The World is a Prison


Allah ta’ala has given us tools that will assist us on the path to Jannah. But the question is: are we using them?

Whether it’s cruising down I-90 past the billboards, flipping through Vogue or Seventeen while waiting at the dentist’s office, or simply browsing through the Internet for a research project – there is one thing we have no problem denying: we live in a very provocative, shameless society.

Sometimes, it astonishes me that such a society can even survive and be so immune to feelings of guilt and shame. But corporations, as we know them, will do anything to target the weakness of consumers—and that, simply put, is our natural desires.

How many of us have felt a subtle jealousy when we view a beautiful air-brushed model in a magazine or crave that designer purse hanging off her shoulders? Have our eyes lingered for a minute too long at the image of the bare man advertising that intoxicating perfume? Should we have felt uneasiness and averted our eyes when that kissing scene came up or that couple was embracing passionately next to our locker door?

One of my previous professors once disclosed to us that Western culture is very strange at times. Why? Well, America was founded and built as a society with strong Puritan values. It seems uncomfortable for us to discuss topics such as sex. Yet, our society is full of this, from the films that are released annually to the high standards of appearance it imposes upon us. Abstinence, she argued, is no longer a resolution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies because it is virtually impossible, in a society like ours, to carry that out. She is wrong in that point, however, because Islam provides that very solution and it is carried out by Muslims daily.

It seems like the very world is a prison for us. We must live within it and cannot escape it. Everything around us is full of haram, from the environment of our school or work to the simple task of going to the store to buy a gallon of milk.

So what can we do to alleviate ourselves from this haram so we ourselves don’t become desensitized to it one day also? How can we preserve the purity in our hearts and minds so we do not become tainted and pulled towards that which will cause our very own destruction?

The answer is simple: hijab.

The very first stop to guard ourselves from the haram is to create a shield so that it cannot penetrate into us. It takes exertion of effort on our part to do this but it will guarantee results. To live with humility is to convince yourself that you will not fall for what Shaytan badly wants you to fall for. To cover yourself is to prove to society that you reject those ruthless aspects of Western culture. After all, what good is there in objectifying yourself, binge drinking, casual sex, drug use, and so much more?

I already possess those values even if I don’t wear the hijab, you might say. Most of us would readily agree that we don’t promote such risky and shameless behavior. There are many religions that are conservative and have followers who clutch on to traditions that preserve long-held values. But the question is, when did that big jump from a pure stable society to that of a consumer provocative society emerge?

No morally sane person thinks it is correct to judge a woman on the length of her skirt or surgically enhanced curves. Yet, society is losing touch with values that were once cherished in favor of those acts which garner more money and immediate fulfillment. And we are part of that society; we live in it every day and there is no telling that one day we may wake up and subconsciously conform to it. Is there a part of our identity that we can hold onto before it slips from our fingers? Can there be a constant reminder of what our true purpose in life is every time we see our reflections in that glass door?

Probably not.

Our minds have become tuned to thinking of beauty, wealth, power, and position. But it’s time we start activating our nerves again and sense the reality we must never forget. Society cannot and will not determine our superiority by such worthless attributes. We have only Allah to judge us, which He will accomplish by judging our piety. He has made the world a difficult place to live in because Jannah is not an easily attainable prize. At the same time, He has given us the tools with which to survive and He hopes that you will master them.

So what will you do?

Will you use the tool of hijab to overpower those that want to utilize you? Will hijab be that brass shield to defend yourself from this dunya and serve as a light in your path towards Jannah?

Or will you neglect the tool because you think yourself self-sufficient? You can try it, but realize that you will be treading dangerous waters. The last thing you want is to fall victim to a society from which you cannot escape and to descend into flames that you yourself helped to ignite.