What is Islam’s point of view on “ghira”; the protective feeling a man feels towards his sister or wife when she is talking to a person of the opposite sex; what are men’s rights on this viewpoint; is ghira really beneficial like they say or does it prove a lack of trust in the couple/sibling?
The Prophet (pbuh) says:
“Ghira is part of faith” (Scale of Wisdom, n. 4919).
In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) says that a man without ghira will be humiliated by God: “My father Abraham was very possessive and I am even more possessive than him. Allah abases the believer who has no sense of ghira…”(The Scale of Wisdom, n. 4920)
However, as always, Islam prescribes things in moderation, and so having excessive ghira can have bad effects. It is related that Prophet Solomon said to his son: “My son, do not have excessive ghira when it comes to your family, such that you will accuse the innocent among them” (The Scale of Wisdom, n.4927). The Prophet (pbuh) further clarifies this by saing: “There is ghira which God likes, and there is ghira which God despises. That which He likes is ghira when there is reason to doubt, and that which He dislikes is ghira when there is no reason to doubt” (The Scale of Wisdom, n.4928).
As for the issue of trust, a man’s ghira is not a show of lack of trust. Rather, it is often to protect his wife or sister from being in a tempting or compromising situation. We should not have too much trust in ourselves and think that we will never fall into sin. Instead, we should doubt ourselves and keep ourselves and those we love away from tempting and compromising situations so that there will be no temptation or compulsion to sin.
The other issue to consider is that sometimes women are over-trusting of strange men due to their own innocence and purity, and so often a male relative is needed to protect them from becoming over-familiar with a strange male who may seem innocent but who has impure intentions.
Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei