Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Offering a service at a beauty salon which in itself is halal would seemingly be permitted despite ‘knowing’ that the client may use it in unlawful ways – as long as one’s intention is not for the unlawful act to take place.
2- Since the income received is in exchange for the work undertaken, it would be halal, and the client exposing her beautification in unlawful ways will be responsible for her own sin.
In his answer to your question, Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, Director and researcher at the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence (Darul Iftaa, www.daruliftaa.com), Member of the Al-Qalam Shari`ah Scholars Panel, and advisor on Islamic Banking, states:
Services and treatments offered at a beauty salon/parlour can be divided into two categories:
1- Those that are in of themselves impermissible, such as cutting hair very short such that it resembles the hair of men, full-body waxing and thus seeing/exposing the nakedness of the body (`awrah) which Islam instructs to cover, trimming eyebrows excessively into a very thin fine line, piercing body parts in a way that constitutes deformation.
Offering such type of services is not permitted, since it constitutes assisting another in a sinful act, which the Qur’an prohibits. Wages earned in this case will also be unlawful.
The Islamic ruling on offering such type of services has three scenarios:
a- If the beautician is certain or feels relatively confident that the client will use her beatification in permissible ways; for example, revealing her dyed hair in the presence of other females or her husband, then it is completely permissible to offer such services to the client. In fact, if the intention is to beautify a woman for her husband and thus enhance her marriage, one will be rewarded insha’ Allah.
b- If the beautician has no knowledge whatsoever how the client will use her beatification, then again it is permitted without dislike to offer such services, and wages earned will be lawful.
c- If the beautician is certain or feels relatively confident that the client will use her beatification in unlawful ways; for example, revealing her beautified hair to non-mahram men as soon as she walks outside of the salon, then – in this case too – it seems it is permitted to offer such services to the client. The sin of using the beautification in unlawful ways will be on the client.
This issue goes back to the legal (fiqhi) ruling of indirectly assisting others in sinful acts. The Qur’an clearly prohibits carrying out actions that contribute to another person sinning; Allah Most High says, “Help each other in righteousness and piety, and do not help each other in sin and aggression.” (Al-Ma`idah 5:2)
However, assisting others in sin can extend to several scenarios, actions and jobs; and not all of them are unlawful. In the Hanafih School, there are examples of jobs which would seemingly be ‘assisting in sin’ (such as building a church, hiring an animal/car to transport alcohol, and leasing a property to be used as a place of worship for non-Muslims), yet they have been allowed in the view of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him). He argues that the income received on such jobs is in exchange of the work and thus lawful (halal), and the sinful action carried out thereafter will be the responsibility of the one carrying it out. (See: Radd al-Muhtar 6/392 and Al-Hidaya with Fath al-Qadir 10/59)
Based on this, offering a service at a beauty salon which in itself is halal would seemingly be permitted despite ‘knowing’ that the client may use it in unlawful ways – as long as one’s intention is not for the unlawful act to take place. Since the income received is in exchange for the work undertaken, it would be halal, and the client exposing her beautification in unlawful ways will be responsible for her own sin.
Having said that, some jurists (fuqaha) have taken a stricter stance, and consider offering a service to be prohibitively disliked when one knows that the client will use the service provided to commit a sin.
As such, it is best to avoid offering one’s services in such scenarios, and one should seek an alternative means of income. However, if there is a need, then it will be acceptable to provide such a service.
Almighty Allah knows best.