Moral Teachings of Islam 17 – Modesty And Dress Code

Jamal Badawi

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In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon your servant and messenger Muhammad forever mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. I greet you all of the viewers of the Islamic focus program, with the universal greetings of peace, greetings that have been used by all of the profits from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond to you? Today we have our 17th program in our series on the moral teachings of Islam.

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And our topic today will be a continuation of our discussion of honor in Islam. I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University of Jamal assalamu, alaikum.

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I wonder if perhaps is our fashion if you could very quickly highlight for us the main points that we talked about during our program last time? Sure.

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First of all, we started by emphasizing that Islam considers the pursuit of the satisfaction of the sexual urge outside of the boundaries of legitimate and recognize marriage as a major sin. Whether that might take the form of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, or any other sexual perversion.

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Secondly, we emphasize that the program that Islam provides to achieve this purity is not simply by preaching, or by over emphasis on the Penal Law, but rather by providing an integration of the activities of society and individuals to encourage everybody to follow the pure path of God.

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We started looking at some of the social measures that Islam suggests to help improve the situation,

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and provide this environment. And we said that, first of all Islam, calls for fighting against pornography, in whatever form it may take, papers, magazines, TV, whatever,

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to resolve the problem of prostitution by getting at the roots of the problems, the various socio economic problems that might have given rise to this.

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And thirdly, to generally promote standards of decency within society at large. And then we started looking at the individual responsibility or shared in this activity or pursuit. And we indicated that, first of all the warning that the Quran provides against lusty looks at numbers of other sex other than one, one's wife, of course, our husband. And then we said that this does not mean that the person would not look at all work like that. Nor does it mean that they should be total and complete separation between males and females who said the problem is to avoid lusty looks, and to avoid the kind of mixing where the basic standards of behavior and Islamic dress, according to Islam

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are not being observed. So the problem is not being together, because when men and women were already together in the mosque of the Prophet peace be upon him, and he did not object to that so long as these rules were respected.

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Now, the question of dress and the dress code, I think many people would be curious to know why the

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moral code of Islam includes stipulations relating to address many people, I guess, would probably argue that dress is really not a significant that it's a personal kind of matter or something that should be left up to the to the whim of the or the choice or the preference of the individual. Why is it that Islam includes the stipulations and requirements regarding dress in its moral code? Okay, the way a Muslim looks at it on the basis of the Quran is that

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dress performs more than one function. And those who make that argument seems to overemphasize two aspects of the functions of this and leave the third

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Yes, dress as a function of protection from weather condition.

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So, this is one

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second The dress is used also are regarded as one aspect of beautification or decoration.

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But what seems to be forgotten is that according to Islam, this also has a moral function. Let me quote from the Quran justification are the documentation of this statement in

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chapter seven, verse 26, if

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you have any other Naka De Anza, na la comunidad s and USD, so ethical militia, taqwa Delica

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Are you children of Adam, we that's God, we have bestowed

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remnants or clothing upon you to cover

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your private parts, as well as to be an adornment for you. But the clothing or the covering of righteousness, that is the best, such are among the signs of God, that they may receive admonition. There are a number of interesting observations about this.

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First of all, it emphasizes that yes, piety is more important. That is the inner purity of the heart definitely is more important when invested taqwa Delica, high, it specifies that. But on the other hand, it shows also that dress has a more in function to play. Because it's related to to piety, it mentioned covering of the body just as much as also covering the moral sins, if you will, are trying to overcome impurities. The other aspect of it is that the verse starts by addressing mankind in general doesn't say all believers are all Muslim says all children of Adam, which means that the

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question of trust, or lack of trust, I should say, or nudity is an evil that should be eradicated. And even which does not only hurt Muslims, but ultimately, it hurts the moral,

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well being of humanity at large. So it's not a matter of replacing formal aspects of outwardly compliance with certain dress code with piety, but why not have both? And if piety is truly that and the heart, if cleanliness is from inside, it is also shown outside it automatically comes why replace one or the other? Why not have both of them go hand in hand?

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When

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people talk about this whole issue of dress code, and so on relating to Islam, many people have the mistaken impression that the regulations apply more to the female than they do to the male. If you were to encounter such a person, how would you How would you clarify the situation for them? What effects such persons that you may encounter might not be limited even to non Muslim, some Muslim themselves relaxed understanding of the true nature of Islam have some difficulty with insight, insightful apprehension. Conventional wisdom may have the same question.

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Indeed, the protection of modern standards, and an ideal Western community or society and preservation, this purity is the responsibility that does not fall only on the shoulder of one sex, or the other, but both of them. Indeed, you might recall in the previous program, we cited one verse from the Quran relating to the lust, he looks in chapters 24

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verse 30, and 31. And if you recall that it's the first verse 30 starts by saying, say, Mohammed to the believing men, that they should lower their gaze and guard their chest.

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But the and then continues on at the beginning of the following verse 31. And it says, and say to the believing women, that they should lower their gaze and guard their chastity. So this is one of many incidents in the Quran, where it addresses both males and females at the same time on the same plan that both are responsible. And you're absolutely right in saying that some people mistakenly think that well for the female you have to provide this this and that restriction for the male. He can do as he wishes, some Muslim parents even have this mistaken

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understanding.

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Not only this, we find that the Quran also when it praises chestatee and high modern ideas, it addresses both, again males and females. One of the most impressive citations in the Quran on this issue appears in chapter 33 verse 35, it says, For the Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for development and women

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For two men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant for men and women who humbled themselves, for men and women who are given charity for men and women who fast

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for men and women who got their chest dirty, and for men and women who engage much in God's praise for them, has got preferred forgiveness, and great reward. It keeps repeating in and muslimeen, our listener keeping repeating the male and female, and each of this particular moral virtues and that's again another clear evidence that the responsibility is a joint responsibility.

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There may be some differences might mind do between males and females between the specific restrictions on male and female, between the specification or the extent of coverage of the body that is required. But these are differences not in principle, there are differences only relating to the natural differences between the two sexes, but not on the the principle itself. I would like to go on and discuss the dress code in a little more detail for the benefit of our viewers and I see us as as your fashion you've brought along a very useful chart here. I wonder if you might take us through this chart. And perhaps when we come back and discuss it in more detail, you want an overall

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review first, and then we'll come back and try to dissect it perhaps in fact,

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this is designed also partly to respond to the the question that you just raised about

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the dress code being biased only or required for one sex relevant other. For example, here, we talk about the dress code, and it's known for both sexes. And on the left hand side of the chart, we have the classification of the various acts as viewed in Islam. As you might recall, we said in Islamic law, there are certain acts which are required, mandatory, others that are commendable, others that are permissible which are neither commendable nor detestable, but the permissible period

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acts which are detestable and acts which are forbidden.

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And then what I did on this chart is to

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have a classification under each of these five acts. As it relates both to male and female, I just thought both that is required are commendable acts which apply equally to both males and females. And then specific requirements which might be more applicable or specifically applicable to many others that might be

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specifically applicable to female. So, there are the areas similarities and areas of differences are all reflected in that particular chart. Just to give you an example and I understand you might wish to come back and get further clarification on the required x. For example, both males and females are required to cover the so called our we can explore that the part of the body that should be covered. for males however, it is defined as Neva knees for female, it is the whole body except face enhance comment about x. cleanliness, hygienists and modesty would be common to both males and females. wearing a turban for a male would be more desirable. For our for a female Of course, you

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are expected to wear a turban, but something like a clock would be desirable. It's important forehead commendable.

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In detestable acts, vanity and imitation blind imitation would be detestable for both males and females. And finally, under category of forbidden to imitate the clothing of other sex, or to emulate the

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behavior of other sex would be forbidden for both males and females. And then you have a specific prohibition here that applies only to men. That is to wear gold, or sec.

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Does the structuring right I'm going to practice we can go back to the The first area of the required area and have you perhaps expand a little more for those who may not be familiar and may not understand the Arabic term if you could just explain a little bit but Audra Audra.

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Yes. Well, the main reason I didn't put the translation and that is that usually when people translate that in English, they give a partial meaning of what our means. One of the common translation is to translate it private parts. They say for example, Islam requires covering up the outer or concealment of our that's to cover the private parts. Well, private parts is only one aspect of our but the original Arabic term is really a lot more comprehensive than that.

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Just to clarify

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the

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The very bare minimum, that a person should never exposed to any other person, even from the same sex, even male to female or female to female, are the like private paths. In fact, the prophet peace be upon him put it very clearly. And it says that a man or a man, a man should not see another man's private part and a female should not look at the private parts of another female. So even within the same sex, the very private things should not really be shown to anyone

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that don't exception to that, of course, is the case of medications where there's a necessity for saving life or treatment, where if there's no other

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way to examine, then this would be permissible, there's no problem with that.

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And the This, of course, understand why it sounds rather strange to people who are used to going, for example, in swimming pools, and finally, people going to showers without any cover or anything around their waist. From the Muslim point of view, this is very inappropriate. And in fact, if a Muslim in that position, actually, it's very difficult, he probably would have to leave the place or

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make sure that he does not really get involved in this. So this is one. But in addition to this, the technical meaning also of our is that there are also other parts of the body besides the private parts that one should not

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expose to other people. For example, as we have in this

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chart here, the very bare minimum,

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according to most jurist for males, is to cover between the area between the navel to the knees, there have been some difference of opinion as to whether the thigh for men is a must or desirable to be covered. But this is the more common opinion.

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That means this is the absolute minimum. But the same term also, when it applies to females, our first female in Islamic law includes the entire body, with the exception of the face, and hands. And even then, this definition of our law could vary, sometimes, depending on the circumstances. For example, between husband and wife or reverse, there is no restriction whatsoever, including the most intimate

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between, for example, a woman and her son, brother,

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or Father, for example, the restrictions are less, but it's not just often, that means she might be able to show her arms or not cover her head, her legs may not be covered, but this will not really matter. So if there is also so in other words, the definition of holder does not only

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is not only subject to the definition, between male and female, but it also depends on the circumstances. And the kind of situation person might be, like very helpful, because they common interpretation of the word really would not do justice, to the entire meaning. But when we look at the we will look at this. And we see in the case of the male covering from the navel to the knees, and the female, everything except for the handsome face.

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There are probably some viewers, perhaps even some Muslims, who would say that this seems to be somewhat unfair. I can see for example, some females would possibly argue say that look, there seems to be more restriction on the female, there is on the male and might even say, Well, look, we find the the male to be more attractive than the female. Can you explain that?

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How would you respond to somebody who make might make these kinds of

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arguments that can explain why there seems to be

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some apparent addition or additional requirement on the part of the female? Okay, it's a start with it. Now, this the second part of your question. First, as far as the argument that means also can be attracted to females? There's no question about that. In fact, this is part of the scheme creation that God has ordained this, you know, attraction between both sexes so that they can take the responsibility of getting married and raising a family and perpetuating the humankind. There's no question about that.

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In fact, in one saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Once he said that, even if a man comes from the Far East, a woman come from the far west needs a totally different cultures, there still be some attraction, mutual affection between both of them. This is something that God has created us with.

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But on the other hand, it is unreasonable also to say that men and women are 100%

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equal even in terms of physiological and physical structures. And definitely a woman, comparatively speaking, is relatively more attractive than men.

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are also attracted to him.

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Well, one my favorite example of this when I'm asked that question say right, if

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a man meets the minimum requirements by covering from the Navy to the knees, which means walking, for example, without a shirt, so from the waist up is exposed, what cannot reasonably argue that it is exactly the same thing for a female also to work without any color from the waist up. And it's so obvious that, definitely, there's more beauty, there's more attraction that God has created in the female sex comparatively to the mid sex. So they could be more reasons also, to require additional coverage for the in the case of the human. But that a point of fairness? I'm glad that you raised this because many times when this questions is, the perspective of where this instructions came

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from, it's not clear, especially in the minds of non Muslims. Some people think that these are codes that are imposed by some religious leaders, and jurists, or imposed by even a prophet himself, Prophet Mohammed.

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And what is forgotten there is that this the dress code in Islam is not a matter that people just came up with. It is actually based on revelation right in the Word of God, it says in the Quran, as well as the saying of the Prophet and the saying of the Prophet again, is not his own ideas. Because the Quran indicate that he does not speak of his own whatever is revealed to him he speaks, or he reveals to people.

