Praise be to Allaah.
Allaah has commanded the
one who wants to pray to wear his adornment. Allaah says (interpretation of
“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your
clean clothes) while praying [and going round (the Tawaaf
of ) the Ka‘bah] and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly
He (Allaah) likes not Al‑Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)”
So the one who wants to pray is enjoined to adorn himself for
prayer, and not to do what many Muslims do, unfortunately, which is praying
in their nightclothes or work clothes, and not beautifying themselves for
prayer, for Allaah is beautiful and loves beauty.
The scholars regard the minimum level of adorning oneself to
be covering the ‘awrah. Hence they stated that covering the ‘awrah is one of
the necessary conditions of prayer being valid, and prayer is not valid
unless the ‘awrah is covered.
What is implied by their saying “covering the ‘awrah” is that
what is obligatory is covering the ‘awrah, and that no matter what is used
to cover the ‘awrah, the prayer is valid, even if it is a tight garment that
shows the shape of the ‘awrah.
This is what have been stated clearly by the scholars of the
various schools of fiqh (madhhabs). There follow their comments on that.
1 – The Hanafi madhhab:
It says in al-Durr al-Mukhtaar (2/84): It does not
matter if it clings to the body and shows the shape of the body. End quote –
i.e., the garment that one wears when praying.
Ibn ‘Aabideen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his
commentary on al-Durr al-Mukhtaar: The phrase “It does not matter if
it clings to the body”, such as if it clings to the buttocks, but if it is
thick and the colour of the skin cannot be seen through it, but it clings to
the limb and shows its shape so that the shape of the limb is visible, then
that does not mean that the prayer is not permissible, because the ‘awrah is
still covered. End quote from Ibn ‘Aabideen.
2 – The Shaafa’i madhhab:
al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
al-Majmoo’ (3/176): If the colour is concealed but the size of the limb
can be seen, such as the knee or buttocks and so on, the prayer is valid
because the ‘awrah has been covered. Al-Daarimi and the author of
al-Bayaan stated that it is not valid if the shape can be seen, but this
is an obvious mistake. End quote from al-Nawawi.
3 – The Maaliki madhhab:
It says in al-Fawaakih al-Dawaani, 1/216:
“It is valid if a man
prays in a single garment”: that is subject to the recommended condition
that it should be thick enough so that it does not show anything, otherwise
it is makrooh, and it should cover all of his body. If it covers only the
‘awrah that is most private, or it shows the shape of the ‘awrah, then it is
makrooh to pray in it, and the prayer should be repeated if there is enough
time left. End quote.
It is mentioned that it is makrooh to pray in a garment that
shows the shape of the ‘awrah, not that it is haraam.
It says in Haashiyat al-Dasooqi that praying in a
garment that shows the shape of the ‘awrah is valid, but it is slightly
makrooh, and it is mustahabb to repeat the prayer if there is enough time
It says in Balghat al-Saalik (1/283):
It is essential that the
material be thick i.e., it not be see-through at a glance, and it should not
be see-through at all, or it may be see-through when staring at it. If it
is see-through at a glance, then it is as if it was not there (i.e., it is
as if he is praying naked, because he is not covered). But if it is
see-through when staring at it then he should repeat the prayer if there is
time, as when the clothing shows the shape of the ‘awrah, because praying in
such a garment is makrooh according to the correct view. End quote.
4 – The Hanbali madhhab
al-Bahooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Rawd
al-Murabba’ (1/494): It is not a condition that the garment should not
show the shape of the body or part of the body, because this cannot be
Ibn Qaasim (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said in his commentary on al-Rawd al-Murabba’,
commenting on the words of al-Bahooti quoted above: that is in agreement
with the three imams, Abu Haneefah, Maalik and al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have
mercy on them); i.e., the view of Imam Ahmad concerning this matter is in
accordance with the view of the three other Imams.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
al-Mughni (2/287): If it conceals the colour but shows the shape, the
prayer is permissible, because this cannot be avoided. End quote.
Al-Mardaawi said in al-Insaaf (1/471):
Al-Majd ibn Taymiyah
said: it is makrooh for a woman to tie something over her clothes (such as a
belt), lest that show the size of her limbs and body. Ibn Tameem and others
said: it is makrooh for a woman to pray with something tied around her waist
such as a wrapper or belt, etc. End quote.
Shaykh Sayyid Saabiq (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
Fiqh al-Sunnah (1/97):
It is obligatory to wear
garments that cover the ‘awrah even if it is tight and shows the shape of
the ‘awrah. End quote.
These are the comments of the scholars on praying in tight
garments that show the shape of the ‘awrah. They clearly state that the
prayer is still valid.
But that does not mean that people are encouraged to pray in
tight clothes, rather they should not wear tight clothes or pray in them,
because that is contrary to the adornment that we are enjoined to wear when
praying. Rather the issue here is whether the prayer is valid or not.
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan has issued a fatwa stating that if a
woman prays in tight clothes that show the shape of her ‘awrah, her prayer
is valid, although she is sinning by wearing these clothes.
It is not permissible to wear tight clothes which show the
limbs and the shape of a woman’s body and buttocks. Tight clothes are not
permissible for men or women, but it is especially forbidden for women,
because the fitnah in their case is greater.
With regard to praying in particular, if a person prays with
his ‘awrah covered in such clothes, his prayer is valid in and of itself,
because the ‘awrah is covered, but he is sinning by praying in tight
clothes, because he has transgressed one of the prescribed requirements of
prayer by wearing tight clothes. This is one aspect. Another aspect is that
it is a cause of temptation and attracts attention, especially in the case
of women. So women should cover themselves with loose garments which will
cover them and not show any of the limbs of their body or attract attention.
So it should not be a thin or see-through garment, rather it should be a
concealing garment which will cover the woman completely. End quote.
Al-Muntaqa min Fataawa al-Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan,
Some scholars have explained the words of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Women who are clothed yet
naked” as referring to women who wear tight clothes.
And Allaah knows best.