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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Women cutting their Hair

Question:
What is the ruling regarding cutting the hair for women? If it is allowed, then how short can she cut it?

Answer:
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

In general, the major classical Hanafi Fiqah books prohibit the cutting of hair for women. This is also affirmed by many Indian Subcontinent scholars. However, some scholars of the Arab world have permitted it conditionally.

In a Hadith, “Prophet Mohammad (SallAllaho Alaihi Wasallam) forbade women from shaving their hair.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 2/246 & Sunan Nasa’i, 5/407)

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his famous book in Hanafi Fiqah:

“If a woman cuts her hair, she will be sinful and cursed. In al-Bazzaziyya it is added: “Even with the permission of the husband, as there is no obedience to the creation in disobeying the Creator.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar with the Durr of al-Haskafi, kitab al-hazr wal-ibaha, 5/261)

The main two reasons given by scholars for the impermissibility of women cutting their hair are:

a) Imitation of the Kuffaar (non-Muslims),

b) Imitation of men,

Both of which have been clearly prohibited in Shariah.

In the Hadith recorded by Imam Abu Dawud in his ‘Sunan’ and others, the Messenger of Allah (SallAllaho Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whosoever imitates a group is amongst them.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 4031)

Regarding the imitation of men, the Messenger of Allah (Allah SallAllaho Alaihi Wasallam) cursed those men who imitate women and those women who imitate men.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 7/205)

For the above two reasons, the jurists (fuqaha) have generally prohibited the cutting of hair for women. It is for the reason of imitating men; they considered such women to be cursed, as in the Hadith women who imitate men are cursed by the Messenger of Allah (SallAllaho Alaihi Wasallam).

In view of the above, it would generally not be permitted for women to cut their hair. To imitate the styles of the Kuffaar and non-Muslim women is not permissible. The hair cuts prevalent among many modern women have a clear resemblance with the styles of non-Muslim women, thus it will be unlawful.

Similarly, to shorten the hair in a way that it resembles the hair of men is also prohibited. If a woman does so, she will earn the curse of the blessed Messenger of Allah (SallAllaho Alaihi Wasallam).

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