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Hayaa Handbook

Blend In or Stand Out?

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 13:52

Imagine two women, dressed in identical clothing, yet one woman is receiving sin through wearing this clothing, while the other is acquiring reward. The reason? When donning the clothing, one woman made the intention to conceal her body, to show appreciation to Allah Ta‘ala for the blessing of clothing by wearing it, and to look attractive before her husband. Hence, on account of her good intentions, she acquires reward.

Conversely, the motive of the other woman was to admire herself, outshine another person, draw glances of envy, turn heads and attract compliments. Hence, since her evil intentions were self-admiration, to show off before people and to look down at others, she incurs sin.

Outwardly, both women appear alike, but inwardly and in reality, they are worlds apart from one another.

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Dress for Success

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2020 06:08

It is said that a person should ‘dress for success’. In the business world, this saying is interpreted to mean that a person should dress in a manner that inspires people to view them as being ultra-confident and super-successful in their field. For example, if a specialist surgeon dressed in slip-slop sandals, a tattered track pants and a faded sweatshirt, people would be unlikely to afford him the same respect, at the first encounter, as they would have had he been dressed more formally.

The reality of the matter is that a person’s dressing not only has a direct effect on how others perceive him, but it also has a remarkable influence on one’s own mindset, attitude, behaviour and even mental performance (known as clothed cognition) – as confirmed by numerous studies.

In one study, some participants were made to wear a white coat and then take a test that would indicate their power of selective attention. Before taking the test, they were told that the coat was a scientist’s lab coat. A second group took the same test, but did so while dressed in their usual clothing. Interestingly enough, the group that wore the white coat made 50% less errors on the test compared to the group in ordinary clothing. The reason – they associated the white lab coat with intelligence, knowledge and competence, and this actually boosted their performance as they felt more confidence.

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Emulating the Opposite Gender

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 15:17

Allah Ta‘ala, in His infinite wisdom, has designed everything in the world in a most wonderful and unique manner, best suited to fulfilling its function and attending to its needs. For example, Allah Ta‘ala has created the leopard as a predator. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala has given it claws and fangs, and a skin which is spotted for camouflage, so that it may easily hunt prey and thereafter consume its flesh. Conversely, Allah Ta‘ala has created the cow as a herbivore. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala gave it hooves instead of clawed feet, and teeth suited for chewing plants rather than ripping and tearing meat.

In the same manner, Allah Ta‘ala has created men and women to fulfil different functions and attend to different needs in the world. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala has made them distinctly different from one another in their physical, emotional and even mental make-up, and Allah Ta‘ala has accordingly prescribed certain laws and injunctions that are specific to men, and certain laws and injunctions that are specific to women.

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Concealed or Revealed?

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 16:39

As mentioned previously, it is necessary, among other conditions, for a woman’s clothing to cover her entire body and hair (with the exception of her hands till her wrists and feet) before non-mahram men. Furthermore, the clothing should neither be transparent, thus exposing the body, nor should it be tight-fitting, thus revealing the shape of the body and limbs.

Rasululah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to take these aspects very seriously and practically taught them to dress with hayaa and concealment.

Sayyiduna Dihyah Kalbi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrates, “Rasulullah once received some Egyptian cloths as a gift. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then took one of the cloths and gave it to me saying, ‘Cut it in half. Make a kurta with one half, and give the other half to your wife so that she can wear it as a scarf.’ Then, as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) turned to leave, he said, ‘Instruct your wife to place a cloth beneath the scarf so that her hair is not revealed (due to the thinness of the cloth).’” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4116)

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What to Wear???

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2020 17:03

How often have we not witnessed someone before their wardrobe, viewing the vast variety of clothing before them, wondering, “What should I wear today? What colour and style should I pick? What should I pair it with?” However, the question arises that while most people primarily choose clothing based on brand, style and fashion, what should a Muslim make their basis of preference when selecting clothing to wear?

In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala mentions, “O children of Aadam (‘alaihis salaam)! We have bestowed you with clothing to conceal your nudity, as well as to be an adornment (for you).” (Surah Aa’raaf v. 26)

The commentators mention that in this verse, by mentioning the aspect of concealing the body before the aspect of adorning the body, the Quraan Majeed impresses upon us that the primary purpose of clothing (i.e. to cover one’s satr) is more important than the secondary benefits of clothing (i.e. adornment). (Ma‘aariful Quraan vol. 3, pg. 534)

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