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Q&A: Salaah in Tight-fitting Clothes


Question: When performing salaah, I wear a waist-length burkah over my top. My sister says that my salaah is not valid because I wear somewhat narrow-cut pants, which cling to the thighs and back when I go into sajdah. Is this correct?


Answer: Performing salaah in tight-fitting garments is a crucial issue which pertains to both men and women. It is therefore appropriate that it be answered in some detail.

           Firstly, it should be understood well that the covering of the satr is compulsory whether in salaah or out of salaah. The satr of a male is from the navel upto and including the knees. The satr of the female for salaah is her entire body except the face, palms and feet. While this is the satr for salaah, in the presence non-mahrams (males whom one can marry) the face should also be covered.



Having understood that it is obligatory to cover the satr, the very important aspect to consider is what is meant by "cover"? "Covering" has two requirements: One is that the fabric must not be so thin that any part of the satr is visible underneath it. The second requirement is that the garment must be so loose that the shape of any part of the satr is not discernible. This applies for all times — in salaah or out of it. Thus for instance if a scarf is of such transparent material that the hair beneath it is visible, wearing such a scarf will not fulfil the obligation of "covering." Similarly if the pants is not loose enough and the shape of the thigh or back is discernible, the above obligation is not fulfilled.


 Wearing such garments that do not cover the satr in the abovementioned manner is shameless and sinful. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "Among the people of the fire will be women who will be "clothed yet naked" … they will not enter Jannah nor will they smell its fragrance" (Sahih Muslim). Wearing such garments which include one in the category of "clothed yet naked" must not be worn at any time, even in the privacy of one's home. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "Beware of nakedness for verily with you are angels who do not separate from you except when one relieves himself or engages in conjugal relations. Therefore be modest with them (the angels) and honour them" (Tirmizi).

         Furthermore, Salaah performed in such garments is not valid. If the shape of the satr cannot be distinguished while one is in the standing position but becomes discernible when in ruku or sajdah for the duration of three tasbeehs, the salaah will be null and void.


Males should also take special note of this point. While some wear tight-fitting pants, many others wear pants which though not tight-fitting, become snug when in sajdah and reveal the shape of the satr. Thus the salaah is nullified.


It should have been unimaginable that a Muslim woman would also need to  be told to take note of this aspect. Yet the tragic reality is that even many of those who are regarded as purdah conscious need to be told that wearing such garments is devoid of hayaa (shame) and also nullifies the salaah.

         The simple yardstick for a true Muslim woman in choosing clothes is to seriously ask herself the following question: If I had to appear dressed in these garments in front of Hazrat Fathima (R.A.), Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) or any of the Sahaabiyaat, would they be proud of me or will they be ashamed of me??? However, before asking oneself this question, one should first acquaint oneself with the level of hayaa that they possessed!


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