Is wearing white clothes on Fridays a Sunna for men?
Much significance has been attached to wearing white clothes in general, as seen in the following Hadiths:
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Wear white clothes, because they are the best of your clothes (khayru thiyabikum), and shroud your dead in it…” (Sunan Abi Dawud no: 4057, Sunan Tirmidhi no: 994 who classed it to be rigorously authenticated (sahih), and Sunan Ibn Majah no: 3566)
Sayyiduna Samura ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Wear white clothes, because they are more pure and more clean.” (Sunan Ibn Majah no: 3567 and Shama’il Tirmidhi no: 68)
Sayyiduna Abu al-Darda (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The best clothing in which you meet Allah in your graves and in your Mosques is white.” (Sunan Ibn Majah no: 3568)
In the first of the Hadiths quoted, white clothing is considered the best of one’s clothes. On the other hand, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) has encouraged us to wear the best of our clothes on Fridays.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra and Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with them) both relate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever has a bath on Friday, puts on the best of his clothes, applies perfume if he has any, then attends Friday prayer without crossing over people’s necks, then performs what Allah has prescribed for him, then remains silent from the time his Imam comes out [to deliver the sermon] until he finishes his prayer, it will atone for his [minor] sins committed in between this Friday prayer and the Friday prayer of the previous week.” (Sunan Abi Dawud no: 347, Musnad Ahmad, and Mustadrak of al-Hakim no: 1084)
Furthermore, Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) has formed a chapter-heading in his Sahih: “Chapter regarding putting on the best clothing that one possesses” and then records the Hadith of Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) who, upon seeing a silken cloak [being sold] at the gate of the Mosque, said to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “I wish you would buy this to wear on Fridays and when delegations visit you…..” (Sahih al-Bukhari no: 846), indicating that one should wear the best clothes available on a Friday.
Combining the two types of Hadiths mentioned above, it can be deduced that wearing white clothes on Fridays, especially for the Friday prayer, is recommended, if one has them in his possession. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) termed white clothes as the “best of your clothes” and encouraged us to “put on the best of our clothes” on Fridays, implicitly indicating the recommendation of wearing white clothes on Fridays. However, if one does not possess any white clothes, then one should put on the best available clothes, since the Sunna is to wear the best clothing available.
The jurists (fuqaha) of the various Sunni Schools of Islamic law consider wearing white clothes on Fridays to be recommended. It is stated in the well-known Hanafi Fiqh reference work, Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
It is recommended (mustahab) for the one attending the Friday prayer to oil his hair, apply perfume if he has any and put on his best clothes, and white clothes are recommended (mustahab)…” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 1/149)
According to the Malikis, it is recommended to wear white clothes specifically for the Friday prayer, whilst a new dress is recommended for Eid day, even if it is black. So if Eid were to fall on a Friday, one would wear the new non-white dress in the morning, change to white clothing for the Friday prayer, and then return to the new dress after the prayer. (See: Hashiyat al-Dasuqi on the Sharh al-Kabir of Dardir 1/596)
The Shafi’i’s also hold wearing white clothes for a male attending the Friday prayer to be recommended based on the Hadiths mentioned above. As for a female attending the Friday prayer, it is disliked for her to apply perfume, adorn herself and wear stylish clothing. (See: Khatib al-Shirbini’s Mughni al-Muhtaj 1/440)
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK