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Can women cut their hair by any margin? Is there a restriction on the length of women’s hair?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

{Reason 1: To look beautiful to her husband? Reason 2: To reduce the time wasted in drying the hair.}

Answer

Kindly find attached our reply to a similar query.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
FATWA DEPT.

Jazaakumullah for having placed your confidence in me and affording me the
opportunity to endeavour answering your query.

The Fuqahaa had sound knowledge of the different branches of Deen, Qur’aan,
Hadith, Fiqh, syntax, etymology, semantics, rhetoric, derivatives, lughaat,
ilmul bayaan, ilmul Qira’ah, ilmul Aqaaid, Asbaabun nuzool, naasikh wa
mansookh, etc. They were well versed with ilm riwaayatul hadeeth and ilm
diraayatul hadeeth which included mu’allaq, mu’dhal, munqati,
tadlees-shuyookh, tadlees-taswiya, mursal khafi together with mudraj,
musahhaf, mudtarib, maqloob not forgetting munaawala, wijaada, mu’talif,
mukhtalif, jarh mubham and ta’deel mufassar. They knew the implications of
a Dha’eef Hadith which had shawaahid and mutaaba’aat. They knew how to
recognize mudabbaj, muttafiq, muftariq and mazid fee muttasil asaaneed. They
were well-versed with haqeeqat muta’azzara, haqeeqat-mahjoora, haqeeqat
musta’mal, majaaz lughawi, majaaz aqli, bayaan taghyeer, bayaan daroora,
bayaan tadbeel, istihsaan, istishaab haal, takhfeef isqaat, takhfef tanqees,
takhfeef ibdaal and takhfeef tarkhees. The mujtahideen deduced innumerable
principles from which many denominations were derived.

I confess my ignorance and inability in answering you and I turn my gaze to
Allah Ta’ala and seek His assistance through the guidance of our learned
Fuqahaa.

For purposes of convenience, we hereby summarise your letter in three
points, a, b and c:
a) You have mentioned that women experience difficulty in maintaining long
hair due to the following reasons.
. Long hair takes extremely long to dry.
. Difficulty in drying the hair leads women to sleep with wet hair which
results in neckaches, backaches and terrible headaches.
. Reluctance of marital relations due to difficulty in keeping long hair.
. Excessive hair loss.
. Maintaining long hair is cumbersome and one feels extremely hot.
b) Substantiations for permissibility of cutting hair.
. There is no Hadith or any other Naas Qat’ee which prohibits women from
cutting their hair.
. Two Ahaadith in which one says that some of the wives of Nabi (Sallallaahu
Alayhi Wasallam) cut their hair upon his demise. The other Hadith states
that a Sahaabi saw Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) whilst her hair was up
till her ears.
. Everything is Halaal until declared Haraam.
c) The ruling of Shaykh Zuhayli (RA) and the Fatwa of Shaykh ibn Baaz (RA)

In principle, in order to establish anything Haraam in Shari’ah, it must be
supported by an express Nass. It is for this reason that Imaam Muhammad (RA)
always issued the ruling of Karaahat unless there was a clear Nass. (Hidaaya
vol.4 pg.452; Kitaabul Karaahiyyah). Furthermore, some laws in Shari’ah are
express and some are indicative, i.e. ibaaratunnaas and ishaaratunnaas, as
explained in the books of Usool Fiqh.

After understanding the above, our humble opinion is that it is not
permissible for women to cut, trim, clip or shave their hair.

This view is supported not only by indo-pak Ulama but also by many Syrian
Ulama., for example, Allaamah ibn Aabideen from Damascus, an expert in
almost every branch of knowledge including Fiqh and Hadith, has supported
this in his famous book, Shaami vol.6 pg.408.

Assuming it is permissible for women to cut their hair not imitating men,
then where do we draw the line? To what extent will this permissibility be
effective. Every woman will now use her own discretion as to how long or how
short her hair be in order to prevent Tashbeeh. Which males hair do we use
as criteria to say that up till this length is Tashbeeh? In order to prevent
this abuse and many other possible abuses, the Fuqahaa on numerous occasions
apply the Usool of ‘Saddan lil baab’

We would now like to remove the misconceptions and objections that you have
raised. Please refer to the above mentioned summarized version of your
letter. Under section (b), you had mentioned two Ahaadith.

The first Hadith you have stated is, ‘some of the wives of Rasulullah cut
their hair upon the death of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).’ This
Hadith is in Muslim vol.1 pg.148 under the chapter of Ghusl.

Abu Salma ibn Abdurrahmaan says that, ‘the foster brother of Hadhrat Aaisha
(Radhiallaahu Anha) and the narrator himself (Abu Salma), both went to
Aaisha. The foster brother asked Aaisha about how Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi
Wasallam) used to take Ghusl. Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) asked for a large
container which was approximately one Saa’. She then arranged for a curtain
and thereafter performed Ghusl. She poured water three times over her head
and thereafter said the wives of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used
to . their hair until it reached till just above the shoulders.’

