Muslim women and colours

30 Jumaad Ath-thaani 1430

Assalamu Alaykum,

The topic of what colours are appropriate for muslim women to wear comes up frequently. I think this fatwa will be of benefit to clarify any confusion insha’ Allah.

Q: Does women’s hijab have to be black? Is it haraam for a woman to wear coloured clothes even if it fulfils the conditions of hijab? If it is haraam, then is there a hadeeth or verse to prove that? What is meant by saying it should not be an adornment in itself?.

Praise be to Allaah.

The conditions of the hijab of the Muslim woman have already been explained in the answer to question no. 6991.

It is not one of these conditions that it should be black. A woman may wear whatever she wants, so long as she does not wear a colour that is only for men , and she does not wear a garment that is an adornment in itself, i.e., decorated and adorned in such a way that it attracts the gaze of men, because of the general meaning of the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“…and not to show off their adornment…”

[an-Noor 24:31]

This general meaning includes the outer garment, if it is decorated. Abu Dawood (565) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Do not prevent the female slaves of Allaah from attending the mosques of Allaah, but let them go out unadorned.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 515.

It says in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood:

“ ‘Unadorned’ means not wearing perfume… they are commanded to go out like this and are forbidden to wear perfume lest they provoke men’s desires with their perfume. That also includes other things which are forbidden because they provoke desire, such as beautiful clothing and visible and expensive adornment.”

What a woman must do if she appears before non-mahram men is to avoid clothes that are decorated and adorned, which attract the gaze of men.

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (17/100):

It is not permissible for a woman to go out in a decorated garment that attracts people’s gaze, because this is something that tempts men.

It also says (17/108):

The dress of the Muslim woman need not only be black. It is permissible for her to wear any colour of clothing so long as it covers her ‘awrah, does not resemble men’s clothing, and is not so tight as to show the shape of her limbs or so thin as to show what is beneath it, and does not provoke temptation.

And it says (17/109):

Wearing black for women is not a must. They may wear other colours that are worn only by women, do not attract attention and do not provoke desire.

Many women choose to wear black, not because it is obligatory, but because it is farthest removed from being an adornment. There are reports which indicate that the women of the Sahaabah used to wear black. Abu Dawood (4101) narrated that Umm Salamah said:

“When the words ‘and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)’ [al-Noor 24:31 – interpretation of the meaning] were revealed, the women of the Ansaar went out looking as if there were crows on their heads because of their garments.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

The Standing Committee (17/110) said: This is to be understood as meaning that those clothes were black in colour.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Hair Dye

Assalamu Alaykum,

Tonight at the IISNA QA session, the question of the permissibility of dyeing one’s hair black came up.

A few sisters (May Allah protect and preserve them) were still unclear about the ruling and also asked about dying one’s hair in general.

As muslim women we like to beautify ourselves in permissible ways, so insha Allah I will share with you what people of knowledge have to say regarding this topic:

1- On the topic of dying one’s hair in general:

Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace be upon His Messenger and his family and companions. There is nothing wrong with changing the hair colour to anything except black, or using something to straighten curly hair, and the ruling is the same for old men and young men, so long as harmful substances are avoided and the material used is pure and permissible. But changing the hair to pure black is not permitted, for men or for women, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Change this grey hair, but avoid black.”  And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions

We should also note the general principle with regard to matters of adornment and beautification, which is that it is not allowed to do anything that involves forbidden kinds of imitation, such as imitation of the kuffaar or of immoral people, which is haraam because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4031; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

Hence before ruling that a particular kind of dye that is asked about is permissible, we must make sure that it is not an imitation of the kuffaar or immoral people, or one of the singers or actors whom young people regard as examples to be followed.

It is also not allowed to dye the hair in a manner that is regarded as effeminate or an imitation of women, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade such imitation and cursed those who do it. (Al-Bukhaari, 5435).

2- On the topic of dying one’s hair black:

Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported that Abu Quhaafah was brought on the day of the conquest of Makkah, and his head and beard were white like “thaghaamah” (a plant whose flowers and fruit are white). The Messenger of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “Change this with something, but avoid black.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 3962).

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: ‘At the end of time there will be people who will dye their hair black like the crops of pigeons. They will never even smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (reported by Imam Ahmad, see also Saheeh al-Jaami‘, no. 8153).

It was also reported from the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) that one should change grey hair, using any colour except black. Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “The best things with which to change grey hair are henna and ‘katam’ (a plant similar to henna which is used as a dye).” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1675; he said: This is a saheeh hasan hadith).

Dyeing hair with pure black dye is haram because the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “Avoid black,” and because of the threat of punishment reported with regard to this matter. This ruling applies to both men and women.

But if the black dye is mixed with another colour, so that it is no longer black, there is nothing wrong with it.

See Fatawa Islamiyyah, 4/424, and Fatawa al-mar’ah al-Muslimah, 2/520.

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