Q: Is it permissible for a Muslim woman to leave her home in order to go to a beauty parlour or salon to style her hair or wax the hair on her body? What is the Shar’ee ruling in regard to this issue?
A: In Deen, the most important obligation after Imaan is salaah. In regard to this obligation, the Hadith emphatically encourages women to perform their salaah within the confines of their homes. In fact, the Hadith explains that the salaah which they perform in the innermost portion of their homes- most distant from the gazes of strange men- is more rewarding than the salaah which they perform in any other part of their home. This clearly highlights the extent to which Islam advocates concealment in the life of a woman.
When women have been discouraged from leaving their homes to perform salaah in the Musjid (despite salaah being the greatest ibaadat and the Musjid being the holiest of places in the world), one can well imagine how reprehensible it is for a woman to leave her home to visit a beauty parlour or salon in order to beautify herself. It should be borne in mind that if there is a valid need for a woman to leave the home (e.g. to visit her parents or relatives, or to visit the sick, or to console the bereaved, etc.) then Shariah has granted her permission to do so in order to fulfil the need, provided that she adheres to certain conditions. When leaving the home, she should ensure that she dresses in an unattractive manner and that she dons the niqaab. Similarly, she should refrain from applying any perfume when leaving the home and she should be accompanied by her mahram wherever she goes.
It is reported in the Hadith that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان
“A woman should remain concealed (from the eyes of strange men). When she leaves her home, shaytaan stares at her” (Tirmizi #1173).
In another Hadith, it is reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “May the curse of Allah Ta’ala be upon the man who casts lustful glances at the beauty of a woman, as well as the woman who is viewed (the woman who reveals her beauty, allowing strange men to view her)” (Shu’abul Imaan #7399). From these two Ahaadith, we understand the need for women to remain within their homes. When they leave the home, shaytaan makes a concerted effort to mislead them and mislead others through them.
In regard to women applying perfume when leaving the home, it is reported that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The woman who applies perfume when leaving the home and passes by a group of strange men, allowing them to get the fragrance of her body, is like an adulteress” (Tirmizi #2786). Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) had once seen a woman who had left her home with perfume applied to her body. He immediately reprimanded her and commanded her to return to her home and wash off the perfume (Abu Dawood #4176).
It should be known that the concept of a beauty parlour is alien to Islam. Beauty parlours neither existed during the blessed era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) nor during the centuries that followed. This concept has been adopted from western culture. Unfortunately, in current times, let alone this becoming a “profession”, it has now become a thriving industry, bringing in its wake a host of wrongs and evils. This in turn has led to the degeneration of hayaa and modesty in the ummah. Nowadays, women beautify and adorn themselves when leaving the home, only to be viewed by others, whereas Islam has commanded that their beauty only be displayed before their spouses within the confines of the home.
Apart from this, the abundant wrongs that are associated with such an occupation go against the very fabric of shame and modesty. The satar (area between the navel and the knees) is exposed with the intention of hair removal, whereas exposing this part of the body before even Muslim women is haraam. In the case where the beautician is a non-Muslim woman, then let alone exposing the satar area before her, it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to reveal her hair or any part of her body before her (with the exception of her face, hands and feet). When the Hadith has cursed women who shape their eyebrows, one can well imagine the extent to which one will incur Allah Ta’ala’s curse through exposing one’s body for such purposes. Even if one has to argue that one is only visiting the beautician for something that is of a permissible nature, the fact of the matter is that one is present in a place which abounds with immoral and immodest activities, such as the satar being exposed for the purpose of hair removal, the eyebrows being shaped, the hair of women being cut or trimmed and also being exposed before non-Muslim women, etc. It is the command of Allah Ta’ala that we stay far from all places where sins are perpetrated. With regard to being present is such places where the commands of Allah Ta’ala are violated, Allah Ta’ala declares in the Qur’an:
فَلَا تَقۡعُدۡ بَعۡدَ الذِّکۡرٰی مَعَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۶۸﴾
Do not sit, after realizing (that one is in an environment of haraam), with those who do wrong. (Surah An’aam v. 68)
Furthermore, when this is an environment which draws the wrath of Allah Ta’ala, then it is most likely that the wrath of Allah Ta’ala will fall upon all those who are present in that environment, regardless of whether they are involved in the sins and wrongs or not. Similarly, we should deeply reflect and ponder over the point that if death had to strike at that moment, would we be happy to meet Allah Ta’ala in such a condition?
While the various evils and harms in general have been discussed above, the issue is extremely compounded in the case where the beautician is a male. It is an act of utter shamelessness. He is going to be free to style her hair and touch various parts of her body. His job is to adorn and beautify so that the woman looks more attractive than what she is and so that she will be admired. In the process, he too will keep looking and admiring the woman he is beautifying – In other words, he will be busy intently admiring someone’s wife or daughter at very close range – from such closeness that perhaps besides the husband, nobody else will get so close!! He perhaps will also keep touching here and patting there to get the perfect look – Lahawla wala quwwata illa billah. This is the glaring indication of the death of shame. It is also a sure recipe to invite the wrath and curse of Allah Ta’ala – curse upon curse at every “admiring” look, both upon the admiring male beautician as well as the woman who has exposed herself to be admired.
We should understand that women, throughout the past, were always adorning themselves for their spouses. However, they fulfilled their halaal needs while remaining within the confines of their homes. May Allah Ta’ala bless us with the tawfeeq of emulating the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in all facets of our lives.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
عن أبي أحوص عن عبد الله عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان (ترمذي رقم 1173)
عن الحسن قال وبلغني أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لعن الله الناظر والمنظور إليه (شعب الإيمان رقم 7399)
عن أبي موسى عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال كل عين زانية والمرأة إذا استعطرت فمرت بالمجلس فهي كذا وكذا يعني زانية (ترمذي رقم 2786)
عن أبى هريرة قال لقيته امرأة وجد منها ريح الطيب ينفح ولذيلها إعصار فقال يا أمة الجبار جئت من المسجد قالت نعم. قال وله تطيبت قالت نعم. قال إنى سمعت حبى أبا القاسم -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يقول لا تقبل صلاة لامرأة تطيبت لهذا المسجد حتى ترجع فتغتسل غسلها من الجنابة قال أبو داود الإعصار غبار (أبو داود رقم 4176)
(و) ينظر (من الأجنبية) ولو كافرة مجتبى (إلى وجهها وكفيها فقط) للضرورة قيل والقدم والذراع إذا أجرت نفسها للخبز تتارخانية (وعبدها كالأجنبي معها) فينظر لوجهها وكفيها فقط. نعم يدخل عليها بلا إذنها إجماعا، ولا يسافر بها إجماعا خلاصة وعند الشافعي ومالك ينظر كمحرمه (فإن خاف الشهوة) أو شك (امتنع نظره إلى وجهها) فحل النظر مقيد بعدم الشهوة وإلا فحرام وهذا في زمانهم، وأما في زماننا فمنع من الشابة قهستاني وغيره (إلا) النظر لا المس (لحاجة) كقاض وشاهد يحكم (ويشهد عليها) لف ونشر مرتب لا لتتحمل الشهادة في الأصح (وكذا مريد نكاحها) ولو عن شهوة بنية السنة لا قضاء الشهوة (وشرائها ومداواتها ينظر) الطبيب (إلى موضع مرضها بقدر الضرورة) إذ الضرورات تتقدر بقدرها وكذا نظر قابلة وختان وينبغي أن يعلم امرأة تداويها لأن نظر الجنس إلى الجنس أخف (وتنظر المرأة المسلمة من المرأة كالرجل من الرجل) وقيل كالرجل لمحرمه والأول أصح سراج (وكذا) تنظر المرأة (من الرجل) كنظر الرجل للرجل (إن أمنت شهوتها) فلو لم تأمن أو خافت أو شكت حرم استحسانا كالرجل هو الصحيح في الفصلين تتارخانية معزيا للمضمرات (والذمية كالرجل الأجنبي في الأصح فلا تنظر إلى بدن المسلمة) مجتبى (الدر المختار 6/369)
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)