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Review of instances of libaas (لِبَاس) and thiyaab (ثِيَاب) in Quran

Introduction

Instances of libaas and thiyaab in the Quran both of them meaning garments/clothing are reviewed together to better understand and to reflect the appropriate message in all context for avoiding any misinterpretation and mistranslation.

Instances of libaas

There are 10 instances of libaas in the noun form meaning ‘garments/clothing’ in 8 verses across 7 suras in the Quran are detailed below:

[2:187] It has been made lawful for you the approach to your women in night of the fasting. They are  garments for you and you are garments for them (hunna libaasun lakum wa-antum libaasun lahunna). God knows that you have committed to deceive yourselves, so He has turned to you and has had mercy on you. So now you should approach them and shall seek what God has prescribed for you. And you shall eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct from the black thread of the dawn; then you shall complete the fast until the night. And you should not approach them while you are secluded in the masjids. This is of God’s limits, so you should not approach it. Thus that God makes clear His revelations for the people that they may become righteous.

[7:26] O Children of Adam, certainly, we have sent down for you garments to cover your shame and as an adornment (qad anzalnaa `alaykum libaasan yuwaaree sawaatikum wa-reesan), and garments of the righteousness that is best (wa-libaasu al-taqwaa dhaalika khayrun). That is of God’s signs that they may take heed.

[7:27] O children of Adam, it does not entice you the Satan as he has driven out your parents from the Paradise, removing their garments from both of them that their shame is exposed to both of them (yanzi`u `anhumaa libaasahumaa liyurihumaa sawaatihimaa). Indeed, he sees you – he and his tribe, from wherever you do not see them. Indeed, we have made the devils’ allies of those who do not believe.

[16:112] And God cites an example of a town has been secure and content, its provisions comes to it in abundance from every place, while it has denied in God’s blessings. So God has made it taste of garments of the hunger and the fear (fa-adhaaqahaa allahu libaasa al-juu`i wal-khawfi) for what they have done to accomplish.

[22:23] Indeed, God will admit those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds to gardens, flowing the rivers of their underneath. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearl, and their garments therein will be of silk (wa-libaasuhum feehaa hareerun).

[25:47] And He is the One who has made for you the night a cover (wa-huwa alladhee ja`ala lakum al-layla libaasan), and the sleep as a rest, and has made the day a resurrection.

[35:33] Gardens of Eden, they will enter it. they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments therein will be of silk (wa-libaasuhum feehaa hareerun).

[78:10] And we have made the night a cover (wa-ja`alnaa al-layla libaasan).

Summary

  • Husbands are garments for their wives while wives are garments for their husbands.
  • God has sent down garments for us to cover our shame and for adornment.
  • God has given us garments to cover our shame and for adornment while best is garments of the righteousness, which is a God’s sign to take heed.
  • Satan drove out our parents from the Paradise removing their garments to expose their shame.
  • When a city had denied God’s blessings He made it taste of garments of the hunger and the fear.
  • The dwellers of the Paradise will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearl and garments of silk.
  • God has made the night a cover and the sleep as a rest, and has made the day a resurrection.

Instances of labas

There are 4 instances of labas in the verb form meaning ‘to wear’ in 4 verses across 4 suras in the Quran are detailed below:

[16:14] And He is the One who has committed the sea that you may eat a fresh meat from it and may extract ornaments from it you wear them (wa-tastakhrijuu min’hu hil’yatan talbasuunahaa). And you see the ships ploughing through it, and that you may seek of His bounty and that you may appreciate.

[18:31] Those – for them are gardens of Eden flowing the rivers of their underneath. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and will wear garments, are green of fine silk and velvet (wa-yalbasuuna thiyaaban khud’ran min sundusin wa-is’tabraqin), reclining therein on adorned couches. It has been excellent is the reward and has been good is the resting place.

[35:12] And the two seas are not alike. One is fresh being its drink sweet, pleasant, while the other is salty, bitter. And from each you may eat fresh meatand may extract ornaments you wear them (wa-tastakhrijuu hil’yatan talbasuunahaa). And you see the ships ploughing through it that you may seek of His bounty, and that you may appreciate.

