Side Feature, Social System, The Khilafah

Q&A: The Reality of Tabarruj

Question Pipit Meidawati:

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa baarakaatuh

I pray may Allah always protects and helps you. La’ala Allahu yusahhil umuuraka

I’d like to ask about tabbaruj. How do we define it and apply it? what I know is that tabbaruj means reveals charms in front of strange man. then attract them to watch, even stare at us. It also depends on habits/tradition/urf.

I live in Indonesia, we argue about implementation of tabbaruj. Indeed, western lifestyle has influenced the way we dress up and make up. Women apply cosmetics such as face powder, lipstick, eye shadow etc. Sometimes, it’s just natural make-up or daily make-up. They work, study at college, attend majelis ta’lim, visit each other, etc with this kind of make-up. Sometimes they want to reveal charms more than usual in certain occasion such as wedding day, or attending wedding ceremony, they not apply daily make up, but more attractive with bold/glam make-up. Some women work as entertainer, celebrity, singer, then they dress and apply very-very bold make-up.

Do we have to abandon all those cosmetics because it created by western lifestyle? Are we not allowed to apply anything to our face? Or it’s okay if we just apply daily/natural make- up.

Meanwhile, some women apply itsmid (Persian eyeshadow) in their eyes, because Rasulullah SAW instruct it and also did it. But they are just minority and even sometimes attract surrounding.

I wish you, Syeikh Ata Abu al-Rashta, don’t mind explain implementation of tabbaruj to me.

Thanks a lot before, jazakallahu khairan katsiran

Wassalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa baarakaatuh

Pipit Meidawati

Forgive me… I’m Pipit from Indonesia

Question: Фатиме Сулиманова‎‏

Assalamu alaykom wa rahmatullah. Dear Shaykh, I have a question for you, if women go out in public and put make-up on their faces, then will they fall under the category of tabarruj? What is femininity in Shari’ah?


Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu,

Both questions fall under the same topic, so we will answer them combined:

We had previously published a Question and Answer on the topic of tabarruj… Below is one of the answers published on 9/10/2016, and it is sufficient insha’Allah:

The answer mentioned:

(Before delving into the details of your questions, I mention to you some things in this topic that are detailed in the social system in the matter of looking at women, and I mention to you some broad lines

  1. When a woman goes out in public life, she should be dressed with the Shar’ii dress, which entails: Jilbaab, covering the ‘awrah, and not reveal her adornments (tabarruj).
  2. ‘Awrah is the whole of a woman’s body except for her face and hands, it is haram for a woman to reveal her ‘awrah, and “drawing attraction” is not considered here, i.e. whether she draws attraction or not, revealing the ‘awrah is haram…
  3. Tabarruj in the language is: when a woman reveals her adornments and beauty to men, in “Lisan Al Arab” it states: “And Tabarruj: Revealing the adornments to foreigners, which is rebuked, but it is acceptable for the husband”. In “Qamous Al Muheet” it states: “And she showed Tabarruj: She revealed her adornment for men”.

In “Mukhtar As-Sahah” it states: “and “Tabarruj” is when a woman reveals her adornments and beauty to men.”… And in “Maqayees Al –Lugha”: “Baraja’ the letters: Ba, Ra, and Jeem have two origin sources: One means to become apparent, and to show (Al-thuhoor and Al-Borooz), and from it is Tabarruj, which is when a woman reveals her beauty).” What is understood from the word “Idh-har” and “Al-dhuhoor and Al-Borooz” is that the adornment is attractive and is made apparent to men; and the Shariah meaning is not different from that, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says: وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ “And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment” [An-Nur: 31]

Therefore a woman must not walk stamping her feet strongly on the ground allowing her anklet to produce a sound that will make a man aware that the woman is wearing jewelry on her ankle under her clothes. All of this means that Tabarruj has the same meaning linguistically and in Shariah, it is the adornment that attracts attention, not mere adornment.

Thus, tabarruj is the adornment/charm that attracts attention without the revealing of the ‘awrah, as for revealing the ‘awrah, it is haram whether it attracts attention or not… tabarruj is not zeenah (charms), as there are normal charms that do not attract attention and are allowed for women, and there are charms that attract attention known as tabarruj, and tabarruj is haram. Tabarruj falls in two aspects:

the charms worn by women on the mubah areas of her body, i.e. on her hands and face, and on her clothes if it attracts attention

– the charms worn by women on other than the mubah without the revealing of the ‘awrah, like adorning her ankle with an anklet, or adorning her wrists with bracelets, while her leg or arm is covered, so if the woman makes a specific move with her leg or arm, men know that there are adornments on her leg or arm, then this is considered tabarruj even if the arm or leg are covered.