The word in the Hadith is ‘akhz’ which is incorrectly translated as ‘cutting
‘. Imam Muslim quoted this Hadith together with other Ahaadith of Ghusl
under the chapter of Ghusl. This indicates that this Hadith has nothing to
do with the cutting of hair. Instead, the word akhz has another meaning: The
hair of the wives of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was long. Instead of
allowing the hair to hang down whilst performing Ghusl, they used to take
their hair and plait it up into a bun in order to reach just above their
shoulders. Their long hair was made into a bun to sit on top of the neck.
This was done so that it becomes easy for them to wash their back whilst
performing Ghusl. Whilst the hair is hanging down, it was difficult for
water to reach all parts of the back thoroughly , therefore, this method was
adopted. This is the meaning of ‘akhz’ in the Hadith.

The second Hadith, ‘a young Sahaabi saw Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha)
and her hair was up till her ears.’ We have not been able to locate this
Hadith in Bukhari. Kindly provide us with the specific reference of this
Hadith.

Nevertheless, it is also far fetched that Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha)
had her hair only uptill her ears. A Hadith in Bukhari indicates that
Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) herself had long hair. When Aaisha
(Radhiallaahu Anhu) was performing Hajj, her menses began on the day of
Arafaat. Being the narrator of this Hadith, she says, ‘I found myself to be
in my menses on the day of Arafaat so I explained my condition to Nabi
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Thereupon, he replied, ‘Leave out your Umra,
undo your head and comb your hair.’ (Bukhari). Ibn Hajar has mentioned that
the meaning of ‘undo your head’ is ‘open up the plaits of your hair.’
(Fathul Baari vol.1 pg.331). The fact that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi
Wasallam) commanded her to do this clearly indicates to this fact that
Hadhrat Aaisha had long hair. If her hair was up till her ears, then how was
she then going to open up her plaits?

In another Hadith in Muslim, Hadhrat Umm Salma (Radhiallaahu Anhu) enquired
from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), ‘O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu
Alayhi Wasallam). I most certainly have thick plaited her. Should I undo and
open it up whilst I am performing a Ghusl for Janaabat?…’ (Muslim vol.1
pg.149; HM Saeed). This clearly indicates that Umme Salma (Radhiallaahu
Anha) also had long hair.

The third principle, ‘everything is Halaal until declared Haraam’. This
principle is not unanimously accepted by everyone. Some Fuqahaa state the
direct opposite. Nevertheless, this principle is not general. Everything is
Halaal until declared Haraam. If there is a proof of karaahat or Hurmat,
then this principle will not apply.

In the third aspect you quoted Shaykh Zuhayli and a Fatwa of ibn Baaz.
Probably, they did not come across the Ahaadith of prohibition or probably
they interpreted it differently. We, however, humbly disagree with their
view.

Reverting to the first aspect of your letter, you have mentioned five
difficulties experienced by women keeping long hair.

‘Hair takes extremely long to dry’. We do not understand what you mean by
‘extremely long’ – how long? One hour, two hours or ten hours? During the
time of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), the Arab women had long hair
with tough plaits. In those days, there was no electricity and neither was
there hot water. The solution was never ever to ‘cut the hair’. Nowadays
with technology advancing almost every second, we have highly advanced ‘hair
dryers’.

‘Reluctance of marital relations (due to difficulty of long hair)’. Surely,
women of the past also experienced this difficulty? The solution was never
to cut the hair. If this was a serious issue, then why didn’t Rasulullah
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) explicitly issue a directive that women should
cut their hair?

‘Excessive hair loss’. This problem could easily be overcome by consulting
one’s physician who will prescribe appropriate medication.

‘Maintaining long hair is cumbersome and one feels extremely hot’. Again,
the argument is baseless. Today, long hair is cumbersome and one feels hot,
tomorrow, another woman will say that Hijaab is cumbersome and one feels
extremely hot in it. Another woman will claim that to wear normal clothes on
a hot summer’s day is cumbersome . It is the natural Fitrat of a woman to
maintain long hair. The intensity of the heat in Arab countries needs no
explanation. Despite that, Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) never made
cutting the hair the solution to this problem. There are so many women with
long hair who do not complain or feel cumbersome and hot on account of their
hair. Rather than squandering wealth at hair beauty salons, save they very
same wealth and utilize it to purchase a few fans or an air conditioner.

‘Maintaining long hair is Takleef maa laa yutaaq’. Allah Ta’ala is Hakeem
and He never makes one mukallaf of something beyond his/her capability. If
maintaining long hair was takleef maa laa yutaaq, then Allah Ta’ala would
have clearly and explicitly said, ‘O women, cut your hair, keep it short,
its cumbersome, don’t grow it.’

‘How long should a woman grow her hair’. The Fuqahaa have granted permission
that if the hair of a woman grows beyond her back/hips then it will be
permissible to trim the excess hair.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Moulana Asad Haffejee
STUDENT: DARUL IFTA

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