, there was an american who told me, "Br. Zakir, do you know that Indian women are immodest?" I was shocked, I didn't agree with him. he said, "of course. The indian women, when they wear the saree, they expose their belly." So according to the americans, exposing the belly is immodest. So depending upon different people, the level of modesty keeps on changing.
Let us analyze, what does Our Creator, Almighty God, have to say about modesty. Allah says in the Qur'an, in Surah Nur, Chapter 24, verse 30:
Say to the believing man that he should lower his gaze and guard his modesty.
Allah first speaks about the modesty for the man and then for the woman. Whenever a man looks at a woman, any brazen thought comes in his mind, he should lower his gaze. There was a muslim who was staring at a girl for a long time. I told him, "brother! What are you doing, it is haraam to stare at a woman!" He told me, "our beloved Propphet [saws] said, 'the first glance is allowed, the second is prohibited', I have not yet completed half my glance!" What did the Prophet [saws] mean when he said the first glance is allowed the second is prohibited? What he meant was, if you unintentionally look at a woman, do not intentionally look at her to feast on her beauty. That does not mean that you can look at a woman for ten minutes without blinking and say, "i have not completed my glance"!
The next verse speaks about the hijaab for the woman. Allah says in Surah Nur, Chapter 24, verse 31:
And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers,[etc]...
And the criteria for hijaab is given in the Qur'an and the Sahih hadith, the basic six criteria:
The first is the extent - that is, the extent for the man is from the naval to the knee. For the woman, the complete body should be covered, the only part that can be seen is the face and hands up to the wrists.
The remaining five criteria is the same for the man and the woman.
The second criteria is, the clothes they wear should not be transparent so that they could see through.
The third is, it should not be tight fitting so that it reveals the figure.
Foruth, it should not be so glamourous so that it attracts the opposite sex.
Fifth, it should not resemble that of the opposite sex
And sixth, it should not be clothes which are signs of the unbelievers.
And the reason for hijaab is given in Surah Ahzaab, Chapter 33, verse, in which Allah says:
33:59 O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Suppose there are two twin sisters, who are very beautiful, who are equally beautiful, and if they are walking down the streets of bombay, and one of the twin sisters, she's wearing the western clothes - A mini-skirt and shorts. And the other twin sister is wearing the Islamic hijaab, full body cover, except the face and the hands up to the wrist. And if they're walking down the streets of pedaroad [???], and around the corner there is a hooligan, there's a ruffian who's waiting for a catch who going to tease a girl. I'm asking the question, which girl will he tease? Will he tease the girl wearing the mini-skirt and shorts or will he tease the girl in the Islamic hijaab. But naturally, he will tease the girl wearing the western clothes.
Let's analyze what do the hindu scriptures have to speak about modesty....