Fashion In Islam – A Perspective
In the name of Allah, The Most Merciful The Most Compassionate
The Almighty says:
“O Children of Adam! We have sent down upon you a dress which may conceal your shameful parts and sent down feathers (or splendid garments) and the dress of piety (Taqwa) that is the best of all.” (Surah A’araf: 26)
The fashion world has grown very rapidly alongside the development of technology, while Western and Eastern fashion trends and developments have increasingly competed with each other from year to year. Some of these trends are far from the Ruhiyah aspect of Islam and have not been adopted by Muslims. The Western perspective is clearly different from the Islamic perspective in many ways and there are some similarities, there are some areas of Western fashion that are contrary to the principles of Islam.
From an Islamic perspective, style, appearance and fashion is a serious matter. Dressing is important in Islam because one’s appearance creates certain messages in peoples’ minds when seen. Muslims are required to pay attention to their appearance, making sure that their clothing is beautiful and clean, especially when dealing with others and when performing the required prayers, as the Qur’an states:
“Children of Adam, wear your best clothes to every mosque.” ( Al-A‛raaf, 7:31)
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, has permitted people to wear nice clothes and to create a good appearance and doing so is one aspect of remembering Allah’s blessings. The Qur’an states:
“Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah, which He has brought forth for His servants and the good things, clean and pure, which Allah has provided for them?’ Say, ‘They are [lawful] for the believers in the present life but they shall be exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.’ Thus We explain Our signs for a people who understand.” ( Al-A‛raaf, 7:32)
In Islam, garments are not merely a matter of culture and fashion and there are certain limitations of dress for men and women. Muslim women in particular wear particular types of clothes that exhibit their Islamic identity. If traditional Islamic clothes are localized, then a universal standard of Muslim clothing can emerge and be worn by Muslim women wherever they are. Some agreed upon limitations to keep in mind when dressing (although the tastes of each Muslim woman may vary) are:
-Clothing should cover the Aurat.
-Textiles used as clothing material should not be thin or transparent (see-through) which can show the skin and shape of body.
-The style should not be tight or form-fitting.
-The clothing should not resemble the clothing of men.
-The material, as well as the style should not be too fancy, extravagant, conspicuous, expensive and it should not be a source of pride. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever wears clothes of shuhrah (for pride) in this world, Allah will make him wear clothes of humiliation on the Day of Judgement.” (Musnad Ahmad: 5664; Sunan Ibn Maajah: 3607)
As Muslim women, we can be fashionable when following what Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an and when following the hadiths of Rasulullah (SAW).
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Eat, drink, dress and give charity, but without extravagance or arrogance.” (Sunan An-Nasaa’ee: 2559)
Indeed, Islam does not require Muslims to wear a certain type of clothing. It considers all types of clothing lawful as long as such clothing serves the required purposes without exceeding the bounds set by Islam. However, the great influence of culture and the many different modes of dress can make people forget that they must cover their bodies except for their face and hands. Muslims are required to cover their private parts with appropriate clothing, as the Qur’an states, “Children of Adam! We have sent down clothing to you to conceal your private parts.”( Al-A‛raaf, 7:26).
Islam requires that clothing must also be loose enough to cover the body properly therefore, skin-tight and see-through clothes are not allowed in Islam. It is also prohibited to wear clothing that involves dressing like or imitating the opposite sex, imitation of the dress traditionally worn by non-Muslims, or clothing of religious significance, such as the types of clothing or jewelry worn by monks and priests.
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Sunan Abu Daawood: 4031)
Allah says: O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should draw over themselves their jilbab (outer garments) (when in public); this will be more conducive to their being recognized (as decent women) and not harassed. But God is indeed oft-forgiving, most merciful. (Al- Ahzab:59)
This verse shows that the purpose of covering oneself is to “be recognized (as decent women) and not harassed.” Many women who cover their hair and dress modestly do notice that men are more respectful, and people are more inquisitive about their faith, so they are “recognized” not just as decent women but also as Muslims.
To be a fashionable Muslim woman is not impossible as long as we relate with Islamic ideologies. Fashion is not simply wearing what others wear. Islam allows fashion, but within certain limitations and provisions. Fashion is a style, and it allows us to exhibit an appearance that matches our personalities as Muslim women. Clothing is considered a bounty of Allah Almighty and wearing them is an expression of gratitude to Allah. AlhamdulillahiRabbil’alamiin.