Clothing in the Quran

Clothing in the Quran

Table of Contents

Clothing in the Quran has been talked about in several verses. The Quran pays a great deal of attention to the way a human being covers himself. Clothing is what shows a person’s dignity and therefore the Quran recommends that we dress modestly. In this article, we will take a look at:

Clothing in the Quran: Satan Wishes to Strip Us of Our Clothing

When Prophet Adam and Eve were living in the garden of Eden, they had some form of covering that covered their private parts. Some exegetes say that it was something like a part of their skin. In any case, God had promised them that they would not be naked in the garden of Eden, but warned them not to eat from the forbidden tree:

إِنَّ لَكَ أَلَّا تَجُوعَ فِيهَا وَلَا تَعْرَىٰ ﴿118﴾

You will neither be hungry in it nor naked. 1

Satan knew that if they eat from the tree their private parts would be exposed and they would be expelled from heaven:

فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِن سَوْآتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَـٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ ﴿20﴾

Then Satan tempted them, to expose to them what was hidden from them of their nakedness, and he said, ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you from this tree lest you should become angels, or lest you become immortal.’ 2

So Adam and Eve ate from the tree, their private parts were exposed, and God made them descend to earth. This verse is from surah A‘rāf (سورةُ الاعراف). In the same surah, God says the following in the Quran about clothing:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا ۖ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ ﴿26﴾

O Children of Adam! We have certainly sent down to you garments to cover your nakedness, and for adornment. Yet the garment of Godwariness—that is the best.’ That is [one] of Allah’s signs, so that they may take admonition. 3

This beautiful verse states that we must cover our nakedness with our clothes as it is a sign of modesty and also an adornment and something to show to others for beauty. Then, God uses a metaphor and says the garment of Godwariness is the best. That is, what is even more important than covering our body from nakedness, is covering and shielding our soul from sins and wrong deeds.

God then says:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا ۗ إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿27﴾

‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you—he and his hosts—whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ 4

This verse points to a stark fact that people are tempted by Satan not to cover themselves and expose their bare bodies to others, whether male or female. Therefore, we must not listen to the temptations of Satan so that he strips of our garments, whether it is physical or spiritual.

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Women’s Clothing

Women have been commanded in the Quran to cover their adornments, private parts, and body parts that are attractive for men from non-mahram men. They are only allowed to show some parts of their ornaments and adornments to mahram men such as their fathers, brothers, sons, and uncles, and they can show their entire body and adornments to their husbands only. This is a concept that is known as hijab. Refer to the article “Hijab in the Quran” for more details about this concept especially mahram and non-mahram. Men also have hijab and must cover their private parts from both men and women, and it is best that they cover their bare upper body and legs from women as women may become attracted to it.

Clothing in the Quran: Spouses are Each Other’s Clothing

God has said in the Quran:

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ عَلِمَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ

You are permitted on the night of the fast to go into your wives: they are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them. Allah knew that you would betray yourselves, so He pardoned you and excused you. 5

This meaning of clothing in this specific verse is metaphorical, in the sense that spouses cover each other up by not allowing sin and indecency to enter their lives. It is similar to the issue of “the garment of Godwariness” that God talked about in surah A‘rāf. In other words, they are spiritual coverings for each other. When a husband and wife satisfy one another’s desire, they also safeguard themselves from seeking out extramarital pleasures and this causes them to refrain from any sin and indecency.


References

  1. Quran 20:118 (Qara’i).
  2. Quran 7:20 (Qara’i).
  3. Quran 7:26 (Qara’i).
  4. Quran 7:27 (Qara’i).
  5. Quran 2:187 (Qara’i).
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Abu Mahdi
Abu Mahdi
I'm Abu Mahdi, one of the writers of this blog. I have a BA in English literature and an MA in English language teaching. I am also a teacher and reciter of the Quran in the field of reading the Quran, tajweed, and maqamat. Currently, we are working on a course for learning tajweed of the Quran here on Islam4u.

2 Responses

  1. To whom it may concern,
    I would like to ask about the standard of modesty in Islam or the proper dresscode. I have seen people claim female suit and tie as harram when it is not skin tight and the suit is long enough to cover half of the legs. Is it really not allowed to show shape? What about dresses that have belt???

    1. The issue of hijab is a sensitive topic. Merely covering the body parts is only one aspect of hijab. Another aspect is not revealing the shape of the body, and yet another aspect is not wearing makeup. Therefore, what you said is a “weak” form of hijab. Wearing dresses that have belt is not problematic per se. However, if it reveals the shape of the body, then it is not okay.

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