Women who struggle in the way of Allah (‘azza wa jall) are referred to as ‘Mujaahidaat’. Usually ‘Jihaad’ is understood to mean an action done by men in the battlefield; although this is true, the linguistic meaning of Jihaad is not solely restricted to this. The term Jihaad comes from the term juhd, which means to strain, exert and take pains when doing something. Therefore, although a Sister is not religiously obliged to go and fight in the battlefield, she is nevertheless tested in different ways throughout her life for which she has to struggle and take great pains in order to fulfil the command of her Lord. In this way she is also practicing another kind of Jihaad… the Jihaad of and with the inner-self.

It will be no exaggeration to say that some sisters, especially those who are living with their brother-in-law (the Hamw), face a tremendous amount of hardship and difficulty in observing the Hijaab properly and safeguarding their modesty. For example: imagine how it must feel to have to cook in a hot kitchen with your brother-in-law walking in and out, especially on a hot day; or having to put on your Hijaab and Jilbaab (and the face-veil if a Sister wears one) whenever you need to go to the bathroom!! Imagine sitting quietly on the side, or better still in another room alone, as others in your in-laws mix freely, laughing, talking and having a nice time. Imagine the difficulties a sincere Sister would have to surmount in order to protect her modesty.

These are just some examples of the sort of struggles sisters go through on a daily basis; some have become accustomed to it, others struggle sometimes and some are going through much difficulty. May Allah (‘azza wa jall) ease the difficulties of all Sisters, raise their ranks and reward them abundantly in both this life and the next. Aameen.

A Sister who faces such a situation should continually ponder over and recite the following verse:

{Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful.}[1]

This verse shows us that the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) advice pertaining to the brother-in-law isn’t to place difficulty on us, but to purify us and protect us. Any Muslim woman who allows this verse to penetrate into her heart will find herself keen to observe Hijaab and adhere to the limits set by her Lord. This is because she sees the bigger picture and knows that her striving and struggling will not go in vain, hence she works intelligently to overcome such difficult situations.

Obedience to Allah Alone

Remember dear Sister that there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience to the Creator. If your husband does not support you in practicing caution around your brother-in-law then advise him with words full of wisdom, gentleness and intelligence. Have patience in doing this and if he changes and listens to you then Allah Willing your reward is with Allah, as you would have saved him from being prevented from Paradise. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) said,

"The Duyooth will not enter the Jannah." [2]

When the Sahaabah asked about what ‘Duyooth’ means, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) said:

“The one who does not care regarding whomsoever enters upon his ahl [the Arabs also refer to ahl as family and more specifically as the wife.].” [3]

Having said this, there is no doubt that there are many respected and revered Muslim Brothers who hold tight to their Deen and support their wife in her struggle to be an upright Muslim woman, but due to personal or financial reasons are unable to provide separate accommodation for their wife. In both cases a Muslim woman should try her utmost to exercise patience and persevere in the path of Taqwaa (Allah-consciousness).

We are Struggling towards our Lord


Dear Sister, when things become hard for you then remember that Allah (‘azza wa jall) says in the Qur’aan,

{Verily we have created man into toil and struggle.} [Surat al-Balad, verse 4]

Yes, all of us are toiling and struggling towards Allah (‘azza wa jall) and all of us will be and are being tested in some way or another.

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) said, “A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: ‘If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so’, but say: ‘Allah did that what He had ordained to do’ and your "if" opens the (gate) for the Satan.”[4]

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said, "The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind becomes quiet, it becomes straight again. Similarly, a believer is afflicted with calamities (but he remains patient till Allah removes his difficulties). And an impious wicked person is like a pine tree which keeps hard and straight till Allah cuts (breaks) it down when He wishes." (See Hadith no. 558, vol. 9)

We must remember that the Paradise is surrounded with difficulties as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) said: “When Allah created Paradise, He said to Gabriel: ‘Go and look at it’. He went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Thy might, no one who hears of it will fail to enter it.’ He [Allah, the Almighty] then surrounded it with disagreeable things, and said: ‘Go and look at it, Gabriel.’ He went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Thy might, I am afraid that no one will enter it.’

When Allah created Hell, He said: ‘Go and look at it, Gabriel.’ He went and looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Thy might, no one who hears of it will enter it.’ He [Allah, the Almighty] then surrounded it with desirable things and said: ‘Go and look at it, Gabriel.’ He went, looked at it, then came and said: ‘O my Lord! By Thy might and power, I am afraid that no one will remain who does not enter it.’” [5]

Indeed Allah tests us to see who is worthy of the Paradise,

{Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has not yet known those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient.} (3:142)

{O you who believe! Be patient and excel in patience and remain steadfast, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, that you may be successful.} (3:200)

{Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard their private parts, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much --- Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.} (33:35)

The best of people were tested the most and indeed Allah loves the ones who show patience: {... and Allah loves the patient.} (3:146)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…Whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience." (Saheeh al Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 548)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, "No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn." (Volume 7, Book 70, Number 544)

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle sent for the Ansaar and gathered them in a tent and said to them, "Be patient till you meet Allah and His Apostle, and I will be on the lake-tank (Al-Kauthar)." (Volume 9, Book 93, Number 533)

Taqwaa: the Way Out

treepinkWhen `Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Ubayy bin Ka`b (may be pleased with him) about Taqwaa, Ubayy [may Allah be pleased with him] said,

"Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?''

`Umar said, "Yes.'' Ubayy said, "What did you do then?'' He said,

"I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.'' Ubayy said, "That is Taqwaa.'' [6]

Dear Sister, this is the secret key by which Allah will make ease for you within any difficult situation, just as Allah (‘azza wa jall) said,

{And whosoever has Taqwaa of Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).}[7]

{And whosoever has Taqwaa of Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.}[8]

Other ways by which to keep strong is by reading the Qur’aan, imploring Allah to make your matter easy for you, mixing with righteous sisters, reading heart-softening books, articles and listening to Islamic lectures.

Let’s not forget to seek the help of Allah, beseech Him and call upon Him. Almighty Allah says:

“And your Lord said: Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation).” (Ghafir: 60)

{And seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khâshi'ûn [i.e. the true believers in Allâh - those who obey Allâh with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)]. (They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.} [Suratul Baqarah, verses 45-46]

In Conclusion

niqab78So dear Sister, be strong and do not allow the criticism of those who do not understand Islamic segregation to bear heavily on your heart - be they from the closest, loved or most respected people in your eyes. What you are doing is not extreme, rather it is obedience to the command of Allah the Almighty. Be a Mujaahidah, strong for your Deen; strive for the pleasure of Allah, even if it necessitates the displeasure of others. For, soon the Angel of Death will visit us to take our souls up into the heavens, let’s hope to be of those to whom he will say,

“O good and peaceful soul, depart to Allah’s forgiveness and pleasure.”

My dear Sisters, the one who disobeys Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) can only harm himself and cannot in any way harm Allah. The Messenger (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) said:

“All of my followers will enter the Paradise except those who refuse.” They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Who will refuse?” He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter the Paradise, and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses [to enter it].” [Saheeh al Bukhari]

Dear sister, despite your difficulty keep, as much as you can, your heart ever-observant with the Noble Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) words of caution: ‘The brother-in-law is death’. For,

{What is with you passes away and what is with Allah is enduring, and We will most certainly give to those who are patient their reward for the best of what they did.} (16:96)



[1] al-Maa'idah 5:6
[2] Saheeh: At-Tayaalsee has narrated it 1/89 and others
[3] With an authentic chain, this hadeeth has been related by Al Haadiz Al Mundhary. Also in an-Nasaai’, Ahmad, at-Tabaraani, Al Bayhaqi and Al Haakim.
[4] Muslim, Book 33, Hadith 6441
[5] Dawud, Book 40, Hadith 4726
[6] Ibn Katheer, volume one: under the tafseer of verse 2 of Suratul Baqarah.
[7] al-Talaaq 65:2-3
[8] al-Talaaq 65:4