Garment Slogans

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Signs are an easy yet powerful tool for effectively conveying almost any type of message to any group of people. Among the various forms of signs is one that is commonly found but often overlooked –the t-shirt slogan. By one simply plastering a slogan on his chest in bold, attention-grabbing letters, he easily conveys his message to thousands of people.

One of the first people to realize the power of the t-shirt slogan (and then used it to protest the cold war) has the following to say regarding slogans: “Slogans work on so many different levels; they're almost subliminal. They're also a way of people aligning themselves to a cause. They're tribal. Wearing one is like branding yourself.”

Today, t-shirt slogans can be regarded as fashion statements, tongue-in-cheek remarks, protests or even political tools. However, the question that we need to ask ourselves is, “By sporting these slogans, are we actually identifying with a culture and set of values that are alien to Islam?”

True Muslims adhere to no brand besides the brand of Islam. Hence, we wake up Muslims, eat as Muslims, drink as Muslims, conduct business as Muslims, marry as Muslims and wish to die as Muslims. We strive to brand ourselves as Muslims in every facet of our lives – including our dressing. The dress of a Muslim is distinct; a man wearing a kurta and topi or turban is clearly recognized as a flag bearer of Islam while a woman dressed modestly and unattractively (out of the home) in the burqah and niqaab is similarly unmistakably Muslim.           

Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) prohibited from two types of clothing; clothing worn for show, and clothing that is  popular for its lack of shame.” (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #8601)

The messages in the bulk of these slogans either subtly or blatantly promote shamelessness and other vile qualities that oppose the core values of Islam. Slogans such as “No Rules” and “This is what extremely awesome looks like” respectively promote lawlessness and a free mindset, and vanity and conceit. Even worse are those slogans that directly oppose the fundamental teachings of Islam, or promote the illicit or gay lifestyle, etc. By wearing these slogans, one is actively promoting evil and indecency and opposing Islam.

One of the more popular slogans is perhaps the Nike slogan “Just do it”. The first question that arises is, “Just do what?” Zina? Gamble? Rape? Murder? Rob? Suicide? If a person deliberating any one of these unacceptable actions happened to glance at “Just do it”, what would his reaction be? Additionally, the origin of this slogan is even worse than its insinuations. The man behind the slogan stated that he was inspired by a convicted murderer on death row who, when asked if he had any final words, turned to the firing squad and said, “Let’s do it.” His phrase was changed to “Just do it” - and the rest is history.

As Muslims, we all wish to die with the kalimah as our final words. Does it then make sense for us to parade the final words of a kaafir murderer on our chest, close to our hearts? We all have Imaan in our hearts — but we need to let that Imaan be seen even in our dress and behaviour, and also  in the clothing which we dress our little children in. By dressing in the kuffaar styles, even indoors, the message to our innocent children is that this is something desirable. What a terrible legacy to leave for them! May Allah Ta’ala make us true ambassadors of the Quraan and the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

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