Religious Wisdom: Modesty & Modest Dresses in Islam & Christianity

Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid
16 min readJun 9, 2022

Different Religions promote modest appearance, among men and women, to various degrees.

Hello, Dear Readers and followers, welcome back to my new story, I hope all’s well. In my recent post, I shared some facts about clothing in the two biggest religions Islam and Christianity, and also shared some references from both sacred texts Quran and the new testimony bible. Clothing is one important and common topic and most time different people from different religions are interested and even sometimes they have some sacred conversations on it.

It has always been an important factor in Islam, Christianity, and other religions. It is one of the basic necessities of life. It is protection and modesty. Modesty and humility are ways that we relate to ourselves, to our own goodness and limitations. It involves placing ourselves among others and in the world at large. Immodest people have, among other things, an inflated sense of themselves, their accomplishments, and their place in the world.

Dress is a communicator of many things (identity, beliefs, social and
political order, individuality, group allegiance) as well as fashion
the statement, and placing the totality of dress, and the body in general, within a theoretical framework, can be approached in several ways.

Read more about the religious significance of clothing here;

Today the topic of modesty comes up in our daily lives once in a while. But over the years, I have learned that modesty is taught best by teaching the doctrine and setting a positive example. The doctrine will help us understand why modesty and modest dresses are so important, and my example will demonstrate the blessings of modesty and modest dresses in happy ways.

Modesty (Dress Code) in Religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam from Various Sources. Both Islamic and Christian dress codes are simply to dress modestly at all times. The truth is, God wants us, males and females, to dress modestly all the time. And thankfully, there are Sacred Texts Quran, and bible verses about dress codes that we can learn from. These scriptures teach us to dress modestly all the time.

I have put together Quran and bible verses about dressing modestly to inspire you and help you to find the true path of Allah. we have to remind ourselves about what the Quran and bible consider a modest dressing for Muslims and Christians.

It’s time that we discuss modesty in its proper and complete role. Modesty goes far beyond our choice of clothing: It is an interior virtue that men and women are equally responsible for cultivating within themselves.

The first section discusses conceptions of modesty its importance, purpose, and religious significance (Islam and Christianity). The second section is about modest dress.


Modesty, sometimes known as demureness, is a mode of dress and deportment that intends to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others. Modesty” has multiple meanings, the definition for modesty goes like this

  • the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
  • regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
  • simplicity; moderation.

But the one I like best is: Modesty means dressing and behaving in a way that does not make those around you uncomfortable. That means modesty is both culturally and situationally different.

Modesty is another way of saying humble, kind, humane, and understanding person. Being a modest person comes with certain limitations, you can’t be harsh and mean towards people who always try to put you down. It will be hard for you to disrespect a person. especially if you value and care about that person. modesty is a great trait every human being should have.

The concept of modest dress changes according to culture and religion. In several religions, being modest means to make oneself sexually unattractive, usually by covering up certain body parts that are seen as a source of temptation. Both males and females are expected to be modest in both Islam and Christianity. Dressing modestly is also about being comfortable in what you wear.

Perceptions and opinions differ everywhere. Every society defines modesty in their own ways. In some cultures, the norms surrounding modesty greatly limit individual freedom.

Hence, Modest dressing is simply put as making cloth choices that are “relatively moderate “, wearing clothes that feel appropriate and comfortable to you, doesn’t show too much of you but the key is to have a personal style that feels appropriate and comfortable to you.

Modesty in Christianity:

In Christianity, Christians believe that their bodies are the temples of their spirits. It is to this bodily temple that they invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost. and also, they believe that when they choose to wear modest clothing and behave with a modest demeanor, they wear and they live our testimony of God the Eternal Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ. they witness by their physical appearance that they are disciples of Christ and that they live His gospel.

The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)

Modesty is a very important trait for Christians to cultivate and develop in his or her own life. All people, whether male or female, need to have the character trait of being modest.

Modesty is an attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If you are modest, you do not draw undue attention to yourself. Instead, you seek to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also verse 19).

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines modesty as “an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity” (2521, emphasis mine). Clothing isn’t meant to protect someone else from our bodies; rather, it is to protect us from someone else’s lust. Catechism makes only a passing reference to clothing when it says that modesty “inspires one’s choice of clothing”.

9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array (1 Timothy 2:9)

The Church allows the individual to discern, according to a rightly formed conscience, what kind of clothing is or is not permissible. Furthermore, the Church tells them that modesty is first and foremost an interior disposition, and one’s outward appearance and behavior stem from that disposition.

The Church tells them that modesty is first and foremost an interior disposition. the definitions of disposition are “the predominant or prevailing tendency of one’s spirits or natural mental and emotional outlook or mood”.

In order to practice modesty as an outward sign of an interior disposition, we must know who we are and what our role is and then make this visible to the outside world in a way that properly reveals who we are. Our bodies are part of our communication with the world and while clothing does play a role, it is not the only way in which we communicate. When discussing modesty, the choice of clothing must be considered in the larger context of modesty being primarily an interior disposition.

