The Sunnah dress for a Muslim woman

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Fatwa ID: 01650

Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah


The Sunnah dress for a Muslim woman



The following conditions constitute a sunnah dress for a Muslim woman.

  • Hijab and Niqab.

The awrah (nakedness) of a woman in front of a non-mahram (those with whom marriage is lawful) consists of the whole body except the face, hands and feet. (Raddul Muhtar p.531 v.9)

Niqaab (face cover) according to the scholars is not part of the awrah. However, wherever there is an apprehension of fitnah or temptation then it will be compulsory for a woman to cover her face.

Allahmah Ibn Abeedeen Shami raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) has said: (“A young woman will be prevented from exposing her face) not because it is part of the awrah, rather (for the fear f temptation.”) (Raddul Muhtar P.532 V.9)

Wearing the hijab or niqaab is compulsory upon every woman who is close to the age of puberty or has reached it.

Hijab means a screen or a curtain. In Shariah it means to completely cover one’s self from the view of the non-mahram. (With whom marriage is permissible)

In the Holy Quran Allah has said:

وليضربن بخمرهن علي جيوبهن

“They should draw their veils over their bosoms”

(Al-Noor v.31)

The word “Khummr” means veil. And the veil means a piece of cloth, which covers the face. (Al-Mawrid)

 In another verse Allah has stated:

يايها النبي قل للازواجك وبناتك ونساء المؤمنين يدنين عليهن من جلابيه 

“O’Nabi say to your wives, your daughters and the believing women that they should suspend over themselves the “Jilbaabs”.

Jilbaab is the outer sheet or cloak. At the time of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) this sheet was so large that two women would easily be covered by it. The women used to wear it in such a way that it would not reveal their shape.

Ibn-Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) has said that the word jilbaab means a woman should be wrapped, from her head to her feet and that her face, nose should be hidden-leaving only the eye uncovered to see the way.

  • The clothing’s should be loose

Muslim women should refrain from wearing revealing, transparent clothing that allows their bodies to become visible for all to see. 

Saaiduna Abu Huzaifah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “There are two types of the dwellers of Hell whom I did not see.  People having flogs like the tails of the Ox and they would be beating people with them and the women who would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would be inclined to evil and make their husbands incline towards it.  Their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side.  They would not enter paradise and they would not smell its odour, whereas its odour would be smelt from such and such distance.”   (Sahih Muslim p.205 v.2)

  • The clothing must cover our body adequately, which means those parts, which are cover worthy. Thus for a man it is from his belly button to his knees and for a woman it is her entire body except for her hands and face. These parts must never be exposed to any other person (except in genuine circumstances like in front of a doctor for medical treatment).
  • The dress should not be similar to what is known as a male costume. Saaiduna Ibn Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) cursed the men who imitates women and the women who imitates men.” (Sahih Bukhari p.874 v.2)
  • Women’s clothing should not attract men’s attention to them. It should not be shiny and flashy so that everyone notices the dress and the woman. Keeping the aforementioned principles in mind it is best that women do not wear bright coloured jilbaabs outside the house or in public functions where strange men’s gazes and looks may fall on them. There is nothing wrong in wearing bright clothing or beautiful clothing with the intention to please your husband at home. 

Similarly, women should not leave the house after applying strong perfume as again that can lead to her attracting a man’s attention. Saaiduna Abu Musa Al Ashari raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Any women who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.” (Sunan Tirmizi, Sunan Abu Dawud & Sunan Nasai)

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

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