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Can a Man Wear Shorts?


Question

Is it permissible for a Muslim male to wear shorts that fall just above the knee? Or to wear shorts at all?

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Question from United Kingdom
Answer

Under normal circumstances, especially while interacting with the opposite sex, the Qur'an has directed Muslim men to keep themselves clothed in an attire, which is recognized by the society as decent (one which should at least cover his private parts). The commonly worn attire of a Muslim as explained by the Prophet (pbuh), according to a few narratives ascribed to him, should adequately cover his private parts down to below his knees. This directive ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) actually implies that a man (as well as a woman) should strictly refrain from exposing any part of their bodies, without a reasonable cause for doing so. In other words, the stated directive refers particularly to normal circumstances, which do not require a person to expose any part of his body. However, under a situation, which requires a person to wear shorts, as in a hockey-field or a swimming pool for instance, a person may wear shorts. Nevertheless, where the situation does not require him to expose any part of his body, he should strictly refrain from doing so.

In the light of the foregoing explanation, one may decide for oneself whether the situation is such, which allows a person to wear shorts or not. As far as the attire of a Muslim man, under normal circumstances, is concerned, I am more inclined toward holding that wearing shorts is against the spirit of Islam, even though the Shari`ah has not expressly prohibited it.

September 6, 2000


Answer published by Moiz Amjad