The ruling concerning selling perfumes and cosmetics (make-up) | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Monday 2 Jumâdâ Ath-Thâniya 1441 H - January 27, 2020 G



Fatwa: 1023

Category: fatwas about monetary transactions- sellings

The ruling concerning selling perfumes and cosmetics (make-up)

The question:

Selling cosmetics, make-up and perfumes is very common among some traders. They argue that they advise women to not use them outside the house, so is this dealing permissible?

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

It is not permissible to sell cosmetics containing in their compositions human fetuses, afterbirths like the umbilical cord, placenta or others, as there is in such act a transgression against the human race which is forbidden by established texts of the Sharia.

Moreover, it is not permissible to sell cosmetics which contain in their industrial composition animal fetuses like those of pig and all kinds of Al-Maytah (the dead animals – cattle, beast not slaughtered), as they are at the origin forbidden for their impurity. It is also the case with perfumes which contain intoxicating alcohol, as it is known that it is not permissible to sell something forbidden and take advantage of it, like intoxicants, pig, Al-Maytah or alike, in accordance with the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “Allah and His Apostle made illegal the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols” He صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم then said: “May Allah curse the Jews, for Allah made the fat (of dead animals) unlawful for them; yet they melted the fat, sold it and ate its price”(1). The scholars agreed that it is not permissible to take advantage of the fat of dead animals and pigs, and to use fats which have become impure for nutrition or for anointing one’s body with. They are forbidden as are forbidden eating the meat of dead animals and dampening oneself with an impurity. Allah عزَّ وجلَّ said:

﴿قُلْ لاَ أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوْحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَى طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلاَّ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ﴾ [الأنعام: 145].

The meaning of the verse:

Say (O Muhammad صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم): “I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytatah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure﴿ [Al-An`âm (The Cattle): 145].

It is not also permissible to sell cosmetics which cause harm to the face by disfiguring it or which produce black spots or cause harm to the body or cause different skin diseases, as they contain chemical products which harm the skin or the eye. In addition, the harm should be removed, from the person who uses them or the person who buys them, in accordance with the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm”(2).

This been said, if these beauty products do not contain something illicit, impure or harmful, the principle, except the mentioned cases, is that it is permissible for the woman to use them as long as they are not apparent to people other than those Allah عزَّ وجلَّ allowed her to show to. It is permissible for the same purpose to perfume herself by whatever she likes on the condition that it contains no intoxicating alcohol -as it is previously mentioned-. However, it is not permissible for her to use perfume absolutely when she is in a state of Ihram(3) during a hajj or a `umra, in accordance with the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying regarding a who is in a state of Ihram: “…and do not wear anything perfumed with saffron or Al-Wars(4)(5), and it goes for the man and the woman also, when mourning the dead in accordance with the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days for any dead person except her husband, for whom she should mourn for four months and ten days.”(6). When she goes out of her house even towards the mosque, she should remove the remaining scent from her body, and if she goes out perfumed and adorned, she commits by this a major sin, even with the consent of her husband, as the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Any woman who uses perfume and passes the people so that they may get its odor, she is a fornicatress”(7) and the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “If any woman of you attended (the prayer) in the mosque, then she should not have herself perfumed.”(8); because adornment and perfume is something required for the woman in her house with her husband, but not when she goes out whatever the destination may be.

It is clear that selling beauty products to a woman we know that she will use them in displaying herself or use them when going out, is not permissible as it is a help in sin and transgression. In fact, the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “I will not leave after me any affliction more harmful to men than women”(9) and his saying صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم: “So avoid the allurement of women: verily, the first trial for the people of Israel was caused by women”(10).

As for selling cosmetics for someone we know he will use them for beautification in a licit way, there is no problem in selling him these products, and if we do not know the condition of the buyer (if pious or not), then the ruling of permissibility is dependant upon what is commonly known in his society as regards the use of these cosmetics; if the majority of women in his society use cosmetics for a licit adornment, there is no harm in selling it, and if the majority use it for temptation and immorality, it is not permissible to sell them, as the rule stipulates: “The ruling in an issue follows the majority, and the rare issue is not considered” and “The majority in something has the same ruling as the whole thing”. Al-Qarâfi رحمه الله said: “The principle is to consider the majority and give it priority over the rare issue, that is how the Sharia is, as in the matter of purity of water and in the covenants of Muslims, in addition, the testimony of enemies is forbidden because they are often unjust; indeed, there are many other such examples in the Sharia”(11). It is then more appropriate for the seller- in such case- to change his commercial activity to another which is more secure for his faith and dignity.

