Is is alright for a woman who shows her face to wear kohl or eyeliner when she goes outside?
Sheikh Muhammad Muhammad Sâlim `Abd al-Wadûd
Allah says: “...that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinary) appears thereof” [Sûrah al-Nûr: 31]
The ruling as to whether a woman can wear kohl (antimony) or eyeliner in public really depends on whether kohl or eyeliner can be considered as coming under the general provision of "what ordinarily appears". Since the face and hands are included by many scholars in what "ordinarily appears", that which is customarily used on the face and hands can be included in the exception.
This is reason why we observe in the corpus of Islamic law that a good number of jurists permit women to openly wear finger rings and henna on their hands. Many contemporary jurists allow fingernail polish for the same reason, since it compares closely with henna.
The ruling on kohl and eyeliner will consequently vary depending on the society in which the woman lives.
If the use of kohl eyeliner in a certain society is so ubiquitous and unremarkable that it generally goes unnoticed, then there is no problem with it. In this case, it is no more than a consequence of showing the face.
By contrast, in some societies it will certainly be wrong for a woman to go out in public wearing visible kohl or eyeliner, since according to the prevalent social norms in those cultures it will certainly attract the unwelcomed attention of onlookers.
Even in those societies where kohl and eyeliner do not generally attract attention, if wearing it causes a particular woman to draw increased attention to herself – either due to her exceptional beauty, or due to the uniqueness of some of her features, or due to the peculiar way she applies the cosmetic to her eyes – then she should personally refrain from wearing it in public, even if other women in that society can do so without objection.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital