CLOTHING AND PURDAH


1. It is not permissible to adorn boys with bracelets, necklaces, and other types of jewellery. Nor is it permissible to make them wear silk. It is also not permissible to make them wear amulets (ta'wiz) that are wrapped in silk, gold or silver. It is not permissible for them to wear clothing that has been dyed with safflower or saffron. In short, whatever is not permissible for men, should not be worn by young boys as well. If the woof is made of yarn and the warp is made of silk, it will be permissible to make them wear such clothing. Similarly, if the fur of velvet is not made of silk, it will be permissible to wear it. Such clothing can be worn by men as well. If the border of the garment is of silk, it will be permissible to make boys wear such clothing as long as the border is not more than four fingers in width.
2. A hat or any other garment which has gold or silver embroidery work done on it will only be permissible for boys if the embroidery is not very dense. If the embroidery is so dense that only the embroidery and not the cloth is visible from a distance, then it is not permissible to make boys wear such garments. Similar is the case with silk embroidery. If it is very dense, it will not be permissible to make boys wear it.
3. There is no difference in remaining naked and wearing very flimsy clothing such as muslin, lace, and other similar fabrics with which lingerie is made. It is mentioned in the Hadith that women who wear such flimsy clothing will be regarded as naked on the day of judgement. It will be more deplorable if the dress and head gear are both made of such flimsy fabric.
4. It is not permissible for women to adopt the dress and appearance of men, nor is it permissible for men to adopt the dress and appearance of women. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has cursed such men and women.
5. It is permissible for women to wear jewellery. However, it is preferable not to wear too much of jewellery. A woman who wears very little jewellery in this world will be given a lot of jewellery in the hereafter. It is not permissible to wear tinkling jewellery such as those that are worn around the ankles. It is not permissible for little girls to wear such jewellery as well. It is also permissible to wear jewellery that is made with anything other than gold or silver. For example, it is permissible to wear jewellery that is made with brass, gilt, tin, etc. However, rings that are made of anything other than gold or silver are not permissible.
6. Women are ordered to cover their bodies from head to toe. It is not permissible for them to expose their bodies to ghayr mahrams. However, it is permissible for an old woman to expose her face, palms, and feet below the ankles. It is not permissible for her to expose the rest of her body. At times the head covering falls off slightly and she goes in the presence of ghayr mahrams in this way. This is not permissible. Not a single strand of hair should be exposed in the presence of ghayr mahrams. In fact, the hair that falls off her head while combing her hair, and the nails which she has clipped should be left in such a place where ghayr mahrams will not be able to see them. If a woman is not cautious in this regard, she will be sinful. Similarly, it is not permissible for a woman to allow any part of her body to touch any part of a man's body. This rule applies to men as well.
7. It is not permissible for a young woman to expose her face in the presence of ghayr mahrams, nor should she stand in a place where she could be observed. We learn from this, that the custom of exposing the bride's face in public where all the men can observe her is also not permissible. To do so is a major sin.
8. If a woman's face, head, chest, arm or calf gets exposed in front of her mahram, there will be no sin on her. However, her stomach, back, and thighs cannot be exposed in front of her mahram as well.
9. It is not permissible for a woman to expose her body from her navel till below her knees even before another woman. Some women bath naked in the presence of other women. This is a very shameless and forbidden act. It is also forbidden to force a woman to expose her body and to bathe her on the ceremonies that are held on the sixth day after child birth, and the fortieth day after child birth. Under no condition should she expose her body from her navel till below the knees.
10. If there is a dire need, it will be permissible to expose that part of the body which is necessary to expose. For example, if a woman has a boil on her thigh, it will be permissible for her to expose just that area where the boil is situated. Under no condition should she expose more than that area. This could be done by wearing a very old pants or sheet and cutting that area of the pants where the boil is situated. The doctor can then inspect that area. However, it is not permissible to show that area to anyone other than the doctor. This is irrespective of whether the person is a male or a female. But if this boil or wound is not in the area between the navel and below the knees, it will be permissible to expose it to another woman. In the same way, at the time of some inspection, it will only be permissible to expose that part which is necessary. The same rule applies to a mid-wife. That is, at the time of need it will be permissible to expose the body to her, but it will not be permissible to expose more than what is necessary. During child birth or at the time of taking some medicine, it will not be permissible to expose more than what is necessary. It is not permissible for a woman to be completely naked. The method of doing this is to wrap a sheet around the body and whenever the need arises, the woman could open the sheet for the mid-wife. The thighs and private parts should not be exposed. Apart from the mid-wife, it is not permissible for anyone else to see her body. To be completely naked and to sit or lie down in the presence of all the other women is absolutely haraam. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah's curse is on the one who looks at the satr of another person, and the one who exposes her satr to others." One has to be very cautious with regard to mas'alas of this nature.
11. During pregnancy, if the mid-wife wishes to inspect the stomach, it will not be permissible for the woman to expose her body below her navel. She should cover herself with a sheet or any other covering. It is not permissible to unnecessarily expose the area below the navel even to a mid-wife. The custom of exposing this area to the mid-wife when she is carrying out her inspection, and exposing it to one's house members; is not permissible.
12. It is not permissible to touch those parts of the body which one cannot even look at. The parts of a woman's body which cannot be looked at, cannot be touched by others as well. Therefore, it is not permissible for a masseuse (female who massages) to massage the thighs, etc. even if she inserts her hands beneath the clothing whilst massaging. However, if she wears a glove and massages the thighs by inserting her hand beneath the clothing, it will be permissible.
13. It is wajib to make purdah with the kaafir women who come into one's home. This also applies to maids and domestic servants who are not Muslims. The purdah that has to be made with them is the same as that which has to be made with ghayr mahram males. The exception is that the face, wrists, and feet can be exposed to them. The head should also be covered. Remember this rule very well because the majority of women do not act according to the rules laid down by the Shariah in this regard. In other words, do not expose the head, the entire hands and the calves in front of them. It should also be remembered that if the mid-wife is a kaafir, then at the time of delivery, it will be permissible to expose the private parts. However, it will not be permissible for her to look at the other parts of the body. (Because there is no need for her to do so)
14. It is permissible for a woman to expose her entire body to her husband. It is also permissible for the husband to expose his entire body to his wife. However, it is not good to do so unnecessarily.
15. Just as it is not permissible for a woman to appear in the presence of a man or to expose her body in front of him, it is also not permissible for a woman to look at a man. Some women are under the misconception that although it is not permissible for men to look at them, it is permissible for them to look at men. This is absolutely wrong. To stand at the door way and look at men, to look at them from an elevated place, to come in the presence of the bride-groom, etc. are all not permissible.
16. It is not permissible to sit or lie down with a ghayr mahram in solitude or in private. Even if both man and woman are sitting separately at a distance, it will not be permissible to do so in private.
17. Just as it is not permissible to expose oneself in the presence of a ghayr mahram male, it is also not permissible to expose oneself in the presence of one's spiritual guide. Similarly, an adopted son is regarded as a ghayr mahram. By adopting him, he does not become one's real son. Purdah will have to be made with him just as purdah is made with a ghayr mahram male. Purdah will also have to be observed with all one's ghayr mahram relatives. These include, the husband's younger and elder brothers, sister's husband, husband of the husband's sister, and also one's cousins irrespective of whether they are the children of one's maternal or paternal uncles and aunts.
18. It is not permissible for women to come in the presence of hermaphrodites, castrated persons, and even blind persons.
19. Some women offer their hands to bangle-vendors (and jewellers) so that they may pass the bangles through their hands. This is a shameless and prohibited act.

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