One of the things which people treat as insignificant, although it is serious in the sight of Allaah, is isbaal, which means lengthening one's clothes below the ankles; some people let their clothes touch the ground, and some allow them to drag on the floor behind them.
Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There are three to whom Allaah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection, nor look at nor praise: the one who wears his lower garment below the ankles; the one who reminds others of his gifts or favours; and the one who sells his product by means of lies and false oaths." (Reported by Muslim, 1/102).
The one who says, "I am not wearing my clothes below my ankles out of arrogance" is in fact praising himself in a way that is unacceptable. The warning against isbaal is issued to all, regardless of whether they do it out of arrogance or not, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whatever part of the lower garment is below the ankles is in Hell." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 6/254; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 5571).The person whose isbaal is the result of arrogance will be more severely punished than the one who has no such intention, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever trails his garment out of pride, Allaah will not even look at him on the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 3465, al-Bagha edition) - this is because he is combining two sins in one action. Wearing any clothes below the ankle is haraam, as is indicated in the hadeeth reported by Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father): "Isbaal may be done with an izaar (lower garment), qamees (shirt or upper garment) and 'amaamah (turban); whoever drags any part of them on the ground out of pride, Allaah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection." (Reported by Abu Dawud, 4/353; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 2770). Women are permitted to lengthen their garments by one or two handspans to cover the feet or as a precaution against anything being uncovered by the wind, etc., but it is not permitted to do more than that, as is done with some wedding dresses which may have a train several metres long, which has to be carried behind the bride.
Abu Moosa al-Ash'ari (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Silk and gold have been permitted for the females of my ummah, and have been forbidden for the males." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 4/393; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 207).
The market nowadays is filled with any number of items designed for men, such as watches, spectacles, buttons, pens, chains and so-called "medallions," made of gold of various standards, or completely gold-plated. One of the common sins occurs in competitions where among the prizes are men's gold watches.
Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a man wearing a gold ring; he took it and threw it aside, saying, "Would any of you take a burning ember from Hell and hold it in his hand?" After the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had gone away, someone suggested to the man: "Why don't you take your ring and benefit from it (sell it)?" He said, "No, by Allaah, I will never take it back when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has thrown it aside." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1655).
One of the ways in which our enemies are attacking us in modern times is by means of the fashions which they design and promote, and which have become popular among Muslims. These fashions do not cover anything, because they are so short, transparent or tight; many of them are inappropriate for wearing even in front of other women or one's mahrams! The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that these kinds of clothes would appear among the women of the last times, as was reported in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): "There are two types of the people of Hell that I have not seen: people who have whips like the tails of cattle, with which they strike the people; and women who are dressed but naked, walking with an enticing gait, with their hair looking like the humps of camels, leaning sideways. They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such-and-such a distance." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1680). Also included in this type of clothes are the garments worn by some women which have long slits from the hem, or pieces cut out here and there; when the wearer sits down, her 'awrah (i.e., everything except the face and hands) becomes visible, apart from the fact that by wearing such clothes a woman is resembling the kuffaar and following their fashions and trends of revealing clothes. We ask Allaah to keep us safe from all that. Another serious matter as regards clothing is the bad pictures which appear on some clothes, such as pictures of singers and rock groups, bottles of wine etc., pictures of animate beings which are forbidden in Islam, crosses, logos of immoral clubs and societies, or bad words which do not befit people of honour, which may be written in foreign languages.
Asmaa' bint Abi Bakr said: "A woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, 'O Messenger of Allaah, I have a daughter who is going to be married; she had a fever and lost much of her hair - can I give attach false hair to her head?' He said: 'Allaah has cursed the one who attaches false hair and the one who has this done.'" (Reported by Muslim, 3/1676). Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah said: "The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) issued strict instructions that no woman should add anything to her head." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1679).
Examples of this include the things known nowadays as wigs and hair extensions, and the many evil things with which salons are crowded. Also included are the artificial wigs worn by some actors and actresses who have no morals.
Part of the fitrah (natural inclinations of mankind) is that men should preserve the masculinity which Allaah has created in them, and women should preserve the femininity which Allaah has created in them. Without this, decent human life becomes impossible. Men resembling women and vice versa is something which goes against man's innate nature (fitrah) and opens the door to corruption and widespread promiscuity. The ruling in sharee'ah is that when it is stated that the person who does a thing is cursed, that thing is haraam. Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Allaah has cursed the men who make themselves look like women and the women who make themselves look like men." (Reported by al-Bukhaari; see al-Fath, 10/332). Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) also reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Allaah has cursed effeminate men and masculine women." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 3\10/333).The resemblance may be in the way they move, walk and speak.
Similarly, the two sexes are not permitted to resemble one another in dress or by wearing anything that is specifically for the other sex. So a man is not permitted to wear necklaces, bracelets, anklets or earrings, etc., as is widespread among hippies and the like. Women are not permitted to wear things that are specifically for men, like the thawb (long garment worn by men in Arab countries), shirts, etc.; whatever she wears should be different in style, details and colour. The evidence that the two sexes should not resemble one another in dress is found in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): "Allaah has cursed the man who wears women's clothes and the woman who wear men's clothes." (Reported by Abu Dawud, 4/355; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 5071).
The correct opinion is that it is haraam to do this, because of the warning mentioned in the hadeeth: "At the end of time there will be people who dye their hair black like the crops of pigeons; they will never smell the fragrance of Paradise." (Reported by Abu Dawud, 4/419; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 8153). This practice is widespread among those who have grey hairs, which they cover with black dye; this leads to many evils, such as deceit, and cheating people by boasting of something which is not true. It is true that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to dye his grey hairs with henna, which gave a yellowish, reddish or brownish hue. When Abu Quhaafah, whose hair and beard was as white as thughaamah (plant whose leaves and flowers are intensely white) was brought to him on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "Change this with something, but avoid black." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1663). The correct view is that women are like men in this regard: they are not permitted to dye any hairs black that are not black.
This practice is widespread nowadays, despite the stern warning of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said: Any woman who applies perfume and then goes out among the people so that they could smell her fragrance is a zaaniyah (adulteress). (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 4/418; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 105). Some women are very careless and take the matter too lightly, especially in front of drivers, shopkeepers, school porters, etc., even though the Shareeah states very strictly that the woman who wears perfume must wash herself like a person must wash when in a state of janaanah (i.e., perform ghusl), if she wants to go out to the mosque. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Any woman who wears perfume then goes out to the mosque, so that the fragrance can be discerned, her prayers will not be accepted until she performs ghusl like the ghusl to be performed when in a state of janaabah. (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 2/444; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 2703).
We complain to Allaah about the bukhoor and ood (types of incense) used at weddings and womens parties before people leave, and the use of strong-smelling perfumes in market-places, means of transportation and mixed gatherings in the mosques even during the nights of Ramadaan. Islaam tells us that womens perfume should be that which has colour but little smell. We ask Allaah not to despise us and not to punish righteous men and women for the deeds of foolish men and women. May He guide us all to the Straight Path.