In the brightness of the sun next morning it is difficult to recall……..and yet it stayed with me all through my walk, returning from the beach at Maghrib. It would come in, stay with me, wane a little bit and then return with a clarity, strong in its presence.

It all started with Surah Al-Ahzaab ayah 33. I read it, listened to the tafseer and then re-listened to ensure that I was not mistaken. The huge difference between the paucity of explanation on the English translation and the wealth of meaning hidden in a single arabic word in this ayah floored me , not for the first time . It does not seem to be the forte of the standard translators of the Quran which may be due to the lack of expression in the English language for representing many arabic words with rich meanings.

The ayah disturbed me. The sincerity and intention of each action of mine when I “put on a face” every morning, however negligible it might be was challenged to the inner most core.

How does one remain beautiful and in the market while obeying what the ayah says? The market demands enhanced beauty, mannerisms & tone of seduction. This ayah knocks it all out of the water.

It strikes at the very core of seduction, conscious or sub conscious starting with flirtation……the very essence of feminine power.

Why does Allah Subhanawataala want to take away the power of flirtation from Muslim women over men?

I listened to the detailed explanation, meaning, root and derivatives of the single word Tabarruj……..and wondered.

Was Allah Subhanawataala taking the wind out of the sails of women so that they would be judged by their actions, selected on the basis of their purity rather than their sexiness? And yet it is sexiness that gets to breed the next generation for that is what men choose in a woman…..but then who raises that generation and how?
The message in between the lines is much more potent than the actual command in the ayah.

The reason Allah Subhanawataala gives for this command is to define His selection of those whom he purifies in this world and protects them from the splatters of filth (Najas) and I wonder if He (Subhanawataala) thus perhaps identifies those women who will not have to be dipped in The Fire to be purified……..

I was thus in a turmoil mentally wondering, how far does ibraaj go? There is no pretending or rationalization with Allah’s command, is there?

I put on my shoes and decide to go for a walk and that is where it happens.

While walking to the beach I thank Allah that he kept Tariq innocent, took him before he could be corrupted or became cynical. Perhaps….. Despite the grief of loss what had happened this parting has kept Tariq safe and pure and away from the Fire……. I thank Him that He brought me the desire to understand the Quran and made it a dynamic force in my life lifting me from the abyss of depression to a floating reality where nothing except Him can harm me.

I am disturbed at two levels, I need comfort, reassurance and yet I find myself alone……….

As I turn on to the path to return from the beach to the house, a beautiful fragrance joins me……I subconsciously wonder if the perfume I wear everyday had changed to this soft but heady aroma of wild honeysuckle? Then another fragrance enters and I am surrounded and embraced closely by this mix of the sweetness of the lily of the valley, the musk of sandalwood and an airy touch of wild honeysuckle… I peer into the bushes by the path to see if a vine of wild honeysuckle is in them, but there are none.

It takes me a while to identify the fragrances……..and then it comes almost as a spoken answer clear and succinct: S Khala and Ammi, two strong women on this journey with me……………

As I ascend the stairs to the house their fragrance leaves me in the bright but harsh realities of this life wondering what it meant and if I was dreaming while awake………


    • Walaikum Asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu!
      I am going to write this tafsir, as it is central to how men and women think about each other and how to make others respect us women as human beings rather than a sex object.
      It is a difficult one, to translate and reflect on, which is why I gave the link.
      Inshallah it is on my list to do:)


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