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Preferred and Disapproved Colors for Clothing

Photo Kamani Clothing
Photo Kamani Clothing

By Mufti Khalid Saifullah Rahmani

Translated by Shaykh Yusuf Badat

Edited by IlmGate

The Islamic law does not limit its followers in wearing a specific colour. Islam respects the preferences and temperaments of humans. Hence, Islamic jurists (fuqahā) state, “There is no objection in any colour of clothing” (al-Durr al-Mukhtār).

The Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم Preference: White and Black

It is known from narrations that white was liked by the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنهما narrates the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Wear white clothing and shroud your deceased in it” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawūd).

The very same point is also narrated by Hasan Ibn Ali رضي الله عنهما (see Majma’ Al-Zawā’id and Al-Bazzār).

The use of white clothing is evident from the prevalent habit of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (Bukhāri). It is for this reason, Islamic jurists have established the istihbāb (recommendation) of the white colour in clothing. They state, “White is mustahab (recommended)” (al-Durr al-Mukhtār).

Subsequent to white, the black colour was preferred by the Messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وسلم. On the day of the victory of Makkah, a black turban was on the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم head (Tirmidhi). The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also gifted Umm Khalid a black garment (Bukhāri). This is why the Islamic jurists have also regarded the black colour in clothing as mustahab (recommended) just as white is.

It should be noted that the use of black clothing to mourn and express grief for the deceased is not permissible:

“Wearing black coloured clothing is not permissible with the intent of mourning over the dead” (Fatāwa Ālamgīrī).


Imam Abu Dawūd has narrated from Rimthah رضي الله عنه that he saw upon the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم body two green coloured sheets (Fath al-Bāri).

Some jurists are of the opinion that green colour garments are one of the sunnahs of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. They have also stated, “Wearing green is a sunnah” (Rad Al-Muhtār).

Red For Men

As for red clothing, there is somewhat of a difference of opinion.

It becomes evident through some narrations that it is prohibited to wear red clothing, however the reality of the matter is the status of such narrations do not reach that of authenticity by the masters of hadith (muhaddithūn).

On the other hand there are various narrations that denote the permissibility of wearing red. For example, Barā Ibn ‘Āzib رضي الله عنه narrates he saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in a red garb (Bukhāri). For this reason the commentators of hadith have mentioned eight opinions of jurists and scholars relating to the use of red clothing. They have recorded its permissibility by the scholars of the Māliki, Shāfi’ī and other general schools (Fath al-Bāri, Tuhfat al-Ahwadhī).

The scholars of the Hanafi school have differed regarding this matter. Some state that wearing red is disliked (tanzīha) while by others it is prohibitively disliked (tahrīma). Imam Abu Hanīfah considered its use [as] mubāh (allowed). As per the verdict of Imam Ibn Nujaym, it is disliked for men when the intent is imitation or resemblance [of] women, disbelievers, or royal arrogance (al-Durr al-Mukhtār).

I believe the statement of Imam al-Tabarī is nearest to the truth – which has also been mentioned by Imam Ibn Hajr – quoted as follows:

“I believe the wearing of clothing in every colour is permissible except that I would dislike the wearing of that garment that is completely red and also the predominantly red outerwear, as this is not the clothing of honourable people in our times. It is always important to consider the practices of the honourable people of every era, as long as there is no sin” (Fath al-Bāri).

The colours that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prohibited the men from are dark red dyed clothing (muasfar), saffron colour, and dark yellowish orange (Nayl al-Awtār). The majority jurists are of the opinion that these colours are prohibited for men (al-Durr on Hāmish).

It has been related that Imam Shāfi’ī prohibited the saffron colour for men but permitted dark red dyed colour. Imam Nawawi, elaborating on this, writes [that] the reason for this verdict of Imam Shā’fi’ī is that the narrations regarding the dark red dyed clothing had not reached him. Had they reached him, he would have definitely prohibited them (Sharh al-Muhadhdhab).


Courtesy of Mathābah Institute

Note: This article was edited for spelling and grammar in addition to a new title.

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