Fatwa n° 326
Category: Fatwas about Clothes
The ruling concerning Isbâl Ath-Thawb
(letting the garment hang beneath the ankles)
What is the ruling concerning letting one’s garment hang beneath the ankles? May Allah reward you with what is best.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers until the Day of Resurrection:
Al-Isbâl: means letting the garment hang beneath the ankles. From a religious standpoint, Al-Isbâl is absolutely not permissible for men. Even more, it is strongly sinful to let one’s garment hang beneath the ankles out of conceit. Al-Isbâl entails dragging the garment, and dragging the garment entails conceit even if it is not intended by the wearer of the garment(1) according to the hadith narrated by Abu Jurayy Jâbir Ibn Sulaym Al-Hujaymî رضي الله عنه who said: I came to the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم and I said to him: « We are Bedouin people, so teach us something may Allah عزّ وجلّ give us benefits thanks to it.” So, the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم said: “Never despise a good deed, even if it were just pouring some water from your bucket in the bucket of the person who wants water, or talking to your brother with a smiley face. And beware of letting your Izâr (2). According also to his saying صلّى الله عليه وسلّم: “The part of Al-Izâr which hangs below the ankles is in the Fire”(4). Thereupon, there is no grief if the part of the clothe goes from the half length of the legs() to the ankles, but what hangs below the ankles is forbidden because it is threatened with hellfire.
Furthermore, the prohibition of Isbâl absolutely is supported by the hadith of Abu Umâma رضي الله عنه who said: “While we were with the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم; ‘Amr Ibn Zurâra Al-Ansârî joined us wearing a garment constituted of: Izâr and a dress hanging beneath his ankles. Accordingly, the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم took the end of his garment while standing humbly before Allah عزّ وجلّ and said: “Ô Allah! Your slave, the son of Your slave and the son of Your female-slave”, until ‘Amr Ibn Zurâra heard his saying. Then, he turned his face towards the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم and said: “Ô Messenger of Allah! I have thin legs.” Upon this, the Messenger of Allah صلّى الله عليه وسلّم said: “Ô ‘Amr Ibn Zurâra, Allah عزّ وجلّ has certainly perfected all His Creation. Ô ‘Amr Ibn Zurâra, Allah does not like those who let their garments hang beneath their ankles” (6).
It cannot be said that: we should understand the absolute meaning by the restricted one, because we cannot conceive that they (two types of meaning) can be gathered in a context of negation and prohibition. However, the prerequisite condition of understanding the absolute meaning by the restricted one is that they should be mentioned in a context of commandment and affirmation and not in that of negation and prohibition. Because this implies the uselessness of the absolute expression when there are negation and prohibition; and this, indeed, is not acceptable(7).
As for the story of Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه when he said to the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم: “One side of my Izâr hangs low if I do not hold it”. Upon this, the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم said: “You are not among those who do that out of conceit”(8). This does not indicate that he used to let his garment hang low intentionally, but it was just that his garment came untied when moving or other without his intention. Ibn Hajar رحمه الله said: “As if his garment was coming untied involuntarily when he moved either by walking or other. So, he used to hold it and did not let it hang low, because every time it hung low, he held it” (9).
Overall, the garment that goes beyond the ankles of its wearer is religiously forbidden be it worn intentionally out of conceit or not, because its prohibition is expressed textually. In addition, the extra part of the Isbâl garment is exposed to harm and dirt of the road. It is also an abuse, and the Musbil (the one who lets his garment hang beneath his ankles) will look like women.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Muhammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers on: Dhu Al-Hijja the 28th, 1426 H
Corresponding to January the 28th, 2006 G.
(1) See: “Subul As-Salâm” of As-San‘âni (4/ 308).
(2) A kind of garment: it is a lower garment tied to the waist covering the lower half of the body. It means here any clothe worn by men. Translator’s note.
(3) Narrated by Ahmad (20633) and by Al-Bayhaqi (7690) from the hadith of Abu Jurayy Jâbir Ibn Sulaym Al-Hujaymî رضي الله عنه. Al-Arna’ût said: “Its chain of narration is authentic”. This hadith is mentioned in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” of Al-Albânî (1352).
(4) Narrated by Al-Bukhârî (5787) from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه.
(5) It is precisely between knees and ankles. Translator’s note.
(6) Narrated by At-Tabarânî in “Musnad Ash-Shâmiyyîn” (1237) and in “Al-Mu‘jam Al-Kabîr” (7909) from the hadith of Abu Umâma رضي الله عنه. Al-Haythamî said: “It is narrated by At-Tabarânî with several chains of transmission and the narrators of one of those chains are trustworthy”. See: “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” of Al-Albânî (6/ 406).
(7) See: “Irshâd Al-Fuhûl” of Ash-Shawkânî (166).
(8) Narrated by Al-Bukhârî (5784) and by Muslim (2085) from the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما.
(9) See: “Fath Al-Bârî” of Ibn Hajar (10/ 255).