My schedule for today is a bit tight so I want to re-publish an article which I found in YADIM's website. It's very good to broaden our view and understanding regarding the meaning of fashion in Islam. Let's have take a look.
Recently The STAR (Magazine section) published an article titled: "Fashionable" dated 12 April, 2009. The contents of this article highlight several aspects of ignorance involving the Islamic perception of “fashion”.
Islam is a "Way of Life" and it is governed by Qur´anic injunctions which forms the framework and basis upon which life is established. Take for example the way women should dress. In Surah Nur verse 31 several aspects have been instituted by Allah. These include having an outer garment over an existing one, indicating loose clothing; clothing that does not reveal the contours of the body.
Though there are various interpretations to this verse, the Shafi´e School of Islamic Thought (Madhab) permits the face to be exposed, it being the highest state observed while performing prayer.
Other aspects of the verse refer to the lowering of one´s gaze and who one can mingle with. What is most significant here is that "they should not stamp their feet so as to reveal what is in their inner garments", a clear indication of loose clothing.
On the basis of this verse we can say that that it establishes the framework on how Muslim women should dress. This basic outline establishes “Islamic Fashion”. As for women dressing in black or any specific colour, well, that is a matter of choice. There is no such thing that you must dress in black, a perception often projected and believed to be Islamic. However, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) has said that a woman should not dress in a manner so as to attract attention to herself, which in brief could make her look like a whore.
Many Muslim women think that they are dressing in accordance with Islam when they wear the headscarf (or ‘tudung’) and cover themselves, but in truth they fail the test when they sport tight fitting clothing which details the outline of their bodies, a clear prohibition in Islam.
How the Pakees, Afghans or Malays dress culturally is something else. It may not necessarily comply with Islamic requirements completely. Often we also find a lot of cultural practices undertaken in the name of Islam to be downright unIslamic.
As for the statement made by Marina Mahathir that “Dressing in Islamic fashion does not make you a better Muslim than the one who does not,” she is both right and wrong. She is right in one aspect because we do come across many Muslim women who do dress in accordance with Islamic rules but are not necessarily righteous Muslims. However, she is wrong because a woman needs to cover herself in accordance with Qur´anic requirements regardless of whether she is a righteous Muslim or not. There are Muslims who do not observe any other aspect of Islam but they still perform their prayers, so are we going to say that they are not good Muslims? Are we going to say that prayer is obligatory while dressing up in accordance with Islamic requirements is not? This is a distortion of Islam. Many make the mistake of referring to Islam as a matter of the heart (internal) when in fact it is a combination of externalities and internalities.
Marina is also wrong when she questions the Qur’an when she says, “Whether the Qur’an gives us fashion guidelines? No, it just tells us to behave modestly. God is beyond fashion.”
If the verse quoted by me above is not related to fashion or the way a Muslim woman should dress then what is? Such remarks usually come from those who do not comply with the rules of covering their heads or dressing in accordance with Islam. These are “self justifications” and which can be quite misleading and a form of corruption against divine injunction.
As Muslims, we should try to understand the wisdom behind every command from Allah and if we are unable to abide by it, then we should at least turn to Him for forgiveness and seek strength in Him so that we may be able to become better Muslims. This is what Islam is all about – the surrendering of one’s self to Allah.
Muslims should also be weary of the media because it is their goal to breed dissent amongst Muslims; to distort things and they succeed in doing so by making use of Muslims themselves. So one has to be weary of the press.
I've highlighted a few important points in the article which I think we should give more attention and thought. Whenever we read or heard something that might distort our believe in the Islamic teaching, please read carefully, try to make more research about it, ponder upon the matter, make conclusion and reflect than make improvement.