The way we look is usually considered as an expression of our character. That’s why it concerns us very much –maybe just a little too much these days. As a Muslim who tries to lead an Islamic life, it might pop into our heads if we are allowed to wear makeup in Islam, use jewelry, perfume, etc. or not.
This question concerns both men and women, naturally a bit more women though. Here, we would like to address the issue in a more general sense; what Islam says about wearing makeup in different situations. And to give a general preliminary answer, as our opening, yes, Islam allows us to wear makeup and jewelry as long as modesty is preserved.
But let us now have a more detailed look at some specific places where the question has been specially brought up and talked of in Islamic traditions:
It might surprise you to find out that Islam particularly recommends us –though not as an obligation– to be in good shape, wear our best clothes, brush our teeth, wear perfume, and in short, to wear makeup when we stand to pray.
And so did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prepared himself for every prayer (Salat) since “God is beautiful and loves beauty,”  and conforming to this verse of the Quran:
“O Children of Adam! Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer… Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants, and the good things of [His] provision?’…” (7:31,32)
Maybe this is where wearing makeup in Islam is most stressed on. Both men and women are time and again required to appear in the way that looks pleasantest to their better half, especially in their solitary moments.
It is considered a great merit for a woman to put on her make-up, wear jewelry and perfume to charm her husband , and as great a merit for a man always to look neat, well-groomed, perfumed, and dressed up in the way that gratifies his wife, even though it takes a little trouble, and even though it’s not the kind of outfit he likes best .
A man or a woman should never have the impression that their spouse is more concerned with how he or she looks to others than to them!
Here, actually, Islamic Interpretations are varied. On the one hand, all Muslims are repeatedly recommended to look neat and groomed in public . On the other hand, red lines have been drawn where an important Islamic principle is at risk: modesty.
Men are generally allowed to wear jewelry, such as rings or necklace (though necklaces are more commonly used by women in some Muslim countries), but they are forbidden from wearing any golden ornaments, maybe because Islam always wants there to be a certain line between men and women’s appearance, in the same way as Muslim men are required to wear a beard.
Women, too, are allowed to wear make-up, jewelry, or perfume in public as long as it doesn't make them appear sexually attractive. And of course, the bottom line for sexual attraction could be different from culture to culture. Several verses of the holy Quran ask women to keep a modest look in the public:
“… [tell the faithful women] not to display their charms, beyond what is [acceptably] visible… And let them not thump their feet to make known their hidden ornaments.” (24:31)
This verse mentions an example of immodesty at the time and culture of early Islam. But the rule applies to any kind of appearance or manner which is intended or is very likely, to provoke sexual interest in anybody other than one’s spouse.
According to what we said, therefore, Muslims are very much suggested to, so to say, wear makeup in Islam for praying and for one’s spouse. They are also advised to do so in the public sphere so far as one’s appearance is not in a way that could excite unlawful (Haram) sexual temptations.
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 83, p. 169
- Al-Kafi, vol. 11, p. 165 , Al-Kafi, vol. 11, p. 168
- Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 80
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 16, p. 249
Social life is one of the most important aspects of human life. From the beginning of the creation of humankind, people decided to live together in order to meet their needs. In this issue, the quality of women’s social participation is one of the fundamental concerns in every culture. let's see about Muslim Women in Society.
One of the most notable points in considering this subject in Islam is the condition of Muslim women’s social participation. Muslim women and men are supposed to appear in society equitably. Muslim women just like men have the right to vote, to educate, to teach, to glitter in high political, scientific, athletic states, etc.
Islamic society is a place where no one is known and respected for his/her gender but for his/her virtues and morality. Gender should not be the first outward appearance of one’s personality. In this way, if a Muslim woman cooperates as a teacher, doctor, worker, etc. no one is allowed to consider her sex; rather people are supposed to pay attention to her occupation and knowledge.
In fact, all of us are human beings in society, not women and men. For reaching this utopia, everybody has some duties. God tells us not to underline sexual beauties and also not to look at and search for them. A safe society must make our minds free for more important activities. Such superficial challenges decrease our mental power.
In this regard women also have their own responsibilities. Islam wants women to have a safe and respectful position in society. This is one of the reasons why Islam asks people especially women to cover their bodies and not to show off their beauties.
That is because no one should look at a Muslim woman as a sexually beneficial object. God in the Holy Quran says: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw closely over themselves their chadors [when going out]. That makes it likely for them to be recognized and not be troubled, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful” (33:59).
It means that this beauty is so valuable that must not be seen or touched freely. But the main point is that there is another beauty which is more important and more valuable than this one, and that is the beauty of our personality, which can affect our appearance. Women must be known by their thoughts; God does not want women, these delightful, beautiful, and also powerful creatures to be just spectacular scenery for men. So, if women wear Hijab people will pay more attention to their inner beauties.
By ordering Hijab, Allah is not to say Muslim women must stay at home because Hijab is social apparel, not a domestic dressing. It means women can take part in social activities. Nobody is permitted to have an offensive look at a woman as a sexual object but as a precious and respectful citizen.
There is no contradiction between progression and touching advanced states and wearing Hijab. The thing that Islam limits are the irregular, unconditional, and dishonorable relationship between women and men, the limitation of sensuality.
Allah has created sexual desire, and it is our natural disposition to satisfy it. Also, Allah has not prevented Muslims from joys. We as humans must legalize our pleasures. This natural instinct is to satisfy by marriage and with our spouse, not anyone else. Women are not born for being enjoyable and admirable for all men.
This attitude is extremely cruel toward women, and if a woman is not sexually attractive, she becomes worthless to society. In short, Islam always emphasizes the freedom of mind and the pleasure of heart in society rather than the freedom of sensuality and misuse of feminine sex appeal. On the other hand, this perfect religion has not ignored human instinctual pleasures, rather it has recommended us to fulfill them in a controlled and morally and legally acceptable way.
Contrary to popular belief, women in Islam has been empowered and respected. An excellent example of that is the first Muslim woman, Khadijah, Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wife, whose influence and support was crucial to the success of Islam. Through many articles, we have discussed the Islamic view on women, their social position, their rights and responsibilities, and the rulings and regulations concerning women. Considering all those details, we will see here how fair Islam is to women in comparison to men.
It is clear that men and women are different from each other in many aspects. They are physically and biologically different. Their emotional and spiritual specifications are not the same. This means that men and women are of distinct capacities, which implies that they should be charged with different responsibilities regarding their innate capabilities. And since the rights of each individual depend on the burden of responsibility that he\she takes on, women in Islam and men won’t have “the same” rights. However, this does not mean that they do not have “equal” rights, either.
Let’s consider an example; a father who would like to leave his children an inheritance. He has a farm, a piece of land and a business company. These three possessions are of equal value, but they are not alike. The father knows his children’s characteristics, talents and interests very well. He, therefore, gives each child one of his belongings based on his knowledge of their potentials. This is an example to demonstrate that, although what every child receives from the father is not the same as the others, they are worth equally. So, the father has divided the inheritance equally among the children.
This is also true about the rights of women and men. As an example, although women might work and earn money, supplying for the family is not at all a responsibility for women; neither is defending Islam and country in case of war. Hence, women are given some rights in certain conditions where men are not given. Moreover, Islam has prevented imposing harsh and heavy tasks on women, as they are known to be as delicate as a flower . It can be concluded that women and men do not have “the same” rights because of having different talents, potentials, and biological features, but their rights are “equal”.
According to the Quran, “Men are the managers of women” (4:34); but this does not imply that men are superior to women in Islam. Firstly, it should be noted that this verse is only about wives and husbands and not women and men in general. Secondly, being the manager here means having the “responsibility” of the family. Family like every social unit requires a supervisor or manager. Being physically stronger than women to protect the family against risks and to carry out heavy works, and being less affected by the emotions, men have been given the duty of protecting and managing the family affairs. In this regard, men have been assigned the heavy responsibility of providing for the family needs from which women are exempted.
From another side, from the Islamic point of view, women and men are of the same spirit, the whole world is created to serve both of them, they both can reach the spiritual excellence, and women can attain the superior social status they deserve . All these demonstrate that men have not been given any more privilege compared to women, but have been charged with a different responsibility.
From what has been discussed above, we can see that the Islamic regulations consider both women and men, and the rights of both are equal as it should be but not necessarily similar in every circumstance.
- “Nahj al-Balaqa”, Letter 31.