Can a woman shave her hair?

Having discussed the adornment of the hair of the Muslimah with particular mention of the permissibility or otherwise of making attachments to the hair, it is necessary to investigate the permissibility or otherwise of completely shaving the hair by the Muslim woman. So, is it permitted that the Muslim woman shaves her hair (the hair of the head)?

The Eminent Companion Abdullaah bn Abbass (RA) reported that the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "lt is not for the women to shave (their hairs). Verily, they are only to shorten it." (Abu Dawood). 

Commenting on this hadeeth, al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar al ' Asqalaanee (RAH) said, "Note - Just as it is forbidden for the woman to add anything to the hair of her head, it is forbidden upon her to shave the hair of her head without daroorah (a situation of dire necessity such as chronic illnesses etc)." (Fath al-Baaree 10/375). Al-Imaam at-Tirmidhee (RAH) said, "This is what the scholars are upon - that the woman is not to shave her hair but to shorten it." (Sunan at-Tirmidhee31257)

This hadeeth is the proof prohibiting the Muslimah from shaving the hair of her head when she performs hajj or. Umrah. this is even at an instance where shaving the hair is an act of worship and a means of drawing closer to Allaah humbling oneself before His glory, for which a person will be rewarded. Yet, by consensus of the scholars of the deen generation after generation, the women are only to shorten their hairs while performing hajj and Umrah. 

Thus, al-lmaam Muhammad al-Ameen ash-Shanqeetee (RAH) said, "Were it permissible for the women to shave (the hairs of their head), they would have been commanded to do so at hajj (and/or Umrah) because to shave the head (at this time), is an act with which a servant draws closer to Allaah." (Adwaa al-Bayaan).

However, it is necessary to mention here that this does not include shaving the hair on the female child's head on the seventh day after birth, according to the stronger opinion. The evidence for that is the narration that, "Every child is held in pledge by the slaughtering to be made on its behalf on the seventh day. Its hair is to be shaved and it is to be named."- (Abu Dawood). The difference in both cases is obvious. Cutting the hair Abu Salamah bn AbdulRahmaan said: "The wives of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to cut their hair until it came just below their ears." (Muslim).

Al-Imaam An-Nawawee (RAH) explaining this hadeeth said, "This indicates that it is permissible for women to shorten their hair." Al-Imaam AbdulAzeez bn Baaz (RAH) said, "We do. not know anything (to disallow) the shortening of womens hair. What is forbidden is shaving it. You should not shave your hair but you may cut it and reduce its length or amount. So if the hair is very long or thick, and the woman cuts it to reduce its length or amount, that doesnt matter.

Cutting some of it will make it more beautiful, which will please both the woman and her husband. So we do not know of any reason to disallow that. But shaving it altogether is not permissible, except in the case of sickness." (Fataawa al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah). However, the Muslim woman should avoid shortening her hair in the way specifically known to be of the Kuffaar or immoral women.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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