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Men, Women and Perfume

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked why it is men may wear perfume when women, it seems, may not.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Why can’t women wear perfume when men can? Back then at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, this was done by men and in those days perfumes were different. Nowadays some perfumes have special substances that the other gender find sexually attractive. By that I would understand why women shouldn’t wear it, but then nor should men certainly? Yet back then it was prohibited for women too ? Why? I don’t understand it.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In principle, both men and women can wear perfume.

Generally, ladies were interdicted from perfuming themselves before leaving the home. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The perfume of men is a scent without color, and the perfume of women is colored without scent.” (Abu Dawud) Scents of color were perhaps something specific to their time, but the important part is the idea of manifest smell.

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, the famed Afgani polymath, writes in explanation of this tradition (hadith) that women aren’t permitted to wear fragrant scents when leaving the home, namely, if doing so will attract the undue attention of the opposite gender. The reason for this is that such unwarranted attention goes against the meaning of concealing one’s beauty or adornment in public settings. Allah Most High says, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to reveal their adornments except what normally appears.” (Sura al-Nur 24:31)

Similarly, when it comes to personal care products and the like, such as strong smelling detergents, the same ruling would generally apply. But in situations where you won’t be around any unrelated men, such as whilst on a family picnic in a secluded spot, it’s fine to wear such scents even if you’re leaving the home.

As for merely making yourself smell customarily pleasant and normal, in a manner which clearly doesn’t invoke the undue attention of the opposite gender, this is acceptable. But you should err on the side of caution lest you fall into religiously problematic territory, namely, dislikedness (karaha) at the very least.

There is somewhat of a fine line between not smelling unpleasant, by regular personal upkeep and the like, and adorning oneself beyond the need. Accordingly, each person should follow the prophetic advice to honestly “seek a ruling from your heart.” Usually, the scholars were firm on this issue with some even listing it among the enormities, given the emphatic warnings against it, so it’s good to exercise a little restraint. 

As for men, the basis is that their perfume is noticeable, as understood from the earlier tradition and many other statements of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He once remarked, “Four things are from the way of the prophets: modesty, perfume, the tooth-stick and marriage.” (Tirmidhi) Rulings are based on the normative case and not the exception, and here, it is women who have been called upon to be more reserved in their displays of adornment in public. 

There are many rulings which assign a certain duty to men or women for one reason or another, or in a similar fashion, limit something, and what we should strive to realize is our servitude in this temporary life, whilst acknowledging that the Sacred Law is full of wisdom, even if we don’t seem to perceive it. 

(Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat; Ibn ‘Ashur, al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir)

Please also see Kohl and Perfume While Fasting, and Women Wearing Perfume and Can We Use Deodorants, Creams, and Perfumes That Contain Alcohol?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Is an Eyelash Perm/Lift Permissible?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is an eyelash perm/lift and colour tinting, that usually lasts between 4 to 6 weeks permissible?

Answer: Asalamu Alaykum

Yes, in itself there is no problem with an eyelash lift.

However, one must continue to uphold the general guidelines of modesty that our religion has laid down, which includes not adorning oneself in a manner or with the intent to unduly attract the attention of the opposite gender. As the Qur’an says, “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which appears thereof,” and it continues by saying, “let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (24:31)

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Is My Volumised Hijab Like A Camel Hump and Therefore, Cursed?

Photo from vice.com

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I wonder if you could answer my question – is volumizing my hijab haram? I have read online many people stating the hadith that women are cursed if they wear their hijab like camel humps. If I make my hijab rounded and nicely shaped so that it is one level does this violate the hadith?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam

All Praise belongs to Allah; peace and blessings upon our master, Sayyidina Muhammad.

Thank you for your question. May Allah increase your desire to implement His Law.

The hadith of heads resembling camel humps has often been quoted as evidence for the impermissibility of donning the head scarf in a particular fashion. The wording of the Hadith reads,

“There are two groups of the people of the fire, whom I have not yet seen. A group of people carrying whips resembling the tails of cattle, with which they will lash people. And another is clothed women, yet naked; disinclined from Allah’s obedience and causing others to follow in their ways. Their heads are likened to the humps of camels. They will not enter Jannah nor smell its fragrance – it’s fragrance could (usually) be smelt from a far distance, a journey of many (miles).” [Muslim]

“Clothed, yet naked” in the hadith could mean that they are clothed with the blessings of Allah, yet naked from showing gratitude. It could also mean that are clothed with very thin clothing through which the color of their skin could possibly be perceived. “Disinclined from Allah’s obedience and causing others to follow in their ways” is the more probable interpretation of the words of the Messenger (peace be upon him), “Ma’ilat, mumilat”.

