OnIslam.net

Any Gardens for Veiled Muslim Women?

Question and answer details
Amirah
2012/05/29
Asalaam Alaikum, I am a reverted Muslima, and have been living in the USA since quite some time. I was wondering if someone could help me to understand one thing better: Islam said the Muslim Woman should primarily stay at home, but if she needs to leave the house, she should do this, properly veiled and accompanied by a immediate male family member. So far, so good, I understand the reasons behind this. But my question is, how do Muslim women in this time get exposed to natural sunlight and air, if, like here in the USA, most of us have to live in small little apartments with no private garden and when we go out we have to veil ourselves completely? I know about a sister who is right now facing extreme health problems, since her body wasn't exposed to natural sunlight since quite a few years. What can be done to change the situation without getting "naked" in the public? I sincerely hope you might have a solution to this problem. Fi amanillah, A sister in Islam
Amani Aboul Fadl Farag
Answer

Dear Amirah,

Assalamu Alaykum,

Thank you for reminding sisters that keeping their Islamic dress doesn't mean the end of their healthy, womanly or social life. Many of us, women, do sometimes forget such elementary facts till it is too late with serious health problems such as osteoporosis.


Amirah, I'd like to stop for a moment at the series of facts that you mentioned as taken for granted from the Islamic point of view. This was by saying "Islam said..."! Nevertheless, I'm afraid I am completely unaware of the points you mentioned!

  1. Women should primarily stay at home,

  2. but if she needs to leave the house, she should do this properly "veiled".

  3. and accompanied by an immediate male family member.
First, what do you mean by "primarily" and who decides her own needs to go out? As far as I know unless a woman intends to go out for an evil purpose or without observing the Islamic ethics, of dress and walking, etc. or without avoiding dangerous times and places - the same precautions as men have - I'm not sure that staying at home should be a "primary" option.

Second, my understanding of your word "veil", is that it is a face cover, and I think it is a matter of difference among scholars, unlike the head and body cover that we term
hijab. Thus when we talk about veil we should rather say: "some scholars said X" and not "Islam said X".

Third, I'm not sure that there must be a male to accompany women for their regular in-town outings. I think you have gone too far in establishing unnecessary requirements and restrictions for a woman to go out while Allah made women responsible, wise and trustworthy enough not to have such mandates over them.


Regarding your question, I can supply you with some ideas that I saw the sisters doing during my visits to them in the States or Europe. You can make a weekly get-together, in the open air. This can be either in the back yard of the local mosque or at the Islamic school - if present - where you can take off your
hijab and enjoy a social day with the sisters and the children. But, of course you have to be sure that the place is well protected from the eyes of trespassers!

I also saw some sisters in the States, whom Allah blessed with big houses and swimming pools, competing to host those weekly meetings. This is, with other sisters available to help in the preparation and tiding up the place afterward. They simply volunteer to win the great reward from Allah as the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said:


"Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the grieves of the Day of Judgment. And whosoever alleviates the lot of a needy person, Allah will alleviate his lot in this world and the next." (Muslim)


He also said:


"By Him in Whose Hands is my life, no bondsman truly believes till he likes for his brother whatever he likes for himself." (Muslim)


I understand that after you had reverted, some necessary situations of life became less easy and accessible as before. This is especially in societies, where the practicing Muslims are only minorities. Thus, they cannot choose for themselves. Nevertheless, the harder your life has become and the more patience you have for the sake of Allah, the higher your
jihad (striving for the sake of Allah) and the greater your reward will be.

Allah said:

And because they were patient and constant, He will reward them with a Garden and (garments of) silk.

Surah 76 Verse 12

Allah also said, about those who sacrifice and suffer for fear of disobeying Him:

...And for those who fear God, He (ever) prepares a way out, And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. ...

Surah 65 Verses 2-3

And He said:

...and for those who fear God, He will make their path easy.

Surah 65 Verse 4

May God bless you and ease all your troubles. God willing there will be a day, when you are strong enough to have your demands met in your community. Even we, here in the Islamic world, we used to live years of suffering and deprivation until Allah blessed us with all the sporting clubs giving us days for ladies to use courts and swimming pools. I have also heard that women in the Islamic Republic of Iran have their own beaches!

The same for all Muslimas - God willing!

Useful Links:

Does Hijab Infringe on Women’s Liberty?

Reflections on the Islamic Dress Code

Top 25 Q&A on Hijab

How to Maintain My Hijab in Summer

Hijab: What’s it All About?

Banner