By Fatima Barakatullah

We live in societies in which most men and women have lost their sense of modesty, women are obsessed with their appearances and wear clothes to be seen by others and to attract the attention of other men even if they are married! They have lost their sense of shame. Marriage is often looked upon as oldfashioned and short term affairs and frivolous relationships are the norm, everyone waiting to attract a better partner and feeling totally justified to dump one partner for another at the drop of a hat. Feminism too has reached its peak and men and women are told to suppress their natural emotions. Men are not even embarrassed when their wives are dressed up and attract the attention of other men, they don’t mind if another man sees, chats, laughs and even dances with their womenfolk and if they do mind, they are told not to be so possessive!

In Islam we have a concept of Gheerah. Gheerah is an Arabic word which means protectiveness or jealousy. It is a good type of jealousy, like when a man feels jealous or protective over his wife or sisters and other womenfolk and doesn’t like other men to look at them. It is a natural inbuilt feeling Allah has given men and women. The Prophet (SAW) had the most Gheerah for his wives and all of the companions were known for their Gheerah. All Muslim men should have a collective sense of protectiveness for Muslim women as Allah says in the Qur’an: “The Men are the protectors and maintainers of women?” (Surah An-Nisaa, Ayah 34). Men who do not care about how their women behave and appear in front of other men and don’t enforce hijaab upon their wives or women-folk are called Dayyooth. Being a Dayyooth is a major sin and a detailed discription of this evil characteristic can be found in adh-Dhahabee’s book of Major Sins (Kitaab ul-Kabaa’ir).

A story of Gheerah

To further understand the quality of Gheerah, we can look at an incident that Asmaa’ (RA) the daughter of Abu Bakr AsSiddeeq (RA) and sister of Aisha (RA), relates about herself. Abu Bakr was a wealthy merchant and he married his daughter Asmaa’ to the great companion Az-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam (RA) who was a very poor man but a man of great piety and one of the companions who were promised Paradise. Asmaa’ relates: “When az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land nor wealth nor slave?”, so Asmaa’ had to work very hard kneading dough, going far off to get water. “And I used to carry on my head,” she continues, “the date stones from the land of az-Zubair which Allah’s Messenger (SAW) had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madeenah. One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger (SAW), along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered az-Zubair and his Gheerah and he was a man having the most Gheerah. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) understood my shyness and left. I came to az-Zubair and said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it, but I felt shy and I remembered your Gheerah.” So Asmaa’ declined the offer made by the Prophet (SAW). Upon this az-Zubair said: “By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden on me than you riding with him.” (related in Saheeh Bukhari)

Look at the sense of dignity and modesty of Asmaa’! See how she felt shy in front of men? See how careful she was about her husband’s feelings? She knew that her husband had a lot of Gheerah so she didn’t want to upset him by accepting the Prophet’s (SAW) help even though the Prophet was the purest of men and even though it meant bringing hardship on herself! And look at azZubair (RA), even though he had a lot of Gheerah, he didn’t want to inconvenience his wife. What a beautiful relationship they had!

Nurturing our sense of Gheerah

Sometimes Muslim women don’t understand if their menfolk want them to cover or if they ask them to change something about the way they dress or speak in public, thinking that the men are being overprotective. But my dear sisters! If your husband asks you not to wear a certain colour of khimaar because it brings out the beauty of your eyes, or if he wants you to cover your face – by Allah, be thankful! Be proud of the fact that your husband has a sense of Gheerah for you and that he values you and cares for your hereafter. He knows what men can be like more than you do and so never try and suppress his Gheerah in these types of matters. And his concern for you should incite your own sense of honour! Why should any man be able to see your beauty and think indecent thoughts about you? We must nurture our own and our menfolk’s sense of Gheerah by behaving and dressing modestly ourselves and paying attention to their valid opinions. We expect certain behaviour from them and they expect it of us. And besides, if our husband asks us to do something that it not Haraam, we must do it.

Subhan Allah! Look at the difference between how Islam values and protects women and how cheaply women are treated outside of Islam! As Muslims we have to be careful that our Hayaa’ (sense of modesty and shame) and Gheerah doesn’t wear out in a society in which people have lost their Hayaa’ and Gheerah.


6 thoughts on “Gheerah”

  1. as salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

    i was really positive amazed, when i was reading this article. because my wife divorced me, because of my sense of gheerah. I was thinking that i’m mental Ill, because they gave me the thought that i’m mental Ill. I just tried to save the Status of my wife here and hereafter and took care that no one will destroy her status.

    May Allah bless you for this Article and i hope everybody will learn from this, so that it is normal to have Gheerah and so that no one have to think that he’s mental ill

  2. Abdullah- Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. Some women don’t understand this characteristic of Muslim men. When its according to Islam and not taken to the extreme then its a positive and noble trait. Some women misunderstand it as the man being a complete control freak and jealous. I’m sorry that you have been insulted by being called mentally ill. Look at the bright side of it, maybe it was better for you that you don’t stay married to a woman that doesn’t accept your gheerah. May Allah grant you a woman that does ameen.

  3. as salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

    Barik Allahu feek…yes of course, i trust in Allah…Jazak Allahu Khairan

  4. Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.
    The concept of Gheera is very simple and very general as it is derived from one hadith, it is always referring to protectiveness which is innate in every human being. Just like parents are protective over their children, men should be protective over their women (sister, mother, wife even other Muslim women).
    However , gheerah may be the good form of jealousy, but it does have the potential of extending beyond its initial and general purpose if its not “kept in check” and its degree would vary from person to person.
    I have seen gheerah that goes “out of hand,Protective jealousy is one thing – but isnt there always the possibility of this sense of gheerah spilling too easily over and amalgamating into “suspiciousness”, “lack of trust” etc etc?

  5. Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. I think so and it could indicate that person has insecurities.

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