Modesty: The main teaching in Islam

January 22, 2009

Embedded in Muslim culture is the principle of modesty. This is emphasised to Muslims from an early age and it influences every aspect of their life. In the 18th Chapter of the Koran, their holy text, it says in relation to modesty: “Lower your gazes and be chast in your private parts and this will be purified for you.” Going against modesty is the main argument from some people in Preston’s Islamic community against young Muslims having sex education. Hajra Bux, 18, of Frenchwood, Preston, thinks everything in her life built up from her understanding of modesty.

The history of modesty

About 570 years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ this important principle was brought about by the Omar, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s disciples.

He did not like that the Prophet’s daughters were being gazed at so decided to put forward the problem to the Angel Gabrielle, the link between the Prophet Muhammad and the Lord. Immediately the verse in the 18th Chapter of the Koran was revealed. The main message from the verse advises men to lower their gaze and women to ensure they adopt a very modest approach towards society. In Muslim culture segregation of men and women in the mosque and the wearing of the veil stem from modesty.

How is it taught?

Young Muslims attending the Madrassah in Preston

Young Muslims attending the Madrassah in Preston

From the age of five until 16 Muslims attend the Madrassah which is commonly referred to as Evening Song. Madrassah classes are held for two hours from five till seven in the evening Monday to Friday at the Mosque. In these classes they learn about Islamic principles and study the Koran. In the last few years the teachers have been relating these principles to scenarios in modern life.

Here is a slideshow of video and images that represents different parts of Muslim life, including men at prayer in the Mosque, children attending the Madrassah, and students at the Preston Muslim Girls High School.

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