Posts Tagged ‘Hair in Islam’


After discussing the beard and moustache, it is just appropriate that we discuss the Ahaadith and masaail concerning the hair of the head because deficiency and extremism is noted in this matter also. A person should follow the Sunnat pattern as far as his hair is concerned and refrain from those ways which are impermissible.

Khatibi and other scholars state that it was the custom of the Arabs to keep long hair and beautify themselves by it. Shaving of the hair was not common amongst them, In fact at times they considered shaving of the head as an act of fame and the way of non-Arabs. Therefore, it used to be difficult for the Sahabah(RA) to shave their heads at the time of Haj and Umrah . Hence, they used to suffice on Qasr (i.e. trimming of the hair). [Fathul Bari Vol 3 pg 564]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) therefore gave more virtue on shaving all the hair (i.e. at the time of Haj or Umrah) .There is a greater extent of obedience found in it, as a person subjects himself completely to the laws of Shariah, and accepts it sincerely with a true heart. Those who only trim their hair are keeping some beauty, and a person who shaves his head complete sacrifices this [Ibid].Hence the reward is greater.

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in whose lifestyle is an excellent way for the Muslims always used to keep hair and not shave it. On two occasions only has it been proved that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) shaved his hair – once on the occasion of Hudaibiyah in the 6th year of Hijri and a second time at the occasion of the farewell Haj which took place in the tenth year of Hijiri. Khaaresh bin Umayaw (Radhiallahu-anhu) cut Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s) hair at Hudeibiyah and Ma’mar bin Abdullah(RA) at the farewell Haj.

[Fathul Bari Vol 1 pg 274 & Vol 3 pg 564]


Hadhrat Anas (radhiallahu-anhu) reports that the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached till half the ear.

[Shamaail Tirmidhi pg 2]

In another narration Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)’s hair was not completely curly nor completely straight but it was in between, and it reached between the ears and shoulders.

In a third narration from Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) it is reported that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s) hair touched his shoulders.

[Bukhari Vol 2 pg 876]

Hadhrat Baraa bin Aazib(RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s) hair was up to the earlobes. In another narration it is stated that it was near his shoulders [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 876] In a third narration it is stated that the hair was above “Jumma” and below the “Wafra” i.e. it was between the ears and shoulders. Hind bin Haalah (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that when Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to lengthen his hair it exceeded the earlobes [Shamaail Tirmidhi pg 2]. Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) states that the crux of all the narrations is that the long hair reached the shoulders when it was long and that when the hair that was not long, it reached the earlobes.

Hadhrat Baraa bin Aazib(RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s) hair was up to the earlobes.

[Fathul Bari Vol 1 pg 258]

Mulla Ali Qari(RA) writes whilst explaining the Hadith of Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) “the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was up to half the ear”.

“It has been said that most of the hair(or in a few instances when no middle path was made) the hair reached half the ear. Hence, this does not contradict those Ahaadith in which it is stated that the hair reached the shoulders and was lying on the shoulders”

Jamal Wasaail {Commentary of Shamaail} pg 74 Vol; 1]

When the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to grow very long it used to be cut up to half of the ear. The head ends at the bone between the neck and head. Therefore, the hair that was on the neck was cut. In this instance it reached half the ear. Then it grew till it reached the earlobes. Thereafter it grew further till it reached the place between the ear and neck. Finally it reached the shoulders. In this manner there is no contradiction amongst the different narrations. All are correct. To keep one’s hair till the shoulders is proven from an authentic narration of Bukhari Sharif.

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) states that at most times Nabi’s (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) hair reached close to his shoulders. It exceeded this length to such an extent that locks used to be formed and Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to gather it, as it has been stated by Umme Hani(RA) in Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi that when Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came to Makkah he had four locks of hair. Hafiz Ibn Hajar(RA) states that this happened while travelling when the hair was not groomed. (Allah knows best). In an authentic Hadith of Abu Dawood, Nisaai and Ibn Majah, Waail bin Hujr (Radhiallahu-anhu) states ” When I came in Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) presence my hair was long. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “This is bad” I returned and cut my hair. The next day when I came again Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I was not referring to you but it is good (that you cut your hair)”.

[Fathul Baari and Abu Dawood Vol 10 pg 360 and Abu Dawood Vol 2 pg 576]

The above indicates that although it is permissible to keep long hair but, it is not preferable.

[Bazlul Majhood Vol 6 pg 77]

The very same explanation (as the above) will apply to the Hadith in which Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said that Khuraim Asadi(RA) is a good person if his hair was not long and his trousers were not below the ankles. When Khuraim (Radhiallahu-anhu) heard of this he took a pair of scissor and cut his hair till his ears and lifted his garment up to half of his shin. [Abu Dawood, Mishkaat pg 382]

Hadhrat Sheikh Muhammad Zakaria (RA) explains the Hadith of Umme Hani (Radhiallahu-anha) thus: “For men to have locks on the hair like women is Makrooh”.By locks is meant such locks which do not resemble the plaits of women as Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has himself prohibited that.

[Khasail Nabawi pg 26]

Hence, the meaning of the words that appear in the Ahaadith is that the hair was separated into two, joined and made round, not that the hair was plaited like a womans.

[Dhari aur Ambiya ki Sunnatte pg 94]

It is a very important principle in Shariah that men do not imitate women and vice versa.

It is stated in a Hadith that the curse of Allaah is on those men who imitate women and on those women who imitate men. [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 874]

Hadhrat Ganghohi (RA) states that a person may lengthen his hair as much as he desires, however, to cut a portion of hair and leave another portion is an imitation of the Jews which is Makrooh. To lengthen all the hair equally is not an act of imitating the Jews, nor is it forbidden. Imitating women is when a person makes plaits like a woman’s otherwise it will not be an act of imitation nor will it be Makrooh. (Allah knows best).

[Fatawa Rashidia pg 484]

Doctor Mohammed Abdul Hay(RA), who was the Khalifa of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) writes in the book ‘Uswae Rasool-e Akram’ (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam):

“The hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached the middle of his ears. In other narrations it is stated that it reached the ear itself”.

A third narration states that it reached the earlobes. Besides the above it is also stated in other narrations that the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached his shoulders or close to his shoulders [Shamaail Tirmdhi].

The deduction from all the above narrations is as follows:

When Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to put oil and comb it, it used to become longer otherwise it remained as it was. Another obvious conclusion is that the length used to increase before cutting it and the length would decrease after cutting it.

It is stated in Mawaahib-e-Ladunya and Majmaul Yihari:

“When the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was not cut for a long period it used to be long, and when it used to be cut it would be short”.

The above also indicates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to cut his hair not shave it. However, regarding shaving it, he himself states that besides Haj and Umrah, Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never shaved his head.

[Madarij-un-Nabuwwah) Uswa-e-Rasul Akram pg 152]


It is also permissible to shave the head, besides the time of Haj and Umrah, although it is preferable and Sunnat to keep hair in accordance to the practice of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, it is not even Makrooh to shave off all the hair as this Sunnat of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is from amongst the Sunnat-e-Zawaaid. As a habit Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to keep his hair not as an Ibaadat, hence it is not Makrooh (detestable) to leave out this Sunnat.

[Check Fatawa Imdadia pg 299 vol 4]

Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade women from shaving their hair. [Mishkaat pg 384]. Whilst explaining this Hadith Mulla Ali Qari (RA) states that this Hadith indicates it is permissible for men to shave their heads by taking the opposite meaning (i.e. If it is not permissible for women than it will be permissible for men who are the opposite sex). There is no difference of opinion regarding it being permissible for men shaving their heads.

However, there is a difference of opinion regarding whether the shaving of the head is Sunnah or not. Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallahu-anhu) shaved all his hair and Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) substantiated it by not forbidding him.

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) states:

“Hold fast to my way and the way of my Khulafa”.

On the other hand Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as well as all the other Sahaba used to shave their heads. This means that to shave the head at all times besides the times of Haj and Umrah is regarded as being permissible. This view is correct. [Mirqaat]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that the hair of Jafar’s (Radhiallahu-anhu) children be shaved after his demise. [Abu Dawood Vol 1 pg 577]. This Hadith proves that it is permissible to shave the head. Similarly this Hadith indicates that children can also keep long hair and in fact they used to keep long hair in the time of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is stated in Bukhari that Ibn Abbas (RA) had long hair whilst he was still a child. Similarly in Abu Dawood it is stated that Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) had long hair and in Nisaai it is stated that Husein (Radhiallahu-anhu) also had long hair. [Behesi Zewar Pg 967 part 1]

Just as it is permissible to shave off all the hair, similarly it is permissible to shorten the hair on condition that it is shortened equally. The proof of this is the word “Mukhsaareen” in the Qur’aan which means “to shorten”. However, to cut off all the hair and to keep the hair form the head which is in fashion nowadays is not permissible.

[Behesi Zewar Pg 967 part 11]


This is prohibited. Its prohibition is proven from an authentic Hadith:

Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that a child was brought to Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) whose hair was partly cut and the rest uncut. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Either cut it completely or leave it completely”.

[Muslim Mishkaat pg 380]


When a person keeps long hair according to the Sunnah, then he should keep in mind all the other Sunnats regarding the keeping of long hair.

They are as follows:

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)used to apply a lot of oil to his head, and he used to comb his beard. He also used a head cloth. (A piece of cloth which was placed on the head).It used to get soiled with oil, hence Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam’s) clothes used to become oily. (The narration of Sharhus Sunnah [Mishkaat pg 381) is that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to say that whoever has hair should look after it. [Abu Dawood pg 573]. A person should wash his hair, apply oil and comb it. [Bazlul Majhood pg 71]. The above narrations are regarded as “Hasan”. [Fathul Baari Vol 10 Pg 368]

On one occasion Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw a person whose hair was dishevelled. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked:

“Does he not find such a thing (oil etc.) by which he can gather/straighten his hair”

[Ahmed/Nisaai – Mishkaat pg 375]

Ataa bin Yasaar(RA) narrates that once Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was in the Masjid. A person entered whose hair and beard were dishevelled. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) indicated to him to straighten his hair. He then straightened it and came back. Upon which Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked:

“Is this not better than anyone of you coming with dishevelled hair, looking like Shaytaan”.

[Narrated by Imaam Malik-Mishkaat pg 384]

The chain of this Mursal narration is authentic. Jaabir (Radhiallahu-anhu’s) Hadith is in substantiation for the above which appears in Abu Dawood and Nisaai with a Hasan (reliable chain) ). [Fathul Bari Vol 10 pg 367]

Ibn Abbas (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that before Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) received any command from Allaah Ta’aala, he preferred to act in accordance to the Ahle-Kitaab (Jews-Christians). For example, the Ahle Kitaab never used to make a middle path, but the Mushrikeens (Idolaters) used to. Thus, initially Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never made a middle path initially, but later he used to do so.

[Bukhari Vol 1 pg 503 vol 2 pg 877 and Shamaail Tirmdhii pg 3]

Thus to make a middle path is Sunnat. [Bazlul Majhood Vol 6 pg 76]

Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) used to comb Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)’s hair and she used to make the middle path in such a way that the hair used to be divided into two sections from the middle and she used to separate the hair of the forehead towards the two eyes.

[Abu Dawood pg 576 gist of the Hadith]

Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) once asked Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “I have long hair, should I comb it?” Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied “Yes, and look after your hair”. Hence Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) used to sometimes apply oil twice a day (i.e. apply oil and comb it) because of the order of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

[Imaam Malik has narrated this Hadith Mishkaat pg 384]

It is reported in Nisaai Sharif that Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) had long hair. He asked Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding it. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “Look after it and comb it every day”. [Nisaai pg 291]. Hence combing of the hair every day is proven from this Hadith.

However, Abdullah bin Mughafal (Radhiallahu-anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has prohibited combing of the hair every day. [Tirmidhi Vol pg 305 and Shamaail Trimidhi pg 4]. Tirmidhi has stated that this Hadith is Hasan and Sahih.

The reason for the above Hadith, according to Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) is that a person should refrain from attracting a lot of attention to beautify oneself. In another authentic Hadith, Abu Ummah (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: Simplicity is part of Imaan, [Abu Dawood]. Imaan Nisaai has quoted a Hadith in which Ubaid (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to prohibit beautifying oneself excessively. [Fathul Bari Vol 10 pg 368]. Therefore, the Ulema say that if a person’s hair becomes dishevelled easily then one can comb it every day but if it is not dishevelled then a person should comb it occasionally.

[Gist of Khasaail Nabawi pg 28].


When a person combs his hair he should first make the path of the right side then the left. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) reports the Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) preferred this way. [Shamaail pg 4]. Therefore, this is the Sunnat method for woman. The path should be in line with the nose. Today the custom is to have side paths. This is unIslamic.

[Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 94].


It is forbidden to trim the hair of the nape. The Fuqaha (jurists) have prohibited it. [Safaaie Muamalaat – Hadhrat Thanwi and Dhari our Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 97]. The hair is till half the ear. Below that, is regarded as the neck. The hair of the neck may be cut, not the hair above that. Therefore, it is Makrooh to trim or cut the hair at the nape.

Besides cutting the hair up to the ear, there is no proof that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cut his hair from any other side. Therefore, a person should not cut the hair from any other side – not from the side of the ear nor from the forehead. Now-a-days westerners cut their hair in many different fashionable ways. All these ways are unIslamic, thus one should avoid them.

[Check Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 98]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has mentioned in one Hadith:

The person who imitates others is not from amongst us. Do not imitate the Jews and the Christians. The Jews greet with a sign of the fingers and the Christians with their hands or palms, and they do not cut the hair of the forehead. Cut your moustaches thoroughly and lengthen the beard. Also, do not walk in the Masjid and market places without wearing a lungi (or trousers) under your kurta.

[Narrated by Tabrani at Targheeb wat Tarheeb pg 435 Vol 3]

Saving oneself from imitating others is an important principle in the Shariah. One should be constantly aware of this. In one Hadith it is stated that the person who imitates a nation is from amongst them. [Abu Dawood pg 559]. That one should not imitate others in dressing and appearance is sufficiently emphasized for anyone to understand.


Imaam Muslim, Imaam Tirmidhi and others have narrated the Hadith of Umme Salma (Radhiallahu-anha) wherein she asked Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

“I make the plaits of my hair tight. Should I loosen it at the time of taking ghusl from Janaabat (impurity)?” Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: “No, it is sufficient that you pour water over your head thrice, then pour water over your body”. [Tirmidhi pg 29]. This Hadith indicates that it is sufficient that water reaches the roots of the hair.It is not necessary to loosen the plaits and wet all the hair.This is the ruling of the Ulema as well.

N.B. From the above Hadith we learn that women at the time of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to keep long hair and plait it. The incident of Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) appears in Bukhari Sharif (pg 45) that when she was in Ihraam she used to loosen her hair which indicates that she used to plait it (when not in Ihraam). Many other incidents also prove the above. This is also from where the law of keeping long hair and of plaiting it is derived. Women have been prohibited from shaving their heads. [Nisaai and Mishkaat pg 384]. Even at the time of Haj and Umrah the ruling is that a little bit of hair be cut. It is not permissible to shave it. Also, we learn from the hadith in Bukhari, the woman who imitates a man is accursed, and it is permissible for men to lengthen their hair up to the shoulders and below it also. Thus, if a woman cuts her hair up to the shoulders or below it, it, will amount to her imitating men. This is prohibited and an accursed action. Therefore, it has been mentioned in the books of fiqh that if a woman cuts her hair she will be sinful and worthy of curse.

[Durre Mukhtar with Shami Vol 5 pg 288]

Nowadays, women cut their hair for the sake of fashion and in order imitate non-Muslim women. It is in imitating these women, that this practice has become common amongst Muslim women also. Therefore it is completely forbidden. It is mentioned in a Hadith:

“Whosoever imitated a nation will be from amongst them”.

[Abu Dawood pg 559]

It is of paramount importance that women save themselves from imitating men as well as non-Muslim women, as learnt from the Ahaadith. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed those women who don men’s clothing as well as those men who wear women’s clothing. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) was once asked to rule regarding a certain lady who wore shoes (like that of men). She replied that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed that woman who imitates men. [Abu Dawood pg 566]

The above makes it abundantly clear that it is forbidden for women to cut their hair, to wear clothes like that of males, to wear shoes like that of men and to behave like men.

[Dhari aur Ambiyaa Sunnate pg 96]


It is permissible for an old woman who is a widow, and who does not need to beautify herself due to old age, to shorten her hair a little. There is scope for it. The action (of cutting the hair) of the blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be analyzed as above. However, it should he remembered that it is only permissible in the above mentioned instance. To do so specially because of fashion, is completely impermissible. Allaah Ta’aala is aware of the deceit within the heart.

[Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 97]

Regarding the Hadith in Muslim Sharif in which it is stated that the blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to cut their hair, the commentators of Muslim Sharif, Qadhi Ayaaz(RA) and others explain the very same meaning as above (i.e. it is permissible for an old widowed woman who does not beautify herself). Qadhi Ayaaz writes that the Arab women used to tie plaits. The blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did so after his demise as they stopped beautifying themselves, hence no longer needing to lengthen their hair. Imaam Nawawi(RA) states that this is the only reason. This action cannot even be imagined during the lifetime of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

[Muslim Sharif with the commentary of Imaam Nawawi pg 148 Vol 1]




‘The Laws of the Beard and the Hair in the Light of the Ahadith‘ By Shaykul Hadith Moulana Fazlur Rahman, Darul Uloom Azaadvile