Assalamualaikum, recently I went to a mall to do my shopping. I was wearing a fairly tight straight cut jeans which closely resembles skinny jeans. When the time for Asar prayer begins I quickly performed my prayer. I want to ask what is the ruling of a man or woman who wears tight pants whilst praying? Is the prayer valid?
Waalaikumussalam. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
It is an obligation on every Muslim to cover and preserve the awrah from being seen by an ajnabi. Shariah has set one of the valid conditions of prayer is covering the awrah. Emphasis should be given before a person prays in ensuring that the prayer is accepted by Allah SWT. The minimum for a prayer to be accepted is that the area of the awrah must be covered.
Wearing tight clothing that makes the body shape visible while praying is discussed in-depth in fiqh books. Imam al-Nawawi in his book Majmu’ (3/170) commented:
“Ashabuna (Syafi’iyyah scholars) hold the opinion that it is wajib to cover the awrah region from being seen by others with opaque clothing for thin clothing where if a person walks behind him, the person could see his skin color, then this is not considered as covering the awrah. The same applies for thick but ripped clothing where it does not cover the awrah. Thus, if the skin color and the awrah region such as between the navel and knees are covered and not visible, then his prayer is valid for it has fulfilled the basic condition of covering the awrah. There is another opinion presented by al-Darimi and Sahih al-Bayan who said that the prayer is invalid if the body shape is visible. However, this opinion is wrong.”
Furthermore, Syeikh Sayyid Sabiq also states in Fiqh al-Sunnah (1/97):
“The valid condition of clothing is to cover the awrah even if it is by wearing tight clothing and the body shape is visible…”
However, the majority of scholars said it is makruh to wear tight clothing while praying. Among them are Malikiyyah scholars who said the prayer is valid even if a person is wearing tight clothing but it is makruh (Karanah Tanzihiyyah1) and it is sunnah to repeat the prayer (wearing loose clothing) if there is still time left.
Refer Hashiyah al-Dusuqi (1/217)
Madhhab Hanbali also echoed the other madhhabs. Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni 1/414 when discussing clothing which covers the awrah said:
وإن كان يستر لونها، ويصف الخلقة، جازت الصلاة؛ لأن هذا لا يمكن التحرز منه، وإن كان الساتر صفيقا
“If the clothing covers the skin color of the awrah, then the prayer is valid even if the clothing shows the body shape. The reason is it is unavoidable even when wearing thick clothing.”
Although the prayer is valid, it does not mean that we encourage people to wear tight clothing. Even more so if it is too tight that it showcases a person’s body shape.
An alternative for this, men are encouraged to change their tight pants into a sarong while women are encouraged to wear the telekung prepared in musolla or they can bring their own. This is the best way and calms a person’s heart, avoiding from disputes. Please refer to our previous article, Al-Kafi #281: The Ruling of Men Wearing Thin and Tight Clothing.
Lastly, we advise all of us to prioritize wearing loose and comfortable clothing, where it is not too tight that every inch of our body shape is visible to others.
Please also refer to our article, Al-Kafi #1568: The Ruling of wearing Tight Clothing in Prayer During a Run
 Karanah (makruh) is divided into two: First, Karanah Tanzihiyyah (Restrictions in syarak which is not a must and wajib to be left). Second, karanah Tahrimiyyah (Prohibition in syarak which is a must and wajib to be left)