Clothing is one of the most fundamental needs in life, and it has been practised since ancient times when humans used to wrap themselves with grass, leaves, and animal skin, among other things. As the globe changes, so do fashion trends and developments in this area. The purpose of clothing is not only to provide us with the cover but also to appease and project one’s social image to others. Islam offers direction in all facets of life, including ethics and morality. Islam has also stressed the need for modesty and the requirement for clothes, which many Muslims have neglected. Islam does not have a rigid requirement for the sort or style of clothes that Muslims must wear, but there are some minimal standards that must be met. Islam places equal value on wearing clean, spotless clothing and pursuing the goal of concealing private areas.
Women’s dress code in Islam
Islam makes it haram for women to wear clothes which fail to cover the body and which are transparent, revealing what is underneath. It is likewise haram to wear tight-fitting clothes which delineate the parts of the body, especially those parts which are sexually attractive; for example, leggings which have become common among ladies. Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Messenger, of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “I will not be a witness for two types of people who are destined for the Fire: people with whips, like the tails of cows, who beat the people (i.e., tyrannical rulers who are the enemies of their own people), and women who, although clothed, are yet naked, seducing and being seduced, their hair styled like the tilted humps of camels. These will not enter the Garden nor will its fragrance even reach them, although its fragrance reaches a very great distance.”
Because of their fine, transparent attire that is meant to accentuate rather than cover the body, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) described such ladies as being dressed yet naked. This describes how modern women dress. Because they raise their hair in the centre of their heads in the shape of a beehive, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) compared their hairstyle to the hump of a particular breed of a camel which has unusually huge humps. It is as if the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) were looking beyond the centuries to the present age when dressing the hair of women and styling it in a variety of shapes has become a profession dominated by men who charge top prices for their work. And this is not all. Many women purchase wigs made of synthetic hair to add to their natural hair in order to increase its body attractiveness and gloss, believing that doing so will make them more attractive to men and improve their appearance. Women who choose to cover themselves with a hijab do so carefully. In reality, many women claim that when they choose to wear the hijab, their Muslim or non-Muslim families showed them considerable hostility. There are several instances of women having to defend their right to wear the hijab around the world. Hijab can be a sign of strong inner strength and fortitude as well as of religiosity. Nevertheless, women who wear hijab insist that the advantages far outweigh any disadvantage conjured up by media bias or general ignorance.
Men’s dress code in Islam
Islam not only accepts but also demands beauty and elegance, and it generally opposes any attempts to forbid them. Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good things of His providing? (Quran 7:32).
However, Islam allows women to wear two types of adornment while forbidding them for men. First is gold jewellery, and then are garments composed of just pure silk. It was reported that Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) took some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left, declaring. “These two are haram for the males among my followers.” (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daoud, al-Nisai, Ibn Hayyan, and lbn Majah, who reports the additional phrase, “but halal for the females.”). Something that is halal has been deemed to be good. Umar (RA) reported that he heard the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) say, “Do not wear silk, for those who wear it in this life shall not wear it in the hereafter.” But behind these restrictions lies a societal goal. According to the Qur’an, living in luxury causes nations to become weak and ultimately bring about their own destruction. It also represents social injustice because only a select few can buy luxury goods at the expense of the underprivileged masses of people. The Qur’an says: And when we intend that we should destroy a township, we permit its luxury-loving people to commit wickedness therein. Then the word is proved true against it, and we then destroy it utterly. (Quran 17:16).
Clothes in which men look alike to women and vice versa are also not allowed in Islam. It is haram for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress because the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men” [Al-Bukhaari, 5546].
Insights and opinions from the writer
One should always be grateful to Allah since we are fortunate enough to be able to wear nice clothes because clothing is not only a fundamental need but also a way to prepare for Paradise or Hell. Overspending on clothing and being lavish will prevent us from receiving rewards in this life and the hereafter; we should always be modest and adhere to the Sunnah of our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Muslims should dress like Muslims rather than merely mimic those of other faiths in their environment.
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