Good appearance in Islam

Posted on July 25, 2007


Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi

The true Muslim takes good care of his clothes, so you will see him presenting a pleasant appearance, without being extravagant. He is pleasant to look at and to meet, and does not annoy people with his careless, disheveled appearance. He always checks himself before he goes out to meet people, and he makes himself look good, in moderation, for the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to make himself look good in front of his Companions, as well as in front of his family.

In his commentary on the Ayah:

“Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful “gifts” of Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, “which He has provided” for sustenance? …” (Qur’an 7:32)

Al-Qurdubi said: “Makhul reported from ‘A’ishah: ‘A group of the Companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was waiting at the door for him, so he prepared to go out to meet them. There was a vessel of water in the house, and he peered into it, smoothing his beard and his hair. (‘A’ishah said:) I asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, even you do this?” He said: “Yes, when a man goes out to meet his brothers, let him prepare himself properly, for Allah (S.W.T.) is beautiful and loves beauty.”’”

The Muslim does all of this in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes of either exaggeration or negligence:

“Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just “balance” between those “extremes”.” (Qur’an 25:67)

Islam wants its followers, and especially its advocates (da‘is) to stand out in gatherings in an attractive fashion, not to appear unsightly or unbearable. Neglecting one’s appearance to the extent of being offensive to one’s companions in the name of asceticism and humility is not part of Islam. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.), who was the epitome of asceticism and humility, used to dress in decent clothes and present a pleasant appearance to his family and his companions. He regarded dressing well and looking good as a demonstration of the blessings of Allah (S.W.T.):

“Allah (S.W.T.) loves to see the signs of His gifts on His slave.”[7]

Ibn Sa‘d reports in al-Tabaqat that Jundab ibn Makith (r.a.) said:

“Whenever a delegation came to meet the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), he would wear his best clothes and order his leading Companions to do likewise. I saw the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on the day that the delegation of Kindah came to meet him; he was wearing a Yemeni garment, and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were dressed similarly.”

Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Ta barani, al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi and others report that ‘Umar (r.a.) said:

“I saw the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) ask for a new garment. He put it on, and when it reached his knees he said, ‘Praise be to Allah, Who has given me clothes with which to cover myself and make myself look beautiful in this life.’”

The above extract is from the book, “The IDEAL MUSLIM: The True Islamic Personality of the Muslim Man as Defined in the Qur’an and Sunnah” By Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi. It has been translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab and revised by Ibrahim M. Kunna and Abu Aya Sulaiman Abdus-Sabur, and is copyrighted and published by the International Islâmic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1999