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Should the Muslim pay attention to people’s tastes and customs and let his garment hang below his ankles? Is there any isbaal involved in wearing pants?

Question: 97786

What is the ruling on wearing pants that come below the ankle in modern society without showing off? Because if he raises them above the ankle it will spoil his appearance and attract the attention of others. I hope you do not think that my question is just for the sake of argument or that I am being scornful about this matter; it is a serious enquiry because this issue is bothering me a great deal, especially in the workplace.

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.


It should be noted that the
rulings of sharee’ah have not come to humiliate the Muslim or make him a
laughing stock among people; rather they have brought that which is good for
all people in their religious and worldly affairs. If you think about the
state of the world you will find this to be true. Actions that go against
Islam have become widespread everywhere on earth. Look – for example –at the
effect that mixing between women and men has on nations; look at the effects
of permitting alcohol; look at the effects of wanton display and unveiling;
look at the effects of false freedoms on those nations. They are the nations
that are most affected by anxiety and depression, they have the highest
suicide rates, they are the nations where wife-beating and murder of wives
is most common, and there are many other examples. What we say is based on
their own statistics. But this is not the place to discuss that in detail.
Rather it is just a hint of what we want to convey to you and other readers
to whom the shaytaan may insinuate that it is not good to implement some of
the established principles of Islam. We do not think – in sha Allaah – that
you are one of them, but this does not mean that we should not draw
attention to the matter. 


It should be noted that the
Muslim should not pay attention to people and their customs when it has to
do with a duty that Allaah has enjoined on him or a prohibition that Allaah
has forbidden him to do.  

Yes, the Muslim may pay
attention to people and their customs with regard to things that are
mustahabb, permissible or makrooh, but when it comes to things that are
obligatory or forbidden, it is not permissible for him at all to ignore them
for the sake of people.  

Some people mistakenly
quote as evidence the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah which says that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) refrained from demolishing the
Ka’bah and rebuilding it on the foundations of Ibraaheem (peace be upon
him), and they take that as evidence that one may refrain from doing
obligatory duties, but this is obviously mistaken. If that had been
obligatory for him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he
would not have refrained from it for the sake of softening people’s hearts.
Rather it was permissible. There follows the hadeeth in full, and the
scholars’ comments on it. 

It was narrated from
‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her: “O ‘Aa’ishah, were it not that
your people have only recently left Jaahiliyyah behind, I would have ordered
that the House be demolished and I would have incorporated into it what was
left out of it, and I would have placed (the door) at ground level and given
it two doors, a door on the east and a door on the west, and thus I would
have rebuilt it on the foundations of Ibraaheem.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari
(1509) and Muslim (1333).  

According to another
version: “I am afraid of putting them off.” 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn
Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

It is well known that the
Ka’bah is the best waqf on the face of the earth. If changing or altering it
had been obligatory, he would not failed to do it. Thus it is known that
that was permissible and that it would have been better, were it not for
what he mentioned about Quraysh being new in Islam. This has to do with
altering its structure. From this it is known that it is permissible in

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa

And he (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said: 

He left that which was
better in his view so as to avoid putting people off. Similarly, if a person
thinks that it is better to say the Basmalah out loud but he is leading in
prayer people who do not like it, or vice versa, and he does what is in
accordance with their view, then he has done the right thing. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa
(22/268, 269). 

And he said: 

He (the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) moved from the better option to
another option because this would achieve harmony and soften people’s
hearts, as he said to ‘Aa’ishah: “Were it not that your people have only
recently left Jaahiliyyah behind, I would have demolished the Ka’bah and
given it two doors.” In this case he left what was better for the sake of
harmony and softening hearts.  

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa


With regard to letting
garments come below the ankles (isbaal) in general, and with regard to pants
in particular, several points should be noted: 

1 – Letting garments touch
the ankles is a major sin. The prohibition on isbaal is not only due to
arrogance; rather it is haraam in and of itself, and it is itself a kind of
arrogance. If arrogance of the heart is added to that, then the sin is

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Ibn al-‘Arabi (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible for a man to let his garment
go past his ankle and say “I am not letting it drag out of pride,” because
the prohibition refers to it by name. It is not permissible if a thing is
prohibited by name to say “I will not comply with it because the reason does
not apply to me.” This is an unacceptable claim, rather his letting his
garment drag is indicative of his arrogance. End quote. 

To sum up: Isbaal implies
letting the garment drag, and dragging the garment implies showing off, even
if the wearer did not intend to show off. This is supported by the report
narrated by Ahmad ibn Munay’ via another isnaad from Ibn ‘Umar in a hadeeth
which he attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him): “Beware of letting your izaar (lower garment) drag, for letting
the garment drag is showing off.” 

Fath al-Baari

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn
Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

“Beware of letting your
izaar (lower garment) drag, for letting the garment drag is showing off.” So
all isbaal is regarded as showing off, because in most cases it is nothing
else. Whoever does not let his lower garment drag in order to show off, his
action is a means that leads to that, and means come under the same rulings
as the ends. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa
al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (6/383). 

See also the answer to
question no. 762 which explains the evidence for isbaal being haraam. 

2 – It is not permissible
for anyone to divide the religion into essential and trivial matters and
those who divide it in this manner regard letting the garment hang below the
ankles and shaving the beard as trivial matters. This is wrong, and the
cause of it is ignorance of the rulings of Islam. These two actions are
major sins. Look at how those who hold this view take the matter of
committing major sins lightly because of this view.  

See the response to them in
the answer to question no. 12808

3 – Isbaal is not just the
issue of the thawb, rather it also applies to the izaar (waist wrapper or
lower garment), pants, shalwar and abayahs, and any other garment that the
Muslim may wear. 

4 – We should point out
that that which is worn to mid-calf is the izaar. The thawb and pants are
not worn in this manner, rather they are worn above the ankle and it is not
permissible for them to touch the ankle. 

We have discussed these two
issues (4 and 5) in the answer to question no.

5 –It is not permissible to
wear pants if they are tight and show the shape of the ‘awrah. 

See question no.

And finally: 

6 – Letting the pants come
below the ankle is a major sin. Based on that, no attention should be paid
to people’s taste and opinion about shortening them in accordance with the
Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as
we stated at the beginning of this answer. In fact we are surprised by the
one who regards this shortening as spoiling the appearance of the Muslims
but he does not regard the shortening of women’s clothes to mid-thigh in the
same way, and he does not regard the repulsively tight pants worn by some
young men in the same way, or the low-slung pants that some young people
wear, or the haircuts of young people which resemble animals such as lions,
roosters, ducks and mice.  

The brother who adheres to
shortening his garments should not go to extremes in that. The ruling is
that letting the garment come below the ankles is haraam, and there is no
room for paying attention to people’s views on this matter. As for going to
extremes in shortening them, there is room for manoeuvre. The brothers who
adhere to this ruling should not expose themselves to mockery or focus this
issue with people at the expense of other issues, and they should not create
barriers between themselves and the people by going to extremes on such
issues where sharee’ah has given room for manoeuvre. They can pay attention
to the customs of their country and if they lengthen their garment to just
above the ankles so as to prevent people from mocking them and so as not to
create a barrier between themselves and the people, there is the hope that
they will be rewarded more than those who shorten their garments more. 

Letting the pants come
lower than the ankle is a haraam action and no attention should be paid to
people’s tastes and customs. The accountable Muslim has no right to go
against this ruling for the sake of people. As for the degree of shortening,
if he pays attention to the customs of his country and how people will look
at him, that will be better for him. 

And Allaah knows best.


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