#200: Praying While Wearing Singlet


Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the ruling of a person praying while just wearing a singlet?


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

We start with the statement of Allah SWT:

يَا بَنِي ءَادَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid,” [1]

Ibnu Kathir explained, the verse means that it is sunnah to wear neat and appropriate clothing in prayer, especially on Fridays and Eid. Likewise, it is also encouraged to wear perfumes and brush one’s teeth for both is included in the meaning of adornment and perfection. [2]

Basically, covering aurah is one of the valid conditions of prayer. If the aurah is exposed, then it is obligated to immediately cover it. If a person is heedless and lets his aurah continue to be exposed, then his prayer is invalidated and he has to repeat his prayer. However, if he quickly covers his aurah, then his prayer is not invalidated and he can continue his prayer. [3]

Imam al-Syirazi stated: “hence, if any of the aurah is exposed, when he is able to cover it, then his prayer is invalid.” Imam al-Nawawi then explained it saying: “His prayer is invalid regardless of whether the exposed aurah is a lot or a little…” [4]

Imam al-Nawawi also emphasized, saying: “Covering aurah is a valid condition of prayer. If any aurah parts of a person are exposed, then his prayer is invalid. Doesn’t matter if the exposed part is a lot or a little, man or woman, the prayer is performed alone or in congregation, obligatory or sunnah prayer or funeral prayer or tawaf or tilawah prostration or prostration of gratitude.” [5]

Aurah for a man is between the navel and his knees. Thus, it is obligatory for a man to cover this part with clean and pure clothing when he is praying. If he lets his aurah be exposed intentionally, then his prayer is invalid.

According to Imam al-Nawawi, it is obligatory to cover the aurah with any clothing that doesn’t let the skin color be visible and it cannot be covered by thin clothing. Covering the aurah is sufficient with any type of clothing, leather, paper or leaves that are woven neatly that the skin color isn’t visible.

Thus, covering aurah completely is included as one of the valid conditions of prayer. This is based on the rebuke of the Prophet PBUH towards Jarhad when his thigh was accidentally exposed in prayer. The Prophet PBUH said:

غَطِّ فَخِذَكَ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ الْعَوْرَةِ

“Cover your thigh, for indeed it is ‘Awrah.” [7]

In another narration from Aisyah, the Prophet PBUH said:

لاَ يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ صَلاَةَ حَائِضٍ إِلاَّ بِخِمَارٍ

“The Salat (prayer) of a woman, who has reached puberty, is not accepted unless she is wearing a Khimar.” [8]

Imam al-San’ani stated the rebuttal with the letter lam in the hadith is the rebuttal with the meaning of her prayer is invalidated if she doesn’t cover the aurah. [9]

The covering or clothing that covers the aurah is as stated by Imam al-Syirazi in al-Muhazzab (125/1), “and it is obligated that the covering of aurah is with something that doesn’t look like the skin color.” Syeikh Zainuddin al-Malibari said: “(the covering of aurah) with something that doesn’t look like skin color (that is visible) in a speech ceremony.” [10] The rate of what can be seen in a speech ceremony is discussed by Syeikh Abu Bakar al-Dimyati as: “The situation means that if a person needs to approach the person praying closely to see his skin color, then it doesn’t affect his prayer (his aurah isn’t considered exposed).” [11]

The Issue of Wearing Singlet

A singlet is sleeveless innerwear, which is usually worn by men. In other words, a person who prays wearing a singlet means he is praying while wearing clothing that exposes his shoulder.

Regarding this matter, there is a related hadith on this. This is based on a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:

لاَ يُصَلِّي أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الثَّوْبِ الْوَاحِدِ، لَيْسَ عَلَى عَاتِقَيْهِ شَىْءٌ

“None of you should offer Salat (prayer) in a single garment with no part of it on his shoulders.” [12]

According to the literal meaning of the above hadith, there is a restriction against the act of exposing one’s shoulder when praying. According to the usul fiqh methodology, the restriction leads to its prohibition. Thus, some scholars state that the action is prohibited.

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi said: It is obligated for a person who is praying to place something from his clothing on his shoulder if he is able to do so. This is the opinion of Ibn Munzir and narrated from Abu Ja’far, he holds the opinion that the prayer of a person who doesn’t cover his shoulder is invalid. While the majority of scholars are of the opinion that it isn’t obligatory and not included as a valid condition of prayer. This is the opinion of Imam Malik and Imam Syafie because both shoulders are not aurah and are the same as the rest of the body. [13]

While Imam al-Nawawi in his book al-Minhaj Syarah Sahih Muslim (2/274), when he was commenting on this hadith, he said: Scholars stated: Among the wisdom is that if he wears clothing that doesn’t have anything on his shoulder, then his aurah isn’t safe from getting exposed, it’s different from if something is placed on his shoulder.

He further said: Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam al-Syafie and the jumhur hold the opinion: The restriction shows makruh tanzih and not a prohibition. If a person prays wearing clothing that doesn’t cover his shoulder but covers his aurah, then his prayer is valid but makruh (discouraged). Regardless of whether he is able to place something on his shoulders or not.

Whereas Imam Ahmad and some of the salaf are of the opinion that his prayer is invalid if he is able to place something on his shoulders (from a part of his clothing). While in another narration which is also from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, he holds the opinion that the prayer is valid, but he is sinful if he neglects to place something from his shoulders.


After analyzing and considering this issue referring to the related evidences and scholars’ opinions, we state that praying while wearing singlet or sleeveless clothes that expose both shoulders for men is makruh and his prayer is valid. Let’s reflect on the statement of Allah SWT:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid,” [14]

Imam al-Tabari in his commentary stated that the phrase ‘’ in the verse means aurah covering clothing. We pray to Allah SWT so that we are granted the correct understanding in this religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] Surah al-A’aaf: 31

[2] See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 2/256

[3] See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 1/124 dan al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, hlm. 206

[4] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 3/166

[5] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 3/172

[6] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab3/171

[7] Narrated by al-Tirmizi (2798) and he stated the hadith is hasan.

[8] Narrated by Abu Daud (641)

[9] See Subul al-Salam, 14/43

[10] See Fath al-Mu’in, 1/86

[11] See I’anah al-Talibin, 1/134

[12] Narrated by al-Bukhari (359)

[13] See al-Mughni, 1/618

[14] Surah al-A’raf: 31