Short Answer: Islam teaches an all-encompassing modesty, respect and bashfulness in thinking, speaking and acting. It is rather immodest for women to walk around nearly naked even in front of one another. That’s not modest.
Salam Dear Reader,
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Islam teaches an all-encompassing modesty, respect and bashfulness in thinking, speaking and acting.
It is rather immodest for women to walk around nearly naked even in front of one another. That’s not modest.
A woman’s full beauty and body are a gift that are meant to be displayed in the right place and time… with her husband. It is something special that is meant to increase the bond and intimacy between the two of them.
The bikini trend is quite recent to basic human decency. It wasn’t the norm, by time as things changed it became more and more common or acceptable. But you can read research and studies on how this trend and the idea of having to expose that much flesh negatively influences a woman’s self-esteem and self-worth. How many women have negative self-image due to their bathing suit image…?
Islam is mercy. Islam is modesty. Have fun, but maintain your decorum and self-respect at all times.
We are dignified human beings. Nakedness and near nakedness are not the right way to go.
Also, if anything, this is an act of mercy. Even amongst each other, women have feelings of jealousy and competitiveness. So why create ill feelings amongst women when they look at each other’s bodies and desire what the other has or hasn’t?
So it’s actually mercy that they don’t have to do that or add to provoking instinctual feelings of jealousy and envy amongst one another….etc., and instead enjoy deep spiritual bonds that rise above the body image.
If women didn’t see other women ‘perfect’ bodies with no stretch marks, cellulite…etc., we wouldn’t have seen that many girls with anorexia and bulimia and low self-esteem and high self-loathing.
You wouldn’t have seen that many businesses feed off selling women the illusion of products that slim this or curve that or get rid of this or that….
The consumerism mentality that feed on women’s desire for physical perfection…Islam cuts this merciless race.
You are perfect. Part of realizing that is lowering your gaze and not looking at others. Your body is sacred, not for public display. Swimming doesn’t need bare flesh to be accomplished. It doesn’t ‘need’ that and we don’t ‘need’ to follow a trend that isn’t healthy spiritually, physically or morally.
And with regards to covering the area you mentioned (from belly button to knees), this is the area of the private parts of the woman that must not be revealed in front of anyone.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“A man should not see the private parts of another man, and a woman should not see the private parts of another woman.” [Sahih Muslim]
Now, why do the private parts have to be covered?
We will not discuss here the fiqhi rulings because this is not the section specialized for that. But we’ll contemplate together a few issues.
In the United States, there are extensive security measures that have been taken and continue to be taken to protect the area around the White House. The White House has one of the most critical and sensitive areas in the country, including the Office of the President of the United States.
Because of the sensitivity of this area, the authorities over time have taken measures to protect this area. They’ve built a great fence surrounding the area, thus blocking unwanted people away. They plan on making the fence even taller and stronger. They also have restricted airspace above the White House.
All of these measures have been taken by the authorities to protect this place and those in it because this is the most sensitive and most critical area in the country.
Now, don’t you think that Allah [swt] as the Supreme Authority would also take measures to protect the most critical, most private and most sensitive area of the human body?
The private parts that are covered are essentially the most critical parts of/for the human existence! Life comes out of this place. This is the place that precious human beingscome out to this existence through. This is a place of dignity, a place of honor and a place of protection!
“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [Quran 17: 70]
The Creator has dignified us. Part of this dignity is to dignify and honor the place where we come from and access this world through. This is not a place to be revealed in public or be gazed at or made accessible and available and on display to everyone.
How come! Rather, this is a place that shall not be revealed or be approached, and all areas around it should be protected – just like the most sensitive areas are protected and unwanted people are blocked from entry, this place too is honored and protected and unwanted access is blocked.
This place shall only be revealed between the husband and the wife and for the honorable purpose of bringing dignified human life to this world, to this humanity…
It is a matter of pride, honor and elevation from the Creator to His created beings.
Even if we forget or neglect, Allah Our Creator who created us for a noble purpose always takes measures that preserves and protects our dignity and honor.
The Messenger of Allah says:
“Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has a sanctuary and the sanctuary of Allah is that which He has forbidden. Whoever grazes around the sanctuary will soon transgress into the sanctuary. And whoever approaches a matter that is unclear, he will soon wind up in the sanctuary.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Allah has forbidden certain areas from being revealed because of their sanctity. If Allah sanctifies us and our bodies, why would we want to reveal, degrade or dishonor them?
Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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