Men Wearing silk or part-silk
The scholars are agreed that it is permissible for women to wear and use pure silk, and that it is haraam for men to do so, because of the hadeeth of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took a piece of silk in his right hand and a piece of gold in his left, held them aloft and said: “These are haraam for the males of my ummah and permitted for the females.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2/1189).
Abu Moosa (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my ummah and forbidden for the males.” Indeed, a stern warning has been narrated concerning this matter, as was reported by al-Bukhaari (5853) and Muslim (2069) in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both), who reported that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Silk is only worn in this world by the one who will have no share of the pleasure of the Hereafter.” Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever wears silk in this world will not wear it in the Hereafter.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 5832).
The scholars allowed men to wear silk in certain exceptional circumstances where there is shar’i evidence to support this, such as Muslim combatants in war who are allowed to wear silk in order to show off and annoy the enemy, which is a kind of psychological warfare. People who are sick may also be permitted to wear silk to relieve their suffering, as Anas reported that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) allowed ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf and Ibn al-Zubayr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) to wear silk because of a skin irritation that they suffered from. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 10/295, and Muslim, 3/1646).
The scholars also allowed men to wear garments containing four fingers’ width of silk, because of the hadeeth of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the wearing of silk except for an area the width of two fingers, or three or four.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/1644).
If the item that a man is going to wear is made of natural silk, then it is not permissible for him to wear it, no matter how it looks or feels, and no matter whether it is a shirt, pants, socks, a necktie or anything else. And Allaah knows best.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Why are men not allowed to wear silk?
Firstly: It should be known that Allaah, may He be exalted and glorified, is Wise in His commands and prohibitions. He does not command anything except that which is in people’s best interests and He does not forbid anything except that which is harmful. People may or may not come to understand the reasons behind these commands and prohibitions, although Allaah has His Wisdom in any given issue. Having said that, it is still not right to make following a command or prohibition dependent upon knowing the wisdom behind it; rather we should hasten to carry out the commands of sharee’ah, regardless of whether the wisdom behind it is clear to us or not. If it is clear, then praise be to Allaah, and if it is not, then the Muslim should not let the fact that he does not know it prevent him from acting in accordance with the ruling of sharee’ah. This is true submission to the command of Allaah, and Islam means submission to Allaah, may He be exalted, and obeying Him. If a person makes his actions dependent on understanding matters which may or may not convince him, he is in effect following his own thoughts and desires, not his Lord and Master.
The above does not mean that it is not important to look for the wisdom behind the rules of sharee’ah, or that doing so is forbidden, but we should not make knowing the reasons a condition for acting upon the ruling.
Secondly: there is no connection between things that are prohibited in this world and those that are allowed in the Hereafter. It is not correct to think of the Hereafter as being like this world; each realm has its own rules and laws. It is not correct to suggest that something is permitted in this world on the basis that it is permitted in Paradise or in the Hereafter, otherwise we would end up allowing things that we know from the basics of Islam are forbidden, such as drinking wine, taking more than four wives, singing etc. On this basis, the confusion reflected in the question about silk being forbidden in this world although it is permitted in Paradise should be cleared up.
Thirdly: The scholars have discussed the reasons for silk being forbidden for men in this world. For example, al-‘Allaamah Ibn al-Qayyim suggested in his brilliant work Zaad al-Ma’aad that
“Among those who believe that there is reason and wisdom (behind the rulings of Islam) – and they are the majority – are some who answer that Islam has forbidden it so that people will keep away from it and give it up for the sake of Allaah, so they will be rewarded for that. Others reply that it was basically created for women, as is the case with gold jewellery, so it was forbidden for men because it can corrupt them by making them resemble women. Some of them said that it was forbidden because of what it may lead to in the way of pride, showing off and self-admiration. Some of them said that it was forbidden because when it touches the body, it makes a man effeminate and goes against his masculinity and manliness, so if he wears it his heart gains the characteristics of femininity and softness, as is obvious, even if he was the most masculine and chivalrous of men. There is no doubt that wearing silk will diminish these manly characteristics, if not take them away altogether. Whoever is too dense to understand this should just submit to the Wise Lawmaker.”
(Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/80). And Allaah knows best.
`Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Do not wear silk (clothes). For whoever wears (them) in this life will be deprived of them in the Hereafter.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: It is not women but men who have been forbidden to wear silk dress. It is banned for men due to its aspect of adornment and beautification which is peculiar to women alone. The silk dress is not befitting to men because it affects their typical characteristics such as bravery, strength and fearlessness. Second, it betrays arrogance and haughtiness which is condemnable by all norms of morality. Third, it has relevance to disbelievers and polytheists known for their love for worldly possessions. Fourth, its use is against that austerity which Islam aims to develop in a Muslim's life. And this is borne out by the saying of Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "Simplicity is part of Faith.''