I wear the hijab given that I am Muslim, but I do apply lipstick, not with the intention to adorn myself, but in order to avoid the stares and undue attention that people give me, as well as their questioning me as to whether I am feeling well or not because of my pale lips and ill look. I know that it is a sin to do so, but am I commiting minor Shirk (polytheism) by doing so given that I am trying to look healthy in front of people and disobey Allaah to do that? Or is it a major sin? Please, can you clarify the difference between major sins and minor Shirk? God forbid, I am scared as I do not want to do an act of polytheism in any case, nor do I want to please the people. I just want to appear normal, like other people.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
First of all, we thank you for your keenness on abiding by the hijab; this proves your firm belief, Allaah willing. So may Allaah reward you and increase you in guidance and piety.
What you mentioned of applying lipstick in order to look healthy in front of the people is not minor Shirk at all because the matter of showing off (Riyaa') is in regard to acts of worship and not to habits. Al-Khaadimi said in Bareeqah Mahmoodiyyah, “Know that showing off with a worldly action, such as bravery, skillfulness in writing, sewing, and other matters, that is done in order to achieve a worldly benefit is not prohibited if it is free from deceit, such as showing courage in a given matter while the person does not really have courage ... As regards showing off in acts of worship that are legislated to glorify Allaah and seeking His pleasure, then this is prohibited in all its kinds.”
Also, just applying lipstick is not a sin unless a non-Mahram (marriageable) man sees it; as it would be a sin in this case. As regards it being one of the major sins, then we have not come across a statement of any scholar who considered it to be as such. Besides, what the scholars mentioned regarding the definition of a grave sin does not apply to it, such as being cursed or threatened with Hellfire and the like. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 318175.
However, it should be noted that a group of scholars determined that a minor sin becomes a major sin by insisting on doing it, as Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated, “There is no small sin while insisting on it, and there is no major sin while asking for forgiveness.” [Al-Bayhaqi and others]
Some scholars of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) said, “Do not look at the smallness of the sin; rather, you should look at the Greatness of the One Whom you disobey [i.e. Allaah].”
Allaah knows best.
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