Inappropriately dressed men

Lessons I learnt today:

– Don’t go to the gym 2 hours before iftar

– Don’t have a whole (huge) bag of crisps for iftar (among other things!!)

– Don’t forget to change the time on my phone so that I miss suhour


So, I’m back in Holland! I’m glad to be back, although I of course am missing Cairo like crazy.  I think what I miss the most are the taraweeh prayers (extra prayers during Ramadan).  I went to this amazing mosque near my house, where the imam had the most beautiful voice.  It was so refreshing doing taraweeh – it’s the first Ramadan I do them and I really, really enjoyed it.  Despite all the women who would every night without fail find something to complain about – an askew veil, nailpolish, kids, not praying in a straight line – you name it, they complained about it – even during the actual prayer. Literally no one was safe.

An interesting thing I noted is that many of the men praying would pray in the tightest trousers/have their boxers hanging out/be wearing see-through gallabiyas (long Egyptian dress for men).  This meant that we women were constantly praying behind men who were dressed inappropriately.  Now, I found a way to concentrate (since I’m not an animal and I don’t need men to cover themselves completely in order for me to connect with God). However, I’m sure if it had been the women praying in front of men dressed like that, it would have been complete and utter chaos. In fact it may even have brought on the apocalypse (followed by the Day of Judgement when one would hope all those men would be made to feel silly about their over-reaction).  Not only would men have started a huge problem, but I’m sure most of the women would have joined in as well (feminism, anyone?).

I’m sure many people are thinking about the whole male-sex-drive-is-much-stronger-and-so-men-really-can’t-control themselves argument.  I haven’t researched the scientific side of this yet, so I don’t know if the male and female sex drives are actually different.  What I do know is that women are taught to repress their sex drives whereas men are taught that they can’t control their sex drives so why even try?  I also know that patriarchy has time and again found “scientific” ways of backing up sexual inequality.

What do you guys think? And how’s Ramadan going for those fasting?


27 thoughts on “Inappropriately dressed men

  1. Bismillah. Who would think of going to the gym two hours before Iftar??? Subhanallah! Even I am not that crazy 😛 I absolutely approve the comments on male dress that the Lord has permitted you to make. And thanks be to God, the fast is going well. Thank you for inquiring!

  2. My partner makes that argument about men’s sex drives all the time (even though I’ve gradually got him to be more progressive on many issues) and it drives me crazy! I think you’re 100% correct about how men and women are taught different things about their sex drives. And women (at least in the US) are also taught that men’s sex drives are out of control and we just need to learn to say no, which perpetuates this logic.

    • Yes it seems to be a universal gender misconception: that men have sex drives they can’t control and women have lower sex drives that they should control or repress.

  3. Totally agree on this one. Men and women can control themselves otherwise god wouldn’t have created us to live in communities. Society tells men they can’t, society tells women we’re patient.

    It’s like muslims want to perpetuate the myth that men are animals – hence, many of our men have become so. We’re expected to (eww) ‘cover our lollipop’ and men are just helpless flies swarming to sugar. WRONG!

    I also think it’s made out to be a much bigger problem than it is. Obviously, I’m not saying looking at someone is a good thing Islamically, but I’m saying it’s not as harmful and life-threatening as we make out.

    It’s natural to sometimes look at the opposite sex, and I know I was a woman sometimes see a handsome man on the street and glimpse at him. Men do the same with women. That’s not going to lead to rape or anything like a lot of people would also like us to believe.

    • I totally agree that society seems to almost accept that men are animals, yet at the same time men still seem themselves as superior beings!

      It really annoys me how people assume a woman looking at a man or vice versa will automatically & inevitably lead to sex. It’s simplistic and ridiculous.

  4. Euuugh I really dislike that style of dress for men. I completely agree with you, men are as able as we are to dress modestly.
    I do think that the sex drive for men can be stronger than that of women sometimes but in saying that, I fully believe that men are as able as women to control themselves.

    And also, I have had chips for iftar before hahah! Although I never go to the gym so I can’t say I’ve had that problem before 😛

  5. I wonder if the Gym Lessom is the hardest among the three. Ya Allah, two hours before Iftar! 🙂

    As for your note about Men in mosques, I agree with your opinion because Men and Women alike can choose to control their way to see the world arround if they want, but unfortunately this isn’t the trending for many reasons.

    – p.s. – yes, I’m back here after a long time from being offline. Ramadan Kareem for you and all the readers.

  6. Salam Sara,

    Just saw that you had asked about taraweeh in Holland in the other post.

    Have you tried this mosque?
    I have heard good things about it, but it’s a bit far from me, so I haven’t tried it yet. But might plan to go for taraweeh some time before the end of the month or maybe for eid prayers.

    There is also this big Turkish mosque in Rozengracht. I went there with a friend right before Ramadan and there was some construction work going on, so I’m not sure what their program is. Let me know how it goes.

    • Thanks for the info! I’ve been wanting to go to the Polder Mosque for a while but since I live in The Hague and not Amsterdam `i haven’t gotten around to it yet.
      Would love to do Taraweeh there but then would have to have if tar in Amsterdam, I think.

