Isbaal and Obedience to the Parents – Mufti Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah Al Al-Shaykh
Q: What is the ruling on Isbal (lengthening and trailing clothing below the ankles)? Is it permissible to obey my parents if they want me to do Isbal? May Allah reward you with the best.
A: Isbal is Haram (prohibited). In fact, it is one of the major sins. It was reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and others on the authority ofIbn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Allah will not look, on the Day of Resurrection, at the person who drags his garment (behind him) out of conceit.’ It was reported in Sahih Muslim, Sunan (Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes), and other books of Hadith on the authority of Abu Dhar(may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘There are three persons whom Allah shall neither speak to on the Day of Resurrection, nor look at, nor purify, and they shall have a painful torment.’ He (peace be upon him) repeated it three times. Abu Dhar said, ‘They have indeed failed and are losers. Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?’ He (peace be upon him) said, ‘The one who lets his Izar (garment worn below the waist) hang below his ankles (out of pride), the one who reminds others of his favors, and the one who sells his merchandise by swearing false oaths.’ (This is the wording of Muslim)
The one who lengthens and trails his clothing below his ankles is a sinner who transgresses the limits ordained by Allah (Exalted be He); so anyone who does so should repent to Allah (Exalted be He), since he is given a warning of painful torment and will be punished because Allah (Exalted be He) will not look at or purify him. This indicates that this act is one of the major sins.
Moreover, Isbal may damage the clothing and may make the person stumble. It was reported that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said when a young man came to visit him when he was on his death bed, upon seeing his Izar touching the ground when he was departing: “Let the young man come back.”
“O young man, lift up your lower garment for this is cleaner for your garment and is more obedient to your Lord.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih)
As for obeying one’s parents, it is obligatory to do so as Allah (Exalted be He) associates His Right with that of parents in His Saying: And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. Nevertheless, parents are not to be obeyed in anything that involves disobedience to Allah (Exalted be He), just as in the case with any other creature. There should be no obedience to a creature in matters involving disobedience to the Creator. If your parents order you to lengthen your garment below the ankles, do not obey them in this regard; but still you should fulfill their rights by maintaining good relations with them and trying to appease them with good words concerning the matter of Isbal. You can point out to them that Isbal is Haram based on the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and that we should follow his Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet), act upon his orders, keep away from what he prohibited, and abide by the limits he set. I ask Allah (Exalted be He) to open their hearts to accept the truth and guide us all to whatever He likes and whatever pleases Him.
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