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Can Muslim Women Wear Tight Jeans and Tight Dresses at Home?

Question: We aren’t allowed to wear clothes that are similar to the clothes of the opposite sex. In that regard, is it allowed in the Shafi`i school to wear tight-fitting jeans and shirts at home or tight fitted dresses?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum. Thank you for your question.

What is obligatory to cover

How a woman covers and who she covers in front of, is one of the central points in a Muslim’s application of her religion. This article details everything about the `awrah of a woman and what she needs to cover.

Please read this first:  A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra)

Impermissible to dress as the opposite gender

It is true that a man should not dress as a woman, nor vice versa. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, cursed a man who puts on the dress of women, and a woman who puts on the dress of men [Abu Dawud].

Culture and modesty

Once a woman understands what she needs to cover, and doesn’t do it like a man, culture comes into play. What some Muslims have forgotten over time is that all Muslim cultures represent Islamic dress. Pakistanis have kameez shalwars, Arabs have dishdashas, Afghans wear tombaans and parahaans, Malaysians wear baju kurung (a long shirt with pleated skirt). The list goes on. What do all of these things have in common? Modesty. Clothing from Islamic cultures has never tried to emulate the West, and they have always proudly worn traditional clothes that are modest and that they can pray in.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “There is never any obscenity in a thing, but it mars it, and there is never any modesty in a thing, but it adorns it” [Ibn Majah].

The above hadith has been the main motivating factor for Muslims to come up with their own dress.

Tight jeans and tight dresses

Although I cannot tell you that wearing these clothes at home are sinful, they could still fall under the category of makruh (disliked) if they are being worn around your older children or parents who should not be seeing your shape from navel to knee.

I think better judgment can be used. Mindlessly wearing what non-Muslims wear, or adopting their concept of beauty as ours can only lead to trouble and imitation of non-Muslims in everything else. This is a gradual form of cultural colonialism which eventually waters down Islam and Muslim cultures.

If your husband wants you to dress like this and is disturbed if you don’t, then, of course, you must obey him. It would be praiseworthy to do it for him and not sinful. Time usually wears down these ideas and he may not want you to dress like this forever.

Beauty from within and without

Always keep modest clothing on hand for special occasions and remember that beauty is not in showing your shape and skin, but actually beauty is a refinement of character. There is also beauty in keeping your face fresh and clean, with a hint of kohl, hair tidy perhaps with fresh flowers in it, and a touch of henna on the hands and feet. Practical pretty jewelry has its place too! Please see the links below for more information:

My Husband Wants Me Wear a Headscarf at Home: Is There Any Religious Proof for This?
Tight or Revealing Clothing on Men and Women
Is Wearing Jeans Prohibited in Islam for Women?
Clothes of The People of the Land

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Is It Permissible to Carry Out Surgical Procedures to Make Myself Look Younger?

Question: Can I dress up for my husband outside of the house? Is it permissible to carry out surgical and/or non-surgical procedures to make myself look younger?

Answer:

Dear Questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

May Allah make you and all believing women beautiful in His eyes and in the eyes of their husbands.

Beautification is sunna for women, and in the house, you can do whatever you like to be as attractive and beautiful in his eyes. In public, it is forbidden to wear tight or revealing clothes, but you can use Kuhl or elegant clothes even if they are colorful.

As for surgical procedures, that would only be permissible as corrective surgery. Any non-surgical procedures would be halal as long as they do not have any short- or long-term harm.

Covering Properly

It is of the God-consciousness [taqwa] of the wife and her husband to wear a proper hijab outside of the house, or in front of non-immediate relatives [non-mahrams].

Please see:

What Are the Requirements of Hijab?
Am I a ‘Dayyuth’ If I Let My Wife Go out Without Hijab and How Do I Maintain Protective Jealousy (Ghayrah)?

Cosmetic Surgery

Surgical procedures entail changing the way Allah created you, and this is forbidden unless it is done as corrective surgery.

Please see:

Is Cosmetic Surgery Allowed?
Is Cosmetic Surgery Allowed?Is It Permissible to Get Botox Injections?
Ruling on Cosmetic Surgeries
Are Breast Implants Permissible?

You should also read:
Complications and management of breast enhancement using hyaluronic acid

Keeping up with Barbie

It is, unfortunately, the case that many men think that women are or can become human Barbie dolls. This neurosis is exacerbated by the sex industry and the media in general.

