December 10, 2010


I was at my niece's end of year show the other day when I began contemplating a serious matter. The school, an Islamic school, had proudly set up a number of items that glorified South Africa's honour in hosting the world cup. These items included a number of dance routines.

Now sure, many people would say that its alright for kids in grade 1 or 2 to be dancing because they are still small. In fact that seems to be the mindset of almost everybody these days. But as I sat there, watching these little girls gleefully moving and swaying their hips, I could sense the sheer satisfaction and enjoyment that they were getting. Why, I wondered, would we want to make our children enjoy dancing? Why would we allow them, especially from such a young age, to believe that there is some sort of glory in dancing, shaking and moving about in front of a bunch of strangers? And in a  despicable world of molestation and child rape, why on earth would we ever want to expose our children to all of this.

This got me seriously thinking. Modesty and Haya is such an integral part of our Islamic womanhood. Yet in the modern world they teach us the opposite. They tell us to 'flaunt it' if we've 'got it'! What kind opposing ideals are we forced to ingest? On the one hand our beautiful deen encourages us to be shy and modest and to conceal instead of reveal. The world, on the other hand, opposes these ideals and makes them seem strange and other. For a young girl, these conflicting ideals cannot be very easy to handle.

I'm sure you've noticed it too. People, even Muslims, are always praising the children who are outspoken and bold; the ones who wont mind singing and dancing in front of others. The other children, the shy children, well they are simply brushed off and comments like 'she needs to come out of her shell' can even be heard.
We may even be guilty of it ourselves. We may look proudly at the well spoken ones who easily charms others, while silently hoping that our 'shy' children could be just like them. Sometimes we may not even question it.

What we all need to realize, however, is that modesty begins from small. We have to teach our children to maintain their natural instincts of shame and modesty. We have to try not to push them to do things that will take that modesty away. Because once modesty is lost, its very difficult to get it back.
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