Invitation to Understanding ISLAM

HOW MUSLIMS DRESS?

ALLAH makes a natural covering for all HIS creatures but not for HIS best creation: the human being. Instead, ALLAH tells us why and how we should clothe ourselves. Then ALLAH leaves us to choose whether to obey.

True Muslims always choose to obey ALLAH’s commands.

The Noble Qur’an says:

“O children of Adam! We have sent clothing to you to cover the shameful parts of your body and to serve as a protection and decoration; but the best clothing is the clothing of piety”  [7:26]

WHY COVER?

In Islam, dress has 4 functions.

1. COVERING

Dress conceals the private parts of the body that are called ‘aurah in Islam. Muslims do not expose what ALLAH commands to be kept private. ALLAH forbids nudity.

2. PROTECTION

“And (ALLAH) has made garments to protect you from the heat (and cold)… ” [16:81]

Dress protects the body from the weather; or heat, cold, wind and rain.

People living in desert region cover their heads and faces to prevent sand carrying living microorganisms entering their ears, noses, eyes and mouths.

3. ADORNMENT

Dress is worn to adorn and beautify the human personality, bestowing on it dignity.

ALLAH is Beautiful and HE loves beauty. [Sahih Muslim]

4. MORAL FUNCTION

Islamic dress helps safeguard the modesty and decency of a person and the moral ideal of society, where sex is permitted only in marriage.

There is a deep impact which outer modesty makes on inner spiritual well-being. Also, inner spirituality is reflected on one’s appearance.

In Islam, both men and women should be custodians of the morality and society.

What ALLAH says in the Noble Qur’an :

Modesty of Men

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them: and ALLAH is well acquainted with all that they do.”[24:30]

Modesty of women and their dress in public

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments (in public) beyond what may decently be apparent. Hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display (more of) their charms to any but their husbands, or their father,…”[24:31]

Protection for women

“O Prophet! Tell your wives, daughters and the believing woman that they should draw their outer garments (hijab), over their persons (when in public). That is more proper that they should be recognized (as decent women) and not molested.” [33:59]

When should Muslims be dressed best?

“O cildren of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer.” [7:31]

ISLAMIC DRESS :  An Identity, not a uniform !!!

Islam, being a universal religion, has not set any particular form or style of dress. All manner of dress is acceptable as long as certain guidelines are followed. These guidelines apply to both men and women.

WHAT TO COVER?

Islamic dress must cover the ‘aurah. ‘Aurah is the parts of the body which cannot be exposed to others. Prophet Muhammad  defined ‘aurah.

‘Aurah is different for men and women.

A man’s ‘aurah extends from his navel to his knees. Most men choose to cover more than this minimum requirement. A woman’s ‘aurah outside her home and/or in the presence of non-mahram (not close relatives) men is her whole body except her face, hands and feet. Some scholars also include her feet. The head covering or hijab is a command of ALLAH. The face-veil or niqab is not a requirement, but some Muslim women choose to wear it for greater modesty, out of conviction that Islam requires it, or because of cultural tradition.

Muslim women are not permitted to cover their faces during prayer, while performing the pilgrimage rites in Mecca, when giving legal testimony, or when identification is crucial for security purposes. In her home, Muslim women may uncover their heads, arms, feet and legs below the knees. And in privacy with her husband, no part of her needs to be covered.

HOW TO COVER?

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) admonished:

” Do not appear naked while fully clothed.”[Bukhari]

Dress should not be transparent, showing the skin or so tight-fitting that it reveals the shape and sexual contours of the body. Loose-fitting clothes make prayer easier to perform.Dress should not be so outlandish or glamorous that it is provocative. However, Muslims may be as provocatively dressed (or undressed) as they like when they are with their spouses in private.

GENDER-APPROPRIATE

Men are not allowed to dress (and behave) like women, or as women. They are forbidden to wear pure silk and gold. Muslim men must be manly !

Likewise, women should not imitate men in dress (and behaviour too). Muslim women are feminine. Islam sets distinct and complementary roles for men and women in harmony with the natural disposition of goodness (fitrah) that Allah created them with.

Gender-appropriate dressing helps men and women fulfill their roles better.

MEN IN WHITE, WOMEN IN BLACK

In Islam, there is no “holy” colours. Islam does not require women to be always dressed in black or blue in public. This is cultural tradition practiced in some Muslim countries, or a rule imposed by certain Muslims authorities so as to enforce greater morality. Darker colours are worn because they conceal better.

Muslim men need not always wear white. The Prophet Muhammad SAW wore clothes of various colours. However he recommended that white clothes be worn on Fridays and other assemblies.

“The purity and simple beauty of white befits the honour and dignity of man” [An Nasa’i]

HUMILITY AND THANKFULNESS

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said : “ALLAH likes to see the signs of HIS bounties on HIS servants. “ [Tirmidhi]

He also said: “ Eat, drink, wear clothes, and give charity without extravagance and conceit.” [Bukhari]

ALLAH has not forbidden fine clothes, unless worn in arrogance and wastefulness. ALLAH’s bounty should not be flaunted lest it provokes envy and ill-feeling. Humility before The Creator and fellow human beings is a virtue. It’s difficult to be humble when one is decked in thousand dollar suits! However, ALLAH also dislikes slovenliness as a pretentious show of one’s poverty. Moderation and simplicity is always the preferred way.

THE LIBERATED MUSLIM WOMAN (AND MAN)

Islamic dress does not degrade or oppress women. Rather, it gives them dignity because it protects them from exploitation as sexual objects, and enslavement by the fashion, cosmetics, film and advertising industries. Dignity and protection, together with many rights that Islam grants women (which modern world has recognized only in the last 60 years) guarantees the high status of women in Islam. The incorrect practice of Islam in many Muslim countries does not represent TRUE ISLAM. Regrettably, the movie industry has now begun to blatantly exploit male sexuality. Islamic dress also preserves men’s dignity.

THE MUSLIM IDENTITY

Muslim men and women who dress as ALLAH commands them present an image of dignity, modesty and morality. This is the Muslim identity, unmistakably recognized anywhere in the world. Obey ALLAH and be loved by HIM!

***

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