Saturday, 14 April 2012

Purpose of covering Awrah

The evidence from Al-Quran and al-Hadith clearly indicates that the issue of covering aurat is primary (qati'e and usul). In addition it is also one of the main sins advocated by Shaitan because exposing the aurat could lead to various other sins; zina (illegal sexual intercourse), pregnancy due to zina, killing of child from zina, divorce due to adultery and many more. Al-Qur'an renders evidence that Shaitan advocates exposure of aurat as its main strive:

فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِن سَوْآتِهِمَا

"Then Shaitan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts..." (Al-A'raf: 20)

In summary, among the main purpose Islam advocates the covering of aurat for both man and woman are as folowing:-

a)       To differentiate between man and beast.
Allah SWT said in Al-Qur'an:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا
"O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves and as an adornment." (Al-A'raf: 26)

It is clear from the above ayat that covering of aurat is ordained to every human being (children of Adam). Those who refrain from the order has clearly outcast himself from the category of children of Adam and descend into the category of beast that does not have the ability to follow Allah's enjoinment to cover aurat. 

b)       To protect woman from being molested

This is clear as per my explanation above according to Surah Al-Ahzab ayat 59.

c)        As an attire or identification for Muslim.

In Surah Azhab ayat 59 Allah SWT said:

 ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ
« ... That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women)...»

The above ayat elobrates that covering the aurat is an emblem of a Muslim.  Allah SWT also said:
وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ 
"And anyone who honours the symbols set up by God  [shall know that] verily, these [symbols derive their value] from the God-consciousness in the [believers'] hearts " ( Al-Haj : 32 )

d)        Sign of profesionalism.

We could observe today that a number of organizations and restaurants prescribe certain dress code to its employee and guests to ensure high standards of professionalism. For example, it would impossible to find someone wearing slippers in the courts or offices in Putrajaya. All of them need to comply with the dress code ordained by their organization to show professionalism. Compare this with the owner of a grocery store that does not need to maintain any professionalism and could wear any attire he wants. 
Islam as a professional way of live is also complete with its guidelines that cover every aspect of life; from private acts (going to the toilet) to administration of the country and economy. Nonetheless, Islam would not prescribe guidelines that are irrational and cause hardship to its followers. Therefore, the dress code in Islam would by no means cause nuisance to Muslims. Conversely it provides professionalism to those who embrace the guideline. 

e)       As a trial from Allah SWT to test the takwa of Muslims.
This is clear as Allah elucidates in Al-Quran that:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا
"...Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed." (Al-Mulk: 2)


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