Abu Bakr’s Action and Wearing Garments Below the Ankles

  • Misconception 4:

The Messenger (ﷺ) told Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) that since he is not letting his garment hang “out of pride”, there is no punishment for him. Therefore, this should also apply to us.

  • Clarification:

Below we will reproduce the complete hadith and then explain it:

عَنْ ابن عمر ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ مَنْ جَرَّ ثَوْبَهُ خُيَلاَءَ لَمْ يَنْظُرِ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أَحَدَ شِقَّىْ إِزَارِي يَسْتَرْخِي، إِلاَّ أَنْ أَتَعَاهَدَ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ‏.‏ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ لَسْتَ مِمَّنْ يَصْنَعُهُ خُيَلاَءَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Abdullah ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) narrates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah will not look, on the Day of Resurrection at the person who drags his garment (below his ankles) out of pride.” On that Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) said, “O Allah’s Messenger, one side of my izãr hangs low unless I meticulously take care of it.” The Prophet () said, “You are not one of those who do that out of pride.”

  • Collected by Bukhari[1](رحمه الله).
  • This narration is usually considered the strongest evidence put forward by those who wish to wear their garments below their ankles. From the following analysis, Allah willing, it will become crystal clear that this narration is actually evidence against their position.

From this hadith, the following points become clear:

  1. Only one side was going below Abu Bakr’s ankle (رضي الله عنه). So how can one use this to intentionally hang both sides down his ankles?[2]
  2. Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) was not doing it intentionally. How can this be evidence for those who purposely and intentionally wear their trousers below their ankles?[3] Rather, the scholars wrote that Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) was very slim and his garments would not stay on him tightly. They would slip off of his hips. Allamah Kirmani (رحمه الله) said he had a slight hunch to his back which also caused his garment to slip off.[4]
  3. When he realised it slipped off, he would lift it up.[5] These people never lift it up.
  4. Since Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) didn’t wear it below his ankles intentionally and he would ensure to lift it when he realized it slipped below, there was no question of him being arrogant. Yet, he asked the question concerning his situation. Therefore, this means that he understood it to be general and not restricted to pride. Otherwise, his question would not make sense.[6]
  5. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) received revelation from Allah and by it he would know the state of the heart of a person. So, he had the right to testify of the purity of Abu Bakr’s heart (رضي الله عنه).
  6. Since the Messenger (ﷺ) is no longer amongst us, we are not able to claim purity for anyone. Allah alone knows who is pure at heart.
  7. Some scholars say that, out of all the Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم), only Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) was given the reassurance that he is not doing it out of pride. Therefore, this was a specific permission for him. There is no other Sahabi who was afforded this, not even Umar, Uthman or Ali (رضي الله عنهم). So how can we, who are drowned in sin, claim purity?[7]
  8. The scholars say that this hadith shows that if one’s garment was to unintentionally fall below one’s ankles, then he would not be taken to task for it. However, this in no way means that one should be careless about it.
  9. Even though this narration clearly negates pride from Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه), Imam Bukhari (رحمه الله) still mentioned it under the ‘Book of Clothing’, this is to point out that this hadith is a general guideline of wearing garments, without paying attention to the issue of arrogance.[8]
  10. Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما), the narrator of this hadith, used to always keep his garments at mid-calf. It is not narrated that he allowed letting the garments go below the ankles for anyone.
  11. Rather, Hafiz Ibn Abdil Barr (رحمه الله) mentions a narration in ‘Tamheed’ in which Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) instructed Abdullah ibn Waqid to lift his garment above his ankles. Ibn Waqid said, “There are some sores on my legs.” Ibn Umar replied, “Even if.” Ibn Abdil Barr (رحمه الله) comments, “This is clear that Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) held it reprehensible for a person to drag his garments in all conditions.”[9] And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

Read the Full Article here.


[1] #5784

[2] See ‘Tamheed’ of Ibn Abdil Barr Vol.3 Pg.247

[3] ibid

[4] Kirmani Vol.21 Pg.53, ‘Umdatul Qari’ Vol.21 Pg.438, ‘Minhatul Baari’ Vol.9 Pg.76

[5] Umdatul Qari Vol.21 Pg.438

[6] Faidhul Bari Vol.6 Pg.72

[7] Tawdhehaat Sharh Mishkaat Vol.6 Pg.467

[8] Faidhul Bari Vol.6 Pg.72

[9] See ‘Tamheed’ of Ibn Abdil Barr Vol.3 Pg.247

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