Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Is it a major sin to wear long trousers that go below one’s ankle?
Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
In short, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) or contrary to what is best to have one’s trousers or other garments hanging below one’s ankles. It is not sinful unless it is out of arrogance or pride.
The Detailed Answer:
It is the position of some major Hanafi jurists, including those of the Indian subcontinent, that it is forbidden for a man to keep his lower garment below his ankles out of arrogance, and prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to do so even without arrogance, for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has said, “Allah will not look, on the Day of Ressurrection, at that man who lets his lower garment below the ankles out of arrogance.” (note the condition) This is especially important during prayer, for another hadith states, “Allah does not accept the prayer of a man who drags his lower garment.”
This is the more precautionary opinion, for it is indicated by the outward purport of many strongly-worded Prophetic hadith, and the way of caution is to follow injunctions directly, without seeking out possible reasoning.
However, classical hadith commentators, including great Hanafi ones such as al-`Ayni and al-Qari, as well as our own fuqaha, including Allama Ibn Abidin al-Shami in his Hashiya, `Ala’ al-Din Abidin in his Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya, al-Nahlawi in his Durar al-Mubaha fi’l Hadhr wa’l Ibaha, and other major classic Hanafi references say that it is only prohibitively disliked to keep one’s lower garment below the ankles if it is done out of arrogance, as many of the hadiths from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) mention explicitly.
If not done out of arrogance, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) or even simply leaving the best way (khilaf al-awla), as mentioned by Ibn Abidin, al-Nahlawi, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, and Imam al-Lakhnwawi, among others. This is what the Hanafi scholars of Damascus say as well. This is also the position of the Shafi`i school, as mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim, and in the reference works of the Shafi`i school.
And Allah knows best.