Abu Hafs argues that using perfumes, cosmetics, and toothpaste does not break the Ramadan fast; doing away with them is harmful to others.
Rabat – The former Salafi scholar Mohammed Abdelouahab Rafiqui, widely known as Abou Hafs, has raised a controversial issue with regard to whether cosmetics, perfumes, and toothpaste nullify a Muslim’s fasting in Ramadan.
As usual, Rafiqi’s opinions do not always win the approval of many of his followers on social media, prompting hostilities and criticism of his arguments, which sometimes amount to death threats.
Rafiqui posted on Facebook on Wednesday, May 8, questioning the link between fasting, that is abstaining from food, water and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk, and wearing makeup. The next day, May 9, he wrote another post explaining his rejection of some of the practices Moroccans uphold during Ramadan.
Rafiqui’s religious opinion seemingly runs counter to the wider religious narrative Muslims are accustomed to, which asserts that fasting is refraining from wearing all sorts of cosmetics, beauty products, as well as partaking of food, water, sexual activity, and immoral behavior, such as stealing.
Rafiqui argues that doing away with beauty and sanitary products, which he considers instilled in the popular imagination of some, if not all, Muslims, is “one of the misconceptions” linked to observing Ramadan.
Rafiqui frowned on the practice of not brushing one’s teeth or wearing anti-perspirants, saying these people “harm” others with their bad breath and pungent body odor.
Rafiqui implicitly chastised religious opinions which prohibit especially women from wearing perfumes, which he regards an essential part of their day-to-day “beauty and elegance.”
Rafiqui makes veiled references to some clerics who hold such religious opinions, which he said are promoting “ugliness” and “filth” during a holy month that should otherwise be symbolic of mercy and strong social ties, not on harming others.
“Other than food, water, sexual activity, nothing invalidates one’s fasting,” he concluded, adding that there is no way we could engage in day-to-day socialization if we are disgusted by one another.
Rafiqui eventually called on Muslims to abandon such attitudes, recalling an excerpt from a hadith which says, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty.”
In this regard, Mohammed Fizazi, a reformed Moroccan Salafi-Jihadi figure, begged to differ, especially on the part concerning women, where he wondered whether Rafiqi is talking about women using beauty products inside or outside their homes.
Fizazi point-blank asserted that women should not at all go out spruced up with makeup and perfumes, let alone during Ramadan, simply because it is something he considered divinely prescribed.