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Simplicity in Dressing

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In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala commands us, “Eat, drink and do not be extravagant, indeed Allah Ta‘ala does not like those who are extravagant.” (Surah Aa’raaf v31)

Food and drink are necessities of life and are required for human survival. Yet, in the above verse, we are prohibited from being extravagant in food and drink. Thus, we understand that when extravagance and wastefulness is prohibited in food and drink, then it is prohibited in other similar avenues as well – such as wastefulness and extravagance in clothing.  

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Eat, drink and give in sadaqah, and wear clothing without extravagance and ostentation (worn to show off and impress).” (Sunan Ibni Maajah #3605)

It should be borne in mind that simplicity is the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, although it is permissible for us to wear good clothing (provided it is without extravagance and ostentation), we should always love simplicity and harbour the desire in our hearts to lead lives of simplicity. The person who inculcates the highest level of simplicity in his life will be closest to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alahi wasallam) on the Day of Qiyaamah.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) once said to Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyalahhu ‘anha), “O ‘Aaishah! If you wish to join me (in Jannah), then you should suffice on that amount of the dunya which is enough for a traveller, and beware sitting with the wealthy (as their company will distract one from the ultimate goal of the Hereafter and incline one towards the dunya), and do not regard a garment to be old until you have patched it.” (Sunan Tirmizi #1780)

In another hadeeth Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who leaves (expensive, beautiful) clothing out of humility for Allah Ta‘ala (i.e. he does it sincerely to adopt simplicity and please Allah Ta‘ala, not to become famous for his simplicity before people), despite having the ability to acquire such clothing (i.e. he can afford it), then Allah Ta‘ala will call him before the entire creation on the Day of Qiyaamah (to honour him) and will allow him to select any set of clothing that he wishes from the clothing of imaan (i.e. the clothing of Jannah that will be given to the people of imaan).” (Sunan Tirmizi #2481)

It was out of this very same love for the sunnah of simplicity that Sayyiduna ‘Umar would wear patched clothing. Hence, Hasan (rahimahullah) reports that during the period of his rulership, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) once delivered the khutbah before the people wearing a lower garment that contained no less than twelve patches! (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 1, pg. 91) In fact, even on the momentous occasion when Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) proceeded from Madeenah Munawwarah to Baytul Muqaddas to accept the surrender of the disbelievers and receive the keys of the city from the Roman leaders, he wore his simple, patched clothing. (Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaawah vol. 7, pg. 202)

The level of simplicity of these Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) was indeed very high. Since we find ourselves too weak to emulate their lofty standards, we should, at the very least, love the sunnah of simplicity and ensure that we do not fall into extravagance and wastage. Instead of us leading lives where the focus is to fulfil our every desire, let us also think of others, be sympathetic to their plight and use the wealth which Allah Ta ‘ala has favoured us with to assist others, thus earning the immense rewards of the Hereafter.

The statement of Abu Sulaimaan Daaraani (rahimahullah) encourages us to do the same. He has mentioned that clothing is of three types; clothing for Allah Ta‘ala, clothing for oneself, and clothing for people - which is the worst. He then explained that clothing for Allah Ta‘ala is where a person wants to buy a garment for thirty dirhams and can afford it, but he instead buys clothing for twenty dirhams, giving the ten dirhams he saved in charity. Clothing for oneself means that one chooses clothing that will be comfortable for one’s body. Furthermore, he explained that it is possible for one to buy clothing which is for Allah Ta‘ala and for oneself at the same time (i.e. it is simple and comfortable at the same time). As for clothing for people, it is where one wears beautiful clothing with the intention of appearing attractive (among people). (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 7, pg. 414)

Finally, we must bear in mind that simple clothing does not equate dirty, tattered clothing. Rather, together with being simple, a person must ensure that his clothing is neat, clean and presentable.

May Allah Ta‘ala save us all from extravagance and wastage, bless us all with the love of simplicity, and may He honour us to be with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on the Day of Qiyaamah.