Why so sexy? In one of my classes we were discussing the awrah, or places on the body that should be covered during and outside of prayer. Normally the conversation might take a turn and be all about women. However, in this case we discussed the awrah for men and it turned into a general tangent about men’s clothing.
Contrary to popular belief the shaykh told us how men also have strict guidelines when it comes to clothing. He shared with us how we ought to be cautious wearing clothing that we know for a fact has an impact on how the opposite gender views us. Take for example a person who goes to the gym *solely* for the purpose of looking attractive and to grab a few looks from the ladies, we say that person is in the wrong. Meanwhile a person going to the gym to benefit their health (as that should be the intention anyways) and ultimately isn’t concerned with the gaze of women is doing it right. What killed me was when the shaykh mentioned that even wearing a suit can be problematic.
It took me back to university days when a young woman asked me, “Why do Muslim women wear the headscarf and men don’t?” I explained to her that men like myself try to dress modestly by wearing clothing that doesn’t show off our bodies, in my case I usually wear a suit. She laughed and said, “Okay and I find you extremely attractive in a suit so how does that logic work?”
I suppose she was right. It’s true that there were scholars in the past that dressed in the finest of linens and garbs, but they were in control of their hearts. They were dressing that way to honor the knowledge they carried, not to get private messages about how handsome they are. If they felt their hearts swaying they rid themselves of the distractions. They also weren’t taking selfies for the world to view. As we walked out of class my friend said to me, “I guess this means if we feel sexy when we throw on our clothing then we should change.” It’s funny, but it’s true. Modesty is just as important for men as it is for women. May God enable us to live modest lives.
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