How often have we not witnessed someone before their wardrobe, viewing the vast variety of clothing before them, wondering, “What should I wear today? What colour and style should I pick? What should I pair it with?”
However, the question arises that while most people primarily choose clothing based on brand, style and fashion, what should a Muslimah make her basis of preference when selecting clothing to wear?
In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala mentions, “O children of Aadam (‘alaihis salaam)! We have bestowed you with clothing to conceal your nudity, as well as to be an adornment (for you).” (Surah Aa’raaf v. 26)
The commentators mention that in this verse, by mentioning the aspect of concealing the body before the aspect of adorning the body, the Quraan Majeed impresses upon us that the primary purpose of clothing (i.e. to cover one’s satr) is more important than the secondary benefits of clothing (i.e. adornment). (Ma‘aariful Quraan vol. 3, pg. 534)
From the very beginning, denuding mankind and stripping people of their clothing and shame has been one of the primary plots of Shaitaan. Hence, the very first attack of Shaitaan on humankind involved the effort to strip them of their clothing, as occurred with Nabi Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) and Sayyidah Hawwaa (‘alaihas salaam). The reason for Shaitaan attaching importance to this sin in particular is that the exposure of the human body is a door that leads to a host of other sins and evils.
It is vital to understand that if one’s clothing does not adequately conceal one’s body, then although one may technically be wearing clothing, he/she will still be regarded as naked in the eyes of sharee‘ah.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had prophesized that a time would come in the Ummah where women would be clothed yet naked. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “There will be women in my Ummah who although clothed, will still be naked (i.e. they will wear clothing that does not correctly conceal the body), they will attract men to themselves, and they themselves will be attracted to men. They will neither enter Jannah, nor will they perceive its fragrance, even though its fragrance is perceivable from a distance of five hundred years.” (Saheeh Muslim #2128 & Muwatta Maalik #3384)
From this hadeeth, we understand that before we even view the colour, style or design of the clothing, we must first ensure that it fulfills the primary purpose of concealing the body. Failing to conceal one’s body correctly is not a trivial issue, as the hadeeth above explains that let alone being deprived of entering Jannah, the person negligent in this regard will be so distant from Jannah that they will not even perceive its fragrance! In other words, they will be more than five hundred years’ distance away from Jannah.
As far as concealment is concerned, we must bear the following in mind:
– It is compulsory upon a woman to cover her entire body and hair (with the exception of her hands till her wrists and feet) before non-mahram men.
– The clothing should neither be transparent, thus exposing the body, nor should it be tight-fitting, thus revealing the shape of the body and limbs.
Other important points regarding clothing are:
– Clothing essentially worn by one gender should not be worn by the other gender.
– Clothing should not emulate the styles and fashions of the disbelievers.
– Clothing should not be worn for show and ostentation.
– There should be no extravagance in the clothing.
Insha-Allah, in the articles to come, these points will be discussed and elaborated in further detail.