The Books of Hadith contain many authentic Hadith clearly explaining the style of Rasulullah’s izaar. There is absolutely no difference of opinion among any of the innumerable authorities of the Shariah from the very inception of Islam that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah always wore their izaar and trousers above their ankles. In addition to their practical example, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah verbally propagated in explicit terms the prohibition of wearing the trousers below the ankles. This style is completely unrelated to age and time. There was no incumbency of the era to wear the trousers in this manner nor were there any physical or geographic restraints or factors which compelled the adoption of this style.
We shall now present the relevant authentic Ahadith on the issue of the trousers below and above the ankles and then proceed to further refute.
(1) Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever of the garment is below the ankles will be in the Fire (of Jahannum).(Bukhaari)
(2) Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “Verily the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Whoever hangs his garment in pride, Allah will not look at him (with mercy) on the day of Qiyaamah.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)
(3) Abu Saeed al-Kudri (Radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saying: The izaar of the Mu’min is halfway on the forelegs (i.e. midway between the knees and the ankles). There is no sin on him in that which is between it and the ankles. And, whatever is below this is in the Fire (of Jahannum). He (Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam) repeated this statement) three times, and, he said: Allah will not look (with mercy) at the person who hangs his izaar in pride.” (Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah)
(4) Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “I passed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) while my trousers were hanging (i.e. below the ankles). He then exclaimed: O Abdullah! Raise your izaar. I then raised it (a bit). Then he (Rasulullah- sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Raise it more! I then raised it more. Thereafter I was always conscious of it.” Some people asked: Until where (did you raise it)? He (Ibn Umar) said: Until midway of the forleg.” (Muslim)
(5) Ubaid Bin Khaalid (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: While I was walking in Madinah, (I heard) someone behind me say: “Raise your izaar! Verily it (raising the garment) is better for piety and preservation (of the garment).” I then looked behind and observed that it was Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). I then said: O Rasulullah! It is a simple (of inferior quality and price) garment. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commented: “What is there not for you in me an example (to follow)?” When I looked (at Rasulullah’s garment), his izaar was midway on his forlegs.” (Tirmizi)
(6) Salmah Bin Akwa’ (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) would wear his trousers midway on his forlegs, and he would say: So was the izaar of my Companion, i.e. Nabi -sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” (Tirmizi)
(7) Huzaifah Bin Yamaan (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) took hold of the flesh of my foreleg (or of his foreleg) and said: This is the location for the izaar. If you are not satisfied (with this position), then a bit lower. And if you are still not satisfied, then know that the izaar has no right in the ankles.” (Tirmizi)
Commenting on these Hadith narration, Hadhrat Shaikh Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullah alayh) writes: “Severe warnings have been recorded for wearing the lungi, trousers, etc. below the ankles. That section (below the ankles) on which the garment hangs will be burnt in the Fire (of Jahannum). In view of this type (of severe) warnings (of punishment) in the ahadith, special attention should be paid to this matter.
Everyone who has studied a bit of the history of the Sahaabah, is aware that Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was such a staunch and ardent follower of the minutest details of the Sunnah, that people believed that he would become insane. Pride was never the reason for him having worn his trousers below his ankles. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw this, he commanded him to raise his garment midway between the knees and the ankles. The issue of pride never featured in his wearing his trousers below his ankles nor in the argument of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the occasion when he issued his instruction to this devotee of the Sunnah.
In some narrations the reason for wearing the trousers below the ankles is stated as pride. While this was the actual reason in those times for this prohibited style, it was not always the case with everyone who would wear his trousers below his ankles. Hence, we find Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) issuing stern warnings and threats of the punishment of the Fire for those who wear their trousers in the fashion of the proud people. So whether one wears the trousers below the ankles for the sake of pride or not, one is undoubtedly, imitating the style of the proud ones and the style of the kuffaar. Imitating the kuffaar by itself is a factor of prohibition.
ABU BAKR RA
The solitary narration which the denigrators of Rasulullah’s practice are able to produce as evidence’ is the Hadith in which it is mentioned that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) allowed Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) to wear his garment below his ankles. To present this Hadith in substantiation of the claim, the aim of which is to negate the style of Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wasallam), is ludicrous and utterly baseless. The Hadith in question is very clear as for the reason of the permission granted to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) who was highly perturbed by his inability to maintain his garment above his ankles. He therefore, discussed this matter with Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu anhu) was a man with a big stomach. Inspite of all his efforts to keep his garment in place, he failed. His garment would repeatedly slide down over his ankles. The Hadith in question explicitly mentions this fact. In view of this condition and his inability to retain his garment in position above his ankles, he was exempted from the prohibition. But he had a valid reason.
THE ACTUAL POSITION
According to the Shaafi Math-hab there are different degrees of prohibition for the style of wearing the trousers below the ankles. Explaining this, Imaam Nawawi (a Shaafi authority) states in his Sharhul Muslim. “It is not permissible to hang the garment below the ankles if it is for pride. If it is for a reason other than pride, it is Makrooh. The Mustahab requirement is midway of the calves (the forelegs) as it is stated in the Hadith of Ibn Umar. Midway of the forelegs is Mustahab. Below this limit until the ankles is permissible without it being Makrooh. What descends below the ankles is Mamnoo’ (prohibited). If it is for pride, then the prohibition is of the haraam category (i.e. Makrooh Tahrimi). And, if it is not for pride, the prohibition is of the tanzihi category (i.e. Makrooh Tanzihi).” Makrooh Tanzihi does not mean permissible’. It remains a detestable act in the Shariah. In fact, persistence on a Makrooh Tanzihi act transforms it into Makrooh Tahrimi which is sinful and a punishable offence. It makes a man a faasiq. Clutching at straws is not Shar’i evidence for a claim.
From the foregoing explanation it will be understood that there are several factors for the prohibition of wearing the garment below the ankles:
(a) It is the style of the kuffaar. Whoever imitates the kuffaar becomes of them.
(b) It is the way of the mutakabbireen (proud people). So whether one has pride or not, is immaterial. The fact that the mutakabbireen’s style is adopted in itself is a grave sin.
(c) The opposite style (wearing above the ankles) is atqaa’ and abqaa’ according to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
(d) Wearing the garment above the ankles is part of the Uswah-e-Hasanah (Beautiful Life Pattern) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Qur’aan commands adoption of this Sunnah.
(e) The trousers have no haqq (right) on the ankles according to the explicit pronouncement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
(f) What is below the ankles will be in the Fire of Jahannum.