Posted by: Dawud Israel | May 19, 2010

Comings and Goings- Tips on Muslim Fashion, Style and Personal Care

Some stuff I thought might help people out. This is mainly from a male perspective, since I feel we have too much femininity when it comes to this stuff. I hope this doesn’t lead to “orientalizing” ourselves, so I’ve tried to bring in some unique styles. Add to the tradition, with some creativity, don’t just consume it. 😉

You’ll notice one thing about these fashions and practices when they pertain to Islam or Muslims: they won’t die out for a long time and some are still going strong for ages.

-Rings are a sunnah (on the last finger) but they can distract in prayer. Don’t play around with them. Sufyan at-Thawri abandoned the rings because they distract him, others would turn the ring over so the bezel faces inside. One can also wear rings on the left hand as this is what Hasan and Husayn (radiallahu anhu) did as reported by Imam Muhammad Baqir.
-Being familiar with your cellphone, is better than showing it off. Use the alarm clock on their for half an hour before fajr, put the cell phone in the washroom, so you are forced to reach the washroom or under your prayer-mat.
-Honor thy pen and paper. Excellent for recording your favorite gems from khutbahs, raqaiq (heart-softeners), dhikr, duas and also those reminders which I called “pressure-point heart-softeners,” that really hit a nerve, and make you back off from doing something wrong very quick or push you to do a good deed very quick. Everybody has those spiritual soft-spots.

-the Saudi thowb, shmegh/ghutra is much too stereotypical, as is the “male terrorist niqab,” besides you’ll never be as good as this cat in it. 🙂

-I recommend trying out Moroccan Jalabiyya or Gandoras as an alternative to Thowbs. Much more stylish.

-Lungis are regarded as a sunnah, but choose wisely. I recommend you search this  “authentic” brand out 🙂

-White under-shirt and turban is very cliche of Indians
-Imamah is sunnah and its awesome. But it looks bad with a big ego.
-Gangster-wear (Enyce, Phat Farm) for some reason is very attractive to sisters. Hey, i’m just saying! 😉
-Choose a prayer cap that works with your hair and head-size, some simply do not work.
-Laundry and dry your prayer caps, prayer mats, and thowbs since if you are practicing, you use them a lot!
-Keffiyeh is overdone, but it’s always going to be stylish.
Khushay shoes is not considered stylish, it’s considered Disney
-Shalwar and t-shirt is a bad way for east to meet west
Sherwani is the result of how East-Indian elders negotiated East-West fashion. This is the middle ground between the two

-Check out JaanJ for pins with the design of the Sandal of the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, which is worn for baraka and also their halal non-silk ties

-Burn Dhikr CDs in cars, recite them on the go if you are in a hurry for your morning/evening duas
-Keep bagged lunches/granola bars in your car for if you see homeless people
Put this up on Eid
-Keep some extra clothes, winter-clothes in the car, bumper cables too
-Always park a block or so away from the mosque, so as to give other people ample parking space. Walk the remainder of the way, because every step you take to the mosque raises your rank.

Personal Care

-Fair and Lovely does not work! Enough said!
-Necklaces/Taw’iz can constitute male jewelry in Islam, since it depends on culture. But expect to get hassled for it by other Muslims.
-Watch your eyebrows, but don’t get obsessed and turn into a Persian guido.
-Gangster sideburns only look good for a few hours, because stubble will come in and offset it. Avoid.
-Hookahs/shisha is not healthy, considered haram and smelly
-Use miswak before you do dhikr
Olive oil soaps from Nablus, Palestine. Great for skin.

-Don’t cut long white hairs, they are from the “Light of a believer.” Makes for interesting conversation too.
-Use a noise-hair trimmer, trim regularly
-Kohl is not just for women- especially if you want the Johnny Depp look. Use kohl (Collyrium) before sleeping. Avoid Hashmi Surma/Kohl/Kajol since it has a dangerous amount of lead. Try Guerlain’s Terracotta Kohl liner Apparently this isn’t even real kohl, my apologies!

-Conditioner helps your beard look less scraggly.
-Keep a mustache. it gives the face dignity. to retain the ma’al-wajh, “water of the face” alongside your beard. No matter how it looks keep it, it’s sunnah, and you’ll realize it looks better with it than without. Beards help you gain the trust of others. Observe the diagram below.

-Avoid stubble, it does not work well on dark, or brown skin. So keep it clean outside the beard or keep it there. The worst is stubble near your eyes from shaving too much, leave the baby hairs alone!
-Unibrows are a no-no, there is difference of fiqh opinion (‘altering the creation of Allah’) but it may be important to note the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam had no unibrow.
-Rosewater has cultural resonance with Muslims.
-Know your attar, pick a good one based on smell- not the fancy shape of the bottle. Avoid alcohol if only to be on the safe side. Put some on your hands so a g fter you shake people’s hands, the smell lingers with them, reminding them of you.
-Portable, lota/washroom buckets exist so you can buy one for yourself. See here
-Workout for fitness, not for showing off/pride. Your pride will always get hurt. because there is always someone who is bigger.


-Making good impressions on others is a good way of helping your reputation.
-Make sure you treat your parents and family well, give your mum surprise gifts and fathers like to see initiative in their kids. Parents talk to other parents about their children, they like to compete, and really showing your love for your parents helps your rep among them.
-Muslims when compared to other groups generally come off as more bold. Retain that boldness.
-Make small-talk with non-Muslims rather than staying reserved- might not be easy but try to, for the image of Islam.
-Have couplets of poetry, verses of Quran, qissa (stories) to share. Juggle languages so you can relate to people of other cultures.
-Try and have something inspirational to say to people. re-visit old points from time to time but have new material
-Always have an Advil/Tylenol handy for others or yourself, Muslims have a reputation of always being woefully unprepared
-Keep gifts ready for people or always have something in preparation. Always give a gift with a card or note, with a thoughtful dua. Give them without any reason- this is a Prophetic secret.
-Talk to people facing them, side-glances are in the sunnah but eye contact is important
-Doing funny accent imitations is not funny anymore. Grow up!
-When discussing religion, don’t near controversial topics
-Learn a naat/nasheed/dhikr you can chant out-loud from time to time, inspire others, have them join in. Give them a spiritual boost.
-Stock up on candy, for distribution to children on Eid celebrations
-Facebook affects how people interact with you. the best male photos are those looking away from the camera slightly tilted.
-Having too many photos of yourself on facebook, and always having only the best photos makes you come off as vain and self-obsessed, and you will eventually become narcissistic in due time. Avoid too much photography, but be prepared for it at functions. Don’t dress up only to take photos at your friends house, it’s rude and makes you come off as self-absorbed. Dress up for people, not photos.
-Shake everyone’s hands, stand-up to greet people if you are sitting. Shake hands with two hands out of sincerity and humility, but only with one hand if they seem religious since one hand handshakes are considered sunnah. If you don’t know the person, introduce yourself then and there, rather than shying away and waiting it out.
-Never say anything to a woman about makeup, or modesty- you don’t know when she has makeup on or doesn’t. And always help out women if they are carrying something heavy, don’t hesitate just go and help them and offer more help after your done. God debases a community that does not honor its women.
-Take off your eye glasses to avoid gawking at women, if you meet eye contact with them, smile and move on.

-Don’t use Hajmola, unless your on your own
-Eat some bread, and Zaatar from time to time, this is sunnah as well and what most people have eaten throughout history
-No onions at or before visiting the mosque, don’t eat half an hour before visiting the masjid,
-Eat less, fasting increases the ‘glow’ of the skin, mentioned in hadith with Eesa alayhi salam
-Eat according to your understanding of how gassy you can be. Drinking more than you eat helps if you are in this situation.
-Be aware of people’s taste in tea

Some Islamic points from “The Abridged Shamail at-Tirmidhi” with notes from Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Zakariya Sahib’s Khas’il-e-Nabavi by Maulana Mufti Ahmed E. Bemat


  1. Where does it say that white hair is from the light of a believer? jazak Allahu khayran!

  2. Jazakallahu khair .. interesting list.

    LOL’ed at the authentic lungi brand 🙂

  3. LOL
    How far up should guys roll their pants, and when?

    And which hadith says -Eat less, fasting increases the ‘glow’ of the skin?

  4. “-Muslims when compared to other groups generally come off as more bold. Retain that boldness.”

    LOL I love you bro.

  5. my grandmother in pakistan used to take a bunch of surma and heat it up until it became runny and the lead sedimented at the bottom, we would scoop out the lead and continue the process until the lead was all gone.

    my family never used surma from the “bazaar”, we always purified it through this process.

  6. Very nice! That guy’s totally rocking that Moroccan Jalabiyyah. It’s not for everyone though. And kohl – please don’t touch that with a fishing pole if you’re a guy. Facebook photos advice? LOL. Oookay.

    “Take off your eye glasses to avoid gawking at women, if you meet eye contact with them, smile and move on.” – ROFLLOLOLOLOL.

    • Believe it or not, but when people meet and talk, they keep in mind people’s Facebook profiles. It is kind of sad, but its a big thing that’s happening…

      • I dunno… People tend to be very different online and offline. But if you say so, then perhaps it’s the blurring lines between real life and the internet. Or maybe there weren’t any lines to begin with.

  7. “And kohl – please don’t touch that with a fishing pole if you’re a guy.”

    You can have your opinion, but please — out of respect for the sunnah — refrain from such comments… For some reason it makes me feel uncomfortable.


  8. pics are cool

  9. This is true… JazakAllah, I’ll take that advice. 🙂 In our weddings the groom does wear kohl – it’s out of tradition. But since I’ve only seen women wearing kohl, and it’s considered an item of makeup these days… It’s rather unusual. But if it’s sunnah, so it goes.

  10. Amen to THAT! Masha’Allah, wa tabarak Allah 🙂 Made me smile all the way through, full of great nasiha and reminders. *My favorites*: The Beards &Trustworthiness pic : P, and “God debases a community that does not honor its women.” . . . . AYOWAAAA! Masha’Allah…those words come from deep fiqh in the deen. May Allah increase you!

    Also, about the Kohl*** Yes, buying kohl can be dangerous, especially imported brands from Asia, Africa, etc. Seek out the Kohl made from ITHMID, mentioned specifically by the Prophet, alaihi salaam. It is a REDDISH-BROWN color, not black. I found it for sale in Medina, but beware of FAKES. Make sure the package has a company name, address and phone number, too. And wear it to 1st follow the Beloved’s sunnah, and 2nd for it many benefits! 🙂

  11. Salaam akhi, this is my first time on your blog, and I’ve got to say, you sure have alot of interesting articles! I just wanted to clarify something–you mentioned in Personal Care to keep a mustache and you allude it to sunnah (if I understood correctly), it’s actually NOT sunnah to grow a mustache. It is sunnah to have a beard, but it’s been recorded in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari that Rasool Allah (PBUH) specifically said to shave the mustache and keep the beard so as not to imitate the pagan worshippers who would shave their beards and grow their mustaches long.

    If I’ve misunderstood what you’ve said, I pray you forgive me!

  12. salam,

    guerlain kohl not a pure kohl ? does it contain leads and is it halal ?

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