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 Irsyad al Fatwa 545



Assalamualaikum. I have a question. What is the ruling for a Muslim woman who wears bindi on her forehead (as well as saree) during the Deepavali festivities? I hope Dr may explain this issue in detail .

Brief Answer:

Coming back to the presented question and discussion, it can be concluded that the ruling of wearing bindi on one’s forehead is prohibited because it is a symbol or identity used by the Hindus.

Pertaining to wearing saree, Islam does not prohibit its ummah to wear traditional clothes of other races as long as they are not their ritual and official clothing.

However, there are dress ethics in Islam which is wajib to be followed like covering the awrah, does not show one’s body shape and does not cause fitnah. Besides, Islam also prohibits its ummah to be excessive in adornment and garment as well as cause one to be boastful and arrogance.


Bindi and Saree

Bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating of all forms of body decoration. Hindus attach great importance to this ornamental mark on the forehead between the two eyebrows -- a spot considered a major chakra point in the human body since ancient times. Also, loosely known as 'tika', 'pottu', 'sindoor', 'tilak', 'tilakam', and 'kumkum', a bindi is usually a small or a big eye-catching round mark made on the forehead as adornment. 'Bindi' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'bindu' or a drop, and suggests the mystic third eye of a person.

Myths and significance of bindi coloured with red traditionally said as sindura or sindoor which means 'red', and represents Shakti (strength). It also symbolizes love -- one on the beloved's forehead lights up her face and captivates the lover. As a good omen, 'sindoor' is placed in temples or during celebrations along with turmeric (yellow) that stands for intellect especially in temples dedicated to Shakti, Lakshmi and Vishnu. [1]

The word “sari” means “strip of cloth” in Sanskrit. But for the Indian women—and a few men—who have been wrapping themselves in silk, cotton, or linen for millennia, these swaths of fabric are more than just simple garments. They are symbols of national pride and ambassadors of all times. Saree is mentioned in the holy book of Hindus which is Rig Veda 3000 B.C as a magical unstitched garment. It is ideally suited to India’s blazingly hot climate and the modest-dress customs of both Hindu and Muslim communities. Sarees also remain traditional for women in other South Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. [2]

Code of Ethics in Adorning and Clothing in Islam

The speciality of community in Malaysia which comprises of various races and religion leads to the rise of various customs and traditions. Tolerance among people plays an important role in preserving peace and harmony in the country. Islam as the official religion in Malaysia highly emphasizes harmony in strengthening the relationship among the community by respecting one another that has long be preserved. This is as what is stated in al-Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another

Surah al-Hujurat (13)

However, Islam highly emphasizes its ummah to observe shara’ boundaries so that he may not do something beyond the limitation set by religion like practising shirk to Allah SWT as well as committing actions that may lead a person towards destruction.

As a Muslim, protecting the aqidah (faith) is important. So, abstaining oneself from any rituals of a different religion is wajib for the Muslims. Allah SWT says:

لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ

For us are our deeds and for you your deeds

Surah al-Syura (15)

In the code of ethics for adornment and garment used by people of other religion, a thing to be taken into consideration by the Muslims related to the presented question is whether it is used as syiar or eminence in their religion or only acts as custom and traditions? This is because the Prophet PBUH prohibits imitating the disbelievers in matters related to their eminence or identity. A hadith narrated from Ibn Umar R.Anhuma that the Prophet PBUH said:

مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ

He who copies any people is one of them

Sunan Abi Dawud (4031)

Imam al-San’ani in his commentary states:

وَالْحَدِيثُ دَالٌّ عَلَى أَنَّ مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِالْفُسَّاقِ كَانَ مِنْهُمْ أَوْ بِالْكُفَّارِ أَوْ بِالْمُبْتَدِعَةِ فِي أَيِّ شَيْءٍ مِمَّا يَخْتَصُّونَ بِهِ مِنْ مَلْبُوسٍ أَوْ مَرْكُوبٍ أَوْ هَيْئَةٍ

And this hadith shows that those who resemble or imitate the fasiq, kafir or committers of bida’h on each matter specified for them like their clothing, vehicles or behaviour, are among them.

(See Subul al-Salam, 2/646)

Imam al-Nawawi states that a person who wears clothing specifically for Christian popes does not become kafir unless it is done together with the intention (to follow their beliefs). This is as what is cited by Imam al-Nawawi on the opinion of ashab al-Shafi’eyyah in his book:

وَاخْتَلَفُوا فِيمَنْ وَضَعَ قَلَنْسُوَةَ الْمَجُوسِ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ، وَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ يَكْفُرُ… قُلْتُ:الصَّوَابُ أَنَّهُ لَا يَكْفُرُ فِي مَسْأَلَةِ التَّمَنِّي وَمَا بَعْدَهَا إِذَا لَمْ تَكُنْ نِيَّةً

And it has disagreed upon the issue of those wearing qalansuwah for the Majusi people on their head, and according to the sahih opinion, indeed, he commits an act of the kufr. I am of the opinion: Precisely, a person is not considered as kafir on matters which they wish for (wishing haram matters become halal) and other than that, is when it is not done with intention.

(See Raudhah al-Talibin, 10/69)

However, in the issue of wearing traditional clothes that do not symbolize any religion like clothes that are due to local customs, it is permissible to follow the ethics of clothing in Islam like covering the awrah and does not cause fitnah. This is because the Prophet PBUH once wore jubbah from Rome as narrated by al-Mughirah bin Syu’bah R.A that his father said:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَبِسَ جُبَّةً رُومِيَّةً ضَيِّقَةَ الْكُمَّيْنِ

"The Prophet (ﷺ) wore a Roman Jubbah with tight sleeves."

Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (1768)

In practising Islamic values according to sharia, the authorities play their role in providing a guideline as a limitation for the general public so that they will not cross the shariah boundaries set by Islam. Therefore, the Convention of National Fatwa Council of Islamic Religious Affairs convened on 12th April 2005 has discussed the Guideline for Muslims to Celebrate Religious Festivities of the Non-Muslims. The council decided on several matters. Among them are:

The festivity is not followed with actions prohibited by shara’: “Contradicting the Islamic creed” is any matters, actions, words or situations that when done, will tarnish the aqeedah of the Muslims. For example:

  • Includes religious symbols like the Cross, putting on the ornaments, candles, Christmas tree and the like; singing songs related to their religion.
  • Putting any religious symbols on one’s forehead, or symbols on any parts of the body.
  • Relaying words or signals praising the religion of the non-Muslims.
  • Bowing or doing actions that look like respecting religious festivities of the non-Muslims.


Coming back to the presented question and discussion, it can be concluded that the ruling of wearing bindi on one’s forehead is prohibited because it is a symbol or identity used by the Hindus.

Pertaining to wearing saree, Islam does not prohibit its ummah to wear traditional clothes of other races as long as they are not their ritual and official clothing.

This aligns with the maxim:

الأَصْلُ فِي الأَشْيَاءِ الإِبَاحَةُ حَتَّى يَدُلَّ الدَّلِيْلُ عَلَى التَّحْرِيْمِ

The original rule for something is permissible until comes a dalil which indicates its prohibition (upon the matter)

Still, the ethics of clothing in Islam is wajib to be obeyed like covering the awrah, is not see-through as well as causing fitnah. Besides, Islam also prohibits its ummah from being excessive in adorning and clothing as well as nurturing the feeling of boasting and arrogance in oneself. Hadith narrated from Ibn Umar R.Anhuma where the Prophet PBUH said:

مَنْ لَبِسَ ثَوْبَ شُهْرَةٍ أَلْبَسَهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ثَوْبَ مَذَلَّةٍ

 ‘Whoever wears a garment of pride and vanity in this world, Allah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then set it ablaze.’

Sunan Ibn Majah (3606)

Wallahu a’lam.