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On the Etiquettes of Dress and Grooming

The glad tidings are for the bondmen whom God has blessed with wealth and they can easily manage to wear good and costly clothes, but prefer not to do so out of regard for the feelings of the less fortunate brethren. It, indeed, is a most noble sentiment, and as this Tradition tells, the Almighty will appreciate it on the Day of Judgement and reward the bondsman by telling him to choose and wear the suit of clothes he liked from the dresses got ready for the dwellers of Heaven.

NOTE: Some persons may be inclined to feel that while in the narratives of Abul Ahwas and ‘Amr bin Shoeb, people are exhorted to live and dress well if it is easily within their means, in the above Tradition, the tidings of a magnificent reward in the Hereafter are given to those who wear simple clothes in spite of being well-off financially, and, again, in Abu Umama’s report, it is emphasized that to wear plain clothes and live simply is an aspect of Faith. But these Traditions appertain to different sets of circumstances and should not be supposed to contradict each other.

What has been said in the narratives of Abu Ahwas and ‘Amr bin Shoeb is intended for men who live poorly or are ill-clad owing to stinginess or want of good taste though they are well-to-do and can maintain a much better standard of living. It is for such people that the exhortation is that if there is the favour of the Lord on anyone, his clothing and manner of living ought to bear testimony to it. As for the narratives of Abu Umama and Mu’ad bin Anas, these are addressed to people who attach an undue importance to their clothes and appearance and are very particular about what they wear and how they look as if the worth and value of a man depended wholly on it.

Where training and instruction is concerned, it is essential that people are spoken to according to their states and circumstances. Whoever will not keep it in mind while studying the teachings of the reformers will, sometimes, find them confusing and self-contradictory.

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