  7. very well said!
    it seems that Taqwa is just for women not for men.
    fasting is diffucult in most parts of Iran( my city is Karaj)due to heat , weather dont want to become cooler!! : )

  8. Look, I honestly dont feel that its because of the whole “men have a higher sex drive therefore cant control themselves”. I honestly see why women pray behind men.. imagine being in sajda on the ground where your basically on the ground and you are bending over.. now I dont know, i cant speak on behalf of all women but I for one dont like being watched whilst i pray.. especially from behind. Im not saying men will go crazy at the sight of a woman prostrating, but from a woman’s perspective, I would feel uncomfortable and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate because I’d be too worried about the person behind me looking. I really think the whole “sex drive” thing is blown out of proportion. but that doesnt mean that men dont look because they do, and probably will. Not every man is pious you know. I thank god that I dont have to pray infront of a man… I dont like bending over infront of women or men actually.

  9. Oh and another thing – I’m really not concerned if I’m standing behind a man. To me Im standing before God, Im not concerned whether a man is standing infront of me or not even there at all. Prayer isn’t the time to feel inferior or superior to men – it isnt about that at all. frankly I couldn’t care less that I’m praying behind a man – its Allah that I’m trying to reach.

    • Of course, I wasn’t talking about women praying behind men or why that is the case, I was pointing out that men should dress appropriately when they go to the mosque, and that when a woman is dressed inappropriately it’s a huge deal and she gets harassed. To be honest I find it distracting when I can see a man’s boxers while he’s praying in front of me.

  10. Its the parents that teach their children certain behaviours, more so the mother than the father, so given this baseline isn’t it then fair to assume that it is the muslim parent that doesn’t teach their children ( even if they are now adults) how to dress in a masjid?

    Also the argument that the sahabiyat used to enter the masjid and pray behind the men. What is unclear is was there 1)a clear mixing of sexes? 2) were the sahabiyat dressed appropriately? ( this is more a rhetorical question)

    • I’ve read in several places that the mosque in Madinah was NOT segregated. Which is interesting since today there is a concrete wall separating men and women 🙂

      • i didn’t say a wall of segregation, i said a no mixing of sexes.
        its not really surprising on the wall issue since today people come to the masjid to hook up, and yes i am talking about the teens. while this might be a generalization its an observed one.
        i doubt this was the case during the Prophet AS’s time.

        • required, teenagers weren’t less horny in ages past then they are now. They just got married off when they were 13 and nature took its course. Why not make the teens pray in separate gender-segregated rooms, while the mature adults focus on God together?

          Its interesting to me that many Muslims place such importance on avoiding interactions between genders to avoid anything sexual, when that very avoidance seems to lead the sexualization of any interaction! Even prayer isn’t safe! I mean, I’m human – I notice when someone hot walks by. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of focusing on something around (hot) men, or that men can’t focus around me (also fairly hot). Maybe its because I grew up in the West, but its really not been a problem for me.

          Although in fairness, if I prayed behind of a guy prostrating in his undies, THAT would be distracting – and I can only assume the same if the situation was reversed. So why not pray side by side (and wear non-revealing clothes)? If prayer really creates THAT much sexual tension, what the heck are people praying about?

  11. so then the method adopted should be that teens get married to avoid distractions and let mature adults focus on prayer. except for two things. one being that most people now consider it pedophilia (which baffles me how a consenting 15 years old can be considered pedophilia if she wants to marry but is okay to go on dates and she may or may not get involved in sex) and two you admitted that you notice when a hot guy walks by. In the Qur’an it commands for the believing man and woman to lower their gaze. Since we are yet to achieve this level of piety things are good the way they stand.
    It doesn’t matter if it is a problem for you or not, if your solution is found in contradiction to the Quran then those solutions are rejected.
    As to praying side by side, it wasn’t done during the prophet AS’s time or the sahaba’s time or the tabaeens time, and their level of piety far exceeded ours. So the question of why we can’t pray side by side is answered there itself.
    As to prayer creating sexual tension, i am afraid you misunderstand. Prayer is supposed to focus our attention on Allah SWT, it is our lack of attention that causes our body parts and mind to wander. The problem hence is not with the prayer but the one praying it. And the only person who can solve that problem is the individual himself/herself.

    • If the problem is not prayer but something internal, something that can be solved with personal responsibility and self-control, then there is no reason men and women can’t pray together. If we follow the command to lower our gaze, then there is again no reason to segregate.

      I wasn’t suggesting that prayer creates sexual tension, I was suggesting that some Muslim practices seem to imply a high level of sexual tension exists in even the most unlikely situations, and thus measures are in place to counteract it. The emphasis on sexual segregation seems to actually sexualize normally non-sexual interactions. I am actually petrified to go into a mosque because I’m worried I’ll dress wrong or try to shake a man’s hand out of reflex, which will apparently create all kinds of sexual overtones not present in my usual interactions within my own culture.

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