Women Wearing Henna

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Ilyas Patel

Can a woman wear henna? Will her wudu over it be valid?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Yes, a woman can wear hennah, and her wudu will be valid.

Injunctions regarding Khidhâb (or dyeing of the hair).

(from: Madrasah Arabia Islamia, South Africa)

Masa’lah: Red and yellow shades of dyes are permitted for both men and women. In fact, application of such shades are recommended. Imam Ahmad relates on the authority or Hadhrat Abu Umamah (RA) that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam passed by a group of white-bearded Ansâries. He said: – “Dye your beards with red or yellow dye. Expose your disparateness with the people of the book (Jews and Christians) since they are not inclined to apply hair dye. “The author of Jamul-wasâil (Mulla Ali Qari) and Allamah Nawawi (RA) state: – “Numerous individual views have been expressed in connection with khidhâb (hair-dyes). The most credible is that all colours save black are preferred for both sexes. Employing black hair dye is haram.” Imam Muhammad (RA) states in Muatta: – “Application of mehendi and yellow hair dye is unobjectionable. Dyeing the hair and refraining from the use of hair-dye i.e. by retaining the original whiteness of the hair – both are commendable.”

Masa’lah: Black dye which has the similitude of the original blackness of the hair is haram for all save the mujahideen. (Muslim warriors). Imam Muslim reports in his saheeh on the authority of Hadhrat Jabir (RA) that when Hadhrat Abu-Quhâfah (RA) submitted to Islam at the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam commanded him to dye his white hair but at the same time prohibited him from using black dye. According to the Sunan of Abu-Dawood and Nasai, the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam is reported to have said that in the latter era (prior to Qiyamat) many people will use a black dye which resembles a dove’s crop. Such people won’t even smell the fragrance of Paradise. Shaikh Muhaddithe Dehlawi (RA) states: – “Dye compounded with mehendi is unanimously permissible. As for black dye, the mukhtâr mazhab (most favoured opinion) supports its vehement prohibition.” The underlying reason for it’s prohibition lies in the fact that black dye resembles the original black colour of the hair (Mirqât). In other words it tantamount to deception and delusion. For this reason, whoever applies black dye is referred to as Kazib-fil-Lihyah (delusive in terms of the beard). In the Khilâfat (caliphate) of Sayyidina Umar (RA) an elderly man married a young woman after he dyed his hair black. Following the marriage ceremony, she realized that he was not a young man as he portrayed himself to be. Subsequently, she laid a charge against him in the court of the Khalifa. Hadhrat Umar (RA) annulled the marriage and took suitable punitive measures against him. He thereafter declared: “You are guilty of deceiving the people with your (simulated) youth.”

Masa’lah: In view of instilling terror and awe within the infidel enemy, the Mujahideen (warriors and soldiers) are permitted to use black dye. In Muheete Burhani it is stated: – “According to the unanimous opinions of the scholars, application of black dye is commendable for intimidating the enemy.” Application of black hair dye is makrooh (tahrimi) if the intention is to appease or attract women. This is the favoured opinion of the scholars at large. This opinion is also transcribed from Hadhrat Umar (RA). A narration of ibne Majah states: – “Black dye is the most excellent of all shades of dyes. It will render you desirable in the eyes of your women and terrifying or awe-inspiring against your enemy.” However, this narration is deemed deficient to some degree. Hence, in comparison to the authentic narrations, inference (istidlâl) on the basis of such a weak narration is incorrect. An authentic narration mentions that Hadhrat Abu-Bakr (RA) was in the habit of using dye compounded with mehendi and oil. Naturally, black is the resultant colour of a dye compounded with mehendi and oil. Allamah Jazri states in Nihâyah: – “A mixture of mehendi and oil employed in the dyeing of hair appears black in colour and this was the nature of khidhâb applied by Hadhrat Hoosein, Hadhrat Uthman and other Sahâba (RA). It transpires from the aforementioned that the narrations interdicting the use of black dye are not binding. However, an objective scrutiny reveals that the dye applied by Hadhrat Abu-Bakr (RA) was not pitch black in colour. In fact it was deep-red and profound red produces a blackish hue thereby appearing black. Bukhari narrates on the authority of Hadhrat Anas (RA) that Hadhrat Abu-Bakr (RA) was the eldest of the Sahâbah. When the Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam migrated to Madinah he used to apply dye compounded with Mehendi and oil. As a result, his hair assumed a deep-red colour. Hadhrat Muhaddithe Dehlawi states in Ashi’atul-Lamât: – “It is firmly established on the basis of an authentic narration that Amirul-Mumineen Hadhrat Abu-Bakr (RA) was in the habit of dying his hair employing a mixture of mehendi and oil. However, it was not black in colour but deep red inclined to blackness. This is the interpretation of those narrations which indicate the use of black dye by certain Sahaba (RA).”

We deduce from a close study of the above that a composition of mehendi and oil does not yield a pitch black colour. A composition of mehendi and oil subsequently brings forth two varying textures of khidhâb. The first produces a pitch black colour by firstly applying mehendi followed by oil.

The second texture is prepared as follows: one part of mehendi to three parts of oil. Both are finely crushed together. Thereafter, water extracted from sour-milk is added to the compound and left out in the sun to be applied a little later. This also produces a dark, though not pitch-black colour. A cursory glance is sufficient to recognise the artificial colour. We conclude from the above that all narrations which mention the application of black dye are valid and effective and the Sahâbah were not contravening (practically) the Ahâdith (narrations).

Masa’lah: Application of mehendi to the hands, feet and finger-nails is permitted for women only, provided that images (of animate objects) are not formed. However, this does not extend to males. In Fatâwa Bazzâziyyah it is stated: – “Women are allowed to apply mehendi to their hands. However, refraining from sketching animated objects is conditional. “According to Fatâwa Zaheeriyyah: – “The permissibility of applying mehendi to the hands and feet does not extend to young boys.”

Masa’lah: An unmarried woman is not allowed to use khidhâb or make-up. However, even without her husbands consent, a married woman may apply make-up or khidhâb.

Masa’lah: Application of colour to the teeth is not permissible for anybody – civilians and warriors alike. It is mentioned in Targheebus-Salâh: – “Tinting the teeth is not permissible for both sexes.”

QUESTION: Certain narrations laud and sanction the use of khidâb as the Hadith which ordains us to be at variance with the Jews and Christians since they were not in the habit of applying hair-dye. On the basis of such narrations, various Sahâbah habitually applied hair-dye, e.g. Hadhrat Uthmân, Hasan, Hoosein etc (RA). In striking contrast to this, certain narrations cite numerous virtues of white hair. Therefore, refraining from the use of dye seems more appropriate. Accordingly, Tirmizi and ibne Majah narrate from Hadhrat Ka’b ibne Murrah: – “The hair of a person which turns white in a state of Islam will serve as a source of nur (refulgence) for him on the day of Qiyâmat (judgement). “Tabari reports on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah ibne Masood (RA) that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasalam showed abhorrence and displeasure towards the transformation or removal of white strands of hair. On these grounds many Sahaba abstained totally from dyeing their hair e.g. Hadhrat Ali (RA), Hadhrat Salmah bin Akwa (RA), Hadhrat Ubay bin Ka’b (RA) etc. The answer to the conspicuous inconsistency and disparity is as follows: – Certain scholars favour the opinion that khidâb is recommended for totally white haired individuals whilst it’s prohibition is for those whose hair has turned partially white. Shah Abdul Ghani (author of hidâyatun nur), holds the view that the most suitable answer to the apparent contradiction is that the prohibition of khidâb is confined to black dye only, since the use of black dye is tantamount to characteristical transformation and deception thereby eliciting it’s prohibition. Non-black dyes are recommended since their application is in conflict with the Jewish trend of applying black dye. Similarly, it’s use does not entail the prohibited transformation and deception simply because the whiteness of the hair remains manifest.

QUESTION: The Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasalam referred to white hair as nur (refulgence) whilst Hadhrat Ibraheem (AS) entitled it waqâr (a token of dignity and prestige). Hadhrat Anas (RA) on the other hand depicts white hair with the words: – “Allâh (SW) safeguarded the Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasalam from developing white hair. “(What is the answer to the apparent contradiction between the two above narrations?) “

The answers are as follows:

1. Hadhrat Anas (RA) was conscious of the fact that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasalam laid great emphasis on transforming the whiteness of the hair and applying khidâb or,

2. He probably had an aversion to white hair because he was not cognizant with those Ahâdith which cite the virtues of white hair or,

3. There is a possibility that Hadhrat Anas (RA) considered those Ahâdith which mention the virtues of white hair as mansookh (abrogated) whilst those Ahâdith which stress on the application of khidâb as nasikh (abrogative) (Madarij).