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But the Quran itself is very clear. Now, from the standpoint of a committed Muslim woman, she never, never follows the dress code and Islam, simply because this is social pressure. I'm talking about the ideal situation, or because somebody imposed it on her, because no other human being can impose anything on any other human being. But it is done with the sense of commitment that this is a application or manifestation of belief in God, and trust in the validity of his teaching and instruction, which is for the good of all. So when a woman is doing batches, or being God, rather than obeying her husband or anybody else, for that matter, indeed, in my travels throughout North

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America, I've

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received questions even from sisters from Muslim ladies who complain that their husbands are trying even to prevent them from wearing the standard attire, they want them to uncover, which is very strange attitude on the part of some means, and they are steadfastly insist on observing that when they when they go out. And so it boils down really to the question of trust in God and acceptance of his rules rather than the ruins of any human being. And since God is neither male or female, he cannot say that he is biased by revealing more restriction or requiring more restriction on male or female. It's a matter of

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his wisdom, his eternal wisdom that requires certain things for the benefit and morality of the entire society at large. Now, these requirements, are they applicable at all times? Are there some occasions or some circumstances where there are exceptions? One, this is again, another, perhaps, misgivings that some people may have that they think that a woman, Muslim woman, for example, must cover or observe that

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even inside their home in the privacy of their own household? No, it is not, in fact, for example, if the woman is in her own privacy, which is alone, for example, there's no other forbidden man, if you weren't seeing her, she's free to wear whatever she likes.

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Secondly, with her husband, she's free to wear anything, so long as again, they're alone in their own privacy, indeed, to be frank about it. Islam even encourages a woman to beautify herself for her husband, as well as the men also get to find himself for his wife. To keep that tractability there is no problem at all of having to be restricted in front of her husband, that's not really

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a virtue in itself.

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But in addition to this, there are some categories where the dress code is relaxed also. For example, a woman when she is in the presence of the so called Muslim can explore on that people for example, who could not qualify to marry her. She does not have to cover fully chicken covered properly and some degree of modesty but she doesn't have for example, to cover her hair or arms or legs or neck for example. But this are specified again, for certain categories of

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very close relatives, not relatives even in the western sense, but very close relatives as defined in senate law. So there are some exemptions and

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the I be curious to know that there are there are some categories where there are

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Are some exemptions and I wonder if perhaps you could clarify what these categories might be, and why they are exempted from the full observance from the observance writing. One, this are this categories are all listed in the verse that I cited earlier in the current chapter 24, verse 30, and 3131. In particular dimension of this categories. This includes a number

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of groups. First of all, with one with one's own spouse, there is no restriction so that's understandable. Secondly,

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the category of people to whom a woman could have never qualified to marry even if she was not married at that time. That includes, for example, the Father, the Son, the brothers, the niece, and a nephew. Because in a sense,

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a woman cannot marry to any of these categories. Why these groups are exempted, of course, for husbands, the exemption is understood because this is their private relationship. But for this category, like husband, for me, like Father, Son, and brother,

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they are exempt, because after all, it is a natural instinct that God has put into humankind that one would not look Lastly, for example, to this categories to mother or sister or daughter, except Unless, of course, the person is very, very incestuous or very sick, really, but usually, the relationship is quite different. So they did some relaxation of those restrictions would be quite reasonable.

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There's also another exception in the same verse, that is other women, it doesn't mean that a woman, a Muslim woman can uncover herself totally or semi totally in front of another woman. But it means that some of those relaxation, some of those rules can be relaxed also, like covering the hair, arms or legs. Among with the presence of other women, there have been differences of opinion as to whether these other women must be Muslims or non Muslims, their opinions on both sides. But it appears that the reasonable interpretation, my humble understanding that any other woman, in fact, because otherwise, a Muslim woman would have to observe very, very strict code in the presence of

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another woman, which might not make much sense, especially if there's so much treatment or contact between women. So again, among women, with some degree of restriction also, it should be observed but not fully. So these are the categories basically, where relaxation is there. So in addition, or in return for strict observances in the presence of other means, like going out in the street where everybody can look. In addition, in return for this observances, there's complete

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relaxation in the privacy of one's okay. We'll have to conclude at that point. Because we've exhausted our time for today. We want to thank you for watching the program. We trust that you found it of some interest. We want to invite you back. Next week we will continue our discussion. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you