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“Miss Beautiful Morals” – Will You Please Step Up?


Photo: Contest organizer Khadra Mubarak, at right, goes over information about the Miss Beautiful Morals pageant at her office in Safwa, Saudi Arabia. The winner will be chosen based on her commitment to Islamic values and her devotion to her parents. Credit: Nissreen Aldar / Associated Press
Photo: Contest organizer Khadra Mubarak, at right, goes over information about the Miss Beautiful Morals pageant at her office in Safwa, Saudi Arabia. Credit: Nissreen Aldar / Associated Press


The term “beauty pageant” conjures up images of young beauties “strutting their stuff” before a panel of judges, a live audience, flashing cameras, and global television viewers. As a just-turned-13 teenager, I remember the flurry of excitement among my friends whenever such a pageant was to be aired. We’d all watch with envious wistfulness as each picture-perfect lass got dolled up and presented herself to be judged in several outfits and environs. The next day, in the school bus and before class, we’d express our opinions about our favorite contestant, who should have won, who not, and why. It was all very girl-girly and immature, but nevertheless, it was evidence of the fact that every young girl dreams to one day be classified as a “beautiful woman”.

However, as maturity set in, and the passage of years revealed just how disconcerting, and downright degrading, the presence of lustful male attention or their other obvious overtures can be, my childish adulation of models and beauty queens turned a bit into distasteful wariness. I remember going to Pakistani open-air markets with my mother (itwar bazaar, jumma bazaar….our Pakistani readers will get the drift; it gets so bad for women there, that some of my friends’ mothers and cousins have even delivered spot-on punches to Eve-teasers in these markets — no kidding!!) and I remember becoming extra conscious of my dupatta doing the needful among the ludicrously lewd stares. I eventually started hating going to the market. I found myself thinking that though being beautiful is great, how could these models and pageant queens handle the unwelcome attention? How could a beautiful girl walk down a catwalk, at times half-nude, to be stared at and “judged” for her face, hair, and body, by half the world? And why did these pageant queens do so much humanitarian and ambassador work after being crowned for just their physical looks and their half-minute oration ability?

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So when news of a different kind of pageant started doing the rounds, I was pleasantly surprised. That this pageant is relatively new, and is based in Saudi Arabia, is something that will render it prone to its fair share of skeptical criticism and race-based media onslaught. We know that Saudis have their dedicated set of extremely vocal critics. Anyway, on to the pageant and it’s details: the title is “Miss Beautiful Morals”, it is open to women of ages 15 to 25, and it requires them to attend some classes and be observed for their conduct with their mothers:

Sukaina al-Zayer is an unlikely beauty queen hopeful. She covers her face and body in black robes and an Islamic veil, so no one can tell what she looks like. She also admits she’s a little on the plump side.

But at Saudi Arabia’s only beauty pageant, the judges don’t care about a perfect figure or face. What they’re looking for in the quest for “Miss Beautiful Morals” is the contestant who shows the most devotion and respect for her parents.

“The idea of the pageant is to measure the contestants’ commitment to Islamic morals… It’s an alternative to the calls for decadence in the other beauty contests that only take into account a woman’s body and looks,” said pageant founder Khadra al-Mubarak.

“The winner won’t necessarily be pretty,” she added. “We care about the beauty of the soul and the morals.”

So after the pageant opens Saturday, the nearly 200 contestants will spend the next 10 weeks attending classes and being quizzed on themes including “Discovering your inner strength,” “The making of leaders” and “Mom, paradise is at your feet” _ a saying attributed to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to underline that respect for parents is among the faith’s most important tenets.

Pageant hopefuls will also spend a day at a country house with their mothers, where they will be observed by female judges and graded on how they interact with their mothers, al-Mubarak said. Since the pageant is not televised and no men are involved, contestants can take off the veils and black figure-hiding abayas they always wear in public.

The Miss Beautiful Morals pageant is the latest example of conservative Muslims co-opting Western-style formats to spread their message in the face of the onslaught of foreign influences flooding the region through the Internet and satellite television.

A newly created Islamic music channel owned by an Egyptian businessman aired an “American Idol”-style contest for religious-themed singers this month. And several Muslim preachers have become talk-show celebrities by adopting an informal, almost Oprah-like television style, in contrast to the solemn clerics who traditionally appear in the media.

Source: Huffington Post

The best thing about this pageant is that it makes its contestants compete or strive harder for becoming more pious Muslim women, i.e. by gaining knowledge that will improve their akhlaaq: character and dealings with people, their own parents in particular, and also their own personality. Also, physical looks and figure measurements will thankfully be ignored during judgement, which is a welcome change in a world that, now, truly dictates to women just how much they should weigh and what they should look like, at any stage in life. In a world of hair-color changes, false lashes, botox, liposuction, tummy-tucks, facelifts and chest-surgeries, this pageant offers a breath of fresh air.

What about the age requirement? Can a woman possessing beautiful morals not be past 25? Also, as is always the case, can non-Saudis contend to participate? These questions arise naturally when one reads about “Miss Beautiful Morals”.

All I know is, that as a woman who felt distinctly uncomfortable amid stares and other renditions of amorous male attention, and who eventually felt the heady waves of absolute freedom and liberation by donning the Islamic hijab, any pageant that takes into account only a woman’s character, Islamic conduct, taqwa and knowledge and not her beauty; that does not cash in on the display of lines upon lines of young lovelies by garnering media attention and lucrative sponsor deals; and does not use the male vote to attach tags based on hip-and-bust measurements, is a welcome change from the norm, if nothing else; one that can show to the world what the true merit of a woman should be, for others, insha’Allah.

And just for the record, I now make the rare trip to Itwar Bazaar without any worries, alhamdulillah.

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Sadaf Farooqi is a postgraduate in Computer Science who has done the Taleem Al-Quran Course from Al-Huda International, Institute of Islamic Education for Women, in Karachi, Pakistan. 11 years on, she is now a homeschooling parent of three children, a blogger, published author and freelance writer. She has written articles regularly for Hiba Magazine, SISTERS Magazine and Saudi Gazette. Sadaf shares her life experiences and insights on her award-winning blog, Sadaf's Space, and intermittently teaches subjects such as Fiqh of Zakah, Aqeedah, Arabic Grammar, and Science of Hadith part-time at a local branch of Al-Huda. She has recently become a published author of a book titled 'Traversing the Highs and Lows of Muslim Marriage'. For most part, her Jihad bil Qalam involves juggling work around persistent power breakdowns and preventing six chubby little hands from her computer! Even though it may not seem so, most of her time is spent not in doing all this, but in what she loves most - reading.



  1. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    May 14, 2009 at 1:56 AM

    Bismillah was salamu alaykum. How about incorporating the judging criteria into Practimate? Where’s Shaykh Yaser? Someone send him a link to this article. Or would that mean applying the criteria to sons, too: how respectful are they of their parents? ;)

    Still, alhamdolillah, it’s a good article (bizarre bazaar references and all). I think Shaykh Waleed could probably use it at Fiqh of Love, too.

    @Omar and the other site-gurus: MashaAllah, the rollout of the new site features looks great. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hajera

    May 14, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    Subahanallah.Taking an account and judging your morals.Wow .Mashaallah.

  3. Serendipitouslife

    May 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    While I don’t wish to comment on the ‘pageant’ itself, I would like to draw attention to two ummah-related issues that are reflected by this event:

    1. We (some) Muslims continue to use the Western standard and model as our blueprint. There is nothing wrong with adopting & applying halal beneficial formats/application/models/ideas for our worldly or akhirah success from wherever we find them. However, the problem is that we continue to simply (& sometimes blindly & wrongly) copy others. From small brands to major business concepts, we just ‘imitate’.

    Eg. We have KFC copycats in the Muslim world, who use the exact branding & packaging for their products – except that this KFC stands for ‘Kuwait Fried Chicken’. We have Muslim-marketed soft drinks with ‘Muslim’ names that look exactly like Pepsi & CocaCola – the very brands they are aiming to compete against. Can imitators ever command respect? And doing that while using muslim identity. Isn’t that demeaning?

    In our blindness to do as the West, we have even gone to the length of selling ‘Champagne’ in the markets of conservative Muslim cities like Sharjah! Yes, I did a double-take too when I first saw that bottle in the fruit-juice section. It said, ‘Champagne’ on the label affixed on the tall green bottle with the typical champagne packaging of gold foil. Close inspection revealed the tiny words: ‘non-alcoholic’. SubbhanaAllah, we already use the wine glasses & now we have champagne to drink in them. How much more desperate can we get to be like ‘them’. There are far too many examples.

    2. Our girls and women still feel the need to find validation through other people’s opinion. There seems to be a lot of (conscious or otherwise) effort in the last couple of years by muslim organisations etc. to raise the muslim woman’s self esteem on a collective & individual level, alhumdullilah.

    Decades (& perhaps centuries) of cultural islam had reduced the worth of women in muslim societies to the point of objects or worse – subhuman! Then came women’s liberation from the West. And we were left confused & feeling even more inferior about our status.

    As a result, with the revival of Islam in modern times, a lot of time, effort & education is employed to raise the self-esteem of muslim women as a knee-jerk reaction to the stifling repression of our cultural past & the no-hold-barred freedom of present West. So what we see now through such events is the residual effect of this reaction.

    We rarely see this (i.e. issue of self-esteem) in the life of the Sahabiyaat (radhiAllahunhum). And the interesting thing is that they too had grown & emerged from the repressive conditions of their jahiliyah society. They had every reason to have issues with self-esteem but they didn’t. Why? For one single reason. When Islam entered their lives, they understood its core concept correctly i.e. each & everyone, male or female is to define him/herself in relation to Allah (SubbhanawataAala).

    Unlike us, they did not use ‘Man’ or another dominant culture/society as theirr measuring yardstick for anything. Look at the example of this from the hadith of Asmaa bint Yazeed ibn As-Sakan (radiallahuanhaa) that she went to the Prophet (sallallahualaihiwasallam) and said,

    “O Messenger of Allaah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you. I have come to you on behalf of the women. Verily Allaah has sent you to men and women. We have believed in you. We do not go out and we remain in your homes. We are your source of physical pleasure. We carry your children. A man goes out to pray jum’ah and jamaa’ah, and follows the janaazah. And if you go out for hajj, or ‘umrah, or jihaad, we look after your wealth. We wash your clothing. We raise your children. Shall we not share in the reward?”
    The Prophet (sallallahualaihiwasallam) turned to his Companions and said,
    “Have you ever heard anything a woman has said better than what she has said?”
    Then he said to her,
    “Understand O woman, and inform the other women. Indeed a woman’s perfection of her relationship with her husband, her seeking his pleasure, and doing that which he approves of is equivalent to all of that.” Asmaa left exclaiming “Laa ilaaha illallaah. ” (Adh-Dhahabee related in Sayr A’laam An-Nubalaa)

    Amazing isn’t it! Everything is in relation to Allah & not man or the West (as we do nowadays). She is not complaining about all the work that she has to do for her husband & children. She is not complaining about not getting any ‘me time’. She is not complaining about not getting appreciated by her husband or her society. All she is worried about is the chances of ajr that she feels she might be missing out on.

    Unfortunately, today despite our (relative) freedom & religious awareness, we still, to varying degrees, continue to have self-esteem issues and continue to use man as our defining standard. And we continue to use western/secular society’s definition of strong successful woman as our yardstick.

    We have a long way to go. But, we can aim to be leaders, those who define the standard for others to live-by & create blueprints for others to follow & be proud of our identity & ways, inshaAllah.

    • Amatullah

      May 14, 2009 at 1:05 PM

      Jazaaki Allahu khayran SL for your comment.

    • Fatima

      May 14, 2009 at 1:08 PM

      Asalamu Alaykum…

      MashaAllah, I’m very much impressed with what you said. You just pointed out a great problem that many of the Muslims in the west as well in Muslim countries face today. It’s actually kind of sad when I thought about it. May Allah revive the Umma. Amin::)

  4. Amad

    May 14, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    it will be really cool if we had a pageant for unmarried men too… and then the most “eligible” bachelor (the winner) and the winner of the women’s contest (if unmarried) can have a first go at each other for being married! yeah, it seems we always find a way to link everything to marriage… probably because we have so many unmarried staffers :)

    • Rasheedah

      May 14, 2009 at 1:56 PM

      lol….., you have ‘intresting’ ideas

    • zainab

      June 3, 2009 at 9:28 AM


  5. Bint Amina

    May 14, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    BarakAllaahu feeki Serendipitous life for the insightful reflection.

