South India

Kerala court’s remark over provocative attire & Islamic injunctions about a woman’s dressing

Kozhikode: Granting anticipatory bail to Civic Chandran in the sexual harassment case, the Kozhikode Sessions Court judge S Krishnakumar said the photographs produced revealed the complainant dressed in a “sexually provocative” manner.

The order issued on August 12 stated, “The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that the defacto complainant herself is exposing to dresses which are having some sexual provocative one. So, section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused.”

The Court observed that offences under Section 354 (A) (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are prima facie ‘not attracted’ when the woman was wearing ‘sexually provocative dresses.’

Regardless of whether a person who was booked for the second time in sexual harassment case should have been granted bail or not, let us look why Islam gives so much importance to a woman’s dressing.

Islam gives emphasis on the need for women to observe modesty in their dress when they appear in public, by covering all of their body and any ornaments or other means of beautification they might wear.

Allah the Exalted says in Surat an-Noor, ayah 31:
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not show of their adornment except only that which is apparent, and draw their veils over their (necks and) bosoms and not reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male servants who lack vigor, or small children who have no knowledge of women’s private parts. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn you all to Allah in repentance, O believers, that you may be successful.

And He says in Surat al-Ahzab, ayah 59:
Oh Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments close around them. That will be better, that they may be known and so not be bothered. And Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful.

Surat an-Noor, ayah 31 (quoted above) contains a clear command that a woman’s natural beauty and her adornment are to be concealed from strangers.

Abu Dawud narrated that ‘A’ishah said:
Asma came to see the Messenger of Allah (saws). She was wearing a thin dress; the Prophet (saws) turned away from her and said to her: “O Asma, once a woman reaches the age of puberty no part of her body should be uncovered except her face and hands.”
By directing women to dress themselves honourably and decently, Islam wants to close all the possible doors of sexual harassment to women. As women have inherent beauty and attraction and they are also weak compared to men. So, sometimes, it becomes impossible for them to defend themselves and to protect their honour, dignity and modesty. So, it is in their own benefit to dress honourably.

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