Prayers: Women's makeup

Q500 :Some of the substances which a woman uses as part of her makeup, such as perfume, hair spray, anti-deodorants and facial and body powder may contain alcohol. What should she do, if she wants to offer her prayer? Some women pray wearing their full make up, including lipstick. How far is this correct.

A500 : What seems to be the point at issue in the first part of your question is the fact that alcohol may be an ingredient of the substances used. It is well know that intoxicants, all of which are alcoholic drinks, are described as impure. The question is whether such impurity is imparted to other substances in which alcohol is an ingredient. To answer, I would like to point out that the weightier opinion is that the impurity of alcohol is not physical. In other words, if alcohol is dropped on someone's clothes and then it dries up, the person concerned need not wash his clothes to remove the impurity. He may use them in prayer without having to wash them first. Hence, if a man or a woman uses perfume or after-shave or anti-deodorant spray or any similar substance which includes alcohol, they need not worry about offering their prayer in the normal way just on account of having used such substances. In matter of using makeup, Islamic rulings appear to take account of the fact that women need to use such substances more than men. For example, it is not possible for a man to offer prayers, if he has used saffron over any part of his body. There is no such restriction on women. A man, however, may use saffron over his clothes and offer his prayers. The Prophet used to do that, because saffron gives clothes a better appearance. If a woman wants to go to the mosque to offer her prayers, she may not go wearing perfume, unless its smell has disappeared. This restrictions is not made on account of the substance of perfume itself, but on the basis of the fact that its smell may attract attention to her. As you realize, when a Muslim woman goes out, she must dress in a way which does not attract passers by. If she is praying at home alone or with a group of Muslim women, she may offer her prayer without removing her makeup first. If she removes some of her makeup which stands out as particularly noticeable, such as lipstick, this is preferable according to some scholars.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )