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Mu’atta’ Imam Malik (3)
Hadith & Sunnah
Amin Ahsan Islahi
(Tr. by:Nikhat Sattar)


Narratives about Wearing Coloured Clothes and Gold


1. Nafi‘ narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) used to wear clothes dyed with ochre colour and saffron.  

Explanation: Ochre or mud colour is typically associated with Sufis and mystics. This colour is very dignified. It is a natural colour and in some places, it is also the colour of cotton grown there. Such clothes are also found in the same artificial colour. There are different narratives related to the colour saffron. Light saffron colour is not a problem but if it is of a darker shade, it appears to be feminine. I think that the narratives brought by people against this are related to the ahram. Saffron colour is not permitted for ahram, so people declared it completely illegitimate. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) was a very careful man. If he wore saffron dyed clothes, there can be no doubt on the legitimacy of this action. Light saffron colour is very pleasing.  

2. Yahya said that he heard Malik say that he considered it loathsome that boys should wear gold, because he had heard that the Prophet (sws) had stopped men from wearing a gold ring. So he considered it disgusting to wear gold for both grown up men and boys alike.

 Explanation: Imam Malik’s decree in this respect is correct. It is not right for any civilized man to wear gold. In current times, people wear chains, rings and earrings of gold very proudly. This is a highly unpleasant custom.  

3. Yahya said that he heard from Malik that he did not consider the yellowish blankets that were kept for men inside homes to be haram but it was better that they wore blankets other than these.  

Explanation: blankets are usually coloured and often silken. Imam Malik considers it better to avoid these although they are not haram


Narratives about Wearing Silk


1. Hisham narrates from his father that ‘A’ishah (rta) put a silk mitraf (cloth), which she used to wear herself, on ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr (rta)  

Explanation: Mitraf means a woolen material made of silk warp and woolen thread. If ‘A’ishah (rta) gave this to ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr to wear, there can be no question about its legitimacy. If the full cloth is of pure silk, then questions can be raised, because by consensus, men are not allowed to wear silk. If silk is combined with some other material, care should be taken, although it cannot be termed haram.  


Narratives about which Cloth is Makruh for Women

1. ‘Alqamah ibn Abi ‘Alqamah’s mother narrated that Hafsah bint ‘Abd al-Rahman went to ‘A’ishah (rta) wearing a thin shawl. ‘A’ishah (rta) tore it up and put a thick shawl on her instead.  

Explanation: The reaction of ‘A’ishah (rta) shows that a woman should wear her shawl over her head and it should be a thick one. If the shawl blows away with the wind, what would be the purpose of wearing it? The dopattas of today are a blemish only. Women wear these around their necks and not their heads. They are not valued in religion.  


2. Abu Hurayrah (rta) narrated that women who appear undressed despite being clothed and act coquettishly will not enter Paradise and will not smell its perfume although its perfume shall be felt at a distance of 500 years.

 Explanation: kasiyat ‘ariyat means “wearing a dress yet without it.” They appear to be undressed despite their clothes and their curves can be seen. Ma’ilatun means to have strayed away from the truth. Hence ma’ilatun mumilatun would mean that they have strayed from the truth themselves and push their husbands too away from the truth. In my view, this meaning is not correct. In reality, it refers to those women who walk mincingly, swaying their neck and body and get attention from others. Such women shall not smell Paradise. Five hundred years refer to very long distances. This narration is attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) although the style is that of the Prophet (sws). Some narrators have narrated it as being directly traceable.


3. Ibn Shihab narrated that one night when the Prophet (sws) woke up, he said: subhanallah! What treasures have been opened up tonight and what sins have been committed! There are so many who are dressed in this world but who will be nude in the next. Wake the inhabitants of the chambers that they may remember Allah.  

