I would like to give you my brief introduction before I put my query to you:
Currently I am working as an executive in a company, I hold a masters degree. I started working with a female colleague, who is also at the same level as I am, almost 10 months ago. Our tables are opposite to each other. Our seating arrangement is such that we sit facing each other. I respect my colleague very much, now the problem is that she is in habit of adjusting her dupatta1 very much. Whenever I have to talk to her or otherwise anywhere else she is always busy adjusting her dupatta, I think she may be doing it almost 100 to 150 times a day. Now this sometimes makes me very uncomfortable. Secondly her problem is that her figure is very explicit. Although she tries to wear loose clothes but still it reveals her body, and I think she very conscious of that.
My questions are:-
What does Islam says to women regarding covering their bodies?
What are Islam’s instructions to men regarding looking at women?
Kindly also explain in the light of Islam as to how should I handle this situation as it is affecting my work performance.
Also any other information useful to in the light of my situation will be highly appreciated.
For answers to the first two questions, please refer to my answers to related questions addressing social interaction between men and women. In case any aspect requires any further elaboration, please feel free in writing back to me.
As far as the third question is concerned, I think the most important aspect that must always be kept in mind is that we are all being tested in the life of this world. Success in this test shall open for us gates of the everlasting bliss. Failure, on the other hand, shall result in absolute doom. To go through this test, our Creator has given us His guidance and knowledge of the way to succeed in this test in a number of ways. The first among these is the basic sense of distinguishing between good and evil. We know that truthfulness, honesty etc. are desirable and that the opposite behavior is wrong. Besides this, our Creator has also guided us through his prophets and messengers. There is this knowledge that our Creator has given us on the one hand, while on the other, we have been given the desire to deviate from the path. Evil thoughts come to our mind. We get opportunities to do wrong for our immediate pleasures. All this is a part of the test that we are faced with.
The ultimate object of this test is to see who among us goes through life in such a way that would cleanse him from all evil and thus qualify him for the everlasting bliss. We are required in this life to control our desires and follow the path that our Creator likes, even though we are greatly attracted to do otherwise.
My dear brother, as a part of this test, evil forces and evil thoughts are allowed to exist in this world. Our target should be to live our lives in such a way that we save ourselves from these forces so that we qualify for the pleasures of the everlasting life in the hereafter. We cannot become angels, and neither are we required to do so. We shall remain humans, with all the weaknesses and desires of humans, time and again we shall falter, we shall do wrong… yes, we shall remain humans, but we must never become unmindful of our Lord’s likings and dislikings. Even after having done something extremely grave, we must turn towards our Lord and ask His forgiveness. We must never become arrogance and conceit towards submitting to the likings of our Lord.
To follow the path that our Lord approves and to save ourselves from following the evil path, even though it attracts us, the Qur’an and the Prophet (pbuh) advise us to do the following:
To regularly recite the Qur’an. It must be remembered that recitation of the Qur’an means to read the Qur’an while understanding it. Every Muslim should fix a time in his daily activities for reading the book of God;
To consistently remind ourselves of the day that we shall have to leave everything of this world, even our personal belongings and our loved ones and shall have to face our Lord, the Omnipotent and the All-knowing God, and shall have to answer for all that we do in our life; and
To regularly spend some time in the company of people who are sincerely striving to lead a clean life and thereby become true and faithful servants of God.
These three activities if regularly taken up, shall insha’Allah safeguard us from implementing our evil thoughts and from the evil influence of our surrounding.
My dear brother, I assure you, if we try our best to live our lives according to the likings of our Creator, He shall Himself save us from the doom in the hereafter. He is the All-Mercy the Ever Merciful in His court we shall be rewarded and saved just by sincerely trying to follow the right path.
26th May 1998
- A light cloth normally used to cover the head and the bosom. [↩]