In 1 Timothy 2:9–10, Paul tells in the bible,

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

Paul is telling all people to dress “modestly, with decency and propriety.” When a woman wears braids, nice clothes, or pearls, it does not mean she is being immodest in her heart.

Believers should never seek out sexual attention by the way they dress (Proverbs 7:10)

In Bible Says; that Christians should always be modest and exercise self-control (1 Timothy 2:9). Similarly, the Bible says their bodies are temples of the Lord.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

They believe that Believers can wear the clothing they choose, but everything should be done in a spirit-filled manner. Believers need to abstain from presenting themself in the same way as the world does.

All Christians are representatives of Jesus on earth and must represent Him correctly in their daily lives. We have been redeemed by Christ and we should honor God with our bodies. We should never wear something or do something that will hinder the gospel. God wants us to have self-respect and respect for others too.

In Bible Paul says not to place any stumbling block in another believer’s path for it could make them fall.

“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path so that our ministry will not be discredited” (2 Corinthians 6:3)

Paul also cautions Christians, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). Christians believe we need to cultivate self-respect and understand that God does tell us that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13–16). God does not make mistakes as each person is a wonderful creation.

In Bible;

In everything we do, we need to do it to the glory of God whether that be in the way we dress, behave, or communicate with others. “So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Christians Believe that Dress reflects Jesus. Just like our actions and speech, how we dress can bring glory to God or draw it away from Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 says our bodies are not our own. We have been bought with a price, and we are called to glorify God with our bodies, including how we clothe them. Do we dress to draw attention to ourselves, our possessions or our Jesus? How we model this for our kids will impact the way they learn to dress themselves. Instead of giving attention to how clothes make us beautiful, let us emphasize how we can dress to glorify God.

Modesty in Islam:

In religion, Islam modesty is seen as a sign of respect for oneself and others. Islam and modesty have a similar relation which soul bears to the body. In literal meaning, modesty is the behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.

Islam defined a dress code for both men and women, purpose of defining a dress code is to protect society and promote modest dressing and behavior. The dress code defined by Allah Almighty allows Muslims to conduct their lives with respect, dignity, and modesty.

Regarding dressing Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran:

“O children of Adam! Surely, we have bestowed upon you a garment to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you, and the garment of piety is the best” (Quran, 7:26)

In Islam, men and women share responsibility in upholding modesty and controlling their desires in society. Whether someone dresses or behaves modestly or not, the obligation to guard one’s own chastity rests with each gender. While many people think that there is excessive emphasis on modesty for women, God’s command for men to maintain modesty precedes the one for women in the Quran:

“Tell believing men to lower their glances and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. God is well aware of everything they do” (24:30)

From this verse of the Holy Quran, we came to know that dressing with modesty is very important for all of us. Allah (SWT) has allowed people to wear nice clothes and put on a good appearance, as doing so is one aspect of remembering Allah’s blessings upon them.

The Holy Quran states about wearing clothes in these words:

“Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah, which He has brought forth for His servants and the good things, clean and pure, which Allah has provided for them?’ Say, ‘They are [lawful] for the believers in the present life but they shall be exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.’ Thus, we explain Our signs for people who understand.” (Quran, 7:32)

Allah (SWT) has mentioned reasons for clothing: to cover the body and cover up what should not be revealed in public. To beautify the body so the person looks better. Islamic clothing is known for its modesty. In Arabic, the word used for modesty is ‘Haya’. The concept of modesty in Islam defines the boundaries with respect to decency that is set for every Muslim in terms of attire, speech, actions, and behavior.

A Muslim is allowed to wear whatever clothes he/she wishes so long as they are modest and must accept the commandments of the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Both men and women should show modesty in the clothes they wear. Women are should wear a dress in a way that shows they are Muslim women.

The Quran instructs the Prophet (SAW) about women dressing in the way:

“tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to wrap their outer garments around themselves. That is more suitable so that they will be known as pious women, and not be harassed.” (Quran, 33:59)

modesty in the Quran is different from piety. Piety and modesty in the Quran are both forms of self-control. Piety is a general term that includes all other forms of self-control such as Haya, patience (Sabr), swallowing one’s anger (Kazm Gheiz), forbearance (Hilm), and fear (Khowf). Hence, modesty in the Quran is a sub-branch of Taqwa.

Modesty is a principle that will help keep us safely on the covenant path as we progress to the presence of God. Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior will help prepare us to make and keep sacred temple covenants.

Islamic scholars consider modesty to be a quality that distinguishes human beings from animals. Animals follow their instincts without feeling any shame or a sense of right or wrong. Hence, the less modesty a person has, the more he resembles animals. The more modesty a person has, the closer he is to being human. Islam has mandated certain legislations which induce this sense of modesty within humans.

