KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 ― Muslim women should cover up their “aurat” to prevent rape and other forms of sexual harassment, Selangor’s Islamic authority said in its Friday sermon today.
The sermon, prepared by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and available to mosques statewide, also compared women who do not cover up to homes which are left unlocked, and therefore are liable to break-ins by robbers.
“The easiest comparison we can take is a house which was left by its residents who returned to their hometown. House A was left with its windows and doors properly locked, its fences secured with padlocks. Meanwhile, House B was left open and carelessly abandoned.
“Which house would robbers love and break into? Surely house B because it was exposed and made it easy for external elements to intrude. Therefore, that was a simple analogy for women who cover up their ‘aurat’,” said the sermon.
“Aurat” in Malay refers to “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing; exposing these is considered sinful.
According to contemporary Muslim teachings, Muslim women’s “aurat” towards unrelated men is their whole body except their faces and both palms.
Friday prayers are attended almost exclusively by Muslim men in Malaysia.
Jais claimed covering up would help women to stop themselves from being harassed physically and mentally, in addition to preventing negative ills such as rape, illicit sex and incest.
The sermon also refuted claims that the Islamic practice of covering up suppresses individual rights, blaming so-called “enemies of Islam” for perpetuating the notion.
“Allah prohibits men and women from exposing their aurat not to restrict their freedom, but because Allah exalt and appreciate them. No man or woman are persecuted by covering their aurat, but exposing it means being cruel to themselves and destructing others,” it added.