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Useful Note on Tight Clothing

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Useful Note on tight clothing
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In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

salaam alaikum ikhwani

If what follows bores you just skip to the bottom two paragraphs.

Wearing coats or jackets is decent anyway, even to Westerners.

Another matter is this, traditionally even in the west, standards of modesty, decency, and decorum have always dictated that men, or gentlemen at least, wear an outer covering over the shirt and trousers. Western, especially Anglo-American, dress codes always dictated that a man wear a coat or jacket, at all times, its weight being a function of the weather and climate. An 18th or 19th century gentleman would never be seen without Frock Coat, or Morning coat, or Justacorps, depending on the era, and time of the day. OVER this went the overcoat.

Now, this is important, the Western coat came from the Muslims anyway (so why do brothers have problems wearing suits?). The Jubba was imported into the west during the Crusades (the word itself survives as “jumper”, somehow some of them evolved into women’s skirts and these skirts became anglicized as “Jumper” instead of Jubba, but I stray from the point). The Jubba and similar garbs were often padded and quilted and used underneath mail armor, but sometimes worn on the outside as well (see the costume of the character ‘Boromir’ in the new movie Lord of the Rings for an example of a similar garment).

Westerners did not wear coats, rather they wore tunics, or the gown was worn, and a mantle of some sort over the kit, the Coat was an import of the crusades.

Now it went from being, essentially, pretty padded armor, sometimes stylishly worn outside of armor or in court, to exclusively being an outer garment, its origin anyway, for the Jubba was originally a cloak amongst the Arabs and Muslims and evolved into a coat like garb by the middle ages (as today). It was lengthened, and then shortened, and lengthened again, and became the doublet or pourpoint, and the Cotehardie, and also other similar garbs. The doublet essentially evolved into the Suit jacket, through many stages and steps so boring that they shall be omitted here, and it also evolved into a cassock into a coat. The point is that the Jubba was the precursor of all Western coats. The Cotehardie also evolved into the coat or jacket.

Cotehardies sometimes resembled dresses or gowns, but most often resembled the latter pourpoint, which resembled a hindustani Sherwani or Achkan a bit.

Until very recently, the 1960s and 70s, there existed a complex coat and overcoat etiquette. Much of it was, is, silly, but under it all were a few concepts that are very interesting.

One, a man should not be seen without coat or jacket, indoors or outdoors, it had nothing to do with the weather, with buildings being colder back then than today, for people wore the bloody things in the Summer as well.

The shirt was originally an undergarment in modern Western culture. Look at old paintings, everyone wears a waistcoat/vest, and a coat or jacket over it. Or in older paintings a jerkin of some sort and doublet, or a vest/waistcoat and a Justacorps, etc., etc.

It was considered almost INDECENT in the 19th century to walk around in your shirt without a coat or jacket, certainly a sign of “low breeding”, etc., etc. In the 18th century it was not considered almost indecent, it WAS indecent. Just as it was coarse for a man to go without a hat, just as in the East going without qalansuwa, or at the least a kufi or taqiyya (the araqiyya, which is actually an undercap, those kufis were originally worn under a larger Qalansuwa like the way Libyans still wear them under their Chachia/tarabish), and preferably araqiyya, with qalansuwa over it, with a turban over it.

So in the West a man had no tarbush or kufi or turban, but he did have a hat, and no gentleman would parade in the streets bare headed. However indoors the etiquette was to remove it, and to remove the outer coat, but to leave the inner coat, a frock or suit jacket, on and buttoned. Or if unbuttoned with at least a buttoned up vest.

The systematic deconstruction of ideas of etiquette and decorum and decency have shown us that such are essentially subjective and culturally dependent, true South Sea Islanders do not wear, by and large, thobes, djelabas, or frock coats. It is. however, the *ideas* of decency and etiquette that was then deconstructed and this is a dangerous thing.

Coats cover your butt. Even today, the proper cut of a suit coat is supposed to cover your bottom. In Edwardian and Victorian times the cut was a bit lower, since the frock coat and morning coat essentially was a 3/4 cut, suit coats (back then called sack coats o’er here in the US of A — and Brooks Brothers still calls ’em this– or lounge coats in england) were not usually 3/4 in length but were often a little longer than today.

Two, the coat or jacket should be buttoned up, even while sitting. This dropped as an informal air spread through Western culture, but look at old and stuffy European aristocrats today, they tend to keep their jackets buttoned 🙂

Three, you wear what we Americans call a Vest (a silly french word, the English call’em waistcoats) that is kept buttoned. You do not, however, button the bottom button of the vest because King George was a bit obese, and a bit slobbish, and habitually left the bottom or couple bottom buttons of his waistcoat unbuttoned.

There are many other rules, you only button the top button of a four button jacket, or the top two perhaps, you never button the bottom button of a suit coat, blah, blah.

Much of this, today, is often ignored. Some of the rules still stick.

Some of the prep schools brothers on this list might have something to say on this. The point is that such ideas, while “old fashioned” are compatible with Islamic ideals and can be used by Muslims.

In BOTH the West and East it was considered indecent for a man to parade about with his butt uncovered by outerwear. Even in Europe when that horrid practice of wearing tight breeches was in vogue (thankfully they stopped wearing cod pieces eventually) often the doublet was just long enough to cover the butt, unless one was a young dandy walking about to impress “ladies”. (the idea of men in tights or hose is incredibly absurd…)

Now, coming back to today, just wear a jacket, problem partially solved. Men’s trousers are usually of looser cut, excepting the ultra high fashion stuff because homosexual designers like tight pants so your Dolce and Gabbana or Calvin Klein slacks or trousers will tend to make you look gay. Which is a reason, after all, why you should not wear them in the first place. But most corduroy trousers are loose, get pants that are “relaxed fit” or “looser fit” and wear a nice sport coat or jacket over it. Hip-Hop fashions have influenced the fashion industry into using looser cuts.

European coats are cut too tight for me, Americans like, or used to like, looser jackets. The so-called “sack suit” is called a sack suit because it fits a man like a potato sack. It is loose, comfortable, and not indecent. It also lends gravitas, or izzat, to you, and Muslims should be grave people, not stuffy but we should certainly have an air of dignity around the kuffar. And if you wear a Long cut instead of a regular cut in your jacket it will cover your butt without a doubt, and fulfill modesty requirements in prayer Insha’Allah. Or get a jubba tailored, apart from being identifiably Muslim garbs the aesthetic that the Jubba embodies is compatible with Western ideas, which might serve well in dawa. Modern jubas are very much like Western overcoats, and actually have a clerical or sacerdotal air to them, a Westerner thinks “Priest” when he sees a jubba. They look sort of like cassocks, and nowadays the only people who wear cassocks are priests.

As for wearing clothing of the Kuffar, the blessed Rasulullah (saws) wore a Roman Jubba, this is documented in the hadiths. Shalwar were Persian, but he (saws) had a pair (though he(saws) is not recorded to have worn one). Indo-Pakistani Shalwar Kamis are different from Nigerians of Shalwar (the Hausa do wear them) and Qamis (and they call both by different names), or Yemeni ‘izzars and thobes, or Omani thobes. The essence is Modest dress and it is mustahab to be visibly identifiable as a Muslim, but if you walk down new york with an Omani turban and izzar shirtless you will be a spectacle, this is an essentially Muslim method of dress, many of our brothers in hadramaut have lovely pashmina or wool turbans and bright izzars (lungi) and no shirt, historically the Arabs there have dressed in such a way for a long time, but this would create a spectacle in Bukhara. The essence is modest dress within the ‘urf and adat of a people. And a nice loose pair of trousers from K-mart is as cheap as a tight pair of jeans, and a nice shirt and tweed jacket over it is modest. And Allah knows best.

Gravitas is a Muslim trait, not taken to extremes of course, but we ain’t lightheaded folks.

“The great object is that every man be armed and everyone who is able may have a gun.” –Patrick Henry

” Eastern despotisms have arrived nearer the idea of equality and fraternity than any republic yet invented.” -Sir Richard Francis Burton, 1886

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.