The reality is that women are not walking talking Barbies (and men are not usually as handsome as Ken or as heroic as any Box Office action hero). We live in the real world, with real men and women, who all have pros and cons, both physically, emotionally, and religiously.

It is utterly imperative that we all acknowledge this, and live our marital and sexual lives in a mature and realistic way. If we don’t, we will never be satisfied with ourselves, our spouses, and the blessings that Allah has granted us.

Not doing so and continually looking for what else we imagine exists out there leads to being ungrateful for the blessings that Allah has bestowed us. Allah Most High has said, ‘And were you to count the blessings of Allah, you would not be able to: Indeed, man really is a gross wrong-doer and an inveterate ingrate.’ (Qur’an, 14: 34)

And the opposite — to be content with what one has, and not keep looking at the greener “other side” — is the means to happiness and gratitude. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Look at those who are below you and don’t look at those who are above you, for that way you are less likely to discount what Allah has blessed you with.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

So one should look at the countless blessings one has, and look at the good points in one’s spouse. ‘Live with them in accordance with what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good.’ (Qur’an, 4:19)

It is normal as a wife, or husband, to feel at times that one is not quite the woman or man that one’s spouse is looking for. This is unavoidable. We do not live in Paradise, and expecting our lives and relationships to be paradisiacal is not realistic.

Rather we should try our best to be that which we can be — emotionally, physically, and spiritually — and be accepting of our spouses as long as they are trying their best too.

Talking things out, and setting realistic and halal measures to better the relationship is very important. Some things can change naturally, and sometimes we can guess what we need to change, but nothing beats having a proper one to one conversation.

Practical Measures

Tell your husband that you really want to look nicer for him, so that he doesn’t feel that you are turning down his wishes, but at the same time don’t do any surgical procedures (since by default they are forbidden), and don’t do any non-surgical procedures that may affect your health or that of the baby.

Try and act like you are more interested in him physically (even if you are not), and make him feel that you appreciate him being around. He may well just be saying these things because he can’t express his dissatisfaction with other aspects of your life. Try to get to the core of the problem.

Talk to him in a kind and receptive way, while being very frank about the reality of your body, your pregnancy, and your staunch adherence to what is halal. Make it clear that you are on his side, but that you are not willing to do something forbidden or unrealistic to keep him happy.

Be ready for some level of immaturity: if he is as you explained, he may not take any of what say seriously, and still want you to be aesthetically perfect despite the fact that you are human, and on top of that, pregnant. You just have to make sure that you have expressed yourself clearly, and wait for him to absorb the ideas.

Unfortunately, you also have to be ready to have your emotions hurt now and then. There isn’t really any way out of it. Even the wives of the best of creation, the Prophet (upon whom be blessings and peace) sometimes felt that other women were more attractive in his eyes: he did have multiple wives after all.

The pain of jealousy is not always avoidable. But there is a difference between consistent and intentional affronts to your looks and the very occasional sense of not being the apple of his eye. The first has to be weeded out through frank conversations and/or counseling. The second is just part of life. And remember that men get jealous too.

It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Indeed, Allah has prescribed that women should bear the weight of jealousy and that men should bear the weight of jihad. Whosoever of them [women] is patient, believing in Allah, and seeking reward from Him, will have the reward of a martyr. (Bazzar and Tabarani)

Conclusion

Try your best, be as affable and hopeful as possible, and don’t get too sad. Marriages can change 180 degrees.

There is also a good book to read which is Yasmin Mogahed’s Reclaim your Heart. You cannot, and should not, detach your heart from your husband, but he also shouldn’t be the Kaaba of your existence.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Uncovering In Front of Non-Muslim’s of Unmarriageable Kin (mahram)

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: 1. May a muslim woman uncover her hair in front of her non-muslim sister/mother/first degree female relative? If so can she uncover in front of her, as she would in front of a mahram muslim male? i.e. everything except what is between the navel and the knees (excluding back and sides). Is it relevant whether the non-muslim is a first-degree relative or second-degree relative? 2. May a muslim woman uncover her hair in front of her non-muslim brother/father/ father-in-law? 3. Does the issue/illah (as in the Maliki madhab) revolve around describing the woman to a non-mahram male?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

1. The Hanafi opinion that a Muslim woman cannot uncover in front of non-Muslim women applies to non-relatives (ajnabiyyat). [Mawsu’a Fiqhiyya Kuwaitiyya]. Also, the definition of a mahram (male relative who a Muslim woman can never marry) includes non-Muslims [Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i].

Hence, a Muslim woman would be allowed to uncover in front of non-Muslim relatives, male or female, that which she can uncover in front of Muslim relatives, which legally speaking would be any part of her body except from the navel to the knees, and except her stomach and back. However propriety, dignity and modesty would entail that she wear loose clothes and not uncover much of her body. There is no difference of this ruling whether the person is a first-degree relative (parent, child, sibling) or second-degree relative (grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle).

An exception to this permissibility is if she feared that there would be some sort of temptation (fitna/shahwa) or that they might describe her physical features to non-relatives. [Nahlawi, Hadhr wal Ibaha]

2. The father-in-law, even if he is non-Muslim, is considered a woman’s mahram. [Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i] Therefore, the above ruling extends to the non-Muslim father-in-law yet with the same exception of fear of temptation or description. Caution and discretion should be exercised.

3. The legal reasoning for the prohibition of uncovering in front of non-Muslim women that are not relatives is fear of description, i.e., that they would describe her physical features to unrelated men. The same ruling can apply to uncovering in front of a corrupt Muslim woman (fajira) based on the same reasoning, that is, fear of description. [Nahlawi, Hadhr wal Ibaha]

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

My Husband Wants Me Wear a Headscarf at Home: Is There Any Religious Proof for This?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: My husband feels it is a higher/advanced level of adab to also wear a head covering at home. As he has taqwa, he feels doing so is more modest and brings greater blessings into the home. He suggests (never enforces) that I should wear head covering even in seclusion with no visitors or non-mahrams. I have no objections to doing this if evidence or proof of this is presented as I wish to obey my husband. Could you please clarify if covering at home is more inline with the principle of ‘haya?  If not, will I be sinning if I refuse? My husband is from Pakistan and I am concerned that this is actually a cultural practice and that there is no recommendation/benefit from my doing so.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question. I hope you are doing well inshaAllah.

The Obligation

The obligation regarding dress for women, generally speaking, is that they cover their bodies in front of marriageable (non-mahram) men according to the well-known guidelines of hijab. But there are details for what constitutes the woman’s `awra (nakedness) in different situations. In front of marriageable men, it is everything except her hands, face, and feet. There are other rulings for when in front of marriageable men, non-Muslim women, or in seclusion. As for strictly between spouses, it is permissible for each of them to see any part of the others body.

What Modesty Entails and Prophet Guidance Regarding Modesty

This is in terms of obligation and minimum requirements. However, modesty dictates that one dresses in a way that is honorable and represents the values of Islam. Wearing scanty or revealing dress for no purpose while with members of the household has never been part of the Islamic etiquette and the way of the righteous, even in situations where it would be “legally permissible.”

The precious words of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) describe to us the centrality of modesty (haya’) in our religion:

681. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by one of the men of the Ansar who was admonishing his brother for being too modest. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Let him be. Modesty is part of belief.” [Agreed upon]

682. ‘Imran ibn Husayn reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Modesty only brings good.” [Agreed upon]

In a variant of Muslim, “Modesty is all good.”
[Imam al-Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

Summary

Legally speaking, covering your hair and body completely when with your husband or in seclusion is neither obligatory nor specifically called upon. However, it would be praiseworthy if you were to do this as an expression of modesty and other Islamic values such as dignity and virtue or decency (`iffa). In your particular situation, it would also be praiseworthy because it would please your husband. Any action that one spouse does for the other in order to bring happiness to him/her and to bring harmony to their relationship is immensely rewarded. It is rewarded on the level of entering happiness into the heart of the believer, on the level of maintaining harmonious family and kinship ties, on the level of establishing a healthy household environment in which Allah can be worshiped, and, if it involves difficulty, on the level of selflessness.

Regarding your concern about cultural practices — if it could be argued that covering oneself more than what is specifically called upon is a cultural practice, it is one that conforms to the values of Islam. It would therefore in no way be something that one needs to avoid, given that one recognizes its appropriate place in the religion.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani