Can Women Wear Colorful Clothing?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My mother would like to open a women’s clothing store. I have refrained from helping her because I do not feel the clothing meets the Shariah standard for female clothing. To my understanding, females can only wear dark colors. What is the fiqh of female clothing?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

You should go ahead and help your mother as their is absolutely nothing wrong with her opening up a store selling women’s clothes.

Women & Colorful Clothing

Our religion has given general guidelines when it comes to clothing, such as the covering of one’s nakedness (`awra), modesty, avoiding certain materials (e.g. silk for men), and so forth. It has left specifics undefined out of an understanding that different cultures may have different ways of fulfilling the above requirements.

One cannot say that there is a specific, universal prohibition concerning women wearing colorful clothing, and a specific, universal mandate for them to wear dark colors. As long as the clothes a woman wears fulfill the general guidelines outlined by our legal tradition, they would be permissible to wear. While colorful clothing may not be appropriate in certain cultural contexts, it is considered perfectly normal in others.

Assisting in Sin?

Finally, even if we suppose that women cannot wear such clothing, your mother would still be allowed to open such a store. This is because a woman may wear such clothes in front of her husband, her father, her brothers, and other women. In other words, it has a permissible use and so the wealth accrued from the sale of such clothing would be permitted as well due to the fact that it is not directly assisting in sin. For more on this please see:

Assisting in Sin