Is it permissible for a male to wear a piece of cloth as underwear under the Ihram or is it forbidden?
Almost all of the major books in the Hanafi Madhhab are unanimous on the fact that, it is impermissible for a male who is in the state of Ihram to wear something that is sewn, stitched or knitted to the shape of one’s body.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“After one has made the intention of Ihram, one must refrain from……wearing a shirt, trousers, meaning any clothing that is made in proportion to the shape of the body or part of the body, such as pliers (zardiya) and a cloak.”
The great Hanafi Imam, Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains:
“This refers to the prohibition (of wearing) anything that is sewn….And it is related in al-Bahr from Ibn Amir Haj al-Halabi, that the criterion in this regard is that, it will not be permissible to wear anything that is made in proportion to the shape of the whole body or part of the body, in a way that it wraps and surrounds the body (or part of it) due to the sewing, joining parts of the clothing to one another or by any other means, and that it stays upright on the body itself by merely wearing it.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 2/489)
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“A person in Ihram must not wear anything that is sewn, such as a shirt, cloak, trousers, turban, or socks…And the unlawful sewn clothing is that which is normally worn.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/224)
The meaning of the above (and other) statements is that, any type of clothing that is either sewn, stitched, knitted, wedged, hemmed, weaved or joined in any other way, to the shape of the whole body or to the shape of an organ of the body, it will not be permissible to wear it.
Thus, it will not be permissible for a male who is in the state of Ihram to wear a ghallabiyya (or jubba), shirt, trousers, vest, top, sweater, underwear, shorts, cloak, coat, hat, headgear, turban, gloves, and socks, for all of the above fall within the criterion explained above.
However, there is no harm in having stitched patching to the Ihram sheets as well as sewing of the loin in the middle, for this is not stitched or sewn to the shape of the whole body. One may also wear slippers under the condition that the bone on the foot where the shoelace is normally placed, remains exposed. If one does not have such slippers, it will also be allowed to cut the socks to the extent of that bone and then wear them. (See: Radd al-Muhtar, 2/490 & other fiqh references)
With the above, I hope your query has been answered.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK