Women are forbidden to go out with Kohl in their eyes
Fatwa No: 3354


Is it permissible for a woman to go out of her home while applying kohl to her eyes?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Women use kohl for beautification and medication purposes. So, if a woman applies it to her eyes and then goes out before people, what is the relevant sharia ruling? Scholars provided different opinions in this regard. This difference in opinion results from their divergent views as to whether it (kohl) is a type of the apparent adornment, which is permissible to expose, or a part of the hidden adornment, which must be covered before non-Mahram (marriageable) men.

Some scholars hold the opinion that kohl is a part of the apparent adornment, which a woman is permitted to expose. To support their opinion, they quoted the report related on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them commenting on the verse where Allaah Almighty says (what means): {And not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof…} [Quran 24: 31] He said: "It is the kohl and the ring." [At-Tabarani]

Other scholars, however, said that kohl is a type of hidden adornment, which must be covered. The woman applies it to improve and beautify her face. Thus, Ibn ‘Atiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commenting one the same verse, said:

It seems to me that a woman is commanded not to expose and to try her utmost to hide any type of adornment. The exception is limited to what necessarily appears due to an inevitable movement, reforming something, etc. Whatever appears of the adornment in this way due to necessity is what is pardoned by the Sharee'ah.

Undoubtedly, a woman who goes out while having applied kohl to her eyes is in no way driven by necessity to reveal it, arguing that she cannot hide it.

Consequently, if a woman goes out with kohl applied to her eyes, this actually increases her beauty and makes her more attractive. That is why a woman, during her mourning period, is not permitted to apply kohl to her eyes, although she stays home all the time. Having known this, a woman who is visible to non-Mahram men is prohibited to apply it with greater reason.

Allaah Knows best.

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