10:00 AM

The Mop Abaya

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Tripping up steps...
Stepping on the front edge and ripping the velco closures open...
Rolling the grocery cart over the edge and jamming the cart...
Kids stepping on it and tripping me...

This is my reality with the abaya. I love my abaya and I beleive in wearing the abaya to cover the awrah but I agree that the style can be varied.

In Lebanon the trend is to wear the abaya exactly at ankle length. To wear it longer than that is "HARAM!" and you will get looks and clucks of disproval. I have seen some women wearing it at mid calf even but when I tried to wear my short abaya at knee length it was promptly removed from my closet by my mother-in-law as a disgrace. The norm is a full length button down abaya usually having pockets (alhamdulliah) and sometimes collars and shoulder-pad (which I removed). I use the word "trend" because it is not fully an islamic adhearance. But having not known anything different and the whole country pretty much like this you just start to follow -blindly. They follow the rule that to drag one's clothes is haram because of arrogence. So those who drag are seen as arrogent and they justify this further by pointing at their wealthier sisters from the gulf who drag and can afford to buy new abayas if theirs get too dirty or ripped. Normally under this ankle length abaya is a long skirt (ankle length too and not showing too much under the abaya hem --now now ladies be proper!) and under that some bloomer style pants going to just below the knee or also down to the ankle. They then stuff the bottoms of these bloomers into their knee-high stockings or socks to keep them from view. The result is visably stocking ankles and then shoes. The stockings get me rilled up because some women wear beige which is the same color as their skin or so sheer you can tell their skin color under them...both of which don't adhere to islamic womens dress code of covering skin color. So this is Lebanon.
Now imagine my disgust and my nose sticking up in the air (just a bit!) at coming to U.A.E. and seeing hems all over the place from ankle length (Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptians) to almost bridal train length. Black cloth mopping the floors as they go. I watched them stunned, their dresses didn't get sucked into the esscalators and they glided off. I thought them arrogent and stupid for dragging perfectly good abayas all over the filthy ground. My mother-in-law would tsk til she's blue in the face. (umm and she did when she came here.)

Then researching for this post (where I planned to slam these arrogent gulf sisters for dragging) it took me 5 google tries before I came up with a fatwa about abaya length and I was shocked but the back of my mind always knew this to be right.
It says from a hadith that an abaya should not only be long and trailing but it must be so to cover the feet completly. I was naturally just stunned. Yet again I felt this to be right. I always wore black thick socks so no one could see my stockinged feet.

Here is the article with the hadith for your own viewing:
Ruling On Women Clothing

Islamic Article
Written by Muhammad Taftazani
Saturday, 05 April 2008
Trailing the Hem of a Garment for a Woman Hadeeth No. 460 from Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheehah By the Muhadith, Allama, Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaani
"On the authority of Umm Salamah : that when the Messenger of Allaah -SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – said what he said about trailing the hem of a garment for the woman.
Umm Salamah mentions: then I asked: O Messenger of Allaah! How should we trail the hem of a garment? He said: Trail it by a hand span. Umm Salamah said: But the feet become uncovered! Then he said: Then trail it a forearms length."
I (al-Albaani) say: In this hadeeth there is a proof showing that the feet of a woman are 'Awrah (i.e. those parts of the body that must be covered) and this was a matter that was well known amongst the women at the time of the Prophet sall'Allaahu alayhi wasallam.
Since, when the Prophet said: 'Trail it by a hand span,' Umm Salaamah said: "Then the feet become uncovered" and from this, one feels that she knew that the feet are from the 'Awrah. It is not permissible to uncover them and the Prophet - SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam - reaffirmed that for her and that is why he commanded her to trail her garment a forearm's length.
In the Noble Qur'aan there is a reference to this fact and that is the saying of Allaah Ta'aala: ((And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment )) Soorah Noor: 31
Shaykh al-Albaani was asked a question regarding trailing the hem of the Hijaab for the woman: "Is it a condition that it should trail by a hand span or a forearm's length?"
The shaykh answered by saying: "This condition is if the clothing of a woman was like the clothing of the women in the past, i.e. because the women before used to only wear a Kamees (long dress) i.e. like a thobe. This means they did not wear a sirwaal (like pyjamas) nor socks, nor anything that would cover her shins nor her feet, except this long kamees which used to be dragged along the floor, which is generally known as the Abaya. Nowadays if a woman wears socks or perhaps a long sirwaal, even though this is not common, then it is sufficient for the jilbaab to cover the top of her feet. It is not necessary for the hem of the garment to be dragging along the floor except in the situation when she cannot find, from her clothing, the likes of a sirwaal or socks etc. because, verily the Messenger - alayhis sallam- ordered her to lengthen her garment fearing that anything of the 'Awrah of her feet or shins be uncovered. So, if they are covered with clothing or socks and over the top of them is the long Jilbaab then it is not necessary, in this situation, for the hem of the garment to be dragging along the floor.
Questioner: May Allaah reward you The Shaykh: May Allaah preserve you. Questioner: So it is understood from your speech, that there is no problem if the shoes become uncovered or some of the socks are shown? The Shaykh: No, I said to you that the Jilbaab should cover the top of the feet. Then you also mentioned shoes, the condition for the shoes is that they shouldn't be decorated, because nowadays most women's shoes are decorated. Questioner: May Allaah reward you The Shaykh: May Allaah preserve you. Taken from 'silsilat Huda wa noor' - tape no. 565 at 21.49 mins.
All Praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace and blessings be upon our final Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow his guidance. Translated by Fahrat Abass Abu Yahya

