Mufti Z.Bayat

Immorality – the fashion in today’s world

Western civilisation scoffs at the very mention of words such as morality, decency and modesty. These are regarded as old-fashioned and incongruous with today’s culture of liberalism and unfettered freedom. Immodesty, immorality, shamelessness and fornication are regarded as progressive and fashionable. Yet this has been the very cause of the destruction of the stable family unit. Too many a happy home have broken due to infidelity, leaving in their trail misery, heartache and an unstable society. Fornication also leads to illegitimate and unwanted children who become a massive problem unto society due to lack of proper parental supervision. Immorality is truly a curse on mankind and society.

US and Western world reeling under impact of immorality

The country that prides itself in being the superpower of today’s world and the leader of present day civilisation, the United States of America is reeling under the impact of immorality. Just a few months ago, Clinton had convened a big conference of leaders from all over the country to handle the problem of 15 million at-risk youth in the US. Today every other child in the US. is born out of wedlock. Thirty-eight percent of children now live without a biological father; 6.6 million children live with divorced single parents, mostly mothers whose ex-husbands tend to fade away from their children. This is family life in USA. “Something is wrong with the entire American family,” writes Martin Marty, professor at the University of Chicago in the Los Angles Times. “One has the weird sense that America is a country with many children but without adults.” This gruesome picture is the direct result of the absence of morality, decency and modesty in the US and in fact most of the Western world.

Islam guarantees morality of mankind

The one and only way of reversing this rot and restoring dignity to mankind is to return to the path of morality and modesty. It is for this very reason that Islam has placed such tremendous emphasis on the issue of modesty. Among other lofty teachings, Islam strongly promotes the concept of morality. Purity in morals is regarded as a cornerstone of a stable and healthy family and society. Anything that threatens to destroy the moral fibre of society and the family life is regarded as seriously offensive in Islam. For example, fornication, whether it be premarital or extramarital, is an act that undermines a stable family life. No wife likes her husband cheating on her or vice-versa. Therefore, Islam has declared adultery as strictly forbidden. Adultery is regarded as a very serious offence; the fornicator has been strongly condemned. In an Islamic state, it carries the maximum punishment available under the law.

Not only has Islam condemned adultery. Anything that is deemed to stir the passions or that may ultimately lead towards temptation and the sin of adultery has also been condemned and declared unlawful in Islam. In this way, the door to evil and vice has been effectively closed. It is a case of removing the hay far away from the bonfire rather than trying to control the bonfire and hoping wishfully that the hay would somehow not burn. This analogy sums up the Islamic philosophy and outlook on morality as compared to that of the West. Some of the other measures adopted by Islam to protect and promote morality is the prohibition of lustful gazes from either male or female towards each other.

Islamic garb accords women dignity and preserves morality

Another measure is the emphasis on covering parts of the body that evoke lustful feelings and emotions. This is encompassed in Islam’s dress code. The female, possessing greater charm and natural beauty, has been directed to cover all such parts of her anatomy. Males are also required to cover certain parts of their bodies. Among the parts of the body that Muslim women are required to cover are their hair, legs, arms – and the face, in public. The female face is the personification of her beauty and the most striking attraction of her anatomy. This covering not only discourages undesirable attention towards her, but also accords her a degree of respect, honour and dignity and of being in charge of her body and experiencing a sense of power over herself, which her unclad counterpart is totally deprived of.

Modesty in dress has been observed as a common feature of Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim women of the past. Portraits of Voortrekker women, for example, clearly depict modesty in their dress. Their long, wide, loose-fitting frocks and the bonnet that covered their hair and part of the face bears eloquent testimony to this fact. It is due to the baneful influence of modernism and humanism that gradually women in the West were robbed of their natural dignity, until stage by stage, wearing the skimpiest of garments or nothing at all has become to be regarded as fashionable for women and the donning of clothes as being old-fashioned and out-of-date. The miserable women of the west may never admit it verbally, but they are green with envy about the dignity and respect of Muslim women. If only Muslim women can appreciate this fact and hold on fast to their golden ways!