I’ve heard that a woman is not supposed to dye her hair black. When I enquired as to why, I was told that it was deceptive… because having black hair automatically makes one look younger. I pointed out that according to Islamic principles, a woman’s hair should be covered at all times and no one except her Mahram’s (Father, Brothers, Husband, Sons) should be gazing at it so I don't see how the justification applies. And considering that all of them (her Mahram's) are most likely to know her age and status because of the capacity of their relationships with her, they are highly unlikely to be deceived. I also enquired after what should a woman do if her husband wanted her to dye her hair black, so that she is attractive to him, and was met with no answer.
In our societies, especially here in SA (unfortunately I have no information on the status anywhere else in the world) we have a huge problem regarding Sihr (Black Magic) with a staggering number of people either knowingly or unknowingly indulging in Sihr and Shirk to bringing back lost loves, to remove bad luck, to prevent their husbands from leaving, to hurt or kill their enemies, to get money etc. etc. So they may consult dodgy Nigerian or Malawian “doctors” and some will even consult with *some respected people in society… Sheikhs and Moulana’s whom they trust.
To these people, mostly ladies, they aren’t doing anything wrong. They don’t think that robbing someone else of his/her choices is them trying to play God, or them seeking illicit “help” from these people to control sectors of their lives is Shirk (associating partners with Allah SWT) and the most severe sin in Islam.
*Note: not all Sheikh’s, Imam's and Moulana’s are complicit in these evil deeds. A lot actually do good work. But only a person with knowledge on these matters will be able to tell, as I've discussed extensively on my other blog)
I’ve been a spectator and occasional participant in the endless debate surrounding what’s considered Haraam (forbidden) and Halaal (permissible). Apparently, most of the time all you need is a couple million rand to have something certified Halaal. I was even approached and chastised for eating sweets with Bovine Gelatine listed as an ingredient. The woman who approached me didn’t even know which factors determined whether something was Halaal or not.
I enlightened her and said “Ask yourself, what makes something Halaal?”. She looked at me blankly and I continued, “In Islam, when it comes to meat, the meat has to be a) NOT slaughtered in the name of a PAGAN God and b) NOT be slaughtered in an inhumane way and c) it should be “bled” right… that is, all the blood should be drained from the animal’s body.
When the concepts of halaal and haraam came down, those products that were considered harmful to ones health, for example consuming animal blood or meat cooked in blood was considered Haraam because it is bad for ones health. Alcohol was made Haraam in stages, because of its negative intoxicating effects on the mind, as well as the harmful effects it had on the body, the liver in particular. Pork was also made Haraam because they are scavengers, and as a result, their meat is not considered clean or healthy. In fact, the Prophet (SAW) used to be invited to dine with Jews on a regular basis, do you think he worried that whatever they were serving came from a Halaal Butcher?
I then asked her if she even knew what was Bovine Gelatine made of. I got another blank stare because she, like most people, had absolutely no knowledge of the extensive chemical process that’s involved in the production of Bovine Gelatine… a process that involves chemically cleaning and pulverizing animal bones in a system that’s so complex and intricate that they cannot even trace the end product back to its original component. The end product, the Gelatine, is not only chemically cleaned, but it has no nutritional value and zero health risks.
And I concluded, “So you see, this packet of gums that you say is Haraam can actually be contested as such. I don’t consume pork or pork products, or meat from unknown sources… but you can be sure that I will consume these fruit flavoured gums and anything else I see fit”.
… and in the back of my mind I couldn't help thinking to myself “You’re one of them… you have no qualms visiting your practitioner, beating the drums, reading selected verses from the Qur’an backwards, calling Satan’s emissaries (the bad Jinn), indulging in Shirk to get rid of your daughter-in-law but you’re standing here telling me I can’t eat this packet of sweets from Woolies because it’s Haraam?!?