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

  6. Hidaya

    May 14, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    I was disappointed by negative feedback at aol..oh well

  7. UmmeAmmaarah

    May 14, 2009 at 11:38 AM

    wow! and i hurrah for are the classes they take before the contest!
    next I’d like to see: A game show that quizzes young men on the rights on women…. mothers, sisters, wives :)
    ………call that wishful thinking…………

  8. Ibn Masood

    May 14, 2009 at 2:36 PM


    I first saw this a week or so ago on the Post and I think it’s a fantastic thing they’re doing. They should actually make it a global thing, just like the Miss Haraam competition.

  9. Zainab (AnonyMouse)

    May 14, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    When I first read about this, I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I’m actually somewhat annoyed.

    I do recognize the “pros” to it, but as SL pointed out, the copycatting is irritating and points to a lack of creative thinking. The entire premise of the ‘pageant’ rubs me the wrong way as well – how do you judge the beauty of one’s soul and character, anyway? That’s up to Allah, after all, not us… And while the idea of the ‘classes’ are kind of cute, I’m still wary of it.
    I truly think that this serves to belittle the Deen more than it will bring people closer to it; that it reduces beautiful morals to something rather crass.

    If we Muslims want to reach out to our youth – and the masses in general – and draw them away from the haraam, then we can do so in a manner that makes use of the techniques employed by the media/ companies/ whoever WITHOUT copying them shamelessly.
    Rather than imitating a culture (which is based upon ultimately faulty principles), we should be creating our own. We have some incredible minds, talent, and creativity in this Ummah; we should be utilizing it, not undermining it. We can be as savvy and attractive as non-Muslims appear to be, we just need to know how to use what we have.

    • zainab

      June 3, 2009 at 9:37 AM


  10. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 14, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    Er, doesn’t anyone see the problem with this contest – these women are being judged by the morals they display to certain judges – can someone say riyaa-on-steroids three times really fast?


  11. Yusuf Smith

    May 14, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    Yep, a huge “me too” to Siraaj Muhammad … not just riyaa but an obvious potential for dishonest posing.

  12. anonymous student

    May 14, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Many people are quick to point out flaws. At the end of the day, everyone needs to chill out. Its a cute idea. If you dont agree with it, dont participate. People say we are trying to “imitate” the kuffar. The “Kuffar” have never had a Miss Morals Pageant, they have beauty pageants, in which contestants are judged for completely opposite things. Plus, why would we not want to invole our young sisters in these challenging yet fun activities? Why not give them an alternative? Would you prefer if they competed in a Beauty Pagent? Sometimes, its okay to let loose, and have some clean, Islamic fun. We need to learn to be practical while living in this country. We cant just sit at home all day and study Islam. By being proactive in our communities, we not only are striving to become better muslims but we are giving our youth outlets to lean and enjoy themselves in an islamic setting.

    • Amad

      May 14, 2009 at 4:58 PM

      I agree with anonymous. The Prophet (S) allowed open charity, as well as he preferred secret charity. Encouragement of good deeds, if the ultimate objective, is also a good deed. Giving halal alternatives and being creative about them in this day and age, is GOOD. We cannot expect the weekly halaqah to attract tons of youth…we need to improvise and use our Allah-given creative abilities to do even better than the entertainment options present (which for the most part have some element of haram in them).

      Also, consider that Muslim countries are indeed having beauty pageants, dressing our Muslim women in as slutty outfits (excuse the language) as their Western counterparts. So, Godspeed to this idea, I hope it spreads like wild-fire in Muslim countries!


    • Siraaj Muhammad

      May 14, 2009 at 5:26 PM

      Tough question – is competing on who has the best morals in front of other people the best thing to do? What’s worse – a riyaa contest, or a beauty contest? I’m not saying I have an answer here, just questions because at first glance, that’s what the contest looks like.


      • Amad

        May 14, 2009 at 7:37 PM

        You know Siraaj, that is not a particularly honest way of framing the issue. It is only riya if the intention is for showing off. Otherwise competing to give charity is riya too?

      • Faiez

        May 14, 2009 at 7:41 PM

        Well character does have some level of “knowing how to act” in front of others. That’s kind of like the difference between a bedouin and someone who was brought up in the city. Their character is different, but for the bedouin to change he’d have to be concious of his character in front of people consistently until it becomes instilled in him. He could still be doing it for Allah but how he acts in front of these people will get him to the good character that he’s looking for.

        You bring a good point though, changing character is a tricky situation and displaying it would be even more tricky. I think this contest just sets up models for people in society to follow, not for the contestants to show off their character.

        • SaqibSaab

          May 14, 2009 at 11:05 PM

          I think this contest just sets up models for people in society to follow, not for the contestants to show off their character.

          Agreed, br. Faiez.

    • Miako

      May 28, 2009 at 1:02 PM

      not true. there was something about catholic nuns, where it was to be judged mostly on morality. fwiw.

  13. bintwadee3

    May 14, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    I’m with SL on this one. Well said sister, jazaakillaah. And as sister Zainab pointed out, come up with a new idea. With the title alone, they’re trying to compete with the West AND please feminist groups out there. “Look, we can have fun too. But we’re still better than you because we care about morals and not just looks.”

    The performance will be, at the least, deception. Reminds me of this:

    Aiyub Ansari travelled from Madina to Egypt to collect one hadith; similarly Jabir bin Abdullah spent one month on his journey to obtain one hadith from Abdullah bin Anas. Another collector of these traditions learned that a certain person knew one hadith. Accordingly, he journeyed long to meet the said person. On reaching his destination, he made inquiries about the said person. Somebody pointed this person who was then trying to catch hold of his horse which had strayed by showing him an empty bucket as if it had some food for the horse. The collector, seeing this person, thus decoying an animal, thought that such a person is not reliable enough, and therefore his version of the hadith cannot be accepted, and he returned home without talking to the said person.

    Though the above story is used as an example of the meticulous care our scholars have used to preserve the Sunnah, clearly these instances, though similar in that they both contain deception, are not of the same caliber. On the one hand, the man deceived the horse, and so his recount of the hadith was questionable. On the other hand, the women will be displaying “how well they treat their mothers”, bringing with them a possibility of deceiving the judges/audience. WAllaahu A3lam.

  14. Saleha H

    May 14, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    I agree with Sr. Serendipitouslife and Sis. Zainab, my sentiments exactly.

    And another point to add, when I first saw it, I thought, wait, how does that even show humility in what you are doing? Where’s the sincerity in your actions if all you’re doing it for is some judge? Shouldn’t you judge be Allah (swt) at all times and the prize be Jannah?

    It’s great for not showing off their bodies for a change, but subhanAllah, we don’t need to copy anyone or be the same, I liked the way we were without these useless contests, that teach us nothing in the end about ourselves but how to get fame, money, and how to only do that action for some judge other than Allah.

  15. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    May 14, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    Alhamdolillah, Who alone Creates without precedent. I agree that (mortal) creativity abounds in the Ummah. But is that particular mosque we all know in Cairo less beautiful because of its resemblance to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul? Are the European or American masajid less majestic which use design features common in the West? Have the westerners who copied designs from Al Andalus also committed some kind of social treason?

    People incorporate the ideas that they learn about. It’s the reason IP lawyers have jobs.

    True, people also make mistakes. So Siraaj may be right that the contest runs the risk of riyaa. But so does every event that requires persons to advance themselves into the limelight in some way. Applying to become a student at Ilm Summit — why not require every student have been invited? Qur’an recitation competitions? Ilm-competitions, etc. Even letting it be known what degrees and ijaazaat a person has — all fodder for shaytanic-hubris.

    Give naseehah (eg, to the contest organizers) if you fear for your brothers and sisters, and otherwise expect the best conduct from them.

  16. Hidaya

    May 14, 2009 at 10:13 PM

    Those who are suggesting to come up with something creative and not imitate non-Muslims, what are your suggestions? What would be the alternative? How do we attract young Muslim women back to our Deen rather then looking up to western way of life?

    • Zainab (AnonyMouse)

      May 14, 2009 at 10:26 PM

      How do we attract young Muslim women back to our Deen rather then looking up to western way of life?

      First it starts at home – parents should be instilling good morals in their daughters (and sons) from the very beginning, placing emphasis on taqwa, husn al-khuluq, intelligence, hard work, dedication to the Da’wah, etc.

