Buying magazines and catalogs in order to take women’s fashions from them

Dear Brothers & Sisters,
As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
What is the ruling on buying catalogues of the western clothes, in order to buy through them and avoid going to markets? Knowing that these catalogues contain men and women in underwear only (almost naked)! So what is the ruling on this?
Is it permissible for a woman to look at another woman who is only in underwear, For the purpose of buying? I hope you give me a detailed convincing answer.
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Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to buy the catalogues mentioned, because they contain indecent images which it is not permissible for a man or a woman to look at. 

It is well known that the ‘awrah of a man before other men, and the ‘awrah of a woman before other women, is the area between the navel and the knee. These images include uncovering of the ‘awrah as you say, and this is in addition to the fitnah and evil which may be caused by them for the men, women or children who look at them. 

The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked: What is the ruling on buying magazines in which there are images of women so as to take ideas for designs that may be in accordance with our sharee’ah and ignoring those that go against it? 

They replied: 

It is not permissible for you to buy these magazines in which there are images of different styles because of the fitnah contained in these magazines and because by buying them you are helping them to continue to produce these harmful images. You should be content to wear the clothes that women in your country wear.  

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions. 

End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (13/75). 

It also says (1/468): As for the indecent pictures that are found in the magazines, it is not permissible to buy them or bring them into the house, because of the negative consequences that outweigh the benefit sought – if there is any benefit – otherwise the matter is more forbidden. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “That which is halaal is clear and that which is haraam is clear, and between them are doubtful matters which many people do not know. Whoever avoids the doubtful matters will have protected his religious commitment and his honour, but whoever falls into the doubtful matters will fall into haraam, like a shepherd who grazes his flock around a sanctuary and soon will transgress upon it. Every king has a sanctuary and the sanctuary of Allaah is His sacred limits.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to a man who came and asked him about righteousness: “Righteousness is that with which your heart and soul feels at ease, and sin is that which wavers in the heart and you feel hesitant about it, even if people advise you to do it.”

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on buying books which contain pictures.

He replied: Books which contain pictures may be divided into two categories: those who are made for the purpose of the pictures, such as that Burda magazine, which it is not permissible to buy or keep, because the purpose behind it is the pictures; and another kind which is not made for the purpose of the pictures, rather it is aimed at some useful purpose, but it may contain a picture of the person who wrote the article. There is nothing wrong with keeping these, because it is too difficult to avoid them, and because it is also too difficult to go through them and erase all the pictures. And it is permissible to sell them because if it is permissible to use them it is permissible to sell them. 

End quote from Liqa’ al-Baab il-Maftooh (21/115). 

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I warn you against bringing these magazines and journals that are filled with attractive images, misleading words and deviant fashions, into your homes and letting your families get their hands on them, for you will destroy them and ruin their morals and values. Everything that is shown in these magazines and journals will have an effect on those who look at them and read the ideas mentioned in them.  

O believers, keeping these magazines and journals in your homes will prevent the angels from entering them, because the angels do not enter any house in which there is an image. What do you think of a house that the angels do not enter? Keeping such magazines is haraam, buying them is haraam, selling them is haraam, making money from them is haraam, accepting them as a gift is haraam, and everything that helps to publish them among the Muslims is haraam, because it is cooperating in sin and transgression, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression” [al-Maa’idah 5:2]. 

Fear Allaah, O slaves of Allaah, and beware of keeping these magazines and journals; burn them for proof is established by what you have heard. Burn these magazines and destroy them; do not leave them in the hands of your wives or sons or daughters. Beware of spending money on them or subscribing to them, for that involves many evils, such as wasting money that Allaah has given to people to spend on their religious and worldly interests, and wasting money on something that is of no benefit, or on something that may be harmful. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade wasting money. 

End quote from Fataawa Islamiyyah (4/381). 

And Allaah knows best.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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