A person asked me about the folding of trousers. He said he has read in Bukhari that you cannot fold the trouser. I told him that covering ankles is sinful and there is something about folding not being good, but go for the less harmful. In the first place ankles have to be open but if it is covered then it he should fold the trousers.
Is this correct?
Many ill-informed people present the above argument to justify keeping their upper garments over their ankles even in salah.
This is incorrect.
Every male needs to keep his upper garment above his ankle at all times.
However, if he fails in that (which would be a sin) he should at least fold it before salah as there are other specific Hadiths that warn against not doing so for Salah.
Whilst the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari and elsewhere does stop a person performing salah from ‘holding back his clothes’ (termed as: kaffuth thawb) it definitely does not apply to the situation discussed in your question.
The celebrated commentator of Sahih Bukhari & the senior Hadith Master of his age; Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has stated that folding the trouser that overlaps the ankle before salah, is not considered as ‘kaffuth thawb‘ -holding back one’s clothes.
This is actually derived from a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari which mentions that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) did perform salah on one occasion with his pants folded.
(Refer: Sahih Bukhari with Fathul Bari, Hadith: 5786)
Therefore, if one has a trouser that is too long, it should definitely be folded, even before salah.
See a detailed article on the issue of overlapping garments here.
Lastly, It is precisely for this reason that the general masses who are not sufficiently equipped with the Islamic sciences are discouraged from reading academic books like Sahih Bukhari etc.
They should stick to books written for their level, such as Riyadus Salihin etc.
Failure to abide by this guideline leads to misunderstandings and confusion, like is the case with the person you’ve encountered. There is no place for such ‘free thinkers’ in Islam.
See a detailed article on the importance of tutorship, and the ill-effects of self-study here.
May Allah Ta’ala bless us all with the proper understanding. Amin.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar