Chapter Eight: Wearing black attire

Nasibi Qadhi Mazhar Husayn in his book “Hum Matam kyoon nahee kartay” [Why we do not perform mourning] says that black was the attire of the people of Pharaoh and the people of Hell.

Ibn al Hashimi al-Nasibi also touched the issue: 

Traditionally, the Shia wear black clothes in the month of Muharram. In fact, during this month, it is considered Mustahabb (highly recommended) to do so. We find most Shia do wear black in certain parts of the year, including the Shia Ulema (scholarship) and Maraje’ (high scholars). In fact, the Shia Ayatollahs tend to wear black year-round, and very rarely do we see them not wearing black cloaks.

Herein we find a contradiction in the Shia faith. According to the authentic Shia Hadith, wearing black clothes is actually Haram (forbidden)! We see the following Hadith referenced on the reliable Shia website,

Amir-ul-mu’minin said:

“Do not wear black clothes, that is the dress of Pharaoh”

Imam As Sadiq was asked about pray in the black clothes, he said:

“Don’t pray in it, that is dress of people of fire”

There is obviously nothing wrong with wearing black clothes, and the Ahlus Sunnah has nothing in their books which forbids it. However, the Shia Hadith declare that Amir Al-Mumineen Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and Imam As-Sadiq (رضّى الله عنه) declared it Haram. And yet, we find the Shia scholars wearing black, as well as the Shia masses who do so out of a sense of religious obligation.

Reply One

Firstly, the Shia scholars who consider it Mustahabb (highly recommended) to wear black clothes during the month of Muharram, they base their fatwa on respecting the signs of Allah according to the verse ‘{and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.}’ [22:32]. There are divergent views among the scholars as to whether the month of Muharam is one of the signs of Allah or not. But Ibn al-Hashimi’s claim that the Shia masses do so out of a sense of ‘religious obligation’ is no doubtedly an exaggeration.

And most importantly, we do not know from where Ibn al-Hashimi al-Nasibi has deduced that wearing black is Haraam in Shia school. The two Shia traditions he has used in his article, when read with other similar traditions, the maximum status of weaing black clothes that the Shia scholars have deduced is Makrooh [will lessen some reward] but they did not declare it Haraam [prohibted act], as we read in Majma al-Faeda by Ardabili, Volume 2 page 87 and in Al-Muhadab al-Bare by ibn Fahad al-Heli, Volume 2 page 21. As for clear tradition from a Imam [as] regarding the actual status of the issue, we read in Wasail al-Shia, Volume 4 page 382:

“Abu Abdullah (a) said: ‘The black dress is Makrooh except in three things, shoes, turban and cloak”.

Thus, one may not adopt the habit of wearing black clothes but here we are only discussing things from the prespective of mourning for Imam Hussain [as]. Black is considered as a sign to express grief and wearing black solely for the purpose to express one’s grief for the murder of the Prophet’s grandson cannot be equated to the rutine wearing trends. We read in prominent Shia work Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 45 page 70:

Umar bin Ali bin al-Hussain said: ‘When al-Hussain bin Ali (as) was killed, Bani Hashim’s women used to wear black clothes’.

In another Shia book Al-Hadaeq al Nasirah, Volume 3 page 142, it is stated that:

“The act of wearing black, in reality, has nothing to do with the (illogical) traditions condemning it because it has been mentioned (enduringly) for posterity in the most authentic traditions that the symbols of mourning should be made manifest in the mourning for Imam Husayn (as).

Thus, when Imam Husayn (as) was martyred, the ladies of Banu Hashim wore the black attire and they did not change it even if the weather was hot or cold. The ladies would be busy mourning and Imam Zain ul Abideen (as) would bring food for them”.

We do not see any condemnation of Imam Zain al-Abdeen [as] for the women of Bani Hashim on wearing back clothes for expressing their grief for the slain Grandson of Holy Prophet [s] which shows that Imams of Ahlulbayt [as] distinguished between one’s love for wearing black clothes in rutine and in wearing them to epxress one’s grief for the tragedies beffalen Ahlulbayt [as].

Reply Two

It is obvious that the actual motive of Ibn al-Hashimi behind this short article was to point out the ‘inconsistency in religion’ and then concluded ‘that Shi’ism is not true Islam’. If that is the case, then let us present some facts for Ibn al-Hashimi:

  1. Quran instructs to take two witnesses before you divorce while Sunnis oppose the notion.
  2. Quran and Sunnah forbid us to kill each other and consume Haraam but the ‘Faqih’ and ‘Hadi’ of Nawasib namely Muawiya allowed the same [Sahih Muslim, Book 020, Number 4546].
  3. Bayhaqi has recorded that “Prophet (pbuh) while leading the prayer used to recite ‘Bismiallah alrahman al-Rahim’ whenever he wanted to recite Quran’ [Al-Sunnan al-Kubra, v2 p47 Tradition 2225] but we read that “The Malikis say that it is Makrooh to recite Tawiz before reciting a sura during prayer and reciting ‘Bismillah’ before the Fatiha or the sura as well” [Al-Fiqh ala al-Madahib al-Arba, v1 p170].
  4. “Narrated Aisha: ‘Do you make us (women) equal to dogs and donkeys? I used to lie between the Prophet and the Qiblah and whenever he wanted to prostrate he used to pinched my leg and I would then pull my legs” [Sahih Bukhari, v1 p193] while Salafi Imam Ibn Uthaymin stated that “Thus the correct view in this issue is that the prayer gets invalid by the passing of a woman, donkey and black dog.” [Al-Sharh al-Mumtea, v3 p214].

Now shall we paraphrase Ibn al-Hashimi’s remarks:

‘This is truly an inconsistency in religion. The Faith of Allah should not have inconsistencies in it, and yet we find that Sunnism is full of such discrepencies. Hence, we can only conclude that Sunnism is not true Islam’.

Reply Three

By stating that ‘There is obviously nothing wrong with wearing black clothes, and the Ahlus Sunnah has nothing in their books which forbids it’, Ibn al-Hashimi actually tried to bring his sect out of what he thinks can lead to ‘inconsistency in religion’ but this tall claim has only shown his ignorance of his own text. The jurists of Ahlus Sunnah have indeed found problems in wearing black clothes. We read in Al-Aadab al-Sharia by Muhammad bin Mufleh al-Hanbali, Volume 4 page 219 under the chapter: ‘Wearing black and its disliking by Ahmad if it was the cloth of the unjust’:

وقيل فمن ترك ثيابا سوداء يحرقها الوصي

‘It has been said that whoever left a black cloth, the inheritor should burn it down’

قال الخلال عن المروذي عنه وهذا يقتضي تحريمه

‘Al-Khalal narrated from al-Marozi that he said that it should be Haraam’

وسأل الإمام أحمد المتوكل أن يعفيه من لبس السواد

‘Imam Ahmad asked the Mutwakil to exempt him from wearing black’.

وسلم رجل على أحمد فلم يرد عليه وكان عليه جبة سوداء

‘A man greeted Ahmad but he didn’t reply because he was wearing black.’.

Also we read in Mauwsoat al-Fiqh by Kuwaiti government, Volume 11 page 360:

ومنع الحنفيّة لبس السّواد في الحداد على غير الزّوج

“The Hanafis forbid wearing black during the mourning for other than the husband”.

We also read:

وقال القليوبيّ من الشّافعيّة : إذا كان الأسود عادة قومها في التّزيّن به حرم لبسه

“Al-Qalyobi from the Shafiyees said: ‘If the black color is considered sign of beaty among her people , then it is unlawful for her to wear it’”

Can Ibn al-Hashimi tell us what problems these Sunni jurists had with wearing black clothes? Yet around the globe, we can find Sunnies wear black clothes? Shall we adopt Ibn al-Hashimi’s policy and call it ‘inconsistency in religion’ ?

According to Ahl’ul Sunnah, it is forbidden to dye your beard black

In one of the respected book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Fatawa Mohammad ibn Ahmad, Volume 2 page 27 (Delhi) it is stated:

The concerned Maulana (Shaykh) was asked whether it was allowed to dye one’s beard black or with henna. The answer was that it is Sunnah to dye one’s hair red or yellow, but it is forbidden to dye one’s hair black. Mujahid does not agree with this view.

In one of the respected books of Sunan Abu Daud Book 33, Number 4200:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: At the end of time there will be people who will use this black dye like the crops of doves who will not experience the fragrance of Paradise.


Therefore, if those who wear black in mourning Husayn (as) will go to hell, then, according to this tradition, those Nasibi mullahs who dye their beards black will also go to hell.

The Prophet (s) wore black

In the prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Zaad al-Maad, Volume 1 page 134:

وكان له بردان أخضران وكساء أسود

“He (prophet) had two green cloaks and a black dress”

Umar in black attire

In the prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Tareekh Tabari, page 2836, it is stated:

The narrator says: I saw Umar wearing a tied black shroud during the extreme heat of the day, as well as another (black shroud) draped across his body.

Wearing black while mourning Uthman

In the prominent book of Ahlul Sunnah, Jam’i al-Wasail Sharh al-Shumail, Volume 1 page 166 it is said:

On the day of the murder of Uthman, a party of people wore black just as Imam Hassan (as) used to give sermons whilst attired in black. Moreover his turban also used to be black.
Jam’i al-Wasail Sharh al-Shumail, Volume 1 page 166


Thus, it is proven that the Sahaba wore black on the day of the murder of Uthman. If this is the attire of the inhabitants of hell, then which category do these Salaf belong to?

