The Islamic ruling on plucking and removing hair from the body has been a confusing topic for believing women. Considering the plethora of material one finds online regarding this issue really makes it hard to follow one set of rules when there are so many contradicting one another. Although there are some scholars who choose to be very clear on matters such as removal of hair from the female body, however, people out of goodness wanting to be sure, complicate matters by asking several questions going into minute details.
Here what Islam has directed to Muslim women regarding hair removal.
Firstly, the hair has been divided into three categories, by the scholars.
1. The hair that is commanded to be removed or shortened.
This is known as Sunan al-Fitrah, such as removing the pubic hairs, trimming the mustache and plucking the armpit hairs. That also includes shaving or cutting the hair of the head during Hajj or ‘Umrah.
The evidence for that is the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Ten (actions) are part of the fitrah [natural inclinations of man]: trimming the moustache, letting the beard grow, using the siwaak (tooth-stick), rinsing the nose with water, clipping the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubes and washing oneself with water after relieving oneself.”
Zakariyya said: Mus’ab said: And I forgot the tenth but it may have been rinsing the mouth with water.
Narrated by Muslim, 261
2. Hair that is forbidden to remove.
The action of removing or plucking eyebrow hair is known as al-namas.
The evidence for that is the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows (al-naamisah) and the one who has it done (al-mutanammisah), and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5931; Muslim, 2125)
On another occasion, it was said, “The naamisah is the woman who removes hair from the face and the mutanammisah is the one who asks to have that done. This action is haraam, unless a woman develops a beard or mustache, in which case it is not haraam to remove it, rather that is mustahabb in our view.” (Sharh al-Nawawi li Saheeh Muslim, 14/106)
3. Hair that has not been directly addressed in Islam.
The hair on the legs, hands, and cheeks for example that isn’t directly spoken about in Islamic history is placed in the third category.
There is a difference in some scholarly opinion over the removal of hair from these areas,
Some scholars are with the opinion that removing hair implies changing the creation of Allah.
‘and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah’ [al-Nisa’ 4:119]
However, some ruled that since there is no guidance regarding hair removal from these areas, hence it is up to the person to remove or keep.
This was the view favored by the scholars of the Standing Committee and by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen. See Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 3/879
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah:
(a) There is no sin on a woman if she removes hair on her upper lip, thighs, calves and arms. This is not part of the tanammus (plucking) that is forbidden.
(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/194, 195)
(b)The Committee was asked:
What is the Islamic ruling on plucking the hair between the eyebrows?
It is permissible to pluck it because it is not part of the eyebrows.
(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/197)
The Standing Committee was asked:
What is the ruling on a woman removing hair from her body?
It is permissible for her to do that, apart from the hair of the eyebrows and head. It is not permissible for her to remove the hair of her head or to remove any part of the eyebrows, whether by shaving or any other means.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/194
Hopefully, this clears the long-standing confusion for some of the people and this article proved to be informative. However, it is always advised to do your own research even after reading a great material online, just to have that extra clarity. May whatever you seek regarding Islam, you find easily and in detail. Ameen.
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