Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Is it permissible in the Shariah for a mature, Muslimah to go through a procedure that would entail removing the hair from her body permanently (except for the head and eyebrows) so that it would be more beautiful and pleasing in the eyes of her husband? As her intention here is to please her husband and her husband approves of her intention and idea. I would like to know the answer to this from the legal point of view.
Note: The medical doctor performing the procedure is a Muslim woman.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Man has been created with this natural desire to adorn and beautify him/her self. It is an instinct that is unique with human beings, as all the other creations of Allah are void of this perceptivity.
Islam also acknowledges this natural instinct of man, thus it did not place an entire stop on this desire. However, Islam laid certain reasonable limitations and restrictions.
Islam also acknowledged the desire of husbands to see their women beautiful and adorned, thus permitted the wives to use the various types of jewelry on their hands and feet. Women are also encouraged to wear Hena on their hands and feet, and good fragrance is regarded as charity.
On the other hand, Islam prohibited those (so called) means of adornment that distort the image of a person. Mutilation of one’s body was declared unlawful (haram).
Allah Almighty mentions in Surah al-Nisa the words of Shaytan, when he said:
“I will mislead them and I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to Deface the (Fair) Nature Created by Allah” (4: 119).
Also, women were given this permission of adorning themselves and using fragrance, provided it is not done in front of strange men.
Among the various means of adornment women may use in order to please their husbands is the removing of body hair. By removing hair, there is no mutilation of one’s body, thus it is completely permissible, rather recommended with the intention of pleasing the husband.
I could not find an express statement of the classical Hanafi Fuqaha that permitted women from removing body hair. However, the fuqaha mention that it is permissible for a man to remove the hair from his chest and back, although it is against Adab. (See: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/357).
Therefore, there is nothing wrong for a woman in removing her body hair; rather she will be rewarded if the intention is to please her husband.
Now, this removing of hair may be carried out by using the various means available, such as a razor, cream, powder, wax or any other means, as the main objective is to remove the hair, and not the means used. In al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, the using of lime has been mentioned, thus it indicates the permissibility of using creams. There also seems no hindrance from permanently removing the hair, as the aim is to remove unwanted hair, whether temporarily or permanently.
However, this permission is subject to two conditions:
1) There should be no potential harm to the body, as inflicting harm on one’s self is impermissible. Allah Most High says:
“And make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction” (Surah al-Baqarah, V: 195).
2) Part of the body that is considered Awra must not be exposed even in front of Muslim women. A female’s Awra in front of other Muslim women is the same to a man’s Awra from other men, which is from the navel up to and including the knees. (Hidaya, 4/461 & Radd al-Muhtar, 6/371).
Therefore, if will be impermissible for other than yourself or your husband to perform the procedure of hair removal in between the navel and knees. It is not permissible to expose one’s Awra except in cases on extreme necessity, such as medication where there is no other alternative.
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong in permanently removing the body hair. However, this in when there is no apparent harm to the body, and that the part between the navel up to and including the knees must not be exposed in front of anybody besides your husband.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, UK