I have heard that traditional dresses are better for so many people. But each culture has it's own version of traditional. I am a convert; I have been told that Pakistani garments are more modest, that Afghani garments are more modest, that Saudi garments are more modest etc etc.

But they say it is inappropriate for women to wear things that are in their culture men would wear only, like pants from Pakistani culture (though it is traditional for them, women have only worn pants in the west for under a century).

I can not wear thin silks and light cottons in northern Alberta; it seems very non-practical and false of me to wear the garments of other cultures, yet our imam seems to think that more traditional garments are better.

I am thinking a petition in our local mosque encouraging Muslim women who are new to Canada to dress warmly instead of freezing in their cultural clothes with a used winter coat collection for those in need; this has nothing to do with showing skin or not wearing hijab. How would I go about convincing those in need to dress for the cold, so they don't get sick or have to suffer?

  • Assalamu Alaikum. I didn't get the last part of the question. Are you thinking of giving away used coats to poor Muslims or Muslim refugees or...? Please clarify. Apr 29, 2016 at 16:52

3 Answers 3


In Islam, both men and women are obligated to dress modestly and protect their chastity. There is no restrictions on what they wear as long as they dress according to the principles of Islam. You won't get any extra rewards for wearing a Pakistani dress or Saudi dress. There is no distinction between cultural dresses (Afghani dresses, Pakistani dresses, Saudi dresses) and simply modest dresses in Islam.


Obviously some cultural dress is designed for the climate of that country e.g. Shalwar kameez of Pakistan/India is thin (but not see through to avoid breaking one of the conditions of hijaab) and loose so is suitable for hot climate as well as covering the flesh. Of course a non Muslim would wear less clothing and expose more body in hot weather whereas we have to cover the 'awrah regardless of temperature.

Now for older climates you can get shalwar kameez made of thicker material or wear legging under it and a coat and scarf etc.

The problem some husbands may have if the wife wears say shalwar kameez in the house she isn't looking sexy enough and he may want her to wear more tight fitting clothes and expose more skin like western dress and she may be so accustomed to PK dress she finds that hard. If they are alone in the house this is fine but with kids who aren't babies anymore or mahram / close family members whom she can never ever marry such a father, son, brother, nephew, uncle, grandson, she shouldn't wear such western dress which is revealing. Of course in private in bedroom wear whatever or nothing if they are comfortable!

It is frustrating for husbands to go to the office and see their western women colleagues in tight skirts and blouses and "keep eyes down" but go home and find their wives in loose modest dress when she CAN wear more skimpy revealing dress with no other mahram present or kids say older than 5.

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The Islamic injunction on dress is simply to drew modestly. There is no injunction on the exact form of dress. Thus, how you interpret this, is entirely upto you.

Most people I know who wear traditional Islamic clothes were born in the subcontinent and immigrated to Britain; and given the climate, they just wear sensible British coats when it's cold over their usual clothing.

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