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A response to ‘Practicing Islam in Short Shorts’

Practicing Islam in Short Shorts” was the title of the article. As I read through it, I could feel the sincerity of the sister’s words and how much her heart may have been in the right place, but in contrast to her opinion on intentions being the main things that matter, I have a few points to mention. With all my respect to those Muslims who may not follow all God tells us to, or those who aren’t Muslim in the first place, this is a very sensitive topic and should be discussed maturely and without emotion, rather, with intellect.

No doubt many people suffer from this same type of judgement the sister complains about in the article. The fact that she is a Muslim is true; no one can take that away from her. By Islamic law the one who is born to a Muslim is also a Muslim, whether they practice or not. Now coming to Islamic theology the way a person who is a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim is for them to deny an asl (important principle) of the important principles of religion, i.e. to deny the prophethood of Muhammad (S) or tawheed (Oneness of God). She obviously has not done this, and that would mean she is a Muslim, but not necessarily a mo’mina (true believer). The Quran states you can be one without the other. ‘You have your own Islam… and I have my own Islam!’’

I’ve come across this statement so many times, and in the past I’m sure I must have said it too. I often try to remember myself 4 years ago and look at things in the way I would have then, in order to understand how and why I thought that way. I still see my old thought process in many people around me, some haven’t had the same opportunities and access that I have, and I also understand what they mean when they say statements like this. Though ultimately I realise now that it’s true; I had my own Islam and I was a Muslim, but I was hardly ever a believer.

And that made all the difference.

“Faith (belief) is talk with action, Islam is talk without action.” – Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as)

الاِيمان إقرار وعمل والاِسلام إقرار بلا عمل- إمام محمد الباقر

 

“The Bedouins say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not yet believed; but say instead, ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts.” – Quran, Surat Al Hujairat, verse 14.

قالتالأعرابآمناقللمتؤمنواولكنقولواأسلمناولمايدخلالإيمانفيقلوبكم

The sister goes on to claim that scholars are hypocritical which, unfortunately in many cases is true; but she generalises this view to the extent that she denies the hadiths she does not like, as well as Fiqh (Islamic law) and Tafsir (Quranic exegesis) due to these scholars whom she sees as filters in a negative light. It could be said that these are the pillars that modern day Islam is based on, and we simply cannot have Islam without them or we would know nothing of it. ‘Taking some rather than none’ is better than nothing but it is not yet true Islam, and not acknowledging these Islamic sciences can hardly be deemed as ‘taking some’ as there is not much left to take. A main issue with the way so many people understand Islam is that they cannot differentiate between law, theology, philosophy, and so their questions are all over the place. Does it make any sense for me to disregard all of this as untrue as if it doesn’t exist, simply because of my experiences and that it is my opinion?

For us to understand Islam properly we must know its aims. The Muslim belief is that the aim of life for the human being is to reach his/her perfection through proximity to God, and through the Prophet. God sent down the way of life in which this is achieved. This includes the spiritual as well as the physical laws that one MUST abide by to be considered a practicing Muslim. God has given us free will to choose whether or not we will abide by these laws, that’s up to us, otherwise he would have forced everyone Himself… but if I want to represent Islam or claim I am a practicing Muslim, that is a different story. For me to say I am a practicing Muslim yet I commit those acts forbidden by Islam and I sometimes perform the obligatory actions, means one is contradicting themselves. The Quran is very clear in this, and the use of the word hypocrite becomes ironic.

The need for spirituality in our materialistic world is growing tremendously as people realise this is not enough, and that they want more. They want that ‘something’ and that is why people are flocking to all these religions which seem to tend to their spiritual needs. The fact is that attractive spiritual phrases, ideas, and sentences in order to please ourselves by having a momentary sense of spirituality, is in fact no truth at all. Appreciating wisdom in religions is great, but mixing up a bit from here and there and then using a Quranic verse to defend myself and say ‘that is your religion, and this is mine’ whilst spreading information which very clearly contradicts God’s words in the Quran – yet claiming I am a practicing Muslim – makes no sense.

There are many of those who will not judge her just as there are many that will. There are many scholars who are hypocrites whilst there are many who are wise saints of God. I feel that in her well intentioned attempt at defending herself against judgement, she has judged the part of Islam that she does not like as being an ‘inflexible and fossilized way of life’. A very inaccurate picture of Islam was painted and a very distorted view of its sciences were offered, as to throw away over a thousand years of scholarly work after coming across Wahabi material and judgement during her life – is not fair in the slightest. The Islam that was presented is Not my Islam, no. Not the Islam of the saints and mystics and scholars who gave their lives to pass on the message of the Prophets, no. Not these books, which cost blood to have reached me, no. Not my Islam. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own choices. But to claim a thing when it is not concerning God’s word and knowledge of the Prophets, and spread it to the people as a truth – that, a true Muslim cannot stand for. I will not judge you for the choices you make or for the clothes you like to buy, just like I will not stand for when falsehood about Islam is spread – however well-intentioned it may be.

