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Is it permissible to have a birthmark removed by surgery?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

Is it permissible to have a birthmark removed by surgery?

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

In normal and general cases, it would be impermissible for one to have surgery done in order to remove a birthmark. The Shariah prohibits mutilation of one’s body (muthla), for the body given to us by our Creator is a trust (amana), thus it will be unlawful to tamper with it in any way. If one does so, one will be committing the sin of ‘changing the nature created by Allah’ (taghyeer khalq Allah).

For this very reason, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade many such practices that changed the fair nature created by Allah Most High.

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Allah’s curse is on those women who practise tattooing and get themselves tattooed, and those who remove hair from their faces, and those who make space between their teeth artificially to beautify themselves. They are such that they change the nature and features created by Allah. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) also cursed such women.” (Recorded by Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim in their respective Sahih collections)

Thus, removing a birthmark without having a genuine need to do so and merely for the purpose of beautification will not be allowed. One should be content with what Allah Most High created one with.

However, if there is a genuine need, in that the birthmark is extremely abnormal and is considered to be a defect by sound people, and especially if it affects one’s marriage or one’s aspirations to marry, then there will be a dispensation of permissibility.

Allah Most High says:

“On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” (Surah al-Baqarah, v: 286)

The famous principle of Fiqh states:

“Necessity makes prohibition lawful.” (Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah, P: 85)

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“If one intends to cut off an extra finger, it will be permissible to do so, as long as there is no fear of perishing.” (4 /114)

The latter text implies that if one is born with something abnormal that is a cause of abhorrence in the society, then one can change that by having an operation or surgery done, provided there is no fear of greater harm.

Thus, in conclusion, removing a birthmark would be permissible provided the following conditions are met:

1) There is genuine need, in that one is born with a mark that is considered by sound people to be a defect.

2) The operation or surgery is safe from potential harms.

3) One should be treated by a specialist of the same gender, if possible.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.

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