What is the ruling of praying on a prayer mat made of silk for men?
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.
The Prophet PBUH said:
أَنَّهُ - صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ - أَخَذَ فِي يَمِينِهِ قِطْعَةَ حَرِيرٍ وَفِي شِمَالِهِ قِطْعَةَ ذَهَبٍ وَقَالَ هَذَانِ حَرَامٌ عَلَى ذُكُورِ أُمَّتِي حِلٌّ لِإِنَاثِهِمْ
"The Prophet of Allah [SAW] took hold of some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left, then he said: 'These two are forbidden for the males of my Ummah. and permitted to the females.’”
Musnad Ahmad (3/255), Sahih al-Bukhari (2921), Sahih Muslim (2076), Sunan Abu Dawud (4056), Sunan Nasaie (8/202) and Sunan Ibn Majah (3592)
The Ruling of Wearing Silk
The ruling of wearing silk is haram for men and halal for women. This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
أُحِلَّ الذَّهَبُ وَالْحَرِيرُ لإِنَاثِ أُمَّتِي وَحُرِّمَ عَلَى ذُكُورِهَا
"Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my Ummah, and forbidden to the males."
Sunan al-Nasai’e (5163)
Imam al-Shawkani stated that this hadith is a dalil used by majority of the scholars who are of the opinion that silk and gold are haram for men and halal for women. (Refer Nail al-Autar, 2/98).
عَنْ عَلِيٍّ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ كَسَانِي النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حُلَّةً سِيَرَاءَ، فَخَرَجْتُ فِيهَا، فَرَأَيْتُ الْغَضَبَ فِي وَجْهِهِ، فَشَقَّقْتُهَا بَيْنَ نِسَائِ
Narrated by `Ali bin Abi Talib: “The Prophet (ﷺ) gave me a silk suit. I went out wearing it, but seeing the signs of anger on his face, I tore it and distributed it among women (in my family).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (5840)
Besides, the scholars state the wisdom of prohibition of silk for men is because Islam is a religion of jihad and strength. So, Islam also preserve the masculinity of the men from everything which portrays weakness and softness. While silk is attributed with gentleness and portrays women. This is different with women who are permitted to wear silk because Allah creates them with the attribute of gentleness who love beauty and their obligation to adorn themselves to satisfy their husbands. (Refer: Nihayah al-Muhtaj, 373-374).
Usage of Silk Other Than in Clothes
We already know that the ruling of wearing silk is haram for men and halal for women. Hence, what is the ruling of silk as prayer mat, to sit on it and etc.?
The ruling of using silk as blanket, bedsheet or prayer mat is the same as the ruling of wearing silk which is haram for men and halal for women. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars from madhhab Shafie, Maliki and Hanbali. (Refer Umdah Al-Qari' Syarh Sahih Al-Bukhari, 22/13-14; Al-Iqna', 1/198, Kasysyaf al-Qina', 1/273).
Imam Hajar al-Asqalani said in the chapter ‘using silk as a sheet’: “Its ruling (using silk as prayer mat) is the same as the ruling of (wearing silk) in terms of prohibition and permissibility”. (Refer Fath al-Bari, 10/291; Irsyad al-Sari, 8/440).
Imam Hajar al-Haitami said: “And it is prohibited for men to use silk as clothes, sheet to sit on or to lie back, sheet to sleep and all sorts of usage”. (Refer: Tuhfah al-Muhtaj, 3/20 and Al-Iqna', 1/198). This is in accordance with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH which is narrated by Huzaifah:
نَهَانَا النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ نَشْرَبَ فِي آنِيَةِ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ، وَأَنْ نَأْكُلَ فِيهَا، وَعَنْ لُبْسِ الْحَرِيرِ وَالدِّيبَاجِ، وَأَنْ نَجْلِسَ عَلَيْهِ
The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade us to drink out of gold and silver vessels, or eat in it, Ann also forbade the wearing of silk and Dibaj or sitting on it.
Sahih al-Bukhari (5837) and Sahih Muslim (2067)
Imam al-Mawardi said when answering the opinion of Abu Hanifah who permits the usage of silk as a sheet: “This opinion is an opinion contradict with the general meaning of the hadith of the Prophet PBUH which stated ‘Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my Ummah, and forbidden to the males’, so, using silk as a sheet is an excessiveness of showcasing one’s wealth. So, its ruling is stricter than the ruling of wearing silk. So, it is prioritized to be prohibited”. (Refer: Al-Hawi al-Kabir, 2/478).
Hence, it is prohibited for men to use silk other than in clothing like prayer mat, blanket, bedsheet and etc. This is in accordance with the general meaning of the hadith which prohibits wearing silk for men. In addition, it is a symbol of arrogance and excessiveness in showcasing wealth.
The Ruling of Praying Wearing Silk Clothes
Even if it is haram for men to wear silk or using it as prayer mat, however, if he prays in that state, his prayer is still valid according to majority of the scholars.
Imam Ibn al-Mulaqqin said: “It is prohibited to pray wearing clothes made of silk, and whoever do so, his prayer is still valid, but is sinful, and this is the opinion of majority of the scholars.” Imam Shafie and Abu Thawr said: “The action (wearing silk) while praying is haram, but his prayer is still valid”. (Refer: Al-Taudhih li Syarh al-Jami' al-Sahih, 5/353).
Imam Ibn Nujaim said: “And if a person covers himself with clothes made of silk and pray (in that condition), then his prayer is valid, but he bears the sin like a person prays on a confiscated land”. (Refer: Al-Bahr al-Raiq Syarh Kanz al-Daqaiq, 1/283).
Imam al-Rajihi when commenting on the ruling of pray wearing clothes made of silk said: “The ruling of his prayer is valid, but is sinful, because the Fiqh maxim mentions, if the prohibition refers to the essential parts (conditions and requisites), so its ruling will go to the extent of nullifying prayer. However, if the prohibition refers to external factors, then the matter does not nullify prayer. A Muslim is only commanded to make sure his clothes and body are pure when he prays. If he wears clothes which has najis, then his prayer is invalid. While if he wears silk clothes, his prayer is valid, but is sinful because he wears clothes which are prohibited”. (Refer: Syarh Umdah al-Fiqh, 1/15)
After analyzing the above discussion, this issue can be concluded as the following:
- The ruling of wearing silk is haram for men and halal for women as long as it aligns with the Shari’a. However, men are permitted to wear silk in exigent (darurat) situations like wearing it when there is no cloth to cover him during winter for medical purpose. (Refer: Al-Majmu' Syarh al-Muhadzzab, 4/437).
- The ruling of using silk other than in clothes whether in prayer like using it as prayer mat or outside of prayer like blanket, bedsheet and etc. is the same as the ruling of wearing silk which is haram for men and halal for women.
- For men who wear silk or use it as prayer mat, he bears the sin because he is committing something haram, but his prayer is still valid according to majority of the scholars. This is because the action has no effect towards the validity of one’s prayer according to Shara’ rulings. Wallahua’lam.
We also would like to remind the men to fear Allah by leaving silk clothes. Indeed, Allah promises bounty of the Paradise which is everlasting for men who leave the prohibition in the world, as stated in the saying of Allah SWT:
عَالِيَهُمْ ثِيَابُ سُندُسٍ خُضْرٌ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٌ ۖ وَحُلُّوا أَسَاوِرَ مِن فِضَّةٍ وَسَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ شَرَابًا طَهُورًا
Upon the inhabitants will be green garments of fine silk and brocade. And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a purifying drink.
Surah al-Insaan (21)
May Allah give true understanding to us all in religion. Ameen.