I’m not completely sure how to phrase the question, what is the importance of self-restraint in Islam? Is self-restraint commonly taught in Islam or an important part of Islam?

So basically recently I’ve been seeing a lot of things about rpe and sexual harassment online and a lot of the responses are that women shouldn’t be revealing and the blame is moved towards women because of what they wear and their attire is blamed for the sexual harassment and potential rpe. I understand how it may be part of the reason why for example their may be some sort of attraction towards people wearing those clothes but even so I feel that being taught self restraint and having some self restraint is even more important. If people had self restraint to begin with it likely wouldn’t have even happened. And if it was mainly due to clothes then people in burqas and hijabs and clothes that are deemed modest wouldn’t face such things but this is also common. I feel that it’s ridiculous to blame women for getting raped because of the clothes they wear and if self restraint was more commonly taught in Muslim households maybe this sort of stuff wouldn’t happen as much.

1 Answer 1


Self-restraint is quite important in Islam. Let alone anything else, we are not allowed to even look at non-mahram women.

That does not diminish the importance of modesty. In a society, the two things work together. Men need to wear the appropriate clothing and they need to lower their gaze from women. Women need to wear their appropriate clothing and they need to lower their gaze from men.

If someone transgresses in either of these things, that transgression is their fault.

If a woman wears something inappropriate for women, that is absolutely forbidden, sinful, and she needs to repent. Likewise with a man wearing something inappropriate for men.

If a man looks at a woman with lust that is absolutely forbidden, sinful, and he needs to repent. Likewise with a woman looking at a man with lust.

If a woman wears something inappropriate and a man looks at her, the woman bears the sin of wearing inappropriate clothes and the man bears the sin of looking. And Allah will decide between them.

Allah says in the Quran:

Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (24:30-31)

Lowering the gaze and wearing appropriate clothes are both obligations at the same time.

  • Is it something that is actively taught and preached and mentioned in the Quran because if it is it will also help women have a more open choice of clothing and more I guess “free” lifestyle not sure how to phrase it. And also modest clothing and gaze may be a restriction for both genders but why is clothing significantly more restricted for women and the parts of the bodies to show to non mahrams? Thank you
    – M.A
    Sep 26, 2020 at 1:06
  • @Shah786 No one will have a more "open choice of clothing." Both men and women have strict limits. Women have the limit of wearing the hijab. The limit for men in clothing is less than that but it is there nonetheless. As for why the difference, Allah decided so.
    – The Z
    Sep 26, 2020 at 1:25
  • It’s understandable to me if you want to hide your chest and genitals and stuff but I read that women aren’t even allowed to show there arms and that’s kind of extreme to me, some times it even can get too hot and stuff and if revealing your arm is not allowed because it may be arousing in some way to the opposite gender then I feel the face shouldn’t be allowed to be shown as it does that even more so. Same with legs I understand if it goes to like your thighs and stuff but like you can’t even show ur shin or anything.
    – M.A
    Sep 26, 2020 at 1:48
  • @Shah786 That is what Allah commands. The limits of Islam are clear. Everything other than face and hands should be covered with loose clothing. Again, this isn't about us sitting and deciding what is "arousing" or not. It is Allah's decision. Why he decided so is His matter.
    – The Z
    Sep 26, 2020 at 2:03
  • but isn’t there an answer as to why it’s so strict for women or is there any empirical data to show why it is better? So if Im just in public and lift my sleeve up I’m sinning? It sounds off to me no offence
    – M.A
    Sep 26, 2020 at 2:58

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