What is the ruling of intentionally wearing or accidentally smelling the perfume whilst fasting?
Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ
And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset.
Surah al-Baqarah (187)
The above verse shows the prohibition and ban of eating and drinking until sunset for those who are fasting. The scholars also state that among things that invalidate fasting is sexual intercourse, purposely vomiting and etc. Kindly refer to our article on matters that invalidate fasting.
While pertaining to wearing perfume whilst fasting, the scholars did not state clearly on this matter whether it is prohibited or permitted.
To madhhab al-Shafi’e, wearing or smelling perfumes does not invalidate fasting because there is no sahih nas indicating it (that the fasting is invalidated) and it is not a form of eating and drinking.
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami said: “and one shall abstain himself from channelling something to the open cavity like stomach, because a person who did that is not labelled as mumsik (a person who abstains himself), different from channelling its effects like the taste (food) and smell, like the smoke of burnt agarwood enters the stomach even done intentionally, so those matters do not invalidate one’s fasting”. (Refer Tuhfah al-Muhtaj, 3/400-401).
So, those who smell perfumes does not invalidate fasting even done intentionally because it is not in the form of apparent particles and nothing enters the nose cavity other than the smell of the perfume.
However, some Shafi’e scholars said that it is sunnah to avoid perfumes because it is among matters able to raise one’s desire. This is based on the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ، يَتْرُكُ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ وَشَهْوَتَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، الصِّيَامُ لِي
"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me…”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1771)
Imam al-Nawawi said: “And it is sunnah (for those who fast) to abstain himself from actions which invalidate fasting like smelling perfumes or aromatic plants and looking to it (aromatic flowers) and listening to songs because they are luxury which is unequal to the wisdom of fasting in which it may raise one’s desire and winning it (desire) against taqwa is makruh”. (Refer Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1/435).
The ruling of wearing perfumes whilst fasting is it does not invalidate fasting but is makruh. The scholars explained the wisdom of makruh is because, during fasting, it is wajib for us to abstain ourselves from our desire, whereas perfume is something calling the desire, for example, if a husband who is fasting wears perfume, it may raise her desire and vice versa. (Refer Ittihaf al-Anam bi Ahkam al-Siyam, pg. 111-112).
Imam al-Nawawi said: “If it is contradicting between the makruh ruling of wearing perfume for those who are fasting and the makruh ruling of refusing perfume, then leaving it for people who are fasting is more prioritised because the action (wearing perfume) may lead to the decrease (of khusyu’) in ibadah”. (Refer I’anah al-Tolibin, 2/249).
Hence, we are of the opinion that the ruling of wearing and smelling perfume does not invalidate fasting because it is not an action of channelling something to the stomach but only its scent and it is not a form of eating, drinking as well as something that may give energy to those who are fasting.
We are also inclined to say that the ruling of smelling perfume (with high scent) is makruh because it is a luxury that is unequal to the wisdom of fasting and may lead to rising in desire.
While the ruling of wearing something that able to remove body odour like soap or deodorant for those who are fasting is permissible because usually, they are materials to cleanse oneself as well as removing bad odour and not in the intention of wearing perfume itself.