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Joseph A Islam
Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)
DOES THE QURAN PROHIBIT GOLD AND SILK FOR MEN?
Copyright © 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 29th March
prohibitions on type.
It is widely accepted by Muslims that Islam prohibits the wearing of silk attire
and gold for men. This view is unsupported by the Quran.
From the Quran’s perspective, clothes have been given to cover one’s shame and
“O ye Children of
Adam! We have bestowed clothing
upon you to
cover (Arabic: yuwari) your shame
/ private parts (Arabic: sawatikum), as well as
to be an adornment
(Arabic: risha) to you.
But the clothing of righteousness,
that is the best. Such are among the Signs of God, that they may receive
Illustration - Joseph Islam
The word ‘Raishan’ (translated above as ‘adornment’) comes from the root word
means an adornment, fine clothing, a source of elegance and protection, an
ornament or beauty. It is an expression which is derived from the beauty of the
Source: Edward Lanes Lexicon
There are four
main points to note from this verse:
has been given to you from your Lord to cover your shame
has been given to you from your Lord as splendid vesture and to beautify
clothing of righteousness is the best (Libas Taqwa)
are no prohibitions on
the type of
clothing from the Quran for any gender as long as it covers the directives given
by the Quran including those for women specifically (24:31)
We have been clearly warned not to
forbid that which has not been forbidden by God. A few verses later, we read this
has forbidden the adornment (Arabic: zeenata), which He has produced for His servants,
and the things, clean and pure, (which He has provided) for sustenance? Say:
They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for
them on the Day of Judgment. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those
Illustration - Joseph Islam
Therefore, no prohibitions are made on adornment or the good things God has
produced for His servants. God makes it clear that these good things are for
believers in this world and specifically for the righteous on the day of
resurrection (Of course the unrighteous would not receive anything of the
bounties that they enjoyed in this life)
The word 'zeenat' comes from the root Zay-Ya-Nun and
adorn, to deck, grace, honour [said of an action, quality, or saying].
embellished, dressed, ornamented, decorated, decked, bedecked, garnished,
beautified, graced him.
EVEN THE PROPHET WAS
FORBIDDEN TO BAN SOMETHING GOD HAD NOT
“O Prophet! Why
do you ban that which God has made lawful for you, seeking to please thy
wives? And God is Forgiving,
“But say not - for any
false thing that your tongues may put forth - "This is lawful, and this is
forbidden," so as to ascribe false things to God. For those who ascribe false
things to God, will never prosper”
“And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, We
should certainly seize him by his right hand, And
We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor
could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath). But
verily this is a Message for the God-fearing”
Even if the Prophet were to incline and introduce anything in God’s name, his
punishment would be doubled.
“And their purpose was
to tempt you away from that which We had revealed to you, to substitute in
our name something quite different; (in that case), behold! they would certainly
have made you (their) friend. And
had We not given you strength, you would nearly have inclined to them a
little. In that case We
should have made you taste an equal portion (of punishment) in this life, and
an equal portion in death: and moreover you would have found none to help
you against Us!”
DOES THE PROHIBITION FOR MEN TO WEAR GOLD AND SILK COME FROM?
Purely on reliance of
Islamic secondary sources
prohibition emanates from a number of alleged sayings of the Prophet and from
the opinions and interpretations of men. The crux of the explanation based on
some of the narratives resides on the maxim that wearing gold ornaments and
attire made of silk are indications of luxury and is not approved by Islam.
careful study of all secondary source literature clearly indicates that the
opinions of men haven’t always been in agreement with regards this issue and the
reliance has solely been on secondary sources. There are also some narratives
which actually support the notion that there is clearly no prohibition.
Why are garments used to cover
shame and in this case, made from God's beautiful creatures (silk of moth
caterpillars) singled out as being forbidden for use?
If the main argument centres around luxury items then why is it
not forbidden for man to wear other items of seemingly greater extravagance such
as platinum or rare diamond cut rings or clothes made from other of God’s
creatures with seemingly greater show of extravagance?
A very fundamental question is pertinent here. Having read the Quran’s narrative
and position, is it conceivable that a Prophet of God could / would ever forbid
something that his Lord had not revealed or would he attempt to uphold the
message of what was being revealed to him (Quran) in truth?
Or is a more likely scenario, that some men have attributed false things in the
 LANE. E.W, Edward
Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon
1968, Volume 3, Page 1200
Highlights marked in red on
the lexicon excerpt are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original
text other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely
illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and explanatory
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