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Dress Code in the West

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Dress Code in the West

A number of questions have come regarding what dress we should wear as Muslims in Western countries. Here are some brief and random thoughts on the issue:

1) Regarding the dress issue for brothers: this should not be a point of conflict among ourselves and should certainly not be a cause of splitting.

2) As Muslims, we have guidelines for dress code, but not a ‘uniform’ as such. The general rule is that everything that is worn is allowed, unless specifically prohibited by a text from the Qur’an or Sunnah. Also, some types of clothing are favoured more than others by the Shari’ah.

3) For example, men should not have their garments below their ankles (according to the stronger of the scholarly opinions), they should not wear gold or silk, they should cover their awrah which includes colour of skin and shape, they should not imitate the kuffar, they should not wear garments that have pictures of animals or humans on them, they should not wear garments that are specially for women…

4) Regarding ‘imitation of the kuffar’, what is meant is that if the clothes are specific to the kuffar – i.e. some / all of the kuffar are known for wearing this dress (such as the Jewish skull cap that leaves the front of the head uncovered, or the turbans worn in the same way as Sikhs wear them) then this is haram to wear – whether the person intends to imitate the kuffar or not. However, if the dress is not specific to the kuffar but they just wear it, there is no problem in wearing this garment on the condition that one does not intend to imitate the kuffar by wearing them. So in this latter case (where the garment is not exclusively worn by the kuffar) it would depend on the person’s intention. If two people are wearing the exact same garment, one could be sinning while the other is not, such as a person who wears a baseball cap: if he intends to imitate the kuffar (e.g. the ‘Westerners’) by this then he is sinning; if not, then he isn’t.

5) Wearing ‘English’ clothes in UK is not a problem in general, as we can see from the previous guidelines; in the same way, wearing ‘Arab’ or ‘Indo-Pak’ clothes is not a problem. However, if wearing ‘English’ clothes is a result of an inferiority complex, then this is a problem!

6) It would come down to personal taste as well as the situation that a person finds himself in. Personally, I have found that wearing these ‘Arab’ garments does give the impression to others clearly that one is a Muslim and, often, has led to many discussions with onlookers about why I wear them – this gives a perfect opportunity for da’wah :)

On the other hand, some brothers feel that if they wear these clothes it would put the kuffar ‘off’ their da’wah; as I said, it really is down to personal taste and where one feels there is the most benefit. Sh Ibn Jibrin said:

“As far as dress is concerned, we think that if you are able to openly wear Islamic clothing, then you should do so, and wear the dress of the Muslims, and you should say, ‘We are Muslims and we have freedom to choose our religion and practise it openly, just as you Christians can wear your regular clothes and openly display the symbols of your religion, like the crosses you wear. We have the same rights as you do. If this system places these obligations on those who work for them, then we say that if you can find another country to move to where you will be able to openly manifest the symbols of your religion, then do so. But if you cannot do that, then manifest as much as you can of the symbols of your faith. The religion cannot be confined to the home and the mosque; the religion has to be adhered to in the market-places, streets, companies and all public places. Undoubtedly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not compromise in matters of his religion. When he was in Makkah, before the Hijrah, he used to pray openly, whilst they were looking on. After the Muslims became a distinct community, a specific style of dress was ordained for them, and they commanded to forsake anything else that was a symbol of kufr and was distinctive to the kuffar, because this is imitation, and whoever imitates a people is one of them, as it says in the hadith.”

7) It should be noted, in particular, that it is not permissible to wear (especially during salah) tight garments that show the shape of one’s awrah. Unfortunately, this is very common among brothers who wear tight jeans or trousers and when they go down into ruku’ or sajdah, it is not a pleasant sight!! Many scholars have mentioned that, although the prayer may be valid, the person is accumulating sin by wearing such garments.

8) It is mustahabb (recommended) to wear white, as the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wore it and recommended others to wear it.

9) The last point I’d like to make about this issue is that we should avoid getting the “post 911 syndrome”, before which many brothers would wear ‘Islamic’ clothing (and really insist on doing so) and then after 911 they started finding ‘Islamic’ reasons not to wear the same clothes! Unfortunately, this syndrome can be seen in many haram matters such as shaving the beard, listening to music, etc… That’s another discussion in and of itself…

10) Regarding the relationship between the outer and inner, a brother posted the following valuable words from al-Munaawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, in his Fayd al-Qadeer, vol. 6, pg. 135:

“There is a close link and connection between the outer and inner. Al-Mustapha (SAW) was sent with wisdom, which is the Sunnah, and this in turn is the law and way which has been legislated for him. From that which has been legislated for him are statements and actions that clearly differentiate one from the way of those who have anger upon them and the misguided.

He commanded us to oppose them in the outward matters even if there is no harm therein. This is due to a number of reasons, from amongst which is that imitating in outward matters has an affect on those imitating each other which then goes on to affect morals, manners and actions. This is a matter which is physically witnessed; take for example a person who wears the clothes of scholars, he will find in himself some sort of connection to them.

From among these reasons is that opposition in outward matters necessitates demarcation and differentiation and therefore severs one from the causes leading to the anger [of Allah] and misguidance. It also inculcates an inclination and attachment to the people of guidance and pleasure [of Allah].

From among these reasons is that imitating them in outward matters necessitates publicly mixing with them to the point that the distinguishing factors between the guided and those who have anger upon them and the misguided is removed.”

http://www.abuabdissalam.com/?p=13#more-13

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Peace....

A few questions:

Point 3 states: "men should not have their garments below their ankles"

What does this mean?

Point 8 states: It is recommended to wear white because that is what Muhammad wore and recommended others to do the same.

Does wearing white symbolize anything? Other than that Muhammad wore it?

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mens pants are not supposed to go below the ankle. Especially the clothing should not drag on the ground.

I dont know about the significance of the color white

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Bismillah

as salam alykom

As for point 8, I had red a lot in the past about the colours which the Messenger blessing and peace be upon him wore and not wore.

He commanded men not to wear red because this is similarisation to women, however, he wore a Yemni cloak with red strips, not fully red. He also allowed wearing of black for both women and men but not for observing death related purposes. There is one hadeeth in which he recommends wearing white and using it for shrouding the dead.

In the hadeeth narrated by Aesha, when she said she made him a black cloak, he took it off when he smelled himself sweating. Probably because the whether in Saudi Arabia is hot, it was perferable to wear light colours in avoidance to the heat and sweating. Allahu A`lam.

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Bismillah

As Salam alaikum

"He commanded men not to wear red because this is similarisation to women, however, he wore a Yemni cloak with red strips, not fully red."

A student of knowledge taught classes on kitab ul-sunnah and ahadith at a local masjid and explained this to us. He said that this is reference to the "make-up" or saffron that the women used to wear. By men wearing this, it would be imitating the women. Also the hadith that mentions that men should wear heavy scented perfume but light colored and that women should wear dark colored but lightly scented perfume also refers to this saffron, since it is dark in color but has a very light scent to it.

Allahu Alem

As salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu

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