"0 you Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment   upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an  adornment to you, but the raiment of righteousness that is the best." (Q7:26)

Generally, four distinctive features characterise the dressing of a Muslim: coverage, thickness, looseness and its being right. The Muslim's dress must cover the parts of the body that are referred to as the' awrah (nakedness), otherwise the person is naked in spite of a dress. The awrah for the male is the part of the body from the navel to the knees while all parts of the female body constitute the awrah except for the hands and the face. The symbol of the Muslim is that he covers his awrah (nakedness) whenever he is in public or in prayer.

By thickness is meant that the dress should not be transparent as to reveal the parts of the body that should be covered; either by design or by default. Part of the reasons for dressing is to cover the physical shape of the body; hence the dress must not hug the body rather it should be loose so that the body's physique is not pronounced. Then the dress must be right by its purpose, its colour, the fabric and its style. The Muslim must not dress up for the purpose of pride

He also recommended humility and moderation in dressing and emphasised that the Muslim should show gratitude for Allah's bounty for

"Allah likes to see the mark of His bounty on His servant" (Tirmidhi).

Part of humility is to desist from bright coloured dresses for he recommended:

"Wear white for that is purest and most elegant ... " (Nasai) and he forbade to use of gold rings, to wear silk clothes and to recite the Qur 'an in ruku . (bowing) and sajda (prostration) and to wear yellow garments" (Ali ibn Abu Talib in Muslim).

As for style, the man's lower garment should not go below the ankle for as Rasul (PBUH) said:

"The portion of a loin cloth (lower garment) worn below the ankles is condemned to the Fire" (Bukhari).

Allah has endowed the Muslimat with His mercy and. adorned her with the style of honour by the command:

"And say to the believing women thut ... they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily} appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bossoms and that they should not draw attention to their hidden ornaments ... " (Q24:31).

It is only when the believing woman adorns this style that she represents a symbol of Islam; any other style will make her a symbol of vanity and a symbol of disobedience. May Allah continue to honour the mahjubahs (hijabites) who wear, the robes of obedience.

"Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers (but) compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer) seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks (being) the traces of their prostration: …" (Q48: 29).

As a symbol the face of the adult Muslims should be a dead give away. The tight wrap of the hijab defines the face of the Muslim woman while the salaat spot' defines the face of the Muslim man immediately you see him. Look at yourself in that mirror; if the salaat spot is not distinct on your forehead, then you lack a clear symbol of Islam for "on their faces are their marks •••" (Q48: 29)·

Some say this refers to the dark spot left on the forehead from years of sujud (prostration), some say it is the light of humility shinning forth from within while others insist that it refers to the radiance that will shine on believers' faces on the Day of Ressurrection. as a result of their ablution. Is the salaat spot on the forehead a symbol of Islam? Yes! Not by the spot itself but by the act of prostration that brings about. Allah has made the act of prostration (sujud) a condition for drawing near to Him as he commands: wasjud waqtarib

"...prostrate in adoration and bring yourself the closer (to Allah}" (Q96:19).

The Rasul (PBUH) added:

"The servant is never closer to Allah than when he is prostrating himself in worship.. and also "whenever a Muslim performs a prostration for Allah's sake, Allah raises him one degree and absolves him of one sin" (Muslim).

The time of sujud is the time to make many supplications. Show how that spot will not be on your face if you prostrate often for Allah.

Finallys, the beard completes the adornment of your face. Note that the Rasul (PBUH) ordered that the beard should be kept by all adult male Muslims; it is thus haram to trim, let alone shave it. (Muslim).

What is left is to emulate the Rasul (PBUH) and use the turban on your head or use the cap to cover your hair. Now if you appear in public with all these symbols of Islam, is it possible for anyone to still ask you what your religion is?

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