Explanation: This is a statement of fact but it requires the eye of discernment to see that treasures are being heaped down all the time and those who can, sweep them up as well. And mischief is abundant too and those who are fond of it sweep it up also. These are the nights when those who keep awake get treasures and they are the same nights in which the crimes of people are highlighted every morning in the newspapers. The Prophet (sws) has stated his views about this. The second point to which the Prophet (sws) has drawn attention is that the purpose of dress is to hide those parts of the body that need to be hidden. The trend of modern times is such that the parts that must be hidden most are made visible through special design and wearing style. Today, this nonsense has become the fashion in all countries. This dress will be considered nudity on the Day of Judgment. The last narrative was about this world and this narrative is related to the next. The ladies of the chambers mean the wives of the Prophet (sws), that they wake up and gather the treasures of good deeds.    


Narratives about men Trailing their Garments  

1. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sws) said that God shall not look upon whosoever trails his robes on the ground with arrogance.

 Explanation: It was the style of ruffians in Arabia that they would wear their lower garments long and trail them on the ground. I have seen it in cities and villages that young swanks tend to trail their lower garments on the ground. This is a sign of arrogance. If the garment of a common man gets loose, this is not what is meant. However, God will not cast his eyes; ie will not favour those who walk arrogantly. Success in the next world will depend upon God’s blessing. There can be no doubt about those being damned, who will not be looked upon by Him. The main point in this Hadith is khuyala which means arrogance and pride. God does not like this, whatever form it might take. The Qur’an tells us that this is shirk, because greatness is only for God. No creation has the right to claim any superiority. If anyone claims to share greatness, he commits shirk

There are some situations when walking with a certain pride is legitimate, such as when it is required to demonstrate the greatness and grandeur of Islam. On one of the days of battle, the Prophet (sws) saw a soldier strutting proudly and giving a shout, daring anyone who wanted to fight to come forward. The Prophet (sws) said that God dislikes this walk, but He loved it that day. Hence, we see that the strength and grandeur of Islam against idolaters could be demonstrated. This was an exception to the Hadith.


2. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet (sws) said that Allah will not look at the man who walks while his lower garment trails on the ground.

3. It is narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) that the Prophet (sws) said that on the Day of Judgement, Allah will not cast an eye on those who trail their lower garments while walking with arrogance.  

4. ‘Ala ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman narrated from his father that he asked Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri about the lower garment and he said that he will give him information in the light of knowledge. He said that he had heard the Prophet (sws) say that the lower garment of the believer should be at the half of the shank. If it is halfway between the shank and ankles, there is no harm. If it is below that, there will be fire. Allah will not look at the man who trails his garment while walking with arrogance.

 Explanation: All the above Ahadith have the same content. They differ only in the account of narrators and wording. In the last narrative, the length of the garment has been determined, which is halfway between the shank and the ankle. Thus the garment should not be below the ankle. The same instruction is valid for pyjamas and shalwars.



Narratives about Trailing Garments by Women


1. It is narrated from Umm Salamah (rta), the Prophet (sws)’s wife, that when the matter of the men’s garment came before the Prophet (sws), she asked him what was the instruction for a woman. He said: she could hang the cloth by the length of one palm. Umm Salamah (ra) said that then some part of her body (the feet) would be exposed. He said: another one palm only could be extended, not more than that.  

Explanation: The trailing of the lower garment is particularly for men, and that too for those who are arrogant; it is not for women. When Umm Salamah (rta) heard that men had been stopped from trailing their shrouds/trousers, she asked about women. The Prophet (sws) said that women could hang their lower garments the length of one palm below half of the shank. If feet are exposed, they can extend their cloth by another palm length, not more.  


Narratives about Wearing Shoes 

1. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that no one should walk with only one shoe: one should either wear both or remove both.  

Explanation: Wearing a shoe on one foot is a stupid act. One should wear shoes in both feet or in none. However, if one has one foot only, or if one shoe has been lost, the situation is different and this Hadith is not applicable in that case.  


2. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet (sws) said that when one puts on shoes, one should start from the right foot, and when one takes off the shoes, start from the left foot. The right foot should be the first in wearing shoes, and the last in taking it off.  

Explanation: This is one of the etiquettes in Islam. The Prophet (sws) has trained his ummah in everything in detail, to the extent of instructing his people in how to wear and take off shoes.


3. It is narrated from Ka‘b al-Ahbar (rta) that once a man took off both his shoes. He asked him why he had taken off both his shoes. Was it to implement the instruction given (remove your shoes because you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa)? Ka‘b al-Ahbar (rta) asked the man if he knew what the shoes Moses (sws) were made of. Malik says that he did not know what the man’s reply was. Ka‘b al-Ahbar (rta) replied that they were made of donkey’s skin.  

Explanation: It appears that the man had removed his shoes at a place where it was not necessary to do so. At this, Ka‘b al-Ahbar (rta) (ra) objected, saying that it seems that the man was obeying an instruction that was given to Moses (sws) in which he was told to remove his shoes because he was in the Valley Tuwa of Mount Tur. Then he told the man that the shoes which Moses (sws) had been instructed to remove were made of the skin of a donkey. Ka‘b al-Ahbar (rta) was a Jewish scholar. All his knowledge was based on that of the Jews. When he entered Islam, whenever he wanted to and found an opportunity, he would relate Jewish narratives. This narrative too is an Israelite one. The Qur’an has not stated the reason for removal of shoes by Moses (sws) as being made of donkey’s skin.  


Narratives about Wearing Clothes

 1. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet (sws) has prohibited two types of dress and two types of trade. He has stopped us from mulamasat and munabazah. Additionally, he has prohibited a man from covering his back and legs with the same cloth in such a way that his private parts do not have a cloth, or from wearing his shroud in a manner that only one side of the body is covered and the other is left uncovered.  

Explanation: People have given gambling various forms. Just as today there are activities such as raffles and lotteries, so too in the times of ignorance, traders would conduct sales without showing the goods to the buyers. The Prophet (sws) had prohibited this. Mulamasat was a form of sales in which if the buyer placed his hand on anything without looking at it, it would be considered sold to him. In munabadhat, something would be thrown and whichever item it would hit, it would become necessary for the buyer to buy it. The buyer was not allowed to view the goods. There is a great likelihood of fraud, deceit and danger in such dealings; this is why the Prophet (sws) had stopped people from engaging in them.

The two types of dress from which the Prophet (sws) has stopped us from are ihtiba’ and ishtimal. When villagers sit together, they place their thighs against their stomachs and tie their backs and legs together with one cloth. This is a comfortable style and is called ihtiba’. Ishtimal means wrapping the entire body with a single cloth in such a manner that even the arms cannot be taken out. We wear pyjamas or shalwars but the Arabs wore a long shirt under which a pyjama or underwear was worn, and the poor men would consider only the shirt or even a shroud as being sufficient. In the latter case, in case of both ihtiba’ and ishtimal, it was probable that the body would be exposed. In view of this possibility, the Prophet (sws) prohibited wearing the shroud in either of these styles.  


2. It is narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) that ‘Umar ibn Khattab (rta) saw a silk suit being sold at the door of the mosque. ‘Umar said: “O Prophet (sws), if you would buy this, you could wear it on Fridays and also when delegations come to meet you”. The Prophet (sws) said that this would be worn by those who have no stake in the next life. Later, the Prophet (sws) received many such suits and he sent one to ‘Umar (ra) too. ‘Umar (ra) asked the Prophet (sws) why he had sent a suit for him to wear whereas he had said what he had earlier. The Prophet (sws) said that he had not sent the suit for him to wear. After this, ‘Umar (ra) sent it to one of his idolatrous brothers living in Makkah.

 Explanation: A shroud and a lower garment or a shirt and a lower garment is called a hallah. This is the same ‘Umar ibn Khattab (rta) who used to wear patched clothes. But at that time, desires of this sort were still alive in him.

There is difference of opinion whether ‘Umar (rta) had a brother or not. But the main point is that when ‘Umar (rta) reminded the Prophet (sws), he clarified that he should use it for some other purpose. For example, he could have given it to his wife or presented it to someone else. So he sent it to his idolatrous brother. It is clear from this that as far as worldly matters are concerned, Muslims would take care of their kafir and idolatrous brothers because this is also included in acts of goodness. 


3. It is narrated from Anas ibn Malik (ra) that he saw ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) when he was the Emir of Madinah, that he was wearing three patches between his shoulders.  

