Reply to Modernists – Dressing Like the Prophet ﷺ: Recommended or Not?

By Mufti Zameelur Rahman

Imām Abū Shāmah (599 – 665 H), the distinguished teacher of al-Nawawī, wrote:

‘[‘Abdullāh] Ibn ‘Abdān (d. 433 H) said:

“The acts of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) which did not occur from him in the form of worship, it is desirable (mustaḥabb) to copy him in these in hopes of his blessing, like his eating, drinking, dress, taking, giving and companionship of women. All of his acts related to matters of the world, it is desirable to copy him in all of them.”

‘I say: This is why the transmitters have given care to transmitting the details of his states in all of these, and the people of piety and knowledge from the Salaf followed the course of his example in them, and in avoiding forced behaviour in their needs that occurred to them. Thus, if it were to be said to one of them, “Don’t ride a donkey”, “don’t milk the goat, “don’t skin it”, “don’t lift the garment”, “don’t make the sandal layered” or “don’t plaster the camel”, he would reply:

“How can I not do these, when I saw the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) doing them?!” or “when it has been transmitted from him that he did them?!”’[1]

Imām al-Ghāzālī said:

“Know that the key to happiness is following the Sunnah and taking Allāh’s Messenger as an example in all of his comings, goings, movements, and stillness – even the way he ate, stood, slept, and spoke. I do not say this in reference to matters of worship only; for indeed, there is no room for neglecting the narrated sunan for them. Rather, I am referring to all habitual matters – by this, the absolute following is achieved. Allāh said: ‘If you love Allāh, the follow-me – Allāh will love you,” And: ‘Whatever the Messenger gives you take it; and whatever he forbids you from, desist.’…Indeed Muḥammad ibn Aslam (d. 242 H) would not eat watermelon because the way Allāh’s Messenger ate it was never transmitted…A person should therefore not slack regarding such things and say, ‘This is something related to habits, so following it is not important in respect of it,’ for truly, that closes on you one of the great doors of happiness.” [2]

RELATED: Are Wives Responsible for Housework in Islam?

The Ḥanafī imām, Abu l-Ḥasan al-Sughdī (d. 461), has a section on “desirable (mustaḥabb)” clothing which he describes as that which is “in accordance with the sunnahs, and in accordance with what has been transmitted in ḥadīth.” [3]

He gives some examples, amongst them to have the qamīṣ reaching the middle of the shin and there being an opening at the chest, explaining that “reports have been transmitted on all of that.” (ibid.) Hence, the dress of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is not only regarded as a coincidental sunnah, but also as something praiseworthy and encouraged for others to follow.

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would wear a qamīṣ, izār, hat, turban, ridā’ (shawl), sandals, jubba, cloak etc. Hence, one who wears these items of clothing in imitation of the Prophet would be rewarded for doing so.

In discussing which clothing should be worn in ṣalāh, Imām Abū Ḥanīfah said: “The ways of the People (i.e. the Salaf) is in [wearing] qamīṣ and ridā’, and that is best.”[4]

The Ḥanafī jurist, al-Nasafī (d. 710 H), said: “The circumstantial [sunnahs of the Prophet], to adopt them is good, and there is no harm in leaving them, like the manner of the Prophet (upon him peace) in dress, standing and sitting.” [5]

There are several examples from the lives of the ṣahābah which show they imitated the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in his habitual practices. For example, in relation to dress, it is reported: the ṣahābah wore a ring when the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) started wearing one (Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī); Ibn ‘Umar (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhumā) wore a particular type of sandal because the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) wore them (Saḥīḥ al-BukhārīShamā’il al-Tirmidhī); and Mu‘āwiyah ibn Qurrah and his father (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhumā) would leave their qamīṣ unbuttoned in heat and cold because they saw the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) dressing this way. (Saḥīḥ Ibn Hibbān)


  1. al-Muḥaqqaq fī ‘Ilm al-Uṣūl, p. 270-1 
  2. The Forty Principles of the Religion, Turath Publishing, 104-5 
  3. al-Nutaf fi l-Fatāwā, p. 251 
  4. al-Ajnās, 1:73 
  5. Kashf al-Asrar Sharḥ al-Manār, 1:457 

RELATED: The Clothing of Muhammad Rasūlullāh ﷺ: Target of the Modernists


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