What is the ruling of haircuts?
Men are permitted to cut their hair.This is based on the fact that there are numerous narrations which mention that Rasulullah sallallahualaihiwasallam and the Sahabah radhiallahuanhum cut, trimmed or shaved their hair. However, there are; as with any other aspect of a Muslims life; certain restrictions and boundaries.
Everyone is attracted to the latest fashion and style donned by celebrities, pop stars, sports stars and models. Everybody wants to be identified as a person who is in-sync with the times and in co-ordination with the latest trend. This ranges from the clothes such people wear to the foods they eat; and the hairstyles they don.
Hairstyles play a major part in the way a person is perceived by society. Certain hairstyles display chivalry and boyishness, whereas other styles display that a person is a business man or a serious person. Certain hairstyles link a person to a certain group, clique or organization. Other people choose to style their hair to display their personality; be it daring, carefree, lazy, adventurous, free spirited etc.
Some of these hairstyles are as follows:
- Crew cut •Buzz cut •Dreadlocks •Fohawk •Mowhawk
- Flattop •Afro •Spikes •Mullet •Pompadour
- Rattail •Caesar cut •Cornrows •Shag
- Undercut •Curtains •Half ponytail •High top fade •Line up
- Tonsure •Waves •Comb over •Emo hair •Bangs
As Muslims we should protect our identity. Islam is our way of lifein everything.It is not restricted to the masjid, house or workplace. It advises us on what we can and can’t wear, what we can and can’t eat; likewise it has given us specific guidelines pertaining to our appearance.
Allah Ta῾ālā states in the Holy Quran:
قُل ْإِن ْكُنْتُم ْتُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْلَكُم ْذُنُوبَكُمْ
“Say: (Oh Muhammad) If you love Allah then follow me and Allah will love you and He will forgive your sins.”
It was the noble habit of Rasulullahsallallahualaihiwasallam to keep long hair and it has also been proven that he shaved the hair of his mubaarak head.
If one doesn’t want to keep long hair or a bald head, he may adopt the hairstyles of the pious people in one’s vicinity because Allah Ta῾ālā states in the Holy Quran:
وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ
“And follow the way of those people who repent to me.”
It should be kept in mind that our actions are judged by our intentions. If a person keeps long hair to emulate the Prophetsallallahualayhiwasallam, then he is practicing a Sunnah for which he will be rewarded. However, if he keeps long hair to emulate the appearance of a certain religious sect or to resemble women, then he is doing something impermissible as will be discussed below.
Generally, there are three factors that render a haircut impermissible.
- قزع(Partially shaved)[ii]
- تشبه(Imitating non- Muslims/ women)
iii. شهرة (Standing out –showy/ unusual hair )[iii]
- Qaza’ is impermissible because of the following Hadīth:
Umar bin Nāfi’ that Nāfi’ narrates that Ibn Umar radhiallahuanhuma said: Rasulullah sallallahualaihiwasallam prohibited us from Qaza’. IbnNāfi’ enquired: what is Qaza’? He replied: “To shave one part of a child’s head and leave the remaining part unshaven.”
Some of the haircuts mentioned above fall under the ambit of Qaza’ such as the: crew cut, flattop, rattail and mowhawk (when part of the head is shaved).
- The second factor that renders a haircut impermissible is imitating non-Muslims, fussaaq(sinners) and women .Rasulullah sallallahualaihiwasallam said:
عَن ِابْنِ عُمَرَ،قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول ُاللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: مَنْ تَشَبَّه َبِقَوْم ٍفَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ
If a person has a hairstyle that is generally perceived to be affiliated with a certain religious group, it will be impermissible to don. The same ruling applies to feminine hairstyles.
Also, if a person wears a certain hairstyle because such and such a celebrity/ pop star/ footballer wears’ it, this will be impermissible.
E.g. A teenager is infatuated with a pop star. He buys the same clothes he wears, buys the same shoes he wears and wears the same hairstyle he has, this will be impermissible.
If one is not sure as to whether keeping a certain hairstyle falls under the ambit of imitating the non- believers then he should abstain from it. Rasulullah sallallahualaihiwasallam is reported to have said:
دَعْ مَا يَرِيبُكَ إِلَى مَا لاَ يَرِيبُكَ
“Leave that which puts you in doubt and implement that thing which does not put you in doubt.”
- The third factor that renders a hairstyle impermissible is shuhrah(an unusual hairstyle that causes one to stand out). An example of this is a person with brightly coloured/ multi-coloured hair or a person with flamboyantly large spikes etc.
Finally, if in a certain society/ environment certain haircuts/ hairstyles are frowned upon, it is better for one to abstain from keeping them.
- It is permissible for one to shave or trim the hair of the head.
- It is permissible for ones hair to be of different lengths e.g. number 4 and 7 as long as no impermissible elements are found.
- Qaza’ is impermissible (partially shaving ones hair and leaving the rest unshaven.
- It is impermissible to have hair that are attributed and affiliated with a specific religious group, cult or clique.
- It is impermissible for a person to don a certain hairstyle with the intention of imitating a non-Muslim or sinner.
- It is impermissible for one to have unusual hair/ hair that make one ‘stand out from the crowd’.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
This answer was collected from Fatwa-tt.com, which is operated by the Darul Iftaa of Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad and Tobago) under the advice and guidance of Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Daamat Barakaatuhum) of South Africa.