Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…

Oct 10 - Girls just wanna have fun

When it comes to fashion, we usually read about the things which are forbidden. The youth are instructed to shun the latest styles and trends, as they stand in opposition to the Islamic injunctions of Hijab and Satar.

So is there anything which IS allowed? What are some of the things which Muslim girls and women can do to enhance their natural beauty and follow the fashions?

Islam encourages us to be clean and presentable in appearance. This is more than apparent in recorded descriptions of the Prophet (saw), who was the epitome of Islamic character, personal hygiene and modesty.

Makeup is allowed as long as it is not used so much that it spoils natural skin, or in such a way that it resembles the makeup of non-believing women.

Muslim women have Islamic guidelines from the Quran, Ahadeeth and opinions of modern day scholars regarding the methods and limits of personal beautification. Although the list is long, the basics of it are as follows:

  • Removal of bodily hair, especially from the armpits and private areas, is Wajib (obligatory) once every month. Hair on the arms, legs and upper lip can also be removed through impermanent procedures that do not involve risks to health or appearance.
  • Removal of the eyebrows has a separate ruling. It is inherently impermissible to remove them, unless they are so abnormally dense that they cause a girl to look very manly or downright ugly. For such a case, the hair in between and on the sides of the eyebrows can be removed only.
  • Hair on the head may be cut and styled, coloured or bleached, without exceeding the limits of extravagance. It is impermissible to cut the hair like a man’s, to imitate a hairstyle that is unique to non-believing women or to pile the hair high on the head like a camel’s hump.
  • Ears and the nose can be pierced to wear ornaments in them.
  • Girls can wear any kind of jewellery and clothes of any colour, fabric or embellishments, as long as they do not reveal these ornaments to non-Mahram men. Muslim girls and women should not reveal more than their head, neck, forearms, feet and ankles, even to Mahram men or other Muslim women. Therefore, it is not permissible to wear very see-through clothes. Revealing bodies to women at beauty parlours to get the whole body waxed is also impermissible.
  • It is permissible to decorate hands and feet with henna or Mehndi.
  • Girls can wear any shoes they want; however, shoes that make a loud sound in public that attracts the attention of men or that make a woman’s body sway provocatively are not allowed.
  • Makeup is allowed as long as it is not used so much that it spoils natural skin, or in such a way that it resembles the makeup of non-believing women, or worn before non-Mahram men.
  • Muslim women may use perfume that is not strong in fragrance. They should not wear it on their outer garments to attract public attention; rather, they can wear it directly on their skin, under their clothes.
  • Dressing up for an all-girls’ party is perfectly alright as long as your clothes do not reveal more than your head, neck, forearms, feet and ankles.
  • Dressing up for the spouse is not just permissible, it is highly desirable, so please do it.

Of Sins and Forgiveness

Herbaceous border in full bloom at Priorwood Garden, Melrose, Bo

K. Ali narrates a story based on personal experience.

“They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Al-Araf 7:23)

I met her in front of a tiny, two-roomed house. Somewhere on the outskirts of God-knows-where, somewhere where there were piles of spoiled fodder and plastic bottles heaped one over the other. She had a strong, pink face, and she smelled of soap. Soap and, for some reason I did not know, musk.

It was quite an accident, our meeting. I was nineteen and driving without an instructor for the first time. My car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and I had to place a call home. My brother was to arrive in about an hour to pick me up; but, meanwhile, the heat was unbearable. I was thirsty, too, and my face showed it. I kicked open the door of the car, clambering outside. The smell and the flies all around nauseated me instantaneously, and I pulled my cap low over my forehead, wishing it could drive them away.

That was when I met her.

She was in the garden, the pretty garden outside her tiny, two-roomed house to my right. I saw her, she saw me, and I instantly looked away. Half a minute later, she came up to me. In her hands was a tray, and in the tray – a glass of water.

“Have a sip, daughter,” she said, holding out the glass.

“No thanks,” I said, a little distastefully. I certainly felt thirsty but not thirsty enough to stoop this low: to accept a drink of water from a ragged woman, when with all the cash in my pocket I could buy a dozen cans of Pepsi. It indeed was a level of degradation I could never even dream of falling to.

“I saw a war when I was younger,” she replied quietly.

“That’s nice,” I replied, turning away. The distaste in my tones had grown stronger now, and I did not attempt to hide it. With temperatures shooting up and a sweltering summer sun beating down on me, the last thing I wanted was to end up listening to the fanatical tales of an old, white-haired woman, who smelled of soap.

Soap and, for a reason I did not know, musk.

She paid no attention to my distaste. Calmly, she continued. “There were lots of people there,” I heard her say. “People pierced by machine guns, people with broken bones, twisted necks, cracked skulls. Those were better days for me, I could serve better things. But you know what, daughter? They wouldn’t have them. They wouldn’t have my alcoholic drinks. They wanted water.”

I looked up, startled. She seemed in a trance now.

“Remember when Allah (swt) created Adam (as)?” she asked. Asked whom? I still wonder, I can’t help wondering – I am sure she did not ask me. “He created him as a superior creature. Then, He asked the angels to bow down before him. All of them did, didn’t they?”

The words rose automatically to my lips: “Satan didn’t.”

“Yes, he didn’t,” she agreed. She walked to her garden and sat down in the middle of it. It was a pretty garden, the only pretty spot for miles around, perhaps. She drank the water she had brought for me, slowly, taking steady sips, before looking at me again. “He didn’t, and he was sinning,” she continued. Her voice was stronger now. “Do you know the story? Do you know, how Adam (as) and Eve (as) were asked to leave Paradise?”

I nodded, throat dry.

She smiled. “Yes, I read about it too, once. Twice, maybe. Maybe more. He lured Adam (as) and Eve (as), that Iblis. He tempted them, and they ate the forbidden fruit. Do you know what this shows? Do you?”

I shook my head. She smiled again. “Yes, you do,” she told me. “We all do. It shows who we are; it shows who he is – who Iblis is. It shows that we are humans – that it is human to err. Part of man’s instinct is an inherent weakness – a weakness that leads him to wither in the face of temptation to sin. And part of Iblis’s instinct is evil – an evil that led him to defiance and pride, an evil that made him mark, in Paradise, the beginnings of his mission to commit misdeeds. And do you know what else it shows? Do you?”

Once more I shook my head, and once more she smiled. “Yes, you do,” she repeated. “We all do. It shows that Allah (swt) is love, and that in His nature, in His light is forgiveness, pure, beautiful and powerful. For when Adam (as) and Eve (as) cried, when they begged, He forgave both His creations. In fact, He taught them how to seek forgiveness from their Lord (swt).”

I was quiet now. She did not notice this, or perhaps she did and ignored it. “We commit so many sins in our lives,” she was saying. I heard her, as if from a distance, a very far-off distance. “And when we are offered God’s blessings in places we least expect to be offered them, we reject them, because we want something better, something larger. We do not want small, we want big – big tempts us, because it is so much more glamorous. Small seems weaker, so much weaker. And He forgives us.”

I saw myself stoop, saw myself reach for the now half empty glass of water. The liquid was clear, cool and sweet – like no other drink of water I have ever tasted – and I drank deeply. I looked up at the woman again, the old, white-haired woman, and she smiled at me. She smelled of soap and, for a reason I now knew, she smelled of musk.

Suddenly, the level of degradation I had never dreamed of falling to was an ascent. The sky was me, and I was the sky.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers – Part 5

Jan 11 - 7 habits teenagers

Paradigms of Life

Sean Covey explains that just as we have paradigms (perceptions) of ourselves and others, we also have paradigms of the world in general. We can find out what our life centres around by asking ourselves the following questions (as we did in our previous articles):

  1. What do I think about the most?
  2. What do I spend most of my time doing?
  3. Who or what is the driving force of my life?

Some popular life-centres for teenagers will follow. They all have certain good points, but they are also incomplete in one way or the other, as will be discussed.


We often witness people building their identity around being an outstanding sportsperson, only to suffer a severe injury; or around an outstanding career only to find out that someone outshines them. In such cases, the poor soul is left to rebuild from scratch. Similarly, many other interests or pastimes, such as theatres, clubs, etc., are based on unstable grounds. If one performs greatly in a particular play or event, it is most stressful to continue maintaining the same performance each time one puts his foot on the stage or in the club.

A wise man once said: “In a game, everyone cannot be a winner. There will be losers, too. And they are human beings. As long as one gives his/her 100 per cent, leave the rest to Allah (swt). It is for Him to decide who crosses the finishing line first.”


It is very common for the youth to centre their lives on famous celebrities, movies stars, sportsmen, politicians, rock stars, etc. They will even be able to tell you what their favourite personality has for breakfast! But if the same celebrity dies, ends up in prison or does something impulsively ridiculous, where will the fans go? They will feel embarrassed, angry and disappointed. As is the case of every person in the limelight: “What goes up, comes down.” And one day people do forget them, too. We have endless stories of the fans of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, etc., who spent their lives in their favourite celebrity’s shadow, even after they were gone. So hero-worship is certainly a vulnerable and fragile centre.


