Woman using camphor oil before going to masjid
Fatwa No: 349006

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu, Shaykh. I have an oil which is used for pain relief; it has camphor in it, which, to my knowledge, is a kind of fragrance used to wash the dead. My question is: being a woman, applying fragrance and passing next to non-Mahrams (permanently unmarriageable kin) is sinful, so can I apply this oil and go out and pray in the masjid or not? The oil has a strong smells, but not like perfume, more like medicine; I think it has menthol in it. I am suffering from knee and foot pain, and I feel that it is helpful for my health. However, I want to pray in Al-Masjid Al-Haraam. Hence, will I have to take a bath before going out if I applied that oil? Or is it better to avoid it and use other oils? May Allaah reward you, Shaykh

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

It seems to us – and Allah knows best – that applying this oil to the body is not included in the forbidden use of perfume for a woman when she goes out of her house since it does not have the smell of perfumes. The reason for forbidding women from applying perfume outdoors is because it may lead to arousing sexual desire (in the men who smell it). Al-Munaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “...because she aroused men's lusts with her perfume.” [At-Tayseer bisharh Al-Jaami’ As-Sagheer 2/421]

Hence, you do not have to wash off the traces of this oil when you go to the masjid; however, if you could find another oil that has no fragrance, then that would be better and safer.

Allah knows best.

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