The Prohibition of Perfume on Women
The Sense of Smell
The nose, and its ability to smell delightful fragrances is another miracle and bounty of Allah on people. For a believer, all the good fragrances of the world, whether it be a sweet scent of a rose, a fragrance of a perfume in a shop or a pleasant fragrance worn by someone, is another way to delight in the blessings of Allah, be uplifted and become more grateful to Allah in the whole experience.
The believer enjoys all the little good things in the world. Fragrances are another item which uplifts the believer, reminds him of Allah, and His blessing on us in creating this blessing.
A believer enjoys every fragrance, makes it a means to remember Allah's favours.
When fragrance or perfume is worn on an individual, it enhances the already pleasant natural look of a human being by giving him or her an extra-sensory pleasantness. Allah asks us to delight in our selves in the pleasant appearance of our humanly selves in which He created us:
"Children of Adam, take your adornment / pleasantness to every Mosque." (Qur'an 7:31)
"(People), do you not see how Allah has...lavished His blessings on you both outwardly and inwardly?" (Qur'an 31:20)
However, traditional extra-Quranic literature contains a multitude of teachings on women which result in a cumulative effect of reducing a woman to a virtually non-existent level. First, by mandating a maximum concealment dress-code, the most "pious" of which consists of a black sheet of cloth draped over her and must cover her face, eyes, hands and be draped over her arms. Thus, the most fundamental and basic aesthetic of a human being's appearance, let alone a woman's, is completely taken away. What remains is a black shadow. She is also prohibited from going outdoors, unless in an urgent, emergency situation provided she is covered in the aforementioned manner.
They continue their strayed thinking further and have passed fatwas forbidding believing women from wearing perfume outdoors. The reason they put forward is that the smell will attract men sexually. Sayings of the prophet have materialised where the prophet forbade women from wearing perfume, even when going to the Mosque for prayer. Not only do they claim that a woman is sinning if she wears perfume, extremely degrading and humiliating statements to such women have been attributed to the prophet. Allegedly, the prophet stated that a woman who wears perfume outside has committed adultery and has become an adulteress!
There is no prohibition on women wearing perfume outside in the Qur'an. In fact, the Qur'an is filled with appreciation of beauty, arts and all things beautiful.
"...flowing springs, raised-up couches, set-out goblets, lined-up cushions, and spread-out rugs." (Qur'an 88:12-16)
The Reason to Prohibiting Perfume
It is quite a Quranic paradox the reason put forth in prohibiting perfume. This is because throughout the Qur'an, Allah teaches the true believers to be those who truly appreciate all things beautiful, He gives them the ability to appreciate beauty, whether they be sight, sound or smell, in the way they were meant to be perceived. Everything good become subtle reminders of Allah, including fragrances.
Every pleasant perception their senses perceive makes them turn more and more towards Allah. Thus, contrary to the beliefs of those who do not adapt to the Qur'an, a believing man does not nurture perverted ideas and thoughts when he smells a beautiful fragrance worn by a woman. He appreciates it as he would if worn by a man. Instead, smelling something pleasant, he immediately thanks Allah for giving him the ability to enjoy this fragrance and for creating this fragrance. He in turn appreciates the woman for smelling nice, for taking care in presenting herself well. Believers are those people who seek Allah in every beauty and detail, their characters grow each time they perceive anything pleasant by way of remembrance of Allah. Therefore, a pleasant smell on someone reminds a believer of Allah, His power of creation, Paradise (since Paradise will have the most beautiful fragrances).
Therefore, believing men and women enjoy wearing perfumes as a blessing given to them by Allah and make it a means to be grateful to Him.
And he (Prophet Solomon) said: 'Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to remember my Lord." (Qur'an 38:32)
Fragrances reminds a believer of the Hereafter. This is because Believers are always in a process of preparing their minds for the smells, sights and sounds of Paradise. A pleasant scene, fragrance or anything beautiful is a brief taste of Paradise. Believing men and women, being people of Paradise, naturally have an affinity for pleasant fragrances and perfumes. Allah promises to reward the believers thus:
"Allah will admit those who believe and do right actions into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, where they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, their clothing will be of silk. (Qur'an 22:23)
In this way, whether male or female, putting on a pleasant fragrance is a form of worship for the true believer. The Qur'an does not remotely suggest that this wonderful blessing of Allah be withheld from believing women.
Allah has rebuked those people, who, in the name religion, forbid such good blessings bestowed by Him on His servants:
"Say, 'Who has forbidden the wonderful things and good provisions that Allah has brought forth for His servants?" Say, 'They are meant for those who believe during this worldly life, and they will be exclusive for them on the Day of Resurrection.' It is such that We explain the Revelations for those who know." (Qur'an 7:32)
To conclude, the Qur'an does not forbid or restrict believing women from putting on perfume in any way.
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