Attire and adornment – I

Attire and adornment – I
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Allah Says what means: “O children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness — that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.”  [Quran 7: 26] 

One of the visible favours of Allah upon His slaves is that He has created for them different materials by which they can conceal their private parts.

Allah also Says what means: “So We said: 'O Adam! Indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer. Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed.” [Quran 20: 117-118]

Hunger is internal humiliation whilst nakedness is external humiliation, but neither of these two exists in Paradise. The dwellers of Paradise enjoy wearing different garments one on top of the other. Allah Says what means: “And when you look there [in Paradise], you will see pleasure and great dominion. Upon them [i.e., the inhabitants] will be green garments of fine silk and heavy silk...” [Quran 76: 20-21]

Thus, clothing is a blessing from Allah that He has bestowed upon us, as Allah Says [what means]: O children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts…” [Quran 7: 26]

Concealing one's private parts is mandatory, but this is not all; rather, Allah has, in addition, bestowed upon us adornment. Following this adornment is the inner adornment, which is the spiritual one, as Allah Says [what means]: “But the clothing of righteousness — that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.” [Quran 7:26]

If the clothing of piety is lost then one's faults are exposed; and if the clothing of the body is gone, then his private parts become exposed, which results in great trials, leaving Satan to open an arena in which to lure mankind. This is why Allah Says [what means]: “So We said: 'O Adam! Indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer. Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed.” [Quran 20: 117-118]

Unclothing is a plot of Satan, and the first sin that was ever committed resulted in unclothing, as Allah Says what means: “O children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing (i.e., the garments of Paradise) to show them their private parts…” [Quran 7: 27]

Satan initiated his war against the children of Adam by trying to entice them to expose their private parts, and this battle continued until it has reached its peak in our time when people have actually exposed their private parts and there are nude clubs, nude beaches, and channels on satellite television for nudity, fornication and 'summer fashions', which is practical nudity. All these things, which the sinners among the children of Adam thought up with the help of Satan, are vividly shown on TV screens.

Moreover, there are so many magazines and internet websites that feature nudity that it has become something that many feel no shame in publishing or viewing, because the plot of Satan is to corrupt mankind by exposing people’s private parts.

This is why Allah warns us by Saying [what means]: “O children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you…” [Quran 7: 27] Satan does this by all means possible: movies, magazines, fashion shows, beauty contests, scanty clothing that women wear to weddings, satellite television channels, and so on. Immorality has become readily available and people are constantly exposed to it.

Imam At-Tabari  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him stated when commenting on this verse: “It means: Let not Satan deceive you into obeying him and therefore exposing your private parts to others, thus depriving yourselves from entering Paradise, which is exactly what resulted in your father (i.e. Adam) being expelled from Paradise.”

This is a very dangerous issue because it could result in one being deprived of entering Paradise, and this is why Islam mandates concealing one's private parts and defines the ‘Awrah (i.e., the parts of the body that one is Islamically obliged to cover) and how to cover it. The ‘Awrah is defined precisely and in detail for people of all ages and every phase: for infants up to two years of age, then for childhood, and then for the phase that lasts up to and beyond puberty.

Islam obligates clothing because nakedness is a dispraised matter. A man once entered into the presence of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) while wearing improper clothing, so he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) asked: “Do you have money?” The man replied: “Yes, from all means. Allah has granted me camels, sheep, horses and slaves.” Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said to him: “Then let the favour and blessings of Allah be apparent on you.” Imam Ibn Hajar  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on this narration stating: “This means: wear the clothing that suits the level of bounties of Allah upon you, and which is clean and pleasant, so that needy people would recognise a person's status and know to ask from him charity. However, in order to judge this issue in light of all relevant texts, one must be moderate in this regard and not extravagant.”

This is how real scholars are: they judge an issue in light of all the relevant texts related to it, and do not focus on an isolated piece of evidence. This is an advice to all students of knowledge who seek the truth, this is how you should be, too - never take one text in isolation when there are other texts related to the issue that you are judging, so that you can have a complete picture before making your final judgment.

An example to illustrate this is if one states that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Indeed Allah is Jameel (which implies beauty) and He loves beauty” and therefore concludes that it is permissible for the woman to expose her beauty, since beauty is something that Allah loves. We ask such a person: Are you aware of the other texts that specifically prohibit the woman to expose here beauty in front of marriageable men and the texts that command her to adhere to Hijab (i.e. Muslim woman’s outfit in Islam)?

Some scholars who were wealthy would wear the best clothing that they possessed during seasons such as Ramadan so that the poor could recognise them and ask them for charity, but as soon as these seasons were over they would wear modest clothing as a sign of their humility and knowledge of the narration that they were well aware of, which is that of Mu`ath, may Allah be pleased with him, who reported that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever voluntarily forsakes wearing elegant and expensive garments out of humbleness, Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection and give him, in front of all (His) creation, the choice to wear whichever garment of Belief he wishes.” [At-Tirmithi]

The clothing of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was whatever he could find; he would wear wool at times and cotton at others - according to what was available for him at the time and without any extravagance; he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would always thereby be acting in accordance with the commands of Allah. One can eat, wear or drink anything (that is lawful) as long as it is without extravagance or boasting. Men may not wear silk because there is a specific text that prohibits silk for men.

Attire and adornment – II   

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