Definition of Hijab for Muslim Men

How Modesty is Incorporated into the Islamic Dress Code for Men.
by Maria Zain

Hijab is often associated with Muslim women – the full dress code for a Muslim woman. Some may find it surprising to know that Muslim men are also required to observe Hijab. The conditions of a man's Hijab differs from a woman's due to the biological, physiological and physical differences between the genders. Here is what the Muslim man's Hijab must entail.

The Basic Requirements of a Man's Hijab

Islam dictates that a Muslim man's basic Hijab is the covering of his body from belly-button to below the knee. Though this sounds like a rather sparse and loose definition of modesty, there are pertinent reasons as to this ruling. Men are required to work in Islam, unlike women, who are given the choice to earn their own income or not. Men are required to support their families financially regardless of their level of education or background.

With this ruling, it is inevitable that most of those who find employment as construction workers, farmers, or in other blue-collar jobs would be men. In some cases, these workers spend most of their time under the hot sun or in extremely dry weather. This provision, the covering of the abdomen to the knee, is the basic requirement that they should observe – this serves as Hijab between themselves.

The Muslim Man in the Presence of the Opposite Gender

Ideally women should not be exposed to harsh terrains in search of employment. Should they be in the presence of the opposite gender while working outdoors, Muslim men should remember to observe the basic Hijab requirement in front of marriageable women, and preferably to cover up more.

However, in a social setting or if both men and women work indoors, the definition of Hijab for men becomes wider to endorse and fortify the concept of modesty.

Just like women, men should wear loose, long and non-transparent clothing so as not to attract attention from the opposite gender to their physical appearance. Men are not required to cover their hair, but many Muslim men do, with turbans or keffiyahs. Scholars have agreed that it would be befitting for a Muslim man to wear long trousers and longer-sleeved shirts when in the presence of women whom they may marry. "Less is More" is the golden rule for Hijab. Men should also avoid dressing like women.

Cultural Muslim Men Attire

Popular attire worn by Muslim men around the world include thobes or dishdashs; these are long shirts that sometimes reach down to the ankles. Bishts or abayas are robe-like apparel that cover the whole body. Sirwal or sokoto are baggy trousers usually worn under a thobe.
These are apparel that are influenced by culture and are not ordained by Islam. The religion itself allows both Muslim men and women to wear clothes of their choice provided they comply with the tenets of modesty.

The Muslim Man Must Honour His Muslim Sisters' Hijab

A Muslim man, besides observing his Hijab, must also honour the Hijab worn by Muslim women. He should behave appropriately in the presence of the opposite gender, and observe modesty at all times. A Muslim man should never objectify a woman or be condescending or rude towards her. Similarly, his social interaction with a marriageable Muslim woman should only be carried out on a professional level to avoid any unwarranted temptation.

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