5 Comments
Sep 25, 2023Liked by Dragoman

This is actually an important point. How we dress is about aesthetics, sure, but also about climate, culture, and values. Islamic clothing that is loose and flowy but also dignified, is about being comfortable in a hot climate, but also experiencing the world in a direct way. The Westerner who eats a mango with a knife and fork also wears buttoned up clothes, which work for a cold climate, but also reflect a buttoned up way of experiencing the world.

At the same time, our clothes reflect our values. We wear long flowy clothes but we don't show skin.

This also explains why I'm mildly irritated by the Senate changing its dress code to let John Fetterman wear sweatshirts and basketball shorts on the Senate floor. In his culture, a suit signals respect and decorum.

Expand full comment

I think the global urbanization is typically creating a monoculture including a shorts/t-shirt uniformity that carries a certain attitude and approach to life

Expand full comment
Jan 4·edited Jan 4

Salam. Thank you for this article.

A year or so back - I decided to only wear shalwar kameez. Everywhere. I stand out sometimes, but thats the point in a sense. I like the sense of dignity it has, not to mention me feeling connected to my culture.

We wear pant-shirt as Muslims in the modern age subconsciously. We wear it because it is the norm - but if we as Muslims are told to live and act consciously with our every breath, we should also dress consciously. This is ever more imperative when we dissect the materialist and narcissistic values that lie behind globalised, Western culture that envelopes us. Clothing is not the most important marker of Muslimness, that is of course in the heart and how the heart manifests itself in our actions - but clothing has a role. Our sartorial choices are not supremely important, but they are also quite important.

Lastly, I always felt that it was strange that in traditional culture, the 'burden' of upholding the culture and its traditions is disproportionately on women. You see this for example, in classic Bollywood movies, where the man is frolicking in leather jacket and jeans, whilst the woman dutifully wears shalwar kameez and dupatta. Another example is the one mentioned in the article, Muslim men in shorts alongside their niqabi wives. It seems strange to absolve men of upholding this responsibility, though this definitely has to do with women being seen as receptacles of honour in traditional cultures. But as Muslims, we all have a Higher standard to uphold.

Expand full comment