      For girls who need to be encouraged in this, opportunities should be created in which to demonstrate and develop these values… there are a hundred and one ways to engage our youth, young men and women alike, in a way that catches their attention and keeps it. We don’t need national pageants of any sort; we just need a vibrant community that can use its creative thinking skills and foster those of its youth.

      If parents focused more on developing their children from the beginning; and communities worked a bit harder in providing long-term, engaging activities for the youth, I really don’t think we’d feel the need to have a pageant of any sort.

    • Ahsan Sayed

      May 17, 2009 at 6:39 PM

      People are thinking too much. This is not copying the west but rather showing how we, Muslims, are different. Do we muslims always have to be so serious and uptight? We need to take our deen seriously but show me the haram in this contest. This is a clever idea that can not only inspire others but even change the hearts of the contestants themselves. I agree with Amad, I hope it spreads like wildfire!

  17. Sadaf

    May 14, 2009 at 10:23 PM


    I agree with Serendipitous Life about the fact that this pageant concept is a smack-imitation of a Western idea that has been prevalent since decades – of having men/women compete for the coveted “title” of an alpha-male/female who becomes the object of envy and/or adulation by the masses for a year or more. As for what you said about that champagne, it reminded me of another blogger’s post about it that I read recently. :-) Obviously, a debate on non-alcoholic beer-drinking ensued.

    I also agree with Br. Siraaj, about the aspect of riya that is fundamental in this pageant – i.e. when observing the conduct of the contestants within a time frame to see who’s best with their mothers, or with others. Wouldn’t that give the contestants a chance to put on a show/deceive others with feigned piety? Also, ultimately, who are we humans to judge a person’s morals?

    However, take a bird’s eye view of the pageant itself. It is providing the world, particularly the world of non-Muslims, with a refreshing alternative. It is basically doing something new — emphasizing that, in Islam, women are appreciated for their morals and character, not their physical beauty.

    Secondly, the physical anonimity and obscurity of Muslim women in general — the unseen heroines doing daily jihaad within their homes, by serving productive husbands, raising pious children and maintaining/nurturing clean, Islamic, spiritually-charged households, that help bring up the next generation of the ummah’s leaders – are not given any public recognition or coverage, one that will inspire the younger lot, and non-Muslim women in particular, to revert to Islam. Of course, that is because most of these women are very private and chaste, shying away from public recognition because it leads to riya, and this is correct. However, who is going to inspire non-Muslim women to enter Islam, if not the Muslim women of the world today, themselves? So much is misunderstood about them — with the common notion being that they are oppressed — that we need to provide the non-Muslims with the truth: that Muslim women are strong, educated and productive women; they are just not seen or heard that much in the pubic. I am not saying that this pageant is doing this, or that there are no other ways of inpsiring non-Muslims by shining Muslim women’s examples of lofty character, knowledge and chastity, but what it is doing is, providing the world with the alternative, Muslim outlook towards women’s beauty — with public appreciation of their morals, over how they look i.e. without objectifying them. It is also providing the female Muslim youth with something to aspire to.

    When I was a teen, I read the Quran, hadith and a lot of Islamic literature in my quest for knowledge. I desperately wanted to change my average, culturally-Islamic lifestyle to embody the true Islam, and to become like the Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] and his female companions in my actions. However, what I desperatelty wanted, as a teenager, was a living example of a Muslim woman (preferrably not of naani/daadi age, but someone who was relatively younger, living according to Islam in the current age, and incorporating all the contemporary technological and educational tools in her life) who’d inspire me to take the plunge and revert. It’s anyone’s guess who eventually did that, but the bottomline is, youngsters need living examples to show them how to emulate the Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] and his companions. Women, sadly, do not have that many examples, because this requires “going public” with your Islamic way of life, as Umm Al-Mu’mineen A’ishah did with hers, and very few Muslim women have the strength and courage to do that nowadays.

    Another point to note is whether the serving of a husband and nurturing of a family applies to all Muslim women. We know that although these actions are a Muslim woman’s tickets for Paradise (keeping in mind Fatimah Bint Muhammad [may Allah be pleased with her] as the prime example — she will be the leader of all women in Paradise, despite living a short life, but spending it in virtue, and in serving her husband and children), they are not applicable to the actual circumstances of all of them. Many sisters I know are not married, nor will they be in the future, either (illaa ma shaa Allah); they are either divorced and elderly, single by chance (i.e. couldn’t marry despite wanting to), or have no inclination to get married. Also, an average married woman spends the 20 or so initial years of her life in an unmarried state. What examples should such women aspire to, if they do not have a husband and children? Should they not have alternate modes of ajar/rewards-pursuit that will earn them Allah’s Pleasure?

    Thankfully, Allah has Himself provided shining examples of women who were not devoted wives and mothers for most of their lives — both in the Quran and sunnah. Foremost is, of course, Maryam Bint Imran, who is mentioned for her superiority many times in the Quran. She never married; she never had a normal family life, yet she is one of the most superior among women because of her virtue and chastity. Then of course, there is Umm Al-Mu’minned A’ishah [may Allah be pleased with her] who, though married for a few years of her early life, did not spend most of the rest of it serving a husband and children (Allah did not give her any) but despite that, holds a revered position in Islam to this day, due to her intelligence, narrations of ahadith, and superior level of knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence.

    The unIslamic aspects of this pageant, or shall we say, it’s negative aspects – i.e. imitation of the West, giving way to riya, judging a Muslimah for her actions in the dunya — are definitely there; whether they are the lesser evil, or if the da’wah potential outweighs them…..? Who to decide?

    Allah knows best.

  18. Qas

    May 14, 2009 at 10:40 PM

    I know the best strategy. We should all stay home and do nothing. No controversy, no nothing.

    • Algebra

      May 15, 2009 at 2:44 AM

      I agree
      of course pun intended

  19. Pingback: Posts about Huffington Post as of May 15, 2009 » The Daily Parr

  20. AsimG

    May 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    Do we really need to imitate the kuffar in something so stupid to “fit in”?

    Why don’t we have a wet tshirt contest too? Oh, the event will actually be about who has the most perfect wudu…

  21. AsimG

    May 16, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    I do want to say I agree with sister Sadaf and that we need more emphasis on the value of our sisters in society.

    There just has to be a better way to do it than following the example of Donald Trumps’ businesses.

    • American Hermana

      May 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM

      Si, Si, Señorita AsimG!

      The Donald is an empty shell of a business model if we wish to conduct ourselves with dignity and scruples. Our ultimate goal should be to foster appreciation and honor of womankind, as we truly are!

      Not how ‘they’ wish us to be.


      My English is sometimes bad, yes?

  22. Faraz Omar

    May 17, 2009 at 3:43 AM

    I’m kinda late, but better late than never.

    no one pointed out about the Qur’an hifz and tajweed competitions?

    i do agree with what zainab, siraaj n SLife have had to say… but considering the amount of pressure that’s there on (Saudi) Muslim society to adopt western lifestyles and the open invitation by (international and local) media to imitate immoral women, i think this will at least be a reminder for women as to what really matters.

    I hope it will insha Allah encourage good and bring to light the real role models of society.

    but i wonder scholars will have to say on that. will try to get an opinion insha Allah.

  23. Pingback: A Principled Pageant?: Saudi Arabia’s Miss Beautiful Morals « Muslimah Media Watch

  24. Samira

    May 28, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    Salaam aleikoum,
    I actually don’t see the point in all of this. Everyone can act all cute and lovely in front of judges. If you act a certain way you should do it to please Allah and not some women who might give you a price. BTW wasn’t this held in a shi’ite city in the KSA?

  25. zainab

    June 3, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    people, i mean the contestants can act or show off just to win the miss beautiful morals but the audience will learn positive things from this which is good.yes allah is the ultimate judge but the programme is set to encourage and make young girls understand the religion more i.e good from bad .so i personally think this is a good idea.

  26. Siraaj

    June 3, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    How about a “Miss Beautiful Mind” contest which quizzes Muslim sister on a variety of topics, both religious and secular, in a game show format.


    • Fatima

      June 3, 2009 at 6:15 PM

      I think your idea about the ‘miss beautiful mind’ is the best idea I’ve heard so far! I think this would encourage young women to learn more about the religion and it would also get them be more interested in our beautiful deen InshaAllah.

    • zainab

      June 24, 2009 at 7:59 AM


  27. Pingback: I Cannot Cheer You on Sister Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010: Too Much at Stake |

  28. Pingback: I Cannot Cheer You on Sister Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010 : Too Much is at Stake « Words of love.. words for love…

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