Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.
All praise is to Allah, and the blessings and peace of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and followers.
There are two issues here:
1. The validity of ritual ablutions (wudu) when wearing makeup;
2. The permissibility of wearing makeup outside the house.
1. The Validity of Ritual Ablutions (wudu) When Wearing Makeup
Such makeup would not be considered a discernible barrier that prevents water reaching the skin. As such, your wudu will be valid over it. This is different from things that have a discernible barrier that prevents water from reaching any part of the skin that must be washed, such as nail polish or thick waterproof makeup, because these things would prevent wudu from being valid.
Imam Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him), in Sharh Ma`ani al-Athaar (1.33), and Imam Nawawi, in Sharh Sahih Muslim (2.214), both relate scholarly consensus that it is obligatory (fard) to wash the entirety of the limbs that one has been commanded to wash. [see: Abu Jayb, Mawsu`at al-Ijma` fi al-Fiqh al-Islami, 3.1258]
The obligation to wash all the washed limbs completely is understood from the explicit text of the Divine Command:
“O you who believe! When you rise up for prayer, wash you faces, and your arms up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles.” [Qur’an, 5.6]
This is because the command to wash ‘your faces... arms up to the elbows… and your feet up to the ankles’ is explicit in the obligation to make water flow over everything within the limits of that which one has been called upon to wash. [see: Imam Shihab al-Din Alusi (d. 1270 AH) of Baghdad’s majestic exegesis of the Qur’an, Ruh al-Ma`ani, 6.70-72]
Laqit ibn Subra (Allah be pleased with him) said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), teach me the ritual ablutions.’ He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, ‘Wash completely; interlace between your fingers; and exaggerate in taking water into your nose, unless you are fasting.’” [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja]
Anas (Allah be pleased with him) relates that, “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) saw a man who had left an area the size of a mere fingernail unwashed of his feet, so he told the man, ‘Go and do your ritual ablutions properly.’” [Abu Dawud and Nasa’i] The hadiths related to this are numerous.
2. Wearing Makeup Outside the House
Allah Most High instructed:
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.” (Qur’an, 24.31)
“Adorn not yourselves with the adornment of the Time of Ignorance.” (Qur’an, 33.33)
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Razi (Allah have mercy on him) explained the various opinions regarding this verse, including:
1. Qatada said this means that they should not adorn themselves when they leave their houses;
2. Others said it is to show one’s beauty to [non-mahram] men. [Tafsir Ahkam al-Qur’an]
One of the top scholars of our times, Shaykh Wahba Zuhayli (Allah preserve him) of Damascus, explained that among the things a woman must keep in mind when working outside the house:
1. Wearing proper hijab, that covers her entire body, with the permission of uncovering her face and hands [up to the wrists], quoting both abovementioned verses. He added here that it is a fundamental condition that she should not adorn herself outside the house, because of the purport of the second verse [“Adorn not yourselves with the adornment of the Time of Ignorance.” (Qur’an, 33.33)].
2. Permission of her husband or guardian.
3. The necessity or need to work, such as trade, teaching, learning, witnessing, supporting herself, and the like. This is because the basis is women should avoid going out without need or benefit, because of Allah Most High’s instruction that, “And stay in your houses.” [Qur’an, 33.33] Two things that must be avoided here are:
a) being alone with another non-mahram man in a closed room, because of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)’s words, “No man may be alone with a woman not permitted to him, for the third person will be the Shaytan…” [Ahmad]
b) traveling outside city limits beyond traveling distance (81 or 86 km) without an immediate male family member or spouse.
4. That the work itself be permitted…. [Zuhayli, al-Usra al-Muslima fi’l `Alam al-Mu`asir, 297-303]
And Allah alone gives success.
MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and Qibla.
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