Q. What is the ruling on the cutting/trimming of the hair and nails during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah? Is there a difference with the muslims who have proceeded on the Hajj as opposed to the muslims who have not in this regard?
A. According to the great majority of Jurists and Scholars, it is Mustahab (commendable) for one who wishes to do a sacrifice (Qurbani) to refrain from cutting/trimming his hair and nails during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. This is the verdict given by Imam Shafiee, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad and many other scholars from the Salafus Saaliheen (the pious predecessors).
In fact, some of the Scholars of the Mazhab of Imam Ahmad have stated that it is haraam for one to cut/trim the hair and the nails during this period when he/she has the intention to do a sacrifice.
In giving the above ruling (of being Mustahab), the jurists/scholars have given consideration to the authentic tradition of the Prophet (S.A) which states that ‘Umm Salma (R.A) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘When you see the crescent for Dhul Hijjah and one of you intends to do a sacrifice, then let him withhold from his hair and nails (that is, let him refrain from cutting or trimming the hair and nails’). (Abu Dawood, Muslim, Nasaai).
This ruling is for those who have not undertaken the Hajj and have the intention of doing a sacrifice. As for those who have undertaken the Hajj, they have other laws which are all connected to their being in the state of Ihraam, which also includes the avoidance of trimming or cutting the hair and nails.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan