We Don’t Drag our Trousers Below our Ankles out of Pride!

  • Misconception 5:

All those who wear their trousers below their ankles claim that “We don’t do it out of pride.”

  • Clarification:
  1. Allah Ta’ala says, “So do not claim purity for yourselves. He is most knowing of who fears him.”[1]
  2. Hafiz Ibn Hajr Asqalani (رحمه الله) writes in ‘Fathul Bari’, “[The faqeeh and muhaddith, Qadhi Abu Bakr] Ibnul Arabi (رحمه الله) said, ‘It is not permissible for a man to let his garment cover his ankles and say, ‘I am not dragging it out of pride’, because the prohibition includes this in its wordings. It is not permissible for he whom the text includes in ruling to say, ‘I am not following it because the primary reason is not in me’, because this is a claim that is not accepted. Rather his lengthening of his lower garment below the ankles is a sign of his pride.’” Then Hafiz Ibn Hajr (رحمه الله) states that this is supported by the hadith, “Beware of trailing the lower garment, for it is from pride.”[2]
  • Shaikh Ibn Ataullah Iskandari[3] (رحمه الله) said, “He who attributes humility to himself is really proud.”[4] Humility is the belief that one is the most contemptible and lowest person. The consideration of greatness in oneself is pride. So, the one who puts forth the claim that he is humble is in actual fact considering himself to be elevated. Thus, he is a man of pride.[5]
  1. If we were to assume that it is not always an act of pride, then Ibn Hajr (رحمه الله) says that it is still an action that has a high possibility of pride.[6]
  2. Ubaid ibn Khalid (رضي الله عنه) said, “I was walking and upon me was a sheet which I was dragging. So, a man said to me, ‘Lift your garment because it is more righteous for you and long lasting.’ So, I looked and it was the Prophet (ﷺ). I said, ‘It is a burdah malhaa (a black sheet with white lines).’ The Messenger (ﷺ) retorted, ‘Don’t you have a role model in me?’ He said, ‘When I looked I saw that his garment was till the middle of his calf.’” [Tirmithi (رحمه الله ) in ‘Shamail[7].]
    1. Some scholars explain that by saying it is a black sheet with white threads, the Sahabi was indicating that it was not a garment with which one can show off and be proud of. However, the Messenger (ﷺ) informed him of two things. One, there is more piety in lifting it above, as one may feel he is not proud but in actual fact he is. Another point is that we should not feel we are above following the style of the Messenger (ﷺ). This is why the Messenger (ﷺ) rebuked him in a stern manner and said, “Don’t you have a role-model in me?”
    2. Another point the scholars derived from this is that one should lift his trousers high so as to prevent any possibility of it dragging below the ankles. This is called سَدًّا لِلْبَابِ والذَّرِيْعَةِ or “closing the doors and means of sin”.[8]
  3. The faqeeh and muhaddith, Mufti Yusuf Ludhyanvi (رحمه الله) states that in our times[9] the people who are accustomed to wearing their trousers, pants and lower garments below their ankles consider it an act of honour, rather, they feel ashamed and disgraced in lifting it above the ankles. They look with utmost disdain at the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (ﷺ), which is wearing the garments at mid-calf. Now you tell me, “Is the cause for this anything other than arrogance and pride?” This is why the respected mufti considered it a major sin, especially in our times. Rather, he went a step further and said, “Further than a major sin, there is a fear of losing one’s Iman by looking at the Prophetic Sunnah in a condescending manner.”[10]
  • In many of the narrations mentioned above, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had instructed many Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم) to lift their garments above their ankles. Would we say, العياذ بالله (May Allah forbid), that those Sahabah were doing so out of pride? Obviously not.
  • If anyone had the right to say, ‘I don’t do it out of pride,’ it was Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه), but he never made such claims of purification. So, who are we to profess such piety? And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

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[1] Surah Najam: 32

[2] Fathul Bari Vol.13 Pg.267

[3] Hafiz Ibn Hajr quotes Hafiz Zahabi (رحمها الله) saying, “Ibn Ataullah had an extraordinary grandeur, lofty status in the hearts and contribution in virtue. I saw Shaikh Tajuddeen, when he returned from Misr, holding his advices and subtleties in very high regard. He used to speak in the Jame Azhar on a chair with such a speech that revived the hearts. He had combined the statements of the People (i.e. Zuhhad) with the narrations of the Salaf and other topics. So, he had a lot of followers. He had the signs of goodness on him.” ‘Durr Kaaminah’ Vol.1 Pg.274

[4] Kitabul Hikam, ‘The Book of Wisdom’ Pg.215, ‘Ummul Amraadh’ by Shaikh Zakariyah Kandhelvi Pg.19

[5]Ikmalus Shiyam’ by Shaikh Abdullah Gangohi Pg.215 White Thread Press

[6] Fathul Bari Vol.13 Pg.267

[7] #114. Its chain is good. [‘Fathul Bari’ Vol.13 Pg.266-7]

[8] Sharh Munawi Vol.1 Pg.172, ‘Jamul Wasail’ Vol.1 Pg.172, ‘Mawaahib Ladunniyah’ by Baajuri Pg.235

[9] 20th and 21st century. The respected Mufti was assassinated in 2000 CE. May Allah accept his martyrdom.

[10] Aap ke Masaail aur unka Hall Vol.8 Pg.361

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