Islamic Studies

Question: "Wearing White Clothes?"

Asalamu alaykum,

“What is the status of the hadith, “Wear white [clothing]. For, indeed, it is from the best of your garments.”and what is the ruling on wearing white?”

The Hadith

This hadith was related by Imam al-Shafi, Ahmed, Abu Dawod, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hiban, al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi with a similar meaning from The son of ‘Abbas [may Allah be pleased with him and his father]. al-Tirmidhi stated about this hadith that it is “good and sound and the one preferred by the people of knowledge.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi vol. 4 pg. 110].

Imam al-Hakim related it with the following wording: “The best of your clothes are the white ones. So let your living wear it, and shroud your dead in it.” This hadith was considered sound by al-Qattan and was related by the companions of the Sunnan, save Abu Dawod, from Sumra . It was also related by Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir, Abu Hatim in his ‘Ilal and al-Bazzar in his Musnad.” Al-Hakim stated that this hadith was sound, met the criterion of al-Bukhari and Muslim and al-Dhahabi agreed.

Fiqh of the Hadith:

Imam al-Hatab writes in Muwaib al-Jalil, an explanation of the great text of Imam Khalil al-Maliki, that Imam al-Burzuli wrote, “Regarding garments and their colors, then the best is white.” [vol. 4 pg. 40]. Imam al-Baji, in his explanation of Malik’s Muwatta, mentions the statement of ‘Umar, “Indeed, I love to see the readers of Qu’ran wearing white.” He goes on to mention that ‘Umar loved this for two reasons:

  1. Because it was recommended for them to wear white based on the statement of the Prophet [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], “The best of your clothes are your white ones.”
  2. He did not hold it advisable for people engaged in worship to refrain from wearing nice clothes in exchange for uncouth clothing because [such dress] differed from societal norms and might serve as a means for the pious person to be defamed. When Imam Malik [may Allah have mercy upon him] was asked about wearing wool [everyday] he said, “There is no good in [seeking] fame.” [al-Muntaqa vol. 4 Pg. 302]

From the above it becomes clear that wearing white clothes is not an obligation, as noted by alShawkanki who said, regarding the hadith in question, “The order mentioned in this hadith is not an obligation” [Nayl al-Awtar vol. 3 pg. 65], but a recommended act. It should also be noted that the Prophet [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] wore different colors and different types of clothing. Imam alManawi stated this in Faydal al-Qadir [vol. 3 pg. 646] and Ibn al-Qayyim discussed this in Zad al-M’ad

An Important Point for the Muslim to Ponder:

Islam encourages one to look presentable. It is a grave mistake to think that a scholar, imam, or caller to Islam should dress in coarse clothing that is untidy. Ibn Mas’ud relates from the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him],”Indeed, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.” Once Imam Malik was asked about the verse, “And don’t forget your share from this [worldly] life.” He stated, “That he should live, eat and drink without putting a burden upon himself [making things overly difficult]. [al-Muntaqa vol. 4 Pg. 302] I was told that al-‘Allamah Muhammad al-Hassan al-Didoe al-Shanqiti said, “An Imam /Caller to Islam should set aside some money in order to buy nice clothing.” I have always respected Dr. ‘Ali Guma and the way he dresses. Once a friend of mine, who was living in Egypt, said to me after seeing Dr. ‘Ali, “He is regal.”

Things to Ponder:

Islam places great importance on being presentable and hygienic. Thus, if we are encouraged to dress in a presentable manner, then what can be said about our Islamic centers (trash and parking), homes, yards, cars and work places? The Muslim should insure that he presents a clean image in all aspects of his life.

Muslims who reside in places where the common dress is not that of Islamic culture should strongly consider wearing dress that is common and acceptable to their culture as long as it doesn’t constitute wearing something forbidden. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned in Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim that “Muslim residing in the lands of non-Muslims should wear clothing that is common to the people.” He based this on two important reasons:

  1. The Protection of one’s life and honor
  2. To avoid creating a feeling of alienation

It is recommended for the student of knowledge to wear white [when going to his/her studies] since Gabriel, when he came to the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him] was described as having “Extremely white clothing.”

The order to wear white clothing is not one of an obligatory nature. In fact, the Malikis hold that, while wearing white clothing is the best for the Friday prayer, the best for ‘Eid is a new dress “even if it is black” [see Sharh al-Saghir of Sheikh Dardir the chapter on the recommended acts for Friday Prayer as well as the explanation of Mukhtasar Khalil by al-Kharsi the chapter on Friday prayer and the chapter on the ‘Eid prayer.

And Allah knows best


About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • Good article

    Some people over emphasise Thawbs and the Indian Sub Continent Selwar Kameez in the UK!!!

  • salaams

    Great post masha Allah

    1) Cleanliness – the Khateeb yesterday really focused on this, and specifically on dental hygiene

    2) Ibn Taymiyyah [rhm] advise on wearing the clothes of the common people is really on-point.

    I guess there is wisdom in the saying: When in Rome, be like the Romans

    please send my salaams to the Bay area students of knowledge out there

    jazak Allah khayr


  • Dear Shaykh,

    As Salamu Alaykum.

    I had a couple of questions regarding the advice to wear the clothing which is common to people in non-Muslim lands:

    First, aren’t there numerous ahadith stating that Muslims should be different from the non-Muslims, often in terms of appearance? If that only stands in a place where Muslims are the majority, then aren’t we still supposed to be agents for change in Non-Muslim countries (in a tasteful, charismatic manner), or are we ourselves supposed to be influenced? After all, aren’t we calling to the way of the Greatest Creation? – Sal-Allahu Alayhi Was Salam

    Second, if the point of wearing clothing common to the non-Muslim majority is to protect one’s life and honor and to save oneself from feelings of alienation, how are women supposed to do that in the West? It is quite unfair to see a husband at an airport, for instance, in a t-shirt and shorts and to see his wife all covered up and lowering her head – when he too should be carrying himself and covering himself with a sense of hayaa’. The outer appearance of sisters is so emphasized; in a way, the fact that brothers are permitted or advised to assimilate seems as if it would increase the burden. Their only hope is to change the culture and make women’s Islamic dress acceptable, so why not expect the same from the brothers (again, in a positive and attractive way)?

    I apologize if I have sounded disrespectful, it was not my intention.

    Jazak Allahu khayr

    • IF it is western dress, but meets the Islamic requirements is what is meant, I believe. I frequently wear lose white jeans & a extra long nheavy white ntee shirt. I’m distinct, but dressed Islamically – as opposed to wearing a thobe & turban, etc.
      Allah knows best.

  • How about tasteful Islamic clothing that conforms to Western sensibilities like Shukr clothing?

  • How about being decked out in a nice dress shirt with some nice dress slacks (or good ol’ jeans)?

    That’s tasteful Islamic clothing for me! (looking nice and clean, as callers to Allah should look)… Not trying to attack anyone, just giving my opinion!

  • As’salaamu ‘Alaykum,

    Sh.Suhaib Webb I have some questions in line with what the brother said above as this has become an issue amongst some friends. The hadith about ‘man tashabaha biqawmin fahuwa minhu” is constantly repeated, “that whosever resembles a people then he is from them” and that you will be raised with those you resemble or something like that. Can you provide some fiqh to that hadith? JAK.


  • Salam,

    I must agree in part with “The brother”.

    I have struggled a bit with the issue of my attire as I am a Muslim who lives in a Orthodox Jewish hood. I wear dishdasha and kufi. I always make sure that they are presentable and clean. I dress this way because it is how I feel comfortable dressed this way. It is not for me a statement to others, as much as it is a garment that I like and want to wear.

    Any prejudice and bigotry stems from ignorance. Most people do not realise that many people they pass by on a daily basis are Muslim, Mashallah. When a person thinks of a Muslim they think of the hizballah or Al qaeda they see on TV and not the average joe like them self who goes to work every day and struggles to provide for a family. If they saw those people as Muslims and realised that there are normal Muslims in their lives on a daily basis it would serve to break down the prejudice and replace ignorance with knowledge.

    I also dislike when I see a man in western dress, be it a t-shirt or a suit, with his wife in an abaya and hijab. If we want our women to dress traditionally then we too must do so. Just my humble opinion.

  • See women can also cover, yet not alient themselves too much.

    Lets not forget that Muslim men must have beards, which is quite distinctive believe it or not.

    What I sense of the arguments put foreward is that “Muslim women have to be distinctive so the men have to as well”.

    This kind of emotional thinking needs to be checked in terms of the possible benefits and harms that will result. I have found that even Muslim youth relate more to brothers who were normal western clothes and have a stereotype of brothers wearing ARAB and PAKISTANI etc.. clothing. So what about Non Muslims? In the bus, when i go to study, and i have Arab Clothing on, no one sits next to me and i am looked on as if i have something wrong with me. However, in western clothes, its a much easier atmosphere.

    Why do i have to think ten times before wearing the clothes of my locality which do not contradict Islam? This is a big problem in the Indian sub continent. The origin of which is the British occupation. Then, the fatwa issued by some scholars was to desert this type of clothing because it was a form of resistance, the sad thing is people are still following this thought, so much so that Shaykh Maudodi, although i have my differences with him, part of the campaign to malign him was to take a picture of him wearing a suit!!! So its a big problem there. Unfortunately those Muslims have bought this mentality into the UK, which reminds me of what Shaykh Bin Bayyah (May Allah protect him) said that if we bring our cultural barriers with us into these countries, then we have living and participating in these societies that much more difficult.

    What we find in the Sunnah is that when the Prophet was given clothing as a gift from different rulers, he accepted them. The only time he disapproved was Silk for men. So it seems that the Sunnah is to go by the custom, when it does not contradict Shariah and it does not in this case! For women, covering head is wajib so we cant follow custom in this.

    Islam gives us principles, and so long as an article of clothing meets those then its ok. Same for Women and Men.

    If we expect the same type of clothing to be worn in everypart of the world by Muslims, then how do we understand the verse about diversity?

    It really feels good when i see a Chinese Muslim wearing Chinese Clothing, and when a African Muslim wears African clothing. So why is it any different to a British or American Muslim wearing British or American Clothing?

    Also, who said we wanted our women to dress “traditionally”? we want them to adhere to modesty and if that can be achieved whilst compromising traditional styles then is that not ok?

    Hope i did not offend any brothers and/or sisters


    • Assalamualikum Brother Haq!
      To a certain extent,I agree with what you said.But which scholar told you that you can’t wear western clothing.I think that you haven’t come across scholars such as Adv. Faiz Syyed of Islamic Research Centre (IRC) .True scholars of hadith only forbid wearing of those western attires which are against the principle of loose clothing such as pencil jeans fitting trousers and body hugging tee-shirts.Women can also wear any simple and loose clothing with a proper hijab.But the fact that remains a fact is that you can’t “intentionally” prefer any other clothing over the white qamis that Prophet Muhammad(Peace Be Upon Him) often wore.
      The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Wear your white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.’” (Reported by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz *p. 82*)
      There are certain other sahihhadiths regarding clothing which I shall be pleased to provide if you wish to know them.


  • Sorry i meant “Cultural Baggage” (when mentioning the saying of Sh Bin Bayyah) not “Barriers”. Although funnily enough bringing cultural baggage with us is most likely to act as a barrier.

  • As Salamu Alaykum,

    My idea wasn’t that since women face difficulties in terms of dress that men should also burden themselves needlessly to even things out. My contention lies with the outlook that since it is wajib for women to cover their hair they have to, but since men aren’t obliged, they *shouldn’t*.

    The Prophet Sal Allahu Alayhi Was Salam had a preference for his dress. It comes in hadith that he always covered his head, liked the thobe, and preferred white. Hanafi scholars have even said that it is Makruh for a man to perform Salah with his head uncovered, Imam Nawawi (the greatest authority in the Shafi`i school) said that the best dress for a Musalli is a turban and a thobe, and all Ulama will agree that this was the Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sal Allahu Alayhi Was Salam and that his way was the best way (not merely an Arab way; the children of Isma`il were chosen, Kinnana was chosen, Quraysh was chosen, Banu Hashim was chosen – all for a reason), but many brothers don’t even value these Sunnahs and it has a consequence on how our community perceives itself and is perceived by others in terms of gender relations and how women are used as symbols for men’s political goals. Since it is not wajib for men, brothers don’t even wear it in the Masjid or their homes or in Salah – ever.

    There is a lot of material by qualified Ulama on this topic. My larger concern was that since women have to be identified as Muslim, say, on the bus, they have no other option but to live with such difficulties until we all become accepted in the West (as happened with so many other minorities before us), so if that is the case, why not include men in that effort to make these blessed traditions accepted instead of opting for the bare minimum in our dress?

    The truth is that men are told by many of our leaders to assimilate to get jobs and women told to change their appearance, making them stand as icons where they face so many challenges. This strikes me as unfair, especially considering our rich traditions of male Muslim dress.

