Page 6 of 9Fifth: Issue of Modesty and Social Interaction
- There exists, among Muslims a big gap between the ideal of the real. Cultural practices on both extremes do exist. Some Muslims emulate non Islamic cultures and adopt the modes of dress, unrestricted mixing and behavior resulting in corrupting influences of Muslims and endangering the family's integrity and strength. On the other hand, in some Muslim cultural undue and excessive restrictions is not seclusion are believed to be the ideal. Both extremes seem to contradict the normative teachings of Islam and are not consistent with the virtuous yet participative nature of the society at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
- Parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are based on revelatory sources (the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah) and as such are seen by believing men and women as divinely based guidelines with legitimate aims, and divine wisdom behind them. They are not male imposed or socially imposed restrictions.
- The notion of near total seclusion of women is alien to the prophetic period. Interpretation problems in justifying seclusion reflect, in part, cultural influences and circumstances in different Muslim countries.