What Is Ghairat?

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GHAIRAT (shame, honour and modesty) is an attribute which Islam stresses much. Once in the court of Qaadhi Musa Bin Ishaaq, a lady covered with her burqah claimed that her husband was indebted to her for 500 gold coins which were for her mahr. The husband contested her claim. The Wakeel (lawyer/representative) of the lady produced two witnesses to testify as is required by the Shariah to prove a claim which is denied.

Before testifying the witness requested that the lady removes her niqaab because he could not testify without recognizing her. It is permissible according to the Shariah for women to reveal their faces in the presence of the Qaadhi who hears their cases.

When the lady stood up and was about to open her niqaab, the ghairat of her husband could not tolerate another man looking at his wife. He therefore said: “I testify that I do owe my wife the 500 Ashrafis (gold coins) she is claiming. My wife should never expose her face to a stranger.”

The impact of the husband’s honour constrained the wife to say: “I have waived the entire debt from my husband.” The Qaadhi ordered that this episode be recorded as a lesson for posterity.

(Shu’bul Imaan of Imaam Baihqi)