    So again, if their only hope is to change the culture and make women’s Islamic dress acceptable, why not expect the same effort from the brothers to make the Sunnah acceptable (within their capacity, considering the *necessity* of keeping a job and so on; nevertheless, I don’t think their bosses care how they dress in the Houses of Allah or their own homes)?

    My dear brothers, I truly appreciate this discussion as it has been on my mind, jazakum Allahu khayran. Was Salam

  • Salaam
    Regarding clothing of the Prophet etc… this is something that the Prophet did as that was his custom known in Usul as “Sunnah Jibilliyah” and this does not come under the command in the Quran to “Take what the messenger gives you and leave that which he prohibits”. There is a Hadith wherein a dish called Dabb, a desert lizard or something like that was bought in front of the Prophet. The Prophet refused it, so Khalid ibn Waleed (r) , who was present asked that was the refusal on the basis that it was not permissable? The Prophet said no, it was just his Preference, so guess what Khalid (r) did? He eat in front of the Prophet He understood this, and the others that were present did not start admonishing him for going “against the Sunnah”.

    Also, even for arguments sake, when something is better in essence (afdal) , yet the consequencess it leads to is not as good as if something less better was chosen (Mafdool) then the Mafdool should be given preference, as the famous Principle goes “Al Umooru bi Maqasidiha”. This type of thinking is lacking amongst Muslim which requires courage and less of the cautious fearful type attitude that is prevalent.

    The Prophet said in a clear hadith that if he says something regarding our Dunya, then we may take it or leave it thus himself (Pbuh) admitting that everything he did or said is not a must that it be followed literally.

    Thats the Problem see, many brothers start knocking on the door to give Da’wah, although this works in alot of areas no doubt, other places it might not be, When asked why this method is never changed the incident of the Prophet going from Tent to Tent in Hajj to give dawah is cited. This is good, however, we need to understand why the Prophet chose Hajj. It was because there were alot of people in one place (Mass media) so today if we use TV etc… for Dawa we would be fulfilling this “Sunnah” of the Prophet even though outwardly it does not seem so.

    The Ulama of Ahnaf mention that if someone was to dress literally like the Prophet, out of love for him, no doubt he will be rewarded as Ibn Umar use to do, But lets not forget that it was his Father Umar who changed alot of things in his time which the Prophet did, based upon Umar’s comprehensive understanding of Shariah.

    The main point is, alot regarding clothing is made from my experience by the majority of the Scholars of the Indian Subcontinent. I have found this rare amongst the Arab Scholars, who, from my experience, look at substance more than mere dressing.

    In one narration The Prophet when he went to Madina, the people mistaken Abu Bakr for the Prophet (although i admit i dont know how authentic this is) but the fact that when Umar went to Al Quds, the Christians did not recognise him shows that they were all wearing clothing that was known, nothing to alient themselves.

    We can maintain an Islamic culture by wearing customery clothing when that does not contradict Shariah as that is what Islam says! This is not the bare minimum.

    I understand the worry and concern for our sisters and indeed we must be, however, it shouldnt make us think in a reactionery manner.

    All Muslim men had a a specific type of clothing in the past since they were all living under Muslim rule. The third of the Ummah was not living as Minorities so the demographics have changes. Christians Arabs also were the so called “Muslim clothing”.

    Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî discusses the distinction in Fath al-Bârî, his commentary on Sahîh al-Bukhârî while discussing the hadîth where Anas says that he saw people wearing tayâlisah (a shawl-like garment that used to be worn by judges) and described them “as if they were the Jews of Khaybar.”

    Ibn Hajar then explains: “It is suitable to use the account of the Jews as evidence during an age where the tayâlisah was a part of their distinguishing religious rites. This is no longer the case at these times and these close fall under the ruling of what is generally permitted.” [Fath al-Bârî (10/275)]

    May Allah bless Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah who wrote: “If the Muslim lives in a Non-Muslim country, whether or not that state is hostile with the Muslim states, he will not be obligated to expose himself as different than them. This is on account of the difficulties that doing so can pose. Indeed, it might become preferable or even obligatory for him to conform to their outward standards of appearance if there is a benefit for the faith in doing so like inviting them to Islam, a prevention of difficulties for the Muslims, or the realization of any other wholesome intention.” [Iqtidâ’ al-Sirât al-Mustaqîm (176)]

    Regarding the wearing a hat, as Sheikh Ahmad al-Khalîl, professor at al-Imâm University, Qasîm Branch writes
    “As for the ruling on wearing a turban in Islamic Law, this is a matter of disagreement among scholars. Some say it is Sunnah to wear a turban, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) wore it, while others say that this is something that depends purely on custom. They argue that the Sunnah is to dress according to what is deemed correct and proper within the context of customs and tradition. Customs and traditions vary from time to time and from place to place. This argument is even more applicable to a mere hat. ”

    Also Safwan ibn Amr said “I have seen Abdullah ibn Busr (A Sahabi) more than fifty times and never saw on his head any cap or turban neither in winter nor in Summer” (Abu Zur’ah, At Tarikh 214)

    Umar took of his cap and prayed beside it (Musannaf Abdur Razzak v2, 15) Ubaydullah ibn Miqsam said “I saw Jabir ibn Abdullah Praying in a single cloth. I asked him “Do you pray in a single cloth while your clothes are put beside you” Jabir said “Yes, because of stupid people like you” Musannaf Abdur Razzak 354

    This is also the oppinion of Imams Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad as stated in Sharh Ma’aanil Athaar of Imam Tahaawi (383), and you cant get a bigger Hanafi than Imam Abu Hanifa himself (lol).

    Issues like this should not leave us to accuse others of “disregarding” the Sunnah and “No love” for the Sunnah, Lets leave slogans behind and start thinking.

    Anyway, thanks “A brother” for your comments.

    Again, was not meant to be rude or offensive in anyway if i did, sorry in advance.


  • I have always wondering about Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion which brother Haq cited above and how it would relate to sisters trying to maintain proper clothing ettiquete, like a few people have already mentioned. Hijab of course is not negotiatable, however I’m sure the clothing worn by sisters in general comes many different places while they keep their own style in mind. Some may wear long tunics with jeans or loose pants, others many wear tunics with loose skirts, sisters who don’t wear hijab still try to maintain modesty by wearing loose clothing, some wear long dresses, and some even wear the jilbab/abaya. My question is, in light of what Ibn Taymiyyah is saying, would it be understandable for a sister wearing full blown jilbab to dress in modest clothing recognizable to others (such as a loose skirt and tunic) if she is in a university setting and wishes to break down any barriers her traditional clothing may bring to meeting people and establishing relationships from which dawah can begin? Basically, can Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion be seen from the prespective of sisters’ dress in the same way it can be seen from the perspective of brothers abandoning traditional Islamic clothing yet still maintaining modest attire in a Western country for the sake of not being too ‘different’ that it bars communication etc?

  • Salaam Sister Nadia,

    Regarding your question, the Fatwa Department Research Committee – chaired by Sheikh Abdul Wahhab al-Turayri states

    “The means of covering is not important. Any clothes that fulfill the conditions of covering may be worn inside or outside the house. Different cultures have different customs in this regard, and those customs may be respected as long as the woman is properly covered. If you are wearing wide pants and your shirt covers you completely down to the bottom of your thighs, then this should be sufficient. ”

    So basically if you:
    1) avoid wearing skin tight transparant clothing
    2) Cover your hair
    3) Avoid wearing something that is spefically worn by men

    Then you have the freedom of how to do achieve that.

    The same Fatwa committe comments

    “Ibn Taymiyah’s statement above does not mean that women (Haq: or men) living in non-Muslim countries can uncover what Islamic Law requires them to cover (Haq: As when there is a specific textual ruling, then that overides custom. like women covering hair and men covering from their naval to their knees) Proper hijâb is obligatory. However, hijab is merely a degree of covering. It is not a particular type or style of dress, as some people believe… It is not a particular “head scarf”. It is a question of what Islamic Law defines as decent and indecent exposure.

    Consequently, a woman can figure out stylish ways to dress modestly and cover her hair and neck that do not make her conspicuous in the society in which she lives, and thereby avoid difficulties. What matters is that she covers what she is required to cover.
    And Allah knows best.”

    Hope this helps sis


  • Salam Alaykum Brother Haq,

    With all due respect, what you have proposed is easier said than practiced. i.e. “a woman can figure out stylish ways to dress modestly and cover her hair and neck that do not make her conspicuous in the society”. In fact I would say it is impossible for a woman in this society (America) to comply with the mandatory hijab requirements and not appear conspicuous. To me the basis of Ibn Taymiyyah’s “opinion” would be that of necessity to protect life, dignity and honor if and when threatened as allowed for by the sharia. It doesn’t seem to me that it is necessary or even expedient for a muslim to “not appear different” in a society where he or she is not under threat. While I am not advocating thobes (and other so called traditional islamic dressing), I seriously question this desire to always find ways to fit in. As an African muslim, I regularly wear my African/islamic attire (even to work) and I have only attracted curiosity and interest. This is definitely not the norm for most people but I believe a good number of western communities are sufficiently heterogeneous that being conspicuous is not a problem.

  • As Salamu Alaykum,

    First off, regarding Sunnah clothing for men, there are various viewpoints from scholars that advocate different approaches, true, my point in bringing up the Ahnaf or Imam Nawawi was to show that there are forms of dress considered more virtuous by many of the Ulama by the merit of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sal-Allahu Alayhi Was Salam wearing them on a regular basis and even stating his preference as such. The arguments surrounding the question of how we are to interact with the Sunnah of the Prophet Sal-Allahu Alayhi Was Salam is a drawn out topic that I think many are weary of discussing; great scholars of our own time have given it a lot of thought and writing. Perhaps I am at fault for bringing that up, but I intended to mention it mainly in relation my question about women, which is a pragmatic question for our community to consider with respect to how we should integrate the Deen into Western society.

    The fact remains that the most “modern woman” – in terms of dress – who puts on a scarf will automatically be identified as a Muslim. We can only look forward to Hijab becoming an acceptable and mainstream aspect of Western culture. Although male converts don’t have to change their appearance, female converts will inevitably be expected to change their dress, this is the reality of our community. By consistently emphasizing the option for men to assimilate, we make women stand out even more. I’ve taken classes on Modern Middle Eastern history and one question that has always come up in a sort of heated way is “why do the women have to go around wearing a tent and the men don’t?” (I myself did not take part in those discussions, but I listened to their concerns) The increased identifiability of Muslim women in our culture is seen as unfair by some converts, non-Muslims, and even some Ulama. That the Deen requires Hijab but not the thobe, for example, is understood, but when leaders encourage men to assimilate and (in effect) tell women not to, it is seen by some as being unfair. By responding, for example, that a Muslim man should then dress nicely, in a suit and tie, or even a short beard, it does not result in consequences equal to wearing the scarf, it does not inevitably identify one as a Muslim.

    I agree with Br. Abideen on the point that it is not expedient for Muslims to blend in where there is no serious threat. From my own experience, most brothers will assimilate when given the option by scholars, they don’t even consider virtues of the Sunnah or the impact on the community.

    Women don’t have the option of blending in. If men take up the Sunnah they can hope to make that an acceptable part of Western life just like the Hijab. Its a long-term vision and isn’t that what we want, considering that the whole purpose of not standing out is to protect life, honor, and avoid alienation – not mere inconvenience? Otherwise, how are things going to change? (yes I am assuming that outward Sunnahs are worth it despite the disagreement among scholars. In any case, it is a popular, scholarly interpretation (that I leave for scholars to defend), and one that the Muslims in the West should find ways to include in the vision for the future.)

    Jazakum Allahu khayr
    Was Salam

  • Jazakallah khayr for your response brother Haq.

    Brother Abideen, I definitely agree with you. I don’t think Muslims should strive to become inconspisuous in the West because that’s not what Allah asks of us, indeed the Prophet (saw) has said that Islam began as something strange and will return as something strange. (aw kama qaal alaihi salatu was salam) Instead we should work individually to maintain a balance between wearing proper modest attire and living amongst all people in our societies. It is not the easiest thing in the world as challenges always arise and we will always question how well we’re doing both, but in the end I think that if we have a sincere intention for the sake of Allah, then He will make this balance possible for us to achieve.

  • A point and a question.

    Jews still wear talaisim. They are smaller than they used to be many years back, but they do still wear them.

    I, being of Jewish lineage and one who stills follows the commands in the Tawrah, still wear them. Would this be thus haram?

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    Mashallah, this has been, and I hope will be, a very healthy discussion.

    Many thanks for everyone’s comments


  • Br. Suhaib,

    Last night, it was an amazing talk in keighley. We are planning to organise an event in Leeds for non muslims oon 19th October 2008 and we would like to invite you as a speaker. Can you please confirm whether you are available on that day or not.


  • You need to understand that Abjad does not mean white you can either tranlate it as clean clothes or brown clothes. white as we now it in arabic is describes as red and plain red clothing is disliked and even haram if u want to call it in islam

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