[44:53] They wear garments of fine silk and velvet facing each other (yalbasuuna min sundusin wa-is’tabraqin mutaqaabileena).

Summary

  • God has committed sea that we can eat a fresh meat from it and extract ornaments from it to wear.
  • The dwellers of Paradise will wear garments of fine silk and velvet adorned with bracelets of gold.

Instances of thiyaab

There are 8 instances of thiyaab in the Quran in the noun form meaning ‘garments/clothing in 7 verses across 7 suras in the Quran are detailed below:

[11:5] Undoubtedly, they fold up their breasts that they may conceal from Him. Undoubtedly, when they cover with their garments (alaa heena yastaghshuuna thiyaabahum), He knows what they conceal and what they reveal. Indeed, He is Knower of what is in the breasts.

[18:31] Those – for them are gardens of Eden flowing the rivers of their underneath. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and will wear garments, are green of fine silk and velvet (wa-yalbasuuna thiyaaban khud’ran min sundusin wa-is’tabraqin), reclining therein on adorned couches. It has been excellent is the reward and has been good is the resting place.

[22:19] Here two parties have disputed regarding their Lord. So those who have disbelieved, has been cut out for them garments of fire (fa-alladheena kafaruu qutti`at lahum thiyaaban min naarin). The boiling water is poured over their heads.

[24:58] O you who have believed that he should ask you permission of those whom you have possessed (attendants) and those who do not attain puberty among you at three times – before the dawn prayer, and when you put-off your garments for the rest (wa-heena tada`uuna thiyaabakum mina al-zaheerati), and after the night prayer. These are three private times for you. It has not been for you nor for them any blame after that mingling among you – yourselves with others. Thus that God makes clear the revelations for you, and God is Knower, Wise.

[24:60] And those in menopause among the women who do not have desire for marriage, then it has not been for them any blame that they have their garments without displaying of body (an yada`na thiyaabahunna ghayra mutabarrijaatin bizeenatin), and that they restrain is better for them. And God is Hearer, Knower.

[71:7] “And indeed me (Noah), every time I have called on them that You may forgive them, they have put their fingers in their ears and have covered them their garments(wa-is’tagh’shaw thiyaabahum) and have insisted, and have become arrogant.”

[74:4] And your garments that you shall purify (wa-thiyaabaka fa-tahhir).

[76:21] Their upon are green garments of fine silk and velvet (`aaliyahum thiyaabu sundusin khud’run wa-is’tabraqun), and they will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink.

Summary

  • Even people cover them with their garments but God knows what they conceal and what they reveal.
  • The dwellers of the Paradise will be adorned with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and velvet.
  • Those who have disbelieved has been cut out for them garments of fire.
  • There are three private times for the women including when they put off their garments for the rest.
  • There is no blame for the elderly women if they have garments without displaying their body.
  • When Noah called his people saying that God may forgive you, the disbelieving people put their fingers in their ears and covered them their garments.
  • God ordered the hidden one to purify his garments when he came out.
  • The dwellers of the Paradise will have green garments of silk and velvet while they will be adorned with bracelets of silver and will be provided pure drink.

Conclusion

This review with 18 instances of libaas and thiyaab meaning ‘garments/clothing’ found in 15 verses, and 4 instances of labas meaning ‘to wear’ found in 4 verses in the Quran. Both literal and allegorical usages are confirmed from the contexts. In literal view, clothing has given us to cover our shame and to adorn us, and there is a recommendation for the elderly women that they will cover them without displaying too much of their body. In allegorical view, clothing is the righteousness being a sign from God, and we cannot hide our wickedness covering us with our clothing as He knows what has been concealed and what has been revealed. Clothing has been associated with the righteousness in our past lives as well as with the future lives. However, if we can reflect to certain context, we may see a hint of purifying garments being an allegory to purify our guidance, beliefs and practices that we can succeed in the eternal life avoiding all misconceptions and corruptions around us.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (7/17/2019).