O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness,- that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! (verse 26)
O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as He got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith. (verse 27)
Mentioned in almost a section preceding the verses cited above was the event relating to Sayyidna ‘Adam and Satan, the accursed. The first outcome of the satanic instigation was that the heavenly apparel of ‘Adam and Hawa (pbut) came off leaving them coverless as a result of which they began hiding their coverable body with leaves.
In the first of the present verses (26), Allah Ta’ala has addressed all children of ‘Adam and told them that the dress they wear is a great blessing the worth and value of which must be recognized by them. The address here is not to Muslims alone. It is to all children of Adam. This is a sharp pointer to the fact that the act of covering the coverable parts of the body and the wearing of dress is both a human need and a natural desire. Everyone abides by it without any distinction of religion or community. Then, giving its details, three kinds of clothing were mentioned.
First of all, it was said: (clothing that covers your shame). Here, the word: (yuwari) is a derivation from: (muwarat) which means to cover, hide or conceal. And the word: (sau’at) is the plural form of: (sau’ah). This is applied to body parts the uncovering of which is taken, by nature, as bad and shameful by all human beings. The sense of the statement is that Allah has sent down for people dress with which they could cover their body parts the exposing of which is a matter of shame.
After that, it was said: (warisha). The dress one uses for adornment and decency is called: (Rish). The meaning is that just to cover up the coverworthy body parts, even a simple set of clothing is enough. But, Allah has provided for you much more than simply clothing, He blessed you with dresses which make you look handsome, or decent, neat and civilized.
At this place, the word used by the Holy Qur’an is: (anzalna: We have sent down). It means to bestow or bless with. It is not necessary that it be sent down from the heavens ready to wear. This is like another expression: (57:25). It means: ‘We sent down the iron,’which is dug out of the earth as everyone can see. However, at both these places, by saying: (anzalna: We have sent down), it was indicated that the way no human planning or artifice operates as active agent in what ‘descends from the heavens,’ so it is with the essential
mother element of dress, cotton or wool etc., where human ingenuity
has no role to play. That is simply a gift from the great creative power
of Allah Ta’ala. But, human artifice does work in efforts to make out of
these materials dresses to individual taste, temperament, and the
need to stay safe against heat or chill. Even the way to that artifice is
shown by Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, eyes that see reality see all this as
nothing but Divine gift sent from the heavens.
Two Uses of Dress
Identified here are two uses of dress: (1) To cover the cover-worthy
parts of the body (satr), and (2) protection from hot and cold weather,
and decor of the body. The first use has been placed first which indicates that the real purpose of human dress is to be able to cover the
cover-worthy parts of the body (satr al-‘awrah). This also happens to be
its line of demarcation from animals. The dress given to animals has
been naturally made a part of their body. The purpose it serves is either to protect from hot and cold weather, or beautify them. No elaborate arrangements have been made to cover up their satr. Nevertheless, formations of particular body parts in their bodies have been so
placed that they do not remain totally exposed. Some would have a
screen of a tail and many others would have other obstructers of view.
After having related the event concerning ‘Adam and Hawwa’
(Adam and Eve) and how the Satan had instigated them, this mention
of dress indicates that for human beings to be naked, or the exposure
of their shame before others is a sign of abject disgrace and indecency
at its worst. Moreover, it is an antecedent to all sorts of evils and disorders.
The Ultimate Dress
After having identified the dress of two kinds, that which covers
the body properly and that which gives comfort and beauty, a third
kind of dress was mentioned by saying: (And the dress
of Taqwa [fear of Allah]! that is the best). In some readings (Qira’at) of
the Qur’an, the word: (libas: dress) has been rendered with a fathah.
on the letter: (sin) as: read with: (anzalna), it will
mean: We have sent down a third dress of Taqwa. But, in accordance
with the well-known reading of it, it means that everyone knows the
two dresses mentioned, however, there is a third kind of dress, that of
Taqwa – and that is the best of all dresses. The dress of Taqwa, as explained by Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Urwah ibn Zubayr,
means right conduct, good deed and fear of Allah. (Ruh al-Maani)
The sense is that the way the visible physical dress of human beings serves the purpose of covering the cover-worthy parts of the body, protecting from hot and cold weather and giving beauty and embellishment – very similarly, there is a spiritual dress, that of right and becoming conduct, good deed and fear of Allah. This libas or dress of Taqwa conceals human weaknesses and moral shortcomings. It delivers one from immediate hardships and ultimate losses. Therefore, it is the best of dresses one can wear.
Present here is the hint that an evil-doing person who has no fear of Allah and does not care for acting right, must be disgraced ultimately, no matter how he covers up – as reported by Ibn Jarir from Sayyidna ‘Uthman al-Ghani that the Holy Prophet said: By Allah in whose hands rests the life of Muhammad (S), whatever a person does in secret, Allah Ta’ala wraps his deed like a sheet around him and announces it – the good of it, if the deed is good, and the evil of it, if the deed is evil. Wraping like a sheet on the body means that it is visible to everyone. No matter how secretly one may do something, Allah Ta’ala makes its effects become evident on the face and the body. Then, to authenticate his statement, the Holy Prophet (S) recited this verse: and dress that adorns. And the dress of Taqwa that is the best. That is one of the signs of Allah).
In the second verse (27), the address reverts to all children of Adam
and the admonition given is that they should keep guarding against
the deception of Shaytan in everything they do under whatever circumstance they are – lest, Shaytan puts them on another trial as he
did with their parents, ‘Adam and Eve. He made them leave Paradise,
caused them to shed their dress and render their essential cover to be
uncovered. He was their eternal enemy. His enmity was something,
they were never to lose sight of.
At the end of the verse, it was said:
Indeed, he sees you – he and his company – from where you do
not see them. Surely, We have made the satans friends for those who do not believe – (27).
Here, the word: (qabil) means company or group. A joined family
group is called: Qabilah or tribe. Common groups are known as qabil.
The sense of the verse is: For you the Satan is a kind of enemy that he
and his accomplices do see you but you do not see them. Therefore, the
chances that you would fall a victim to their deception are fairly
But, in other verses, it has also been clarified that people who keep
turning to Allah Ta’ala and maintain their guard against the deception
of Shaytan, for them, the wily web of Shaytan is much too weak.
Then, what has been said at the end of this verse – that ‘We have
made the satans friends and guardians of those who do not believe’ –
also indicates that those who believe should not find staying away
from their web of deception at all difficult.
Some righteous elders have said that the defence against the enemy who sees us but we cannot see him is simple. Let us come under
the protection of Allah Ta’ala. He sees these satans, watches how they
move and act – but they cannot see Him.
And the statement, that human beings cannot see Shaytan, is in
terms of general conditions and habit. If a human being were to see
them contra-habitually, that would not be considered contrary to it –
as is the case of Jinns coming to the Holy Prophet (S) who
asked questions and embraced Islam, which appears in authentic narrations of Hadith. (Ruh al-Ma’Maani)
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .3 surah 7 verses 26-27). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-3.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)