Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: My friend’s husband sometimes walks about in pyjama pants with a short shirt. These pyjama pants are tight-fiting. She is uncomfortable that he walks around like that in front of their daughters, and that he prays like that too. She has asked him to wear longer shirts to cover, but he gets mad at her.
Is she too sensitive?
Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward your friend for being a woman of modesty. Your friend’s concerns do have a basis in Sacred Law.
According to the Shafi‘i madhab, the nakedness of a man is between his navel and his knees [Reliance of the Traveller, f5.3].
(A: It is offensive for men to wear tight clothing that discloses the size of the parts of their body which are nakedness (def: f5.3), and this is unlawful for women.) [Reliance of the Traveller, f17.1]
As described above, it is offensive for your friend’s husband to wear tight clothes.
Please refer to the following excerpts for more information on clothing a man’s nakedness in prayer:
It is recommended for a man to pray in his best clothes, and to wear an ankle-length shirt
and a turban (O: and a shawl over head and shoulders, a mantle, and a wraparound or
loose drawers (N: under the ankle-length shirt)). If he does not wear all of these, it is
desirable to wear two, namely the ankle-length shirt with either the mantle, the
wraparound, or the loose drawers. [f5.7]
If only wearing enough to clothe one’s nakedness, one’s prayer is valid, though it is
recommended to place something on one’s shoulders even if only a piece of rope.
If one does not have clothes but is able to conceal part of one’s nakedness, one must
cover the front and rear private parts. If only one of these two can be covered, it must be
the front. If one has no clothes at all, then one performs the prayer without clothes and
need not make it up later. [f5.8]
There is the letter of the law, and there is the spirit behind it. Prayer is a daily act of humbling oneself before one’s Creator. It would be disrespectful to show up to a respected elder’s home in pyjamas; imagine standing before one’s Sustainer in that state.
Children learn so much from just watching their parents. If your friend’s husband wants his daughters to adorn themselves with virtues like dignified restraint and modesty, then it would be prudent for him to be a good role model. Modesty begins inwardly, and flows outwardly.
Encourage your friend to keep making dua for her husband, and for her to be the good example for her daughters. Encourage them to attend circles of knowledge and recite the Qur’an frequently. A stronger connection to Allah is often the most effective way to remedy any difficulty in life.
What is Modest Clothing for Men and Women?
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.