What is the Sunnah style of the kurtah for a man? Which style has a greater resemblance with the Sunnah – the maxi-kurtah which the Arabs wear or the kurtah with side slits worn by the Ulama of India and Pakistan? There appears to be much controversy on this issue.
ANSWER (By Mujlisul Ulama):
The unnecessary controversy in this regard is the nafsaani machination of such ‘learned’ men and their students whose primary concern is not the Sunnah. They are influenced by the Salafi Arabs who have adopted the long, maxi kurtah. Some of the maxi-kurtahs worn by the present-day Arabs are even below the ankle.
There is no resemblance whatsoever between the current maxi Arab-style kurtah and the kurtah which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) wore. The maxi-kurtah which is on or below the ankles is haraam. The question of Sunnah simply cannot be directed towards it. It is also a clumsy garment in emulation of female dresses. It hampers free movement. It thus is a garment which is unbefitting for a Muslim male.
The kurtah worn by the Ulama of India and Pakistan has a very close resemblance to the (Kurtah) original of Qamees Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah. Firstly, its length is the Sunnah length stated in the Hadith. According to the Hadith, the length of Rasulullah’s kurtah was midway between the knees and ankles. This attribute exists in the kurtah of our Akaabir Ulama.
As for the side slits – although we have not been able to find an explicit reference to it in the Hadith, the presumption that the Sunnah kurtah did have slits is based on two factors:
(1) The Akaabir Ulama and Auliya of India and Pakistan did not forge this style. They did not call a conference to decide on a kurtah style. They inherited it from the seniors above them who in turn inherited it from the seniors above, and so on until the Chain of inheritance links up with the Sahaabah. From the life-style and ideology of our Akaabir Ulama, it is clear that there exists Ta-aamul (unbroken practice on which there is continuity from one generation to the other).
Our senior Ulama and Auliya were meticulous in their observance of inherited practices. Furthermore, they had a natural aversion for new and innovated practices. It should be remembered that the Silsilah of our Akaabireen who were all top-ranking Auliya who meticulously practised every detail of the Sunnah, is an unbroken Chain linking directly to the Sahaabah. There is no missing link anywhere in this golden Silsilah.
It has always been the practice to adopt the ways and styles of the senior Shaikh above. In this manner, the practices were transmitted and transferred from one generation to the next. For example, our Shaikh Hadhrat Maulana Masihullah (rahmatullah alayh) did not invent the kurtah which he used to wear. He simply wore the style which his Asaatizah and Mashaaikh wore. His Shaikh, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh), did not introduce the kurtah style we are wearing. He simply adopted the style of his seniors who in turn had adopted the style of their seniors, and so on until the Chain ends with the Sahaabah. Thus, it is safe to presume that the Masnoon kurtah did have side-slits.
(2) Everyone is well aware that the Sahaabah were the greatest of fighters. They were expert horseman. Horse-riding was not a hobby or a part-time activity for them. It was a way of life. It is quite obvious that the clumsy, womanish maxi-kurtah which extends below the ankles, as well as the Salafi maxi-kurtah without slits but above the ankles and not in conformity with the Masnoon length, do not permit free and fast movement. Running, jumping and leaping with the womanish kurtah is most difficult. Unrestricted movement is hampered. The maxi-kurtah is a most unbefitting garment for a horseman and a Mujaahid in the battlefield.
Giving naseehat to an army of the Sahaabah setting out to conquer the lands of the kuffaar and to settle there, Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) stressed two acts: (a) Do not shy away from the sun. Sunshine is our bath. Sun-bathing was a way of life for the Sahaabah. They were robust and courageous. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) instructed them to beware of the luxury and comfort of the Ajam (non-Arabs). (b) Do not mount your horses like the Ajam. While non-Arabs would climb onto their horses, the Sahaabah would leap on to their horses. They would sprint and leap into the saddle. We are certain that this act is not possible with the maxi-womanish kurtah which the flabby and obese Arabs of this age have adopted, and which some molvis in our circles are advocating. There is a nafsaani agenda for this advocacy.
It should now be clear that the kurtah of our Akaabir Ulama and Auliya has the greatest resemblance with the kurtah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and perhaps it is identical. Ta-aamul of the Akaabireen is the strongest argument to bolster this claim.
Related Reading: Islamic Dress Code According To The Sunnah