Sent by: Sister Faatimah Alawi, USA


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 (in Western Society) 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 has no exact word in English language. It may nearly means protectiveness or bad / irritated feeling for a good reason. For example, a man doesn’t like when other men look his wife, mother or sisters, and feels irritated or become protective over them. It is a natural inbuilt feeling Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has given men and women and a desirable one. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) had the most Gheerah for his wives and all of the Sahaabah (Companions) of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) were known for their “Gheerah”.

All Muslim men should have a collective sense of protectiveness for Muslim women as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in the Quraan:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ [النساء: 34]

“Men are caretakers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because of the wealth they have spent. So, the righteous women are obedient, (and) guard (the property and honor of their husbands) in (their) absence with the protection given by Allah.” (An-Nisaa 4:34)

Men who do not care about how their women behave and appear in front of other men and don’t influence their wives or women-folk among direct relations for Hijaab are called “Dayyooth”. Being a “Dayyooth” is a major sin and a detailed description of this evil characteristic can be found in Az-Zahabee’s book of Major Sins, Kitaab ul-Kabaair.

A Story of Gheerah
To further understand the quality of “Gheerah”, we can look at an incident that Hadhrat Asmaa, the daughter of Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq and sister of Hadhrat Ayeshah, relates about herself. Hadhrat Abu Bakr was a wealthy merchant and he married his daughter Hadhrat Asmaa’ to the great Sahaabi (Companion) Hadhrat Zubair bin al-‘Awaam who was a very poor man but a man with great Taqwaa (Piety) and one of the Sahaabi who were promised Jannah (Paradise) by the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam).

Hadhrat Asmaa’ relates: “When Zubair married me, he had neither land nor wealth nor slave…”.

So Hadhrat Asmaa’ had to work very hard kneading dough, going far off to get water.

She continues to narrate: “And I used to carry on my head, the date-stones from the land of Zubair which Allah’s Messenger had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madinah al Munawwarah. One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger, along with a group of his Sahaabah. He called me and asked to sit on camel to so that he could make me ride behind. I felt “Hayaa” to go with men. (Again, English language has no exact word for “Hayaa”. In this case, it is near to “Shyness”.) I remembered Zubair and his “Gheerah” and he was a man having the most “Gheerah”. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) understood my Hayaa (Shyness) and left. I came to Zubair and said, “The Prophet met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Sahaabah. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it, but I felt “Hayaa” and I remembered your “Gheerah”. So I did not accept the offer made by the Prophet.”

Upon this Hadhrat 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.” (Bukhari)

Look at the sense of dignity and modesty of Asmaa’! See how she felt “Hayaa” in front of men? See how careful she was about her husband’s feelings? She knew that her husband had a lot of “Gheerah” so she didn’t want to upset him by accepting the help even though the Prophet was the purest of men and even though it meant bringing hardship on herself! And look at Hadhrat Zubair, even though he had a lot of “Gheerah”, he didn’t want to inconvenience his wife. What a beautiful relationship they had!

Nurturing Our Sense of “Gheerah”
Sometimes Muslim women don’t understand if their menfolk want them to cover their faces or if they ask them to change something about the way they dress or speak in public, thinking that the men are being over-protective.

But my dear sisters! If your husband asks you not to wear a certain color of Khimaar (Veil) because it brings out the beauty of your eyes, or if he wants you to cover your face – by Allah, be thankful! Be proud of the fact that your husband has a sense of “Gheerah” for you and that he values you and cares for your Aakhirah (Hereafter). He knows what men can be like more than you do and so never try and suppress his “Gheerah” in these types of matters. And his concern for you should incite your own sense of honor! Why should any man be able to see your beauty and think indecent thoughts about you? We must nurture our own and our menfolk’s sense of “Gheerah” by behaving and dressing modestly ourselves and paying attention to their Sharai’-valid opinions. We expect certain behavior from them and they expect it of us. And besides, if our husband asks us to do something that it not Haraam (Islamically forbidden), we must do it.

And Brothers! How can you allow your wife or sister to walk around attracting the attentions and evil-thoughts of other men? How can you not mind if she smiles as she talks to other men in indispensable circumstances. Nobody has the right to enjoy her and her company but you and her Mahaarim men. (Mahaarim is the plural of Mahram, means those who cannot marry each other.) You are not being overbearing if you first encourage and then enforce the Hijaab on your womenfolk because you will be asked about it on the Day of Qiyaamah (Resurrection) and it is also a major sin upon you! It is upon the men to care of these things in their homes and you cannot use the excuse that your wife didn’t want to. Women need a firm, balanced, guiding hand from their men, so with Hikmah (Wisdom) you must enforce Hijaab in your home. You are a shepherd and are responsible for your flock! Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) reminds us all in the Quraan:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ [التحريم: 6]

“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire, the fuel of which is human beings and stones.” (At-Tahreem, 66:6)

There is a big difference between how Islam values and protects women and how cheaply women are treated outside of Islam! As Muslims we have to be careful that our “Hayaa” (sense of modesty and shame) and “Gheerah” don’t wear out in a society in which people have lost it.