A muslim man and his wife are walking down a crowded street in Miami. It’s hot and humid. The woman is covered showing nothing but her hands and face and the man……well, many times is in jeans and a t-shirt or perhaps shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m not screaming “haram!” at these men. Of course not, their dress code isn’t the same as a Muslim woman’s dress code. However, this image usually fuels the arguments of many Non Muslims that women are oppressed and have too many rules attached to their dress. Just yesterday a comment was made to me “Well, that’s fine, as long as he covers his head too.” I told her “Yes, rest assured my husband is dressed in long sleeves, pants, and has his head covered too. We’re happily suffering through the heat together. Solidarity!” So, we had a good chuckle and went along our ways. I’m never surprised when I get these comments. Though, In fact, If you take a look at Muslim countries you will see many men with their heads covered. In fact many men in those countries dress in thobes, long sleeves, etc.
Some people may do a double take when they learn that Muslim men have a dress code as well. Some men take their dress code lightly. Some think the women’s code is more important and thus spend their lives lecturing various women about what to wear and what not to wear. These men need to seriously understand that disobedience to Allah is disobedience to Allah whether you are a man or a woman.
The following are some rules related to men’s dress in Islam as well as some pictures of traditional islamic clothing for men. Some of these apply to women as well (which I will mark with an *).
Trim the moustache and save the beard. [Al-Bukhari and
Muslim] It is haraam (forbidden)for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5546.
*It is Sunnah to pay attention to keeping one’s clothes clean, without feeling arrogant or exaggerating about that.
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is a mustard-seed of arrogance.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look nice and his shoes to look nice?” He said: “Allaah is Beautiful and loves beauty; arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”
Narrated by Muslim, 91.
It is haraam for the Muslim man to let any garment he wears hang down beneath his ankles (an action known as isbaal); the limit for any garment is the ankles.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said; “Whatever of the lower garment is beneath the ankles is in the Fire.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5450.
It was narrated from Abu Dharr that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three to whom Allaah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection and will not look at them or praise them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repeated it three times. Abu Dharr said: “May they be doomed and lost; who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said: “The one who lets his garment hang beneath his ankles, the one who reminds others of favours he has done, and the one who sells his product by means of false oaths.”
Narrated by Muslim, 106.
Abu Dawood (3140) and Ibn Maajah (1460) narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not show your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of anyone, living or dead.” (The majority of fuqaha’ are of the view that these ahaadeeth should be followed and they stated that a man’s ‘awrah is from the navel to the knee. See al-Mughni, 2/284 )-Some are of the opinion this is not authentic as there is another hadith stating the Prophet was riding a mule and his thigh was showing. However, most scholars say it is authentic and a man should cover navel to knee.
It was narrated by Ahmad and al-Nasaa’i, and by al-Tirmidhi who classed it as saheeh, and by Abu Dawood, and by al-Haakim who classed it as saheeh, and by al-Tabaraani, and classed as saheeh by Ibn Hazm, from Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my ummah, and forbidden for the males.”
Lower the gaze and guard the private parts from illegal sexual acts.*
Oh, and one of the most important rules and perhaps one of the most overlooked (after lowering the gaze): Be distinct and do not resemble the unbelievers. *
How many men actually follow these rules? How many dismiss them and think they aren’t that important? Often, the very same ones who dismiss their own dress codes are the most outspoken on the dress of women in Islam. Brothers need to wake up and take care to make sure they are dressed correctly. It is just as important that brothers follow the rulings as women. Also, men need to know, just because a woman is dressed provocitavely, letting it all hang out so to speak doesn’t give you the right to stare at her. The rules of lowering the gaze applies whether the woman is wearing a burqa or a bikini. Most brothers need to take care and remember that. Dressing properly is just as much inner as outer. Like a woman’s hijab it encompasses modesty, inner pride, a desire to please your creator and follow the sunnah, lowering the gaze and protecting yourselves from such sins as illegal intercourse, lying, backbiting, and cursing. It includes being kind, just, fair, humble. It includes being kind to your wives as the Prophet(saw) said: The best of you are the one’s who is best to their wives. In general having the character that the Prophet (saw) and his righteous companions exhibited. We like to talk about Muslim women following the examples of other pious Muslim women. Well, men should follow the examples of the Prophet and his companions. Brothers today should reflect on their kindness, compassion, fondness with their wives, integrity and implement these characteristics in their own lives. In a family we all play a part. Everyone is a shepherd (leader) over their own station. We all work together. The Muslim man needs to pull his weight as he asks the Muslim woman to do so as well. This way things will run smoothly and the family unit will be a source of peace and comfort to the heart, insh’Allah. The children will grow up with the same values and ultimatley the entire ummah will benefit.
I want to give a shout out to the brothers who do follow the dressing guidelines and are modest. Those who do implement the characteristics of a good muslim man. Because they are rare indeed. Alhamdullilah for the brothers who do dress appropriately and lower their gazes. May Allah reward you all and bless you in this life and the Hereafter. ameen. And as the Prophet (saw) said: Glad tidings to the strangers!
If I have left out any of the dress requirements for men please feel free to add.
Some Examples of traditional clothing for Muslim men: