The garment is a form of blessing (Ni’mah) that Allah has bestowed upon his slaves. Garments to a believer is beyond physical clothings, it is imperative that it should serve as Ibaadat, that is, an act of worship solely to serve Allah and be obedient to His Commandments.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah, the Almighty says
“ O Children of Adam, We have sent down to you clothing to cover your nakedness and a source of (your) elegance and protection………”[Al Araf : 26].
Beyond the physical garment, spouses have been made as garments for each other! Allah says in another verse “They are your garments, and you are their garments………” [Al Baqorah: 187].
However, there is another type of invisible garment that controls the previously mentioned ones above. In fact, Allah describes it as the ‘best garment’!
And the clothing of Piety is the best”[Al Araf : 26].
Regardless of the type of garment, a Muslim should understand the do(s) and dont(s) of each category of garment, and strive to fulfill the obligations meant for them all. The wisdom behind dressing is to fulfill multifaceted obligations, ranging from physical, emotional, and spiritual. Amongst the purpose of legislation of dressing is to cover human nakedness, which is a dignifying characteristic unlike other creatures, has we have been created to be above other creatures as part of Allah’s blessings, and He gifts us the Grace of garments to preserve and protect us in all aspects; protection from weather and surroundings, marriage as a garment for mental and emotional protection and most importantly piety as a garment, for spiritual protection. Garments are means of privacy, and shield.
In Islam, the basic ruling of dressing is permissibility, except there is evidence that negates it. Muslims should wear garments that cover their privacy (Awrah) and promote good values and modesty in society. While there are gender-specific rulings for dressing, the following are common features/restrictions that a Muslim garment must have, regardless of gender.
- It must not be tight-fitting : A Muslim’s garment should not be tight-fitting, revealing the shape of the body.
- It must not contain a picture of an animate object : It is not permissible for a Muslim to wear a garment containing a picture of animate object, as reported in a Hadith; “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog, nor an image in a likeness” [Agreed Upon]
- Garment containing Allah/Mohammad written on it : All containing Allah’s name, Muhammad and other religious inscriptions are not encouraged because of the sacredness of what they carry
- It must not be transparent : A Muslims should not wear see-through cloth which reveals what is underneath, as this is not regarded as covering Al-Mughni, [1/337]
- It must not identify with the Non-Muslims (Kuffar) : Muslims should not wear garments peculiar to non-muslims and should never imitate them in any way. The Prophet said in one Hadith “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Abu Dawood].
- Cross-dressing is forbidden Men should not dress like women and vice versa: The prophet cursed men and women who dress to look like the opposite sex, saying “Throw them out of your houses.” [Al-Bukhari]
- is Sunnah for the one who is putting on a new garment to thank Allah and make du`a
Dress Code for Women
The general rule for the female dress code is that it should cover all their bodies, except those apparently obvious parts (face and hands). Allah instructed his Messenger to tell the women in his household and the believing women to cover all their bodies, saying
“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters, as well as all [other] believing women, that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments (when in public)……….”[Al Ahzab: 59].
In addition, the following are some characteristics of female dressing:
- It should not be too attractive and sparkling: The Qur’an warns that the believing women should not reveal their beauty “…… and not to show off their adornment…” [Al-Nur 24:31]
- It should not be perfumed: The Prophet said “Any woman who puts on perfume and passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance is an adulteress” [Ahmad]
- During Solat, her head must be covered “Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who menstruates (i.e., an adult woman) unless her head is covered.” [Abu Dawud]
Dress Code for Men
- Men should not wear silk : It is forbidden for men to wear silk. The Prophet said “These two [gold and silk] are forbidden for the males of my ummah and permissible for the females” [Ibn Majah]
- It is haram for the Muslim man to let any garment he wears hang down below the ankle [Isbal]. In a hadith, the Prophet said ““Whatever of the lower garment is beneath the ankles is in the Fire” [Al-Bukhari]
- Men should not put on the garment of fame (standing out of the crowd), as Allah does not like a show-off. In a hadith, the Prophet said “Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity, Allah will dress him in a garment of humiliation like on the Day of Resurrection and then set him ablaze” [Abu Dawud]
In conclusion, the garment of a Muslim is part of his/her deen, and therefore proper dress code should be observed at all times. In addition, the attitude of proper dressing should be taught at our homes so that our children can imbibe this virtue from childhood and will Insha Allah grow up to become decent and conscious individuals. We pray Allah accepts our deeds and actions, and forgive our shortcomings, and grant us piety, the best of garments.