The Issue of Isbaal According to the Qur'an & Sunnah by Dr Saleh-as-Saleh


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I have just taken this from a post in another thread but it really deserves a topic of its own. Just some key points from the book and May Allah have mercy upon Saleh-as-Saleh.

What is Isbaal?

Isbaal is to wear garments that extend below the ankles.

Is it Forbidden?

Yes, because the Prophet :saw: said:

"The part of the izaar (garment) which hangs below the ankles is in the fire"

(Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7 Hadeeth # 678)

However some hold the opinion that if you wear your garments below the ankle it is OK as long as it is not done with pride, conceit or arrogance. Is this argument true?

No, Because:

1) The threat of being punished by the hell fire because of wearing garments that exceeds the ankles is true and clear. (The punishable part is that which violates the command of the Prophet i.e. below the ankles. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr is of the opinion that the obvious literal meaning of the hadeeth holds ture, i.e. the clothers together with the part below the ankles will be in Hell as it is the case in the saying of AllahL

"Certainly! You (disbelievers) and what that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell.

(Qur'aan 21:98)

2) Several texts indicate that the Prophet :saw: was commanding the people to pull up their garments. The majority of the Muslim Scholars (Al-Jumhoor) agree that when the text is in the imperative form, it is intended for Tahreem (forbidding something), unless there is another authentic: evidence that indicates otherwise.

In one incident the Prophet :saw: sighted someone dragging his lower garment. He rushed to him and said:

"Pull up your Izaar and fear Allah".

The man said:

"I am an Ahnaf (a person afflicted with a distortion of the foot with each the other one along the big toe) person with trembling knees."

He (The Prophet) :Saw: said:

"Tug up your Izaar! Certainly, all of Allah's creation is good". Since then the man was no(t) seen except with his izaar touching the middle of his shins."

(Reported by Ahmad and others, and it satisfies the conditions and narration's set by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

It is clear that the Prophet :saw: did not question the man about whether he was doing it out of pride or arrogance. In fact it's clear that from the condition of the man that he did not think about arrogance! Nevertheless the Prophet :saw: did not accept his Isbaal and considered it to be incompatible with At-Taqwa (the fear of Allah).

The generalised prohibition of Isbaal is clear
in the saying of the Prophet . On one occasion he said to Sufyan bin Sahl:

"O Sufyan bin Sahl! Do not lower your garment below your ankles because Allah does not love the Musbileen (those who lower their garments below their ankles).

(Sahih ibn Majah, by Shaykh Naasir-ud-deen Al-Albani #2876)

Jaabir bin Saleem said that the Prophet :saw: told him:

".. And beware of the Isbaal of the Izaar because it is from Al-Makheelah (conceit, arrogance, etc.) and Allah does not live it.

(Silsilat Al-Ahadeeth As-Sahih, the series on the collection of authentic hadeeth, by Shaykh Al-Albani, hadeeth # 770.

One can notice that the underlined text is imperative form indicating the forbidding of Isbaal whether it is done out of Makheelah (conceit, arrogance, etc.) or not. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr, in his commentary about some of these Ahadeeth mentioned above, said, "The Isbaal mentioned in these Ahaadeth is a grave sin if it is done out of Makheelah (conceit, arrogance, etc.), otherwise the apparent meaning of the Ahaadeth indicates that it is forbidden.

4) The manifestation of the Ayah:

"...And whatsoever the Messenger gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it."

(Qur'aan 59:7)

It is known that the Thobe (long garment) of the most honourable of mankind Muhammad :saw: "was up to the middle of his shins".

(Reported by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee in Ash-Shamaa'il Al-Muhammdiyyah and by others. The hadeeth is authentic as reported by Waleed An-Nasr in his book Al-Isbaal Liqhayr Al-Khuyalaa', p. 15 second edition, 1411/1990 (publishers name is not mentioned. This is confirmed in the hadeeth in which Uthman (radiyAllaahu-anhu) reported "the lower garment of the Prophet extended to the middle of his shins". (Reported by At-Tirmidhee in Ash-Shamaa'il Al-Muhammadiyyah and Al-Albani authenticated it # 98.)

Who else is more humble than him? He knew that Isbaal necessitates Al-Makheelah (conceit, arrogance, etc.) even if the Musbil does not intend it. This is supported by the Hadeeth of Jaabir bin Saleem in which the Prophet made it clear that Isbaal is a manifestation of arrogance:

He commanded Jaabir bin Saleem saying:

"And tug up your Izaar up to the middle of your shinks, and if you dislike it, then up the ankles (i.e. up to the point above the ankles) and beware of Isbaal because it is arrogance."

(Silsilat Al-Ahadeeth As-Saheehah, hadeeth # 1109 and 1352.

Should one not therefore, abide by the command of Allah in the above ayah?

Isbaal by men is an imitation of women.

The Prophet forbade that men dress like women and vice versa. He said:

"Allah cursed the man dressed like a woman and the woman dressed like a man."

(Sahih Abee Dawood hadeeth #3454, Ibn Majah #1903, Sahih Al-Jaami As-Sagheer, hadeeth #5095, and others.

In fact Ibn Umar (radiyAllaahu-anhu) said that: "The Prophet said,

'the one who trails his Thobe out of Conceit, Allah (subhaanahu-wa-ta-aala) will not look at him on the Day of Judgement.

Umm Salamah (radiyAllaahu-anh) said:

"What should the women, O Messenger of Allah do with the lower ends of their dresses?

He said:

"they may let them hang down a span".

She said:

"Still their feet will be uncovered."

He said:

Then let then hang the ends down a forarm's length, not exceeding it."

(An authentic narration reported by Abu Dawood.)

(#3467 in Sahih Abee Dawood), An-Nasaa'ee (# 5336) and At-Tirmidhee (Saheeh At-Tirmidhee, # 1415) and Ibn Majah # 3580 & 3581.

Lowering the garments below the ankle is the code dress of women. Shaykh-ul-Islaam ibn Taymeeyah said:

"... the imitation (of others) in the outward appearances produces proportional assumption of the deeds and manners. That is why we are ordered to oppose the kuffar... and that is also why men and women are prohibited from imitating each other in accordance with the Ahadeeth:

"Whoever takes the similitude of certain people becomes one of them".

(Authentic hadeeth collected by Abu Dawood, Ahmad and other others. See As-Silsilah As-Saheehah V1,676.)

The man who imitates women acquires from their manners according to the extent of his imitation, such that by it he may end up in complete effeminacy.

The women who imitates men assumes part of their manners until she attains levels of Tabarruj (displaying beautification as a show to strangers. Displaying beautification to the husband is not Tabarruj.), Burooz (Showing off), and Mushaarakah (joining men in walks of like)) with men driving some of them to show their bodies as men do, demanding superiority over men, and doing whatsoever contradicts the bashfulness of women.

(Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taynmiyyah in AlFataawa (Arabic) V.22 p.254)

When Umar bin Khattab (radiyAllaahu-anhu) saw a man dragging his Izaar, he called upon him and said:

"Are you having your menses?"

The man replied:

"O Ameer Al-Mumineen! (Commander of the faithful) Does a man have menses?"

Umar said,

"What made you drag you izaar over you feet?" He then ordered a blade, folded (the lower ends of) the mans Izaar and cut what trailed below the ankles.

(This incident was narrated by Kharshah ibn Al-Hurr. The report is found in Waleed An-Nasr's book Al-Isbaal Liqayer Al-Khuyalaa', p.18, where he attributed it to At-Tabaree. It is reported in a summarised version of Abee Shaibah in his Musannah (V8, p393) with a Sahih isnaad, as An-Nasr said.)

Today we see that men are trailing their Izaar (thobe, trousers, pants etc) like women, while women wear clothers whose lower ends are well above the ankles! Some in fact above the knees! May Allah guide our men and women to abide by the commands of Allah and His Messenger :saw:.


Staff member
Isbaal and Prayers

You may have noticed some people tugging up their lower garments (especially pants) when they are about to start praying. They refer to a hadeeth reported in Abu Dawood in which is it said "Allah does not accept the prayers of a man trailing his lower garment". However the hadeeth is weak. Shaykh Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani said: "Its isnad is weak, because of Abu Ja'far, an unknown as Ibnul Qattan said, So, whoever authenticated its Isnaad is mistaken."

Having said the above, one should be aware that intending to pray in a state of Isbaal out of conceit, subjects the Musbil to a grave punishment from Allah. Abdullah bin Mas-oud said:

"I heard Allah's Messenger saying, 'Anyone who conceitedly trails his Izaar during prayers, Allah has nothing to with pardoning him and protecting him (from Hell or from bad deeds.)"

(Reported by Abu Dawood Volume 1, Book of Salaat, hadeeth #637. The narration is in At-Tabarani in Al-Mu'jum Al-Kabeer, V.9 p. 315. The checked said: it is authentic.)

Another came as Mawqoof (i.e. issued by Abdullah bin Mas'oud). It reads:

"The Musbil during prayer, Allah has nothing to do with pardoning him and protecting him (from Hell or from bad deeds.)

(Abu Dawood and At-Tayaalisee, V1, p. 352, Al-Baihaqee, V2 p432 (Book of Zuhd), Al-Haythamee in Mujma' Az-Azwaa'id, V5, p. 124 (He said: "At-Tabarani reported it and its narrators are trustworthy."), and Al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih Al-Jaami', hadeeth #5888. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said: "It was reported by At-Tabarani with a good Isnaad from Abdullah Ibn Mas'oud. An issue like this could not just be an opinion (i.e. of Abdullah Ibn Mas'oud)..."-Fathul Baaree, V10 p.257.

The Musbil, therefore should be aware that Isbaal is a great offence during prayers or at another other time. It should be also noted that the Prophet :saw: ordered that we should not make Kaft of our clothes or hair during prayers. Kaft is to draw, cluster, pile up, tuck up, or band clothes together before or during prayers to prevent their spreading. (see Ibn Al-Atheer in An-Nihaayah fee Ghareeb Al-Hadeeth, V4, P. 184.)

This would include, for example, to bring together and assemble the sides of one's thobe between the legs when one is about to enter the prayers or during Ruk'oo or Sujood, to pile up the ends of the head cover on the head or the shoulders, to tuck up the lower ends of the pants -

(This is not to be confused with tucking up then cutting off the trailing ends of the lower garments halfway to the middle of the shins or to an extent that it keeps the lower ends of the Thobe, pants, trousers, etc. above the ankles, even if the lower ends if within the recommended limits, it should not be tucked up at its end because that constitutes Kaft.)
- or the ends of the sleeves, etc. in the hadeeth narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas (radiyAllaahu-anhu), the Prophet said:

"I have been ordered (and this this Ummah) to prostrate on seven bones: the forehead (alon with the tip of the nose and he pointed towards his nose), both hands, both knees, and toes of both feet, and not to tuck up the clothes and the hair".

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, hadeeth # 774)


Staff member
What clothes are covered under the Laws of Isbaal?

When it comes to the issue of Isbaal for men, what matters is the length and not the kind of dress. Abdullah Ibn Umar reported that:

"Isbaal is the lower garment, Al-Qamees

(the shirt that covers the body halfway to the middle of the legs. Included in this category is the Moroccan **(hooded cloak); **(Jallaabiyah) (a loose shirt like garment, the common dress of males in Eqypt); ** Al-Abaa'ah (a cloak-like, woollen wrap, occasionally stripeed), and the like, Fathul Baaree V10 p260.)

and Turban, If anyone trails any of them conceitedly, Allah will not look at him on the day of Resurrection.

Ibn Hazm said describing the Musbil: "Isbaal generally covers trousers, lower garments, shirt and everything that people wear."

The Dress of Men

The Dress of Men is governed by the following legislation's:

1) It is forbidden if it extends below the ankles. The Musbil is under the threat of punishment in Hell.

2) Isbaal itself is Makheelah (conceit, arrogance, etc.)

3) If the Musbil intends conceit and arrogance, Allah will not look at him on the day of Judgement.

4) Isbaal is not confined to the lower garments. It covers the cloak, robe, pants, trousers, turban, sleeves, etc.

5) The person who does not intend Isbaal and his lower garments hangs low out of his control, is not a Musbil.

6) The recommended length of the lower garment is halway to the middle of the shinks and permissible up to the ankles.

7) It must not resemble the kuffar.

8) It must not be for fame.

9) It must not resemble that of women.

10) It must not be loose enough that the private parts are not described.

11) It must not contain forbidden pictures (human and animal life), or material, the essence of which is a disagreement with Islaamic Principles, including the imitation of the Kuffar.

12) It is forbidden to wear pure silk.

13) Wearing golden rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. is forbidden.

Note: You may have heard a great deal of arguments about the subject of Isbaal at your mosque. I hope that Allah, Most High, has given me the ability to clarify this matter and that he guides you and I to hold to the sunnah to stay away from our desires.

May Allah have mercy upon Dr Saleh-as-Saleh.

Walaykum Salam