Hadith on Perfume: Can Women Wear Perfume?

📖Sunan an-Nasa’i 5118
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that:
The Prophet [SAW] said: “The perfume for men is that whose scent is apparent while its color is hidden, and the perfume for women is that whose color is apparent, while its scent is hidden.”

  • This hadith from Sunan an-Nasa’i 5118, narrated by Abu Hurairah, conveys a teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) regarding perfume or fragrance. It emphasizes a cultural and modest approach to the use of fragrance:
  • 1. For men, the preferred perfume is one whose scent is noticeable but not its color. This means that men can use fragrances that have a pleasant aroma but are not visually striking or attention-grabbing.
  • 2. For women, the preferred perfume is one whose color is noticeable but not its scent. This suggests that women can use fragrances that may have a visible presence, like colorful oils or cosmetics, but their fragrance should not be strong or overpowering.

Why Is It Forbidden for Women to Wear Perfume in Public?

Researchers in fields such as psychology, biology, and sociology have conducted numerous studies and experiments to better understand the mechanisms and factors involved in sexual attraction, Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an individual’s ability to attract other people sexually, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context where they appear. The attraction may be to a person’s aesthetics, movements, voice, or smell, among other things. The attraction may be enhanced by a person’s adornments, clothing, perfume or style. It can be influenced by individual genetic, psychological, or cultural factors, or to other, more amorphous qualities. Sexual attraction is also a response to another person that depends on a combination of the person possessing the traits and on the criteria of the person who is attracted.

Reference: Sexual Attraction

Thus, Islamic tradition’s emphasis on modesty and avoiding anything that may lead to unnecessary attention or attraction between unrelated men and women. It encourages the use of fragrance in a way that aligns with these principles, we have already mentioned the reason why wearing perfume in public might not be allowed. However, the decision to wear perfume in public lies with women, and it is a matter of their personal choice. It’s essential to emphasize that there is no need to force someone to stop or change their actions; ultimately, it is an individual’s prerogative. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that according to the Qur’an, Allah has the capacity to forgive all sins, except for the act of worshipping someone other than Him or associating partners with Him.