Discussing the length of a man’s pants

Discussing the length of a man’s pants


As-Salam alaiykum my brother in Islam, why don’t your wear your pants properly? The Sunnah of The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Salaam) instructs us to do this, and you do not.

Wa alykum as-salaam,

I’m assuming you’re saying that I’m not wearing my pants short enough? Well, if I’m assuming correctly, then I’m sorry, but with tremendous respect, I think you might have misunderstood the message of The Prophet when he spoke of wearing a shorter garment.

Back in the day, if you were an absolute baller, you would wear a lot of extra fabric. Why? Because fabric was expensive, and so when you wore a lot of extra fabric it would drag on the ground, and because you were such a baller, you didn’t care because you had enough money to buy more fabric and you could get the fabric that you were wearing now, all dirty.

So a poorer person, could not afford a lot of fabric, so they would naturally be wearing a shorter garment as a result. So, let’s put it this way, if you were trying to impress someone with your clothes, instead of buying like, a really nice (insert something cool here) you would want to have something longer, to show that you were better off. However, chances are, you couldn’t do that, because you were poor and the rich people in Mecca were punching you in the face and laughing.

I realize that last bit was not very academic, but, in all seriousness, let’s remember that the rich in Mecca were really abusing the poor, and that the elites of the society were not just materialistic, but they did not see that it should be necessary for them to help others. Things needed to change, and that is why God sent His Message to The Prophet, because The Prophet was the only person in Mecca that had the level of honesty (his nick name was al-Amin [the trustworthy]) to even bring up the possibility of change.

So, in this materialistic society, it would be really hard to not try and “fit in” because your material possessions were everything and showed your relative power and therefore, your relative worth in the society. So, when someone like Prophet Muhammad, who was a merchant, says that “hey, we shouldn’t wear our clothes like this any more” it becomes a big deal. It’s a major act.

Why? Because, a successful merchant, is destroying the visible representation of class distinctions in his society. This is a big deal. And for Prophet Muhammad this is not just something he did for the outside world, but, in his own home, he would sleep on a simple reed mat. He was committed to this idea on a complete level.

So the injunction by Prophet Muhammad to wear shortened garments is not about the length, it’s about the context of the society in which he lived. The idea behind what Prophet Muhammad said is about keeping oneself modest and not displaying one’s wealth and one’s success in ostentatious ways.

The reason why it’s about context and it’s not something that we can expand to more situations is twofold:

First, what if you’re a Muslim in a cold country? If this was a necessary or obligatory actions (fard, wajib) then, what would the Muslims in Bosnia, Albania, or Canada do when it snows? It would be a pretty awkward injunction, and people would get sick, a lot.

Second, our society today does not associate shortness with poverty. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, the baggier your clothes, the more likely that you are poorer. The better your clothes fit, the more money you have to spend on a tailor, or to get clothes that fit you. I mean, google Thom Browne, his pants are all short, does this mean he’s fulfilling an Islamic duty better than others?

So, I would argue that not only is this concept limited to its context,  but that we have to apply it differently to ourselves. So instead of focusing on the length of our pants, we should be looking at the outward representations of our clothes and wonder, are we being ostentatious in our clothing? I’m not saying don’t be stylish, don’t have fun with your clothes, but I think having a bunch of LV’s or Fendi F’s all over yourself is not exactly the best way to go.

The perception of clothing we have is very different to the way that people historically looked at clothing, but, that’s another issue.

Insha Allah I hope I addressed your concern, and if you or anyone else has any questions on this or another topic, I would be more than happy to answer.

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