In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"...so marry them with their family's permission
and give them their marriage portions decently
so that they live a protected life in marriage,
not indulging in illicit affarirs,
nor having secret lovers.
Not long ago while reading a Malay tabloid, a lead news item on its World News page entitled ‘Wanita Islam pertama menang Ratu Cantik USA’ (First Muslim woman won Miss USA) caught my attention and made my heart beat faster. Accompanying the news were three pictures of the woman, including one she was clad in bikini. She was Rima Fakih, an Arab (Lebanon)-American representing Michigan.
The word ‘Muslim’ made me sad. It was used in the wrong place. Why must ‘they’ highlight and associate ‘Muslim’ with a beauty contest? What were ‘they’ up to for splashing the news around the globe? Were ‘they’ trying to prove something by announcing that ‘finally a Muslim had made it’, she was declared the fairest and prettiest girl in the United States?
Does it mean that the Western world has no more grudge against Muslims, because Muslims too could be chosen to the highest spot or achievement including Miss USA? If Rima proceed to become Miss World or Miss Universe, would ‘they’ proudly declare that she was ‘the first Muslim woman to win the prestigious title’? So Muslims women were at par with ‘us’; they were a part of ‘us’, quiet similar to the slogan of former President George W Bush, “you are with us or we will fight you.”
To some in the Western world, Rima had made Muslims all over the world proud by winning the title, but to Muslims holding to the words of Allah SWT and His prophet, Muhammad peace by upon him (pbuh), she had disgraced and put a great insult to them.
Muslims women should cover up their bodies, not displayed them as what Rima had done. Showing off one’s ‘awrah’ (parts that elicit desire), what’s more in skimpy outfit that covered only one’s private parts was totally against Islam. So Rima had insulted Islam, so it’s a disgrace to have the word ‘first Muslim’ attached to her.
Beauty pageants were created by Westerners; the first modern American pageant was staged by PT Barnum in 1854, but his beauty contest was closed down by public protest. Now, more than a hundred years later, girls from all over the world including Islamic nations, took part in events such as Miss World and Miss Universe where they took stage showing off their assets, parading in bikinis in front of thousands, perhaps millions of eyes, watching television telecast.
It seemed that minds of some Muslims had been corrupted into believing and following the footsteps of non believers. They were actually exploiting weakness of the fairer sex in the name of business. Women were mere objects to satisfy their goals. Many women do not realise this fact, their body and beauty were subjected to hungry wolves who were actually taking advantage of their weakness.
Regarding the tendency of Muslims to follow the footsteps of non-believers, a hadith from Bukhari and Muslim, narrated Abu Sa'id, r.a. noted the Prophet peace be upon him (pbuh) said, "Surely, you will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, in everything as one arrow resembles another, (i.e. just like them), so much so that even if they entered a hole of a sand-lizard, you would enter it."
They said, "O Allaah’s Messenger! Do you mean to say that we will follow the Jews and the Christians?"
The Prophet (pbuh) replied, "Whom else?" (By meaning the Jew and Christians)
Its an irony when some ‘Muslimah’ (Muslim women) were fighting hard to uphold their religious rights in wearing hijab and niqab in some European countries and in North America, some choose to follow the free lifestyles of Westerners. Some Westerners who were enemies of Islam and who do not have correct information about Islam, received with open arms people like Rima Fakih, the new Miss USA.
Not long ago, Westerners regimes and the puppet government they installed in Kabul had Vida Samadzai taking the world stage as Miss Afghanistan 2003. She was the first Afghan woman to participate in an international beauty pageant since 1974. Vida was condemned by the fundamentalists in her homeland for parading in a bikini at the Miss Earth contest. So, it was the West that liberated Afghan women, not into light but going back to the ‘jahiliah’ (dark) period of the Arabs before the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) where women were treated as sex objects. Then, the Arabs even had their baby girls buried alive.
Commenting on eagerness of the world’s media to portray Rima Fakih as the first Muslim to be chosen Miss USA, a Muslim scholar, Dr Azhar Yaakob when interviewed by the writer, said readers should not be confused between an Arab and a Muslim.
He said the attitude of some Arabs were really bad, Muslims and non Muslims should not looked at them for examples. “They gave bad impressions about Islam, the good values mentioned in the Qur’an were absent from them.”
Rima Fakih gave a very negative impression about Islam in an era when more and more educated women all over the world especially in Europe and North America embracing Islam to reclaim their rights and dignity.
Women enjoy more protection and respect within Islam compared to any other faith, wrote Dr Y Mansoor Marican in his note ‘Invitation to Understanding Islam’ (www.perkim.net.my).
He writes: “The rights of a Muslim woman include the right to have her survival and sexual needs met by her husband, a marriage contract, and divorce, refuse a marriage proposal and maintain her name when entering marriage.
“She also has the right to inheritance, own and run her own business, exclusive possession of her assets and disposes them in ways that she considers appropriate. In the spiritual realm, women are equal to men as the only distinction amongst the Believers is the level of their piety. The status accorded to women in Islam is best exemplified in the reply of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when asked about Paradise: “It is at the feet of the mother.” (Bukhari)
Of course beauty pageants organized by Westerns were totally against Islam. Wearing revealing outfits what more women parading in bikini are unacceptable as ‘Muslims, male or female must cover their ‘awrah’. Westerners treat women like filth; beauty pageants were their platform to downgrade the fairer sex to the lowest level of mankind.
Western politicians and media criticize Islam as anti-women. They fear the growing trend amongst young, educated women all over the world to embrace Islam to reclaim their rights and dignity. Just about everything that feminists in the West strived for in the ‘70s was already available to Muslim women 1400 years ago.
Regarding women, the Prophet (pbuh) said that, the world and all things in it are valuable; and one of the most valuable in the world is a virtuous woman.
One day a woman asked the Prophet what were her duties towards her husband. To her, he replied: “A wife should not leave her home without her husband’s permission. Women are the twin halves of men.”
God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, daughters and aunts.
The rights of women are sacred. See that women are maintained in the rights assigned to them.
When a woman performs the five daily prayers, and fasts in the month of Ramadan, and is chaste, and is not disobedient to her husband, then tell her that she can enter Paradise by whichever door she chooses. So, to all women, aim to be a Queen of Paradise not a Miss Universe or Miss World who would be thrown into the fire of Hell!