So by all this we can see that covering the ankles AND FEET is required for women. This also explains more to me why my Emeratian friend in Dubai told me they are taught from very young to consider the ankles as something "Ay'b" so show even among other women. I now have lost my arrogent thoughts that these floor moppers were doing something "HARAM" and have now feel duely educated that I and indeed Lebanon are in the wrong. Yet as this shiekh points out wearing socks and shoes that cover properly are sufficiant too yet the hadith says to lengthen the garment. To Lebanon's defence though you do NOT want to be draggin' your hems down Lebanon's dirty sidewalks, especially on a rainy day, ESPECIALLY in the poorer sections of the country like SABRA MARKET where filth and old blood from butchers and only Allah knows what kind of najasa (impurities) are on the streets. I don't even like my shoes to touch the ground there much less drag my dress which I will later pray in.

Which leads me to my next question: If you are dragging to follow the sunnah how do you know when you are praying that there is not filth on your abaya which invalidates your prayers?

Question2: If you are not wearing socks then how can you lift up your abaya to walk up stairs without men seeing your awrah?

So although now my opinion has changed alhamdulliah, still, I trip with ankle length abayas, I would be a walking disaster if I dragged my mop.

9 intelligent thoughts:

Habayeb said...

lol how come your up so early?
welll I personally hate it when i see the abayas of the khaleeji gals trailing from behind..i mean like as if they are walking on the red carpet...the one in the pic u posted is completely fine, all my abayas are that length or maybe a lil bit higher.....I dont always wear socks or stockings but yeah need to do that more however i dont think there's anything wrong with shoes being decorated....oh and about the hem getting dirty part....I heard you can walk (sorry i seem to have forgotten that part and since my eyes are burning from lack of sleep i guess u get it) either it was the sand or clean pavement Allahu Alam. good night! :P

Najeeba said...

I don't cover my feet, and I don't wear a abaya except to hospitals (so that you can remove it easily when the doc asks for an extra check up). I think feet is not an awra'h or so we are taught, according to the teachings of Imam Hanafi. I don't know if I am right.

Susie of Arabia said...

Good post, AMW, and thanks for the explanation. I just think in all practicality, having such long abayas is dangerous. I have tripped on my hem so many times just walking, gotten it stuck in the shopping cart wheels, and trying to walk up stairs - if someone hasn't been killed yet, it's bound to happen! Unless someone has a foot fetish, what is so sexy about feet and ankles? I think safety is more important, so I've shortened my abaya!!!

Living said...

It is the MEN that need to shorten their clothes to the ankle not the women. That si why you see SOME men with Thobes up the the middle of their calf.

I cant see how these women walk in some of the Abayahs in the Gulf. Like you said some look like wedding dresses. I had NEVEr seen it before moving here.

American Muslima Writer said...

Hab thanks for your take habibi and me and you gotta stop bloggin in the wee hours eh? lol. But as for shoes i dunno the point is not to attract too much attention like no need for glittery red shoes for everyday walking in the mall or something but i dunno i guess it depends on what you wear with it....

American Muslima Writer said...

Najeeba taht will be another post someday inshallah cause some scholars said feet is awrah and another scholor said it isn't so we need to reserach from this hadith above though it seems it is and I think feet are beautiful and should fall under the whole "only for husband" idea.

American Muslima Writer said...

Suzie for the name of safety i agree, but i disagree that feet can be beautiful and esp ankles....don't tell me you haven't read historical romance where they wax on about the turn of a woman's ankle.... and all the peole with foot fetishes... plus we wear ADORNMENT on ankles therefor they are somethign we should cover in front of marriageble men even in our own homes. The Qur'an states to cover your adornments (where adornments are worn -body, ears, necklace, bracelet, anklets and not to stomp the hidden anklets to make them jingle hense they were hidden or the women wouldn't stomp so hard to be noticed...) food for thought for sure. :)

American Muslima Writer said...

lol Living yes this was the confusion in Lebanon that men are ordered to shorten so the women follow suit. But it is outragious inshallah one day I'll try to get a picture of a long train style jilbab lol.

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

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