An Islamic education website's unironic call to ditch bras in the name of modesty has garnered controversy in Indonesia, prompting the nation's highest clerical body to wade in on the perky issue.
TemanShalih, a website that often publishes interpretations of religious texts using the Salafi lens (a movement that espouses a literal, unadulterated, and "pure" form of Islam), recently posted a couple of articles on the brassiere – specifically, how unIslamic they seemingly are.
The articles were published on Aug. 29 but have been taken down due to public outcry after the content went viral in the past couple of days. An archived version of one of the articles that we viewed today said this about wearing a bra, based on its interpretation of a fatwa (religious edict) from Saudi Arabia:
"Wearing a bra accentuates the shape of the breasts, making women appear younger and, as such, making them a source of deceit."
Because of this supposed lift of deception, TemanShalih argued, women are "forbidden from wearing [a bra] in front of men who are not their mahram," which is an Islamic term meaning unmarriable kin, usually immediate family members, and the husband.
Of course, that is not to say that TemanShalih is telling women to go around naked, as the website says in another article that women must dress modestly and cover themselves so their curves are obscured, revealing only their face and hands. The no-bra rule also applies to women during ta'aruf (meeting a prospective marriage partner without dating).
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) sought to set the record straight today, saying that women should wear a bra in public.
"Wear a bra when you leave the house," Afifuddin Muhajir, who chairs MUI's Fatwa Department, said today. "Women without bras are not [covered] perfectly. A message to Muslim women: wear clothes that adequately cover your private parts."
Aside from taking down the bra-related articles, TemanShalih has not issued any statements on the matter.