Are women allowed to wear perfume?
There is no issue with women wearing perfume before close relatives (those known as maḥrams) and other women. As for women wearing perfume in public, there are differences on it.
The great Maliki scholar Ibn Rushd the Elder (grandfather of Ibn Rushd) permits the wearing of perfume publicly by women provided that her intention is not to attract men’s attention.
Aisha (may God be pleased with her) says:
We were proceeding to Mecca along with the Prophet (ﷺ). We pasted on our foreheads the perfume known as sukk at the time of wearing ihram. When one of us perspired, it (the perfume) came down on her face. The Prophet (ﷺ) saw it but did not forbid it. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 11, Hadith 110)
Shaykh Ibn Amin al-Dimashqi has performed a study of the relevant hadith narrations and concludes that the evidence for forbidding women to wear perfume in public is not conclusive and it is contradicted by narrations like the one quoted above.
According to Dr. Ali Gomaa (Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2003 to 2013), it is permitted for women to wear perfume in public as long as the scent is muted and does not attract attention.
Dr. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Samīʿ (Egypt’s Grand Mufti as of early 2018) has a similar opinion. He also adds that it is recommended for women to use perfume and deodorant if it is necessary for masking body odor in order to avoid disturbing others.
- Source for Ali Gomaa’s fatwa (Arabic PDF)
- Source for Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Samīʿ’s fatwa (Arabic PDF)
- Source for Shaykh Ibn Amin’s study (Arabic PDF)