  1. As for the zeenah (charms) worn on the mubah parts of the woman’s body, or on her clothes, then if it attracts attention, it becomes tabarruj and is therefore haram. The meaning of attracting attention is when the charms on this part (of body or clothes) is unusual, i.e. when she walks past men with this adornment, it attracts their attention to the femininity of this woman, and the meaning of it not attracting attention means that if the woman walks past men, then the feminine side does not cross their minds.. this matter falls under understanding the reality (tahqeeq al-manat), and I don’t think it is difficult, as masculinity and femininity exist in men and women, and it is easy for him or her to perceive whether this adornment/charm attracts attention or not, especially women, because they know whether their charms are normal or whether they attract the attention of men…
  2. As for the zeenah (charms) worn on non-mubah areas while the ‘awrah is covered, like if the woman wears an anklet on her ankle, then stamps her feet strongly on the ground allowing her anklet to produce a sound that will make a man aware that the woman is wearing jewelry on her ankle, then this is tabarruj and is haram… or if she wears bracelets on her wrists then moves her arms so that men know that there are charms on her arm… then this is also tabarruj, and is considered haram even if the legs and arms were covered.
  3. I will now begin with the details in your questions and answer you accordingly:
  4. Regarding, the women’s zeenah (charms) with rings on her fingers, then if they were regular rings, they do not attract attention… but if for example she wears a ring that glows or makes noise, or has a spectacular size, etc, then this all attracts attention and is tabarruj… and the same applies to glowing shoes etc…

As for wearing a necklace outside the jilbab, then whether this attracts attention or not, it is not allowed because the asl (principle) of jilbab is that it covers the internal charms and adornments placed on her ‘awrah, and a necklace is an adornment for the neck, and the neck is part of the ‘awrah, so it must be covered under the jilbab, so if she wanted to wear a necklace, then she should hide it under the jilbab.

As for bracelets on the wrists or arms, then if she moves her wrist or arm and the bracelet made a noise, it will be apparent that she is wearing charms, and this is tabarruj and is not allowed.

  1. The Jilbab is a covering that covers the internal adornments and clothes, i.e. it is not a place of charms, therefore, charms and ornaments on it are not allowed…
  2. If a woman puts kohl on her eyes, it does not draw attention because it is inside the eye, whereas if she applies to her eye lashes or eyelids certain colors, then they attract attention…
  3. Likewise, if she cleans the skin of her face to remove some spots or some pimples on the face, and the face appears more beautiful than before, but it mimics the normal face, then it does not attract attention, but if she applies apparent colours on her face, then it will attract attention, and of course the area in which the woman lives has a role in what attracts attention, such as living in the village or living in the city… What is important in this matter is that the charms that are unusual in that region and attract attention are considered tabarruj.) The previous Question and Answer ends here.

In conclusion, a woman usually knows whether the adornments she’s wearing attract the attention of men or not, that is, it is not difficult to know the difference between the adornments that attract attention and the adornments that don’t, and women know this by their feelings / senses…  In any case, the pious Muslim woman stays away not only from the haram, but also from any obscure matters (shubahaat), as some of the Sahaba used to stay away from some mubah (permissible) matters because they are close to areas of haram… it was narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «لَا يَبْلُغُ العَبْدُ أَنْ يَكُونَ مِنَ المُتَّقِينَ حَتَّى يَدَعَ مَا لَا بَأْسَ بِهِ حَذَراً لِمَا بِهِ البَأْسُ» “A person will not reach the status of being one of those who have piety until he refrains from doing something in which there is no sin, for fear of falling into something in which there is sin,” reported by Tirmidhi who said that it is a Hasan Hadith.

I hope that this answer is sufficient, and Allah (swt) is Most Knowing and Most Wise.


Your brother,

Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah

30 Shawwal 1441 AH

Corresponding 21/06/2020 CE


Link to the answer on the Ameer’s (may Allah preserve him) Facebook page: