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Why gold and silk are permitted to women

Woman has been exempted from this prohibition out of consideration for her feminine nature, as the love jewelry and ornaments is quite natural and becoming for a woman. However, she is not to use her adornments to attract men and arouse their sexual desires.

The dress of the Muslim women

Islam makes it haram for women to wear clothes which fail to cover the body and which are transparent, revealing what is underneath. It is likewise haram to wear tightly fitting clothes which delineate the parts of the body, especially those parts which are sexually attractive.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:” I will not be a witness for two types of people who are destined for the Fire: people with whips, like the tails of cows, who beat the people (i.e., tyrannical rulers who are the enemies of their own people), and women who, although clothed, are yet naked, seducing and being seduced, their hair styled like the tilted humps of camels. These will not enter the Garden nor will its fragrance reaches a very great distance.” (Muslim)  

The Prophet (saw) described such women as being clothed, yet naked, since their clothing, being transparent and fine, does not do the job of concealing the body but is rather intended to reveal it; such is the dress of the women of our time.

The Prophet (saw) likened their hair-style to the hump of a special breed of camel which has very large humps, because they put up their hair in a beehive shape from the middle of their heads. It is as if the Prophet (saw) were looking beyond the centuries to the present age, when dressing the hair of women and styling it in variety of shapes has become profession dominated by men who charge top prices for their work. And this is not all, many women, not satisfied with Allah gave them in the way of natural hair, buy wigs made of artificial hair to add to their own in order to increase its body, beauty, and luster, imagining that this renders them better looking and more sexually attractive.

The astonishing thing about this hadith is the connection of political oppression with moral laxity. This connection is borne out by facts, since it is the way of rulers to keep people preoccupied with their personal desires and lusts so that they have no time to think about public affairs.

Concerning woman’s imitating man and vice versa

The Prophet (saw) declared that a woman should not wear a man’s clothing or a man a woman’s. He cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men. Aspects of such imitation include the manner of speaking, walking, dressing and so on.

The evil of such conduct, which affects both the life of the individual and of society is that it constitutes a rebellion against the natural ordering of thinks. According to this natural order, there are men and there are women, and each of the two sexes has its own distinctive characteristics. However, if men become effeminate and women masculinized, this natural order will be reversed and will disintegrate.  

Among these two are cursed by Allah and His angels, both in this world and in the Hereafter, the Prophet (saw) has mentioned the man whom Allah has made a male but who becomes effeminate by imitating women, and a woman whom Allah has made a female but who becomes masculinized by imitating men. (Bukhari)

For this reason the Prophet (saw) forbade men to wear fabric decorated with large, loud, or bold designs. In his Sahih, Muslim reported Ali as saying:” The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade me the wearing of a gold ring, a silken garment, and clothing with bold designs.

Muslim also reports a hadith from Ibn Umar, who said:” The Messenger of Allah (saw) saw me wearing two garments having gold designs,” and he said:” This is what unbelievers wear. Do not wear such things.”

Dressing for the sake of ostentation and pride

The general rule for the enjoyment of the good things of life, such as food, drink, and clothing, is that their use should be without extravagance and pride. Extravagance consists of exceeding the limits of what is beneficial in the use of the halal, while pride is something related to the intention and the heart rather than to what is apparent. Pride is the intention to look superior and above others, and Allah does not love any proud boaster. The Prophet (saw) said:” On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at the person who trails his robe behind him out of pride.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

(To be continued)

by Prof. Dr. Yusuf Al-Qardhawi