Answer to the Question: Treatment of Non-Muslims in Matters of Foodstuff and Clothing According to Their Faiths
To: Adnan Khan
My question is on an article in the Constitution. In article 7, clause 4 or clause D from the English translation of the second edition 2010, it is stated: “The non-Muslims will be treated in matters related to foodstuffs and clothing according to their faith and within the scope of what the Shari’ah rules permit”. My question is related to clothing.
Will non-Muslim women be allowed to wear any clothing as long as it covers the bodies and is modest, such as long dresses or trousers and a shirt? Or will they be required to wear Khimar and Jilbaab like the Muslim women?
How was the non-Muslim women’s dress dealt with throughout Islamic history? i.e. were they allowed to wear what they wanted or was the Islamic dress enforced upon them.
May Allah reward you
From your Brother Adnan from the UK
Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
Item "d" of the previous article, which you asked about, is as follows: “The non-Muslims will be treated in matters related to foodstuffs and clothing according to their faith and within the scope of what the Shari’ah rules permit”. Since you asked about the clothing, the answer is:
The above item identified two restrictions for clothing:
The first restriction: "According to their faith”, so they are allowed to wear clothing according to their religion; and clothing according to their religions is the clothing of their religious men and women, i.e. the clothes of priests and monks, etc… and nuns’ clothes. This is the clothing determined by their faith, so their men and women are allowed to wear these clothes. This is for the first restriction.
The second restriction: “Within the scope of what the Shari’ah rules permit”, these are the rules that govern the public life which includes all citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women.
•The exception is for the clothing according to their faiths.
•As for clothing that is not by their faiths, the Shari’ah rulings are applied upon them with regards to public life. This is for both
men and women.
This dress code is specified in detail in the Social System, which applies to all individual citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims. There is no exception for non-Muslims except in clothing according to their faiths, as mentioned above. Other than that, women are obliged to cover their private parts (Awrah) and not to be in the state of revealing their beauty (Tabarruj), and must be wearing the Jilbab and Khimar. Since wearing trousers is considered Tabarruj, it is not permissible for a woman to wear it in public life, even if it is covering (Saatir).
As for historical facts; throughout the era of the Khilafah, women, whether Muslim or non-Muslim women, wore the Jilbab, a wide wrap over their (home) clothes, and covered their heads. There were some villages in which Muslim and non-Muslim women lived together and were not distinguished from each other in their clothing...
Even after the abolishment of the Khilafah, the effects of that remained to some extent.
Thus, if you ask the elderly, aged over seventy or eighty years old, they would tell you about their observations in some of the Palestinian villages, and how they used to see Christian and Muslim women dressed in similar clothing in those villages...
I hope this sufficiently answers your question.
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
22nd Shawwal 1435 AH - 18/08/2014 CE