The Muslim Woman's Dress


La Ilaha Illa Allah
Staff member
Shaykh Nassir-uddeen al-Albani
Below, is an abridgement of the book "Muslim Women's Dress" by our Sheikh Nassir-uddeen al-Albani complied by Sheikh Mahmud Murad. Although the following provides the fiqh details of the dress of a Muslimah, the word "hijaab" itself needs to be understood. In Islam, a woman is commanded to cover her body and not show herself to strange men. Thus hijaab when applied to a Muslimah not o*!nly includes the physical dress, but also the manner of living in society (for example, staying at home, praying at home, not coming out of the house unless due to necessity etc.). So when we read these articles, it is to be kept in mind that the correct understanding of hijaab includes vieling of women by means of clothing as well as correct behaviour in society.


The outer garment worn in public must cover all of the body except the face and hands.

The outer garment must not be decorative itself or a means of beautification.

The outer garment must be thick and opaque so as to conceal the clothes worn.

Muslim women should not wear perfume in public.

The clothes of Muslim women should not resemble men's clothes.

The clothes of Muslim women should not resemble those of the disbelievers.

The clothing of Muslim women should not be ostentatious.


Praise be to Allaah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and upon his honourable Companions and those who have followed his example with piety.

This brochure has been prepared in response to a deterioration in the condition of Muslim women of this day and age, which is a consequence of the misconception that how a woman dresses is of little importance, as long as she performs her obligatory acts of worship. This misconception is not restricted to Muslim women in the West, but unfortunately is shared by many of their sisters in the East.

In the Glorious Qur'an, we are told:

"And let there arise out of you a nation inviting to what is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are the o*!nes who are successful." (3:104)

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri relates that he heard the Prophet say: "He of you who sees something wrong should correct it with his hand; if he is unable to do that, he should condemn it with his tongue; if he is unable to do that, he should at least resent it in his heart, and that is the lowest degree of faith." [Muslim]

It is clear that we must draw the attention of our Muslim sisters to the importance of wearing Islamic dress. This is not imposed upon us by the mere opinion of a scholar or a Sheikh. It is a Divine Command, and is necessarily in the best interest of the society of every age and place. In this we stand opposed to the opinion of some `modernists' who maintain that those living in a western society are justified in adapting to its norms and morals.

We believe that our religion is that which has been transmitted to us through the Prophet Muhammad , his Companions and our Pious Predecessors. A careful study of relevant Qur'anic ayah (verses) and ahaadeeth (Prophetic traditions), along with the works of our Pious Predecessors, will reveal a strict emphasis o*!n the need for women to observe modesty in their dress when they appear in the public by covering all their bodies and any ornaments or other means of beautification they might wear.

Allah the Exalted says in Surat an-Noor, ayah 31:

"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not show of their adornment except o*!nly that which is apparent, and draw their veils over their (necks and) bosoms and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, their brothers, or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no knowledge of women's awarah (that which is covered). And let them not stamp their feet to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn you all to Allaah in repentance, O believers, that you may be successful."

And He says in Surah al-Ahzaab, ayah 59:

"O Prophet! tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments close around them. That will be better, that they may be known and so not to be bothered. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

From these two ayah of the Noble Qur'aan and from the authentic sources of guidance provided for us; we can derive the following principles of proper dress and adornment for Muslim women:

The outer garment worn in public must cover all of the body except the face and hands

Surat an-Noor, ayah 31 (quoted above) contains clear a command that a woman's natural beauty and her adornment are to be concealed from strangers, except that which might show unintentionally (ie. parts of the dress or ornaments) or which show as a matter of course because it is not prohibited that they be shown (ie. the face the hands).

Abu Dawood authentically narrated that 'Aaishah said:

"Asmaa came to see the Messenger of Allah. She was wearing a thin dress; the Prophet turned away from her and said to her: "O Asmaa! o*!nce a woman reaches the age of puberty no part of her body should be uncovered except her face and hands."

It should be noted that the Arabic word khumur (plural of khimaar) which has been translated above in the ayah from Surat an-Noor as veils, means head covers, not face veils as may mistakenly be supposed. It refers to a cloth which covers all of the hair. Furthermore, the word juyoob (plural of jaib), also found in the ayah of Surat an-Noor, refers not o*!nly to the bosom, as is commonly thought, but also to the neck.

Qurtubi, an eminent mufassir (Qur'anic commentator) stated:

"Women in those days used to cover their heads with the khimaar, throwing its ends o*!n their backs. This left the neck and the upper part of the chest bare, along with the ears, in the manner of the Christians. Then Allah commanded them to cover those parts with the khimaar."

"And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment."

Women at the time of the Prophet used to wear anklets, which they could employ to attract attention by stamping their feet, making the anklets tinkle together. This practice was now forbidden, but even more important for us, these words make it absolutely clear that the legs and ankles are to be covered.

Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated:

"The Prophet said: "On the Day of Judgement, Allah will not look upon o*!ne who trails his garment along out of pride." Umm Salamah then asked: "What should women do with their garments?" The Prophet said: "They may lower them a hand span." She said: "Their feet would still be uncovered." The Prophet said: "Then a forearm's length, but no more." (Tirmidhee)

The ayah from Surat an-Noor quoted above gives us specific and detailed information about what a Muslim woman should be sure to cover when she is in the company of strangers, and it gives a detailed list of those with whom she is permitted to be less inhibited. The ayah quoted from Surat al-Ahzab further directs Muslim women to put some outer garment over their clothes, and to draw it close around them.

Abu Dawood related that when this ayah was revealed, the women of the Ansaar appeared like crows (because of the black cloaks which they wore).

Some outer garment, whether a cloak or a coat, must be worn by a Muslim woman when she is in public, and even when she is in her own house or that of a close relative, if she is in the presence of strangers.

It was mentioned above that the face need not be covered. If, however, the woman is wearing make-up, she should cover her face, since the make-up is adornment beyond what is permitted. Similarly, she should cover her hands if she is wearing nail polish or some other decoration or ornament. Furthermore, although it is permissible to leave the face uncovered in the presence of strangers, it is praiseworthy to cover it, as that was the practice of the wives of the Prophet according to authentic ahaadeeth.

The outer garment must not be decorative itself or a means of beautification

When Allah commands women not to reveal their beauty, He means both the natural beauty, with which He has endowed them, and all means which they might employ to enhance that beauty. Clearly, the garment which is used to screen the woman's beauty and her adornment from public view should not itself be a thing of beauty.

Fudaalah ibn 'Ubaid reported that the Prophet said:

"There are three people that you should not concern yourself about: a man who parted from the Jamaa'ah and disobeyed his Imaam and died in that state; a slave who ran away from his master and died without returning; a woman whose husband departed from her after providing for her worldly needs and who then beautified (tabarrajat) herself in his absence. Do not worry about any of them." (Ahmad)


La Ilaha Illa Allah
Staff member
The word tabarraja means not o*!nly to beautify o*!neself, or to make o*!neself pretty, but also to display o*!neself, to play up to o*!ne's charms for the purpose of exciting desire. Imam ad-Dhahabi said in his book Kitaab al-Kabaa'ir (The Book of Great Sins): "Of the deeds woman is cursed for are displaying the ornaments which she is wearing, wearing perfume when going out, and wearing colourful clothes and silky short cloak." The verb `tabarrraja' includes all of these actions. `Tabarruj' is so abhorrent that it is associated with shirk, fornication, stealing and other (major) sins.

Abdullah ibn 'Umar said:

"A woman came to the Messenger of Allah to give her pledge for Islam. He said: "I accept your pledge that you will not associate partners with Allaah, nor steal, nor fornicate, nor kill your child, nor commit a sin between your arms and legs, nor wail over the dead, nor beautify and display yourself (tatabarraji) after the fashion of the pre-Islamic days." (Ahmad)

The outer garment must be thick and opaque so as to conceal the clothes worn

Proper covering cannot be achieved by wearing tight or transparent apparel.

The Prophet said:

"There will be in the last days of my ummah (nation), women who are dressed and undressed. Curse them: they are accursed." (At-Tabarani)

Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet referred to:

"... women who are naked even though they are wearing clothes, go astray and make others go astray, and they will not enter paradise nor smell its fragrance, although it can be smelt from afar." (at-Tabarani)

The dressed and undressed women are those who wear transparent or very tight clothes, or clothes which are cut in such a way that they expose the body. Such clothes reveal more than they conceal. The Prophet said:

"Belief and the sense of shame are tied together; if o*!ne is lost, the other is lost." (Al-Hakim)

It should be noted that a woman should wear a loose over-garment for offering prayer. It should cover her whole body (as far as going out) and should be such that it conceals the shape of her arms and legs, as well as that of the rest of her body.

Muslim women are not to wear perfume in public

Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet said:

"Any woman who wears perfume and passes by some people who smell her perfume is like o*!ne who commits fornication."

Abu Hurairah said that:

"A woman passed by him smelling strongly of scent. He called to her, "O slave of the powerful. Are you going to the mosque?" She said that she was. He said: "Go back and wash it (the perfume) off. I heard the Messenger of Allaah say: "Any woman who goes to the mosque wearing perfume will not have her prayer accepted by Allaah; first she should go back home and have a bath (to wash the perfume off).""

It is inappropriate for a woman to wear perfume in the mosque, where people are attending to the worship of Allah; how much more inappropriate is it that she should wear scent elsewhere, where people are more liable to distraction? Scent attracts attention to woman and may thereby stimulate sexual desires; this is improper in the marketplace and mosque.

The clothes of Muslim women should not resemble men's clothes.

Abu Hurairah said that:

"The Messenger of Allah cursed the man who wears women's clothes and the woman who wears men's clothes."

Ibn Umar said that he heard the Messenger of Allaah say: "He is not of us who imitates women nor is he of us who imitates men." (al-Hakim)

Abdullah ibn Umar reported that the Prophet said:

"Three people will not enter paradise, and Allaah will not look to them o*!n the Day of Judgement: the o*!ne who is disobedient to his parents, the woman who imitates men and the ad-Dayooth." (Ahmad)

Ad-Dayooth[1] is the man who permits women for whom he is responsible (eg: mother, wife, sister etc.) to engage in illicit sexual relations, or to display their beauty to strange men, thereby stimulating their sexual desires.


La Ilaha Illa Allah
Staff member
The clothes of Muslims women should not resemble those of the disbelievers.

In Surat al-Hadeed, ayah 16, we are told:

"Has not the time come or those who believe to submit

their hearts to Allah's reminder and to that which has been

revealed of the truth, and not become as those who received

the Scriptures before and for whom the term was prolonged so

their hearts grew hard? And many of them

are rebellious transgressors."
Those who refuse to submit to Allaah's commands are rebels against Him, and they are permitted to continue in their rebellion until their hearts become hard. The ayah and Hadeeth quoted above serve as a double warning to us: we must take care to heed Allaah's commands, revealed to us through the Qur'an and Sunnah of His Messenger , lest we suffer the fate of the recipients of previous revelations: we should also shun the way of life of any dis-believing people. If we adopt what is theirs, we partake also of the quality of their hearts. We pray to Allaah to safeguard us from that, lest we become like them.

Give the condition of the disbelievers' hearts, it is not surprising to find that much of their clothing, particularly that of women, is unsuitable for Muslims. It is designed to be attractive in itself and to enhance and attract attention to women's natural beauty.

The clothes of Muslims women should not be Ostentatious

Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah said:

"He who dresses for ostentation By following the seven principles above, Insha-allah, a woman will satisfy all the necessary requirements for proper Islamic dress. It should be noted that some of these principles also apply to mens dress, and clearly some would apply not o*!nly to what a woman wears in public, but also to what she wears in the privacy of her own home or in the homes of her relatives or her Muslim sisters.

There are however, some additional prohibitions regarding personal appearance of which our Muslim sisters should be aware. These prohibitions have to do with changes made to the appearance which are regarded as unacceptable alterations to Allaah's creation, namely wearing wigs, plucking facial hair, filing teeth and getting tattoos.

Asmaa related that: "A woman asked the Prophet : "Messenger of Allaah, my daughter had smallpox, and as a result her hair fall out. She has recently been married. Can I get her a wig?" He answered: "Allaah has cursed the maker and the wearer of a wig."

Abdullah ibn Masood : said that Allaah has cursed tattooers and those who are tattooed, and those women who have their teeth filed for beauty and those who have their hair plucked and thus alter Allaah's creation. A woman asked him: "What is all this?" He replied: "Should I not curse the o*!ne whom Allaah's Messenger has cursed? And it is in the Book of Allaah." She said: "I read the Qur'an from cover to cover but did not find that in it (ie. prohibition of tattooing, filling the teeth and plucking facial hair)." He said: "If you had read it thoroughly, you would have found it." Allaah says: "Whatever Allaah's Messenger : gives you, take it, and whatever he has forbidden, refrain from it." (Muslim)

This Hadeeth is particularly significant for us, because it not o*!nly informs us of something which the Prophet found hateful, it also makes it perfectly clear that, in matters of religion, the commands of the Prophet are as binding o*!n us as the commands of Allaah.

In obeying Allaah and His Messenger , we can hope to be of those who are successful, tasting of the fruits of paradise. If however, we should disobey Allaah and do things prohibited by him (and we seek refuge with Him from that), then we will taste His wrath: In the case of a woman who does something forbidden by Allaah or His Messenger , she and her husband or guardian who permitted her to do the forbidden thing are cursed by Allah. We are advised in the Qur'an to:

"... ward off from yourselves and your families a fire whereof

the fuel is men and stones..." (Lxvi:6)

The Prophet also said:

"All of you are guardians. The man is a guardian of and is responsible for his womenfolk o*!n the Day of Judgement."

May Allaah open our hearts to the guidance, strengthen us that we may be obedient to Him and His Messenger and save us from the punishment of Hell fire.

Allah is most Knowledgeable. And all praise belongs to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds


La Ilaha Illa Allah
Staff member
Women Removing Her Articles Of Clothing

Praise be to Allaah.

Women Taking Her Clothes Off In a House Other Than Her Husband’s House:

The hadeeth which was narrated by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) says: “Any woman who takes off her clothes anywhere but in her husband’s house has torn the veil that was between her and Allaah (i.e., He will expose her).” A version that was narrated by Ahmad, al-Tabaraani, al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi from Abu Umaamah (may Allaah be pleased with him) says: “Any woman who takes off her clothes, Allaah will tear His cover away from her (i.e., expose her).” What the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant was to stop women treating as insignificant the matter of removing their clothes anywhere but in their husband’s houses in such a manner that their ‘awrah can be seen and that they may be accused of intending to commit immoral actions and the like. As for taking off their clothes in a safe place, such as in her family’s house or her mahram’s house, to change her clothes and the like, or to relax etc and for other permissible purposes that are far removed from fitnah, there is nothing wrong with that. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 17/224.


Happy 2 b a muslim!!
:ma: a very informative piece jazakhallah for sharing, may allah give all us sisters the ability to dress according the shariah!!