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Cutting Hair and Removing Facial Hair

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

Are women allowed to shorten the hair on the head or to pluck the hair of their eyebrows and other facial hair? Does the husband’s permission (or lack of it) effect the ruling of these actions? Does it matter whether the woman is married or unmarried?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

 

Shortening Hair

As for a woman shortening the hair of her head, I have not found anything regarding it in the books of our Imams except that [h: for a woman] to [h: shorten her hair] is better than shaving [h: it] when releasing herself from the state of pilgrim sanctity (ihram). As for in other than this context, I haven’t seen anything. I am, however, convinced that [h: for a woman to cut the hair of her head] is not unlawful, regardless of whether or not she is married, since [h: scholars] have explicitly stated that it is unconditionally permissible for a woman to shave [h: her hair], whether in the context of pilgrimage or otherwise, although for her to do so is disliked, as mentioned in the Majmu‘ [h: of Imam Nawawi] and the Tuhfa [h: of Ibn Hajar al-Haytami]. It is obvious that shortening is less severe than shaving [h: and is therefore a fortiori not unlawful]. But is it disliked, like shaving? It appears to this needy person that it is not, since they have said that the reason for shaving being disliked is that it comprises disfigurement, and for this to occur with shortening is farfetched (unless it is excessive). To the contrary, shortening one’s hair may result in beauty that is not present in long hair, and Allah knows best.

Plucking Eyebrows and Facial Hair

As for plucking eyebrows and other facial hair, it is unlawful, as [h: scholars] have explicitly stated, such as Imam Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim (14.106). This is the nams that has been prohibited in the rigorously authenticated hadith, i.e. [h: that it is unlawful to] remove [h: both] facial hair and eyebrows for the sake of beautification, as has been mentioned in Mughni al-Muhtaj (1.191) in the section on the conditions of prayer; nams is not specific to the hair of the eyebrows alone.[1] However, exception is made for a woman who has a beard, moustache or hair below her lower lip (‘anfaqah), in which case it is recommended for her to remove it, as Imam Nawawi has said in his commentary on Sahih Muslim.

Husband’s Permission

As for the special case of a husband’s permission in this regard, it does indeed affect the ruling. Whenever the husband permits her to remove her facial hair, it becomes permissible [h: for her to do so] because he has a [h: shari‘ah countenanced] interest [h: in her doing so], namely: her beautification for him and he has permitted her to do this (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1.191). One can also infer from this that an unmarried woman may not do that [h: i.e., remove eyebrows or facial hair].

Amjad Rasheed
Amman, Jordan

(Translated by Hamza Karamali)

[1] The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “May Allah curse women who wear false hair, who tattoo or have themselves tattooed, who pluck facial hair (namisah) or have them plucked (mutanammisah), and women who separate their front teeth for beauty, altering what Allah has created.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

 

السؤال: هل يجوز للمرأة أن تقصر شعر رأسها ، وأن تنتف حاجبَيها وغيرَهما من شعور وجهها ، وهل يؤثر إذنُ الزوج وعدم إذنه في حكم هذه الأفعال ، وهل يؤثر كون المرأة متزوجة أو غير متزوجة ؟ الجواب: أما تقصير شعر رأس المرأة فلم أقف فيه على كلام لأئمتنا إلا في تفضيله على الحلق في التحلل من النسك ، أما في غير ذلك فلم أرَ فيه شيئاً ، لكن الذي أجزم به أنه لا يحرم على المتزوجة وغيرها ؛ لأنهم نصوا على جواز حلقه للمرأة مطلقا في النسك وغيره لكن مع الكراهة كما في “المجموع” ( ) و”التحفة” ( ) ولا يخفى أن التقصيرَ أخفُّ حالاً من الحلق . لكن هل يكره كالحلق ؟ الذي يظهر للفقير أنه لا يكره ؛ لأنهم عللوا كراهةَ حلقِه بأن فيه تشويهاً ، وهذا يبعد في التقصير إلا إن كان مفرطاً ، بل قد يُحَصِّل تقصيرُ الشعر جمالاً لا يكون في الشعر الطويل ، والله أعلم. أما نتف الحاجبين وغيرهما من شعور الوجه فهو حرام كما صرحوا به كالإمام النووي في “شرح مسلم” (14/106) , وهذا هو النمص الذي جاء النهي عنه في الحديث الصحيح وهو الأخذ من شعر الوجه والحاجب للحسن كما في “مغني المحتاج” (1/191) في شروط الصلاة , وليس النمص خاصا بشعر الحاجبين . لكن استثنوا المرأة إذا نبت لها لحية أو شارب أو عنفقة وهي الشعر النابت تحت الشفة السفلى فيستحب لها إزالته كما قال الإمام النووي في “شرح مسلم” . أما بخصوص إذن الزوج بذلك فهو مؤثر في الحكم فمتى أذن الزوج في الأخذ من شعور الوجه كان جائزاً لأن له غرضاً في تزينها له وقد أذن لها فيه كما في ” مغني المحتاج” (1/191) ومن هذا يعلم أن غير المتزوجة يحرم عليها فعل ذلك .

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