The Ruling of Wearing One’s Garment Below the Ankles (Isbaal)


Allah Ta’ala in enumerating His gifts upon us said, “O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as (a means of) adornment. However, the clothing of righteousness – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.”[1]

One of the interpretations of “clothing of righteousness” is clothing which shows humility.[2] Abdullah bin ‘Umar (رضي الله عنهما) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever wears a garment of pride and vanity in this world, Allah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then set it ablaze.” (Collected by Ibn Majah (رحمه الله) in his ‘Sunan’.)[3] The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Eat, give charity and clothe yourselves, without being extravagant, and without pride.” (Collected by Nasai (رحمه الله) in his ‘Sunan’.)[4] Therefore, in dressing, one should opt for clothing that expresses humility and refrain from clothing which has the hint of arrogance and pride in it.

In doing so, it is also necessary to exercise caution. One should not hastily ascribe piety (humility) to himself and his choices (of clothing) and absolve himself of conceit and pride. Allah Ta’ala, who is fully aware of the hearts and their conditions, has prohibited us from claiming purity and piety. He says, فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ﴿٣٢﴾ “So do not claim purity for yourselves. He (Allah) knows best who are the (truly) pious.”[5]

One manner of dress which denotes pride and arrogance is the garment which hangs below the ankles of males. Below we will discuss this issue in light of the Quran, Hadith and opinions of the pious predecessors. I ask Allah to open the truth for us, help us to accept it and grant us the ability to follow it.

Before we start, we will like to point out the rulings which the scholars of the Ummah agree upon:

  1. The scholars agree that wearing one’s garment up to mid-calf is a Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ, which many Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم)
  2. They also agree that it is permissible for a male to wear his garment up to the ankles.
  3. They also agree that it is Haram and a major sin for a male to intentionally let his garments hang below his ankles out of pride.
  4. They also agree that a woman is permitted to let her clothing hang below her ankles.[6]

The one case, on which the scholars disagree, is when the male’s garment is extended below his ankles without pride. Many scholars are of the opinion that it is makrooh (reprehensible) while a large group still maintain that this is also haram and totally prohibited.

N.B. This ruling of isbaal applies when a person is standing. If a person bends, for instance, into ruku, or a person sits and his garment goes below his ankles, then this is permissible and the ruling of isbaal does not apply.

The evidences for the above will be mentioned below along with a detailed discussion on the point upon which the scholars disagree.

The many authentic ahadith which have been narrated concerning ‘Isbaal’ or lowering the garments below the ankles, are of two types.

  1. Those ahadith which prohibit lowering the garments due to arrogance and pride.

Those ahadith with general prohibition (without mention of pride).

Read the Full Article here.

[1] Surah Al-A’raaf: 26

[2] Qurtubi Vol.9 Pg.186, Ruhul Ma’aani Vol.9 Pg.72

[3] #3607

[4] #2559

[5] Surah Najam: 32

[6] If she is in sight of a non-mahram, then they agree that she must cover her ankles.

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