Speaking of intentions, much importance was given to this notion, as well as how our actions make us feel. But unfortunately this is not enough; it was proved above how something well intentioned may still cause harm. Good intentions are not enough. One must know, and one must apply. Concerning feelings; sometimes you feel low, but you still have your obligations to perform and your temptations to restrain from. Sometimes you’re doing all of this yet you still don’t feel that closeness to God, as if something is missing. ‘What am I doing wrong?’ you may ask. This is a mistake I and many like me have made in the past, trying to attain that spiritual feeling in prayer. But that means I am not truly praying to God. I am praying for that feeling, and if we want to talk spirituality, then in esoteric terms and on a high level of God-consciousness that would be deemed shirk. Anything served in your intention apart from God, even that special feeling of being close to Him, is taking away from His Oneness. It’s not about the feeling. It’s about being a true servant in submission.

A few months back I found myself reading the first three pages of Surat Maryam of the Quran (the chapter of the Lady Mary mother of Jesus) over and over again every day for over a week. If you had asked me why, I couldn’t have told you, but it was the same every morning. It just spoke to me. Around about the same time, I was thinking over an issue in my head, the question of identity, ‘Who am I?’ I’d ask myself. People may call me a student, but that’s not who I am, it’s just what I do. I study. But what of me when I’m no longer a student, then who am I? A police man is not a police man, it is what he does, not who he is. You are not what you do, so if I was to ask you who you were, what would you tell me? What is your identity? Who are you?

After some time, going back and forth in my head, struggling to find the answer, it hit me. I had been reading the answer every single day on the third page of that chapter. It was right in front of me the whole time. The chapter tells of how Lady Mary gave birth to Jesus under a tree, away from the people, and on her return she was ridiculed for having a baby without a husband. She was told by the Lord to keep silent, and only to point to her baby son as the people ridiculed her. The people asked ‘how can we talk to a baby in the cradle?’. Then, in verse 30, he replied:

قال إني عبدالله

‘He said: I am the servant of God.’

My reaction at the time: Wow. I was so taken aback by it. It was right in front of me this whole time. Out of all the things he could have said as a miracle baby, out of all the things he could have said as his first words, he faces the hostile crowd and tells them he is the servant of God. How profound is that?

I believe that the sister’s heart is in the right place and I hope mine is too. For all I know this sister is a better person than I am, I merely have a problem with some of her views as they contradict the religion she claims to practice, and my main objection is that these views (which are not backed up by any source rather it is the opinion of the said individual) may influence others who don’t know better. The religion of Islam is a deep ocean and we remain on sea level, but we are human beings. Our capacity is greater than that of the ships. We must dive deep into this ocean to find its pearls and claim true proximity. As humans our potential is unbound, perfection is in our grasp. Why settle?

As a person who is so in love with spirituality it upsets me when I find some who think that it has to be either spirit or law, when in fact, whilst there are those people who make Islam nothing but a list of do’s and don’t’s which is not at all the objective of the religion, you cannot be truly spiritual in Islam without following it’s law. It’s one and the same. Sheikh Bahjat, one of the greatest mystics of the past century was always approached by those who were looking for the answer; the spiritual key to success in this life and the next. ‘How can we be with God?!’ ‘How can I know God?’ ‘How do I get close to God?’ – the Sheikh would reply: “Follow the book of law”. For what benefit is it to the human who wants to get close to God to speak about the seven heavens and all that is within it, when they still perform the actions God hates and do not perform the actions that God loves. Law isn’t everything, no. It is the minimal standard if we want to talk about being an Abd, a true servant in love with his Lord, like Jesus. If we want to talk about love, we are talking so much more than do’s and don’ts. When talking about religion we are talking about the fate of man (if we believe in the said religion), the most important thing in our life – our eternal state of affairs. On this basis, we should be very careful where our opinions take us if there is no solid proof for it, as we should really have knowledge on what we are saying and not just take what we like. It’s very convenient, I understand that, but it’s not the way God wants it, and you must trust God wants it that way because that is the way that is best for you. He doesn’t gain anything from everything we do, all of it is merely for our own self development and growth. And if my sister who wrote this article truly wants to submit, as she says she learnt from Buddhism, then it begins in wanting what God wants, not what our selves want, because I trust Him. And He knows.

(by the way, in truth all we want from life is God, but that’s a different discussion)

“Some people worshipped Allah being desirous of His reward – so this is the worship of traders; and some people worshipped Allah fearing His punishment – so it is the worship of slaves, and a group worshipped Allah in gratitude (to Him) so this is the worship of the free.” – Imam Ali (as)

Love in servitude for God and true submission to all he has given us, is so available for one who truly seeks. I recommend anyone who somehow had the patience to read all of this and is still interested, to read the English or Arabic version of Alsahifa Alsajadiya – Prayers of Imam Sajjad. Find out what Islam truly is. Islam. Love. My brothers and sisters in Islam who are struggling in their journey to reach God, know that this beautiful struggle will determine the outcome of your eternal life. Be patient. Patience is the sword in which you will battle the demons of this world. Patience does not mean to accept your circumstances; it means to never give up. You were made for heaven, you were made for love, don’t settle for anything less. And whenever you get confused about yourself, your life, who you are and who you aren’t, remember the miracle baby’s answer to the ultimate question of ‘who am I?’ and you will find yourself once more. In your worship, be free.

48 Comments

  1. There will come the day when the Halal is Haram and vice versa. Allah says in the quran to enter islam FULLY. Simple and Straight forward.

  2. Beautiful!! Islam is simple, either you submit your will towards Allah or either you don’t. There is no balance in Islam but only to either keep progressing in Allah’s way as a believer or not as a disbeliever.

  3. As much as I disagree with her initial article, I have a BIGGER problem with your article.

    You said: “The fact that she is a Muslim is true; no one can take that away from her. She is a Muslim, but not necessarily a mo’mina (true believer)”

    Who are YOU to judge who is a true believer??

    How disgraceful!

  4. At the beginning the author said we should discuss things with intellect.
    But then this is the structure of the argumentation is:
    -You should believe in Hadiths, Fiqh, Tafsir even though you truly dislike/disagree with its content (even if you find something immoral, unfair, or ridiculous in it)
    -You should not disregard religious rules “simply because it is your opinion”.
    -You cannot be spiritual without following the rules (even if you whole being tells you the rule is wrong)

    Do I need to point out that all three arguments contain a horrible contradiction and are therefore nonsense?
    And around these three “arguments” there is a lot of flowery language about about love and a whole paragraph “reassuring” that she is muslim indeed (why was that needed?)

    The positive point is that the author, despite his inner judgemental views and chained/blindfolded/brainwashed perspective, went out of his way to be nice in this text. That is better than the reaction of most men writing or commenting the original article, and I salute the effort. I just wish there was some out of the box thinking : Some free personal genuine thoughts, like in the original article, about what it means to believe, what are morals and spirituality, outside of what we are told we should believe/say.

  5. You lost me when you said whoever is born to a Muslim is a Muslim. Lol. NO.

    This is where alot of us “short shorts” Muslims really separate ourselves from these archaic ideas that continue to spread in the Muslim community. This is where we say “Yes we have our own flaws but we’re calling bs.”

    You are not a Muslim just because your family is. Being a Muslim is not about your DNA, your ethnicity, nor nation.

    It’s about your BELIEF. Period.

    Too many of these so called “traditional” or even “practicing” Muslims really believe their Arabic names, “Ethnic dress”, “ethnic food”, and a few Arabic phrases is what cuts being a Muslim. And this how we end up having some of the most corrupted people in our masjids spreading their sexist, racist, and backwards bs.

    This is why people say “well my family has been Muslim for centuries and therefore we must be right” and then they go beat on their wife and kids and continue to feed their horrible addictions and truly think it’s OKAY.

    We’ve been hurt by so called Muslims who looked and sounded the most pious.

    I still remember my Muslim Sunday school teacher, JILBAB wearing, “I wish I wore niqab” friend ex-communicating me all because I signaled her to be quiet while a group of us were making salat. THAT’s when it dawned on me that my journey was my journey alone and I was going to live my own truth no matter how fast or slow it may be and no matter how it looked to others!

    There are Muslims who have been reciting Al-Fatiha for decades and still couldn’t tell you the transliteration.

    Substance. A lot of Muslims in short shorts, thobes, niqabs, jeans suits, dresses, etc are out here looking for substance! Looking for meaning!

    Not looking for some “well my family is Muslim and therefore I am” excuse. As a Muslim woman, that type of “Muslim man” (because his daddy was one, his momma was one) is NOT going to benefit me. I’m even starting to believe that there are Muslims out here who don’t know they are Muslim because Oh ALLAH some of the “Muslim brothers” are dogging these Muslim sisters out and I’d rather just deal with someone who is “afraid” of calling himself Muslim– Allah knows best!

    Miss me with that “my family is a Muslim and therefore I am” crap.

  6. Beautifully written, excellent points! Short shorts and Islam? I don’t get it?!
    What has intention got to do with anything if you fail to follow the law of the religion?
    Pick and choose much?
    Surah An- Noor Ayah 31:
    “And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs)……”

  7. Beautifully written! Excellent points!
    Short shorts and Islam? I don’t get it?! What has intention got to do with it when you are not following the law of the religion?
    Surah An Noor Ayah 31: Holy Quran
    “And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs)…….”

  8. Well said!! covers everything with a very inoffensive tone.. Guys as he said u have to keep ur emotions aside and discuss this with intellect! #Salute

  9. What an excellent piece. Jazakallah khair – I really hope this piece finds the people who may have found resonance with the piece preceding this one. Over and above this though, I find myself describing what identity ought not to be a great deal lately and, after a conversation this evening, caught myself thinking that I have not thought adequately about what my identity is. You have done wonder to push my thinking on this. May Allah reward you well and forever keep you on the path of those He loves.

  10. The goal of her article was to provide a viewpoint for Muslims (particularly Muslim women) whose thoughts and ideas are marginalized by the established Islamic norms. These norms are a direct consequence of the patriarchal society they were founded in. Sunni Islam is monolithic and any deviation from strict adherence is often cause for judgement amongst Muslim brethren. As a “short-shorts” Muslim I myself have experienced this blatant judgement from my community as well.

    Many Muslims are so convinced of the infallibility of their theological framework that judgement is almost inevitable. Issues are black and white. Should you wear short-shorts? No, because reasons. If you are seen wearing shorts shorts it follows logically that either 1. you understand the reasoning and choose not to follow it or 2. you don’t understand the reasoning. In either case, even if you don’t think you are judging this hypothetical person, you certainly believe them to be wrong.

    This is what I believe is the crux of her article, the inability for most Muslims to view other interpretations with an open mind. You cast off her viewpoint as a result of personal opinion and not true knowledge:

    “On this basis, we should be very careful where our opinions take us if there is no solid proof for it, as we should really have knowledge on what we are saying and not just take what we like. It’s very convenient, I understand that, but it’s not the way God wants it, and you must trust God wants it that way because that is the way that is best for you”

    What constitutes what “God wants” or “knowledge” is certainly a matter of opinion. What “God wants” has been formed by the opinions, the memories and decisions of scholars and people who have all the same human flaws as you and I do. Take a look around the world and you can clearly see the various opinions within Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches.

    “I merely have a problem with some of her views as they contradict the religion she claims to practice, and my main objection is that these views (which are not backed up by any source rather it is the opinion of the said individual) may influence others who don’t know better. ”

    She is contradicting the Islam YOU choose to believe in. Your last sentences is saying she “doesn’t know better”, is this not judgement? Since she is not following the rules you believe in, she is wrong and misguided? According to Hussain Makke, the arbiter of Islamic jurisprudence? This is her point.

    Islam is the result of the people and circumstances of it’s creation. To believe contemporary Islam is perfect and stems 100% from Allah is a naive belief. Where there are humans involved, there is fallibility. To take the stance of infallibility as you have done and so many do around the world is not right. As a culture, this attitude and mindset has held us back and will continue to hold us back.

    I sincerely believe that an extension of this attitude is also the reason why groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS continue to deface the name of Islam. These people believe Islam to be infalliable. You either believe each and every word or you are not Muslim. I don’t need to tell you that there are many areas of Islam that you if took at face value would lead you astray: that which the right hand possesses, blasphemy, etc. These people may very well, like you, believe that: ‘we should be very careful where our opinions take us if there is no solid proof for it, as we should really have knowledge on what we are saying and not just take what we like. It’s very convenient, I understand that, but it’s not the way God wants it, and you must trust God wants it that way because that is the way that is best for you”

    Do you see now why this mindset is poisonous? If you believe your views to be infallible, you close yourself off to critical thinking. All it takes is for people who you believe are more knowledgable than you to give you an extreme opinions. Or to read a few lines out of context. We should and need to be better about this.

    1. Great resonses! The subject hits home for me because I know a lot of people who left their Christian church and have come to realize that their faith has dried up, that is, they’ve retained the belief in the proposition ‘God is real’ but have let the deeper connection slip away. So some of them have gone back to their old church and overlook the dogma that they now see as faulty, others turned to Buddhism. Why don’t people in this situation turn to Islam? Because of the very fundamentalist wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) naivety that you exposed so well here. It’s a shame because Islam, without the fundamentalism, would be an easier fit for many of them than their old church.

      I’ve recently read that some non-fundamentalist Muslims have even quit calling themselves Muslim in public because they don’t want to deal with these fundamentalist judgments. Then alienation puts them in danger of having their faith dry up. The shorts issue is analogous to many other issues, and the overall problem is huge, affecting men and women. But you’ve pinpointed the root, the gratuitous assumption many people hold, that they’ve got the hotline to the truth (to the true interpretation of Islam).

      Of course every individual will make decisions about what they think is true, and believe it; but a line is crossed when anyone judges anyone else on a matter that need not affect them.

      A woman wearing shorts doesn’t make any man lust for her. Nor does a whole culture of women who wear shorts hinder the maturity or spiritual growth of the men in that culture. Men in the USA, for example, do learn to appreciate a women’s beauty without the lusting, although at times, they, and some more than others, choose not to restrain their thoughts. Lust is primarily driven by the belief, or imagination, that sex with that person is attainable. (E.g., porn depends on an imagination of ‘make-belief’ rather than a belief that sex with the porn-star will really happen.) If a man imagines in any way that he’s gonna ‘score’ then he’ll lust, if he knows he won’t ‘score’, nor allows himself to entertain the thought, then he won’t lust. Ask any mature man who often hangs out with friends when everyone including his best friend’s wife is wearing shorts—he doesn’t have to fight off lust for his friend’s wife because, out of respect for both his friend and her, he won’t allow any lust to get a start in him. ‘Respect’ is the key word here; (it wouldn’t be true respect if he were only concerned about hiding his lust for her from her husband. And this level of respect is common amongst single friends too.) I understand that controlling one’s imagination is harder for teenage boys, but, gaining control of one’s imagination is what maturing is, and maturing is essential to growing spiritually.

  11. MashaAllah, what can I say?!!Nice thoughts and beautifully written. May Allah (SWT) continue blessing you with best of His blessings, so you may continue to inspire us with such amazing thoughts!!Truly, attaining knowledge leaves one astonished at the results and always craving for more knowledge so to reach moral,spiritual, and physical perfection!!

  12. I don’t wear short shorts, but I do identify as a “short shorts” muslim woman in the western world. This was a beautifully written response to that article which did highlight some holes in her argument. These holes are things that I struggle with spiritually and you put all of my feelings into words in a way I never could. Thank you for giving me a lot to think about. And to those people who think he was being judgmental in any way obviously did not read the article. This was very respectfully and intellectually written.

