The Concept of Dress and Modesty

The Concept of Dress and Modesty

The rule for modesty apply to all men and as well as to women.

The Prophet Muhammad SAW said that the first look is permissible but the consequent looks are forbidden. This is an indication that one is not permitted to stare or to consume in vision the person before him or her.

The concept of dress in Islam also arises out of various verses stipulated in the Qur’an. These too reflect a state of moderation and modesty. It takes into account the created state of a woman in comparison to a man, thus the need not to attract undue attention to herself, which would naturally if she wore tight fitting or revealing apparel. This is intended to protect her and to give her honour and dignity.

However, it is a misconception to believe that Islam requires a person to be veiled or to go around totally in black.

The state of prayer which establishes the highest state of dignity in the presence of Allah SWT allows for the face and hands to be uncovered.

Allah SWT says:

·      Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame as well as to be adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! O you Children of Adam let not Satan [Syaitan] seduce you in the same manner as He got your Parents out of the garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame; for he and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them; We made the Evil Ones friends [only] to those without faith. [Surah A’raf, 7:26-27]


·      Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer; eat and drink; but waste not by excess, for Allah s.w.t loves not the wasters. [Surah A’raf, 7:31]


·      Allah SWT will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds to gardens beneath which rivers flow; they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk. [Surah Hajj, 22:23]


·      And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest and to display of their ornaments only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husband’s son , their brothers or theirs brothers’ sons, or their sister’s son, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free from physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet so as to reveal what is in their inner garments. [Surah Nur, 24:31]


·      You who believe, let those whom your right hands possess, and the [children] among you who have not come of age ask your permission [before they come to your presence] on three occasions; before morning prayer; while you put on clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late night prayer; these are your three times of undress; outside these times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other…But when the children among you come of age, let them ask for permission, as do those senior to them [in age]…Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage – there is not blame on them if they lay aside their [outer] garments, provided they make no a wanton display of their beauty; but it best for them to be modest; and Allah is One who sees and knows all things.[Surah Nur, 24:58-60]


On the basis of the above it is obvious that Muslim women are required to wear loose fitting garments. Except for the face and hands all other parts are to be covered.



About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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