Ethics of Going out to the Market

Since 2012-11-29

"The most lovable places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets." [Reported by Muslim]


In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah alone, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet that there is no prophet after him.
There is no doubt that the market is a legitimate gathering, which is held for the care of the interests of people. There is also no doubt that the market is not free from evils and temptations. Therefore, it is one of the most hated places to Allah. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “The most lovable places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets.” [Reported by Muslim]
«أحب البلاد إلى الله مساجدها . وأبغض البلاد إلى الله أسواقها» رواه مسلم
While this Hadith is about markets in general, there is no doubt that it is more worthy directed to the markets where men are intermingled with women because of the evils and temptations which are present in them.
The woman goes out of her house to the market accompanied by her religion, chastity, and modesty. But when she comes back she does not know what she has missed of these attributes and what has remained with her.
She goes out to a place, which is replete with temptations and blights, where Satan is hoisting his banner.
O Muslim sister: Because of this, the commended shopping is what takes into account the legitimate ethics imperative to women outside their homes. If it is necessary to go out to the market for an urgent need, there is nothing wrong with that Allah willing, on the condition that your going out is to be according to a host of ethics.
Ethics of Going out to the Market
You have to take permission from your guardian when you go out either:
your parents, your husband, your brother, or who are acting for them.
Make sure that one of your mahrams (men you are prohibited to get married to) takes you to the market, either your husband, your brother or another mahram. Make them accustomed to doing that as a token of respect for you, and to protect you from the human wolves. But in case you could not get one of your mahrams to go out with you, let another woman accompany you in order to avoid being alone with vendors and to be away from temptation and infatuation. Try your best never to go out alone to the market, even if you have to postpone some of your needs for another time, as this is more preserving of you and more protective for your religion and chastity.
If any one of your mahrams, such as your husband, brother or father has any knowledge of the markets, and can buy for you what you need and save you the burden of going out, you have to thank Allah for that and stay in your house, and do not go out except for a special need that requires your going out.
Beware of riding the car with the driver alone, whether he is the family driver or other driver, as being alone with him is a kind of sitting alone with a strange man, which is forbidden by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, where he has said: “No man is privately alone with a woman; but their third is Satan.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
«لا يخلون رجل بامرأة إلا كان ثالثهما الشيطان» صححه الألباني
Unless there is another woman with you and there is no suspicion; and when you are going to get in or get out of the car make sure no part of your body, such as your legs is revealed in front of the men present at the market.
Check your hijab
Avoid the wanton display of yourself and of unveiling your face, and going out in tempting clothes. Take good care of your niqab (face cover). If it is not unavoidable, it should be very tight as much as the opening of the eyes only; it should not be broad and wide showing the cheeks and the area around the eyes. It is preferable to wear a light cover over it, which would only be taken up when you need to look at the product that you want to see and examine.
Beware of wearing the cloak on the shoulder (the cap) or the French cloak (Ash-Shamlah) or something like that which shows the shape of the body and defines the attractions of your body. This is a kind of the prohibited wanton display of yourself and unveiling. Make sure to wear the cloak, which covers the whole body from head to toes.
Remember that the hand and foot are parts of your body, so be keen in covering them well. If you are commanded to cover them even when you are in prayer, where no one can see you, then isn’t it worthier to cover them when you are out to the market, and specially where men gather.
So make sure, may Allah bless you, to cover your feet by wearing stockings and to cover your hands with gloves or cloak with long sleeves that cover the hands.
Check your hijab while you are walking in the market and moving between shops or examining goods, so as not to show anything from your face, your neck, your hair, or your arms, and be careful not to open the cloak to adjust it in front of the vendors or pedestrians, lest that some of your body get exposed while you are not aware.
Never wear perfume when you are going out to places wherein there are men, whether markets or other places, and do not wear clothes that have traces of perfume or incense. This is prohibited and not permissible. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
«إذا استعطرت المرأة فمرت على القوم ليجدوا ريحها فهي زانية» صححه الألباني
Ethics of the way
Do not give attention to any person who throws flirting words at you, admiration phrases or a joke. Hurry up to inform the men of the Authority of Enjoining Good and Preventing Evils in the market, or raise your voice denying his words so that he would not go farther than words.
Try to stay away from crowded places in the shop or outside it, and be careful not to bend on the show counters or bow to inspect the goods, as this tempts the weak to encroach you.
When you sit in resting and waiting areas, try to sit modestly; and check yourself in order not to expose something of your body as your legs for example, or to show the back shape of your body and so on.
Beware that your voice sounds loud when you are walking with your friend or while you are examining goods with her. Let your discussion and consultation with her be in a faint voice. You also should not ask for any commodity when you are out of the store in a loud voice that can be heard from afar.
Some women may accompany their daughters to the market, the woman would wear hijab and the daughter walks with her mother unveiling; rather the mother may allow her daughter wear pants that shows the size of her body and exposes her attractions. The daughter is not young as her mother may think. So beware O Muslim sister, may Allah preserve you, from falling into such a thing. Remember that the girl, when her health is good and her figure resembles that of grownups, she must wear the hijab and be raised on the decency and modesty, even though she is young, so as not to be left exposed to the hungry gazes and poisoned verbal arrows.
Ethics of purchasing
Identify what you want to buy before you go out to the market, and be keen to buy the things you want once so as not to be forced to return to the market soon again.
Remember that the seller in the shop is a man like other men; you have to wear hijab before him and be aware of him whatever his nationality is. Do not behave like other feeble women both in mind and faith, when the seller is not a native of this country they tolerate with regard to their hijab and reveal their faces before him as if he is not a man like other men.
If your husband or one of your mahrams is with you in the market, leave him to speak and discuss with vendors. You should not talk with the seller due to the presence of your husband or mahram with you, if this is not out of modesty in addressing men, then let it be out of respect, as this will keep you away from temptation and save your religion and honor.
If you want to examine what you want to buy, do not raise your face cover to look at this thing in front of the seller, but in a shop corner or where no one can see you. Likewise, do not try shoes on before the seller so as not to show your legs.
Do not try any jewelry on, whether on your hands or your arms directly in front of the seller, and do not let him do that for you. Be very cautious about that.
Make sure when you pay money to the seller that nothing appears from your arm or that anything of your acquired adornment be exposed, such as golden jewelry and the like. Do not give or take money from him directly, but leave the money on the counter so that he can take it without touching your hand, which calls for more decency and modesty.
Beware of extravagance and spendthrift. Do not buy a lot of clothes that you may need only once a year, because thus they are plentiful. Buy only what you and your children need. I am afraid that a day will come when you cannot find a thing to cover your body with. Allah Almighty has said: { And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe."} [Ibrâhîm 14:7]
{وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ} إبراهيم: 7


Transliteration: Waith taaththana rabbukum lain shakartum laazeedannakum walain kafartum inna AAathabee lashadeedun


And as it has been said: "thanks make blessings last."
Make sure you buy long covering clothes for you and your children and keep away from short, semi-naked, and eye-catching clothes that are far away from decency and modesty. You should also avoid clothes containing images or obscene writings. You are a Muslim woman who is commanded to keep decent and modest in her dress and to keep away from any clothes that are contrary to that as these clothes are forbidden in Islamic law and custom.
Avoid being too complaisant or soft in your talk with sellers or any other men. Allah Almighty has said: {then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.} [Al-Ahzâb 33:32]
{فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِٱلْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ ٱلَّذِى فِى قَلْبِهِۦ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا} الأحزاب: 32


Transliteration: falatakhdaAAna bialqawli fayatmaAAa allathee fee qalbihi maradun waqulna qawlan maAAroofan


Avoid also excessive debate, which has no connection with sale and purchase. Speak briefly with the seller in words enough to explain your need. Do not elongate negotiations about the price or talk to the seller with intimacy, begging him in order to reduce few dirhams that do not deserve all this amicability and humility.
Finally, my Muslim sister, by Allah I have written those above words and alerts just to advise you, taking care of you so that you would not tolerate falling into some of them; thus you would expose yourself to the wrath and punishment of Allah.
So young sister, commit yourself to what you have read and try to apply them and behave accordingly, so you can go out to the market without any loss or sins.
May Allah preserves you and cares for you, and may He protect you from all misfortunes.
Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.
Prepared by the Scientific Division in Ibn Khuzaymah House



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