With Mohammed Hassan Loum
On 8 December this year, a fellow sister comrade of the pen, Rohey Samba wrote a very important and educative piece in The Standard newspaper about The Gambia’s obsession with nudity. She lamented the improper semi-nude pictures of the lifeless body of young lady Vanesha which found its way in social media. Couple of days after reading Ms Samba’s awakening article on the need for sutura, I came across another disheartening front page Standard newspaper article about a Guinean woman in Barra who videoed herself naked using her phone intending the short private movie for her husband, only for a mischievous boy to yet again post the video and make it viral on the social media.
From a very young age, Islam (and I believe all of the other monotheistic religions) has protected children from exposure to any form of nudity. It is not permissible to uncover one’s nakedness in front of children who have reached the age of discernment, because Allah has commanded the believers to tell their household members who have reached the age of puberty to ask for permission before entering into their rooms. Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran (interpretation of the meaning): “Believers! At three times let those whom your right hands possess and those of your children who have not yet reached puberty ask leave of you before entering your quarters: before the Morning Prayer and when you take off your clothes at noon, and after the Night Prayer. These are the three times of privacy for you. If they come to you at other times then there is no sin for them nor for you, for you have to visit one another frequently. Thus does Allah clearly explain His directives to you. Allah is All- Knowing, All-Wise”. [Surah al-Noor 24:58]
Majority of the jurists agree that this specific commandment given in this verse is applicable to both minors and grown-ups. Once children and siblings reach puberty, Islam strictly advises to separate their beds. All of these stringent measures are to simply ensure that no regretful incident of immorality occurs since at that tender age they are just discovering their sexuality and prone to many dangers. This separation according to scholars of Islamic jurisprudence includes males with males, females with females and males and females. Imams Ad-Daaraqutni and al-Haakim narrated from Sabrah ibn Ma’bad that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “When your children reach the age of seven, separate their beds and when they reach the age of 10 years, smack them if they do not pray.” This narration is classed as authentic by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 418.
In the Bible and the Qur’an, we have read and been narrated the story of how Adam and Eve ate what was forbidden, what happened after they committed their sin and how they endeavoured to protect themselves from the revelation of their shame: “Then Shaytaan (Satan) whispered to him saying: ‘O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?’ Then they both ate of the tree, and so their private parts became manifest to them, and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of the Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray”. [Surah At-Taaha: Verses 120-21]
Dear esteemed readership, it is truly not of moral sound standards to reveal one’s nakedness or that of another. Nakedness is meant to be concealed for it is a very private matter. The one who has no shame is that person who reveals his or her nakedness in public where it should not be shown and deliberately looks at the nakedness of another (except his or her wife or husband in the privacy of their room). To the one who wants to be the first to expose and post someone’s nakedness in social media, be reminded that you are guilty of a gross sin and whomsoever should consequently view such, you shall have your share of that sin alongside your original sin of being the first to post such filth. The viewer shall have his or her own separate sin which shall in no way diminish yours, or vice versa. We are all accountable for what our eyes look at and we have been warned that our very eyes shall indeed testify against us. To the one who takes and makes nude or pornographic pictures and videos for and with his or her spouse, remember the following:
1. The wife or husband’s belongings may be stolen or she or he may lose or forget the picture or video in a public place. Once such video or picture falls into the wrong hands, it will definitely spread far and wide causing more evil and corruption.
2. Divorce may occur between couples, in which case the ex-husband or ex-wife becomes estranged wherein it would not be permissible for them to look at each other as they used to when they were married couples.
3. Divorced couples may also use photos and videos of such against one another as some form of blackmail.
As children of Adam, please let us never ever be deceived that nakedness or semi-nudity in any form, manner or fashion is acceptable. No religion, culture or sound moral standard accepts or endorses this. So why should we as sane beings accept this for ourselves and children? If I do not contain the fire which starts in my house, it may well spread to other homes causing destruction and havoc. So please, I implore parents, teachers and the general public that it is our collective business to assist in ensuring that our children are well and fully dressed in the homes, in schools and outside. We should as a society and moral people adopt a no-nonsense stance against public displays of youtals, changals and so forth. Safeguarding sound moral standards should definitely begin at an early age.
If you so desire to straighten a sturdy tree it may well break, however such a feat could be successfully achieved during its early stages of growth. Finally, I conclude with the following powerful reminder from the Most High. Whose speech is more truthful than The One Who created and Who knows His creation best?
“O Children of Adam! Let not Shaytan (Satan) deceive you, as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwa] out of Paradise, stripping them of their raiments, to show them their private parts. Verily, he (Satan) and Qabiluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them.” [Surah Al-A’raf 7:27]
The author can be contacted at mhassanl[email protected] or on 3773464 / 7773464.