Saturday, 18 July 2009

Conditions for a Muslim woman's dress

A woman’s clothing must also conform to the conditions laid down by the Islamic Shariah; there are six other conditions:

Her dress should be thick and opaque.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has informed us that: “Among the dwellers of the hell are such women as are clothed yet they are naked, seduced and being seduced. These shall never enter Paradise, nor shall even its fragrance reach them, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.”

The Prophet(blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: “During the last days of my nation there will be women who are clothed yet naked, with something on their heads like the humps of bakhti camels. Curse them, for they are the cursed.” He added in another Hadith: “For they go astray and make others astray”.

Here the meaning of “clothed yet naked” is that their light, thin, see-through, transparent garments do not conceal what should be covered. As Ibn-Abd-al-Barr stated: “clothes made of light material describes but does not cover. They are clothed in name but naked in reality.”
Once some women of the Banu-Tamim tribe, who were wearing transparent garments came to see Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said: “Are you believers? If you are believers, these are not the clothes which a believing woman would ever wear.”

On another event, a woman wearing a transparent veil came to visit her. She remarked: “A woman who dresses like this does not believe in Surah Al-Nur”.

Her dress must be loose and spacious.
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at the man who trails his garment along out of pride.” Aisha then asked: “What should women do with (the hems of) their garments?” He replied: “Let them lower them a hand span. She said: Their feet would be exposed! He then said: Let them lower them a forearm’s length but no more.” [At-Tabarani-Sahih]

Usama ibn Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Prophet- peace and mercy be upon him- was brought some pieces of Coptic cloth he had received as a gift from Dahya-al-Kalbi, he gave me one as a gift and I give it to my wife. The next day, the Prophet asked me: “Why did you not wear the Coptic garment?” I replied: “I gave to my wife.” The Prophet-peace be upon him- then said: “Tell her to wear a thick gown underneath it and the size of her limbs should not be revealed.”(Mukhtarah 1/442)

The purpose of clothing is to prevent temptation and this is only possible if a woman wears wide and loose clothes that do not describe any part of her body, especially the curves of a woman’s body may not be defined. This condition also applies to face-veil. If a woman is wearing niqab, the veil should not be wrapped round the face so that the shape of her nose or her mouth is revealed.

The corruption in wearing tight-fitting clothes is quite evident. Tight clothes, even though they may conceal the colour of her skin, still describe the shape and form of her body or part of her body, and create a vivid image in the minds of men. Women who wear tight-fitting clothes fall under the definition of “clothed yet naked”, since such a dress is more provocative than concealing.

Her dress should not contain bright colors or attractive designs.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever wears a garment of vanity in this world, Allah will clothe him in a garment of disgrace on the Day of Judgement, then He will cause Fire to flame up around him.’”

Ad-Dhahabi states in “The Book of Major Sins”: “Amongst the deeds which a woman is cursed for are displaying the adornments she wears, wearing perfume when she goes out, and wearing colourful clothes”.

Accordingly a Muslim woman is not permitted to wear colours that attract the gaze of men, colours that are attention-getting and colours that are only for men.

However, this does not mean that a Muslim woman is obliged to wear black only. In fact, many women choose to wear black, not because of it’s being obligatory, but because it is the farthest from being a cause of attraction. Wearing black garments is also the Sunnah of the women of Sahabah who used to “go out as if there were crows on their heads because of their garments”.

Her dress should not look like the clothing of men.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed men who try to resemble men and men who try to dress like women.

He also said: “Women who imitate men and men who imitate women, they are not part of us.”
The Prophet is even reported to have said: “Throw them out of your houses”.
In another Hadith: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘There are three who will not enter Paradise and Allah will not even look at them on the Day of Resurrection: one who disobeys his parents, a woman who imitates men, and the weak man who feels no jealousy over his womenfolk.”

Then, if a woman imitates men in dress or in any other way, she is cursed by Allah and His Messenger, she is not a Muslimah and she will never enter Paradise.

Abu Dawood said, in Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 261): “I heard Ahmad being asked about a man who dresses his slave woman in a tunic. He said, ‘Do not clothe her in men’s garments and do not make her look like a man.” Abu Dawood said: “I said to Ahmad, Can he give her bachelor sandals to wear? He said, No, unless she wears them to perform ablution”. I said: “What about for beauty?” He said: “No”. I said: “Can he cut her hair short?” He said: “No.”

Her dress should not look like the clothing of unbelievers.
It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to imitate non-Muslims whether they are Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians or idolaters. Indeed, dissimilarity with non-muslims is a general rule in Shariah as Muslims should have their own distinctive characteristics. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Whoever imitates a nation is one of them”.

Her dress should not be perfumed.

The Messenger of Allah-peace be upon him- said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that men can smell her scent, is an adulterous.”

He also said: “If any of you women goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.”
Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her fragrance was strong. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘If a woman comes to the mosque and her scent is overpowering, Allah will not accept any of her prayers till she returns home and washes herself.’”

The Messenger of Allah said: “Any woman who has scented herself with incense, do not allow her to attend prayers with us.”

Therefore, women are not allowed to wear perfume and their garment must not be perfumed.

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