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What Is Considered Modest for Women in Women-Only Gatherings?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


I want to marry a girl from a different culture, as I am from an Indian household. She wears a hijab, prays, and is modest. However, she shows her body off at female events, twerking and belly dancing. Is this permissible? She reassures me that all girls do this.

She also discusses sex with her friends. Isn’t the point of being modest to be modest with your words, actions, and dress, privately and publicly, even around the same gender?

How can I convince her to be modest without upsetting her? She says my views are extreme as Islam allows this. I don’t have a sister, but I never heard of this behavior among my sisters-in-law and cousins.


May Allah reward you for wanting to marry a religious girl and complete half of your religion. The biggest issue here is cultural differences, but following Islamic principles must not be compromised.

Modesty Amongst Women

Although Islam permits uncovering amongst women, there are still guidelines that one should not forget. Here are some examples:

  • It is not permissible for women to wear tight clothing on what is between the navel and knees. This means skin-tight dresses are out.
  • It is not permissible to reveal skin from what is between the navel and knees. This means mini-skirts or transparent dresses are out.
  • Having tattoos or body piercings is not permissible because it imitates non-Muslims.
  • Twerking and belly dancing are not permissible amongst women.

True Beauty

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is never any obscenity in a thing, but it mars it, and there is never any modesty in a thing, but it adorns it.” [Ibn Maja]

The general spirit of women’s dress in a lady’s gathering should be one of beauty, simplicity, and modesty, not an imitation of a sleazy Parisian catwalk. Traditional Islamic cultures contain beautiful modest Islamic fashion, from Malaysian tunics and skirts to Pakistani shalwar kameez and Arabian dishdashas. Women should make an earnest call to regain and rediscover this Islamic couture.


You may have to compromise with her on these differences because she is not likely to change until she is much older. Discussing sex with friends is inappropriate and potentially sinful for young unmarried women. If you ask her to research what Islam says, she may see it your way. Or you may consider someone from your own culture who behaves more similarly to your relatives. You will have to decide if this is a deal-breaker.


Pray Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance to see if this girl is the right one for you. Ask her to pray it too. And make the Prophet’s advice (Allah bless him and give him peace) your number one priority. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, which applies to both genders, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or her piety. Select the pious, or your hands will be covered in dust!” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Please see these links as well:
Clothes of The People of the Land
A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra)
Wearing Western-style Women’s Clothing and Dressing Modestly
Women’s Attire in Private and Around Unmarriageable Relatives

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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