I would like to ask as to whether it is permissible to run a wedding dress business. The reason for asking is that although some (Muslim) women will cover up for the wedding so as not to uncover their satr in front of men, many women including Muslim women will wear the dress in public showing their satr. So, would it be permissible for me to sell dresses to them although I know the satr of the woman will remain uncovered.
In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh
According to our understanding of your query, the running of a bridal business as is commonly known in South Africa entails many negative factors. There are so many things or in fact, all the different departments of this business require the expertise of woman. As a man, it would not be permissible to work or even manage such a business, as the only clients one will interact with are women. Furthermore, one would need to take measurements of woman and it is very common that men feel this to be normal. This is harām, as one will need to physically touch a woman in such places, which, if any mahram of such a woman had to see the dressmaker doing this, it would definitely create a problem. In addition, as you have mentioned, many or all women will expose their satr.
It will be permissible if it is administered according to the following conditions i.e.:
- The customers who frequent this particular type of business are only woman; therefore, only woman employees should be employed, as it will be safer and more comfortable to interact with.
- The rationale behind the first condition is, when a woman enters a bridal store, it is very different from entering a supermarket. The difference is, in a supermarket one will manage by helping themselves, however, in a bridal store, it is virtually impossible to help one ’s self. The employee will need to show the customer different patterns/designs of fabric. When the customer has chosen a certain fabric, then it is now time to exhibit this fabric onto her body with the help of the employee in order to see whether it appeases her or not. Here also we wish to mention that many a times the employee physically touches the body of the woman when placing the fabric/dress against her.
- The dressmaker or designer must be a woman, as measurements will be taken. It is obvious that a measurement of the entire body is taken and here too the similar scenario of the above condition applies.
- The bridal dresses should be sewn/designed in such a manner wherein the satr is not exposed e.g. the length of the dress only reaches up to the knees, hence exposing the entire bottom half of the leg and the neckline being exposed so much that the major portion of the woman’s bosom and breasts are exposed. One could also mention to the Muslim customers the terms and conditions of this store. This will ensure you fulfilling your duty as a Muslim, thereafter, if the customer does any alterations on their own, it will be their own responsibility.
In conclusion, these conditions have been placed as a broad guideline due to the multitudes of negativity and immorality that exist or may occur for one who wishes to run such a business.
And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best
Ml. Ebrahim Desai,
Student Dārul Iftā
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā, Madrasah In῾āmiyyah