Saturday, 6 April 2013

Malay Dress (1)

What do the Malay people wear? It is hard to say. It depends where they are and what occasion they are attending.


Kain pelikat

For daily wear, the male Malay wears a loose short sleeve shirt and a kain pelikat. The kain pelikat (pulikat, pulicat) is an Indian cloth and is sewn to make a sarung (sarong). It is tied at the waist and tucked over the navel to form a snug rolled band. Young boys start using the kain pelikat (boys' size) since age 6 when they first start performing the daily prayers. Teenage boys wear an intermediate size kain pelikat. Adults wear the usual standard size kain pelikat. There are cheap and expensive cotton kain pelikat. The usual brands available are Gajah Duduk and Gajah Bola, which are made in Indonesia. Many people buy new kain pelikat during the festive season - Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. The kain pelikat can be worn as sarung or as kain sampin. In Kelantan, the men wear baju Melayu cekak musang with kain pelikat as sarung. In elaborate Malay dress, the kain pelikat becomes kain sampin. On other occasions, the kain sampin is the usual small half sarung made of expensive songket.


Songkok is a plain black headgear. Boys and men wear songkok to the mosque or a Malay function. Today, there are various coloured songkok and headbands to match the baju Melayu (Malay dress). Some wear them with brooches, especially for weddings. A Malay man is thought to appear most handsome when he is properly dressed in baju Melayu and wears a black songkok.

Baju Melayu

Baju Melayu is the Malay dress. For males, this is a 2-piece attire, consisting of a long sleeve top plus a pair of loose pants. The top resembles a Chinese male shirt. There are 2 types of tops - with and without a collar. The top with a collar is called cekak musang (the fox neck) and the one without a collar is called teluk belanga (bay pot). The usual top has a collar, 3 pockets and a front opening with 5 buttons. There is no collar for the Johor version of the baju Melayu as it is forbidden for Johor males to wear the baju Melayu cekak musang because it is reserved for Johor royalties. However, males of other states prefer to wear the baju Melayu cekak musang.

Kain sampin

The kain sampin is a small tube-like cloth like a sarung that is worn to cover the male abdomen. This can be a kain pelikat, or a light brocade material or songket. Since Muslim males do not wear items of gold, silver threads are used for brocade materials.


Many Malay males wear a ring or two. The ring is made of silver and not gold. The stone can be a machined-polished wood or a gemstone. Such rings are sold freely at five-foot pavements and walkways and at night markets. Some are cheap and some are quite expensive. Many males rings are custom made. Some buy the gemstones in Saudi Arabia when they go for Umrah or Hajj. Malay males are proud of the rings they wear and often are willing to tell stories about the rings that they own.

Memakai cincin merupakan salah satu sunah Rasulullah SAW. Baginda suka memakai cincin. Hadis daripada Anas bin Malek : “Adalah cincin Nabi SAW dipakai pada tangan ini (dan dia menunjukkan kepada kelingking jari kiri).”-(Riwayat Muslim).
Ini bermakna HARAM bagi lelaki memakai emas, SUNAT bagi lelaki memakai perak dan HARUS baginya memakai platinum. Bagaimanapun, memakai cincin perak bagi orang lelaki adalah sunnah kerana Rasulullah SAW memakainya dan dengan memakai cincin mengikut cara yang dilakukan oleh Baginda akan beroleh pahala. InsyaAllah.
More on rings here.

Other items

Malay males do not wear a necklace as it is an item of femaleness and represents the softies (the ladies). Some carry a cane (tongkat) to follow Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet SAW). Some wear a cloth or shawl on the shoulder to follow Sunnah. Many wear turbans to follow Sunnah. Many wear celak (eye liner) to follow Sunnah. Many will lightly dab a perfume to follow Sunnah. Certain scents are preferred. Some will stick a miswak (root of the peelu tree) in the mouth to clean the teeth to follow Sunnah. They swallow the saliva along with the salts and don't get gum disease or dental carries. They also carry a small comb to follow Sunnah. They always keep the hair neatly combed.

Memakai Rida'/Shawl (selendang di atas bahu) merupakan Sunnah kekasih kita yang tercinta, sayyidil habib sayyidina Muhammad S.A.W.
More on shawl here.


Since Malaysia and Singapore are very hot and humid, males wear Japanese slippers or sandals. Some wear chapal to go for prayers at the mosque. Some wear socks and closed shoes to work in air-conditioned offices. Boys at schools and universities do suffer from athlete's foot.