Explanation: ‘Umar (rta) is one who suggested to the Prophet (sws) that he should wear a silk suit and also is he who wore a shirt patched up in three places. Since the account mentions amir of Madinah, it must have been after he became the caliph. ‘Umar (rta) would take the minimum amount for his needs from the treasury so that the needs of the poor could be met: also, so that this could become a model to be emulated by rich people and by those who came later. The caliphs would not raise their standards of living beyond that of common people so that a competition for raising standards of living did not begin among people.



Narratives about the Appearance of the Prophet (sws) 

1. Rabiyyah bin Abi ‘Abd al-Rahman said that he heard from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (sws) was neither very tall nor very short: he was neither very fair nor very wheat coloured. His hair was neither very straight nor very curly. Allah bestowed prophet hood upon him when he was forty years old. He stayed for ten years in Makkah and ten years in Madinah and at the end of his sixty years of age, Allah gave him death, when there was not even 10 or 20 white hair on his head or beard. May Allah have mercy upon him, give him peace and may Allah bestow His blessings and barakah upon him.


Explanation: When it gets difficult to praise, the positive and negative are both combined. The Prophet (sws) was neither tall nor short, in other words, he was of medium height. Similarly, his complexion was neither white nor brown bordering on black, but it was fair bordering on wheatish. His hair was not so curly or so straight that it would seem that the jute fibre had been washed and hung so that it had neither waviness nor a knot.

There are differences of opinion about the age of the Prophet (sws). Some consider his stay in Makkah to be 13 years. In this narrative, it is stated to be ten years. This is why his age is given to be sixty instead of sixty three years. The question of whether his age was forty when he was given prophet hood does not have any basis. He could have been less or more than forty. It is known about Jesus (sws) that he was given prophethood at an earlier age. So, the question of age at prophethood should not be given too much importance.  


Narratives about the Appearance of ‘Isa ibn Maryam (sws) and Dajjal 

1. It is narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (ra) that the Prophet (sws) said that one night he saw that he was near the Ka‘bah. Then he saw a wheat coloured man and his complexion was more beautiful than other brown coloured men. His tresses were the best and men could see that. They were combed and water was dripping from them. He was circumambulating around the Ka‘bah against the shoulders of two men. The Prophet (sws) inquired who this gentleman was. The reply was that he was ‘Isa ibn Maryam (asm). Suddenly, the Prophet (sws)’s eye fell on a man whose hair was as curly as that of black men, his right eye was blind and as swollen as a round grape. When the Prophet (sws) asked who he was, the reply was that he was Masih al-Dajjal.


Explanation: this Hadith narrates a dream of the Prophet (sws), in which he saw two men: one was ‘Isa (sws), circumambulating the Ka‘bah and the other was Dajjal. ‘Isa (sws)’s appearance as described is also validated from the bibles. It is said that his tresses were not lifeless, dry or ruffled. Instead, it looked as if he had just taken a bath and his hair had been combed after oiling it, or oil was dripping from it.

Ja‘din qatitin means someone with very curly hair. Black people usually have such hair. They hang rings around their hair and these look rather ugly. There is a narrative about Dajjal in Sahih Bukhari also. There is also a narrative that says that the Prophet (sws) suspected a man called Ibn Sayyad to be Dajjal. ‘Umar (rta) asked if he should kill him to which the Prophet (sws) replied that if he really was Dajjal, he would not be able to overpower him and if he was not, what was the use of taking an innocent life? In any case, this was an individual whose coming had been related but he had not come yet. If he had come, he would have been identified because after such clear signs, he could not have remained hidden. It was not necessary to fear a person who had not come yet. When he came, one would see. There was also no reason to reject his coming.

Hadith books often have ‘Isa (sws)’s name along with that of Dajjal’s. The reason for this that comes to mind is that claimants have often used ‘Isa’s personality. Because it is commonly believed that ‘Isa (sws) will be alive and rise, so every claimant cites his name. This shows that if Dajjal comes too, he will come under the guise of ‘Isa (sws) and will claim to be the promised Christ. However, can the swollen eye and curly hair of this devil be compared with the soft and shining tresses of ‘Isa (sws)?


(Translated by Nikhat Sattar)



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