What is Islam’s Recommended Apparel for Men?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad Carr


Is wearing a thawb (traditional long shirt) and head cover considered Sunna?

Is it permissible for men to wear short-sleeved shirts in public, or does it contradict Sunna?

Is wearing suits, jackets, and jeans considered an imitation of non-Muslims, and can individuals give da‘wa while dressed in “Western” clothing, as long as the requirements of covering one’s nakedness (awra) are fulfilled?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Thank you for your question.

The primary purpose of clothing is to cover the nakedness. Allah (Most High) says, “O children of Adam: We have sent down on you clothing that conceals your shameful parts, and finery; And the raiment of godfearingness, that is better.” [Quran, 7:26].

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) prohibited men from wearing and sitting upon silk. [Bukhari]. He (Allah bless and give him peace) also prohibited men from wearing gold. Based on the above, as long as the clothing covers your shameful parts and is not made up of prohibited material, it is permissible to wear it.

Sunna Clothing 

The non-ritual actions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), like eating, drinking, [clothing], and sleeping, are considered religiously neutral (mubah). [Ibn al-Firkah, Sharh al-Waraqat].

There is no “Sunna clothing”; you will be rewarded for donning traditional clothing and not punished for leaving it unless verbally stated by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Some scholars have made a case for the turban and headgear based on prophetic pronouncements. In one’s estimation, wearing what resembles prophetic clothing will be rewarded out of love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Wearing Half-Sleeve Shirts 

Wearing half-sleeve shirts is permissible and does not contradict the Sunna. It may compromise your chivalry (muru‘a) depending on who you are, where you are, and the circumstances in which you find yourself. [Mughni, Khatib al-Shirbini]

Wearing Suits 

Wearing suits, jackets, and jeans is too widespread to be considered an imitation of non-Muslims. Individuals may give da‘wa while dressed in “Western clothing” as long as the requirements of covering the awra are fulfilled.

May Allah clothe you in raiments of modesty and godfearingness.

[Shaykh] Muhammad Carr
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Muhammad Carr has dedicated his life to studying and transmitting our beautiful deen. His studies have taken him around the globe, where he has benefitted from many luminaries. Under the guidance of his teachers – Shaykh Taha Karan, Shaykh Yaseen Abbas, Shaykh Muadh Ali, and many others – Shaykh Muhammad has grown to appreciate the beauty and benefits of diverse scholarship. He completed his memorization of the Qur’an at Dar al-Ulum Zakariyyah in September 1997 and received an Alimiyya Degree in 2006 from DUAI (Darul Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah). He is also affiliated with Masjid Auwal in Bo Kaap, Cape Town (the oldest mosque in South Africa), where he serves as a co-imam, and Dar Al-Safa, where he has taught since 2018. As a teacher, he imparts the wisdom of our heritage and tradition by opening the door for students. As an imam, he has the unique opportunity to serve his community in daily life. 

In addition to his roles as a teacher and imam, Shaykh Muhammad Carr has contributed significantly to the administrative and advisory aspects of Islamic institutions. Since 2023, he has served as the Administrative Director at The Imam Kurani Institute, contributing to the institution’s growth and development. He continues to pursue traditional Islamic Sciences, possessing a keen interest in Islamic Contract Law and Finance. Shaykh Muhammad has been a Shari’ah Board Member for Islamic Asset Management & Insurance Companies since 2001, aligning financial practices with Islamic principles.