Sometimes our entire life revolves around hating a particular person, group or an ideology. Just as an antagonist in a movie wants to take revenge from the protagonist, the aim of some people in life is just to make the lives of others miserable. All the positive energy and creativity turns into evil genius and is passed on to others like a fatal epidemic. They stoop to any level just to settle scores. Such ideologies are usually a by-product of hanging out with gangs or the result of broken homes or maybe, very low self-worth. This indeed is a warped centre. Not to mention how very detrimental it is to one’s faith and extremely heavy on one’s heart. Imagine carrying around so much venom inside one’s heart.


Workaholism is a sickness that generally afflicts people after they have crossed their teenagehood. But sometimes it can strike the young as well. One feels the need to have more money, cars, status and recognition. This obsession prevents the person from

enjoying what he already has, and drives him/her to greater ambitions. This further leads the person to be burned out from too much work and may deprive him/her of sound health and steady mind. Because there is no moderation in life and one is just slaving day in and day out, eventually it tends to make one very unhappy and dead beat.


This is a very common centre nowadays. This perception makes a person resistant to putting the mirror down. Sean Covey explains it: “One thinks that the world revolves around you and your problems. This often results in being so worried about your own condition that you’re oblivious to the walking wounded all around you.” One’s life begins with “my ugly pimple, my dead cell phone, my bad grade…” Get the picture? The list goes on and on.

So what will ultimately provide us with the stability we need in life? All the life-centres that we have discussed in this and our previous issues have proved to be shaky and uncertain. Sean Covey is not suggesting that we should quit being ambitious or passionate about people and stuff we believe in. What he warns against is that we should not rely on a life-line that may give out anytime without warning.

In the next part we will discuss the real thing – the actual centre that we should all try to acquire for guaranteed success, Insha’Allah.

So be on the lookout for our upcoming article.

What are habits?

They are not a machine, though they work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human.

They may be run for profit or run for ruin – it makes no difference to them.

So form them wisely!

Dear Haadia


We find two Ahadeeth with criteria for selecting one’s spouse-to-be. In one, Allah’s Messenger (sa) has advised to pick a wife who follows her Deen, and keep other priorities, such as her wealth, status and lineage, on a lower scale. On the other hand, there was an occasion, when he advised a Sahabi to look at the girl he was getting married to. Can we have an explanation for the above two, in order to guide youngsters who are planning to get married?

Answer: We can easily reconcile these two apparently contradictory scenarios that are found in the Sunnah.

For marriage, a Muslim man should give the highest priority to a girl’s piety and practice of religion, as you have stated. However, our Prophet (sa) advised looking at her towards the end of the proposal process, when the two families have negotiated other matters, and a positive outcome seems imminent. At this point, the young man may look at the girl, in order to prevent possible disappointment or physical revulsion, when he sees her in person after marriage.

It was narrated that a man wanted to marry a daughter of one of the Companions who was a resident of Madinah. The Prophet (sa) said to him: “Go and look, and then marry. There is something in the eyes of the Companions.” (Muslim)

As this narration indicates, it serves as a safety net to look at the prospective girl in order to identify any deformity or physical defect that can turn off her future husband, or vice versa. Marriage means conjugal relations, for which physical attraction plays an important part. Though it is mostly enough for his female relatives to describe the girl to him, a man is still permitted to look. As to the extent of looking and what the girl is permitted to show, Shaykh Uthaymeen at gives us the details in Question 102369, where he says:

“It is permissible for the suitor to see the woman to whom he is proposing marriage, but that is subject to certain conditions:

  1. That he needs to see her. If there is no need, then the basic principle is that a man should not look at a woman, who is a non-Mahram to him.
  2. He should have made up his mind that he wants to propose. If he is still hesitant, then he should not look, but if he has made up his mind, then he may look.
  3. This looking should be without being alone with her, i.e., it is essential that she has one of her Mahrams with her.
  4. He should think it most likely that she and her family will accept. If he does not think it is most likely, then there is no point in looking, because his proposal will not be accepted, whether he looks at her or not.

In this situation, the woman must come out to the suitor looking ordinary; she should not come out wearing beautiful clothes or makeup, because she is not yet his wife.”

The practices of dolling up a girl, asking her to entertain her potential suitor’s family or dressing up to catch public attention for a future marriage proposal are high despicable.

Allah (swt) knows best.