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Men's Dress in islam


Clothing For the Prayer

Compiled by Kamil Mufti

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(1) Covering the 'Aurah
Allah says in the Qur'an, "O Children of Adam, take your adornment (by wearing proper clothing) for every mosque" (al-A'raf 31).

The meaning of "adornment" here is the covering of the 'aurah. The meaning of "mosque" is "prayer." Therefore, it means "Cover your 'aurah for every prayer."

Salamah ibn al-Aku' (radiallahu 'anhu) said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of Allah, may I pray in a long shirt?" He said, "Yes, but button it, even with just a thorn." (Related by al-Bukhari in his Tareekh.)

The `awrah (private parts to be necessarily covered) for men includes what is between the navel and the knees as stated by the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam), so covering it is obligatory according to Islamic law. Wearing shorts that disclose the thighs or show the shape of the buttocks, does not cover the `awrah. Neither does a dress that is transparent and displays skin complexion, nor a tight dress that shows the size, shape or bends of the `awrah. All of this is prohibited (haraam) in front of people whether the women are ashamed of looking at it or not. If the trousers (or pants) are wide enough and not tight, then one may tuck his shirt in it as long as it does not display his `awrah. Covering the `awrah is obligatory during the prayer and outside it. What many people do is cover their `awrah while going to prayer but are negligent of it outside the prayer. This is a clear mistake and a wrong act which happens due to lack of understanding or as a result of a misunderstanding of the matter.

(2) Covering the Pubic Region & the Thigh
The following ahadeeth are used to show that the thighs are part of the 'aurah: Reported Muhammad Jahsh, "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, passed by Ma'mar (radiallahu 'anhu) while his thighs were uncovered. He said, to him, 'O Ma'mar, cover your thighs, for they are (part of the) 'aurah." This is related by Ahmad, al-Haakim and al-Bukhari in At-Taareekh and in mu'allaq form in his Sahih.

Reported Jurhad (radiallahu 'anhu), "The Messenger of Allah passed by me when the cloak I was wearing did not cover my thigh. He said, 'Cover your thigh, for it (is part of the) 'aurah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi, who called it hasan, and by al-Bukhari in mu'allaq form in the Sahih.

(3) Wearing Two Garments in Salat
It is preferred for a person to wear at least two garments, but he can wear just one if that is all he has. Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa) reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "If one of you is going to pray, he should wear two garments, for Allah has the most right that you should look good for Him. If one does not have two garments, he should cover himself with a cloak when he prays, but not like the Jews do." (Related by at-Tabaraani and al-Bayhaqi.)

'Abdur-Razaaq related that Ubayy ibn Ka'b and 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (radiallahu 'anhum ajma'een) had an argument. Ubayy (radiallahu 'anhu) thought it was permissible to pray in one garment, while Ibn Mas'ud (radiallahu 'anhu) said that that was allowed only if one had no other clothes. 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) mounted the pulpit and said, "The correct position is: If Allah gives you more provisions, you should wear more clothes. A man can gather his clothes about him, or pray in a waist cloth and a cloak, or in a waist cloth and a shirt, or in a waist cloth and a caftan, or in trousers and a cloak, or in trousers and a shirt, or in trousers and a caftan, or in leather trousers and a caftan, or in leather trousers and a shirt.' And I (a narrator) think he said, 'Leather trousers and a cloak."

General Guidelines Applicable Inside & Outside the Prayer

(1) Resembling Women's Dress
Part of the fitrah - natural inclinations of mankind - is that men should preserve the masculinity which Allah has created in them, and women should preserve the femininity which Allah has created in them. Without this, decent human life becomes impossible. Men resembling women and vice versa is something which goes against man's innate nature (fitrah) and opens the door to corruption and widespread promiscuity. The ruling in sharee'ah is that when it is stated that the person who does a thing is cursed, that thing is haram.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu 'anhumaa) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Allah has cursed the men who make themselves look like women and the women who make themselves look like men." (Reported by Al-Bukhaari). Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu 'anhu) also reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "Allah has cursed effeminate men and masculine women." (Reported by Al-Bukhaari).

The resemblance may be in the way they move, walk and speak. Similarly, the two sexes are not permitted to resemble one another in dress or by wearing anything that is specifically for the other sex. So a man is not permitted to wear necklaces, bracelets, anklets or earrings, etc., as is widespread among hippies and the like. Women are not permitted to wear things that are specifically for men, like the thawb (long garment worn by men in Arab countries), shirts, etc.; whatever she wears should be different in style, details and color.

The evidence that the two sexes should not resemble one another in dress is found in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu 'anhu): "Allah has cursed the man who wears women's clothes and the woman who wear men's clothes." (Reported by Abu Dawud).

(2) Resembling Clothing of the Kuffaar
The use of clothing of the kuffaar (unbelievers) which they have worn is permissible as long as there is no known najasa (impurity) regarding it, because the default for things in general is tahaarah (purity) and it is not overridden by mere doubt. Likewise, what they have woven and dyed and what has been imported from their countries are also permissible, as long as they do not comprise anything haram (forbidden), because the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his sahaabah (his companions) wore items the kuffaar had woven and made, and likewise the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) wore a Roman jubba (a long outer garment, open in front, with wide sleeves).

The Muslim is supposed to be distinct from non-Muslims in his appearance and clothing, because this is what Islam says. Also, the Muslim should not wear anything that is the distinctive clothing of the kuffaar. With regard to neckties, if a person can do without them, this is better, but if he has to wear them there is nothing wrong with that, in shaa Allaah - but he should make sure that they are not made of natural silk and that they do not have crosses or pictures of animate creatures on them.

Underwear and other types of clothing have to do with habits based on people's traditions ('urf), so long as they do not contradict the sharee'ah. The wearing of pants (sirwaal) was known at the time of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) because of the hadeeth of Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) concerning what the muhrim (person in a state of ihraam for Hajj or 'Umrah) is forbidden to wear: 'The muhrim should not wear a shirt or turban or pants.' (Agreed upon). There is nothing wrong with wearing underwear so long as it does not involve anything that is haraam, such as crosses or pictures of animate beings, or women wearing men's clothes and vice versa.

Imitating means trying to be like someone, which the fuqahaa' understand to mean being similar in a certain way to the person whom one is imitating. The Muslim is not permitted to imitate the kuffaar by wearing clothing that is unique to them and for which they are known, like the belt worn by Christian monks, or the distinctive headgear of Magians (Zoroastrians) and Jews, because of the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam): "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." (Reported by Abu Dawood).

The scholars have specified that the prohibition of imitation applies in two cases:
1. Where what is imitated is clothing that is characteristic of the kuffaar, not things that are worn by others too or things that used to be distinct to them but have now become widespread among other groups too - like jeans.
2. When the act of imitation happens at a time when the clothing in question is characteristic of the kuffaar.

This is because al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar reported that Anas (radiallahu 'anhu) saw some people wearing shawl-like garments over their heads and shoulders, and said, "They look like the Jews of Khaybar." Ibn Hajar commented: "This could be used as evidence that this kind of garment was characteristic of the Jews at that time, but this is no longer the case, so that garment is now counted as something that is in general permitted."

The scholars also made an exception concerning Muslims wearing the distinctive clothes of the kuffaar when living in daar al-harb (non-Muslim countries which are at war with Muslims) or for purposes which will benefit the Muslims. Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said: "When a Muslim is living in a non-Muslim land (whether or not it is hostile to Islam), he is not expected to differ from them (the kuffaar) in his outward appearance, because of the harm that may result (from dressing as a Muslim). It is preferable, even obligatory, for a man to look like them sometimes, if that will achieve some religious purpose such as calling them to Islam, finding out their secrets in order to tell the Muslims about them, repelling their harm from the Muslims, and other worthwhile aims. But in the Muslim lands where Allah has caused His religion to prevail, and where the kuffaar are in an inferior position and are paying jizyah (taxes paid by non-Muslims living under an Islamic government), it is obligatory for Muslims to look different from the kuffaar." (Iqtidaa' al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem).

It is clear from the above that jeans are not clothes that are characteristic of the kuffaar or worn only by them, so they are not haram. However, it is more befitting for the Muslim to try to wear distinctive Islamic dress wherever he is, in obedience to the way of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam). The Muslim should feel in his heart that he hates the kuffaar and the way they look and behave. This hatred will motivate him to avoid looking like them at all in the way he dresses or in other ways. Do you not see that a person who despises a people or tribe, or people from a certain country, will hate to dress like them, especially if they are poor. As Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said: "Looking like them in external appearance indicates that one loves them in one's heart, and vice versa."

(3) Clothing Worn to Show One's Status or to Show-Off
Regarding dress of high repute, i.e. to show-off or as a status symbol), there is a sound and truthful hadeeth narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that Allah's messenger Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "He who wears libaas ush-shuhrah (clothes of pride) in this world will be dressed in humiliating clothes on the Day of Resurrection." (narrated by Ahmed & Abu Dawood)

Those who wear such dresses will be punished on the day of judgment in accordance with their deeds, provided that he/she meant sovereignty and supremacy upon mankind. In return, Allah Almighty will humiliate him/her on the day of judgment and will suppress him/her to put-on such a dress for which people would despise him/her and mock at him/her. The question here is: "What consists libaas ush-shuhrah?" What is meant by this expression is a anything worn to show-off and to attract the attentions of others, so as to look upwards unto him/her once he/she appears wearing it. This, of course is due either to its strange colors amongst the ordinary dresses of other people or due to the stylish models or even to how precious, expensive or even to the contrary of this as being trivial and completely valueless. Hence, our righteous forefathers (may Allaah have mercy upon their souls) used to hate, disregard and even despise either extremity of the fame-clothing: i.e. those which are highly bombastic & precious and/or vise versa alike.

(4) Color
The basic principle regarding colors of clothes for men and women is that all colors are permissible except where there is a Shari (legal) text forbidding a certain color for men or women. There are shar'i texts which encourage the wearing of certain colors and forbid the wearing of other colors, such as the following:

Umm Khaalid bint Khaalid (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: "The Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was brought some clothes, among which was a small black khameesah [garment]. He said, 'Who do you think we should give this to?' The people remained silent. Then he said, 'Bring me Umm Khaalid,' and she was carried to him. He took the khameesah in his hand and put it on her, and said, 'May you live long and wear it out.' There was a green or yellow mark on it, and he said, 'O Umm Khaalid, this is sanaah (good),' and sanaah is an Abyssinian word." (Reported by Al-Bukhaari).

Jaabir (radiallahu 'anhu) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, wearing a black turban." (Reported by Muslim).

'Aa'ishah (radiallahu 'anhaa) said: "I made a black burdah (cloak) for the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam), and he wore it, but when he sweated in it he detected the smell of wool on it, so he took it off, because he used to like pleasant smells." (Reported by Abu Dawood)

Black is permissible for both men and women alike. One of the false innovations (bid'ah) connected to this color is the practice of deliberately wearing black at times of bereavement, which also involves imitating the Christians. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen said : "Wearing black at times of bereavement is a false symbol that has no basis. At times of bereavement people should do what is commanded in Islam, which is to say 'Innaa Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji'oon. Allaahumma ajirni fi museebati wa'khluf li khayran minhaa (Truly! To Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. O Allah, reward me for my calamity and compensate me with something better than it).' If a person says this with faith and the hope of reward, Allah will reward him for that and will replace what he has lost with something better." He also said: "Allocating certain clothes for mourning is an act of bid'ah (innovation) in our opinion, and because it could indicate that a person is discontent with the decree of Allah."

Abu Dharr (radiallahu 'anhu) said: "I came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he was wearing a white garment and was asleep. I came back to him (later), and he had woken up." (Reported by al-Bukhaari).

Al-Bukhaari reported that Sa'd (radiallahu 'anhu) said: "I saw on the left of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and on his right two men wearing white clothes on the day of Uhud. I never saw them before or since." These two men were Jibreel and Mikaa'eel, as al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned. White is a color recommended (mustahabb) for the living to wear and for the dead to be shrouded in, as was stated in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu 'anhumaa), who said: "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: 'Wear your white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.'" (Reported by Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi).

White is also the preferred color for men's ihraam (special garments for Hajj), which consists of an izaar (lower garment) and a rida' (upper garment).

Abu Ramthah (radiallahu 'anhu) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) wearing two green garments." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said, this is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth, and by al-Nisaa'i).

It was reported that wearing pure red is forbidden for men, but not for women, because of the hadeeth of Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa): "The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) forbade mafdam" (reported by Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Maajah). Mafdam is something that is filled with red safflower dye. According to the commentary of al-Sindi on Sunan al-Nisaa'i, mafdam is something that is filled with red. It was reported that if 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhu) saw a man wearing a garment dyed red with safflower, he would pull him aside and say, "Leave this for the women." (Reported by At-Tabari).

'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr (radiallahu 'anhumaa) said: "A man who was wearing two red garments passed by the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and greeted him with salaam, but the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) did not respond." (Reported by Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi).

There were several suggestions as to why men are forbidden to wear red, including the following: - because it is the dress of the kuffaar - because it is the adornment of women, so forbidding it is a way of discouraging the imitation of women - because it is vanity and does not befit a decent man to wear it The prohibition applies only to garments that are dyed completely red.

Garments that contain another color such as white, black, etc. are not forbidden. This is how the ahaadeeth that speak about the red hullah should be interpreted, such as the hadeeth of al-Bara' (radiallahu 'anhu) who said: "The Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was of average height. I saw him wearing a red hullah, and I have never seen anything better than it." (Reported by Al-Bukhari).

The Yemeni hullah usually has stripes of red and another color, it is not pure red. Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "The clothing (of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)): Abul-Waleed told us Shu'bah told us from Abu Ishaaq who heard al-Bara' (radiallahu 'anhu) saying: 'The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was of average height. I saw him wearing a red hullah, and I have never seen anything better than it.' The hullah consists of an izaar and a rida' (lower and upper garments). It is a mistake to think that it was pure red and not mixed with any other color. The red hullah is two Yemeni garments woven with red and black stripes like all the other Yemeni garments. But pure red is emphatically forbidden. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is stated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade red saddlecloths (or blankets) . With regard to red garments in general and red broadcloth, etc., the issue is still under discussion, but it is very disliked (makrooh)."

(5) Wearing Clothes Below the Ankles   (Al-Isbaal)

One of the things which people treat as insignificant, although it is serious in the sight of Allah, is isbaal, which means lengthening one's clothes below the ankles; some people let their clothes touch the ground, and some allow them to drag on the floor behind them. Abu Dharr (radiallahu 'anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "There are three to whom Allah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection, nor look at nor praise: the one who wears his lower garment below the ankles; the one who reminds others of his gifts or favors; and the one who sells his product by means of lies and false oaths." (Reported by Muslim).

The one who says, "I am not wearing my clothes below my ankles out of arrogance" is in fact praising himself in a way that is unacceptable. The warning against isbaal is issued to all, regardless of whether they do it out of arrogance or not, as the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whatever part of the lower garment is below the ankles is in Hell." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad; Saheeh al-Jaami').

The person whose isbaal is the result of arrogance will be more severely punished than the one who has no such intention, as the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever trails his garment out of pride, Allaah will not even look at him on the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by Al-Bukhari) - this is because he is combining two sins in one action. Wearing any clothes below the ankle is haram, as is indicated in the hadeeth reported by Ibn 'Umar (radiallahu 'anhumaa): "Isbaal may be done with an izaar (lower garment), qamees (shirt or upper garment) and 'amaamah (turban); whoever drags any part of them on the ground out of pride, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by Abu Dawud; see also Saheeh al-Jaami').

Women are permitted to lengthen their garments by one or two hand spans to cover the feet or as a precaution against anything being uncovered by the wind, etc., but it is not permitted to do more than that, as is done with some wedding dresses which may have a train several meters long, which has to be carried behind the bride.

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