Islamic Economic

Kitab Al-Kasb Series (Part 49): Permissibility of Beautifying by Wearing the Finest and Best Garment

Every Wednesday, I will share a part of the translation of the book Kitab Al-Kasb (the book of Earning a Livelihood) written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani.

Part 49: Permissibility of Beautifying by Wearing the Finest and Best Garment.
This matter also applies to clothing, for there is no harm for a person to adorn himself by wearing the finest and best garment, as the Messenger of Allah used to own a long outer garment of Fenner cur, with a patterning of silk; and he used to do it during festivals and for receiving delegations. However, it is better to make do with normal clothing which is less (opulent) than that, for it was narrated that the working garment of the Messenger of Allah used to be like the garment of an Oiler.

Likewise, there is no harm in having a beautiful bondswoman, for the Prophet apart from having (as wives) free women also had a bondswoman, Mariyah, with whom he begot a son, Ibrahim. And Ali, apart from having free women (as wives) also had a bondswoman with whom he begot Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah. Thus we know that there is no harm in that. The basis of this is the statement of Allah, “Say: Who has forbidden the finery of Allah which He has produced for devotees, and wholesome means of subsistence?” [Al-Quran, surah Al-A’raf, verse 32].

Imam Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani says, “If people were to be content with what is less opulent than that, and direct their surplus toward preparing for their hereafter, that would be better for them.”

The basis for this is the hadith of Abu Dharr (in which is narrated) that he used to hold on to the curtains of the Ka’bah during the Hajj season, and call out with his loudest voice, “O take heed! As for those who know me, they know me; and as for those who do not know me, then I am Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junahad, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah. Indeed, every one of you – when you want to go on a journey – you prepare for your journey; and so, what is the matter with you that you do not prepare for the journey to the hereafter, even though you are almost certain that journey is something that you cannot avoid? And truly, whosoever desires to go on a journey in the world, if it occurs to him to turn back, he may do so; and if he asks for a loan, he gets it; and if he requests for something, most likely it will be given to him; but none of these (options) will be obtainable on the journey in the hereafter.” 

Yahya ibn Mu’adh was asked, “What is the matter with us who are certain about death but yet do not love it?” He said, “Verily you are in love with the world, hence you abhor leaving it behind you. If you send ahead what you love then you will surely love to meet it.” Therefore we know that it is preferable for a person to make do with what is indispensable of the world, and to send ahead for his hereafter what is in excess of that of what he earned; but if he enjoys anything of that excess in this world after having earned it licitly, then there is no harm in that.

The view that considers as sinful one who spends on himself and on his dependents out of what he earned licitly, and delivers from it what is due to Allah, is a view that is not correct, even though the best path is the path of the Messengers. We have elaborated that they made do only with what was indispensable for themselves of the world, especially our Prophet; for when it was presented to him the keys to the treasuries of the earth, he declined them, and said, “I shall be a serving prophet. I go hungry one day, and I am sated one (other) day. When I am hungry I shall have patience, and when I am sated I shall give thanks.”

However, notwithstanding this, he at times partook of some of the wholesome things, such that it was narrated that one day he said, “I wish we had wheat bread dipped in butter and honey which we could eat.” Whereupon ‘Uthman prepared it and brought it in a large bowl. It was said that he did not partake of it, but the sounder view is that he partook of some of it, and then instructed that the remainder be given away in charity. Also, a roasted young and plump billy goat was gifted to the Prophet and he ate some of it with his Companions. And he also partook of what was served before him, he said to one of his Companions, “Give me a shank.”

Through these reports, it becomes clear to us that he at times partook (of the wholesome things) to make known to us that there is no harm in that for us, though most of the time he made do with what is less than that to make known to us that that is better; as it was narrated that A’ishah used to weep for the Messenger of Allah and say, “O one who wore not silk, nor ate his fill of barley bread.”


22 The Book of Earning-700x700

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