Allegations Prohibiting Women from Adorning Themselves
"God curses those ladies who practice tattooing and those who get themselves tattooed, and those ladies who remove the hair from their faces and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth in order to look more beautiful…" (Sahih Bukhari, Book 60, Hadith 408)
Ibn Umar reported God's Messenger (pbuh) cursing the woman who added false hair and the woman who asked for tattoos. (Sahih Muslim, Book 24, Hadith 5300)
The Apostle of God (pbuh) forbade ten things: Sharpening the ends of the teeth, tattooing, plucking hair, ... (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 32, Hadith 4038)
The main ideas behind the fanatic mindset that seeks to portray women as repulsive, ugly, ill-groomed and second-class citizens stem from these false hadiths. This appearance that fanatics have imposed on women under the name of religion has led to them being regarded as ill-groomed and even no longer human and devoid of beauty, cleanliness and fine speech.
The picture of a Muslim woman drawn by the false hadiths above is one that makes it impossible for a woman to have any place in social life. Under that model, if a woman is a Muslim it is unacceptable for her to be attractive, clean and well-groomed. The fanatic mindset that portrays that notion as a sign of piety thus turns woman into an entity that cannot enter into society because of her appearance and also deprives her of the opportunity of talking about the faith for the same reason.
Just think; what woman would wish to live by a model under which Muslim women are represented by a woman who pays no attention to grooming, who attaches no importance to cleanliness, who never even thinks of dealing with the hairs on her face yet is not even embarrassed to go where other people are? Or who would want such a person to talk about religion? So how can a woman who believes that religion forbids looking attractive, clean and well-groomed, and that she will be cursed by God for doing so, want to have anything to do with such a faith?
This is one of the main reasons why Islam is all too often literally thought of as a sinister faith best kept well away from, particularly in Western societies. The fanatics have imprisoned Muslim women in an entirely fabricated model that has absolutely no place in the Qur’an, and thus seeks to prevent them living by and preaching Islam. Whereas in the same way that a Muslim woman has a duty to speak of the moral virtues and love of the Qur’an, she also has a responsibility to show these virtues through her behavior and attitudes, to live by them plainly speaking. In talking about being a Muslim she must look good, and in explaining that being a Muslim means love, she must genuinely embody that love; in that way, someone who really needs to know the beauties of the faith must know that this faith will bring all these delights with it and must be able to see them with his own eyes. That is also the way it is described in the Qur’an. The Qur’an speaks of Muslims wearing fine and spotlessly clean clothes and using the finest clothing and accessories when they meet together.
Children of Adam! We have sent down clothing to you to conceal your private parts, and fine apparel... (Qur'an, 7:26)
Children of Adam, put on your adornment in every mosque… (Qur'an, 7:31)
In addition, the Qur’an describes in glorious detail the cleanliness, fine grooming, beauty and elegant clothing of the people of paradise, and particularly the women.
Just like closely guarded pearls. (Qur'an, 22:23)
... They will be adorned in them with bracelets made of gold and wear green garments made of the finest silk and rich brocade... (Surat al-Kahf, 31)
... they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where their clothing will be of silk… (Surat al-Hajj, 23)
They will wear green garments of fine silk and rich brocade. They will be adorned with silver bracelets. (Qur'an, 76:21)
As will clearly be seen from the few verses quoted here, God employs the beauty of women, the smoothness of their skin from which all hairs have been removed, in the words “Just like closely guarded pearls,” as a measure of beauty, and reveals that this is how the women of paradise will be. This means that God regards smooth and clean skin as beautiful. God loves beauty, cleanliness, elegance, adornment and pleasant clothing, and wishes to see His servants in that form. There is no question that our Prophet (pbuh) would regard as beautiful the things that God regards as attractive and would encourage and advise Muslim women along those same lines.
It must not be forgotten that there may be women who have to resort to such grooming methods for reasons other than esthetic ones. For example, women may have to wear wigs after such difficult forms of medical treatment as chemotherapy. This is perfectly normal, and even necessary, and this is an excellent way of looking after themselves for the women in question. Fanatics, however, try to do away with this beauty and making life easier by means of these false hadiths.
In the same way, there is no prohibition in the Qur’an regarding tattoos in various patterns, the correction of asymmetrical eyebrows for instance through tattooing, or the removal of hairs on the face; that would in any case violate the spirit of the Qur’an. Fanatics who would force a pretty young girl to go out with excess facial hair, who would embarrass her in front of other people and who would strive to make her ugly rather than attractive are therefore unable to represent beauty in any way. Yet God encourages believers to be well-groomed, attractive, elegant and clean in verses.
Muslims always being wellgroomed, clean, elegant and attractive are features specially emphasized in verses.