Wed 23 Jm2 1435 - 23 April 2014
75007

Ruling on selling clothes when one does not know whether they will be used in halaal ways or haraam

I have some stores that sell men’s and women’s clothing in a number of shopping centres. I have read about the situations in which it is permissible to sell women’s clothes, and that it is not permissible to sell these clothes if the seller knows that the one who is buying them is going to use them in ways that Allaah has forbidden. But how can the seller or employees know that they are going to be used in ways that Allaah has forbidden? The seller may be in a position where he does not know how they are going to be used.

Praise be to Allaah.

With regard to women’s clothes that merchants sell in their stores, one of the following three scenarios must apply: 

1 – The seller knows or thinks it most likely that these clothes are going to be used in permissible ways, and that they will not be used in haraam ways. There is nothing wrong with selling these clothes. 

2 – The seller knows or thinks it most likely that these clothes are going to be used in haraam ways, i.e., the woman is going to wear them and adorn herself with them in front of non-mahram men. Selling these clothes is haraam, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“but do not help one another in sin and transgression”

[al-Maa'idah 5:2] 

The seller can figure it out from the type of clothes and the state of the woman who buys them. 

There are some kinds of clothes which it is usually known that however much a woman flaunts herself (tabarruj) she will never wear them for anyone but her husband, and she cannot go out wearing them in front of non-mahram men. And there are clothes which the seller will think most likely – or may be certain – that the one who buys them is going to use them in haraam ways. 

What the seller should do is to act upon what he knows or thinks most likely to be the case with regard to the buyer. 

And the clothes may be used in permissible ways or in haraam ways, but the fact that women observe hijab or that the state enforces hijab means that they cannot be used in haraam ways, so there is nothing wrong with selling them. 

3 – If the seller is uncertain as to whether these clothes will be used in permissible ways or haraam ways, because the clothes may be used in both ways, and there is no evidence to make him certain about either possibility, then there is no sin in selling these clothes, because the basic principle is that it is permissible to sell and it is not haraam, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Allaah has permitted trading”

[al-Baqarah 2:275] 

The one who buys them must use them in ways that Allaah has permitted, and it is not permissible to use them in haraam ways. 

There follow some fatwas of the scholars which support what we have said above. 

The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked: 

What is the ruling on dealing in women’s adornments and selling them when the seller knows that the one who is buying them will adorn herself with them in front of non-mahram men in the streets as he can see how she is appearing in front of him, and as is common, unfortunately, in some areas? 

They replied: 

It is not permissible to sell it if the seller knows that the one who is buying it is going to use it in ways that Allaah has forbidden, because that is helping in sin and transgression. But if he knows that the buyer is going to adorn herself for her husband with it or he does not know anything, then it is permissible for him to sell it. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 13/67 

The Scholars of the Standing Committee were also asked: 

What is the ruling on selling cosmetics to women, knowing that most of those who use them are women who make a wanton display of themselves and are evildoers who disobey Allaah and His Messenger, and those who use these things to adorn themselves for men other than their husbands – Allaah  forbid? 

They replied: 

If the matter is as described, it is not permissible to sell them to them, if he knows their situation, because that is cooperating in sin and transgression, which Allaah has forbidden as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“but do not help one another in sin and transgression”

[al-Maa'idah 5:2] 

End quote. Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 13/105. 

The Scholars of the Standing Committee were also asked: 

What is the ruling on selling different types of tight pants for women, including jeans and those made from stretch fabrics, as well as pant suits which consist of pants and a blouse, and selling women’s shoes with high heels, and all kinds of hair dyes, especially those which are specifically for women, and selling see-though women’s clothes, especially those made of chiffon, and women's dresses with short sleeves, or short dresses, and short skirts for women? 

They replied: 

Everything that will be used in haraam ways or that one thinks are most likely to be used in such ways, it is haraam to make it, import it, sell it and distribute it among the Muslims. That includes what many women have fallen into nowadays – may Allaah guide them to the right path – of see-through, tight and short clothes, which includes displaying their charms and showing the shape of their limbs in front of non-mahram men. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If it seems most likely that garments will be used to help commit sin, it is not permissible to sell them or sew them for one who will use them for sinful and wrongful purposes. Hence it is makrooh to sell bread and meat to one who you know will drink wine with them. The same applies to any permissible thing if you know that it will be used to help commit sin. End quote 

Every Muslim merchant and businessman must fear Allaah. Our advice to our Muslim brothers is not to make or sell anything but that which is good and beneficial for them, and to forsake everything that is evil and harmful for them. In that which is halaal there is sufficient so that we have no need of that which is haraam. 

“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine”

[al-Talaaq 65:2, 3] 

This advice is what is implied by faith, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al‑Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al‑Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden)”

[al-Tawbah 9:71] 

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Religion is sincerity.” They said: To whom, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “To Allaah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims and to their common folk.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh

Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I swore allegiance to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), pledging to establish regular prayer and pay zakaah, and to be sincere towards every Muslim. Saheeh –agreed upon. 

What Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah meant in the words quoted above, “Hence it is makrooh to sell bread and meat to one who you know will drink wine with them…” is that it is makrooh in the sense of haraam, as is known from his fatwas on other topics. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah wi’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta, 13/109 

And Allaah knows best.

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