Country: United Kingdom
I want to cut my hair for two reasons: for better hair growth and for adornment. I am married and have asked my husband if I can cut and dye my hair, he has allowed me and has stated that he would prefer my hair to be short for convenience in some matters.
I have read that a woman cannot cut her hair because it is imitating non-muslim women, but by cutting my hair I am not letting go of my Islamic teachings and morals, and the only people to see this would be my mother, my husband and my direct male relatives, as I wear the niqab. How can I imitate non-Muslim women on basic adornment like this? If that is the case, then wouldn’t other things like wearing dresses, makeup etc be impermissible?
I would like to know to what extent I can cut my hair and if stated impermissible, please provide daleel or sayings from senior ulema. JazakaAllaah Khayr
(Question published as received)
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister in Islām,
We commend you for seeking Islāmic guidance on such an important matter. You state that you wear the niqāb, which is praiseworthy. From this we understand that you are dīnī conscious and you intend to practice on the dīn in its totality. Hence, it is imperative for you to understand that in matters pertaining to dīn, we do not apply our own logic and rationale in order to reach a conclusion or a fiqhī (juristic) ruling. We merely submit to the knowledge of the fuqahā’ (jurists).
You state that you wish to cut your hair for better hair growth. However, you have not explained whether you suffer from a medical condition due to which your hair is not growing well. Have you tried other ḥalāl alternatives to make your hair grow better?
You also stated that your husband has permitted you to cut your hair. Islāmically, your husband’s permission cannot convert a prohibited act into a permissible act.
‘Allāmah al-Ḥaṣkafī states in al-Durr al-Mukhtār: “If a woman cuts her hair, she will be sinful and cursed.” Al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah adds: “Even if it is with the permission of the husband, because there is no obedience of creation in the disobedience of the creator.” 
You are required to follow your husband in those acts which are permissible in Islām.
Your comparison of cutting hair with applying make-up is incorrect. The prohibition of women cutting their hair is not only based on imitating non-Muslim women. It is also based on imitating men.
Rasūlullāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) cursed women who imitate men. (Bukhārī and Muslim)
The impermissibility of women cutting their hair has been reiterated in many books of fiqh and fatāwā, hereunder are few:
- Al-Durr al-Mukhtār
- Al-Fatāwā al-Bazzāziyyah
- Tanqīḥ al-Fatāwā al-Ḥāmidiyyah
- Al-Fatāwā al-‘Ālamghīriyyah
- Al-Muḥīṭ al-Burhānī
- Al-Ashbāh wa l-Naẓā’ir Ma‘a Ḥāshiyat al-Ḥamawī
- Imdād al-Fatāwā
- Imdād al-Aḥkām
- Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah
It is evidently clear that it is not permissible for a woman to cut or trim her hair. If a woman is suffering from any medical conditions, then she is required to put her case forward to a competent Muftī who shall then issue a ruling accordingly.
A woman who is Allāh conscious should endeavour to follow the pious women of the past. Keeping long hair for women has always been a praiseworthy trait. We do not find examples of pious women of the past cutting their hair for adornment. The fashion of cutting the hair for women is alien to Islām. If keeping short hair for women were convenient, then the sharī‘ah would have most definitely accommodated for it and would have permitted muslim women to shorten their hair.
Lastly, it is permissible for you to adorn yourself for your husband as you wish provided you do it according to the teachings of Islām.
And Allāh Ta‘ālā knows best
(Mufti) Bilal Issak al-Mahmudi
Mufti Salim Khan
قال علاء الدين الحصكفي: وفيه: قطعت شعر رأسها أثمت ولعنت
زاد في البزازية: وإن بإذن الزوج لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق، ولذا يحرم على الرجل قطع لحيته، والمعنى المؤثر التشبه بالرجال
الدر المختار. ص ٦٦٤. دار الكتب العلمية
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