The Prophet (s)’s shroud was black

In the prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Sirat Ibn Hisham, Volume 2 page 665:

أَنّ عَائِشَةَ حَدّثَتْهُ قَالَتْ كَانَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللّهِ صَلّى اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلّمَ خَمِيصَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ حِينَ اشْتَدّ بِهِ وَجَعُهُ

Ayesha says: ‘When the Prophet (s) was experiencing severe pain, he was wrapped in a black shroud’.

In the prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Neel ul Auwtar, Volume 2 page 96, by Maulana Qadhi Mohammad Shawkani, we read:

وعن أم خالد قالت : ( أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم بثياب فيها خميصة سوداء

Um Khalid stated: ‘The Prophet (s) arrived one day wearing a black dress’

The Prophet (s)’s turban was black

This can be evidenced from the following works of Ahl’ul Sunnah:

  1. Jami al Tirmidhi, Edition 1, Page 542
  2. Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Hajj Book 007, Number 3146:
  3. Sunan Nasai, Edition 8, Page 211
  4. Sunan ibn Majah, Page 79
  5. Al Muajum Al-Saghir, by Tabrani page 9
  6. Zaad al-Maad, Volume 3 page 402

We read in Zaad al-Maad:

وفي القصة : أنه دخل مكة وعليه عمامة سوداء ففيه دليل على جواز لبس السواد أحيانا

“In a tradition he (prophet) entered Makka while he was wearing a black turban and this is an evidence that it is sometimes lawful to wear black”

Imam Abu Hanifa wearing black after death

We read in a prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah Tareekh Baghdad, Volume 13 page 453:

قال سمعت علي بن المديني قال قال لي بشر بن أبي الأزهر النيسابوري رأيت في المنام جنازة عليها ثوب أسود وحولها قسيسين فقلت جنازة من هذه فقالوا جنازة أبي حنيفة حدثت أبا يوسف فقال لا تحدث به أحدا

“Beshr bin Abi al-Azhar al-Nisaburi states: ‘I saw in a dream a coffin on which was a black shroud. Christian priests were sitting near it. I asked them whose coffin it was. They said it was that of Imam Abu Hanifa. I told this dream to Abu Yusuf. He told me not to tell it to anyone else”.

Jinns wore black when Umar died

In the prominent book of Ahl’ul Sunnah, Riyadh al Nadhira Volume 1 page 198, we read:

وعن المطلب بن زياد قال: رثت الجن عمر فكان فيما قالوا:
ستبكيك نساء الجن … تبكين منتحبات
وتخمشن وجوهاً … كالدنانير النقيات
ويلبس ثياب السود … بعد القصيبات

Al-Mutalib bin Zyad says that upon the death of Umar the Jinns recited Marsiyah: While mourning your death the ladies of the Jinns are beating their faces, which resemble Dinars in beauty, and they are wearing black attires instead of silken ones.”


Look at the tales their scholars cook up when one of their own dies! If the black attire belongs to the inhabitants of hell, then why did the Jinns have to wear black upon the death of Umar? And if the black attire belongs to the Pharaoh, then upon the death of Umar why did the Djinns suddenly become followers of Pharaoh?

To the lovers of Justice! All the Nasibi religious organisations are silent when it comes to Umar because he is one of their own. But whenever the mourning for Imam Husayn (as) is discussed, these very organisations seem to be extremely perturbed by the black attire! This is nothing but enmity to the Ahl’ul Bayt (as)!

Imam Hassan (as)’s black attire

In Jam’i al-Sawail Sharh al-Shumail, page 166 and in Al-Hawo Lel Fatawi by Suyuti, page 108 we read:

وقال ابن سعد أنا الفضل بن دكين وهشام أبو الوليد الطيالسي قالا ثنا شريك عن عاصم عن أبي رزين قال خطبنا الحسن بن علي رضي الله عنهما وعليه ثياب سود وعمامة سوداء

Abu Razin said: ‘Once Hassan bin Ali delivered a sermon wearing black attire and black turban’


This has been mentioned before, but we are mentioning it again in order to point out the fact that the beloved grandson of the Prophet (s), Imam Hassan (as), used to wear black. Will these Mullahs stoop so low in their opposition to the Azadari for Imam Husayn (as) that all respect for the Ahl’ul Bayt will disappear from their hearts?


Shia Pen Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates on our new publications.
Shia Pen uses the "Google Groups" system for its newsletters. Subcribe Now →