Modesty, Decency and the Common Enemy

Allah SWT speaks of an interaction with Shaytaan in the Glorious Quran in ayats 16 and 17 from the same Sura. Translated it says:

 

[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.

Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”

Dear brothers and sisters, if you ponder over these ayats, you can feel the determined nature of his in leading us astray. Not only can we be certain that he will lay wait in the straight path for us in order to lead us astray, but he is also promising a concerted effort of coming at us from all directions so that we may be led astray. And the final chilling note from him is that he will be successful with the majority as they will not be grateful to Allah SWT.

We need to remind ourselves of this mission statement from the real enemy of our lives and keep this at the forefront of our thinking.

This leads us on to the actual passages for todays reminder. Translated, these ayats from the Glorious Quran say:

 

O Children of Adam! Indeed We have sent down to you a garment which covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed.

Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you in the manner he deceived your parents out of Paradise, pulling off from them their clothing to reveal to them their shame. He and his host surely see you from whence you do not see them. We have made Satans the guardians of those who do not believe.

And when such people commit an indecent act they say: ‘We found our fathers doing that, and Allah has enjoined it on us. Say: ‘Surely Allah never enjoins any indecency. Do you say things regarding Allah that you do not know?’

We conclude then with 5 lessons we can take from these ayats:

  1. Allah SWT has sent down clothing. This is after clothing was removed from Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). This tells us tha, unlike the Christian narrative, mankind is not born in sin and nor are we a cursed creature. That punishment was for then and the slate is wiped clean when we are born.

 

  1. Clothes have been given to us to look good. It’s a source of adornment. So we reject the extreme view that they are merely to cover our private parts. No, they are sent for us to look the business, there is no harm in that. And the beautiful thing about that fact is that the next time we go shopping for the best garments in the Boxing Day sales, if we remind ourselves that Allah SWT wants us to look good then in essence, we are remembering Allah SWT and thus performing zikr by buying those clothes, subhanAllah!

 

  1. Despite the finest clothes, they pale into comparison with the garment of piety. This is the garment of the heart. And what enables us to cover the heart? Consciousness of Allah SWT or taqwa. And this, then follows that by having taqwa, we will remember Allah SWT when wearing our clothes and thus buying clothes that are modest, decent and a cover as a covering should be.

 

  1. Recognition that Shaytaan is an enemy. One point worth mentioning here is that we don’t see Adam and Huwa (Eve) as our parents. We see them as some historical figures. But Allah SWT is telling us here that we see them with the same reverence and respect as our own parents. And by doing that, with the ayat telling us how Shaytan stripped our parents of their clothing, it conjures the type of emotion needed when understanding how much of an enemy Shaytaan is to us.

 

The ayat follows this up with a warning that him and his tribe, others who follow him in being our enemy, are watching us when we can’t see him. This tells us that we are in danger of being manipulated, deceived, hoodwinked by an enemy that we cannot even see. Or worse still, we see but we don’t recognise as the enemy.

 

This is a potent warning. Just look around at our role model in this day and age. Look at the people dictating fashion for example. Fashion that is to a point which we are embarrassed to dress our kids in sometimes. Fashion that is ridiculing the commandment of our Lord.

 

And when we speak of decency, it’s not just about covering but the method of covering. Islam is about being modest and so we need to remember that sometimes being covered doesn’t mean being decent. Skin-tight clothing or transparent clothing is an example of this as is decency of character. The key here is as mentioned in the ayat, by being conscious of Allah SWT in everyday life, it will inevitably lead to decency in what we say, do and of course, wear.

 

  1. And finally, it is about knowing that the path to Allah SWT can have the unlikeliest of obstacles. The final ayat outlines this perfectly. A practical example can be when we try to do something for the sake of Allah SWT and our own family calls us out for doing so. Telling us that we are being extreme in dressing modestly for example or for wearing a hijab or for keeping a beard. The lesson here is one of perseverance for the sake of Allah SWT, a recognition of the difficulty we may face from our nearest and dearest and a lesson on patience as we must strive to do what’s right without speaking harshly to those who disagree with us.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is not enough to call ourselves Muslim and be done with it. We have in Shaytan a committed enemy and a leader of an army with one aim and that is to send us astray. Whether it is in the form of what we wear or our conduct in life, we must live our lives with our eyes wide open and recognise that our enemy will be hidden from us but all the while attempting to keep us away from the path set by Allah SWT.

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