Muslims believe that their true purpose in life is to worship God according to His instructions, as revealed in the holy book of the Quran and through the teachings of Muhammad PBUH, the final prophet of Islam. Worship in Islam is a holistic concept that encourages God-consciousness in every facet of daily life, from charity and neighborliness to prayer and honest dealings in business. Modest clothing is an integral aspect of worship in Islam as well.

Read more about Islamic Modesty here;

The concept of Haya:

The concept of Haya is considered a major Islamic virtue and an integral part of human character. Haya can be translated to mean modesty, shame, shyness, or bashfulness. The word haya is derived from the word “hayah”, which means life. Implicit in its meaning is that the person without haya is like a dead person.

Islam encourages and treasures haya as it is one of the most important characteristics that a Muslim can have. Al-Imām al-Nawawī himself states: “All of Islam circles around this hadith”.

“Haya and īmān are two that go together. If one is lifted, the other is also lifted” (Al-Hakim)

Haya is a term covering a large number of concepts. It may mean modesty, self-respect, bashfulness, honor, etc. It is of two kinds: good (praiseworthy) and bad (blameworthy). Good haya is to be ashamed of committing a crime or a thing that Allah and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have forbidden whereas bad haya is to be ashamed to do a thing that Allah and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have ordered to do.

Read more about Islamic Modesty (Haya) here;

All these positive aspects of healthy shame were captured by the early scholars of Islam. Ibn al-Qayyim, for instance, writes:

Ḥayāʾ is of the most superior qualities, of the greatest in status, and of the most beneficial. Indeed, it is quintessential to humanness, for whoever carries no ḥayāʾ has no share of humanness other than flesh, blood, and outward appearance. Likewise, there is no potential for good in a person [without it]. Were it not for this quality, he would never be hospitable to a guest, keep a promise, fulfill a trust, take care of anyone’s needs, prefer what is pleasant, avoid the obscene, cover his private parts, or abstain from fornication. Were it not for ḥayāʾ, many people would not have fulfilled any of their obligations, nor acknowledged the rights of any being, nor kept the ties of kin, nor even shown kindness to parents. The driving element in these acts is either religious, namely hoping for its good outcome [ultimately], or it is worldly, which is the ḥayāʾ of its doer from the [eyes of] creation. Therefore, were it not for ḥayāʾ from either the Creator or the creation, one would not have engaged in these acts.

The Awrah ( intimate parts):

Awrah (Arabic: عورة) is a term used within Islam which denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with clothing. The definition of awrah is the parts of the body that should be covered and this does vary in different situations among different groups of people.

In Misbah al-Muneer it says: Everything that a person covers out of dignity or modesty is ‘awrah. According to the fuqaha’, everything that it is haraam for a man or woman to uncover is ‘awrah. Covering the ‘awrah, in the terminology of the fuqaha’, means covering that of which exposure is shameful and causes shame, whether the individual is male or female or hermaphrodite.

Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “No man should look at the ‘awrah of another man, and no woman should look at the ‘awrah of another woman.”

(Reported by Muslim)

Neither men nor women should uncover their genitals at any time except when in privacy. Men and women should at all times wear garments that are loose and made of material that is not transparent enough to see the skin color and shape of the other (male or female). Not only that, but they must also protect their gaze from the awrah of those unlawful for them.

O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness — that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember. (7:26)

the awrah of a man refers to the part of the body between the navel and the knees which must be covered when in public and also during prayer.

Read more about Islamic Satr here;

The conditions of the dress code for both men and women and thus understood the awrah or, what should be covered in public places. However, to fully implement the Islamic dress code it is important to understand a number of other situations in which awrah becomes important.

Final Thoughts:

Islam is a religion of moderation and balance; it does not expect women alone to uphold society’s morality and dignity. Rather, Islam asks men and women to strive mutually to create a healthy social environment of practical values and morality. In short, the concept of modesty in Islam is holistic and applies to both men and women. The ultimate goal is to please God and to maintain a wholesome and stable society.

In the Quran, God declares,

“In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware” (49:13)

Islam clearly establishes that men and women are equal in front of God. At the same time, it does recognize that they are not identical. God created men and women with unique physiological and psychological attributes. In Islam, these differences are embraced as vital components to a healthy family and community structure with each individual contributing their own distinctive talents to society.

Hence, God’s rules apply to both genders, but in diverse ways. For example, men are also required to cover parts of their body out of modesty, but not in the same way as women. Similarly, men are prohibited from wearing silk clothing and gold ornaments whereas women have no such restrictions. Therefore, God has ordained different commands for men and women while encouraging both to be modest.

In short, the concept of modesty in Islam is holistic and applies to both men and women. The ultimate goal is to please God and to maintain a wholesome and stable society.

Modesty is a heart attitude and digs deeper into our soul than just our clothing. In everything, we need to examine our motives.

In short, we should dress properly with dignity, respect, and modesty. May Allah guide us to dress properly according to the teachings of Islam! Ameen

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Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid

"Versatile Wordsmith | IT Solutions Strategist | Motorcycle Voyager | Multilingual Enthusiast". I’m so deep even the ocean gets jealous