By Junaid Khaleel
Different people across world wear various types of outfits depending upon their choice, social customs, religious background and topography of their respective areas. Clothes are our need but at the same time it is feature enjoyed exclusively by mankind. I will try to expound and bring forth and Islamic perspective on garments and outfits we wear by articulating divine revelations regarding our garb and some practices from antiquity to this day.
Let me commence with an historical event related to clothes. When Adam (A.S) and Eve (A.S) committed a mistake in the Heavenly garden by eating an unlawful fruit, their private parts were unveiled. It was the cunning Satan’s work.
It is mentioned in the seventh Surah of the Quran (7:21) ‘Thus he devil cast both of them down by deception. When they tasted the (fruits of) tree, their shame was exposed to them and they began to patch together some leaves of paradise upon themselves and their Lord called them: Did I not forbid you from that tree? Did I not tell you that Satan is your declared enemy?’
After this incident Adam (A.S) and his wife repented before their Creator. The most forgiving Allah bestowed His mercy and forgiveness upon both them. The verse twenty six of the aforementioned Surah accords us a glimpse into the nature of this mercy. It states, ‘ O children of Adam, We have sent down to you the dress that covers the shame and provides adornment…….’.
From above two verses, we can draw some inferences and conclusions regarding dress and outfits.
First, nudity is against human instinct: Human nature demands covering of private parts. Second, clothing is a blessing and an endowment of the all Wise and Knowing Creator which serves dual purposes. Appropriate clothing makes us look modest and chaste by guarding our shame and it also beautifies and accords grace to our body.
In terms of the morphology of dressing and clothing, it is mentioned in the Holy Quran (33:59), ‘O Prophet (SAW) tell your wives and your daughters and believing women that they should draw down their shawls over them .That will make it more likely that they are recognised, hence not teased. And Allah is most forgiving, very merciful’.
The inference that can be drawn here is that the nature of clothing dressing of our mothers and sisters should not seduce rogue persons. It should neither be too tight nor should it have iota of transparency in it. Irrespective of gender, besides wearing good clothes, we should also have noble and pure attitude. It is mentioned in same aforementioned verse (7:26), as for dress of piety (TAQWA) is best’.
All this implies that Islam demands a modest dress code and sublime heart in order to avoid manifestation of body parts and to tackle threat of a licentious society.
However, the Devil (Satan), on the other hand, wants to throw our society into disarray with nudity ,lewdness and debauchery. As the Holy Quran( 4:119) states, ‘ I (Satan) will lead them astray, and I will temp them with false hopes, I will command them….. . And whoever takes Satan as friend instead of Allah incurs an obvious loss’.
It is the phenomenon of feminism that has contributed a lot to make women vulnerable to covert disgrace and assaults by turning their bodies into commodities. According to Maryam Jameela, ‘ feminism initially stood for fulfilling women’s needs but with passage of time it changed its course it began to satiate caprice and un controlled desires of women. It demanded female liberation from socially prudent customs like marriage decent clothing and honour’. Hence feminism destroyed morality. It is incumbent upon Muslims, especially our females, to guard their virtue and nurture decency by wearing clothes that please Allah.
— The author is doing B Tech from the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org