I ran into way too many members of Hai'a recently and had to write a post about their unislamic behavior. It seems to me as if it's becoming worse lately. What really upsets me is how ruthlessly they harass women. I've taken a habit now of answering their hateful comments of covering by replying "Lower your gaze". It seems to work because the muttawa get an empty look on their faces and eventually leave. Could it be because they actually feel a tiny bit of guilt somewhere in the deepest corners of their minds? Or perhaps they go into shock because a woman is challenging them? It does seem to create confusion. I guess they don't have a "Lowering Gazes" or "Respecting Women's Privacy" class in Muttawa School.
Check out my previous post on muttawa encounters here.
The Hai'a seem to have picked Hayat Mall as their new favorite place to terrorize people, sorry women that is.
The muttawas in question did not even have the police with them. I saw a few different groups of them grazing the mall. One was a gang of three very young muttawas, the tallest had the Harry Potter cape on. I wonder if their beards were even real, they looked no more than 21 years old to me.
This gang actually had the nerve to start following my friends around the mall, waiting outside stores so they could shout at us again. My friends like most western women here don't cover their hair. So we start hearing over and over "cover you hair". The scarves were wrapped on but the muttawas still didn't leave! They were waiting to get another go at us if the scarves happen to slip off. It's as if they just want to check us out! This really irritates me because I know my friends feel anxious, cornered and even fearful because of their behavior. I wanted to stop it so I ended up having to remind the men to lower their gazes. Why are they staring at us in the first place? Have they forgotten this verse from the Quran:
"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do."
Better that we women remind these poor brothers of their duty to lower their gazes since it seems they have totally forgotten it!I think women should stand up to this kind of madness and not let them treat us like cattle or pieces of meat!
On another occasion a pair of old baba muttawas attack us, a group of women doing some shopping and minding our own business. They shout "Cover your hair" while angrily pointing a finger at my friends one at a time singling them out and approaching us. He then turns to me and shouts "cover your face!" I was like what the fatwa? I've never heard that before, I thought they only said that to Saudi women. I pointed my finger back at him and said "why don't you lower your gaze?" He just looked at me dumbfounded with an empty expression on his face. I thought perhaps he did not understand so I repeated myself in a louder voice please LOWER YOUR GAZE. He hesitated for a second, but then they left.
What does Hadith say about lowering gazes?
"I asked Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes." Hadith - Sahih Muslim 5372, Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah Note it says a glance at the FACE. And the solution here, is it for the woman to cover her face? No- for the man to lower his gaze. Now this could lead to a whole other conversation of the niqab and is it compulsory but my point is the responsibilty here is placed on the man.
So why are the supposedly pious muttawa allowed to so blatantly stare at women and not lower their gazes?
That is just absurd. It's also giving a really negative image of Islam to westerners here and when they return to their home countries this is one of the messages that spreads about the country and the religion. I hate it when my friends start saying bad things about Islam that are not true. It all stems directly from the actions of these men.
I try to explain that what some Muslims do is not necessarily what Islam teaches. I have a feeling my words are nothing in the face of the atrocious actions of the muttawa.
I encourage other women being harassed by muttawa to give them a stern reminder to lower their gazes.