Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I have multiple inquiries on the topic of nakedness[awrah] in terms of clothes.
1) For most pants with zippers, such as jeans and khaki pants, a space between the zipper and the button exists where one could prospectively see what is below. Does this mean the awrah is uncovered? If so, then what can one do to cover the awrah? I have resorted to wearing thick wool pajamas under my jeans and khakis, as other pajamas are generally light enough to see the skin color under.
2) In terms of pocketed clothes, many pockets are made of a material that is very light, and one can definitely see the color of the skin if the pockets are put up against skn. I wear boxers under my pants all the time, but they do not go to the knee, so while from the “front” it would be hard to see the color of the skin, if one was to look from “above” they could see the skin color. What is the resolve for this? I understand that awrah is defined as covering the body except from the bottom, but does that mean that if one can see these parts of the body from above, then the awrah is uncovered? What about from the sides?
3) In terms of awrah from the sides, I have seen many people wear button down shirts without undershirts below. If one can see the skin from the sides in the space between buttons, then is awrah uncovered? What if they “smooth out” the shirt, and tuck it in so it is tightly held together, so the space exists but is covered by the tightly held together “halves” of the front part of the shirt? Then what happens if one wears an undershirt below? Most undershirts are definitely light enough to see the color of the skin.
4) Most shirts allow on to see the skin color if one stretches it a bit, and looks somewhat carefully, but not to such a degree where one has their eyes right next to it. When one normally wears the shirts, it is not particularly easy to see the color of the skin if the shirt is not very tight, but if the clothes are tight on the wearer, the skin color is more apparent. Is there a way to be able to determine what to do with clothes like these? Not buying them is not an option, as I already possess a lot of shirts like these from my childhood, but I do not know how to wear them Islamically.
5) For gym shorts, one cannot see the color of the skin easily under them, but for some strange reason one can see the features of the ground and surroundings without color. Is this a reason to be concerned about wearing them and praying in them?
6) For cargo shorts that cover the knee, on can see part of the bottom of the thigh from the front, below the knee from the part that hangs under the thigh when sitting down on a chair, and the rest is hidden mainly because of the darkness. Does this mean the leg is uncovered?
7) When sitting in prayer with shorts, part of the thigh is exposed sometimes, but it is only visible at the very bottom, so to see this part one would have to be directly under a praying person. Is this uncovered?
8) What if one prays behind an imam who’s awrah is not fully covered? Is just the imam’s prayer invalid or both parties’ prayer?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Covering the nakedness is straightforward. Don’t complicate it.
 The nakedness for a man is from below the navel to below the knee, from the front, back and sides.
 The sunna is to cover yourself with something loose, covering, and modest.
 If somebody were to look at you from a normal distance, and in a normal way, without seeing any part of your nakedness, you are fully covered.
 Potentiality is of no consideration.
 If you cannot see the colour of the skin from a normal distance, it is fine.
 The knee must remain covered at all times during the prayer, let alone the thigh.
 It is a condition for the validity of the prayer that one covers their nakedness. If the imam’s prayer is invalid, a fortiori the follower’s prayer is invalid.
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani