Chapter 5: On The Adab of clothing and anything pertaining to it

1. From al-Ghazali in al-Ihya’: The Holy Prophet (S) used to wear whatever was at hand, from a waist-wrap or a cloak, a long shirt or an upper gown with full sleeves or any other garment, and he used to particularly admire green clothing. Most of his clothes were white and he would say: “Clothe your living and shroud your dead with it.” He wore a padded tunic for battle and other occasions.

He (S) had a tunic of fine silk brocade that he sometimes wore and its green color contrasted beautifully with his white complexion. All of his garments were tucked up above his ankles and his waist-wrap would be above this, reaching the middle of his shanks. His long shirt was fastened by buttons, which he sometimes unfastened during prayer and on other occasions. He had a cloak dyed in saffron which he sometimes wore as he led the prayer. He sometimes wore only a single-piece garment. He had a felted garment which he used to wear saying: “I am only a slave. I dress as the slave dresses.” He had two special garments for Fridays, other than the garments which he wore at other times.

Sometimes he wore the waist-wrap only, tying the two ends between his shoulders, and so dressed, he at times led the people in funeral prayer. Sometimes he prayed in his house wearing the single waist-wrap, tying its two ends crosswise. At times he prayed during the night in a waist-wrap, wrapping himself with the end part of the garment, which was in his reach, and laying the rest over his wife.

The Holy Prophet (S) had a black cloak that he gave away. Thereupon Umm Salamah said: “May my father and mother be your ransom! What happened to that black cloak?” He answered: “I clothed someone with it.” Then she said: “I never saw anything which was more becoming than your whiteness against its blackness.”

Anas said: “I sometimes saw him lead us in the Dhuhr prayer wearing a cloak, the two ends of which were tied in a knot.” He used to wear a ring on his finger ... and sometimes used it to put his seal on letters saying: “The seal on the letter is better than suspicion.”

He used to wear a cap under his turban and (sometimes) without a turban. At times he took off his cap and made it a covering before him and prayed towards it. At times, when he had no turban, he tied a black head-cloth over his head and forehead. He had a turban called al-Sahab (the cloud), which he gifted to ‘Ali (as). At times ‘Ali (as) went out wearing it, and the Noble Prophet (S) would say: “‘Ali comes to you in the cloud.”

When he dressed, he started dressing from his right side saying:

أَلْحَمْدُ لِلٌّهِ الَّذِي كَسَانِي مَا أُوَارِي بِهِ عَوْرَتِي وَ أَتَجَمَّلُ بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ.

Praise be to Allah who clothed me with that which I conceal my nakedness with and by which I adorn myself amongst the people.

When he took off his clothes, he started by taking them off from his left side. When he wore new clothes, he gave his old clothes to the poor saying: “There is not a Muslim who clothes another Muslim with his worn out clothes for the sake of Allah, but that he (the giver) is under the guardianship, refuge, and protection of Allah, whilst living or dead.”

He had a bedding of skins, which was stuffed with palm fibers. Its length was approximately two cubits and its width was approximately a cubit and a span. He had a cloak that he would fold into two and spread out under him wherever he was. He (S) used to sleep on the mat with nothing else under it.

One of the Holy Prophet’s (S) qualities was that he would name his animals, his weapons and his belongings. The name of his banner was ‘al-’Iqab’, the name of his sword with which he faced battle was ‘Dhu’ l-Faqar.’ He had a sword that was called ‘al-Mikhdham’, another called ‘al-Rusub’ and another called ‘al-Qadhib.’

The handle of his sword was adorned with silver and he used to wear a belt made of skins which had three rings of silver. The name of his bow was ‘al-Katum’, and the name of his quiver was ‘al-Kafur.’ The name of his female camel was ‘al-Qaswa’ and it is this camel that was called ‘al-’Adhba.’ The name of his she-mule was ‘al-Duldul’. The name of his donkey was ‘Yafur’ and the name of the ewe whose milk he used to drink was ‘Ainah.’

He had a bowl made of baked clay which he used when performing ablution and would (also) drink from it. The people sent their young children who had just reached the age of understanding, so they came to the Holy Prophet (S) and did not leave him. When they found water in the bowl, they drank from it and wiped their faces and bodies with it, hoping to receive blessing by this.1

2. It has been narrated that his turban was (the length of) three or five coils.2

3. In al-Awali: It is narrated that he (S) had a black turban which he wore while praying.3

4. In al-Ja’fariyat: In his narration from Ja’far ibn Muhammad, from his fathers from ‘Ali (as) who said: The Noble Prophet (S) used to wear a striped cap ... and he had a coat of mail called ‘Dhat al-Fudhul’ which had three silver rings, one in front and two behind.4

5. In al-Makarim: On the quality of the Holy Prophet’s (S) clothes: The Holy Prophet (S) would wear the ‘shamlah’ and the ‘namirah’5 and the black color of the ‘namirah’ would contrast well with the white of his shanks and feet.6

6. In al-Awali: The Holy Prophet (S) used to pray in a wide garment.7

7. From al-Karajiki in Kanz al-Fawa’id: The Prophet (S) had two woven garments especially for prayer, which he would not wear at any other time. He would (always) urge his followers and instruct them to maintain cleanliness.8

8. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Abi Basir from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Amir al-Mu’minin (as) said: “Wear clothes (made) of cotton, for this was the clothing of the Holy Prophet (S) and it is our clothing (of choice).”9

9. From al-Saduq in al-Khisal: In his narration from ‘Ali (as) who said: “Wear cotton clothing for this was what the Noble Prophet (S) used to wear and he would never wear fur or wool unless there was a good reason (to do so).”10

Note: al-Saduq narrates this hadith in al-Khisal without mentioning the chain of narrators, as does al-Safwani in al-Ta’rif.11 We have seen in section two (on his relationship with the people) that the Prophet (S) would sometimes wear woolen garments but this hadith clarifies that he would have done so with good reason (so there is no contradiction).

10. In al-Manaqib: The Holy Prophet (S) had a belt made of tanned hide which had three silver rings and its buckle and edge was also made of silver. He also had a drinking cup that had been decorated with three silver decorations.12

11. In al-Ja’fariyat: In his narration from Ja’far ibn Muhammad, from his fathers from ‘Ali (as): The sheath of the Noble Prophet’s (S) sword was (made) from silver and its handle was of silver and in-between was a ring made of silver.13

12. In al-Faqih: In his narration from Isma’il ibn Muslim from al-Sadiq from his father (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) had a short staff which had an iron tip at its lower end. He would use it as a walking stick and lean on it. On the two ‘eid days he would come out with it and would keep it in front of him when he prayed.14

Note: This has also been mentioned in al-Ja’fariyat.15

13. In al-Makarim: Narrated from Hashim ibn Salim from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The ring of the Holy Prophet (S) was (made) of silver.16

Note: This hadith also has another chain of narrators and has been mentioned in Qurb al-Isnad.17

14. Also: Narrated from Abi Khadijah who said: The stone placed in the ring should be circular. This was how the Holy Prophet’s (S) ring was.18

15. Also: Narrated from ‘Abdillah ibn Sinan from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The inscription on the Prophet’s (S) ring read ‘Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.’19

16. From al-Saduq in al-Khisal: Narrated from ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Abi al-Bilad from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) had two rings. On one was inscribed ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah’ and on the other (was inscribed) ‘Allah has declared the truth.’20

17. In al-Kafi: Narrated from al-Husayn ibn Khalid from Abi al-Hasan al-Thani (as) - in a hadith - that the Holy Prophet (S), Amir al-Mu’minin, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and (all) the Imams (as) would wear (their) rings on the right hand.21

Note: There are similar narrations in al-Kafi from different chains of narrators, with slight differences about the inscriptions on the ring. al-Saduq and others have also narrated this hadith. al-Kulayni has further narrated that ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and some other Imams (as) wore rings on the left hand.22 There is no problem in concluding that they would wear rings on both hands, or that it would be worn on different hands at different times, but this has not been narrated about the Noble Prophet (S). However, al-Kulayni has narrated in al-Kafi: Narrating from ‘Ali ibn ‘Atiyya from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: “The Holy Prophet (S) used to wear a ring only occasionally and later on he would take it off.”23

18. In al-Makarim: From al-Sadiq (as) from ‘Ali (as) who said: The prophets would wear their shirts before (wearing) their trousers.24

Note: This has also been narrated in al-Ja’fariyat.25

Addendum to this Chapter

1. In al-Makarim: From Ma’mar ibn Khallad from Abi al-Hasan al-Rid’a (as) – in the Holy Prophet’s (S) counsel to Abu Dharr he said: “O Abu Dharr! I wear coarse clothes, I sit on the ground, I lick my fingers (after eating), I ride on a donkey without a saddle and carry someone with me, so the one who dislikes my sunnah is not from me.”26

Note: This has also been narrated by Shaykh Abu Faras in Majumu’at Warram.27

2. Also: From Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Prophet (S) used to wear a striped white cap. When in battle, he (S) wore a cap with two edges.28

3. In al-Khisal: From Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi ‘Abdillah al-Barqi in his narration from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to dislike black except in three things: the turban, the shoes and the cloak.29

Note: This is also narrated by al-Kulayni in al-Kafi and al-Saduq in al-Faqih and al-’Ilal.30

