When it comes to how Muslims dress, there are strict requirements and restrictions to adhere to. Many groups see these dress customs as controlling and degrading, particularly to women. Some countries have even tried to ban certain Islamic customs such as having to cover the face in public. That being said, most Muslims do not feel bitter about having these restrictions on how they dress. In fact, many of them regard the way they dress as a proud expression of their religion.
While there is no set standard on the style or type of clothing that Muslims have to wear, there are still requirements that every Muslim has to comply with. Keep in mind that the following requirements are only for when Muslims appear in public, not when they are at home with their families.
Specific Parts of the Body That Must Be Covered
For women, the body must be covered, especially the chest. The Quran requires women to draw their head-coverings over their chests, and the Prophet Muhammad calls for women to cover all parts of their body except for the face and hands. While most Muslims only wear head coverings, women from more conservative branches of Islam cover their entire body, including the face and hands. As for men, the area between the navel and the knee must be covered. However, a bare chest is also not favorable in situations where it attracts attention.
Clothing Must Be Loose Enough
Clothing must be loose enough so that the shape of the body will not be outlined. Both men and women are discouraged from wearing tight and body-hugging clothes. Many Muslim women wear a light cloak over their outfit to conceal the curves of their body. In most predominantly Muslim regions, men’s traditional dress is typically a loose robe that covers the entire body, from the neck to the ankles.
Clothing Must Be Thick Enough
See-through clothing is considered immodest for both men and women. The fabric of clothing must be thick enough that the color of the skin is not visible. It should also be thick enough to hide the shape of the body underneath as well.
The Overall Appearance Must Be Modest
Apart from meeting the above requirements, the overall appearance of both men and women must be modest. This means that flashy clothing that covers the entire body and is thick enough to conceal the body underneath may not be considered modest, and therefore discouraged.
Do Not Imitate People of Other Faiths
Islam encourages people of its faith to be proud of who they are. In other words, Muslims should be proud to be Muslims, which is why wearing clothing like people of other faiths is unfavorable. Women should embrace their femininity and not try to dress like a man, and men should be proud of their masculinity and not try to dress like a woman. This is precisely why Muslim men are prohibited from wearing feminine accessories such as silk or gold.
The Bottom Line
Islamic clothing is merely one aspect of modesty. The most important thing is to be modest in demeanor, speech, and appearance in public. Although these Islamic clothing customs are frowned upon by non-Muslims, they are not designed to restrict either men or women. As a matter of fact, Muslims who abide by these requirements do not feel restricted in any way. They find that wearing modest clothing is comfortable, and they often have no difficulty doing normal activities as well.
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