Clothing conforming to Islam VS the myth of Islamic clothing

There is no doubt that traditional attire in the lands of the Muslims is beautiful and should be maintained. However, many Muslims hold unjustifiable (at worst) or accepted (at best) opinions and try to shove them down the throats of others as the golden truth.

You have the Pseudo-Sufis who literally wear turbans with sandal pins (‘of the Prophet’) on their heads (and even cover their places of worship with it!) and constantly rant about how their evil boogeyman, the ‘Najdi-Vahhabis’, have abandoned wearing the holy turban (not true, meany Atharis wear Turbans in lands were turbans are traditional like Mauretania, Sudan, Yemen, etc.).

On the other hand, you have some Salafis/Atharis who almost equate wearing a turban/Shalwar Qamis with being from Ahlul-Bid’ah. They often wear and prefer modern-day Saudi/Khaliji attire over other attire. It is undoubtedly a country transcending phenomenon that one can observe.

The truth is: generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with wearing ANY type of clothing as long as they abide by Islamic norms (not tight, covering the ‘awrah, etc.). There are narrations in praise of the turban but all of them have defects.

The Prophet (ﷺ) himself dressed like the people (polytheist Arabs) of his time (minus prohibited aspects of course). He never wore a specific type of clothing for the sake of ta’bbud (worship), these are (paraphrased) the powerful words of Ibn ‘Uthaymin (rh) that are based on the nass (text) of the religion and sound reasoning. So, anybody who claims that there is a divine reward in wearing certain attire needs to provide evidence, the burden is upon the claimant.

Turbans, Thobes, Shmaagh, Shalwar Qamis, Izar, etc. and various types of trousers (especially wide ones, like Kurdish ones) are all permissible and the natural result of their environments, for why would a sane Kurdish Muslim constantly dress like a man in Riyadh and vice-versa? It doesn’t make sense at all, it could be even haram:

Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “He who wears Libas al-Shuhrah in this world will be dressed in humiliating clothes on the day of judgment.” (narrated by Ahmed & Abu Dawood, confirmed sahih by Al Albani in Sahih Al-Jami’ 6526)

Libas al-Shuhrah: lit. dress of high repute, i.e. to show-off or as a status symbol

The scholars also refer to Libas al-Shuhrah as any attire that significantly differs from that of the people of a land. For example, an Arab suddenly starting to dress like an Afghan in his Arab homeland where Arabs wear Thobes. This can be considered Shuhrah (not so for the Afghan or Pakistani shopkeeper, as he is clearly a foreigner i.e. he doesn’t raise any eyebrows).

So this hukm comes with tafasil (detailed like everything else in the religion, so always consult scholars and don’t rush in your judgment, I am just mentioning the basic framework of the rule.

As for the West: I’ve read some Fatawa where it is encouraged to wear the traditional attire that can be found in Muslim lands in the lands of the Kuffar. It is often argued that this serves the purpose of being recognised as a Muslim and distinguish oneself from the Kuffar. I personally never warmed up to this opinion and don’t see it being backed by strong proofs for the same fatawa that advocate such views do acknowledge that Libas al-Shuhrah should be avoided in Muslim lands.

Anyways, in some western countries (or parts of them, definitely in the UK) wearing traditional ‘Islamic’ attire wouldn’t amount to the prohibited practice of Libas al-Shuhrah for the practice of wearing such clothing (like Thobes, Shalwar Qamis) is very common and known in society (unlike in other European countries). This is why some Muslims and scholars who reside in the West do wear thobes etc. Which is fine.

The problem starts if people look down on others when they choose NOT to wear traditional attire. Little do they know that it is an absolutely legit view to hold, plus, whatever people wear today (and you see in movies about the Sahabah) is far from the actual clothing that those great men used to commonly wear.

The worst bid’ah with regards to clothing is that of the Rafidah (and some Sufis) who have invented clerical attire that is literally designated for a specific class of society i.e. the clergy. This is an ugly bid’ah taken from other polytheists like the Church, etc., and started during the Safavid take-over of Persia (when modern-day Iran was forced from a majority Sunni country into a majority Rafidi Shia one). On top of that bid’ah they innovated the nonsense of designating the colour black (and thus black turbans) to the ‘descendants’ of the Prophet (ﷺ) so-called ‘Sayeds/Syeds’ and white for people with non-royal blood (so to speak).

A bid’ah unknown to Islam, the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt and Sahaba. All of them wore turbans in various colours without, usually with tails (unlike the Rafifah and their Sikh-like Turbans).

Al-Hamdulillah, the Sunni world by large (except some institution like Azhar that with its greatness was nonetheless founded and influenced by Isma’ili Rafidis) have not fallen into this bid’ah, thus you will find the Imam of a Mauretanian, Sudani, Hijazi, Najdi, Yemeni, Afghani, Pakistani, heck even Iranian Sunni congregation dressed just like the people behind him. 

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