The notion of privacy differs in a multitude of cultures, societies, and religions. The notion of privacy also changes with time based on the events or situations that occur. This, in part, may explain why there is no all-comprehensive meaning for privacy. There is no clear-cut definition for privacy that allows people, judges, and scholars to properly identify and recognize the boundaries of privacy. That being said, there were several attempts in defining “privacy” more generally. An American judge, Louise Brandies, defined the “infringement” of privacy as an “interference with another person’s seclusion of himself, his family, or his property from the public,” and to a certain extent, Brandies described privacy well (Kamali 159).
In Islam, privacy takes on a bigger role in a Muslim’s life and is viewed as one of main Islamic ethical principles. Because the “principles of Islam” exalt the “religious conscience of every Muslim”, Islam gives respect and rights to one’s freedom, privacy, and ownership (Hayat 137). Islamic law acknowledges the privacy of a Muslim’s home and private life, and there are severe exhortations against meddling into the affairs of others. The Qur’an and several hadiths of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) define the right to privacy clearly and thematically. For instance, Islam strictly prohibits the inquiry into the private matters of others without their consent. If one happens to “come across private information,” then one should stop immediately from getting involved any further (Hayat 137).
With the increase in the instruments of modernity, such as electronic devises, global communication and other advancements in technology, a modern Muslim has to be even more cautious not to cross the boundaries of one’s privacy and to secure his own, as well. Most, if not all, of the concepts of privacy in Islam revolve around the central idea of “invasion” or “reaching out” through something that does not belong to the same person, whether it is intentional or unintentional, be it entering a home without the owner’s permission or even reading a small of piece of paper that doesn’t belong to that person. Even though these rights and rules are put forth to make Muslims better individuals, are the rules of privacy in Islam obsolete? In other words, do these rules have any exceptions? The answer would be yes; they do have exceptions only in particular situations such as the “testimony of witnesses” or when asking for a fatwa or legal opinion (Kamali 162).
Hayat, Muhammad Aslam. “Privacy and Islam: From the Quran to Data Protection in Pakistan.” Information & Communications Technology Law 16.2 (2007): 137-48. Print.
Kamali, Mohammad Hashim. The Right to Life, Security, Privacy and Ownership in Islam. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 2008. Print.
Project: Remember Me, I will Remember You
Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) was sent as a source of mercy and as Muslims we should follow in his footsteps. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised for us to “Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah”.
For the coming month inshaAllah, we will share Azkar together that can be recited before and after our daily activities. We want to get in the habit of remembering Allah with every step that we take. Through this project we hope that we can all help and remind each other to master this habit.
Islam, you’ve colored my heart with all that’s good in this world. You’ve reminded me of what’s good, helped me differentiate between right and wrong, and you’ve made me stronger. You colored my heart white, made it pure, so I can pray with passion. You’ve colored it red, so I can feel the love of my religion. You’ve colored it yellow and helped me get lost in the beauty of everything I see. You’ve colored it green, and helped me become a cleaner person for the environment and myself.
You’ve infected me with bliss and I promise you, Islam, I’ll keep on coloring.
A few years back, there was this girl, a friend of a friend. I didn’t know her, never spoke to her, never even met her. I only saw a picture of her. I instantly didn’t like her or the way she dressed just because she wasn’t as conservative as I was and I found myself having all these thoughts and opinions about her. She must be doing this, she must be doing that. All of a sudden I was startled by how much I’ve let my mind wander and assume things about this girl when I didn’t even know her. I was really ashamed of the way I judged her, because really who am I to judge another person? And since that day I promised myself that I’ll try my best not to judge anyone ever again.
The reason I’m sharing this today, is that nowadays almost everyone is judging everyone else. We’ve created stereotypes and we use superficial standards to form shallow opinions of others. While, in fact Islam is totally against judging other people.
I was taught that one of the main axes of Islam is “Sincere belief” in the existence of Allah, his angels, his books, his messengers, the judgment day and the predestination. When I asked why it’s called “sincere” belief and not “correct” belief for example. I was told that faith lies in the heart of the believer, and since we human beings can never know what a person heart holds, we can never tell if his faith is correct or not. His sincerity can only be judged by Allah who is the only one who knows what lies in people’s hearts.
Our prophet (peace be upon him) never announced the names of the hypocrites, even though he knew them, so people wouldn’t consider it as Sunnah and start questioning other people’s sincerity and faith.
Allah says in the holy Quran: “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (1)
So it’s not our place to judge others by the way they dress, walk, talk or what they do for a living. We can’t know where they stand according to Allah. Our only role is to work on ourselves and to pray for guidance for those who need it including ourselves.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, a prostitute saw a dog lolling around a well on a hot day and hanging his tongue from thirst, so she drew some water for it in her shoe and Allah forgave her.” (2)
So the way Allah judges people is pretty different than the way we do. You never know which good deed will earn you your ticket to Jannah.
So, if you see somebody doing something wrong or even something forbidden, do not judge because you don’t know what you’d have done if you were in his/her shoes. Do not judge because you don’t know how you would’ve turned up, if you were raised in different conditions. Do not judge, because no one is perfect including yourself. Do not judge because you never know who will end up in Jannah and who won’t. Do not judge, instead find excuses for your sisters and brothers, ask Allah to guide them and forgive them. Ask Allah to guide you and forgive you as well.