However, if displaying women themselves is rare and not widespread, and he does not notice it, it is permissible for him to sell these beauty products, based on the principle that people are of good faith. If he has doubt about a buyer, then he should abstain from selling him these products, in accordance with the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.”(12) and his saying صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم: “So whoever forsakes those doubtful things (lest he may commit a sin), definitely keeps his religion and honor blameless, and whoever indulges in these suspicious things is about to fall in what is clearly illegal”(13).

This been said, it is not permissible to sell these cosmetics and perfumes to someone who uses them in order to commit a sin, or in things which Allah عزَّ وجلَّ has forbidden, even with giving advice to him to not use them in committing sins and immoralities, as the principle is to judge people according to appearances (likely to use cosmetics in a good way or not) until the contrary is proven. It is clear that advice maybe accepted or not, and the commercial transaction cannot be correct until the seller is certain that the buyer will accept his piece of advice and act accordingly.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, 11thJumâda Ath-Thâniya, 1430H.
Corresponding to: June 4th, 2009.



(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Sellings” concerning selling the dead animals and idols (1/529), Muslim, chapter of “Sharecropping” (2/742) (hadith 1581), from the hadith of Jâbir Ibn `Abd Allah رضي الله عنهما.

(2) Reported by Ibn Mâjah, chapter of “Judgments” concerning the one who builds in his property which harms his neighbor (hadith 2431), Ahmad in his “Musnad” (hadith 2921), from the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما. An-Nawawi said in the 32nd hadith of “Al-Arba`în An-Nawawiyya”: “This hadith has many ways of narration which strengthen each other”, Ibn Rajab said in “Jâmi`Al-`Ulûm Wal-Hikam” (page 378): “It is as he said”. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in “Al-Irwâ'” (3/408).

(3) The state in which one is prohibited from doing certain things which are lawful at other times. Umra and Hajj are performed in such a state.

(4) Al-Wars: plant of Yemen used as a liniment and yellow dye. (Genus Memecyclon tinctorium).

(5) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Hajj” concerning what is impermissible for the Muhrim (man or woman)to wear (1/441), from the hadith of Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما.

(6) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Funerals” concerning the mourning of a woman more than three days for someone other than her husband (1/306), Muslim, chapter of “Divorce” (2/692) (hadith 1486), from the hadith of Um Habîba رضي الله عنها. The reason of mentioning this hadith is that Zaynab Bint Abi Salama said: I entered upon Um Habîba, the wife of the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم when her father Abu Sufyân died. Um Habîba asked for a perfume which contained yellow scent or Khalûq (other kind of scent), with which she perfumed one of the girls, and then rubbed her cheeks and said: “By Allah, I am not in need of perfume, but I heard the Messenger of Allah صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: (then she mentioned this hadith).

(7) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Combing the hair” concerning a woman putting perfume in order to go out (4/258), At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Good manners” concerning what is reported about the interdiction for a woman to use perfume then go out (hadith 2786), Ahmad (4/413) from the hadith of Abu Mûssa Al-Ash`ari رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi`” (hadith 323), it is judged as Hassan (good) by Al-Wâdi`i in “As-Sahîh Al-Musnad” (hadith 827).

(8) Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Prayer” (1/207) (hadith 443), from the hadith of Zaynab the wife of `Abd Allah Ibn Mass`ûd رضي الله عنهما.

(9) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “ Marriage” , concerning what one might fear of the woman’s evil omen, Muslim, chapter of “Heart melting traditions” (2/1256)(hadith 2740) from the hadith of Ussâma Ibn Zayd رضي الله عنهما.

(10) Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Heart melting traditions” (2/1256) (hadith 2742) Ahmad (3/22), from the hadith of Abu Sa`îd Al-Khudri رضي الله عنه.

(11) “Al-Furûq” of Al-Qarâfi (4/104) with some modifications.

(12) Reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “ Description of the Day of judgment, heart melting traditions and scrupulousness” (hadith 2518), An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Drinks” concerning the exhortation to leave ambiguities (hadith 5711), Ahmad (4/267-270-441) from the hadith of Al-Hassan Ibn `Ali رضي الله عنهما. This hadith is judged authentic by Ahmad Shâkir in his “Recension of Musnad Ahmad”, (3/169) Al-Albâni in “Al-Irwâ'” (1/44) and Al-Wâdi`i in “As-Sahîh Al-Musnad” (hadith 318).

(13) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Faith” concerning the virtue of he, who saves himself from suspicious things for the sake of his religion (1/19)and Muslim, chapter of “Sharecropping” (2/750) (hadith 1599) from the hadith of An-Nu`mân Ibn Bashîr رضي الله عنه.