The clothing of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)
Praise be to Allah.
In the Sunnah there are reports which describe several types of clothing that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to wear. To sum up: the reports say that he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to wear whatever garments were readily available and were customary among his people. So he did not reject that which was available, he did not go to great lengths to obtain that which was not available, he did not wear anything that made him stand out from other people, and he did not restrict himself to wearing only one type of clothing. Rather he wore all kinds of fabric except silk, and all kinds of garments that were covering and beautiful. Al-‘Allaamah Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) compiled a summary of the hadiths which describe the clothing of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), which we will quote here in brief. We will not burden the reader by quoting all the hadiths which speak of this topic, as they may be found in the books of the Sunnah, and one may refer to them in the sections on clothing and adornment.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
He had a turban [i.e., that which is wrapped around the head, as is the dress of ordinary people in some countries nowadays, such as Yemen and Sudan] that was called as-sahaab (“the cloud”), which he gave to ‘Ali. Under it he wore a cap (qalansuwah). Sometimes he wore the cap without the turban, and sometimes he wore the turban without the cap. When he put on the turban, he let the ends hang down between his shoulder blades, as Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from ‘Amr ibn Hurayth who said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the minbar wearing a black turban, with its two ends hanging down between his shoulder blades. In Muslim it is also narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) entered Makkah wearing a black turban. The hadith of Jaabir does not mention the end of the turban, which indicates that he did not always let the end hang down between his shoulder blades. It may be said that he entered Makkah wearing battle dress and a cap of chain mail on his head, because in every situation he wore what was appropriate.
He (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) also wore a qamees or chemise [which is like the thobes that are known nowadays and in some countries they are called galabiyah]. This was the most beloved of garments to him. The sleeves came down to the wrists.
He also wore the jubbah [which is an overgarment with wide sleeves that is open at the front and is worn over the thobe. It is similar to the jubbah worn nowadays by the faculty of al-Azhar. See: al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet (1/104)].
The farrooj – which is like the qaba’ [a garment that is worn over other garments and with a cummerbund or waist sash]. See: al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet (2/713)]
The farjiyyah [a loose, long-sleeved garment that is worn by religious scholars. See: al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet (2/679)].
When travelling he wore a jubbah with tight sleeves.
He wore the izaar (waist-wrapper or lower garment) and rida’ (upper garment) [these are the garments that people wear in ihram today]. Al-Waaqidi said: His rida’ and burd (types of upper garment) were six cubits long and three cubits and a handspan wide. His izaar was made of Omani cloth; it was four cubits and a handspan long and two cubits and a handspan wide.
He wore a red hullah. The hullah (suit) was composed of an izaar and rida’; the word simply refers to two garments worn together. Those who thought that it was pure red, not mixed with any other colour, are mistaken. Rather the red suit was two pieces of Yemeni cloth woven with red and black stripes, like all Yemeni cloths. They were known by this name because they contained red stripes. Otherwise, pure red is emphatically disallowed.
He wore both patterned and plain khameesahs (woollen cloaks).
He wore black garments.
He wore a fur coat (made from animal pelt) edged with silk brocade
Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawood narrated with their isnaads from Anas ibn Maalik that the ruler of Byzantium sent the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) a gift of a fur coat edged with fine silk, and he put it on.
As-Asma‘i said: This refers to a fur coat with long sleeves. al-Khattaabi said: It is likely that this fur coat was edged with silk brocade, because the fur coat itself cannot be made of silk brocade.
He bought a pair of trousers, and what appears to be the case is that he only bought them in order to wear them. It is narrated in more than one hadith that he wore trousers and they (the Sahaabah) wore trousers with his permission.
He wore khuffaayn (leather slippers that come above the ankles) and he wore sandals that were called taasoomah.
He wore rings; the hadiths differ as to whether he wore his ring on his right hand or his left hand. All of the hadiths have saheeh isnaads.
He wore a helmet, and he wore chainmail. On the day of Uhud he appeared wearing two garments of chainmail.
In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said: This is the jubbah (overgarment) of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and she brought out to me a Persian overgarment which had pockets lined with silk brocade and its sleeves were edged with silk brocade. She said: This was in ‘Aa’ishah’s possession until she died, and when she died, I took it. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to wear it, and now we wash it for the sick and seek healing thereby.
He had two green garments [burdah – the burdah is a striped garment that is open at the front. It is usually placed on the shoulders like an ‘abayah but it is smaller. The wearer wraps himself up in it or lets it hang down; it is similar to the kisa’ (a mantle or wrap)]. He also had a black mantle, a felted red mantle, and a mantle made of goat hair.
