Today, yet again, she was getting prepared to attend the sale at her favorite clothing store.
A beaming smile was playing on her lips, as butterflies somersaulted inside her stomach - she could hardly wait to get there. When all of a sudden her maid knocked at the door of her bedroom…
“I know it must be you, Zarina, don’t you know that I have to leave right now?” she yelled, so that even if the maid was some distance away from the door, or in fact outside the house even, she ought to have heard the shriek.
In her rage, she blew open the door and stared at the poor creature with her eyes ablaze.
“Ma.. Ma’am it was something very important,” Zarina, the maid, managed to mutter.
“What is it this time?” The ma’am inquired, more of a command than a question.
“My daughter is hospitalized since the past week and now we have run out of all form of funds to pay for the hospital’s fee. I would like to request you to please grant me ten thousand rupees which can help save my daughter’s life.” With this she burst into tears.
“Oh my goodness, not again!” blurted out the mistress. “I knew it must be the same typical ‘important’ matter this time round too. But previously you only used to ask for some hundreds of rupees, this time I can’t believe your nerves.”
“Please trust me Ma’am. I wouldn’t lie to you about such a thing. You can come with me and see for yourself the dire condition in which my little girl is…”
“Enough, Enough... I don’t have that much free time. Nor do I want to give off my husband’s hard-earned money just like that. I would let you know by tomorrow how much money I can give to you.”
With this she darted out of doors, managing to bring herself back into the daze of the sale she was about to land into.
She spent half her day there, choosing and selecting the best of clothes that would be fashionable as well as suit her style. Evidently, now not for a single second did it cross her mind that she doesn’t have any free time nor any spare money.
Eventually, she was through and as it came out, she had spent eighteen thousand today. Almost a week ago when she had came here, she had spent even more, so this time it was quite an achievement for her to have saved on some of the hard-earned money of her husband.
Alas, this is an appalling picture of our society where whenever any new fashion strikes the market, ladies are seen going head over heal for it. And in so doing they try to outshine as well as downgrade each other and at times even make others hit depressive phases.
They think that maybe someone is there to give them a reward for the best dressed women, however, unfortunately (rather fortunately) there is nothing of that genre, except that there is some One else instead who surely can be looked upon for a reward. And that is our Lord of course.
The Best of Garments
Muslim women get respect for who they are, not for how they look. Good manners are the best jewels indeed. Who adorns herself with them, she will be regarded as the most beloved by all.
“O children of Adam! Surely we have bestowed upon you a garment to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you, and the garment of piety is the best.” (The Holy Qur’an- Al-A’raf, 26).
If that doesn’t seem to convince us enough, then surely Allah is there to reward those who do good deeds and don’t waste their time, energy and money in pointless affairs.
Clothing is, in fact, a necessity for which a believer is rewarded as it is obligatory to cover oneself. Furthermore, if somebody likes it for themselves to look elegant, then they too can buy more clothes, provided it doesn’t come in extravagance, for Allah says: “And do not be extravagant, for Allah loves not the extravagant.” (Surah al-An’am,141).
Conditions of Muslim Dress Code
As I believe, other than extravagance, certain other criteria are also listed below which should be taken into consideration so that we don’t end up earning Allah’s wrath where it was actually meant to be a source of reward from Him to us.
Firstly, if our aim is pretentiousness, to walk with an air of self-importance, showing off your dress to others so wherever you go, everyone looks behind you (and envies you), then it is absolutely not allowed in Islam. Any clothing which creates pride and arrogance in the heart must be avoided as a hadith recorded by Imam Ibn Majah (Allah have Mercy on him) states that Prophet Muhammad said: “Whosoever dresses himself out of pride in this world, Allah will dress him/her with the same clothing on the day of Qiyamah and he/she will be entered in to Hell.” (Ibn Majah) In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah said: “Whosoever imitates a nation is amongst them.” (Abu Dawud, no. 4031)
Imitation, which is prohibited, is when one wears a particular type of clothing with the intention of imitating bad examples, meaning, one wears something because one wants to be like a particular person.
Thus it becomes evident from the above that if a woman wears certain western cloths for the sole reason of pleasing her husband, and no other man (Mahram or non-Mahram) sees her, and she observes the full rules of Hijab when emerging outside, then this would be permissible.
Next, imitation of the opposite sex is also impermissible. Abdullah ibn Abbas relates, that the Messenger of Allah said: “Cursed those men who imitate women and those women who imitate men.” (Bukhari, 7/205). The clothes must also not be close-fitting neither so thin that one can see through it.
Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad said: “There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen: People with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they beat the people, and women who are clothed yet naked. They will not enter paradise nor smell it’s fragrance, even though it’s fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Muslim, no. 2218)
The meaning of “clothed yet naked” tells that the clothing of a female must not be transparent and/or tight-fitting.
Finally, the clothes should be clean, pure and free from any filth, as purity is part of one’s Faith (Iman). It is quite discernible that this topic is lengthy and needs much more elaboration. However, here one may be able to get the gist of what the Islamic guidelines are regarding women’s dress.
Let me draw to a close with a last word which although you must have got to recognize for yourself after reading this piece, but just to avoid any misunderstanding let me clarify that all these decrees are for a women’s dress code in front of other women and her mehrams (those she can’t marry), and certainly not for when she goes out of the house. As it is clearly stated in a hadith narrated by Safiya bint Shaiba that lady Aisha used to say: “When the verse about women covering themselves (24:31) was revealed, the women tore their thick outer garments to make veils.”(Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282).
The criteria discussed above holds true for our every day clothing, as well as for the hijabs, for sorry to say, nowadays the adorned hijabs too look like a fashion symbol for the many style that they have erupted in.
May Allah grant us the vision of a believer who keeps away from every worthless pursuit and instead tires himself in earning Allah’s pleasure alone.