Aug 20, 2010

Women wearing Perfume

Women wearing perfume There are many ahaadeeth which forbid women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses. We will quote here some of those which have sahih isnaads: Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said: RasulAllah (saw) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.” Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If any one of you (women) goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.” Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allah ( peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has scented herself with bakhoor (incense), let her not attend ‘ Ishaa’ prayers with us.” Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al- Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’” The reason for this prohibition is quite clear, which is that women’s fragrance may cause undue provocation of desires. The scholars also included other things under this heading of things to be avoided by women who want to go to the mosque, such as beautiful clothes, jewellery that can be seen, excessive adornments and mingling with men. See Fath al-Baari, 2 /279. This indicates that it is forbidden for a woman who wants to go to the mosque to wear perfume, because this causes provocation of men’s desires. This was reported by al-Manaawi in Fayd al-Qadeer, in the commentary on the first Hadith of Abu Hurayrah quoted above. These ahaadeeth are general in implication. Just as the prohibition covers perfume applied to the body, it also covers perfume applied to the clothes, especially in the third Hadith, where bakhoor (incense) is mentioned, because incense is used specifically to perfume the clothes. Using perfume for the husband is mustahabb and recommended, because it is part of treating him kindly, and it helps to increase love between the spouses, when each of them pays attention to what the other likes.  Al-Mannaawi said in Fayd al-Qadeer (3 /190) : As for putting on perfume and adorning herself for her husband, it is required and is something that is liked. One of the wise men said: For a woman to adorn herself and put on perfume for her husband is one of the strongest causes of love and affection between them, and wards off dislike and disdain, because the eye is the pioneer of the heart; if the eye looks at something attractive, the message will reach his heart and love will be created, but if it looks at something ugly or that it does not like of outfits or garments, that that message will reach the heart and dislike and disdain will be created. Hence the advice that Arab women gave to one another was: Beware of letting your husband see anything that does not please him or letting him smell anything from you that he finds off-putting.  Putting on perfume and going out with the aim of letting non-mahram men smell it. This is haraam, and is a major sin.   al-Mannaawi said in Fayd al-Qadeer (1 /355) : “ She is an adulteress” means: because of that she is exposed to zina, and implementing the means that lead to it and calling those who seek it. Hence she is called an adulteress in a metaphorical sense, because desire may prevail and real zina may take place. Her passing by men is likened to her sitting in their path so that they pass by her. If she puts on perfume and goes out, and thinks it most likely that she will pass by a group in which there will be men who will smell her perfume and fragrance, this is also haraam, even if she does not intend to tempt men and that is not her aim, because this action is a fitnah (temptation) in and of itself. There is also an indication in sharee’ah that it is haraam and not allowed.  Allah says: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i. e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i. e. their sisters in Islâm), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al- Noor 24 :31 ]  So women are forbidden to show their adornments to non-mahram men, and perfume is undoubtedly one of the woman’s adornments, so it is included in this prohibition.  If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade women to go out to the mosque wearing perfume, because men will usually smell some of the fragrance because of close proximity and there being no barrier between men and woman, then it is more likely that women are not allowed to go out to the marketplace and gatherings wearing perfume, although it is not regarded as a major sin, rather it is something that is clearly haraam.   Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in al-Zawaajir ‘an Iqtiraab al-Kabaa’ir (2/71-72):  The ahaadeeth which count it as a major sin should be interpreted as meaning that this applies if the fitnah is certainly there; when there is merely the fear of fitnah, then it is makrooh, or when she thinks it will cause fitnah then it is haraam but is not a major sin, as is obvious. -- Al-Furqan Foundation

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