Skin Lightening or Skin Bleaching! [Insecurity of Some African and Asian Husbands and Wives]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَمِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ خَلۡقُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱخۡتِلَـٰفُ أَلۡسِنَتِڪُمۡ وَأَلۡوَٲنِكُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلِمِينَ – And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge]. [Surah Ar-Rum. Verse 22]

Question to Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him]: “It has become widespread among the people, especially women, to use some chemicals and natural herbs that change the colour of the skin, so that coloured (brown or non-white skin) becomes white after applying these chemicals and natural herbs, and so on. Is there a Sharee’ah prohibition against this? And bear in mind that some husbands command their wives to use these chemicals and natural herbs whilst citing as proof that it is obligated on a woman to beautify herself for her husband“.

Answer: “If this change is permanent, then it is forbidden; rather it is one of the major sins, because indeed it is worse than tattooing in relation to altering what Allaah has created. Indeed, it has been established (by way authentic narration) from the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allaah be upon him) that he cursed the women who do hair extensions and the woman who does it for others, the woman who does tattoos and the woman who does it for them. In Bukhaari and Muslim, Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “May Allaah curse the women who do tattoos and the women who have them done, and the women who pluck eyebrows and the women who have that done, and the women who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification, those who change the creation of Allaah”. And he said, “Why should I not curse those whom the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed?” The one who attaches hair extensions is the one whose hair is short so she adds something to it, whether hair or something similar. The woman who does tattoos is one who puts the tattoo on the skin by inserting a needle and what is similar, then she fills that place with kohl or something similar which alters the colour of the skin. The woman who seeks for tattoos to be done is the one who asks someone else to do a tattoo on her. The woman who plucks eyebrows is the one who plucks hair from the face- from her eyebrows or for others. The woman who seeks for that to be done is the one who asks that her eyebrows are plucked. The woman who files her teeth is the one who asks someone else to file her teeth in order to widen the gaps between them. All of these deeds are tantamount to changing what Allaah has created and what has been stated in the question is more severe – with regards to changing what Allaah has created – than what has been stated in the hadeeth. But if the change is not permanent, such as henna and the like, then there is nothing wrong with it because it will disappear, such as kohl, using red cosmetic on the cheeks and lips. Therefore, it is obligatory to be careful, warn against altering what Allaah has created and spread the warning among the Ummah lest evil spread, become widespread and thus becomes difficult to reverse it”. [Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 17/20-21]

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