Perfumes have become an integral part of our daily lives. As a Muslim, you may wonder whether perfumes are haram or halal. Especially the subject of perfumes and colognes containing alcohol is often confusing.
Wearing perfume is halal and a Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but Muslim women are not permitted to wear perfumes when they go outside. In regards to perfume with alcohol content, scholars say that you’re permitted to use perfume with low alcohol content (5% or lower).
If the alcohol content is higher, then it is better to avoid it except when it’s necessary (sterilizing wounds). Even in the case of necessity, it’s better not to use it, but it is not haram.
In this article, we will discuss whether perfumes are haram, the use of perfume for women, and whether it’s haram to use perfumes with alcohol.
Is Perfume Haram?
Islam places great importance on cleanliness and purification. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to love cleanliness and wearing perfumes. He said that:
Cleanliness is half of faith– Sahih Muslim – The Book of Purification (source)
Wearing perfume is a Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and many hadiths highlight his love for fragrances and good scents like “oud and ambergris”.
Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that:
I would put a lot of fragrance on the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to the extent that you could see the shine on his blessed forehead and blessed beard.Hazrat Aisha (source)
Another hadith quotes that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to apply fragrance before he went to pray at the mosque, especially before the Friday prayer. He also advised his companions to do the same:
Anyone who takes a bath on Friday and cleans himself as much as he can and puts oil (on his hair) or scents himself; and then proceeds for the prayer, all his sins in between the present and the last Friday will be forgiven.Al-Bukhari (source)
Is It Haram for Women to Wear Perfume in Islam?
Islam urges all Muslim men and women to observe good personal hygiene. Wearing a pleasant fragrance is also praised, but the ruling for women wearing perfumes depends on whether she is wearing it in front of her husband (and Mahrams) or outside (in front of non-mahrams).
Is it Haram For a Woman To Wear Perfume For her Husband?
In Islam, it is mustahabb and recommended for women to adorn themselves and wear perfume for their husbands. It helps increase the love between the two spouses when the two pay attention to things that the other likes (source).
Is it Haram For a Woman To Wear Perfume When Going Out?
The ruling for women putting on perfumes and going outside with the aim of letting non-mahram men smell it is a major sin and haram. According to a hadith narrated by Abu Moosa (May Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
If a woman puts on perfume and passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, then she is such and such” (using stern words).Abu Dawood (4173) and Al-Tirmidhi (2786) (source)
It was specifically asked on Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah. Here’s the question:
Is it permissible for a Muslim woman to wear perfume in public or is it a sin?Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah (source)
The following ruling was given to answer that question:
A woman should refrain from wearing strong perfumes when she goes out and mixes with non-mahram men (i.e. men allowed to marry her).Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah (source)
According to Islam QA, Muslim women are also ought not to wear perfumes when they are most likely to pass by a group of men who would be able to smell the women’s perfume. Even if she does not intend to tempt the mean, the action in itself is fitnah (temptation) (source).
In regards to wearing perfume or cologne for men and women, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Fragrance for men is that which the scent is apparent and the color is hidden [like musk etc] and fragrance for women [when she intends to leave the home] is that which its color is visible and its scent is hidden [like saffron]Hadith Answers (source)
Is It Haram to Use Perfume with Alcohol?
The question of whether it is haram to use perfume with alcohol is a lengthy one. On the subject of perfumes containing alcohol, Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid said:
- If the percentage of alcohol in the perfume is very little (5% or less), then you can use it without any concern.
- If the percentage of alcohol in the perfume is very high so that you can detect it, then it is better to avoid it, except out of necessity, such as sterilizing wounds, etc.
- If it is not necessary to use the perfume, the scholars recommend not to use it, but don’t say that it is haram.
The bottom line is that alcohol consumption is haram according to Islamic text and there is a consensus among scholars on that.
However, whether it is permissible to use it in ways other than drinking is still open to speculations. Islamic scholars recommend Muslims not to use it, in order to stay on the safe side.