Introduction: A Muslimah's Guide to Dress For Muslimah
The Muslim woman's dress is a means of protecting herself and covering her beauty and, in turn, protecting society. To be recognized as a respectable female, the dress has been enjoined upon her. Protecting her chaste, pure, and one who follows the laws of Allah (God) in all aspects of her life. It is not a new invention but dates back to Adam's time (peace be upon him).
Hijab is Not A Just Headscarf or Fashion Item
Dear Muslimah, you probably already know that hijab is not merely a headscarf or fashion item. Hijab is an act of worship, and it is more than beautification and elegance. Hijab is a command from Allah (SWT), and it must be followed by all Muslims. Hijab is an Islamic obligation, and all believing Muslimahs should do their best to follow Islam in all aspects of life, including the dress code.
Muslimah Has An Islamic Obligation To Be Modest and Pure
Modesty is one of the most important things to consider when choosing Muslim clothing.
The Quran, God's final revelation to humanity, teaches us that modesty is an Islamic obligation for both men and women: "And tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be mindful of their chastity. This will be most conducive for their purity." (Quran 24:30-31)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Islam's most beloved Messenger, taught his companions that modesty is a branch of faith. The Prophet said: "Faith [Eemaan] has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the uppermost of which is Laa Ilaaha Illallah [There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah] , and the lowest of which is removing harmful things from people's path; and Modesty...is part of faith." (Al-Bukhari)
In other words, modesty—one aspect of a Muslimah's dress—is an integral part of our spiritual lives as believers.
The Faith Factor: What does Islamic Faith require of you?
Now it's time to talk about modesty. The Islamic faith requires us to dress modestly. This means that we need to cover our beauty from non-mahram men (men who are not related by blood or marriage). This also means that we should not show our beauty to such men.
Muslimahs need to remember why these rules were made in the first place: because Allah wants us to feel good about ourselves. Therefore, Allah wants us to be treated with respect. Knowing that someone is not only interacting with us objectively but also appreciating our inner qualities rather than merely lusting after our outer ones.
The Style Factor: What is your style?
It is essential to know your style and how you want it to reflect on your Outer Body.
Do you see yourself as a modern person or a more traditional one? Or maybe you want an eclectic look that combines elements of both worlds?
The answer will determine the clothes you choose and the shopping places. If you are modern-minded, go for clothes that best represent this outlook. But keep in mind that modest dressing is still required.
The Environment and Lifestyle Factor
You need to consider the environment you are in and your lifestyle. For example, if you are a working woman, you may need to go back and forth between your home and the office or between your home and other places.
In some countries, people do not even have a separate workplace; they work from their homes! And in some Muslim countries, you can dress differently depending on which city/town/village you live in. For example, in one country I know of, people wear trousers if they live in the countryside but wear dresses in large cities like Cairo or Alexandria.
If working from home is an option for you (and if it is not now, then maybe it will be later), then that means that most of the time, your clothing choice might be limited to what you wear at home only!
This does not mean that we should neglect our appearance at home. How often have we heard of women dressed up nicely because they were going somewhere special with their spouses?
Of course, this is good advice and necessary to keep love alive in relationships, but why not make ourselves look nice all the time?
The Age Factor
Age is one of the significant factors in determining how to dress. Being a teenager or an adult would require different dressing styles. Teenagers have their insecurities and peer pressure, whereas adults have more sense of dressing up as they are needed to be confident with themselves as much as possible.
Teenagers keep trying different things, which makes them go haywire. Still, adults know what suits them, thus giving them the confidence to carry garments with any color or texture.
Thus, older women should not wear long clothes but stick with fabrics that flow easily and exhibit movement.
Dress For Muslimah Requirements
- 1st Requirement: Parts of the Body to Be Covered
The first requirement is to cover all of the "Awrah" or private parts. The Awrah for men and women differs slightly. A woman's Awrah is from her navel to her knees, including her chest. A man's Awrah is from his navel to his knees.
The face and hands are not considered Awrah and can be shown in public, even in front of males who are not Mahrams for you (those marriageable). The feet are also considered Awrah to some school of thought within Fiqh (Mazhab).
- 2nd Requirement: Looseness
To cover all of the body properly, clothes must not be too tight to the point where one can see the body's shape. Hence, loose-fitting clothes are encouraged.
Wearing pants is OK if they are not tight. So you can wear trousers, jeans, or another type of pants but avoid wearing the tight ones where a woman's figures are clearly outlined – such as leggings and yoga pants.
It is important to note that this does not apply to any type of loose clothing but only to those with a more modern cut.
- 3rd Requirement: Thickness
- The clothes are not tight and do not show the body's shape, such as the breasts.
- The clothes should not be transparent.
Prophet Muhammad once warned that in later generations, there would be people "who are dressed yet naked."
Thin clothes are immodest for both men and women. The clothing must be thick enough so that the color of a person's skin underneath is not visible, nor the shape of their body.
- 4th Requirement: Overall Appearance
For the overall appearance of the Muslim woman to be decent, she should not wear flashy clothes that attract attention. In addition, her dress should not be tight or form-fitting and should neither highlight nor reveal her figure.
Furthermore, it is impermissible for a woman to wear clothes worn by men or imitated by men. This applies both at home and outside the home.
- 5th Requirement: Not Imitating Other Faiths
The Qur'an commands: O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness - that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami stated in his work, "Al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya," that it is one of the conditions of Islamic dress in general and hijab specifically that they should not resemble the dress of any other faith's followers. Likewise, it is also prohibited for men to wear anything similar to women's attire or vice versa.
The issue here is what do we mean by imitating other faiths? Is it within a specific culture like abaya? Or for Baju Kurung for the Malay Muslim in South East Asia?
- 6th Requirement: Decent But Not Flashy
The clothes are clearly not flashy, showy, or fancy. They are also not too colorful or attractive as they will attract the attention of the opposite sex. The clothes should also not be too bright to make the eyes uncomfortable to look at them. In essence, a Muslimah's dress must not attract any attention from anyone other than her husband because Allah SWT has commanded her to do so in Quran 33:59.
- 7th Requirement: The Clothes Are Not Perfumed With Fragrances That Excite Desires
No trace of scent, perfume, or fragrance on your clothes. Aromas that excite desires are not allowed. Only scents that make you smell nice cover your body odor.
Some scholars even prohibit the use of shampoo or soap with fragrance.
No one is excused from this rule, even if the fragrance was accidental or washed thoroughly after being perfumed with a prohibited scent (if it still smells nice).
- 8th Requirement: Avoid A Mixture of Male and Female Clothes
Avoid a mixture of male and female clothes. Women should wear items made for them, and men should wear items made for them. This includes clothing, headgear (hats), perfume, and shoes.
With the trend of accepting LGBTQ nowadays among us, this is more true than ever before.
We Need To Dress Well and Have Good Behavior
There's a debate in society about someone who is covering her Awrah but has terrible behavior, morals, or manner. They are far worst than someone who isn't covering her Awrah but has good morals. I shouldn't cover my Awrah as long as I have good manners.
Although good manners and behavior are demanded in Islam, it is not an excuse to not cover your Awrah. Don't be fooled by this temptation by Satan to lead you astray.
Many Muslimahs (aka moms, sisters, daughters, and wives) in our community would benefit from reading this guide.
It is time for us to take a stand, be proactive, and teach our children the best behavior. Being good Muslims is about being kind to each other, but it's also about being good people.
Our community needs strong Muslimahs who are ready to educate and provide guidance for their children and their friends, family, and neighbors.
It is crucial as a Muslimah to have good behavior. The way you speak, attitude, and act will show people what kind of person you are. When people see that you are wearing the hijab, they will think that you are a good person and Islam is the right religion. Therefore, you must be sure that your behavior does not make people think negatively about Islam because of your actions.
Is Islamic Clothing Restrictive?
Islamic clothing is not restrictive. The requirements of Islamic dress are not a burden upon us. Instead, they are a blessing from Allah (SWT).
They are a protection for our faith and our dignity as women. They serve as a sign to others that we believe in modesty and chastity - and that we have respect for ourselves, our bodies, and the people whose company we keep.
Takeaways: A Muslimah's Guide to Dress For Muslimah
My beloved sisters, we are the generation for whom Jannah (Paradise) was promised. We don't want to enter Jannah wearing anything less than a jilbab, hijab, or khimar (head shawl). So let us begin today to work on our ikhlaas in adorning our Awrah just as our righteous predecessors did. Let us choose correctness over comfort. By Allah (God), let us not live on this earth less than the honorable women of paradise.
In conclusion, Muslimah's dress is not just a physical covering. Still, it is a means of protection and modesty in Dunya (life) and Akhirah (Afterlife).