Islamic law regarding dress
Islamic law has provided mankind with appropriate instructions and guidelines regarding dress for men and women.
Islam wants to achieve two things through appropriate dress. Firstly, to cover human body properly as it is not right to expose human body indecently. Secondly, for the purpose of beautification and adornment.
The Quran, the book of Allah, states in this regard,
"O, children of Adam, we have sent down to you clothing in order to cover the shameful parts of your body and serve as protection and adornment and the best garment is the garment of piety." (7 : 26)
There should be a balance between appropriate covering of body and adornment. If this balance is destroyed, this will be a deviation and following the way of devil.
The Quran states in this regard,
"O, children of Adam, let not satan seduce you in the same way as he caused your first parents to be driven out of the heaven and stripped them of their garments in order to expose their shameful parts before each other." (7 : 27)
Islam has not permitted the use of shame type of dress or garments by men and women. Islam wants to maintain the distinction between man and women. It is not proper for men or women to imitate the other sex in respect of dress. The Prophet of Islam has said, "It is prohibited for men to dress like women and it is prohibited for women to dress like men." (narrated in the books of tradition of Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ibn Habban)
The Prophet of Islam has also cursed such people (narrated by Imam Bukhari in his book of tradition of the Prophet).
Islam ahs prohibited show and pomp in the matter of dress. The Quran has stated,
"Allah does not like any proud person." (57 : 23)
The Prophet of Islam has said, "Any person who will (unnecessarily lengthen his dress) to touch the ground only to show his pride, Allah will not look to him on the day of judgement." (narrated by Imam Bukhari in his book of tradition)
Dress should be very clean, as Islam has emphasised on cleanliness. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) he said, "Adopt cleanliness because Islam is a religion which upholds cleanliness." (narrated in Ibn Habban, a book of tradition of the Prophet).
The Prophet of Islam has permitted use of gold ornaments and silk by women. He has not permitted use of these for men. The reason probably is that these are more suitable for women nature and not for men.
Men and women should wear decent dress. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet that men and women should cover their body properly. However, men are allowed to expose their body except the portion between nevel and knee for the need of work or otherwise.
Women should cover their body very properly. The Prophet has said that it is not appropriate for a grown up girl to expose any part of her body except face and forehead (to any male who is not her husband or close relation). Narrated by Abu Dawood in his book on tradition). This is the view of the majority of jurists including Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Abu Yousuf. Modern scholars Yusuf al Qaradawi, Hasan Turabi and Jamal Badawi also hold this view.
The Prophet has said that women are not permitted to wear any thin garment through which their body can be seen. (narrated by Imam Muslim)
Islam believes in the dignity of women and wants to protect her from lustful eyes of evil persons. Islam, therefore, prescribed the women should put on a flowing outer garment (gown) over her normal dress while going out to do work or for other purposes. The Quran has stated,
"O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughter and women of the believers to put on a flowing outer garment (covering their bosom and head). This is better for recognition of good women so that they will not bothered." (33 : 59)
If mankind follows the principles of dress given by Islam, it will indeed ensure dignity of women and men and also help establish a decent society.