4. In al-Makarim: From Abi Ja’far (as) who said: It is from the sunnah to wear the right shoe before the left one and to take off the left shoe before the right one.31

5. Also: From Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Take off your shoes while eating, for this is more relaxing for your feet and it is a wonderful sunnah.32

6. Also: From Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: It is from the sunnah to wear black shoes and yellow sandals.33

7. Also: From Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Linen is from the clothing of the prophets.34

8. In Da’aim al-Islam: From Abi ‘Abdillah from his fathers (as) from the Holy Prophet (S) that he would dislike red dye on clothes.35

9. In al-Faqih: From Muhammad ibn Qays from Abi Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Baqir (as) who said: He (S) had a tent called ‘al-Kinn’ (the shelter).36

10. In al-Manaqib: The Noble Prophet (S) would wear his reddish garment on Fridays and he would wear the turban ‘al-Sahab.’ When he entered Makkah on the day of the conquest, he had worn a black turban. He had a box in which he would keep an ivory comb, a container of kohl, a pair of scissors and a siwak ... and he passed away in a coarse Yemeni waist wrap and a cloak called ‘al-Malbadah.’

He had a bed that was given to him by Asad ibn Zurarah. His pulpit had three steps and was made from (wood of) the tamarisk, by a carpenter called Maymun. His masjid had no minarets and Bilal used to recite the adhan while standing on the ground.37

11. In al-Kafi: From Ibn al-Qaddah from Abi ‘Abdillah (as): The Holy Prophet (S) had a dyed garment which he (always) wore while at home until it (the dye of the garment) affected his body.38

12. Also: From Abi Ja’far (as) who said: “We would wear yellowish-red dyed garments at home.”39

13. In al-Bihar: From Risalat al-Jumu’ah of Shahid al-Thani: The Holy Prophet (S) had special clothes which he wore on the two ‘eids and on Fridays, aside from his other regular clothes.40

14. Also: The Prophet (S) had a green Yemeni garment in which he would sleep.41

15. In al-Bihar from al-Kafi: In his narration from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) had two Yemeni cloths which he would wear as Ihram and these were also used as his shroud.42

16. Also: When the Holy Prophet (S) led a delegation, he would wear his best clothes and he would tell his companions to do the same.43

  • 1. Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din 2:374-377
  • 2. We have not found (a reference for) this.
  • 3. Awali al-La’ali: Section on Salah 2:214
  • 4. al-Ja’fariyat: 184, Da`aim al-Islam 2:159, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 120
  • 5. The shamlah and namirah were garments commonly worn by Arabs. (Tr.)
  • 6. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 35
  • 7. al-Mustadrak 3:213, Da`aim al-Islam 1:176
  • 8. Kanz al-Fawa`id: 285
  • 9. al-Kafi 6:446, Da`aim al-Islam 2:155, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 103, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 103
  • 10. al-Khisal: 613, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 103, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 103, al-Kafi 6:445, Da`aim al-Islam 2:155
  • 11. Narrated by the author of al-Mustadrak 3:248 from Safwani`s book al-Ta`reef, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 103, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 103
  • 12. Manaqibe Ale Abi Talib 1:170
  • 13. al-Ja’fariyat: 185, Da`aim al-Islam 2:164, al-Kafi 6:475, al-Mustadrak 3:309
  • 14. al-Faqih 1:501
  • 15. al-Ja’fariyat: 184
  • 16. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 85
  • 17. Qurb al-Isnad: 31
  • 18. Also found exactly like this in al-Kafi 6:468
  • 19. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 91, al-Kafi 6:473, Da`aim al-Islam 2:165
  • 20. al-Khisal: 61, Amali al-Saduq: 370
  • 21. al-Kafi 6:474, ‘Ilal al-Sharai’: 158, al-Ja’fariyat: 185, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rid’a 2:55
  • 22. al-Kafi 6:469
  • 23. Ibid., 6:469
  • 24. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 101
  • 25. al-Ja’fariyat: 240
  • 26. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 115
  • 27. Majmu’at Warram: 306
  • 28. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 120, Da`aim al-Islam 2:159
  • 29. al-Khisal: 148
  • 30. al-Kafi 6:449, al-Faqih 1:251, ‘Ilal al-Sharai’: 347
  • 31. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 123
  • 32. Ibid., 124
  • 33. Ibid., 125
  • 34. Ibid., 104
  • 35. Da`aim al-Islam 2:160
  • 36. al-Faqih 4:178
  • 37. Manaqibe Ale Abi Talib 1:171
  • 38. al-Kafi 6:448
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Ibid., 89:212
  • 41. Ibid., 19:53
  • 42. Ibid., 21:401
  • 43. Ibid., 21:372