Uncovered women to blame for crimes against other women, Jawi says in Friday sermon

A typical gathering for the Friday sermon at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A typical gathering for the Friday sermon at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — A Friday sermon by Federal Territories’ Islamic authorities today blamed women who do not cover their “aurat,” or intimate body parts, for causing social ills that would affect even those who do.

In its sermon distributed to mosques under its jurisdiction, the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) also compared uncovered women to uncovered dishes, which it said are bound to frequented by flies, making them unappetising.

“Let us think, what will happen if a dish is not covered? Surely flies will go to the dish, subsequently making those who love the dish lose their appetite,” Jawi said.

“Looking at today’s social ills, it is worrying. When women fail to cover their aurat perfectly, it will open the door to vices,” the sermon added.

“The exploitation of women will prosper. Illicit sex will invite calamities. Life will no longer be peaceful. Safety will be worthless. Even those who take care of their aurat will be victims. Those who reveal their aurat, sins await them.”

The sermon told Muslims that women should wear their tudung, or scarf, to cover their chests and the material must not be translucent, while their dresses must be long, made of thick materials and are not body-hugging.

It also complained that Muslim women have fallen victims to trend and fashion by copying the cultures of other societies, tarnishing the image of women who cover their heads.

According to contemporary Muslim teachings, Muslim women’s “aurat” towards unrelated men is their whole body except their faces and both palms.

There was no mention in the sermon about the obligation of men to also cover their aurat, although Friday prayers are attended almost exclusively by Muslim men in Malaysia.

The sermon was similar in message to the one written by Selangor’s Islamic authority in February this year, urging Muslim women to cover up their “aurat” to prevent rape and other forms of sexual harassment.

The sermon, prepared by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), also compared women who do not cover up to homes which are left unlocked, and therefore are liable to break-ins by robbers.

Several Muslims caused a furore in June this year after they slammed 21-year-old SEA Games gold medallist Farah Ann Abdul Hadi’s gymnastic attire, attacking her for showing her “aurat” and the “shape of her vagina” in a leotard.

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