Section 4: Men’s Clothing

Precious Provisions

taught by Yasir Qadhi


What is a Man’s ‘Awrah?


This is regarding the man’s ‘awrah in front of other men, and not during salah. There are two opinions on this matter.

  1. Only the two private parts (the front and back). That is, what an underwear would cover. This is the opinion of the Dhahiree madhab. Their evidence:
    1. A’raf, 26 – 28. The ayah mentions that their two private parts would exposed. Allah criticizes the showing of the two private parts.
    2. Hadith of Jaabir in Sahih Muslim (this hadith is pages and pages long hadith; the most comprehensive hadith on hajj): the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was going to Hajj and he was riding on the camel with Jaabir. In one occasion, the Prophet’s ihram split open and Jaabir saw the whiteness of his thigh[1]. The dhahirees say that had the thigh been ‘awrah, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not have allowed it to become uncovered. The Dhahirees say that Jibreel would have come covered it, etc.
    3. The hadith in which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was lying down in his house and his thigh was exposed. 
      A’isha reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was lying in the bed in my apartment with his thigh or his shank uncovered that Abu Bakr sought permission to get in. It was given to him and he conversed in the same very state (the Prophet’s thigh or shank uncovered). Then ‘Umar sought permission for getting in and it was given to him and he conversed in that very state. Then ‘Uthman sought permission for getting in; Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sat down and he set right his clothes. Muhammad (one of the narrators) said: I do not say that it happened on the same day. He (‘Uthman) then entered and conversed and as he went out, A’isha said: “Abu Bakr entered and you did not stir and did not observe much care (in arranging your clothes), then ‘Umar entered and you did not stir and did not arrange your clothes, then ‘Uthman entered and you got up and set your clothes right.” Thereupon he said: “Should I not show modesty to one whom even the Angels show modesty?” [Muslim 31/5906]The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was so free with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar; ‘Uthmaan would feel much more shy and feel awkward if the Prophet’s thigh was exposed. See Muslim, 31/5907 as well.
  2. ALL FOUR MADHABS say that the ‘awrah is between the navel and the knee. The crucial difference between opinions 1 and 2 is the thigh. This opinion says that the thigh is also the ‘awrah. There is a major controversy of whether or not the navel and knees are included or not. The thigh is part of the ‘awrah. Their evidence:
    1. “The thighs are part of the ‘awrah.” – The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying this is narrated by seven different chains. It is Sahih, even though it is not in Bukhaari or Muslim.
    2. Once the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw a man with his thigh exposed (wearing something similar to underwear) and said “Cover the thigh, because the thigh is ‘awrah!”
    3. As for the ayah in the Qur’aan: of course the private parts are the most private of the ‘awrah. That doesn’t mean that the thigh isn’t ‘awrah.
    4. Once, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam  had najas on his shoe as he was praying and he was not aware of it. Jibreel came and told him, so he took his shoes off. Shouldn’t Jibreel have done that in this instance as well? Some scholars say that it was allowed because he was the Prophet [and this is a common tactic the fuqaha use to reconcile conflicting ahaadith, but it should only be used as a last resort.] Another opinion is that the scholars say that it was an accident. Accidentally exposing the private parts would be much more serious than the thigh.
    5. Another way the scholars reconcile the hadith: the Prophet wasn’t prepared to see visitors. Also, in another version of the hadith, it says that the shin was exposed, and not the thigh. If the shin was exposed, then there’s no big deal at all, and he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam knew that ‘Uthmaan would be uncomfortable with even the shin exposed.
    6. Malikis say that there are two ‘awrahs: one with which we are very strict about and one which we are a little lax about. The one we are lax about should not be intentionally shown, but if it is accidentally exposed, it is ok. ‘Awrah mujalladah and mukhaffafah.

 We are not allowed to expose the ‘awrah directly or indirectly. That is, any clothing which would show what those parts look like is not allowed. Tight garments or transparent garments are NOT allowed.

Brothers have a very serious problem about being lax about their ‘awrah being exposed during sujood. If the brothers know that their ‘awrah will be exposed and do it anyway, then there is a strong case that their prayer will not be valid.

Forbidden Clothing

silkWhat can they not use to cover themselves in?

  1. Gold
  2. Silk

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam held up a piece of silk in his right hand and gold in his left hand and said, “These two are forbidden for the men of my ummah and allowed for the women.”

Many men believe that they believe gold is najas for them to touch. They are allowed to touch it and buy and trade it. They just can’t wear it.

They are also not allowed to sit on silk. It is something does not befit men in this world; it befits them in the hereafter.



It is authentically narrated that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had clothes with patches of silk and with embroidery silk along the  border.

‘Abbaas radiyallahu ‘anhu said in Muslim that you could wear silk in small quantities.

‘Umar ibn AlKhattaab said that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade wearing silk except for a finger or two or three or four. That is, if you had strips of silk in your garment, then that would be ok. What is NOT permitted is an entire suit or shirt, etc of silk.


kidtieWhat about ties? Concessions have been given for small quantities of silk, and maybe even small quantities of gold and silver. They are exactly like the embroidery that the old Arabs would wear. Therefore, there is no haraj whatsoever for men wearing 100% silk ties. It is not an entire garment. It is negligible and overlooked.

Secondly, silk that we find in the ties, even if it says 100%, it is not 100% silk worm silk. The silk that is prohibited is the silk made out of silk worms. Ties are made out of synthetic silk, cotton, polyster, etc. Silk worm silk is very rare and expensive. The ties that we get from stores are usually not 100% silk worm silk.

Gold and Silver

One of the companions – ‘Arfajah ibn As ‘Ad – had his nose chopped off before the days of Islam in one of the jahiliy wars. He asked the Prophet if he could make a false nose out of silver. He allowed him to do so. It began to rust, so he asked the Prophet if he could make one out of gold. He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam allowed him to do so.

This shows us that using gold and silver for a legitimate purpose is permissible.

Once upon a time, teeth were made out of gold and silver. They were completely permissible. There is no issue whatsoever in medicinal purposes of a beautification purpose.

How about small amounts of gold and silver purely for decorational purposes?

Islam came from the backwaters of the most primitive places on earth and came with the highest ideals and morals. Arabs didn’t have the finery others had, so the neighboring ruler gifted the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with a garment with the likes of that which they hadn’t seen. They began walking around the garment, marveling at how fine it was. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had no problem wearing such a luxurious garment. But look at where his heart was–Sa’ad ibn Mu’aadh had just passed away a week ago, dying in the battle of Khandawq He was the Ansars’ up and coming leader. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the handkerchief of Sa’ad was better than that garment. That garment had traces of gold decoration. The majority of scholars said that this was allowed only for the Prophet. Others said, this was before it was prohibited, but there is no evidence to show that.

The Malikis, the Shafi’ees and Hambalis said, Gold is prohibited even the smallest quantities, even for decorational purposes.


All agree that the gold ring, the gold pen, etc are all haraam.

Some scholars say cuff links, gold plated pens, etc say it is ok. The Hanafis and Ibn Taymiyyah say that the hadith is clear, there is no need to reinterpret. Insignificant quantities should be allowed. Wear it at your own risk. There is no reason to do so, because people may think it is pure gold or think evil of you.

Silver is not prohibited for men. In fact, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had  a silver ring.

Silver has been prohibited for utensils. Gold and silver are prohibited for men and women to use.

If small amounts of gold are overlooked, then small amounts of silver should be overlooked. There is no problem with silver plated utensils being used. In a hadith in Bukhaari, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had a favorite cup. The cup broke and he had the crack in the cup filled with silver. Small quantities of silver are overlooked.

We are stricter with gold. Also, you must think of the cultural repercussions; people will think evil of you. Even if some scholars allow it, we should stay away from gold plating.

What Colors are Prohibited?

What was the favorite color of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? White.

‘Aa`isha said, “The favorite color of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was white.”

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Clothe your living and your dead in white.”

It is authentically narrated that he wore yellow cloak, green, black turban.

The only difference opinion amongst the scholars for men is the wearing of the color red. The scholars differ over this because there seem to be conflicting ahaadith in this regard.

The ahaadith against red:

  1. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade us from wearing red, silk and gold – Bukhaari
  2. The hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al ‘Aas wearing saffron and the Prophet saying it was the color of the disbelievers – Muslim

The ahaadith for red:

  1. The Prophet wearing red  during his last sermon
  2. Hasan and Hussain wearing red

saffronSome scholars say that only one hue of red is prohibited – and that is saffron.

Others say that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam eventually allowed the color red.

In YQs opinion, the brothers should avoid saffron. The least you can say about saffron is that it is makruh. Maroon would be permissible.

Covering the Head

There is no doubt that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would always be seen with his hair covered. The Arabs of old used to always cover their heads. It was very common even in the western civilization. Up until the 1940s etc, the men would wear something on their head when leaving the house.

It is authentically reported the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wore white and black turbans. That was the style of the Arabs.

At the same time, there is no authentic hadith that narrate the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanding covering the hair. Covering the hair was a cultural practice of the Arabs. There is nothing Islamic, per se, with regards to covering the hair.

Don’t be overzealous in this regard. If the people of a region wear the topi, you should also wear it. However, in Makkah and Madinah, YQ will always wear a topi. If you are in a culture which wears it, you should wear it. because respecting the culture is part of the shari’ah. If a person wants to wear a topi as a sign of being Muslim, that is a good sign.

You cannot say it is sunnah or mustahab though.

[1] The arabs considered light brown white. OUR Caucasian white to them would be red.

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