Question # 47: Aoa, I have heard a lot about women Hijaab and all sort of narratives but I request if you can please briefly clarify its reference to men. What glorious Quran says about mens’ Hijaab and why is this always emphasized more for women?

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: The six criteria for observing hijaab for men includes covering the awrah, not wearing clothes, which are transparent, tight, resembling the opposite gender, resembling garments of the kuffar, and glamorous as to attract the opposite gender. Moreover, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commands men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty in ayah 24:30 which precedes the ayah 24:31 referring to hijaab for women.

Long Answer:  Before we delve into the topic of hijaab for men, let’s first understand the condition of hijaab according to Qur’an and Sunnah. There are basically six criteria for observing hijaab:

  1. Covering the awrah: The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. On the authority of `Ata’ ibn Yisar, on the authority of Abu Ayyub, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say, “That which is above the knees is [part] of nakedness, and that which is below the navel is [part] of nakedness.” (Narrated by Daraqutni and Bayhaqi)

All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women:

  1. It must not be transparent: The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them.
  1. It must be roomy, flowing, and not tight: It should not outline the shape of the body; the purpose of the clothes should be to disguise the shape.
  1. It should not resemble the dress of the opposite gender: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Women who assume the manners of men are not from us and also those of men who assume the manners of women. (Reported by Imam Ahmad and Abu Na’eem. Al-Albani authenticated it in his book “Al-Hijaab“)

Abu-Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that “The prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) cursed the man who wears the dress of a woman and the woman who wears the dress of a man.” (Related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim, and Imam Ahmed. Al-Hakim said:” it is an authentic hadith in accordance with the conditions of Imam Muslim)

  1. It must not resemble the garments of the kuffar: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The one who takes the similitude (manner) of a certain people becomes one of them. (Related by Abu Dawud, Ahmed (as part of another hadith), Ibn Taymiyyah said that the hadith has a good chain of narration)

Abdullah bin Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saw me wearing two clothes dyed in saffron, whereupon he said: these are the clothes (usually worn) by the Kuffar, so do not wear them.”(Reported by Muslim)

  1. It must not be a display and fame: Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) considered the dazzling display of beauty an act of ignorance: “And stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like that of the times of Jahiliyyah (ignorance).” (Soorah Al-Ahzab, 33:33) 

(‘The Hijaab… Why?’ by Dr. Muhammad Ismail and ‘Answers To Non-Muslims Common Questions About Islam’ by Dr. Zakir Naik)

Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) will dress him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then set it ablaze.” (Reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah) (‘Sweetness of Hijaab’ by Safiyyah Zagloul)

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” (Soorah An-Noor, 24:30) Thus, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commands men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty in ayah 24:30 which precedes the ayah 24:31 referring to hijaab for women. Hence first, men are required to take the lead in respecting women. They should not engage in or approve of any activity which objectifies or demeans a woman. They are also required to cast down their gazes in humility and to observe the general philosophy of modesty of the heart and dress. They must wear decent clothing and avoid activities and places that will cause them to witness that which they should not. (‘The Mukhtasar Al-Quduri: A Manual of Islamic Law According to the Hanafi School’ by Aḥmad ibn Muhammad Quduri and Abia Afsar Siddiqui)

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) also said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi in Saheeh al-Jaami’) Imam Malik has also ruled that it is not allowed to see the face and palms of a non-Mahram woman without a lawful need. Ibn Hajar Makki Shafi’i has quoted in his zawajir that Imam Shafi’i’s view is also the same that although women’s faces and palms are not part of their [awrah], and they are allowed to pray while these parts are uncovered, yet non-Mahrams are not allowed to see them without a lawful need. (‘Ma’ariful-Qur’an’ by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’)

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.