    I think the main issue between these two articles is that many people (both muslim and non-muslim) view Islam as being an extreme religion. Either you are all in or all out. We now have a generation of Muslims who have grown up in the Western world and are struggling to combine these two very opposite worlds and are struggling with their identity as a result. I hope there is a lot more intellectual discourse to come on this topic.

  13. May God bless you bro, I found it a nice response. It’s really insightful, and intellectual, referring to and focusing on the principles of Islam other than being judgemental on others.

  14. Isn’t it presumptuous to consider people momin on their dress code rather then their Intent or actions? And if someone doesn’t fit the new Islmic uniform dress code then they can be a Muslim but not a momin?
    Is Islam relegated to fress codes, body hair (beards) and not about amaal? Isn’t God the judge of us all and not you or me? Isn’t the day of judgement for the judgement? God knows who is a momin not you or me.

  15. Hadiths are not Allah’s words, but guides written by humans to interpret the Quran better. As they are not Allah’s words or instructions, they are still subject to scrutiny and re-evaluation. No one can deny that the hadiths contain material that supports discrimination against women in multiple ways. Do Muslim women have no choice but be compelled to follow these hadiths? Should they resist rejection them for fear that a group of people will not consider them “true” Muslims?
    You say in your article that you are not judging her for her short clothes. Yet, you are. You are also rejecting any alternative readings and interpretations of the Quran and Islam regardless of the fact that they are more inclusive of people who feel marginalized or discriminated against in your version of Islam.
    As a Muslim person who has worn short shorts around other Muslims, I can say that more men have a problem with it than women. Most women with hijaabs see the headscarf as a reminder and test of their faith, but they do not consider my bare legs as rejection of faith or an insult to it.

    1. Of course hadiths are subject to scrutiny and re-evaluation, but when
      you scrutinizes and deny it, then you need to come up with a better
      argument than ‘it is a part of fossilized past and it doesn’t fit my
      worldview, i.e. I don’t like it.’ Is it because the recitation is weak,
      i.e. not a ‘strong’ hadith? Is there are an alternative reading for it
      because the double meaning of the old Arabic word? Why do you think your
      argument is stronger than ulama’ who have researched the history of
      Arabic language for years and deeper understanding of the theology of
      Islam? Simply rejecting and picking only the hadiths that you are
      comfortable with is not the correct way.

      1. Exactly. I do not understand why some people on this forum are so retarded as to not understand that even if scrutinized, it is done by established scholars who spent their lives understanding Islam. A drunkard cannot be a better judge of it, not unless he makes an effort to do so. Islam is open to interpretation and understanding – it is encouraged but it needs a certain level of faith, a certain level of closeness to Allah to do it. Else, it is better for the common people to not dabble in these matters and critisize the religion as rigid, if one doesnt follow what is CLEARLY STATED it is his own shortcoming, the religion is not rigid.

    2. Sister, hadith may not be Allah’s words and may just be guides written by humans, but they are not just guides to interpret the Quran better but also guides that were written by the sahabah while they were with living with the prophet S.A.W. through their daily lives with him. And no hadiths were made just for the heck of it. They were checked again and again for their “sahih” that is their genuine and authenticity. They were not made to benefit only a certain side and they never will. They are always fair and they will always have reasons to be that way.

      From what I have studied, Islam is Thabat and Murunah that means continuity and flexible. Islam is a simple religion as the command from Allah are flexible and can be proceed in other ways.

      As an example, Allah only ask us to perform our prayers 5 times per day. HE is the God and He can easily ask us to perform it 24 hours. But, because of our prophet S.A.W. had asked Him to lessen the number of prayers, we now only need to do 5 prayers per day. Furthermore, when a muslim are in the middle of Musafir (travelling/being a traveller), Allah allows them to do JAMA’ QASAR prayers(to combine 2 prayers together that is Zuhr and Asr or Maghrib and Isha’). Thus, making their travel easier while in the state of Musafir. The command for performing prayers are compulsory for all Muslims but the ways to perform it is flexible.

      Another example are about solah for sick and ill people. For people who can’t do their prayers by standing, he is allowed to perform it by sitting. If he still can’t manage it, he can do it by laying on the bed. But if he still can’t perform it, Allah gave him another RUKHSAH by using only eye signal.

      Other example can be seen from Zakat, HE asks us to give zakat. But Islam doesn’t tell us to give away all of our property. Islam only asks us to give a small percentage of it. For al-hajj, although it is one from the five pillars of Islam, but in the end, it is only those who are ABLE to perform Hajj should perform it and those who are not able to perform it (due to health reasons or money issues) may be excused. This shows that Islam is too easy and flexible.

      On another note, being asked to cover one’s self is not just in hadiths but is in the Quran as well.

      Surat Al-‘Ahzāb (33:57)

      “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

      Surah An-Nur (24:31)

      “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears(can be seen) thereof and to wrap their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.”

      Thus, wearing hijab and covering one’s self is necessary in Islam unless situations forces you otherwise such as you are being threaten to be killed and it necessary to not wear or else you will harm yourself. Nonetheless, one must not change the ways of Islam just to make one’s life easier because Islam has been made to make a Muslim’s life as easy as it could.

      In my opinion, the author is not rejecting because he wants to but because it is necessary. To love Islam is to love all of Islam and not just a certain parts of Islam. To read Islam in a way that benefits you is not a true way of understanding and loving Islam. You are just trying to make your life easier and assure yourself that your way of Islam is no lesser than another but that is untrue.

      To love Islam is to follow our prophet’s words and wisdom, and to love our prophet is to love Islam. Isn’t to love is to embrace all that one is? Thus, why do you need to interpret it any other way than what is written and taught?

      Just as how, when one loves another, one needs to accept the other as they are; shouldn’t we, muslims, need to love every aspect of Islam as it is. I am not saying I am perfect as no one is perfect except for our prophet S.A.W. and he too had felt that what he had done was never enough for Allah. Even though he had prayed until his feet bled, even though he was and is the chosen one and is loved by Allah, he still thought they were never enough… So, why should we, or how could we, mere servants of god, feel that we have any authority or pride or the need to change anything that has been asked of us when we have never been able to give back the same amount of sacrifice for the pleasures of living (health, money, family, love, everything) that has been graced upon us?

    3. hadith are open for scrutiny but by whom ? any Tom Dick and Harry or rather any Ali Abdul and Abdullah or by those who have expertise on the science of Hadith ?

  16. Great article. I was only heartbroken to see that a guy wrote it. I wish it had been one girl’s response to another. That’s okay though. Thanks for the reminder and may Allah give us all the strength to continue to better ourselves.

  17. “Or those who are not muslim at all”. That is how this writer decides to initiate the conversation. Yours is a tragic article that misses the bigger picture and focuses on 3 or 4 key points from the original piece. You’ll notice how the judgement has been guised with phrases like ‘I may be wrong too’. Congratulations, you missed the whole point and proved her right.

  18. Remember that part where she mentioned where it’s not your place to be judgmental or criticize another’s theology on THEIR religion and THEIR connection to God? You just did exactly that.

    And this is why people turn away from Islam. Because you judge them when they don’t do it “the right way”. Not your place. Having your own opinions and expressing them is different than “rightfully” (in your mind) opposing someone’s life experience. That girl was already struggling with Islam and it took a LOT of courage to put that out in public – and you just disregarded everything she said because you read it the way you WANTED to read it – and you read it wanting to be critical.

    We all need to appreciate and understand that everyone lives a different life that is none of your concern. As long as she is a good human being and doing good for the world – then her version o Islam is right for her. You’re telling people how to follow their religion which is supposed to be a personal and fulfilling experience to them alone. That is not okay.

    Wonderfully written – but there was absolutely no need for a response to that article, though they are always expected anyway.

    1. I am somewhat of a short shorts practicing muslim too, minus the short shorts part. And as much as I could relate to the original author of the article, I did feel that a response was required because although I too consider myself a free-spirited modern muslim, I still know that to acquire a true and complete adherance to the principles of Islam, it is not enough for me to follow one half, while conveniently justfying the other half as not relevant to ‘my islam’. What im trying to say is that even though I will don a dress on some summer days and wear the occasional sleeveless top, fully justifying to myself that its okay because my intention is to dress weather-appropriate and perhaps keep up with fashion trends, rather than attract negative attention, I know that I must keep improving myself eventually and mustn’t accept this as an okay version of Islam just because it suits me. No matter what self-formed ideal version of Islam we all practice at the moment, the goal should be to keep improving our image in the eyes of Allah, even if at our own paces, and not justify this ideal version as an end version that your not planning on breaking out of.

      1. I appreciate your response – but again – that’s your opinion and your take on the religion.

        You are correct in saying the goal is to continue improving for Allah – not for anyone else or anyone else’s idea on how a Muslim “should be”.

        Not every article deserves or is in need of a response. I too am a short short Muslim (minus the short shorts) and I happen to be very uncomfortable when people feel the need to judge me or change my views on something that is supposed to be personal. Religion is a personal experience. Period. No one knows what this girl’s intentions were after writing this article. She simply wrote about a past experience and what she is presently going through. And the article should have just been appreciate for what it was. Because it helped a lot of us understand that it’s okay to “struggle” a bit until you find yourself – because most practicing Muslims have made me feel that that experience of finding yourself is taboo.

        1. To me it sounded like she was saying “this is my Islam, I’ll practice it in short shorts if I want to, and you have no right to judge me for it.” And she’s absolutely right in that religion is something very personal and NO one has the right to judge her but God. But as with anything posted online these days, its okay to have an open conversation about topics that interest and relate to so many ppl. This author was simply giving a flip side and just like many ppl related to the original article, many will also agree with this response. A conversation is all it is!

      2. This is YOUR OPINION. Which half she is practicing and which half she isn’t as you stated is also YOUR OPINION. Please browse through this article to read about differing viewpoints within Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches. Or just turn on the news if you’d like to hear about what a more grim interpretation of our religion is up to these days. All of these people believe themselves to be practicing the ideal Islam. What you are failing to realize is that your view of what is the correct or ideal Islam was shaped by your environment. Your parents, your siblings, your friends, your mosque, your schools, your imams etc etc all profoundly affected your views, as our short shorts sisters views were undoubtedly influenced by her environment. For these reasons, you now believe whichever form of Islam you believe in to be the correct way. If you changed your own circumstances, don’t you think you could be Shia now? Quranist? Salafi? Sufi? You point out a “self-formed ideal version of Islam?”, well what if I told you every view of Islam is a “self-formed ideal version of Islam”?

