Question # 267: Assalamu’alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh….. My question is: Is a girl can wear a white or another color wedding dress in Islam for the nikaah?

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: There is nothing wrong with the bride wearing a white or any other color wedding dress, as long as she adheres to the Shari’ah-approved dress code. That is, the dress should be modest and cover her whole body; it should not resemble men’s clothing or those of disbelieving or immoral women. The dress must not be an adornment in itself or a means of beautification. If she were to wear a wedding dress, that is adorned and decorated, then she should not appear in front of men who are not her mahrams. Moreover, it is not permissible to wear tight or transparent clothing, even in front of one’s mahrams or other women.

In fact, all colors are permissible for men as well as women except pure/complete red color, only in case of men. However, it is permissible for men to wear red with stripes of or combined with other color, as the prohibition applies only to garments that are dyed completely in red.

Long Answer: Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, while replying to a similar question: “It is permissible for a woman to wear white so long as it is not in the same form as men’s clothing. With regard to it being an imitation of the kuffaar, that is no longer the case, because now all Muslim women wear such clothes when they are getting married. The ruling depends on whether the reason for it is present or not. If it is no longer an imitation of the kuffaar and this has now become something that is common to both Muslims and kaafirs, then the ruling no longer applies, unless something is haraam in and of itself and not because it is an imitation of others. Such things are haraam in all cases.” (Majmoo’at As’ilat tahumm al-Mar’ah)

Hence, there is nothing wrong with a woman wearing a white wedding dress on condition that she does not appear in it in front of men who are not her mahrams, because usually wedding dresses are adorned and decorated.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “…and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam) …” (Soorah an-Noor 24:31)

Hence, it is also essential that this dress does not reveal any of the woman’s charms, even if she is only going to appear in front of women in it. “…It is not permissible to wear tight clothing, either in front of one’s mahrams or in front of other women, if it is excessively tight and shows the woman’s charms” (Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen) “…She should cover her ‘awrah in front of women just as she does in front of men, except for what women customarily uncover in front of other women, such as the face, hands and feet, whatever it may be necessary to uncover.” (al-Muntaqaa min Fataawa Fadeelat al-Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan) 

In fact, all colors are permissible for men as well as women except where there is a shar’i text forbidding a certain color for men or women. There are shar’i texts which encourage the wearing of certain colors and forbid the wearing of other colors, such as the following:

Black: Umm Khaalid bint Khaalid said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was brought some clothes, among which was a small black khameesah [garment]. He said, ‘Who do you think we should give this to?’ The people remained silent. Then he said, ‘Bring me Umm Khaalid,’ and she was carried to him. He took the khameesah in his hand and put it on her, and said, ‘May you live long and wear it out.’ There was a green or yellow mark on it, and he said, ‘O Umm Khaalid, this is sanaah (good),’ and sanaah is an Abyssinian word.” (Reported by al-Bukhari). Jaabir (رضي الله عنه) said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, wearing a black turban.” (Reported by Muslim). ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) said: “I made a black burdah (cloak) for the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and he wore it, but when he sweated in it he detected the smell of wool on it, so he took it off, because he used to like pleasant smells.” (Reported by Abu Dawood; Al-Haakim said: it is sahih according to the conditions of the two shaykhs. Al-Dhahabi agreed with him; Shaykh al-Albaani said in al-Saheehah: It is as they said. Abu Dawood named a chapter in his Sunan “Bab fi’l-Suwaad (chapter on black clothes)”. The author of ‘Awn al-Ma’bood said: The hadith indicates that it is permissible to wear black and that there is nothing makrooh in doing so).

Black is permissible for both men and women alike. One of the false innovations (bid’ah) connected to this color is the practice of deliberately wearing black at times of bereavement, which also involves imitating the Christians. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen said (Fataawa Islamiyah): “Wearing black at times of bereavement is a false symbol that has no basis… Allocating certain clothes for mourning is an act of bid’ah (innovation) in our opinion, and because it could indicate that a person is discontent with the decree of Allah.”

White: Abu Dharr (رضي الله عنه) said: “I came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and he was wearing a white garment and was asleep. I came back to him (later), and he had woken up…” (Reported by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh, in a chapter he called Baab al-Thiyaab al-Beed (Chapter on white clothes)). Al-Bukhari reported that Sa’d said: “I saw on the left of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and on his right two men wearing white clothes on the day of Uhud. I never saw them before or since.” These two men were Jibreel and Mikaa’eel, as al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned in al-Fath. White is a color recommended (mustahabb) for the living to wear and for the dead to be shrouded in, as was stated in the hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: ‘Wear your white clothes, for they are the best of your clothes, and shroud your dead in them.’” (Reported by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi; classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz). White is also the preferred color for men’s ihraam (special garments for Hajj), which consists of an izaar (lower garment) and a rida’ (upper garment).

Green: Abu Ramthah said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) wearing two green garments.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said, this is a ghareeb hasan hadith, and by an-Nisa’i).

Red: It was reported that wearing pure red is forbidden for men, but not for women, because of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade mafdam” (reported by Imam Ahmad and Ibn Maajah). Mafdam is something that is filled with red safflower dye. According to the commentary of al-Sindi on Sunan an-Nisa’i, mafdam is something that is filled with red. It was reported that if ‘Umar saw a man wearing a garment dyed red with safflower, he would pull him aside and say, “Leave this for the women.” (Reported by al-Tabari).

‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr said: “A man who was wearing two red garments passed by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and greeted him with salaam, but the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not respond.” (Reported by Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi, and classed as hasan by al-Bazzaar, who said: we know it only through this isnad, which includes Abu Yahya al-Qattaat, who is a disputed figure).

The following are some of the several suggested reasons as to why men are forbidden to wear red:

  • it is the dress of the kuffaar
  • it is the adornment of women, so forbidding it is a way of discouraging the imitation of women
  • it is vanity and does not befit a decent man to wear it

The prohibition applies only to garments that are dyed completely red. Garments that contain another color such as white, black, etc. are not forbidden. This is how the ahaadith that speak about the red hullah should be interpreted, such as the hadith of al-Bara’ (رضي الله عنه) who said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was of average height. I saw him wearing a red hullah, and I have never seen anything better than it.” (Reported by al-Bukhari). The Yemeni hullah usually has stripes of red and another color, it is not pure red.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The clothing (of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)): Abu’l-Waleed told us Shu’bah told us from Abu Ishaaq who heard al-Bara’ (رضي الله عنه) saying: ‘The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was of average height. I saw him wearing a red hullah, and I have never seen anything better than it.’ The hullah consists of an izaar and a rida’ (lower and upper garments) … It is a mistake to think that it was pure red and not mixed with any other color. The red hullah is two Yemeni garments woven with red and black stripes like all the other Yemeni garments… But pure red is emphatically forbidden. In Saheeh al-Bukhari it is stated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade red saddlecloths (or blankets) … With regard to red garments in general and red broadcloth, etc., the issue is still under discussion, but it is very disliked (makrooh).” (Zaad al-Ma’ad)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

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.