Behind the Glittering of the Market
How do we feel about the market? Do we love it excessively? Do we feel immense pleasure and like to stay in it? Are we one of those people who are often and fond of entering and spending our time in it?
Before answering those questions, a muslim man and woman should know that he or she shouldn’t love or hate something based on his/her desire. Instead, he/she should love or hate something because of Allah the Glorified and Exalted. He/she should love what Allah loves, and hate what Allah hates. A muslim also should love anything that could bring him closer to Allah the Glorified and Exalted, and hate anything that could drive him away from Him.
What’s with the Market?
The Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, which can be translated as, “The most beloved places to Allah are the mosques, and the ones he dislikes the most are the markets.” Based on this hadith, a muslim man and woman should dislike the market, doesn’t enjoy to stay in it, doesn’t feel like settle in it, and doesn’t enter it except to fulfill the need and necessity that requires him/her to be there, especially the modern markets that exist these days.
Why is that? It is because the market is a place that causes negligence, place where women expose their beauty and private body parts, place of free mixing among men and women, place of roaring noise and abysmal talks. Allah the Glorified and Exalted detests the market, so a believer should detest it too, since he detests what his Lord detests.
Next, why is the market is labeled as the worst place on earth? Imam Nawawy said, regarding the saying of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, “The place that Allah hates the most is the markets.” Because the market is the place where fraud, lie, usury, false vow, breaking of promise, abandoning of dzikrullah, and other evil doings, happened.
How many people were being duped in the market? How many people got robbed and got their things stolen in the market? How many people were lied to in it? How many false vows that were uttered? It is where unlawful trade being practiced, promises were broken, oppression and transgression happened. How many unlawful gaze, frivolous talks, and sinful promise and date took place in it?
Salman al Farisi said, “If you can, do not be the first one to step in the market and the last to step out of it. Because that is the battlefield with satan, and there is where satan stick his banner.” (A saying of companions (atsar) narrated by Muslim)
In the market, many people are kept away from remembering Allah and being grateful to Him, because their hearts are being filled with anything they see. There are some kinds of merchandise, with so-and-so color, imported from so-and-so country. This one from France, this is from America, that one over there is from Italy and Japan.
Whenever their eyes wander to someplace, they’ll find various accessories and jewelries that make them forget to blink, not to mention that on the other corners, there are display front full with luxurious items.
And then there’s a wholesale discount, some even vow that they sell with loss. Another one offers their goods with striking poster, giving some presents to children, persuading the female buyer, offering gifts to every buyer, and there is also a stand that holds quiz or competition with various, attractive prizes. Just to go around from one stand to the other, one place to the other, is already consuming hours of time, and wasting it in vain. Moreover, what’s worse is how many immorality happened in those markets.
Woman with strong-smelled perfumes from her body and clothes, which sweet smell enchants the olfactory senses before luring the eyes to look at its owner. And so, lots and lots of men’s eyes look at her incessantly. All while the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had said, “Any woman who wears perfume, then goes out and passes by a group of men, so that they could smell her fragrance, has committed adultery, and each eye also committed adultery.” (Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Daud, classified as good hadith by Al Albani).
This stern warning is addressed to woman who is merely goes out while spraying on some fragrances and then passes by many people.
Then what if it is worsen by her goes out to the market or supermarket, the place of trials and the place that Allah hates the most?
There are also many women in the market who wear clothes to their liking, some with tight and short style, opened or shaping her private parts, exposing what actually should be covered, of arms, neck, calf, bosom, back, and so on. Some of them wear high heels, and walk coquettishly as if they are flirting with their husbands.
Some of them enter the market only to ask about the price of this and that, and when the merchants and the rest of people start to pack their goods to head home, and lights are switched off, he goes out of the market without buying anything.
All the while in a corner, a woman is being alone with a male seller, without her mahram or anyone. They talk passionately and in details about many kinds of cosmetic, and even the private clothes of the woman, without uneasiness or embarrassment. Not to mention the girls and other women who look around, looking for a man who wants to seduce and joke with them, or maybe a man who wants to fill them with praises and flattering.
How We are Supposed to Act
After reading the explanation above, then we as muslims, particularly the women, should be the ones who dislike the market, because it is the place of free mixing, place of satan’s traps, and place that hypnotizes and strongly attract people to it. If a person is looking at an evildoing too frequently, it could make him to get used to it, and consider that it is a normal thing to do.
The Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, which can be translated as,
“Those among you who see any bad things happened, he shall change (stop) by his hands. If he is not able to do that, he shall do it with his words (advice), if he still does not have ability to do so, then he shall change it with his heart, and that is the weakest form of iman (belief).’
Discouraging evildoing with the heart is the weakest form of faith. If a person doesn’t even discourage it with his heart, then his faith will be covered and his heart blackened, and he’ll be drown in desires and false beliefs.
Some Conditions to Fulfill Before Entering the Market
Even though we’ve known that many kinds of trials, evildoings, and dangers take place inside the market, but we, particularly the muslim women sometimes need to buy various necessities, such as food, drink, clothes, and household equipments which must be bought in the market. And the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- didn’t prohibit his followers to enter the market. Even in the time of the Prophet, be it during the time of ignorance or after the dawn of Islam, there were many markets.
The important thing is for us not to be the one who likes to be in the market, attaches to it, feels at home in it, and wishes to stay in it for long.
Below are some conditions which anyone who are going to the market, supermarket, and the likes, should take heed of.
There’s Necessity to Buy
Which means that a person shouldn’t enter the market without any intention to buy anything, because its just wasting his time. Thus, whenever we enter the market, we should have something necessary to buy.
Setting The Target
That is, which thing to buy. Do not let ourselves enter the market, then do not know what to buy, and in the end we are just waling around from one place to another without any clear goal.
Asking for Permission for Woman
Upon going to the market, a woman should ask for permission from her guardian. The faithful women in the time of the Prophet –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-
And his companions asked for permission from their guardians upon going to the mosque, then what about going to the market? Plus, women shouldn’t go alone, in order to avoid being the target of prank and crime of irresponsible people.
Covering the Private Parts (Awrah)
Muslim woman should wear hijab with style that is approved in shari’a, which covers her entire awrah. We should bear in mind that in the market, there are plenty of men with evil heart, who are fond of seducing women. If they find a woman whose awrah is being exposed, they certainly will approach and converse with her. It is not the case for women with hijab, whom they will certainly hold more respect to.
Reciting du’a upon entering the market
It is by saying, “La ilaha illallah, wahdahu la syarika lah, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu, yuhyi wa yumit, wa huwa hayyun la yamut, biyadihil khair,wa huwa ‘ala kulli syai-in qadir.” Which can be translated as, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, The One, there’s no partner to Him, to Him all powers and praises belong, The One Who revives and takes life, He Lives and Do not die, in His hand all goodness rest, and He has all power over anything.”
Lowering the gaze
As the proof of his/her honoring of Allah’s rules and laws –Glorified and Exalted be He- as written in the Qur’an, chapter An Nur/The Light: 30-31, which orders every faithful man and woman to lower his/her gaze.
That is by walking straightly and calmly, do not turn to right and to the left too much, do not wear perfume for women, since it will attract attention of men. Women shouldn’t ask too many questions about something without necessity to the male merchant; instead, she should ask according to her need.
Do not be alone with strange man
That is, for a man and woman not to be alone with one another without any other people and her mahram, whether it is between a buyer and a seller, or else.
Do not be Tempted by The Style
A muslim man and woman has his/her own distinct style, thus, he/she shouldn’t be tempted with various mode and any kind of clothing styles that doesn’t follow the noble rules of Islam.
Being thrifty in spending is a proof that that person preserves the favor that Allah the Glorified and Exalted has given to him and the proof of his gratitude. Whereas being extravagant and lavish in spending is the reflection of belittling and wasting the favor of Allah.
Carefully choosing the time
It is to avoid the free mixing and the stampede that usually happened in the markets.
Enjoin the good and discourage evil
Minimally discourage the evildoings with heart, as mentioned in the previous hadith.
And Allah knows best.
Reference: “Ila Murtadatil Aswaq,” al-Qism al-Ilmi Darul Wathan (a small book from Darul Wathan), with a few adjustments (Taken from the bulletin ‘An Nur’).