Dyeing of the hair. Is this allowed?
With respect to the colouring of the hair for males/females, it is evident in the classical books of fiqh as well as Ahaadith that colouring the hair with a colour other than black is permissible. Applying black dye, henna or any other chemically made black colour will not be permissible for both males and females. Under this prohibition, the early jurists of Islam have exempted two cases on the basis of necessity where applying black dye, henna or black colour to the hair will be allowed. These two situations are:
A Muslim warrior who fights in Jihad and has grey or white hair. Allowance has been given to him to colour his hair in black so that it may instill fear in the hearts of the enemies.
A young boy/girl who wishes to marry but due to the fact that the hair has turned grey or white at an early age are unable to marry. Allowance has been given to them to colour their hair in black for this purpose only. This allowance is not given to an elderly person who wishes to marry and his/her hair has turned grey or white due to his/her old age.
While on this topic of colouring the hair, an advice is hereby given to our Muslim sisters that they must not use the allowances given in Islam in order to imitate or follow the practices of the unbelievers. In other words, if a Muslim woman wishes to colour her hair (with the permissible colours) she can do so, since it is allowed in Islaam. However she must not do it in order to follow a fashion of the modern day women and wants to resemble or liken herself to them. She must remember that her action is based on her intention, and rewards or punishment is connected to what she intends.
The Messenger of Allah has also warned strictly against following the practices of others, as he said, “Whoever likens himself to another people, he shall be from amongst them”.
Based on this, a Muslim woman must understand that she can beautify herself to the extent which Islam has allowed her, however she must not do it in order to follow modern styles and trends adopted by the unbelievers. Another important issue is that of covering the hair. It has become a custom of some Muslim women to use the allowance (of Islam) to colour their hair, but do not cover it while they are in front of strangers. That is, they do not practice the law of Hijaab and covering and consequently expose their hair to everyone just like the unbelieving women. This is a grave sin which is committed and must be stopped. While a woman is allowed to colour her hair, she must also be aware of the fact that it is compulsory upon her to cover her hair while in front of non-blood relatives (i.e. any male who is of a marriageable status to her). It is totally Haram (unlawful) for her to allow the hair to be visible to such people.
Note well, that this law is connected to “the hair” of a woman and has no relation to the hair being “coloured or not”. As such, the Quraanic injunction of Hijaab and covering the hair is applicable to all hair, whether it is coloured or not. However, since it has become a trend in some Muslim women to adopt the fashion of western styles by colouring their hair and exposing it to others (i.e. non-blood relatives), it was essential for them to understand that they are committing a grave sin which has a severe penalty.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan
Dept. of Iftaa
Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.