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DRESS – The Code of Modesty

Dressis to put on clothes. To wear clothes of a certain kind or style. To clothe or apparel one's self or to put on one's garments. [1]


Islamically, a dress is supposed to serve two purposes:

1.      Covering the `Awrah (private parts) of the body.

2.      Serving the purpose of adornment and beautification. [2]


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It has been agreed among jurists on the basis of the Qur’an and Sunnah (traditons, Saying and actions of Muhammad ) that the awrah for the man, is defined as the area between the navel and the knees. And the awrah for the woman is defined as the whole body except for the face and palms among the Mahrem (males who are forbidden permanently for marriage). [3] [4]



O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah سبحانه و تعالى that perhaps they will remember.Qur'an Surah A'raf 7:26[5]


Men’s and women’s dress code

There follows a summary of the rulings on dress for men and women:


1.     The basic principle concerning everything that is worn is that it is halaal and permissible, except for that concerning which there is a text to state that it is haraam, such as silk for males, because the Prophet said: “These two [gold and silk] are forbidden for the males of my ummah and permissible for the females.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3640; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani  رحمت الله in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.


2.     It is not permissible to wear thin or see-through clothing that does not conceal the ‘awrah.


3.     It is haraam to imitate the mushrikeen and kuffaar in their manner of dress, so it is not permissible to wear clothing that is unique to the kuffaar. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas رضي الله عنه said: The Messenger of Allah saw ‘Ali wearing two garments dyed with safflower and said: “These are garments of the kuffaar; do not wear them.” Narrated by Sahih Al-Muslim H:2077.


4.     It is haraam for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress, because the Prophet cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men.” Narrated by Sahih Al-Bukhaari H:5546.


5.     It is Sunnah for a Muslim to start with the right when dressing, and to say, Bismillah (In the name of Allah) سبحانه و تعالى, and to start with the left when taking  clothes off. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنهsaid: The Messenger of Allah said: “When you get dressed and when you do wudoo’, start on the right.” Narrated by Abu Dawood H:4141; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani   رحمت اللهin Saheeh al-Jaami’, 787. 


6.     It is Sunnah for the one who is putting on a new garment to thank Allah سبحانه و تعالىand make du’aa’. It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed رضي الله عنهsaid: When The Messenger of Allah put on a new garment, he would call it by its name, whether it was a turban, a shirt or a cloak, then he would say: “Allaahumma laka al-hamd anta kasawtanihi as’aluka khayrahu wa khayri ma suni’a lah wa a’oodhu bika min sharrihi wa sharri ma suni’a lah (O Allah سبحانه و تعالى, to You be all praise. You have clothed me with it. I ask You for the good of it and the good for which it was made, and I seek refuge with You from the evil of it and the evil for which it was made).” Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi H:1767; Abu Dawood H:4020; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani رحمت اللهin Saheeh al-Jaami’H:4664.


7.     It is Sunnah to pay attention to keeping one's clothes clean, without feeling arrogant or exaggerating about that. It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ood رضي الله عنهthat the Prophet said: “No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is a mustard-seed of arrogance.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look nice and his shoes to look nice?” He said: “Allah سبحانه و تعالىis Beautiful and loves beauty; arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” Narrated by Sahih Muslim H:91.


8.     It is mustahabb to wear white clothes 


It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas رضي الله عنهsaid: The Messenger of Allah said: “Wear white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.” Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi H:994, hasan saheeh. This is what the scholars regarded as mustahabb. Also narrated by Abu Dawood H:4061; Ibn Maajah H:1472


9.     It is haraam for the Muslim man to let any garment he wears hang down beneath his ankles (an action known as isbaal); the limit for any garment is the ankles. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنهthat the Prophet said; “Whatever of the lower garment is beneath the ankles is in the Fire.” Narrated by Sahih Al-Bukhaari H:5450.


It was narrated from Abu Dharr رضي الله عنهthat the Prophet said: “There are three to whom Allah سبحانه و تعالىwill not speak on the Day of Resurrection and will not look at them or praise them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” The Messenger of Allah repeated it three times. Abu Dharr رضي الله عنهsaid: “May they be doomed and lost; who are they, O Messenger of Allah ?” He said: “The one who lets his garment hang beneath his ankles, the one who reminds others of favours he has done, and the one who sells his product by means of false oaths.” Narrated bySahih Al-Muslim H:106.


10. It is haraam to wear garments of fame and vanity, which means a garment that stands out from others so that people will look at the wearer and he will become known for it. 


It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهsaid: The Prophet said: “Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity, Allah سبحانه و تعالىwill dress him in a garment like it on the Day of Resurrection.” According to another version, “…then set it ablaze.” And according to a third version, “will dress him in a garment of humiliation.” Narrated by Abu Dawood H:4029; Ibn Maajah H:3606 and 3607; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani رحمت اللهin Saheeh al-Targheeb H:2089. [6]










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