Quality of Hijab and the Social Relation of Men and Women

By Late Zahra Haajkhalili

Translated by Mohammad Javad Shomali


One of the most significant current discussions regarding the Islamic modest dress is the extent to which both men and women should dress. This paper studies the factors both men and women must take into consideration with regards to dressing modestly in society. Islamic rulings and the narrations of the Infallibles (a) are provided as evidence in offering the decrees all must adhere to with regards to clothing. Both men and women must avoid wearing

1) conspicuous clothing,

2) outfits specific to the opposite gender, and

3) tight clothing in which the curves of the body are revealed.

Both are also to avoid any action that attracts inappropriate attention. Clothing with silk or gold is forbidden for men. Abiding by the first four rules eliminates the dilemmas faced in any society relating to male-female relations and ensures stability as a result.


Although Islam provides guidelines about the extent of covering and its general conditions, it does not give specific rules regarding its shape or type. This is because the issue of clothing and covering is not one of the ta‘abudi and tawqifi issues (i.e., it is not exclusively religious so that all its details must be taken from religion); rather, it is somehow dependent on the public view and understanding of the subject at issue. A person’s clothing is acceptable provided that it meets the general conditions and the extent of covering stated by Islam, although this varies in different situations.

Ibn Taymiyyah gives his opinion on the ambiguity of this subject. He uses the Prophet (s) as an example, asserting that following the Prophet (s) may mean two things: 1) doing the exact thing he did, and 2) following the Prophet (s) to achieve the objective of the action. Because the Prophet (s) performed actions due to a specific purpose, people are to follow that purpose, and not the action. For example, the Prophet (s) oiled his hair to keep it healthy. It is not necessary for us to oil it, though we are to follow the purpose, which is to care for our hair with anything that ensures its health.

The Prophet (s) also ate dates, bread and wheat. Doing the same exact thing regardless of time and place is not necessary. The Prophet’s companions and Islamic jurisprudents ate their own way and dressed according to the customs practiced by the society they lived in.

Men and women must take several factors into consideration with regards to covering and their social relations. Men and women must:

1. Avoid wearing conspicuous clothing

2. Avoid wearing outfits specific to the opposite gender

3. Avoid wearing tight clothes such that the curves of the body are revealed

4. Avoid any action (e.g. flaunting) that attracts attention

5. Realize that clothing with silk or gold is forbidden for men

1. Wearing Conspicuous Clothing

Conspicuous clothing consists of clothes that are uncommon for a person to wear. If he or she wears this type of clothing and will definitely attract people's attention, then his or her clothes are deemed conspicuous.

Islamic Rulings

The mjority of the jurists (mujtahids; faqihs) have said that wearing this kind of clothing is prohibited in Islamic law, although the late Hurr ‘Amili who is a great scholar of hadith as well as a great jurist, in Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah deems it makruh (not prohibited though it is better to be avoided).1

Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi, the author of the book Al-‘Urwat al-Wuthqa says: “It is prohibited to wear conspicuous clothing i.e. the clothing which is not common for a person in terms of its fabric, colour or style. A clergyman wearing a soldier’s uniform or vice versa is an example of conspicuous clothing.”2 Ayatollah Khomeini holds the same opinion although he regards it as a precaution instead of a prohibition.

Narrations As Evidence

Several hadiths portray the conspicuousness of clothing as objectionable, resulting in God’s retribution. I what follows, we will refer to some of these hadiths.

1. Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying:

إن الله يبغض شهرة اللباس

Certainly God dislikes the conspicuousness of clothing.3

2. Ibn Miskan narrates from a person that Imam Sadiq (a) said:

عن ابن مسكان، عن رجل، عن ابي عبدالله (ع) قال: كفى بالمرء خزياً أن يلبس ثوباً يشهره أو يركب دابة تشهره

For a man to be degraded it is enough to wear clothes that make him famous (or infamous) or to ride animals that make him famous (or unfamous).4

3. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa narrates from those he mentiones that Imam Sadiq (a) said:

عن عثمان بن عيسى، عمن ذكره، عن أبي عبدالله قال: الشهرة خيرها وشرها في النار

Both the good and evil of fame (favourable and negative) are in the fire.5

4. Abi Jarud narrates from Abi Sa‘id that Imam Husayn (a) said:

... عن ابي الجارود، عن ابي سعيد، عن الحسين (ع): من لبس ثوباً يشهره كساه الله يوم القيامة ثوباً من نار

God will dress anyone who wears clothing that makes him famous with a dress made out of fire on the day of Judgement.6

5. Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying:

نهاني رسول الله (ص) عن لبس ثياب الشهرة

The Prophet (s) banned me from wearing conspicuous clothes.7

6. Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying:

ان الله يبغض الشهرتين: شهرة اللبس و شهرة الصلاة

Truly, God dislikes two types of fame: fame in clothing and fame in prayer.8

Islamic Rulings

Some jurists believe in the prohibition of conspicuous clothes and refer to the above narrations to mean that if a person does an act that degrades him or makes people disrespect him, he has committed a sinful act. Wearing conspicuous clothes results in degrading and ridicule and therefore, it is not permitted. Some have considered it disliked (makruh) based on the fact that fame is only prohibited when it results in degrading and abjection and when the person becomes popular for a bad thing among people.9

2. Avoid Wearing Clothes Specific To The Opposite Gender

One of the Islamic rulings that concern many (especially those who are in the movie industry) is prohibition of wearing clothes specific to the opposite gender.

Islamic Rulings

Normally earlier jurists study this issue among other Prohibited Jobs (al-makasib al-muharramah) while talking about the prohibition of ornamenting men with things which are prohibited for them, such as gold. For example, Zayn al-Din al-‘Amili (known as the Second Martyr) says:

One of the prohibited acts is ornamenting men or women with things which are prohibited for them, like for a man to wear a bangle, anklet, or a cloth that is usually worn by women, or for a woman to wear clothes specific to men, such as a belt and turban. Of course, this might change by time and place, and a cloth that had been specific to men in a time can be common for women at another time.10

Mohammad ibn Makki (known as the First Martyr) says:
One of the prohibited jobs is to ornament men or women with ornaments specific to the other one.11

Muhaqqiq Hilli [describing the prohibited jobs] says:
And to ornament men with what is prohibited for them.12

Contemporary jurists normally study this issue while talking about conditions of the cloth that can be worn during prayer. For example, Ayatollah Sayyid Kazim Yazdi says in Al-‘Urwah al- Wuthqa:
It is also prohibited for men due to precaution to wear clothes specific to women and vice versa and it is better not to do the prayer while wearing these kinds of clothes.13

Ayatollah Khomeini had an opinion similar to the previous one:

Men and women must avoid wearing clothes which are exclusive to the other gender due to precaution. However, if someone prays while wearing such cloth, his or her prayer is not void.14

The late Ayatollah Shirazi, while explaining the opinion of the author of Al-‘urwah al-Wuthqa, writes:
There are three opinions on this issue: a) Those who consider it prohibited, b) those who claim it to be permissible, the opinion most modern-day jurists hold, and c) those who distinguished between what completely changes the outfit of a man or a woman and turns it into the outfit of the other gender (which is prohibited), and what is only worn with good intention for a short time (which is not prohibited).15

Those Who Consider It Prohibited

This is the most famous opinion and closest one to the truth. It might even be claimed that it was agreed on by all the early scholars as it has been claimed in Riyad. Several narrations by the infallible Imams (a) depict its prohibition.

Narrations As Evidence

1. Imam Baqir (a) quotes the Prophet (s) as saying:

"لعن الله المشتبهين من الرجال بالنساء والمشتبهات من النساء بالرجال".

May God curse men who make themselves look like women and women who make themselves look like men.16

2. Jabir ibn Yazid al-Ju‘fi reports that he heard Imam Baqir (a) saying:

لايجوز للمرأة ان تشبه بالرجل لأن رسول الله (ص) لعن المشتبهين من الرجال بالنساء ولعن المشتبهات من النساء بالرجال

It is not permissible for a woman to look like a man, since the Prophet (s) cursed men who make themselves like women and women who make themselves like men.17

3. Imam Al-Ridha’ (a) is quoted as saying:

قد لعن رسول الله (ص) سبعة: الواصل شعره بشعر غيره والمشتبه من النساء بالرجال والرجال بالنساء و...

The Messenger of God cursed seven groups of people: … and those women who make themselves look like men and men who make themselves look like women and...18

4. Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying:

إنّ رسول الله (ص) نهى النساء أن يكن معطلات من الحُلى أو يشتبهن بالرجال ولعن من فعل ذلك منهن

Truly, the Messenger of God forbade women from not using ornaments or being similar to men and cursed women who do this.19

5. Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying:

كان رسول الله (ص) يزجر الرجل أن يشتبه بالنساء و ينهى المرأة أن تشتبه بالرجال في لباسها

The Messenger of God used to blame men from becoming similar to women and forbid women from being similar to men in terms of their clothes.20

6. Imam Ali (a) saw a man in the Prophet’s Mosque who looked like women. Imam asked to leave the Mosque and quoted a hadith from the Prophet (s):

عن علي عليه السلام أنه رأى رجلاً به تأنيث في مسجد رسول الله (ص) فقال له: اخرج من مسجد رسول الله (ص) يا لعنة رسول الله (ص) ثم قال علي عليه السلام: سمعت رسول الله (ص) يقول لعن الله المشتبهين من الرجال بالنساء والمشتبهات من النساء بالرجال

I heard from the Messenger of God saying: “May God damn men who make themselves look like women and women who are similar to men.”21

7. Shaykh Saduq refers to some hadiths:

اخرجوهم من بيوتكم فإنهم اقذر شيء

Send these kinds of men out of your house for they are the dirtiest things.22

Again Shaykh Saduq narrates from Zayd ibn Ali who narrated from his father that Imam Ali (a) said:

كنت مع رسول الله (ص) جالساً في المسجد حتى أتاه رجل به تأنيث فسلّم عليه فرد ثم أكبَّ رسول الله (ص) الى الارض يسترجع ثم قال: مِثلَ هولاء في امتي؟ إنه لم يكن مثل هؤلاء في أمة الا عذّبت قبل الساعة.

I was sitting in the mosque with the Messenger of God when a man who dressed like a woman went to him and said “Salam” (the Islamic greeting “peace”). After replying, he looked at the ground and raised his eyes back up and said “Are people like him in my nation? If people like him exist in a nation, that nation will be tormented before the Judgement Day.23

Islamic Rulings

The late Ayatollah Shirazi says:

Those who believe in prohibition have used these narrations and said that the curse mentioned in them shows prohibition and the fact that some of the narrations have a weak chain of narrators does not mean that we cannot use the rest as evidence, especially because they are well-known. Furthermore, this act is considered evil (munkar) among Islamic scholars.24

Those who believe in the permissibility of this act have used the principle that indicates everything is allowed except for what we are sure is not. They have also said that the curse mentioned in the narration does not mean that the act is prohibited. Curse mean to be far from good and it includes both prohibited and disliked (makruh). It has been used to refer to makruh so many times that it no longer shows prohibition. Even if we accept that curse is more likely to show prohibition of an act it does not mean the issue we are talking about is prohibited, since some of the narrations are not about clothing rather they are about for a man to look like a woman or vice versa.

For example, in the sixth and the eighth narrations, it can be understood from the words of Imam Ali (a) and the Prophet (s) that what he meant had not been all kinds of similarities between men and women; rather, they have meant men and women who completely look people of the other gender. This conclusion is supported by the fact that once Imam Ali (a) ordered forty women to wear like men to accompany Aishah (the Prophet's wife) after the Battle of Jamal and also the fact that there had been times when Muslim women used to fight in battles appearing as men.25

The third group has distinguished between what completely changes the outfit of a man or a woman and turns it into the outfit of the other gender which is prohibited and what is only worn with good intention for a short time which is not prohibited.26

The third group, as it has been said by Ayatollah Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim in Mustamsak, have argued that the similarity which has been banned in the narrations, is apparently doing an act with the intention of becoming similar. Thus, if a man dresses like a woman but does not intend to become similar to her or vice versa, this act is not prohibited nor is it forbidden. It is possible to claim that the similarity that has been cursed does not include cases were similarity is casual, lasts for short period, and is based on some logic.

The Preferred Opinion

Considering the fact that narrations are about similarity and not just wearing clothes, it can be concluded that if a man or a woman decides to wear similar clothes to the opposite gender with the intention of becoming similar, he or she has done a prohibited act and is cursed by God and His Prophet (s). Therefore, if a woman wears male clothing under her clothes it is permissible; wearing clothes which are known to be common for both genders in the society is also permissible.

3. To Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes That The Shape Of Body Can Be Seen Over Them

Another feature a cloth, especially for women, is to be thick enough and loose-fitting so that it completely covers the curves of the body. The body should also not be seen through it. It cannot be so tight that the sexually stimulating parts of the body of women become apparent.

Narrations As Evidence

1. Asbagh ibn Nubah narrates from Imam Ali (a):

يظهر في آخر الزمان واقتراب الساعة وهو شر الازمنة نسوة كاشفات عاريات متبرجات، من الدين خارجات، في الفتن داخلات، مائلات الى الشهوات، مسرعات الى اللذات، مستحلات للمحرمات، في جهنم خالدات

At the end of time and just before the Resurrection Day, there will be women who are nude, show their beauties, are out of religion, are involved with corruptions, yearn for lust and pleasures, allow what is prohibited, and will be in hell forever.27

2. Imam Ali (a) is quoted as saying:

عليكم بالصفيق من الثياب فإن من رقّ ثوبه رقّ دينه

It is a must for you to wear thick clothes, for anyone who wears thin clothes [through which her body may be seen] has a weak religion.28

4. To Avoid Flaunting And Any Act That Attracts Attention

As our Imams have ordered women to embellish and wear makeup in front of their husbands, they have also strongly forbade women from flaunting in front of non-mahrams or to do any act that excites or attracts their attention, as the Qur’an states,

“And do not display your finery with the display of the former [days of] ignorance” (33:33).

This verse does not imply restricting women to their houses or having to shun society since historically the direct audience of this verse were the wives of the Prophet who used to accompany him on journeys and participate in battles, both of which the Prophet encouraged. To understand the meaning of the verse and its relation to this topic, it is necessary to understand the meaning of tabarruj, or displaying one’s finery.

According to Al-‘Ayn, “tabarruj” is an act of a woman who displays the beauty and finery of her face and neck.29

According to Fayyumi, this refers to the practice of women who flaunt and display their beauties in front of non-mahrams.30 Lisan al-‘Arab gives the same meaning with more details31. Maqa’is al-Lughah defines baraja, the root of tabarruj, as displaying one’s beauties32. Qamis al-Muhit also considers as tabarruj the act of flaunting in front of men33. In his Al-Nihayah fi Gharib al-Hadith wa al-Athar, Ibn Athir, too, takes tabarruj to mean dressing and flaunting in front of others and quotes the Prophet’s narration as a proof:

كان يكره عشر خصال منها التبرج لغير محلها

The Prophet did not like ten features for women, one of which was tabarruj in an inappropriate place [i.e. not for her husband].34

The exegets of the Qur’an too have defined the meaning of tabarruj. For example, in Al-Furqan several meanings have been mentioned for tabarruj: 1) strut and pride while walking, 2) displaying finery, and 3) wearing thin clothes35. Qurtaby writes: “Tabarruj is to display things which are better to be covered.”36

In Al-Tafsir al-Munir, we read: “Tabarruj is to display finery and beauty for men, like when a woman wears scarf but leaves it open that her neck and necklace can be seen.”37 It has been narrated from Ibn Abi Fadi’ that “tabarruj is when a woman shows her beauties to men and displays finery in front of strangers.”38

In any case, with a little consideration we can find out that tabarruj is flaunting and attiring. Women have been told to avoid flaunting and showing off their beauty or any act that attracts strangers’ attention to them. This is to keep in mind that not only have women not been forbidden from this at home with their husbands, but also they have been encouraged to do so:

عن جعفر بن محمد (ع) عن آبائه (ع) قال: رخص رسول الله (ص) للمرأة أن تخضب رأسها بالسواد قال: وأمر رسول الله (ص) النساء بالخضاب ذات البعل وغير ذات البعل أما ذات البعل فتزين لزوجها وأما غير ذات البعل فلا تشبه يدها يد الرجال

Imam Sadiq (a) narrated from his fathers who said: “The Prophet allowed women to colour their head with black colour.” Imam Sadiq (a) added that: The Prophet had ordered women, married or single, to colour. Married woman should nicely dress themselves for their husbands and single ladies [should colour] so that their hands do not look like the hands of men.39

The following narrations have forbidden women from wearing make-up in front of men other than their husbands:

قال ابوعبدالله: ... وأيما إمرأة تطيبت لغير زوجها، لم تقبل منها صلاة حتى تغتسل من طيبها، كغسلها من جنابتها

Imam Sadiq (a) said: “God will not accept prayers of a woman who uses perfume for men other than her husband unless she takes a bath like when she does ghusl….”40

عن ابي عبدالله (ع) قال: قال رسول الله (ص) اي امرأة تطيبت لغير زوجها ثم خرجت من بيتها فهي تلعن حتى ترجع الى بيتها متي مارجعت

Imam Sadiq (a) narrated that the Prophet(s) said: “Any woman who uses perfume and then leaves her house is cursed by God until she returns, no matter when that is.”41

According to Sahih of Muslim, the Prophet used to tell women: “Do not use perfume when attending the mosque.”42 In the famous hadith of Manahi [prohibitions], it has been said:

... ونهى ان تتزين لغير زوجها فان فعلت كان حقاً على الله ان يحرقها بالنار

The Prophet forbade women from wearing make- up for men other than their husbands and warned that if they do so, God has the right to burn them with fire.43

From the above narrations, we can clearly understand that women wearing make-up outside the house for men other than their husbands is not permitted at all and is considered as one of the great sins. Another example of an ornament prohibited in front of non-mahram men has been stated in Qur'an:

وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ 

And let them not thump their feet to make known their hidden ornaments. Rally to God in repentance, O faithful, so that you may be felicitous. (Qur'an 24:31)

According to exegists, Arab women used to wear anklets and bring attention to them by thumping their feet. The Qur'an forbade this. According to Fadil Javad, it can be understood from the verse that all acts that lead to corruption are to be avoided.44 Abi al-Su‘ud makes a similar point:

The prohibition of making the sound of an ornament known emphasises on the prohibition of displaying the position of the ornament. The reason for forbidding thumping one’s foot is that it might excite a male stranger and it might show that the woman has a tendency towards him.45

Sayyid Qutb writes:

It has been proved in its appropriate place that the fragrance used by a woman or the sound of her ornament might be more stimulating for men than seeing herself and Islam has put all of these delicate attentions to maintain a healthy society.46

Regarding this part of the verse, Ayatollah Mutahhari says:

It can be understood from the verse that anything that attracts men like using fragrance or wearing make-up on the face is prohibited. Overall, in her communication, women should not do anything that stimulates, excites or attracts men’s attention.47

Sometimes the soft voice of women is more seductive than her body. God asks us in the Qur’an:

فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا

… do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech. (33:32)

Explaining this verse, ‘Allamah Tabataba’i says:

In this sentence, He bans wives of prophet from talking with softness and that is to make his tone tender and gentle while talking to men in order to excite and seduce them …. Then He says they have to talk appropriately. A kind of talking which is accepted by God laws and Islamic common laws and that is a speech which is only intended to transfer the intended meaning. It has not been said with coquetry and affectation to seduce the audience along with transferring of the meaning.48

It has been said in Tafsir Nemineh:
Speak firmly and seriously. Do not be like disrespectful women who use seductive phrases that is sometimes along with special coquetry which makes a salacious person think of prohibited acts.49

The seductive effect of a woman’s voice has been discussed by psychologists. One of them is a Canadian who came up to the idea that voice is the first sexual stimulus and effect and that a woman’s voice has an impressive effect on men.50

The verse gives useful instruction for both tones of voice and content of speech: “But speak with appropriate speech.” This means that women should not say inappropriate things and should not use exciting words in her speech. This has also been emphasised by exegetes of the Qur’an.

There are several definitions for the term “appropriate speech.” Qurtaby writes: “What is meant by appropriate speech is a right and true word that is in accordance with Islamic laws and accepted by people.”51 Sayyid Qutb says: “Appropriate speech means that their speech should be about good issues and not bad ones like making jokes and …”52 Suyuti also marks that: “It has been narrated from Mohammad ibn Ka‘b that appropriate speech is a speech that does not make anyone think of bad deeds.”53 According to Kanz al-Daqa’iq, it refers to “a fine and good saying without any sexual feeling.”54

In addition to instruction given in this verse about the way women should talk, it is also necessary for women to avoid wit and unnecessary talks with men. This behaviour has also been forbidden in our narrations. Khawat ibn Jabir says that:

Along with the Prophet (s) we settled in Zahran (on the outskirts of Mecca). I came out of the tent and saw some women talking to each other. I was overjoyed at the scene. I went back to the tent, wore nice clothes, went towards them and joined their conversation. Then Prophet (s) came out of the tent and called me. I became worried. I said: ‘My camel has escaped and I am looking for it.’ He gave me his robe and left. He then washed his body, performed wudu’ (a ritual ablution for the prayer), looked at me and asked: ‘What happened to your camel that had escaped?’ For a long time he used to ask me this every time we met.55

In view of all we mentioned so far, it is concluded that:

A) It is prohibited for women to ornament themselves for non- mahrams or to display any kind of ornament that has to be hidden except for outward ornaments that are counted as apparent ornaments. Some contemporary jurists believe that these ones are not considered as ornaments by majority people [so they are not haram].

B) Women are banned from flaunting and any action that attracts attention of non-mahrams in a way including using fragrance, wearing thin or tight clothes, speaking soft and with coquetry.

5. Banning Men From Wearing Clothes In Which Silk Or Gold Has Been Used

One of the conditions that must be met in covering for men is that their clothes should not be made of pure silk or gold. All the jurists agree that it is prohibited. Furthermore, if a man prays while wearing such clothing, not only has he committed a sin for wearing it, but his prayer is also void. Shahid al-Thani says:

The clothing of a person who is praying should not be made of pure silk except for when there is a necessity, such as during wars, and this is agreed upon by all scholars. The Shi‘a believe that this prayer is void because it has been banned. The ban of an act shows its voidance. It does not make any difference whether the cloth can cover the private parts or not. There are a great number of narrations that have forbidden this kind of clothing.

This rule is for pure silk. However, clothes which are made of a mixture of silk and other fibres can be worn and to pray while wearing them is acceptable. Gold, on the other hand, should not be used in clothes of men whether it is worn during the prayer or not, or mixed with other materials or not.56

Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi in his Al-‘Urwat al- Wuthqa holds the same opinion:

The fifth [condition of clothes appropriate for prayer] is: Men should avoid gold in their clothes while praying, although he cannot wear if even if he is not praying. It does not make any difference whether the gold is apparent or not.”

Elsewhere, he holds that wearing silk clothes is prohibited for men during the prayer or other acts.57

In the book Al-Fiqh ‘Ala al- Madhahib al-Khamsah, Mohammad Javad Mughniyyah says:
All jurists agree on prohibition of wearing gold or silk clothes for men both in and out of prayer. [However,] it is permissible for women. This is due to prophet’s word that said: ‘It is prohibited for men of my nation to wear silk and gold and it is permissible for their women.’

Shi‘as believe in prohibition of prayer with pure silk or gold clothes even if it is a cloth that does not cover enough for prayer and even if he is wearing a gold ring. On the other hand, Shafei and Hanifah have said that if he does his prayer wearing it he has done a prohibited act, but his prayer is not void. Other sects do not seem to have a clear opinion regarding this but they apparently accept this last opinion.58

Narrations As Evidence

Imam Sadiq (a) narrates: the Holy Prophet (s) said to Imam Ali (a): “I like for you whatever I like for myself, and dislike for you all I dislike for myself. Therefore, do not wear golden rings ... do not wear silk clothes because if you do, God will burn your skin the day you meet Him.”59

Imam Baqir (a) said: “Wearing silk or gold clothes is not permissible. It is not forbidden to buy or sell them, however.”60

It has been narrated from Abi al-Harith that he said: “I asked Imam Al-Ridha’ (a): Can men do their prayer wearing silk clothes? He replied: No.”61

Imam Sadiq (a) narrates from the Holy Prophet (s) that he said to Imam Ali (a): “Do not wear golden rings, for that is your ornament in the hereafter.”62

Imam Sadiq (a) said: “Men should not wear gold clothes nor should they pray with it, since that is the cloth of the people of heaven.”63

Imam Sadiq (a) regarding iron has said: “Truly, iron is the ornament for people of hell and gold is ornament of people of heaven and God made gold ornament of women in this world and banned men from wearing it and praying with it.”64

Imam Sadiq (a) narrates from his fathers that they narrate that the Prophet (s) banned men from seven things, one of which was wearing golden rings.65

It has been said in the narration called Manahi that the Prophet (s) interdicted men from wearing silk, gold, and fur clothes. However, it is permissible for women.66

Imam Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying: “It is not right for men to wear silk clothes except in wars”.67

Imam Sadiq (a) was asked about clothes in which silk has been used. He said, “If it is mixed with other fibres (meaning it is no longer called silk clothes) then it is acceptable.”68

We can conclude from what we have mentioned so far that:

a) It is prohibited for men to wear clothes made of pure silk or gold, while praying or not, and if he does his prayer wearing such clothes his prayer is void.

b) It is permissible to wear clothes that are not made of pure silk or have other fibres mixed with silk and are no longer called silk clothes.

c) Wearing clothes made of pure silk in wars or in necessity is permissible.

d) Clothes which contain gold are forbidden for men regardless of the amount of gold.

e) It is prohibited for men to use gold as an ornament and if he does his prayer having any kind of gold on him, his prayer will not be accepted even if the gold cannot be seen.

f) Wearing clothes made of pure silk or gold or using gold as an ornament is permissible for women in all conditions and they can do their prayer with such clothes.


The issue of clothing in Islam concerning both men and women has grown in importance in light of recent debates. Because Islam provides general guidelines about the extent of covering, the specific rules regarding its shape and type have been offered by jurists; narrations by the Infallibles (a) also assist jurists in offering their final decree. The following conclusions can be drawn from the present findings:

A. Conspicuous clothing is defined as any clothing that is uncommon and must be avoided by both men and women; jurists consider it prohibited based on evidence provided in narrations.

B. Clothing specific to the opposite gender is a controversial topic; some jurists deem it prohibited due to precaution and is better not to pray with them. Ayatollah Shirazi provides three views: a) those who consider it prohibited, b) those who claim it permissible and c) those who distinguish the act of fully changing one’s outfit to that of the opposite gender, and those who wear it for a short time. It is concluded that if a person wears the clothing of the opposite gender with the intention of becoming similar to them, she or he has done a prohibited act.

C. Wearing tight clothing where the shape of the body is apparent is considered prohibited.

D. The Qur’an asks women not to display her finery “with the display of the former [days of] ignorance.” Tabarruj, or “displaying one’s finery,” is defined with several meanings, most of them revolving around the concept of a woman flaunting and displaying her beauties in front of non- mahrams. This can be defined as strutting while walking, displaying finery (i.e. make-up), and wearing thin and/or tight clothing, all of which can attract men’s attention.

E. A woman’s tone of voice and speech is also considered an attraction and must be modified to meet the standards of an appropriate voice and speech.

F. It is prohibited for men to wear clothes made of silk or gold, regardless of whether it is during prayer or not, although it is permissible to wear it during wars or when necessary, and when the clothing is not made of pure silk, i.e. the clothing is mixed with other kinds of thread.

G. Observing Islamic rulings on dressing enables both men and women to be able to pursue their progress and development in both personal and social realms. Men and women will be able to communicate and interact as human beings and in a rational way, instead of being always concerned with sexual relation and desires.

  • 1. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’ill al-Shi‘ah, vol. 5, Book of Clothing, Chapter 12 (The Abomination of Fame in Clothes and Other Aspects).
  • 2. Al-‘Urwat al-Wuthqa, Book of Prayer, Cloth of one who prays, p. 302, Problem 42. The text is as follows: "يحرم لبس لباس شهرة بأن يلبس خلاف زيه من حيث جنس اللباس أو حيث لونه أو..."
  • 3. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’ill al-Shi‘ah, vol. 5, Book of Clothing, Chapter 12, p. 24, number 1.
  • 4. Ibid., number 2.
  • 5. Ibid., number 3.
  • 6. Ibid., number 4.
  • 7. Al-Kafi, vol. 6, Chapter on the Lubs al-Moasfar, p. 447, number 4
  • 8. Nuri, Husayn, Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 1, Chapters on Ahkam al-Malabis, Chapter 8, p. 208, number 2.
  • 9. Shirazi, Sayyid Muhammad, Al-Fiqh, vol. 18, Book of Prayer, pp. 256 – 257 (with slight changes).
  • 10. Al-Rawdat al-Bahiyyah, Book of Matajir, p. 273:
    "تزين كل من الرجل والمرأة بما يحرم عليه كلبس الرجل السوار والخلال والثياب المختصة بها عادة ويختلف ذلك باختلاف الازمان والاصفاع، وكلبس مايختص بالرجل كالمنطقة والعمامة".
  • 11. Al-Duris al-Shar‘iyyah, Vol. 3, p. 163:
    "وتزيين كل من الرجل والمرأة بزينة الاخر"
  • 12. Muhaqqiq Hilli, Sharaye‘ al-Islam, vol. 2, Book of Matajir, p. 4.
  • 13. Al-‘Urwat al-Wuthqa, Book of Prayer, p. 302, Problem 42:
    "وكذا يحرم على الاحوط لبس الرجال مايختص بالنساء وبالعكس و الاحوط ترك الصلاة فيهما".
  • 14. Risalah Tawdih al-Masa’il, Problem 846.
  • 15. Sayyid Muhammad Shirazi, Al-Fiqh, vol. 18, Book of Prayer, p. 257.
  • 16. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’ill al-Shi‘ah, vol. 17, Book of Tijarah, Chapters on Ma Yuktasabu bih, Chapter 87, p. 284, number 1.
  • 17. Shaykh Saduq, Al-Khisal, Chapter 70, p. 585, number 12, cited in Al-Fiqh, vol. 17, p. 258.
  • 18. Shaykh Saduq, Fiqh al-Rida, Chapter on al-Tijarah wa …, p. 252.
  • 19. Nu‘man ibn Muhammad, Da‘a’im al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 162, Fi Dhikr Libas al- Hullah, number 580, cited in Al-Fiqh, vol. 18, p. 258.
  • 20. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’ill al-Shi‘ah, vol. 5, Chapters on Ahkaam al- Malabis, Chapter 13, p. 25, number 2.
  • 21. Ibid., vol. 17, Book of Tijarah, Chapters on Ma Yuktasab-u bih, Chapter 87, p. 284, number 1.
  • 22. Ibid., p. 285, number 3.
  • 23. Ibid., number4.
  • 24. Sayyid Muhammad Shirazi, Al-Fiqh, vol. 18, Book of Prayer, pp. 258 -59. (with slight changes in translation)
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibid., p. 257.
  • 27. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’ill al-Shi‘ah, vol. 20, Chapters on Muqaddamat al-Nikah, Chapter 7, p. 35, number 5.
  • 28. Ibid., vol. 4, Chapters on Cloth of One Who Prays, Chapter 21, p. 389, number 5.
  • 29. Farahidi, Al-‘Ayn, vol. 6, p. 115.
  • 30. Fayyumi, Misbah al-Munir, vol. 6, p. 115.
  • 31. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-‘Arab, vol. 2, p. 211. He writes:
    التبرج إظهار المرأة زينتها ومحاسنها للرجال ، وتبرجت المرأة أظهرت وجهها ، وإذا أبدت المرأة محاسن جيدها ووجهها قيل تبرجت وترى مع ذلك في عينيها حسن نظر ، كقول ابن عرس في الجنيد بن عبد الرحمن يهجوه يبغض من عينيك تبريجها وصورة في جسد فاسد .
    وقال أبو إسحاق في قوله عز وجل : غير متبرجات بزينة ; التبرج : إظهار الزينة وما يستدعى به شهوة الرجل ; وقيل : إنهن كن يتكسرن في مشيهن ويتبخترن ; وقال الفراء في قوله - تعالى : ولا تبرجن تبرج الجاهلية الأولى ; ذلك في زمن ولد فيه إبراهيم النبي - عليه السلام - كانت المرأة إذ ذاك تلبس الدرع من اللؤلؤ غير مخيط الجانبين ; ويقال : كانت تلبس الثياب سلع المال لا تواري جسدها فأمرن أن لا يفعلن ذلك ; وفي الحديث : كان يكره عشر خلال ، منها التبرج بالزينة لغير محلها ; والتبرج : إظهار الزينة للناس الأجانب ، وهو المذموم ، فأما للزوج فلا ، وهو معنى قوله لغير محلها
  • 32. Ahmad Radi, Mu‘jam Maqa’is al-Lughah, vol. 1, p. 238
  • 33. Tahir Ahmadzadi, Tartib-u Qamis al-Muit, vol. 1, P. 24.
  • 34. Ibn Athir, Al-Nihayah, vol. 1, p. 113.
  • 35. Al-Furqan, vol. 22, p. 105.
  • 36. Qurtabi, Al-Jami‘ Li Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 14, p. 117.
  • 37. Al-Tafsir al-Munir, vol. 22, p. 10.
  • 38. Basa’ir, vol. 32, p. 217.
  • 39. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 2, Chapters on Adab al- Hammam, Chapter 52, p. 97, number 2.
  • 40. Ibid., Chapters on Muqaddamat al-Nikaah, Chapter 80, p. 160, number 1.
  • 41. Ibid., p. 161, number 4.
  • 42. Nishaburi, Muslim, Sahih, vol. 8, p. 203.
  • 43. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, Chapter 117, p. 211, number 5.
  • 44. Fadil, Javad, Masalik al-Afham, vol. 3, p. 288.
  • 45. Abi al-Su‘ud , Irshad al-‘Aql, vol. 6, p. 171.
  • 46. Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, vol. 5, p. 2859.
  • 47. Murtada Mutahhari, The Issue of Covering, p. 162.
  • 48. ‘Allamah Tabataba’i, Tafsir al-Mizan, vol. 16, p. 482.
  • 49. Nasir Makarim Shirazi, Tafsir-e Nemina, vol. 17, p. 289.
  • 50. Seyed Rida Paknejad, Awwalin Daneshgah wa Akharin Payambar (The first University and the Last Prophet), vol. 20, p. 282.
  • 51. Qurtaby, Al-Jami‘ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 14, p. 116.
  • 52. Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, vol. 5, p. 2859 (with slight changes).
  • 53. Suyuti, Al-Durr al-Manthir, vol. 5, p. 196.
  • 54. ‘Alqami al-Mashhadi, Kanz al-Daqa’iq, vol. 10, p. 371.
  • 55. Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 401.
  • 56. Shahid al-Thani, Dhikra al-Shi‘ah, vol. 3, p. 40 (with slight changes in translation):

    "وثالثها: الحرير المحض للرجل في غير الحرب والضرورة وعليه اجماع العلماء الاسلام وتبطل الصلاة فيه عندنا، لنهى الدال على فساد العبادة سواء كان هو الساتر للعورة او غيره والاخبار بتحريم لبسه متظافرة".

  • 57. Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi, Al-‘Urwat al-Wuthqa, Book of Prayer, p. 300:
    "الخامس: ان لا يكون من الذهب للرجال ولايجوز لبسه لهم في غير الصلاة ايضاً ولا فرق بين أن يكون خالصاً أو ممزوجاً...".
  • 58. Muhammad Javad Muqni‘ah, Al-Fiqh ‘ala al-Madhahib al-Khamsah, Book of Prayer, pp. 94-95 (with slight changes).
  • 59. Shaykh Hurr ‘Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 4, Book of Prayer, Chapters on Cloth of One Who Prays, Chapter 11, p. 369, number 5.
  • 60. Ibid., p. 368, number 3.
  • 61. Ibid., p. 369, number 7.
  • 62. Ibid., Chapter 20, p. 412, number 1.
  • 63. Ibid., p. 413, number 4.
  • 64. Ibid., p. 414, number 5.
  • 65. Ibid., p. 415, number 9.
  • 66. Ibid., Chapter 16, p. 380, number 5.
  • 67. Ibid., Chapter 12, p. 371, number 1.
  • 68. Ibid., Chapter 13, p. 374, number 4.