more attractive. Then besides the true love and mutual respect disappearing, it may arouse extremely ugly and base feelings, as follows:
By nature, men do not feel any lust towards those within the stipulated degrees of kinship like their sisters, because, since such relatives’ faces induce kindness and licit love due to their close kinship, it nullifies any sexual or lusty inclinations. But to leave uncovered parts of the body which according to the Shari‘a it is not permissible to expose to close relatives like the legs, may awaken extremely ugly feelings in men of low character. For the face of a close relative reminds the man of their close kinship and does not resemble the face of someone outside the degrees of kinship, but a bare leg is the same as that of canonical strangers. The leg does bear any distinguishing mark to recall the close kinship of its owner, so may arouse carnal feelings in the man. To look on such things is so degenerate as to make one’s hair stand on end.
FOURTH INSTANCE OF WISDOM
It is clear that everyone wants lots of children. There is no nation or government that does not support an increase in population. In fact, God’s Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: “Marry and increase, for at the Last Day I shall take pride in your large numbers.”1 However, the abandoning of Islamic dress for women does not increase marriage, it decreases it significantly. For even the most lay-about and modern youth wants his wife to be chaste. He does not want her to be modern, that is, careless in questions of dress and morals like himself, and so remains single, and even frequents prostitutes.
Women are not like that, they cannot restrict their husbands’ behaviour to the same extent. Women’s most basic characteristics are loyalty and trustworthiness, since being the director of all the matters to do with the home, the woman is charged with protecting and preserving her husband’s property and possessions, and his children. Carelessness in dress and morality destroys that loyalty, and her husband loses confidence in her and makes her suffer pangs of conscience. In fact, if the two qualities of courage and generosity, which are desirable in men, are found in women, it damages this loyalty and confidence and so are undesirable for women and are considered to be bad qualities. But since the husband’s duty is not loyalty and stewardship, but protection, kindness, and respect, he cannot be restricted and refined, and may marry other women as well.
al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 269, No: 3366; al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, No: 1021; al-Suyuti, Jami‘ al-Saghir, No: 3366.