        I think this is what the point of the sisters article was. Much of Islam (outside of the Quran you could say) has been distilled through the minds of humans like you and me. Opinion is intrinsically involved in religion, this is not unique to Islam. If opinion is laced in your Islam, and my Islam, then why can’t it be laced in short-shorts Islam? If your answer is, “because her opinions are wrong” or “because more people believe in my opinions” or “because there is no opinion in Islam” I would suggest that you need to do more critical thinking about our Islam.

    2. The author of the original Short Short’s article shared her take on what Normative Islam is. She claimed that version of Islam was fossilized, without having actual facts to back this up. This is very similar to what Graeme Wood’s argued in his Atlantic piece in that it assumes one monolithic Islam as the predominant Islam, while other views are peripheral or at least unique – such as the Author of Short Short’s islam.

      Both articles were published online – one by a known scholar, another by a short short’s Muslim – both received much press, and both got responses because they made declarations about Islam. The short short’s author made declarations about Islam in addition to personal reflections.

      I don’t think the author here “judged” the other author. The term judged in and of itself is used in many ways – sometimes to silence any response, sometimes to indicate how one views another person’s practices, sometimes to just mean when anyone expresses dissent to your opinion. The term is muddled and almost useless in the modern social context because of its subjectivity. I could say you judged the author’s intention here in this article, but you may think otherwise.

    3. Dude, judgements is a nice way to prevent anyone from saying anything to a person who is doing wrong. Fir example, if a friend of mine engages in pre marital relations and I forbid him from doing so – that is being judgemental. Its funny how this term has become the same for Muslims as the Jews are against the semitism (forgot the spelling =p) nonsense. Correcting the one who is doing something wrong is not being judgemental. I, myself for instance would want to protect my friends. I do not offer all my prayers and wear tight jeans and whatever but I know what I am doing is wrong! There is no justification for it. Women who dress in eastern stuff which is tight is wrong too. Judgements or not, Islam has laid strict guidelines which are very liberal from the start, if one doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t make him/her right (like the way I practice it doesn’t make me right, I sincerely pray I become more steadfast in my religion) but defending actions like drinking and stuff in the name that one doesn’t know how the other person is, is WRONG!
      There was this line in batman, ‘Its not who you are on the inside, its what you do that defines you’. If coming to judgements, then every single human being on this planet has a reason for not following Islam the way it ought to be. Would you want your daughter to engage in pre marital sex or drinking? We all want our kids (ok I dont have kids yet or even marriage =p) to follow Islam the way it ought to be. Noone wants men ogling at their daughters in short shorts. Noone! This author has written a brilliant piece. Kudos to him. Insulting the hadith because it doesn’t blend with one’s own ways is WRONG! Kindly do not support such actions.

      1. Not your place to judge “dude”. If you were a true Muslim you’d understand that God is the only power permitted to do this. Your judgmental comment is out of place here, and you made yourself sound like one of those “let Jesus save you” peeps.

        If your husband is staring at other women that’s your problem lol and if you blame the woman wearing short shorts then you have an even bigger problem to deal with in terms of yourself before dealing with the issues with your husband who out of respect for his wife cannot control his gaze.

        Also – that batman quote was in reference to being a decent human being (I.e- giving to the poor, helping the less fortunate, fighting for human rights of those who lost theirs, etc.) not skinny jeans.

        Again – no. right. to. judge. anyone. (I felt as if I gave all of the words their own sentences that it would get through better?).

        1. If one’s husband is staring at other women, that is the Husband’s problem. Get that clear first off. I am not blaming the women wearing short stuff. Read what I wrote again. Then write it down. Also, if in Islam it is said women have to cover up, dude we gotta cover up. I don’t live in a delusion where just because I do not cover up, I say ‘Don’t judge me I am a pious idiot’. What I do is wrong. But yes, judgemental in terms of ‘Oh she wears shorts, she’ll go to hell’. That is wrong and that is precisely what I wrote too. The batman quote applies to everything honey. Get that clear too. Bruce was a drunkard who slept with women.

