The dress code is a vital part of a culture, as it not only provides an identity, but also gives insight to others for understanding the concept of that particular culture.
The best attire indeed is the attire of Taqwa (piety): a dress code which communicates respect and fear of God. The purpose and outline of the Islamic dress-code are well-illustrated in the Quran and further clarified by Sunnah.
The main objectives of the Islamic dress code are; modesty, adornment, identity and abstention from vices of arrogance, extravagance and showing-off.
Allah states in Surah Al A’raf: “Oh Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness-that is the best.” [Al-A’raf 7:26].
And thus, it can be said that the first and foremost purpose of the Islamic dress code is; modesty – covering the body. The Muslim attire requires the covering of the ‘satar’.
Satar is a terminology, used to describe those parts of the body, whose covering is a must. Satar has different limits for men and women. For men the limits of satar are from the navel to knee. Whereas for women, the whole of her body is a satar, except for the face, hands and feet.
The dress should not be revealing; neither tight nor transparent- divulging the body physique. It should veil the body contours completely.
The second purpose of the attire is to adorn and beautify one’s self. However Islam calls a person to remain moderate. The dress should not be gaudy, drawing unnecessary attention towards a person.
The third purpose of the Muslim dress code is to discriminate the Muslims from non-Muslims defining them as a distinct, unified community.
And also, to distinguish among the genders. Islam discourages males dressing up as females and vice versa as there is a different role and identity for each.
Hence men are not allowed to wear silk, gold or bright colors; especially red as they are considered to be feminine attire.
Abstinence from vices
The fourth objective of the Islamic dress code prohibits emergence of the morally corrupt personal and social values of arrogance, superiority, self indulgence, extravagant spending and attracting the opposite gender. (na-mahrams)
Islam lays great emphasis on cleanliness; physically as well as spiritually. According to Hadith Cleanliness is half of faith and hence it is necessary that the dress is clean. A Muslim has to kneel before Allah five times a day, and unless the clothes and body are clean, the prayers are not accepted.
So, we see that the Islamic dress code encompasses all the fundamental principles and beliefs of the religion itself: fostering modesty, humility, moderateness and purity in the believer. And thus, the dress code itself is an integral part of the Muslim’s faith.