“And when your children reach the age of puberty, have them seek ?to come in?, as their elders do. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to you, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” 24:59
When speaking about Islam, the primacy of privacy is rarely discussed with khutaba and lecturers recycling same topics during the Friday sermon and outside of it. Even though most of the topics are important and worthy of discussion, it is essential that we do not neglect important parts of the deen especially those that pertain to our daily lives.
When dealing with privacy, we should start in our own houses where we have the most impact.
Even regarding something as ordinary as whether or not to enter someone’s room or home, our religion places significance on the privacy of people. To begin, the qur’an clearly identifies times in which even children must ask permission to enter the rooms or houses of others’ in surah 24:58.
After this, the Qur’an clearly states that once children reach puberty, they are to ask permission just like adults. In fact, it is reported in adab al-mufrad of Imam Bukhari that many of the companions said that the verse applies to even family members living in the same house.
Consequently, parents should clearly teach their children about the importance of seeking permission when they are young at the 3 times specified by the Qur’an, and make it clear that they must seek permission at all times when they reach puberty.
These understandings align with the fact that qur’anic wording does not exempt these categories. Additionally, the emphasis on privacy extends to a communal level when dealing with the rights of others.
The Qur’an clearly tells believers to mind the rights and privacy of each other also. In surah al hujurat, Allah enumerates several injunctions and guidelines which believers are to apply when dealing themselves and people in general.
Anyone with an ounce of faith in their heart should fear Allah and desist from such disgraceful activities. One can imagine the fate of such people when they are raised for judgment. These actions do not make anyone safer and only serve to deepen existing tensions between Muslims and society in general.
When examining the Islamic injunctions, it becomes increasingly clear just how important privacy is in the religion. Not only are adults restricted from entering each other’s houses or rooms without permission, but even children must also seek permission particularly before fajr prayer, at high noon and after the isha prayer.
This is something Muslims should work to reinstall within their lives. Also, at a community level, it is essential to avoid the constant backbiting and spying which has plagued our communities so much. Such practices only serve to increase enmity between us thereby preventing proactive and productive action. When we respect our religion’s teachings regarding privacy, we can expect trust to grow between us and from there, constructive action.