        2. Dear Jenan,

          What I find ironic is that you think that you’re being open minded as you state that others should consider that there is a wide range of different views of Islam. But all I see is how utterly close minded you are! If you keep shutting others opinions about what they think of the article because they shouldn’t be judging that is ridiculous. The female writing the first article about wearing short shorts posted an online article which is accessible to anyone and open for discussion. Refusing to consider what others have to say rather than engage in an intellectual discussion is what makes one narrow minded. What one wears is not merely for themselves. Clothing is a physical and material item that is visible to yourself and others. Of course people will have judgments about what is before them, that is quite natural of us as humans to form opinions and it’s a part of being critical so long as it’s informative. In addition you don’t just wear clothing for yourself this is just not true for one to claim such a thing. You do want to attract a certain kind of attention with the clothing you wear. For example if your aim of dressing a certain way is to look nice then you want others to think you look nice too. If you want to look appealing and attractive you dress a certain way to achieve that and you want others to think you look attractive and appealing as well. It gives you self satisfaction that your goal was met. In Islam the aim of any of your actions is to please God not others or yourself because that can be inconsistent with Islamic principles. In order to stay within this framework one ought to choose to wear something not for the sake of having the best style but because they want to dress appropriately and follow Islamic principles so that they may experience the highest values that Islam preaches. Trying to be stylish or appealing to others can be inconsistent with what Islam teaches its followers. Styles change and while one type of style may be consistent with Islamic principles of modesty and humility other trends do not. You start to follow social customs and trends and not Islamic principles these do not ultimately change. Take a look at the word “follow” even the clothes people think they choose they really do not because if their aim is to look nice and appealing that is determined by trends not yourself. So if one thinks that they in some way feel autonomous and free in these petty things (“freely” choosing what they want to wear) they really aren’t. That is why we ought to always aim to please God not others or ourselves because then we will not have inconsistency in our actions and intentions of what a Muslim ought to do. Ofcourse this is very difficult especially living in a very materialist and superficial society where we gain value of ourselves through material goods. Islam teaches us to gain value not from these things but through our higher attributes such as our intelligible and wisdom, good human qualities such as being pious, selfless, compassionate and so forth. Now these qualities can be distorted if our intellect for instance is not for the aim of the good of Islam but for some other purpose outside of it. Same thing as being well intention and being pious and so forth. I will stop here but I hope I got my point across.

    4. Maoquf Abdullah Bin Utbah Bin Masoud in Bukhari said: ‘I heard ‘Umar say ‘there were some people excused by the wahi because of Rasoul Allah’ A man Haatib Ibn Abi Balta’ah told the Quraish that the Messenger Muhammad (saw) is coming to kill them all even though he was making rumours about Taa’if. Allah (SWT) asked Jibraeel to tell the Nabi and he did. ‘Umar said ‘let me kill him’ but he claimed that his niyyah was good. 
      ‘Umar said ‘there were some excused by the Wahi before but now we judge by the apparent, whoever shows us anything sou’ we will never believe him even if he says ‘my intention is good’ 

  19. Oh my gosh. The woman wrote about a lived experience and highlighted a paradox that most Muslims experience in the western world. Period. Stop flippin judging the poor girl, leave her be. Go and deal with your own religious issues.

      1. “On this basis, we should be very careful where our opinions take us if there is no solid proof for it, as we should really have knowledge on what we are saying and not just take what we like. It’s very convenient, I understand that, but it’s not the way God wants it, and you must trust God wants it that way because that is the way that is best for you.”

        Implying that she is doing it for “convenience” is a huge assumption to make. The author also believes that his opinions have solid proof in the form of the opinions of the thousand years of scholars he chooses to believe in. My opinion is more valid than your opinion.

        “I merely have a problem with some of her views as they contradict the religion she claims to practice, and my main objection is that these views (which are not backed up by any source rather it is the opinion of the said individual) may influence others who don’t know better.”

        Saying that her opinions contradicts the religions she CLAIMS to practice, oh my. This implies Islam is a monolith. She is not practicing my Islam which is also her Islam and everyone else’s Islam. In the next sentence he says she might influence others “who don’t know better”. I think to “know better” than someone else you must pass judgement.

        “But to claim a thing when it is not concerning God’s word and knowledge of the Prophets, and spread it to the people as a truth – that, a true Muslim cannot stand for.”

        Implying she is spreading falsehood and that a TRUE MUSLIM can’t stand for. Judgement is to draw a conclusion, it is very clear from this statement that the author has judged the sister to not be a true muslim.

    1. I’ve read the entire article, yet, I found no single place for judgement. It’s about practicing Islam from a different perspective than the one explained by the girl. And the critical view for the author was towards totally intellectual based on the pillars of Islamic Theology, not on an emotional bias, or on his own religious issues. I believe your words are out of context.

  20. Ahsant brother for this article. A true real perspective & the perspective of ahlulbayt (as), the real interpreters of Islam. I hope you can get this article to reach the sister who wrote this in the first place! As a couple of people on Facebook did post it so please try spreading it around so it reaches to those seeking guidance!

  21. “قال إني عبدالله”
    ‘He said: I am the servant of God.’

    I’ve been asking myself this question for a while. I got goosebumps when I read this that all this time the answer was in the book I read everyday before I sleep. It’s too sad that a lot of Muslims do not understand the true yet simple meaning of Islam.
    Thank you author for this beautiful article, and may Allah guide us all to the right way.

  22. “It’s not about the feeling. It’s about being a true servant in submission.”, i was just taken away there. Awesome brother, may Allah bless you as HE already did with this ability of writing such a tremendous articles. It explains a lot. can’t explain my feelings.

    1. That line hit me too. When I’m not feeling that “high” spiritually when I pray, I start to get worried. But kushoo/concentration is what I should be after, which is easier with that high, but can still be achieved if you are disciplined. And just like the author pointed out, it is being an ‘Abd that is the goal, not the pursuit of that high. Wow. Subhan’Allah.

      1. definitely., nd sometimes we know the answer but could not realize it or articulate it, but author did it beautifully. real treat to read..

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