Orland Park Prayer Center

The Prayer Center of Orland Park

Among blessings that Allah (ﷻ) reminded Adam of in Paradise is that no hunger, thirst, heat, or exposure of body will be experienced. {Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed*And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun.} 20:118.

It is important to understand that covering private areas of body in Islam is considered as essential as the importance of food, water, and living environment. Preserving the natural inclination (Al-Fitra) built into our nature as humans in covering private areas of the body is a sign of self-consciousness of being righteous in the eyes of God. Allah (ﷻ) said: {O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best.} 7:26.

It is interesting how prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) used to make a special supplication (D’ua) that connected the concept of covering private body parts (A’wrah) with feeling a sense of safety and security. His D’ua was: “O Allah, conceal my secret [A’wrah] and preserve me from anguish”.[1]

In other words, clothes and garments protect us from physical and non-physical harms. For example, Ibn Masoud, when climbing a tree, the wind blew his clothes and showed his skinny legs. People laughed. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “Why are you laughing?” They replied: “At his skinny legs”. He (ﷺ) said: “The legs of A’bdullah will be heavier on the Scale on the Day of Resurrection than (Mount) Uhud”.[2]

In Islam, privacy is to be respected, especially in dressing areas, and that is because of the concept of safety for a body not to be exposed, even in front of other family members. Allah (ﷻ) said: {O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you.} 24:58. In other words, any place where people need to change their clothes is to be respected so that people feel safe and secure that their privacy will not be breached.

In these changing times we are living in, public places and schools are increasingly mandating mixed locker rooms and washrooms which have always been separated between genders.  Policies are being adopted and laws are being enacted to accommodate people who self-identify as something other than their biological gender. But this is causing a feeling of lack of safety for females in general, and especially Muslim females who from a religious perspective are not allowed to change clothes in front of the opposite gender.

There are three points I would like to focus on as a guideline for our community members that I hope will help deal with such challenges.

Firstly, data should be kept recording any incident of harm recorded if it was physical, verbal or even mental abuse in these mixed lockers and washrooms. It is enough to have one incident of harm to request changes in the system that keep people safe from any harm. If there were several incidents, this would make the case stronger.

Secondly, work with school districts to accommodate the right for religious freedom and practices which are protected by the constitution. From expanding new private areas for females, to allowing extra time for changing in private stalls, every practical option must be discussed to see what works best for females.

Thirdly, from a religious view, life is full of struggle and Muslims must work within the boundaries of what is possible. Allah (ﷻ) said: {So fear Allah as much as you are able.} 64:16. Every person who experiences challenges in life should try to fear Allah to the best of his/her ability. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.} 2:286.

Finally, in relation to the incidents that are happening in our school district, we at the Prayer Center are in communication with the district board to help find solutions to make certain that safety and privacy for our kids are protected, and we will update you with latest findings, insha Allah.

By Imam Kifah Mustapha


[1] Al-Adab Al-Mufrad by Al-Bukhari

[2] Ahmad


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