For thousands of years, and even today, silk is considered one of the most luxurious and comfortable fabrics. It’s widely used in surgery, making clothes, and other applications.
Islamic scholars believe that it is haram for men to wear silk because it makes men resemble women. However, men are allowed to wear silk for medical reasons if necessary. Islam allows women to wear silk under no conditions.
In a hadith narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib (May Allah be pleased with Him), the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) held silk in his right hand and gold in the left one and said that both of these are prohibited for the males of my community (source).
Some Muslims use this hadith alone as proof as to why wearing silk is haram in Islam.
When it comes to the use of silk, Muslim men are not allowed to:
- Wear a dress made out of silk (or part silk) (source)
- Wear a tie or other pieces of clothing made with silk (source)
- Sleep on a sheet made with silk (source)
- Sit on a set of silk (source)
In a fatwa, Sheikh Salih Al-Munajjid quoted the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) saying:
Ibn Wahb narrated in his Jaami‘ from the hadeeth of Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas that he said: To sit on a live coal is dearer to me than sitting on a seat of silk.IslamQA (source)
In this article, we will discuss why Muslim men are not allowed to wear silk, in which instances they can use silk, and if it’s permissible for Muslim women to wear silk.
Why is Silk Prohibited for Men in Islam?
When it comes to why men are prohibited to wear silk, there are many different opinions.
The majority believes that Islam has forbidden silk so people will give it up for the sake of Allah, so they will be rewarded in the afterlife. (source)
Others believe that silk was created mainly for women (and so is gold), so it can corrupt the men by making them resemble women.
Some scholars say that it’s forbidden because it leads to a path of pride and self-admiration (source).
Many different scholars have quoted different reasons behind the prohibition of silk in Islam.
We may not yet understand the reason behind Allah’s will, but Muslims beleive that the word of Allah is final and ought to be followed.
This is further evident by Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with Him):
Do not wear silk (clothes). For whoever wears (them) in this life will be deprived of them in the Hereafter.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim] (source)
Is Silk Haram in Islam for Women?
Muslim men are not allowed to wear silk, but for women, there is no such restriction.
In Islam, women adorn themselves with silk, gold, and other ornaments (that are permissible in Islam – Learn more about when gold is considered halal or haram).
In a hadith narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib (May Allah be pleased with Him), the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) was presented with a silk robe (source).
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) sent the robe to Ali, who wore it and came to him.
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) told Ali that he did not send him the robe to wear and ordered him to divide it among the women.
This story was also referenced by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid when asked:
I know that men should not wear silk garments, but if a garment is made of party silk but is not silky, soft, shiny, and feminine looking and looks like wool (suit coat) then would it be ok?Anonymous (source)
To which he replied:
The scholars are agreed that it is permissible for women to wear and use pure silk and that it is haraam for men to do so, because of the hadeeth of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took a piece of silk in his right hand and a piece of gold in his left, held them aloft and said: “These are haraam for the males of my ummah and permitted for the females.Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid (source)
Check out our recent post to learn more about whether wearing make up is considered halal or haram.
Islamic Ruling on The Use of Silk in Surgery and Medicine
Sheikh Yusuf Badat stated in one of his fatwa (source) that men are allowed to wear silk for medical reasons. For centuries, silk has been used to suture incisional wounds until the healing process begins.
It’s biocompatible (non-toxic for living tissues), non-immunogenic (does not trigger an immune response), biodegradable, and considered an excellent material for healing wounds and skin regeneration.
Modern science is researching and exploring the regenerative properties of silk. Its uses span from wound dressing to bio-artificial skin grafts (source).
Islamic Ruling on The Uses of Silk for Skin Issues
Silk is known to be excellent for relieving certain skin conditions such as acne and itching.
For this reason, it’s widely used in making sheets, pyjamas, undergarments, and scarves. Muslim men are allowed to use silk when they’re facing a skin issue such as an itch.
In a hadith (source), Anas Bin Maik (May Allah be pleased with Him) reported that the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) granted a concession to Abd-al Rahman Bin Anf (May Allah be pleased with Him) and Zubair Bin Awwam (May Allah be pleased with Him) for wearing silk shirts because of an itch that they both had.