Damien Gayle reports for the UK’s Daily Mail, Aug. 19, 2014, that a hardline Islamic imam from Egypt this week made waves in the Middle East after he issued a fatwa or religious edict allowing a man to watch a woman while she is taking a shower, so long as your intentions are “pure,” whatever that means.
Usama al-Qawsi is a cleric in the Salafi movement, a minority strain in Egyptian Islam, which encourages believers to look back to the earliest Muslims as the epitome of good religious practice. His sermon was broadcast on Egyptian-based Mehwar TV Channel and translated into English by al-Arabiya.
Al-Qawsi preached: “If you were really honest and wanted to marry that woman, and you were able to hide and watch her in secret, see the things that she wouldn’t usually let you see before marrying her, then it is acceptable as long as your intentions are pure.”
In fact, al-Qawsi claimed that one of Prophet Mohammad’s companions did exactly that, that is, was a peeping Tom. Al-Qawsi said although “some disapproved,” the Prophet himself gave permission, saying, “If you can see something that would make you want to marry her then go ahead and do it.’
But al-Qawsi appears to run counter to traditional Muslim teachings, which encourage both men and women to dress modestly and “lower their gaze” when faced with members of the opposite sex. That prompted Egypt’s Minister of Religion, Mohammad Mukhtar, to quickly move to reject al-Qawsi’s fatwa.
Mukhtar said, “Where is the glory and masculinity in watching a woman shower? Would you allow this to happen to your daughter? If it was OK with you then it isn’t with the conservative, civilized Muslim and Christian societies – they disapprove of it. Besides, Islam preaches that modesty should be in our nature and all religions concur.”
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