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.