Muslim T-Shirt slogans

At Juma’ [Friday prayers] today I sat/stood behind a bearded young chap wearing a thauwb with a hoodie on top. On the back of the hoodie was emblazoned the slogan “Only Allah to Fear”, if that wasn’t bad enough the typography [font] used was a “horror” font more associated with evil, heavy metal and horror movies than religion.

OK so, masha’Allah, this kid is deen focussed and “fears” Allah and that is good and to display that slogan in a exclusively Muslim environment where the context and understanding of that statement is known and accepted is generally not a problem even though the wisdom of a slogan can be questioned. However, to walk around in public, in a non-Muslim environment, where there is already fear and misinformation/misconceptions about Islam, Muslims and Allah, you have to question the intelligence and wisdom of such people and especially those who manufacture these items.

The two most repeated attributes of Allah in the Qur’an and in Muslim daily life are al-Rahman and al-Rahim – The Merciful and The Compassionate, why pick something that has negative connotations? What is the purpose of such a slogan except to agitate and provoke a response amongst non-Muslims? There is also an element of machismo here, it’s in your face, it’s saying “yeah so what, you want a piece of me, I ain’t scared of you?”, it makes the wearer feel “hard as nails” but ultimately it inflates the ego and using the name of God for trivial matters such as these is something that should be avoided and condemned.

The other issue here is the rendering of the Arabic word “taqwa” literally and absolutely as “fear” without taking into account the nuances of the Arabic is highly inaccurate and highly irresponsible. Some commentators stress that whilst it does connote “fear” it also can mean “being conscious or aware of God”. Hans Wehr renders it as godliness, devoutness, piety coming from the root waqa (wa qaf ya) – which means to guard, preserve something or take good care of it.

Let’s look at it from a non-Muslim point of view: “Only Allah to Fear” – what will that mean to a non-Muslim down the High Street, how will it come accross? They already think that “Allah” is the god of the Muslims, they don’t see Allah as God, they already fear Muslims and Islam and this will compound that, slogans like this will give the perception that “they” are taking over.

The manufacturers of such clothing must think about the affects such slogans will have on the wider community, they will make what is already a bad situation for Muslims worse, these people need to put wisdom and commensense before profit.

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23 thoughts on “Muslim T-Shirt slogans”

  1. All true. Is this an inevitable product of the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’? Less of a ‘clash’, and more of a kind of mindless meld?

    You are right to mention the manufacturers, though, as they are ultimately the ones who have made the mistake, whilst the kid probably thinks he is doing something praiseworthy by showing his enthusiasm for the religion.

    I’ve seen I suppose what you could call the absolute inverse of that: a man at Jumuah with a t-shirt with a picture of a big pint of Guinness on the back!

  2. “I?ve seen I suppose what you could call the absolute inverse of that: a man at Jumuah with a t-shirt with a picture of a big pint of Guinness on the back!”

    hehehe yea i’ve often noticed liverpool supporters and their carlsberg t-shirts at the masjid too.

  3. I have seen a guy with a playboy logo on his tshirt praying in the mosque, in Cairo. I had to go up to him and ask him to avoid wearing such a disgusting brand – he didnt have a clue!!

    Another kid in one of the malls was wearing the same thing, but when I quizzed him if he knew what the logo stood for – he said yes and he knew and he didnt care. I asked him if he was Muslim, he said he was…but he still didnt care!!!

    Another time I was in the street and I saw a Muslim kid wearing a tshirt with an illustration of one of the hindu gods – a stylistic shirt many non-religious non-Muslims wear – but for a Muslim to wear it, beggers belief!!

    I am sick of these poorly thoughtout tshirts which play on military, jihadi and ‘angry’ vibes commonly found in the mid-90’s. In fact they are so ego-infested, it takes away from the purpose of being Muslim, humble and modest.

  4. AA-

    Since we’re on the topic of silly shirts and their slogans, I just got back from the Prophet’s mosque in Madina and I saw a young guy with a tight-fitted, neon-green t-shirt with the words in bold black: ‘What Girlfriend?’

    On the bright side, at least no one can claim the Ummah to be monolithic. 🙂

  5. as-salaamu alaikum

    i understand what you are saying but at the same time do not think the muslims should go around meek and monk-like. You show your fear of the kuffar when you say its okay for him to wear it in muslim environment (but not around kuffar). The muslims need to regain thier “manhood” and get serious on the task of reviving this Great Deen of ours given to us by Allah(swt) and established by Prophet Muhammad(saws) and the Sahabiin(ra). If wearing that shirt or clothing like that lets him feel like a STRONG muslim then Alhamdulillah. His taqwah is to his Creator and insha’Allah if someone muslim or kaffir has a question he will address it in an islamic intellectual manner. I love wearing my Islam/Submit shirt here in the U.S.. Especially when with my covered wife going places. I get the looks she would have brunted and i LOVE to give dawah. I inform kaffirs about matters of Islam they don’t learn from the media. Lighten up,akhi. As-salaamu alaikum. Mu’min Azraaq, islamicstatewear.com

  6. I see a guy several times while in a market in Islamabad wearing a black shirt with “Pimp” written in a healthy bold font. I am sure the poor guy didn’t know the meaning. Hey and just to make it more strong the dot on the “i” was actually a girl/prostitue in an about to recline sitting position. I think the guy never saw that either when he ironed the shirt.

  7. Salaam,

    It is for this precise reason that I set up my own Islamic clothing Brand. Urban Ummah.

    I hate seeing what I call ‘Islamic demo t shirts’ the type of t shirt you can only wear and be comfortable in when surrounded by 10,000 other muslims. When wearing it the person feels empowered surrounded by all the other muslims. But on the way home they zip up their top so nobody can see it.

  8. I hate seeing the French Connection ‘fcuk’ brand in Masjids it is bad enough on the streets and at home with family members.

    I do however, resent being branded a conspiracy nut just because I do not accept the official story given to us by the western ruling elites and their media system regarding Islamic terrorists…I think we all know it is MOSSAD or other Secret Services who are involved in this, we just deny the evidence because we do not want to e labeled ‘nut jobs’.

    While I can see the wisdom of mainstream Muslim scholars strongly denouncing ‘terrorism’, I would like to see them be brave and actually show with evidence that “it is not Muslims” who did it, but others who pin the blame on Muslims. Look up Lavon Affair if you have any doubts.

  9. I like muslim clothing which have meaningful logos but with soft messages.

    I recently came across one site that have the cutest muslim baby clothing with great logos like “i only eat halal”! I know what i’m buying the babies in our family for Eid! Site’s called hamzahonline.com. they have great perfumes as well… bought my wife the nibraas one listed on there. she loved it!

  10. There is alot of talk about this website I just bought some stuff from there what do u think?
    http://www.justmuslim.co.uk
    —–
    Mas’ud: I am not a fan of this type of clothing, do we really need a T-Shirt or a hat to show our identity? Also this looks like a Hizbut Tahrir inspired site.

  11. Salaam. I think identity is expressed through our appearance a lot of the time. People judge based on appearances the instant they see you, we all do it, it’s unavoidable. I feel that expressing your faith through clothing is one of the best ways to reveal your identity, if you want it revealing that is.

    Just Muslim clothing is good mashallah but it’s a little ‘obvious’ whereas we try to have an inspiring idea behind our designs.

  12. I like it I think as muslims it is good to have an islamic identity our sisters wear the hijab as an act of faith we as brothers complain and say it is to loud why do i need to show that i am muslim!!
    u need to show that u are muslim it is yr duty to grow yr beard and trim yr mistach to show that u are muslim I wear justmuslim clothes to show my identity as long as I am a good person while i am wearing these clothes in public it is also a form of Dawah!

  13. Salaam. I like the fact that we have our own brand and that there is something out there that we can relate to. Some of the clothing look cool and have a message within them. if other people don’t like it, then we shouldn’t take any notice of them and do what we have to do to promote islam and give it a good name and perception.

  14. thank you brother for this point I agree with you. I am working on some designs to print on t-shirts about Islam and muslims, I understand your point and I’ll try to keep it in mind.

  15. You know – clothes is one thing but how we act is another.

    I have lost count at the amount of times I’ve seen people wearing clothes which promote Islam but stand around smoking weed and getting into fights like thugs?!

  16. Your identity and “standard of muslim” if you want to call it that, generally in youth is according to

    1/ Your friends
    2/ The society/Country/Area you live within
    3/ Your upbringing/house-hold relations with other muslims and so on, the list is quite endless if you go on for long enough.

    The bigest one being your own faith ofcourse, but lets face it, majority of us learnt islam from our previous generations, parents, grand-parents, and then going to masjid and so on. For that reason my above points are in my opinion valid.

    As a 19 year old muslim who has grown up in UK I personally do not see a problem with these types of clothing. I will explain why further on. I only have an issue with the clothing if it has anything along the lines of “Allah” and so on written on it, and that is only because well… I don’t think it is appropriate to stick anything like that in the washing machine and so on, as you know many of us “youth” will take our clothes off and throw them on the floor and so on, however if you insist you will wash the garment singly, and not treat it with disrespect and so on. Then fair enough the decison is yours not mine. Your grave is yours and mine is mine.

    As goes for faith and how you act on street with this clothing and so on, well I see life as a whole in a certain way, I would have prefered to be born into a muslim country and on top of that into a family with very little money, enough to feed ourself and thats it. Idealistic personal opinion. But that did not happen. I grew up in a well off family and in a non muslim country, around 99% of the population being non-muslim. You may ask why I wish that? The answer is simple, if my parents were still strict and so on and upheld values I may have been brought up in a smaller society where I would be forced from a kid to mentally think a certain way and on top of that wouldn’t have had the means or money to commit most sins I do.

    I am not saying it is ok to be totally out of touch with reality, but you must realise the generation of today, they believe from their heart but not with their actions. There is too much going on around us, which takes us away from deen, and those who see themselfs as strong, and strong minded, and personally wise and so on, may still believe but will not carry out their lifestyle in accordance to what you think is right.

    I personally, yes I smoke, it’s haram and I know. Picked up a bad habit. I fight, quite often, I find it hard to abstinate from it when a friend of mine who’s muslim comes to me and says such and such done this. I am generally first to jump up and say “let’s kick the **** out of him and everyone who trys to fight with him”. This is also wrong, Islam teaches me to go down a peaceful route, yet I don’t, why? The answer is very simple, the society and how we grew up. The deen is still within us, somewhere, deep down, yet we don’t let it come out, we do “bad things”. Without understanding a persons upbringing how can you stand there and judge him because his mentality went towards fighting?

    I have cousins who also were brought up in the UK, they are some of the best muslims I have seen, yet they were actually brought up very different to me, at the age of 16 made to sleep at 10pm, no later and so on. Made to read namaz from a young age, taught perfection in their respect to elders and so on. For me life was different I was brought up also muslim, taught respect etc, but never forced to show respect, my father was more along the lines of, if you think somones in the wrong confront him if you wish, I wasn’t taught to sit quiet infront of elders.

    The first time I ever did this was at about 11 years old, when I gave an uncle a plate to eat from, this man had a beard and so on, however the plate was not one of the best in the household, it was one we used generally everyday, to which my uncle replied get me one of the other ones, now, this guys coming to my home and telling me our service is not good enough because he thinks hes superior to others? No way. I confronted him and told him to either use that plate or leave my home and eat elseware, I was not going to give him a different plate, as their was nothing wrong with it. The point I make from this is, some would have been taught by their parents too do as he asked wether they think hes right or wrong, some differently. It all comes down to society.

    Next time you may come across somone of this nature, be happy at least he has some imaan in him, be it little or a lot deep down, you at least know hes saying his kalmah with pride and joy, and didn’t totally end up off the path, because as long as he is still near the path or on it at some point, maybe one day, he will think more deeply and carefully about his actions.

  17. Continued
    Show love towards him, even though you do not wish too, because it is your love that will guide him, not your hatred, your hatred will just fuel his raw side, and you yourself as much as you wish to deny it, YOU with your idealistic approach will push him further away.

    From my post I hope you can see that the T-Shirts are not a bad thing. We are muslims, some of us not perfectionists, some of very far from being perfectionists, but when we recite la illaha il Allah, Muhammedar RasoolAllah – We all are one. Some of us among the society will be the peaceful ones, some of us will be the fighters and the ones ready to lay down their life, some of us will be the ones wanting to show the outside world i’m muslim. If you see me on the street with my gang, if you see me with my muslim shirt on, you know automatically, you have no reason to fear me or any of the guys standing in the crowd with me.

    Yes maybe the non-muslims will not understand, some people will always be ignorant, but the ones it effects most, will research into this behaviour of muslims, and the answers will come out to them, themself. So there is no reason to be worried that these shirts will provoke anything, and even if they do provoke something, I see it as a good thing, because peace was never achieved through only words. Not even in the time of our beloved prophet muhammed pbuh.

  18. Sorry making a third post, just about the peace thing, too say muslims are living in peace, WE ARE NOT. The amount of times i’ve been stopped just for standing outside a train station by police waiting on my dad to pick me up, my beard, my briefcase with my laptop, automatically I look like a risk to society, and yeah you know what I don’t care they can search me it’s ok. It’s no problem, I have nothing to hide, but we even as not the perfectionist muslims, we still have a love towards those being oppressed in palestine, pakistan, iraq, afghanistan and other places. Maybe yes there were tyrants I am not in the position to say Saddam hussein was a tyrant, nor can I say the taliban are tyrants. I have not witnessed or lived among them, I just know what I read/what I see on media and so on. Those who have seen it, lived among it and know. Maybe American and Britan forces had a just cause, and meant well. I do not know.

    But for us, witnessing from the outside, what we see is, we see muslims dieing, we see britan, american even pakistan forces and so on, all part of the issue. Taliban, part of the issue, and so on. The point is MUSLIMS are dieing, MUSLIMS!! My brothers, my sisters, little kids, and so on, I come to tears when I write this, and yet I feel helpless. If the Tshirt shows my pride and love for my people in a more peacefull way than going and trying to protect people by fueling the fights even more then so be it. Your T-Shirt forces questions to be asked by those who are not knowledgable about muslims, and questions need answered, and generally if asked to the right person they will be answered justly. Peace of my mind! a lot said woah!

  19. But showing pride is haram. We can be honoured as muslims but not proud for pride is only for allah. Secondly Islam is a religion of peace to certain extents only. The prophet (pbuh) said if someone attacks your honour and integrity defend it. As for the clothing one can wear it for it may cause a non muslim to question you and that is an opening for dawah.

  20. i think muslim tshirts are very fashionable, as with the i fear Allah slogan, there is nothing wrong with it, maybe they could rethink the design, i have tshirts with islamic slogans which are quite decent, got them from here http:www.getdeen.com

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