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Is Decent Western Clothing Wrong for a Muslim Woman?

15 June, 2019
Q Asslam-o-Alaikum! I have a question about clothing. I normally wear pants and shirts which are not included in the traditional clothes (shalwar kameez) in my country so people often tell me not to wear pants etc. I did only a little bit research and there is this one Hadith which says that the women who seem naked even if they are clothed will not enter paradise and wont even smell its fragrance. My question is that is pants and shirts (western clothing) wrong? And one more question of mine is that a person says prayers, she fasts, she has good manners and akhlaq, like she follows almost every saying of Allah (Haquq-ul-Ibad and Haquq-ul-Allah) and all that. Will she still not enter paradise? If she wont then doesn't clothing become equal to murder as it will nullify every good deed? I know Islam is right. I am just too confused. I hope you clear my confusion. Salam.


Short Answer: Dress is conventional according to one’s environment. Dress in one country differs to that in another country according to climate and culture or tradition. Pants and shirts are acceptable, providing the shirts are not sleeveless or short-sleeved. Clothes should not be so tight fitting as to emphasize the figure nor transparent. Finally, only Allah knows who will enter Paradise.


Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Thank you sister for your question.

It is always a pleasure to respond to someone who is really trying to understand their religion and who wants to make sure their practice is correct.

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May Allah bless, help and protect you, Ameen.

There are three passages on DRESS CODE for Muslim women in the Quran: the first 7:26, the second 24:31 and the third 33:59

None actually specify what should be worn.

Dress is conventional according to one’s environment.

Dress in one country differs to that in another country according to climate and culture or tradition.

If dress is a cultural norm, and if you step outside the norm, you are likely to be criticized.

Muslim women are told to cover themselves except for that which is ordinarily on show.

Pants and shirts are acceptable, providing the shirts are not sleeveless or short-sleeved; as the requirement is to cover the arms to the wrists and the legs to the ankles.

There are other requirements which the hadith you mention refers to; that is, the clothes should not be so tight fitting as to emphasize the figure nor transparent.

Rather, the clothes should be loose fitting.

Hence, tight jeans and tank tops are definitely out.

So, what is permissible is a loose fitting covering to the wrists and ankles (with a high neckline) and which does not emphasize the figure.

An Important Hadith

Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“There are two types of people who will be punished in Hell and whom I have not seen: men having whips like the tails of cows and they will be beating people with them, and women who will be dressed but appear to be naked, inviting to evil; and they themselves will be inclined to it. Their heads will appear like the humps of the Bactrian camel inclined to one side. They will not enter Jannah and they will not smell its fragrance which is perceptible from such and such a distance.” (Muslim)

The first type of people mentioned in the hadith are “people who have whips like the tails of oxen with which they beat people unjustly”.

And the second type which relates to your question are “women who are dressed yet appear to be naked. They are inclined to evil and invite to It”.

This description has been interpreted as they are clothed with the favors of Allah but naked of gratefulness for these favors.

This is also interpreted as meaning that they cover part of their body while exposing other parts of their body and the like; and women will wear see-through and transparent clothing in such a manner that the color of their body will be visible.

They are inclined to evil and invite to it”: It was said: They incline away from the obedience of Allah and whatever they are obliged to keep, and they teach others to do their evil acts.

They walk with a proud swagger, tilting (inclining) their shoulders and, they style their hair in an inclined hairdo, and they style the hair of others in the same way.

Their heads will be like the humps of Bactrian camels” means they enhance the volume of their hair or wrap it with a turban or the like.

They do not enter Paradise and they will not smell its scent”, the scholars interpreted it as meaning that they will not enter Paradise and they will not smell its scent when the pious and chaste women enter it and smell its scent; but it does not mean that they will never enter it.

Or, it means that the ones who consider doing so to be lawful, will not enter it; or it is meant to deter them from doing so; or, they will not smell its scent even if they do eventually enter it.

Who Will Enter Paradise?

Only Allah knows who will enter Paradise.

However, Allah has told us the only sin He will not forgive is that of shirk, that is, associating something or someone with Allah.

Regarding punishment and Hell: first, if we commit a sin we should sincerely repent (make tawbah) and, preferably, cover it with a good deed as soon as we remember; but definitely in this life.

Tawbah requires us to admit we have committed a sin, to ask forgiveness from Allah for that sin, to make restitution (give back if something was taken or apologize to the person if we spoke ill of them behind their back), to promise never to repeat the sin and to ask Allah to keep us from such situations in the future.

Allah will forgive us if we are sincere.

Sins can be grouped into major sins (which include murder) and minor sins (which include disobeying Allah); the punishment is not the same for both types of sin.

There is no way they should be equated.

In general, Muslims may go straight to Jannah / Paradise after judgment or, they will spend different times in the different levels of Jahannam / Hell before entering Jannah.

Allah in His Mercy will decide and we pray that we will be in the first group and Allah knows best.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please stay in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Hijab And Inferiority Complex: Setting Myself Free

How Did I Overcome My Hijab Challenges?

About Daud Matthews
Daud Matthews was born in 1938, he embraced Islam in 1970, and got married in Pakistan in 1973. Matthews studied physics and subsequently achieved Chartered Engineer, Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Management.He was working initially in physics research labs, he then moved to computer management in 1971. He lived and worked in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1997 first with the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran,and then with King Saud University in Riyadh. He's been involved in da'wah since 1986.