Masa’lah: Yellow hair-dye is superior than khidâb compounded with mehendi and oil. Dye composed of mehendi and oil supersedes the dye containing mehendi only. Abu Dawood narrates on the authority of Hadhrath ibne Abbas (RA) that a person who applied dye compounded with mehendi passed by the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam. The Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam lauded him by saying: – “How splendid.” Thereafter, another person who applied yellow khidâb walked by upon which the Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam remarked: – “This (action) surpasses that.” The khidâb of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam. Most Muhadditheen support the view that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam never applied any type of khidâb. In substantiation of this view the following Ahâdith are adduced: – “Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi Wassallam) never applied khidâb. The barely noticeable strands of white hair did not necessitate the application of khidâb. In another narration Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrates: – “The Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam refrained from applying any type of khidâb. He developed only a few strands of white hair on his chin, temples and head. Nothing more. “Similarly another narration states: – “The Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam had so few strands of white hair that the application of oil rendered them invisible. “The scholars have stated that he barely had seventeen, eighteen or twenty – according to varying views – strands of white hair. According to certain jurists and Muhadditheen, the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam used yellow or red khidâb i.e. mehendi khidâb or khidâb compounded with mehendi and oil. As narrated in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Nasai that Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (RA) states: – “The Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam was disposed to apply yellow khidâb made up of wars (a yellow plant) and saffron onto his beard.” Similarly, Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (RA) that he saw the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam using yellow dye or saffron. Tirmizi reports from Hadhrat Abu Rimsah (RA) that he saw the white hair of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam had been dyed red. Similarly, another Hadith narrated by Abu Rimsah (RA) appears in Ibne-Majah which makes mention of the Holy Prophet’s sallallâhu alaihi wasalam white hair being dyed red with mehendi.

Ibne Jawzi states in Al-wafâ on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Rimsah (RA) that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasalam was inclined to apply khidâb compounded with mehendi and oil. Bukhari narrates from Hadhrat Uthman bin Abdullah bin Musab (RA). He says: – “When I paid Hadhrat Umme Salimah (RA) a visit, she honoured me by displaying before me a strand of dyed hair of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam.” In the very same narration reported by ibne Majah and Musnad Imam Ahmad, khidâb compounded with mehendi and oil is cited. According to Shamâil, Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrates that he saw the hair of the Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam which was dyed. It transpires from the aforementioned Ahâdith that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam sometimes used red and sometimes yellow or bluish shades of khidâb. To sum it up, two apparently contradictory narrations – of applying and refraining from hair-dyes – have been transcribed. In response to the above contradiction, Imam Nawawi (RA) states that the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam applied khidâb very rarely as this fact is manifest from the narration of ibne-Umar (RA) related in Bukhari and Muslim.

Also, the Hadith related by him is accepted (maqbool) by the Muhadditheen and it cannot be interpreted differently. NOTE – Most people’s hair generally turns white by the time they reach the age reached by the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam. However, he did not undergo the whitening of his hair. One underlying reason for this – as stated by the Muhadditheen – is that women tend to have an aversion towards white hair and aversion towards any attribute of the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wassallam) is tantamount to kufr (rejection). Hence, to prevent such a contingency his hair did not turn white. Shaikh Abdul Haq Mahadith Dehlawi, in explanation of the above wisdom states: – “Without a shadow of doubt, youth, aptitude, intrinsic ascendancy and awe are attributes of such perfection – in terms of intimidating the enemy – that they play a prominent role in exposing the grandeur of Islam and they serve to fortify the religion itself. Particularly in the blessed epoch of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam when Jihâd in the path of Allâh and war with the infidels was commonplace. The far-reaching wisdom of Allâh sought to deliver the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam from the whitening of the hair which is generally reckoned to be a sign of weakness and senility. The Holy Prophet’s sallallâhu alaihi wasallam edict issued to the Sahâba (RA) in favour of applying khidâb was based on the same expediency i.e. they would appear young and powerful. As for the few strands of his (the Prophet’s Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam) hair which had turned white, this was due to the intense fear and dread of Allâh. As the Holy Prophet sallallâhu alaihi wasallam states in his own words: – “The surahs Hood, Wâqiat, Mursalat, Amma and Shams have rendered me old.” However, the whitening of a few strands, did little to bring about any transformation in his youthful appearance. In short, white hair is a source of nur (refulgence) and prestige (waqar). With intent to practically demonstrate it’s permissibility, he himself applied dye to his hair. On the basis of the afore – mentioned distinctive expediency, the application of khidâb is not in conflict with white hair being a source of nur and refulgence.P

ublished by: Madrasah Arabia Islamia, P. O. Box 9786, Azaadville, 1750, South Africa

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