I've wanted to do a post on this topic for quite a while but kept putting it off. Something happened today that made me want to write about it right away- A question posed to me by a non muslim friend- “Do the rules in Islam apply only to women? Why is it that Muslim men do stuff they wouldn't let their women do? “ Many of you have probably been asked this question numerous times, and of course there are several things that need to be covered when respondidng to such a question, but I thought I would cover one just one cause for people to think such things about islam.
While it's wrong to generalise and put all muslim men in that category, it's true that most have double standards ; they have plenty of female friends, go out with them, spend hours chatting /talking to them but would never let their womenfolk be involved in such activities.
I know that there are plenty of brothers today Masha’Allah who try their best to abide by the qur'an and the sunnah but it's a fact that it's mostly men who have this attitude. Society is probably to blame for that. I'm not saying women don't do the same thing; many do, but somehow in most societies a man behaving in such a matter is considered to be ‘normal’ and therefore acceptable. This makes even the religious brothers think thay can do what they want because they know they can get away with it and find the ‘perfect’ woman.
It's not that we don't appreciate the fact that our men are protective. . After all, "The Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…" (Surah An-Nisaa, Ayah 34) In fact we should be proud to have such men in our lives, given that today most have lost their sense of gheerah - a very important concept in Islam. Gheerah is an Arabic word which means 'jealousy' or 'protectiveness' in a good way, but while there are matters in which men and women are treated differently in Islamic sharee’ah, certain rules apply to both, whether regarding modesty or behavior.
The Quran says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and 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..." (Qur'an 24:30-31)
For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)
And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)
Some think they can change themselves once they are married; I really don't know how that is supposed to work. If you can't keep away now from this fitna now, likelihood is that you'll miss it even later on and it can affect your marriage. Moreover, it's just wrong to want a perfect spouse when you're not even trying to change. Wouldn't a righteous man/woman also want someone who is religiously-committed? Sinning and then repenting is a different story, but continuing to do something when you know it's wrong and then expecting your wife to not do what's not allowed for you either is unacceptable. This does not mean a woman can choose to rebel against him and say she can do whatever he does.
Others keep telling themselves they have 'time to change' but what if you're not going to wake up tomorrow? What if you never get that chance to change? What excuse are you going to give when you're questioned about it? Most will read this and find a way to justify what they do.
There comes a point where you must start being true to yourself. Most of those who are involved in such acts do know that they are wrong. It’s sad that most of them are sisters and brother who have a good knowledge of what Islam expects of us and how we are expected to behave. There's no excuse for playing around when you're in your teens, but once you start actively looking for a spouse it's time we become what we want our spouse to be.
This is a reminder to myself first. With so much fitna around it's never easy staying on the right path, but as muslims we also need to always be conscious of how we represent our religion. We must change. We need to stop worrying about how people will react when they start noticing these changes and remember that pleasing Allah should be our priority. It will take time, but with the power of dua and some self-restraint it won’t be too difficult.