Finally, his words (peace be upon him), “Their heads are like the humps of camels (al-bukht al-ma’ilah)” have been interpreted in many ways. Imam al-Nawawi explained it as, “they enlarge or add volume to their heads by wrapping it with either a turban, a cloth or the like.”

Al-Marizi said, “a possible meaning of (the phrase) is that they desire men and do not lower their heads and gazes.”

Qadi ‘Iyad described that they comb their hair in a certain way and then gather it all to the top of the head and it thus resembles a camel’s hump. Another discussion was whether the hump is on the side of the head or not. [Sharh al-Nawawi ala Sahih Muslim]

The point here being that hadith has various interpretations and cannot categorically be referring to a specific hijab fashion.

Nonetheless, an interesting observation is that none of these scholars suggested that the hairstyle or manner of donning the scarf, is impermissible or haram. Further, it’s clear that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is listing a number of qualities of a particular group of females. A group that Imam al-Nawawi said existed in his time already – the 7th century. The fact that a lady may potentially have one of these qualities does not make her from that group and does not mean she’s destined for the fire.

By way of example, there are many sisters today that wear their scarfs in a manner that may resemble a hump of sorts. These same sister are not partially naked, nor do they disincline from the obedience of Allah. Many of them are righteous and observe the law of Allah in an exemplary manner. Surely the narration above could not be including such females.

In conclusion, we do not consider the way you may be donning your scarf as impermissible, as long as all your hair is being covered in an appropriate manner and that you are not attracting unnecessary gazes from strange men.

In addition, there are various levels of modesty. A fancy hijab – including a hump – may be extremely modest for a sister that begins wearing the hijab; while a plain – non-fancy – hijab may be modest for a lady that has been wearing hijab for a longer period. Every female takes her own time to develop and grow and that should be understood and appreciated. The ultimate modesty, however, and the goal of every female should be to resemble the daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Fatimah al-Zahra, and his blessed and noble wives, may Allah be pleased with them.

May Allah guide our sisters and grant them a special connection to the mothers of the believers and the daughters of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

What is Modest Clothing for Men and Women?

A woman in a headscarf or face veil is one of the most, if not the most, commonly associated image with Islam but the concept of modesty in Islam is a fascinating, profound concept. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a methodical and thorough explanation of how it relates to both men and women.

Allah is Shy, and Loves Shyness – Why?

Shyness is an attribute much loved in a Muslim. As Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains, it is valued not merely in our public conduct but in the way we approach our relationship with Allah.
Want to learn more? Take an online course with reliable scholars at the SeekersHub Academy, where dozens of topics are covered each term.

On Shyness and the Beauty of Modesty

Resources on Shyness and Modesty:

Shaykh Faid SaidShaykh Faid Mohammed Said is a jewel in the crown of traditional Islamic scholarship in the United Kingdom and we at SeekersHub are ever grateful for his friendship, guidance and support. He was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom.
Read his articles and watch his lectures on the SeekersHub blog.

Dalia Mogahed on The Hijab: A Case of Misplaced Blame?

Following Dalia Mogahed’s rivetting interview on the much-loved Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the following clarification on her Facebook page has created further ripples on social media.
Regarding a woman covering her head, consider these verses:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels.”

No, not the Quran.

It is 1 Corinthians 11:7-11:11 in The Bible.
The problem I think is that many people have this understanding of the head cover (whether they know where it comes from or not), as literally a symbol of man’s authority over women and her inferiority, from the Judea-Christian tradition, and wrongly assume the same applies in Islam. It does not.
Here is the Quranic verses for comparison related to this topic:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most con­ducive to their purity – [and,] verily, God is aware of all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ Sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of women’s nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms And [always], O you believers – all of you – turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state!” (The Quran 24:30-31)

Dalia-Mogahed-Daily-ShowNot about subjugation

The Quranic verses clearly are dealing with matters of modesty and privatizing the display of beauty, and begin by addressing men to behave respectfully toward women without condition. Nothing at all implies the head covering is a symbol of subjugation or inferiority to men.

Resources for seekers:

Beyond Hijab: Modesty Amongst Women in Islam

In this lecture, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives advice on reframing the question of Hijab from one of form (clothing) to one of essence (modesty) by using the Prophetic example and the example of the best of women: Khadijah, Fatima, Maryam, A’isha, and Asiya (may Allah, Most High, be pleased with them all).

Is Hijab Obligatory?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Sometimes I feel strongly about wearing hijab, but what if my husband is no longer attracted to me? Isn’t hijab a concept of modesty? Why do women (generally) in scarves look more attractive these days with perfect makeup and scarf accessories compared to those without? Is Hijab really obligatory?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your sincerity in doing that which is pleasing to Him.

Obligatory nature of hijab

Please read this related answer to clarify your doubts about the obligation of hijab. In summary, there is no doubt about the obligatory nature of hijab.

Look to the Creator, not creation

Muslims, by virtue of being human, will always fall short. Do not look at the rising ‘hijabista’ movement as a reflection of hijab, nor look at women who uncover during their wedding day or on holidays. Rather, remember the hijab encourages virtues like modesty, chastity, and a focus away from physical beauty.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. You have no control over the actions of others, but you do have control over your actions. If we were to judge Islam based on the actions of Muslims, today and even historically, we would be in trouble! Every soul will answer to Allah, so take responsibility for your own actions.

Repentance

Allah Most High has told us in a Hadith Qudsi, “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him.”

The door to seeking forgiveness from Allah is open until the moment your soul leaves your body. Do not fear being a sinful hijabi – acknowledge that you will still sin, but at least when you are in hijab, you are fulfilling an obligation upon you.

Addressing your fears

Your husband is so blessed to have a wife who is keen in bettering her practice of the deen. He will still be able to witness your beauty within the privacy of your home. I pray that his practice of Islam will also strengthen when he sees you wear hijab.

Allah is the Turner of Hearts, including your husband, so make it a habit to wake up before fajr and beg Allah for ease in this matter. Even a regular dua before fajr is a tremendous blessing, until you are able to pray regular tahajjud. Read Ayatul Kursi after every prayer and ask Allah for ease, strength, and commitment. Strengthening your inward state and connection to Allah will help you be steadfast in your outward adherence of hijab, inshaAllah.

May Allah ease the doubts in your heart, and strengthen your resolve to better your practice of Islam.

Wassalam,
Raidah

Related links:

My husband won’t let me wear hijab
Pressured by my parents to take off my hijab: how should I respond?

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Walk Around Topless in Front of Unmarriageable Kin?

Question: I am a married woman living with my in-laws i.e. father-in-law, mother in-law and my husband’s sister. My husband says I can merely cover between my navel and knees in front of them because they are unmarriageable to me and there is no sign of lust or fitna. My husband also says that they can also touch those parts if needed as they are unlawful to marry and if there is no lust. Please tell me if this is correct or not.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The nakedness (`awra) of a woman in front of her unmarriageable kin (mahram) is from navel to knee, stomach and the back. [see: A Detailed Exposition of the Fiqh of Covering One’s Nakedness (awra)]
Note that the entire back is considered to be from the nakedness, not just the back of the stomach.
Uncovering the chest area would not be prohibited in and of itself, yet would be contrary to the dictates of modesty and what is befitting for a dignified Muslim woman. A sense of bashfulness and covering up are keys to taqwa. The Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Modesty is from faith.”
See: Modesty in Islam – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa – Video and: IslamCast Daily Hadith – 018 – Modesty is From Faith
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Women’s Attire in Private and Around Unmarriageable Relatives

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How should women dress while in private and around unmarriageable relatives (mahrams). Is it permissible for her to wear half sleeves and uncover her hair, while wearing the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

There is a difference between what legal limits entail and what dignity and propriety entail.
In terms of legal limits, the ‘nakedness’ (awra) of a woman in front of her immediate kin (her father, grandfathers, brothers, children, and first uncles) is: navel to knee plus the waist area.

As for propriety and dignity, our scholars tell us that young women should dress in a modest manner, preferring loose unrevealing clothing even at home.

This is akin to men: would it be proper for men to walk around at home with only a long towel covering them from navel to knee? No, it would be undignified and unbecoming.

Wearing a head covering (hijab) when alone, however, is neither obligatory nor a specific recommendation, except when one has reasons to fear unrelated men entering suddenly.

It is, nevertheless, from general proper etiquette (adab) to wear a head covering, when reasonably possible, as an expression of one’s modesty and dignity before Allah. In the same way, it is proper etiquette (adab) for men to have their head covered at home as well.

This is understood from the words of the beautiful beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him, his family, companions, and followers), “Allah is more deserving of one’s sense of modesty than people are.” [Bukhari and others]

This modesty (haya) is an inward trait that each believer, male or female, should strive to cultivate. The proper manners of Islamic Law are means that Allah and His beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) have shown us towards becoming realized in these inward perfections, that are themselves the means to the realization of our slavehood, love, and thankfulness to Allah.

Faraz Rabbani