Tudong In Singapore: What Aurat Is All About In Islam…

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Miscellaneous

Recently, I read in both the social and mainstream media, on the contentious issue of allowing Muslim women to don their tudong, while working in the frontline public service in Singapore. There were many exchanges between both proponents and opponents on this issue, but I have not seen, anyone clearly defining in simple terms, what aurat, exactly means in Islam.

In my opinion, education on what aurat means to a Muslim is very important, to establish and develop cogent dialogue and fruitful discussion with pertinent stakeholders then, now and in the future. It is important to identify, and reiterate the sheer magnitude of importance on the crux  and scope of the underlying issue to present effectively the cause that we are advocating in this multi cultural, multi ethnic, cosmopolitan Singapore, especially when it involves religion.

I know, there are many others, who are more qualified to talk about this subject, but the absence of substantive elucidation on the subject matter in the open space is really bothering me, prompting me to create this blog post. I learnt about aurat in my religious class and am prepared to be corrected if any asatizahs found what I will share below to be contradictory in the spectacles of Islam.

This post, is meant to be educational, and aims to promote inter-religious understanding amongst all my friends of all faith in Singapore.

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Aurat according to Islam refers to the intimate parts of the human body that must be covered from the sight of others with clothing. Exposing the intimate parts of the body is unlawful in Islam and is regarded as sin (haram).

The discussion in this post on aurat, will focus specifically, on aurat between a non marham man and woman.

(A non-mahram is someone who you can marry, someone who you should cover yourself in front of – whereas if you are Mahram to someone, you cannot marry them – your brother, father, uncle, etc.)

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A man has his aurat. The aurat of a man refers to the part of the body from the navel to the knees. This means, according to Islam, a Muslim man, must cover part of the body from the navel to the knees, when he is in front of a non Marham woman.

man_aurat

 

The aurat of a woman is her whole body except for her face and her hands and therefore must be covered when she in front of non mahram man.

 

women_aurat

 

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As Muslims, when we practice our religion, we will always refer back to the Quran and Sunnah, with guidance by our Islamic scholars. We believe Quran is the word of God and Sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) who we, Muslims believe him to be the last messenger of God, lived his life.

Quran and Sunnah, both are sources of Islamic jurisprudence that  are indispensable. One cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.

In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“I leave behind me two things, the Holy Qur’an and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.”
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There are many Quranic verses and hadiths on the obligation of covering our Aurat. Amongst them,

Surah 24. An-Noor, Verse 31:

annur

Translation:
And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.

 

Surah 33. Al-Ahzab, Verse 59:

ahzab

Translation:
O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

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Other narration (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad that commands a woman to cover herself.

hadith1

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I have seen articles, shared on facebook, discussing contrasting views on what exactly aurat is, but what I have shared above specifically on aurat, is agreeable by majority Islamic scholars in the world, and also being practiced by majority of Muslims worldwide.

Prophet Muhammad  has reminded us, “Without doubt, my Ummah will never be gathered in misguidance. Whenever you see disagreement, hold fast to the greater majority.”
(Ibn Majah)

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I hope, we, as Muslim community in Singapore can continuously engage, encourage and do our very best to win the trust of our government to allow Muslim women the freedom to wear tudong  in the frontline public service in Singapore, in the near future. I appreciate the effort of our Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, having candid discussions with our Muslim leaders on this issue. It shows the government is listening and proactive in addressing concerns on the needs of the Muslim community.

Do share this article and leave your thoughts below.

 

Sources Of Research
http://www.hadithcollection.com/download-hadith-books/361-abu-dawud.html?start=20

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080130122820AA9x5Kr

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intimate_parts_(Islam)

http://zulmauzun.blogspot.sg/2010/03/hadith-mengenai-aurat-perempuan-dan.html

 

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This post was written by:

- who has written 437 posts on The Official Helmi Hakim Website.

A certified financial consultant, Helmi Hakim has won praise for his patience, perseverance and practicality when solving his clients' financial concerns. For more information on how you can manage your finances better, contact Helmi Hakim at 96520134.

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2 Responses to “Tudong In Singapore: What Aurat Is All About In Islam…”

  1. Fatimah Says:

    The narration in Sunan Abu Dawud (as quoted in reference to the covering of everything but the hands and face) is considered a weak hadith.

    While it is sometimes claimed that the hadith is “agreeable by majority Islamic scholars”, there is no evidence of who these scholars are and the basis on which it was agreed. Where can I find citation and more information on this?

    I browsed Sunan Abu Dawud, and the texts also mentioned the Prophet forbade men to wear sandals while standing up, and said the Prophet did not greet someone who was wearing 2 items of red clothing, and forbade the use of perfume. The text also indirectly said the prophet did not like manly behavior from women (like wearing sandals).

    Its hard to understand why the community is so hung up over one issue but not over others. Such behavior sends the wrong impression of what the religion is about. Wearing or not wearing a headscarf is a matter of personal choice. If a job has special demands, it is your choice not to do it. If you think about it, does it mean a Muslim colleague can choose not to handle police dogs because it will affect his prayer life?

    Its very hard for someone outside the community to comment because it is politically incorrect, but us as a community need to have a good hard look at ourselves and change ourselves (not do jobs which may conflict with your religion) rather than expect the environment to change for you.

  2. Helmi Hakim Says:

    I understand that are Hadith that is considered weak and Hadith that is considered strong depending on several factors pertinent to the transmitter of the hadith itself. Example, was that person trustworthy, how good was their memory etc2.

    However, we have to remember, Hadith has to be used in conjunction with the Quran. Quran consists of the unaltered and direct words of God, which were revealed through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad, the final prophet of Islam, more than 1400 years ago.

    If stated in the Hadith, we must adhere to this and that, and Quran is there to support it, it becomes valid.

    If the Hadith is weak and says something peculiar in nature, and the idea is not in the Quran, we may choose to reject it, with consensus and advice from our Islamic scholars.

    It is the job of our Islamic scholars to decide, the do’s and don’ts in Shariah perspectives, in accordance to the Quran and Hadith/Sunnah. We as commoners are not qualified, thus require advice from people of knowledge, whom are the Islamic scholars themselves.

    After they ijtihad, coming to consensus or decisions, we as commoners just need to follow them.

    … And like I mentioned, if there are different views, we follow the decision and practices advocated by majority of the Islamic scholars in the world.

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    I understand the sentiments of our community. Many will like to uphold Amar Maaruf, Nahi Munkar. Enjoining good and forbidding bad. They want our Muslim women to have the choice to don their tudong in public sector jobs, because covering aurat is wajib.

    Many have been vocal, but at times, may look a bit forceful.

    I prefer a different approach, which exactly, what I am doing today for a living. Provide financial planning services to Muslim families.

    Insya’Allah, in the future, we have more Muslim entrepreneurs, doctors, nurses, and we can set up our own hospitals? They can pursue their passion freely, while adhering to the Islamic requirements.

    Insya’Allah, in the future, more eloquent Muslim intellectuals/scholars amongst us, who can communicate and win the trust of our government, that it is okay, to allow our Muslimahs to wear tudong at their workplace if they want to?

    The possibilities are endless Sis. All of us has a part to play.

    If you have more enquiries, on tudong, I will advice you to contact MUIS directly. In the recent dialogue with the prime Minister, our Mufti has made it clear, that wearing a tudong is wajib for Muslimahs. Do check with the Mufti or those Asatizah recognised by Muis, to get a better understanding of Allah’s commandment on covering our aurat. Insya’Allah.

    Wassalam. 🙂


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