Wearing Silk
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

Silk is said to be a prohibited cloth. In our office it is compulsory to wear ties. Ties today are mostly made of silk. If I don’t wear them I’ll lose my job. Please advise.


It must be appreciated at the outset that the prohibition of silk, and other expensive items is not directly a part of the Sharī‘ah. In this regard, the real directives are that a believer refrain from excessive spending and squandering of wealth as outlined by the following verses:

Eat the fruits of these orchards when they ripen and give away the share of Allah on the harvest day and waste not: for Allah does not like those who spend wastefully. (6:141)

Give to the near of the kin their due and also to the destitute and the wayfarer, and squander not in extravagance. Verily, such squanderers are brothers of Satan and Satan is very ungrateful to His Lord. (17:26-27)

In other words, it is very undesirable that a person instead of spending in the way of Allah and adopting a balanced attitude towards his needs and desires, spends lavishly and wastefully. Islam wants that a person remain sensitive to the needs of his  religion and to the needs of the deprived. If he has been blessed with wealth, he should always be looking for opportunities to spend in the way of Allah. For he must remember that the wealth he has is a sacred trust of the Almighty. He has become its beneficiary not because it was his right, but because he has been put through a trial and test by the Almighty. Islam also wants that a Muslim’s real interest be the life of the Hereafter. He should benefit from the pleasures and delights of this world to certain extent only. One motive of spending lavishly and squandering wealth is pomp and show, and one must remember that pomp and show tarnish the mirror of one’s soul. Over indulgence makes a person unmindful of the Hereafter, and a person who becomes unmindful of this great reality is a person who is bound to doom.

Consequently, while explaining these divine directives, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

Eat, drink and spend in the way of Allah and clothe yourself, guarding against wastefulness and vanity. (Ibn Mājah, Kitāb al-Libās)

He who wore a dress for show and fame in this world, the Almighty shall make him wear the dress of ignominy in the Hereafter and then ignite fire in it. (Ibn Mājah, Kitāb al-Libās)

While applying these divine directives, the Prophet (sws) forbade certain things which came under them. About wearing silk he said:

He who wore silk in this world shall never wear it in the Hereafter. (Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Libās)

One must appreciate that as a principle, all directives of the Prophet (sws) which are based on the application of a divine directive are valid as long as the underlying reason which became the basis of this application holds good in changed circumstances. In other words, if today silk is still considered to be an expensive cloth and a symbol of pomp and show, then a person should refrain from wearing it for the reasons stated, and, if it does not bear this label, a person can wear it. It is for him to decide. If he is of the opinion that wearing silk whether as a cloth or in the form of a tie is not right, then it is only befitting for him to follow what he believes.

If you are convinced about not wearing silk, and also think that the adverse consequences of not wearing it create more imbalances than you can handle then you can continue with a heavy heart but with a firm resolve to come out of this situation as soon as possible. The Almighty never demands of a person what is beyond him. If he has a legitimate plea, the Almighty will certainly entertain it. However, no external agency should give a verdict in this regard. The decision is yours, since it is you who will have to justify it before Allah on the Day of Judgement.

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