Beauty Treatments (Women Doing it For their Husbands): Limitations & Boundaries
Many married women today utilize beauty treatments ranging from hair rebonding, skin care products, implants and eyebrow plucking just to name a few. What most Muslim women fail to recognize is the restrictions of using these various beauty treatments. Many claim that it is acceptable for them to adopt such beauty treatments if they are doing all of this to please their husbands.
To a small extent, this is true. After all, it is expected of Muslim women to beautify themselves so that they will look appealing and attractive to their husbands. (The husbands are also expected to make themselves attractive to their wives!)
This is akin to the practice of the righteous women of the Prophets’ time. The most notable among them was ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah SWT be pleased with her), although there were many others. They would wear fine clothes and jewellery at home, as well as when they were travelling, in order to make themselves look beautiful for their husbands.
Nevertheless, there are boundaries as to what beauty treatments these women adopt.
It is already stated in the Quran that any beautification that alters the physical appearance Allah SWT blessed us with is prohibited in Islam, unless it is for medical reasons. This prohibition includes plastic surgeries performed by people to change their noses, breasts, or other parts of their bodies. This is of course inclusive of undergoing any cosmetic implants.
Allah (s.w.t.) said about what Satan said about his followers: And surely I (Satan) will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah.” Whoever, forsaking Allah, takes Satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest. [Al-Quran: An-Nisa'(4:119)].
Changing Allah’s creations can be seen as doing any form of modifications onto what Allah SWT has already given us and not appreciating it fully. Even if a woman is beautifying herself for her husband, both she and her husband should recognise the restrictions and only do what is permissible in Islam. Thus, it is only acceptable for women to beautify herself for her husband if it is in accordance to Islam’s regulations.
Hair Rebonding is also a highly debated topic. Many scholars have discouraged against the use as the process of rebonding the hair results in the breaking of the protein chains found in the hair. However, according to MUIS’ (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) fatwa on hair rebonding, it is “permissible as long as she seeks permission from her husband and ensures that she does not have any resemblance to a man”. Nevertheless, hair extensions and shaving of the head is haram.
Facial treatments have seen an increase in the number of years especially here in Singapore, with the Muslim community here more responsive to these beauty treatments. Treatments ranging from facials to anti-ageing treatments have been the most popular treatments received here. These are acceptable as they are not alterations rather more on cleanliness.
After all Prophet Muhammad (S) was reported to have said, “Cleanliness is a part of iman” and thus justifies the point.
Plucking of the Eyebrows
Plucking of the eyebrows is strictly prohibited in Islam. The prohibition is clear from the following Hadith Sahih narrated by Bukhari and Muslim:
“Allah has cursed those women who modify their eyebrows or ask others to do it for them.”
Muslim women should leave their eyebrows alone, except if it becomes too ugly, that it invites ridicule from people. Only then would she be allowed to pluck those hair that grow outside the normal eyebrow limit.
From Seekers’ Guidance,
“We learn from this that it is not permissible for women to remove any hair from the eyebrows for the sake of just beautifying themselves. However, it would be permissible for a women to remove the hair from above the nose (if the eyebrows have become linked) as this is considered not-normal. It may also be considered permitted to clip off one or two stray hairs from around the eyebrows or for very bushy eyebrows to be reduced to normal size and moderation. This type of concession (i.e. to remove hair for the sake of eliminating a defective appearance) can be found in the following:
Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami writes in his commentary on the al-Durr al-Mukhtar concerning the prohibition of plucking hair from the face:
It is possible that the prohibition mentioned [in the hadith] is if this is done for the sake of beautifying oneself for the sake of strangers, otherwise, if she has some hair on her face which causes abhorrence in her husband, then the prohibition of removing such hair seems to be far-fetched. This is because [self-] beautification for women is recommended for the sake of chastity.… It states in the Tabyin al-Maharim that removing facial hair is unlawful, unless a beard or moustache grows on a women, in which case it will not be unlawful to remove it, but would actually be recommended. It is related in the Tatarkhaniyya from al-Mudmarat that there is no objection in removing the hair from eyebrows and face so long as it does not cause one to resemble a effeminate. The same is mentioned in the Mujtaba (Radd al-Muhtar 5:239).
There is also the following from the Fatawa Hindiyya:
And there is no objection to take the hair of eyebrows and face so long as it is not effeminate (Fatawa Hindiyya pg 23/4).
Also, one of the great jurists of the twenty first century Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi issued the following fatwa:
And Allah knows best.
Waxing is however, permitted in Islam as long as she protects her aurah in the presence of other women. Thus, in other words, she is not allowed to go for waxing treatments in beauty parlours rather she should do it privately. This is supported by a fatwa issued by MUIS.
All in all, we need to understand the purpose of beautification to know how to do it properly. If we know that the underlying reason is simply to maintain the relationship between husband and wife, in which the wife is required to beautify herself in a way that her partner loves or likes. In some cases, some husbands may prefer strong perfume and some may dislike make-up on their wives. So ultimately, it differs in each and every couple.
It is also important to constantly remind ourselves that our pursuit in achieving “beauty” is only temporary and after all, inner beauty of character and kindness will eventually shine and will last an eternity and, Allah willing, will grant us a place in Jannah.
A sports junkie by heart, Adibah is adventurous and always has a thirst for knowledge. Challenges in life, to her, are simply blessings from Allah.