His qamees (chemise) was made of cotton; it was short and had short sleeves. As for these wide and long sleeves like saddlebags, neither he nor any of his companions wore such things at all, and that is contrary to his Sunnah; there is some doubt as to its permissibility, because it is akin to showing off.
The most beloved garment to him was the qamees (chemise – thobe or galabiyah) and hibarah (a striped garment) – the hibarah is a type of burdah with some reddish colour.
The most beloved of colours to him was white, and he said: “They (white garments) are the best of your garments, so wear them and shroud your dead in them.
In as-Saheeh it is narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she brought out a felted kisa’ (mantle) and an izaar made of heavy fabric and said: The soul of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was taken whilst he was wearing these.
With regard to the taylasaan (shawl) [which is a cover that is worn over the head and shoulders, or over the shoulders only, and is worn nowadays by many priests and Jewish rabbis – see al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet (2/553)], there is no report to suggest that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) or any of his companions wore it. Rather it is proven in Saheeh Muslim, in the hadith of Anas ibn Maalik, that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) mentioned the Dajjaal and said: “He will emerge, accompanied by seventy thousand of the Jews of Asbahaan, wearing taylasaans (shawls).” Anas saw a group of people wearing such shawls and said: How closely they resemble the Jews of Khaybar. Therefore a number of the earlier and later scholars regarded it as makrooh to wear it.
Most of the garments that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his companions wore were made of cotton, and sometimes they wore garments made of wool or linen. Shaykh Abu Ishaaq al-Asbahaani narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Jaabir ibn Ayyoob that he said: al-Salt ibn Raashid entered upon Muhammad ibn Sireen wearing a jubbah of wool, an izaar of wool and a turban of wool. Muhammad got upset with him and said: I think that some people wear wool and say that ‘Eesa ibn Maryam wore it. But someone whose sincerity I do not doubt told me that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) wore linen, wool and cotton, and the Sunnah of our Prophet is more deserving of being followed.
What Ibn Sireen meant by saying this is that some people think that wearing wool all the time is better than wearing other fabrics, so they make sure to wear it and they forbid themselves to wear anything else. Similarly, they strive to wear only one style of clothing, and they think that doing anything else is wrong. But what is wrong is restricting oneself to such a thing, adhering to it and never doing anything different.
The correct view is that the best path is the path of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he followed, enjoined, encouraged and did all the time. His practice with regard to clothing was to wear whatever was easily available, sometimes wool, sometimes cotton, sometimes linen; he wore a Yemeni burd (cloak) and a green burd; he wore a jubbah, qaba’ (overgament), qamees (chemise or thobe/galabiyah), trousers, izaar, rida’, khuff (leather slippers), and sandals; he let the end of his turban hang down from behind sometimes, and at other times he did not do that, and sometimes he brought part of the turban under his chin. When he bought a new garment he would mention it by name and say: “O Allah, You have given me this chemise/rida’/turban to wear; I ask You for its goodness and the goodness for which it was made, and I seek refuge with You from its evil and the evil for which it was made.” And when he put on his chemise, he would start on the right.
He wore black goat hair, as Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from ‘Aa’ishah that she said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) went out wearing a striped garment made of black hair. In as-Saheehayn it is narrated from Qataadah: We said to Anas: Which garments were most liked by the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)? He said: The hibarah. The hibarah was a Yemeni cloak. Most of their garments were made of Yemeni textiles, because Yemen was close to them. They sometimes wore things that were imported from greater Syria and Egypt, such as qibaati fabric which was woven from linen by the Copts (Egyptians).
In Saheeh an-Nasaa’i it is narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she made for the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) a burdah (cloak) of wool and he put it on, but when he sweated he noticed the smell of the wool, and he took it off, as he liked good smells. In Sunan Abi Dawood it is narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) wearing one of the best of suits.
In Sunan an-Nasaa’i it is narrated that Abu Rimthah said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) delivering a speech wearing two green garments.
The green garment is a garment that has green stripes; it is exactly like the red hullah (suit). Whoever thinks that the red hullah was pure red should also say that the green garment was pure green, but no one says that.
End quote from Zaad al-Ma‘aad (1/135-145)
See a brief discussion on the rulings on clothing in answer no. 36891 of our website.
Whoever would like to see pictures of the kinds of clothing referred to above can refer to the book al-Libaas wa’z-Zeenah min as-Sunnah al-Mutahharah by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Qaadi. More details may be found on the appearance of these garments in the book al-Mu‘jam al-‘Arabi li Asma’ al-Malaabis by Rajab Ibraaheem, and al-Mu‘jam al-Mufassal bi Asma’ al-Malaabis ‘inda al-‘Arab [originally published in French: Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes] by the Orientalist Reinhart Dozy, which we have referred to and quoted in writing what may give a good idea of the garments.
And Allah knows best.
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