These are the ahadith that forbid perfume on women:

1) It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah [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.'" (An-Nasa'i)

2) It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: 'If a woman has perfumed herself with incense, let her not attend 'Isha' prayer.'" (An-Nasa'i)

3) It was narrated that Abu Hurairah met a woman who was wearing perfume and heading for the mosque. He said: “O slavewoman of the Compeller, where are you headed?” She said: “To the mosque.” He said: “And have you put on perfume for that?” She said: “Yes.” He said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘Any woman who puts on perfume then goes out to the mosque, no prayer will be accepted from her until she takes a bath.’” (Ibn Majah)

4) Narrated AbuHurayrah: A woman met him and he found the odour of perfume in her. Her clothes were fluttering in the air. He said: O maid-servant of the Almighty, are you coming from the mosque? She replied: Yes. He said: For it did you use perfume? She replied: Yes. He said: I heard my beloved AbulQasim (ﷺ) say: The prayer of a woman who uses perfume for this mosque is not accepted until she returns and takes a bath like that of sexual defilement (perfectly). Abu Dawud said: Al-i'sar means dust. (Abu Dawod)

5) Narrated Abu Musa: that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Every eye commits adultery, and when the woman uses perfume and she passes by a gathering, then she is like this and that.'" Meaning an adulteress. (At-Trimidhi)

And a lot more.

I find that they all contradict this verse of the Quran:

"Say, 'Who has forbidden the wonderful things and good provisions that Allah has brought forth for His servants?" Say, 'They are meant for those who believe during this worldly life, and they will be exclusive for them on the Day of Resurrection.' It is such that We explain the Revelations for those who know." (7:32)

And also this one:

"Children of Adam, take your adornment / pleasantness to every Mosque." (7:31)

I don't understand why scholars accept such ahadith if they clearly contradict the Quran (and logic).

2 Answers 2


Please be aware that maybe you misunderstand both the ahadith and the Quran to some extent. As there must be a reason why scholars or anybody would deny or prohibit something which apparently seems to be lawful!

The ahadith in first place say a woman shouldn't wear perfume for one single reason which is that it might attract the attention of foreign men! So wearing a perfume which can't be smelt easily by somebody passing is totally permissible.

The Quran allows and emphasizes on taking adornments to a mosque in one verse but in general asks women not to attract the attention of foreign men as you may read in (24:31).
And in mosques at the time of the Prophet there was no gender separation as we know it now. Yes the women used to pray in the last rows, but if the mosque was full there would be some men praying right in front of them and maybe the odor of a (strong) perfume would distract their attention from the prayer. So it is considered as a disturbance which is not what a mosque is meant for (24:36-38):

[Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings (36)
[Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about - (37)
That Allah may reward them [according to] the best of what they did and increase them from His bounty. And Allah gives provision to whom He wills without account. (38)

Mosques and places of worship are meant for the remembrance of Allah :

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah , for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided. (9:18)

... And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. ...

while hindering people from this remembrance is considered as a big sin:

And who are more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His mosques and strive toward their destruction. ... (2:114)

here hindering (or maybe even distracting) the people from this is set equal to destructing them!

... And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. ... (2:187)

relations with woman (even wives) have no place inside a mosque!

Say, [O Muhammad], "My Lord has ordered justice and that you maintain yourselves [in worship of Him] at every place [or time] of prostration, and invoke Him, sincere to Him in religion." Just as He originated you, you will return [to life] - (7:29)

we should be sincere in our worship in every place! So once we start the prayer we should consider ourselves away from anything which is related to this life.

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.

Allah dislikes excess this means also for adornments one isn't asked to show off!

On the whole what scholars would refuse is a woman wearing a perfume which has such an strong odor that one could smell it easily even if there's a certain distance between her and the person who can smell it. You may say this applies for mosques, but the verse (24:31) is a general statement, so the view of scholars in Islam is that perfume is an adornment and therefore it is something a women shouldn't wear or show a foreigner.

Also note that none of these ahadith is quoted in the most reliable ahadith collections sahih al-Bukhari and sahih Muslim (and maybe al-Muwatta'). However you'll find the narration of an-Nasa'i on the 'isha prayer in al-Muwatta' and in the same context in sahih Muslim and an other one in sahih Muslim. 'Aisha said:

If the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had seen what new things the women have introduced (in their way of life) he would have definitely prevented them from going to the mosque, as the women of BaniIsra'il were prevented. (sahih Muslim)

Scholars have interpreted these new things as an excess of adornments, like (strong) perfume, extravagant clothing styles etc.

Some relevant fatwas islamqa #9105 and #102329.


There are numerous rulings that are exclusively established on the basis of ahadith. Examples include:

  • the prohibition of anal sex (although some would argue that the quranic references to intercourse always include a connotation of at least a chance of reproduction)
  • the details of ritual obligations like prayer (the specifics of it, i.e. how many rakat, what to say, how to move your body, etc.)
  • stoning as a punishment for adultery (although the reports that survive indicate that this is actually a quranic punishment, the relevant verse was just removed on the authority of Muhammad)
  • the prohibition for men to wear silk
  • the rulings regarding tahara (ritual purity; a lot of the specifics here are not found in the quran)

As a rough rule, ahadith will not override explicit, unambiguous, and specific quranic commands. They will however concretize or elaborate on issues where the quran is not specific or unambiguous enough, or may be used to establish rulings on issues where the quran is silent.

  • But the Quran is not ambiguous. Those two verses are clear. Dec 1, 2016 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Francesca "But the Quran is not ambiguous." You'll find quite a bit of disagreement about that, not least within the quran itself.
    – G. Bach
    Dec 1, 2016 at 23:14
  • The verse you linked says that some parts of the Quran are allegorical. This is how most versions translate the word "mutashābihātun". There is nothing allegorical in the case of my question. Dec 2, 2016 at 0:03
  • "the punishment of death for apostasy" is in the Quran as well. And for tahara rulings applies the same as for the prayer they are bascically in the Quran!
    – Medi1Saif
    Dec 2, 2016 at 7:00
  • @Medi1Saif Could you point me to the verses concerning apostasy in the quran? That is new to me. As for the other two, I meant the specifics - I'll edit my answer accordingly.
    – G. Bach
    Dec 2, 2016 at 8:34

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