Thursday, April 21, 2011

Women Wearing Perfume Outside

As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh! I hope this finds you close to Allah & in the best of health and Iman. | April 19, 2011 at 5:28 PM | Categories: Islam, women | URL:
 In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful...

The imaam, Aboo Daawood {d.275) collected in his Sunan (#4174) that Aboo Hurayrah encountered a woman who was wearing perfume, and the tail of her garment was dusty.  He said, "O servant of al-Jabbaar!  Have you come from the masjid?"  She said, "Yes."  He said, "And you have perfumed yourself for that purpose (i.e. praying in the masjid)?"  She said, "Yes."  He then said, "I heard my beloved Abul-Qaasim (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) saying:
"The prayer of a woman who wears perfume to go to the masjid is not accepted until she returns and takes a bath, like the bath of janaabah (after sexual intercourse, i.e. a full bath)."
Understanding the Hadeeth:
[1] The hadeeth was also collected by Ahmad, Ibn Maajah and others, with a weak chain because of 'Aasim ibn 'Ubaydillaah.  However, it is strengthened by another chain found in Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah (1682).  The latter chain is also weak, however they strengthen each other and thus the hadeeth is considered authentic, classified as: hasan lighayrihi[1].  Ibn Khuzaymah considered the hadeeth to be authentic.  Al-Albaanee authenticated it in as-Saheehah (1031).

[2] The statement, "like the bath of janaabah" specifies that the intention is not to just remove the perfume from the place it was applied, but rather a full bath must be taken.

[3] Some people may misunderstand the hadeeth to be specific to women who go the masjid for prayer, however this is clearly not the case.  The mention of the masjid is not restrictive in this hadeeth, and the ruling applies to women going out anywhere.  Since the masjid is a place where the men have been encouraged to dress well for and wear perfume, then it is not disliked for the smell of the perfume to be in the masjid.  So the problem with women wearing perfume to the masjid is the distraction they would create and the potential fitnah that would ensue.  This is the 'illah (reason) for the prohibition.  Thus, if this is the ruling for being around the best people, the people who pray in the masjids, the people whom Allaah has praised in His Book as being those who truly believe in Him and that they are men who are not distracted by trade, then how much more does the prohibition apply to the most evil places, the gathering sites of the wicked (fujjaar), the most despised places on earth to Allaah...!!  So it as if he was using the masjid as an example of the best case scenario, where one would never imagine someone acting upon his desires and chasing after a woman... so then if it is not allowed to wear perfume in such a place, then what about the places where illicit behavior is very common!

This general application of the hadeeth seems to be what Aboo Daawood understood when he gathered the hadeeth in his Sunan and entitled the chapter: "The Chapter of What has Been Reported About Women Wearing Perfume Outside"

[4] A similar hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim (#444) forbids women from attending 'Eshaa' Prayer in the masjid if they have been affected by bakhoor (burned fragrances, like incense).  It is also to be understood in light of point #3.

[5] The hadeeth shows that the Companions used to enjoin the good and forbid the evil with women who were not in their family.
[6] The hadeeth also shows the practical implementation of tathab-but (being certain before acting), since Aboo Hurayrah asked the woman, "And you have perfumed yourself...?"  Notice that he did not assume that the scent was hers without asking.

And Allaah knows best.

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