In the time of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, radiAllahu anhu, the second Khalifah, it was mandatory upon all the young girls to learn Surat an-Noor.
From the beauty of this Surah is that it begins with, “[This is] a surah which We have sent down and made [that within it] obligatory and revealed therein verses of clear evidence that you might remember” [Surat an-Noor: 1]. Although the whole Qur’an is obligatory upon us, this Surah begins with that commandment, as a special reminder. And then, later on in the Surah, comes the commandment of hijab [see Surat an-Noor: 31].
The commandment of hijab is in a Surah that begins by reminding the reader that its contents are obligatory! And yet we find some people today trying to deny the command of hijab.
It should be noted that it was not mandatory for young girls at the time of Umar to wear hijab. Rather, it was mandatory upon them to learn this Surah, specifically at that age. Once these girls were immersed in the Qur’an, learning the beauty of its words, understanding its true meaning, hearing the tafseer – that is when understanding and conviction entered their hearts. They understood and become people who said “Sami’na wa ata’ana” – “We hear and we Obey.” [Surah Noor: 51]
Every day, it seems, we come across Muslims calling for certain commandments in Islam to be ignored, or others to be added. These people claim they’ve “experienced” the command or “read” the Qur’an. With this knowledge bulging like a pea in their back pocket, they are now free to hand over fatwas to the Mass Media. Whereas anyone with just a little bit of actual Islamic knowledge would know these claims were wrong.
It reminds me of how scholars of the likes of Imam Maalik, rahimahuAllah, would say “La ‘adree” or “I don’t know” when asked a question. They were not ashamed to admit when they didn’t know something, and were much more fearful of saying anything incorrect, of lying against Allah with incorrect knowledge. These scholars were the ones who had spent years learning under thousands of other scholars, and still felt uncomfortable giving fatwas out like there’s no tomorrow.
It seems that nowadays, thanks to having “Shaykh” Google in our cellphones and lattes in our hands, we can answer any question on Islam without any prior knowledge. We can condemn things and make other things permissible, because who are we going to answer to? I mean, all the knowledge you need is with “Shaykh” Google and that latte – it just proves how far we have come over the years. You need energy whilst giving fatwas, right?
SubhanAllah. Have we forgotten? “Shaykh” Google isn’t going to have our backs on the Day when there will be no shade except Allah’s. Only Allah will. He gave us the Qur’an, a guidance to mankind, out of His mercy; and yet some of us deny it, saying our intellect gives us better solutions to life’s dilemmas.
If we took out 1 hour each week, just 1 hour, studying the Arabic of the Qur’an – the meaning, the depth, the beauty, the hikmah (wisdom) – behind the commands, we would not be condemning our own religion. An ignorant, precursory glance over a (usually) mistaken translation often leads people to saying the incorrect things they do. But the understanding gained from regular study would allow us, when we hear this phrase (often repeated in the Qur’an) “Afala ta’qiloon“ – “Do they not then use their intellect?” [2:44, 2:76, 11:51 and others], to properly utilize our minds – a blessing given to us by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.
Of course there are others, who, may Allah protect us, have had their hearts hardened and sealed, and so they speak out of ignorance and arrogance, not caring or admitting that they might be wrong; but mostly, I believe, these mistakes come from ignorance.
Even those who lived in “jahiliyyah,” or “ignorance” at the time of the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not deny the beauty or truth of the Qur’an. Recitations of the Qur’an (because they also understood it) hit them like a brick wall – they stopped, frozen in their places, thinking of the words of Allah, even though they denied the message.
It seems 1400 years and countless scientific discoveries and advancements haven’t softened our hearts or opened our understanding. We’ve become a mass of people with tunnel vision.
With that being said, we need to make it a priority for ourselves to constantly be increasing in our ‘ilm, our knowledge. With the amount of ignorance of our deen among Muslims and non-Muslims, we need to become beacons of light, beautifully showing the Commandments of Allah in action. We cannot afford to speak out of ignorance, for the harm it brings to us, to others, and to Islam. Hikmah (wisdom) and ‘Ilm (knowledge) with proper implementation will allow us to become those beacons of light in this darkness of ignorance, insha’Allah.
The Arabian peninsula… and later the surrounding Arabian countries… then the Orient… and parts of Europe… they did not just come under Muslim rule because of a war. They came under Muslim rule because of the people – the beacons of light they saw coming to their cities – the well-mannered, merciful, polite ambassadors of Islam, who implemented what was commanded of them from their Lord. It is now our turn to follow their footsteps and to shine that light on our world.
If you want to understand Allah’s commandment for hijab – if you want to internalize it and have it enter your heart – go to the Qur’an. Go to Surat an-Noor, especially, with a clean heart and pure intentions, and read it. Open up Allah’s Book, open up the tafseer and the books of hadith, and insha’Allah, Allah will open up your heart and intellect to the truth.
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