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Monday, May 28, 2007

Fitrah - The Natural Way

The Prophet Muhammad - the Final Messenger of God, may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, reported that God the Exalted said: "I created My servants on the right religion, but the devils made them go astray." (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad - the Final Messenger of God, may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, also said: "Each child is born in a state of fitrah, but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian." (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

In an Islamic context, Fitrah is humanity's innate disposition towards monotheism, virtue and the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. Muslims believe every child is born upon fitrah, including those in non-Muslim communities, and that without external influence, these children would come to worship Allah on their own.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Five things are part of the fitrah: removing the pubic hair (from the front & back), circumcision, trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hairs, and trimming the nails (finger & toe-nails).” (Reported by al-jamaa’ah)

Shaving pubic hairs (Applies to Men & Women)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set a time limit of forty days, and the hair should not be left any longer than that,because of the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “He set us a time limit of no more than forty days for trimming the moustache, clipping the nails, plucking the armpit hairs and shaving the pubic hair.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

The fuqaha’ (scolars of Islamic law) discussed the proper etiquette of removing the pubic hair and said that it is mustahabb to start shaving the pubic hair from beneath the navel, and to start on the right hand side, and one should also be concealed from the sight of others when doing this. One should also bury their hair and nail clippings.

The reasons behind removing this dirty hair also applies to the hair on the testicles and around the anus, because the purpose of it is to be comepletly clean and pure from anything that may cause dirt and impurities to cling to the body. In this case, removing this hair is a good thing. With the regard to women, the rulings on removing the pubic hair are the same as the rulings for men.

Plucking underarm hairs (Applies to Men & Women)

It is best to pluck the armpit hairs and shave the pubic hairs. But, there is no harm if they are removed by different means, such as shaving.

There is no harm in the woman removing her leg and arm hairs. Removing eyebrow hairs is not allowed. The Messenger of Allah (saw) cursed the one who does the removing and the one who has it done. This is in reference to the one who has eyebrow hairs removed.

Circumcision (Applies to Men)

Male circumcision is obligatory for the Muslim male if he is able to do it. If, however, he is unable, or if a respected and authoritative doctor has told him that he will experience profuse bleeding which will may make his life miserable, then the obligation for cirumcision is waived and he does not commit a sin by not having it done.

Clipping one's fingernails (Applies to Men & Women)

Letting the nails grow long is makrooh (disliked), if not haraam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set a time limit for cutting the nails, and said that they should not be left for more than forty days. (Muslim).

Trimming his moustache (Applies to Men)

Ibn 'Umar related that the Messenger of Allah said, "Differ from the polytheists: let your beards (grow)" and shave your moustache." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

One should make sure that his moustache is not so long that food particles, drink and dirt accumulate in it. Zaid ibn Arqam related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said "Whoever does not take (off) some of his moustache is not one of us." (Related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi)

It is preferred to cut the pubic hairs, pluck (or shave) out the underarm hairs, cut the nails and trim the moustache on a weekly basis, a practice which is most hygenic. If some unnecessary hair is left on the body for a longer period of time, it may disturb the person. One may leave this action for forty days, but no longer. Said Anas, "The time period for us to trim the moustache, cut the nails, pluck out the underarm hairs and cut the pubic hairs was forty nights." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others).

Letting one's beard grow and become thick

Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth that clearly state this, and because of the general application of texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar. One of these reports is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” There are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning, which is to leave the beard as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not remove any of his moustache is not one of us.” (Tirmidhi).

Is it haraam (to shave it)? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.” According to another version: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad) ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard. Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard (reported by Muslim from Jaabir). It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so.

Oiling and combing one's hair

Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet, upon whom be peace, as saying, "Whoever has hair should honour it." (Related by Abu Dawud.)

Said 'Ata ibn Yasar, "A man came to the Prophet (saw) with unkempt hair and an untidy beard. The Prophet pointed to him, as if ordering him to straighten his hair and beard. He did so and returned. Thereupon the Prophet observed, 'Is that not better than one of you coming with his hair unkempt, as if he were a devil?"' (Related by Malik.)

Abu Qatadah related that he had a great amount of hair. He asked the Prophet, "O Messenger of Allah, I have lots of hair. Should I comb it?" He answered, "Yes ... and honour it." Abu Qatadah used to oil it twice a day due to the Prophet's words, "... and honor it."

Cutting one's hair off is permissible, and so is letting it grow if one honors it. Ibn 'Umar narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Shave it all or leave it all." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i). To shave part of the head and to leave part of it (e.g. short back and sides) is greatly disliked. Nafa' related from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah prohibited qiza'. Nafa' asked, "What is qiza' ?" He said, "It is to shave off part of the hair of a youth and to leave part." (Bukhari and Muslim.)

Leaving grey hairs in place

This applies to both men and women. 'Amr ibn Shu'aib related on the authority of his father from his grandfather that the Prophet said, "Do not pluck the grey hairs as they are a Muslim's light. Never a Muslim grows grey in Islam except that Allah writes for him, due to that, a good deed. And he raises him a degree. And he erases for him, due to that, one of his sins." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.) And Anas said, "We used to hate that a man should pluck out his white hairs from his head or beard." (Related by Muslim. )

Changing the color of grey hair by using henna, red dye, yellow dye, and so on

It is not permitted for a man to die his beard black because of the reports which command us to avoid that and forbid us to do it. Abu Dawood reported from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah who said: “Abu Quhaafah was brought on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, and his head and beard were like thughaamah (a plant whose leaves and flowers are intensely white) because they were so white. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Change this white hair, but avoid black.’” (Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah). Ahmad, Abu Dawood and al-Nisaa’i reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘There will be a people at the end of time who will dye their hair black like the crops of pigeons; they will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.’” But it is encouraged to change grey or white hair by dyeing it any other colour except black, because of the hadeeth of Jaabir quoted above.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The Jews and Christians do not dye, so differ from them." (Related by "the group.") Abu Zharr reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "The best thing that one can use to change the color of grey hairs is henna and katm (a reddish dye)." (Related by "the five.")

To use musk and other types of perfume

These are pleasing to the soul and beautify the atmosphere. Anas reported the Messenger of Allah as saying, "Among the things of this world, I love women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is prayer." (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.) Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "If someone offers perfume, do not reject it, for it is light to carry and has a sweet scent." (Related by Muslim, an-Nasa'i and Abu Dawud.) Abu Sa'eed reported that the Prophet said about musk, "It is the best of perfumes." (Related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah).

These Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses:

Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.”

Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar (Allah), are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’”


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