Selling Clothes Partially Made of Silk

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: At the moment I am working at a store where the main merchandise are clothes. However, recently they started selling clothes for men made out of 10% silk and the rest is cotton, which is not harmful according to what I know. Also, among some of the shirts there are images of birds or animals but not any human beings. My main job is to put the clothes in the shop floor and help the customers to choose the clothes. Would it be permitted for me to continue working here?

Answer: Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you’re well, insha’Allah.

It is permissible to wear clothes that are partially made from silk as long as the majority of the material used is other than silk. [Nahlāwi, ad-Durar al-Mubāha] As such, selling such clothing and assisting in their selling would also be permitted.

The basis according to the Hanafi school is that it is impermissible for men to wear silk. It is related from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) made gold and silk permissible for the women folk of his nation (ummah) and made them impermissible upon its men folk. [Nasā’i, Sunan]

However, the Hanafi scholars interpreted this as being applicable to a single cloth whose silk content is the majority. Therefore, the prohibition does not apply to clothing wherein the silk content is not the majority. In such a case, a certain amount of silk is permitted, such as for embroidery or horizontal weaving.

Mulla Ali al-Qari mentions in his Fath Bab al-Inaya that a possible reason for the permissibility of such an amount is “to let the servant know what Allah has prepared for him in the hereafter, from Himself, so he (the servant) strives in that which will be a reason for him attaining it”.

The Issue of Pictures

As for the clothing with pictures of living beings imprinted on them, there is a difference of opinion in the issue. Some scholars have stated that they (pictures) are impermissible. This is the more cautious opinion. Others have stated that they are permissible. The best thing to do would be to avoid actively assisting customers in the actual purchasing of such items, namely avoiding actually encouraging customers to buy these items. As for merely showing them the item or putting clothes on the shop floor, this would not be impermissible as it is not directly assisting in the sale of somthing sinful. However, even then, the difference of opinion on the issue of pictures gives one leeway to continue such a job on a normal capacity.

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani