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Is it necessary for women to wear Abayas?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Assalaamu alaikum Mufti Sahib, due to the recent norms, many women have argued that the wearing of loose fitting pants and tops is permissible for Muslim women. In addition to this many state that it is not necessary to wear gowns or abayas. But sadly the modesty with which the Deen has prescribed for women is slowly deteriorating due to this new way of dressing. Can you please clarify this issue and state the correct dress code for a Muslim woman, and whether it is she is permitted to wear trousers and tops. Jazakmullah khair.

Wa Alaikum Assalaam,

الجواب و بالله التوفيق

The Shariah has fixed certain guidelines with respect to the clothing and wearing for women which are as follows:

  1. Women must wear such clothing which covers all the areas of the body which are essential to be covered.
  1. Tight-fitted clothing must not be worn where the physique of the woman becomes apparent.
  1. Thin clothing must not be worn where parts of the body become visible.
  1. A woman must not clothe herself with such clothing/wear which are known to be the wear of men. In other words, her wear must not be, or resemble the wear of men.
  1. A woman must not adopt such fashions in her wear which are known and understood to be the fashions of the non-Muslims or that which is directly linked to other religious groups.

Adopting such clothing/wear where these guidelines are followed, will be permissible for women. (Kitabul Fatawa, Vol.6, Pgs. 91; 95, Zam Zam Publishers, Karachi, 2008).

As such, if a woman does not wear a gown, but dresses herself with such clothing where all the above mentioned conditions are fulfilled, it will be permissible.

With respect to the loose fitting pants and tops, although they are loose, they still show the shape of the woman’s body to some extent. For this reason, a woman must not adopt this type of wear.

In the matter of dress and wear, the Holy Quran has guided believing woman to the ‘wear’ that is filled with modesty and goodness. By adopting this manner of dress, they will be seen as decent, moral, upright and righteous people. In this regard, the Holy Quran states:

‘O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.’ (Surah Ahzab, V.59).

In this verse, Allah Has commanded the Prophet (S.A.S) to tell his wives, daughters and all believing women to draw/throw their outer garment over their bodies. As explained by the Commentators of the Quran, the word ‘Jalabeeb’ (plural of Jilbaab), which is mentioned in the above verse and translated as ‘outer garments’ refers to a loose outer garment worn by women. From this, it is clearly seen that the Quran instructs women to have a loose outer garment over their bodies so that they will be properly well attired. The gowns/abayas that are worn fulfil this guideline, and Muslim women should adopt the wearing of these so that all the conditions regarding clothing/dress for women can be fulfilled.

And Allah Knows Best.

Mufti Waseem Khan.

5/10/16.

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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