Question # 422: What is the edict on wearing trousers below the ankles. If the namaz is thus offered is it accepted

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Many ahadith have been reported from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbidding Isbaal (wearing one’s clothes below the ankles). No doubt the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) avoided Isbaal, as they were the best generation in this ummah in understanding and applying the Sunnah. The disagreement regarding the status of Isbaal took place in the third generation with the emergence of different juristic schools. Nevertheless, all the scholars agreed that if a man lets his garment hang down below the ankle with the intention of being conceited and showing off, this is haraam and it’s a major sin. However, if he lets his garment hang below his ankle with no intention of being conceited and showing off, the scholars differed in this case (based on the ahadith associating pride with Isbaal) and there are three points of view: that it is haraam, that it is makrooh (disliked) and that it is permissible and not makrooh. The majority of scholars from the four madhhabs are of the view that it is not haraam. For example, Imam Abu Hanifah wore an expansive rida’ and let it drag on the ground. It was said to him: Are we not forbidden to do this? He said: That is for those who show off and we are not among them.

As for keeping trousers underneath the ankles during salah, it takes the same ruling for doing so outside the salah. Furthermore, according to some group of scholars, the prohibition applies only to lower garment (izaar), the one peace garment (qamees), and the turban (emamah) and not to modern-day pants/trousers as Isbaal nowadays has nothing to do pride – people look at it as a culture and dressing style; however, the scholars suggest avoiding it is better and safe. Lastly, we have to respect and honor all the differences among scholars in the matter of fiqh and this should not lead to enmity and hatred among Muslims.

Long Answer: Many ahadith have been reported from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) which forbid isbaal (wearing one’s clothes below the ankles), for example:

  • Al-Bukhari reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whatever of the izaar (lower garment) is below the ankles is in the Fire.”
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “There are three whom Allah will not look at or praise on the Day of Judgement and theirs will be a painful punishment: the one who wears his garment below his ankles, the one who reminds others of his favors, and the one who sells his product by means of making false oaths” (Reported by Muslim)
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah will not look at the one who trails his izaar on the ground out of pride.” (Reported by al-Bukhari)
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Isbaal (wearing one’s garment below the ankles) may apply to the izaar (lower garment), the shirt or the turban. Whoever allows any part of these to trail on the ground out of arrogance, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Judgement.” (Reported by Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i with a sahih isnad)
  • Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah will not look at the one who wears his lower garment below his ankles.” (Reported by an-Nasa’i in al-Mujtabaa, Kitaab al-Zeenah, Baab Isbaal al-Izaar)
  • Hudhayfah said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) took hold of the muscle of my calf (or his calf) and said, ‘This is where the izaar should stop; if you insist, it may be lower, but it should not reach the ankles.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said this is a sahih hasan hadith; see Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
  • Jaabir ibn Sulaym said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to me: Beware of wearing one’s lower garment below the ankles, because this is a kind of showing-off, and Allah does not love showing-off.” (Regarded as sahih by al-Tirmidhi)
  • Imam Ahmad reported that Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Yaqoob said: “I asked Abu Saeed: Did you hear anything from the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) concerning the izaar (lower garment)? he said, Yes, listen! The izaar of the believer should come to mid-calf, although there is nothing wrong if it comes between there and the ankles, but whatever is lower than the ankles is in the Fire, and he said it three times.”
  • Ibn Umar said: “I passed by the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and my izaar had slipped down. He said, O Abdullah, pull up your izaar! so I pulled it up. He said, More! so I pulled it up more, and always made sure it was pulled up properly after that.” Some people asked, “To where did you pull it up?” He said, “To mid-calf length.” (Reported by Muslim; al-Dhahabi, Kitaab al-Kabaair)

[However,] …there is a hadith which states that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever trails his garment on the ground out of pride, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.” Abu Bakr said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, my izaar slips down if I do not pay attention to it.” He said: “You are not one of those who do it out of pride.” (Reported by al-Bukhari)

According to Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “No doubt that the common and the prevailing practice of the eminent companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was avoiding Isbaal, as they were the best generation in this Ummah in understanding and applying the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). But this does not mean that they discussed the ruling of Isbaal, whether it is disliked or prohibited. The disagreement regarding the status of Isbaal took place in the third generation on, where the documentation of the different juristic schools started. Scholars are unanimous that Isbaal out of pride and arrogance is prohibited…”

[Hence,] if a man lets his garment hang down below the ankle with the intention of being conceited and showing off, this is haraam and there is no difference of scholarly opinion concerning that, rather it is a major sin.

[However,] With regard to the one who lets his garment hang below his ankle with no intention of being conceited and showing off, the scholars differed in this case and there are three points of view: that it is haraam, that it is makrooh and that it is permissible and not makrooh.

The majority of scholars from the four madhhabs are of the view that it is not haraam. There follow some of the comments of the scholars from different madhhabs concerning that:

  • Ibn Muflih said in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah: Abu Hanifah (may Allah be pleased with him) wore an expansive rida’ and let it drag on the ground. It was said to him: Are we not forbidden to do this? He said: That is for those who show off and we are not among them. (See al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah)
  • With regard to the Maalikis, some of them were of the view that it is haraam, such as Ibn al-‘Arabi and al-Quraafi. Ibn al-‘Arabi said in ‘Aaridat al-Ahwadhi: It is not permissible for a man to let his garment go beyond his ankle and say that he is not being arrogant by doing so, because the text mentions the prohibition and refers to the reason, and it is not permissible for anyone to say I am not one of those referred to in the text, because the reason does not apply to me, because that attitude goes against shari’ah and is an unacceptable claim. It is a kind of arrogance to make one’s garment and izaar longer, so he is definitely lying.”

Other Maalikis are of the view that it is makrooh and not haraam. Al-Haafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: This hadith indicates that the one who lets his garment drag for a reason other than pride and arrogance is not subject to the warning mentioned, but letting the izaar, chemise and any other garment drag is blameworthy in all cases.”

It says in Haashiyat al-‘Adawi:  “There is a difference of opinion concerning that which comes lower than the ankles if it is not done out of arrogance. Al-Hattaab – a Maaliki scholar – concluded that it is not haraam, rather it is makrooh. Al-Tadhkirah – a book by Imam al-Quraafi – concluded that is that it is haraam… It seems that the most likely to be correct is the view that it is emphatically makrooh.”

  • With regard to the Shafi’is, they stated that it is not haraam unless it is done with the intention of showing off. Imam al-Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) said, as was quoted from him by al-Nawawi in al-Majmoo’: It is not permissible to let the garment hang low when praying or otherwise in order to show off. As for letting the garment hang low for reasons other than showing off when praying, it is not as serious, because of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) when he told him that his izaar slipped down on one side: “You are not one of them (i.e., those who let the garment hang down out of pride).”

And al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim: “It is not permissible to let the garment hang down below the ankles if it is done in order to show off. If it is done for any other reason, then it is makrooh. The apparent meaning of the ahadith which limit it to letting the garment drag in order to show off indicates that it is haraam specifically when done to show off. This was stated by al-Shafi’i who differentiated between different cases.”

Some of the Shafi’is – such as al-Dhahabi and al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar – were of the view that it is haraam. Al-Dhahabi said in Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’ in response to the one who lets his garment hang below the ankle and says ‘I am not doing that to show off’: “You see him behaving in an arrogant manner and thinking of himself as not one of them (those who are arrogant), but this is a foolish notion. And you see him looking at a text that is general in meaning, and he limits it’s meaning on the basis of another, separate hadith, to conclude that it is only haraam when it is done in order to show off! So, he allows a concession based on the words of al-Siddeeq (Abu Bakr), who said: O Messenger of Allah, my izaar slips down, and he said: “O Abu Bakr, you are not one of those who do that to show off.” We say: Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) did not tie his izaar in such a way that it hung below the ankles in the first place, rather he tied it so that it came above the ankle, but it slipped down after that. And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The izaar of the believer should come to mid-calf, but it does not matter if it comes between (that point) and the ankle.” The same prohibition applies to the one who lets his trousers cover his ankles, or makes his sleeves too long. All of that is showing off which is deeply hidden in the psyche.”

  • With regard to the Hanbalis, they stated that it is not haraam. It says in al-Iqnaa’: “It is makrooh for a man’s garment to come below his ankle unnecessarily.” Ibn Qudamah said in al-Mughni: It is makrooh to let the chemise, izaar and trousers come below the ankle, and if he does that in order to show off then it is haraam.”

Ibn Muflih said in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah: Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen (Ibn Taymiyah – may Allah have mercy on him) favored the view that it is not haraam, but he did not mention whether it is makrooh or not.” (See: Sharh al-‘Umdah by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah)

Al-San’ani (may Allah have mercy on him) was of the view that it is haraam, and he wrote a book concerning that entitled Istifa’ al-Aqwaal fi Tahreem al-Isbaal ‘ala al-Rijaal.

The view that it is haraam is the view favored by most of our contemporary scholars, such as Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, the scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas and others.

(Unless stated otherwise, the above reply is based on various answers provided by Islam Q&A on the topic)

[Another issue worth discussing in this regard relates to tahara –] …by trailing the lower garment below the ankle, it is most likely assumed that this will cause it to be stained with impurity and other dirty things on the floor. ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) pointed to this when he saw a young man trailing his garment on the floor, as he said: “Bring that young man to me, and he told him: “O son! Raise your garment as by doing so, you will keep your garment clean and you achieve more piety [you become more Allah-fearing].” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) (Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

According to Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “As for keeping trousers underneath the ankles during the Salah, it takes the same ruling for doing so outside the Salah.  Some ahadith indicate the illegitimacy of this action in the Salah; however, these ahadith are either weak, or otherwise, their meaning is debatable. For instance, the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas, where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prohibited Sadl in the Salah; the Arabic term ‘Sadl’ could mean putting hands down while standing in the Salah, as well as having long clothes underneath the ankles. In summary, scholars say that (avoiding disputable matters is recommended).”

According to Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “…The lengthening of the garment below the ankle, which is forbidden if done with pride and disliked when done without pride doesn`t apply to pants/trousers [according to some group of scholars], but rather to izaar, emamah and qamees. As indicated by a hadith reported by Abu Dawood in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Letting one`s garment reach below the ankle applies to the lower garment (izaar), the one peace garment (qamees), and the turban (emamah). Anyone dragging any of them out of pride, Allah will not look at him on the day of judgment.””

…We draw the attention of all our brothers that we have to respect and honor all differences that are based on evidence from (Qur’an or Sunnah), and the difference in the issue of al-Isbaal is one of them… such differences should not lead to enmity and hatred among Muslims. (Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

According to Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America: “…Isbaal nowadays has nothing to do pride. People look at it as a culture and dressing style. But still, lengthening one’s clothes beyond ankles nowadays out of arrogance is prohibited. Furthermore, avoiding it is better and safer.”

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam