In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
In his response to the question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), states:
I grew up in India and I heard the same thing from some people that the neckties represent the Christian Cross and Muslim should never wear them.
When I went to England for my studies, I had a chance to visit the British Museum. I went to see some of the old clothing styles of the British people. I saw that in old days men used to put a handkerchief around their necks.
Perhaps buttons were not available to them or were not produced yet, and because they were living in the cold weather they had to protect their necks. Later the same handkerchiefs were developed into neckties.
My observation was confirmed when I read an article in the Encyclopedia Britannica on this subject. The author says: “The simplification and standardization of men’s dress in the late 19th and early 20th centuries made the cravat the necktie worn by men today.” (1970 edition, vol. 6, p. 704)
Thus, neckties have nothing to do with the Christian Cross. They are part of the Western dress. If someone does not want to wear the Western dress, then he should not wear Western style shirts, coats, and also pants. There is no reason to single out the necktie. Christians themselves do not consider the necktie as the symbol of cross. Christian priests and clergymen do not wear neckties; they wear round collars and then wear crosses in their necks.
Neckties are nowadays worn universally by people of all faiths and of no faith. There is nothing wrong in wearing Western dress as long as it fulfills the basic requirements of Islamic dress code.
Similarly, there is nothing wrong about neckties unless they are made of pure silk. Although there are some jurists who do not consider it forbidden to have a small amount of silk or a small amount of silken material in men’s clothing, it is still better to avoid pure silken ties, in obedience to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who told us that men should not wear gold and silk.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.