Islam and Hairdressing- By Yushau A. Shuaib
HAIR treatment or hair dressing rather, has become the fad and envious custom in most modern ‘societies’ and is gradually sneaking its way into Muslim life especially among women.
I did not even consider anything was wrong or right with hair dressing until I was confronted by my pupils in class about people who leave their hair long, shaving one side and leaving the other. Many Islamic scholars or textbooks would prefer to make analogical deduction on this point of duty to enlighten the believers on Islamic view on hair generally.
Keeping hair or shaving it has to do with decency and modesty. The rule of these two, i.e., decency and modesty apply to both sexes. Decency comes in different forms. But the most important thing to observe is cleanliness.
The major cleanliness in Islam is cleanliness of the body, because cleanliness of the body is the reflection of purity of mind and the purity of mind is the foundation of the purity of the soul that is due to a harmonious link between the body, mind and soul. This external purity leads to internal purity. Conversely, external impurity leads to internal impurity.
Allah directs the holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “Arise and deliver thy warning and thy lord do thou magnify. And thy garment keep free from stain” Qur’an 74: 2-4. The Prophet had this to say on cleanliness “The key to paradise is prayer and the key to prayer is cleanliness.” For the above reasons you can see how important it is to clean and purify our body. And as you know our heads where hair grows is part of the body.
Qur’an has not categorically explained how we should make our hair but tell us to rub them as we do in ablution “O ye who believe when you prepare for prayers, wash your faces, and your hands to the elbows, rub your heads (with water)” and it goes on and says “God doth not wish to place you in difficulties, but make you clean and to complete his favour to you that ye may be graceful” Qur’an 5: 7.
Our prophet, peace be upon him, says: “Whose has got hairs, let him honour it.” To honour it is to give it right due and that is chastity. By cleansing, combing and oiling it as practiced by the Apostle you honour it.
Modesty in Islam guides the good look and spiritual good of believers that is in worship. Due to social life and natural disposition, women are restricted from exposing their figure or any part of their body. Whether perming, waving or shampoo, women are not allowed to expose their beauty to the public; only the face and the feet are allowed to be revealed. Lack of Islamic education and so-called right of women, some Muslim women take it for granted and heed not this warning. It’s a breach of refined manners as Islam is totally against revealing beauty of their hair, ornaments and other attracting figures of their body, except to their husband, fathers, sons, brother and small children who have no sense of shame of sex. Qur’an 24: 31.
For both sexes it is unlawful to keep hair untidy, unkempt and ruffle. There was once when the prophet was in the mosque, a man walked with his hand to arrange (cleans) his beard and head. When the man later returned, the prophet responded: “is this not better than that one of you should come disheveled in hairs as if he is a devil?” For male, the hair of the head may be grown long up to the ears or completely shaved. But it’s forbidden to shave a portion and leave the rest (as of modern hair style called punk). Shave the entire thing or leave it entirely. But women are prohibited to shave their hair.
In the case of Muslims who cut their hair to copy and resemble stars or other people, the prophet says. “He is not of us who imitates other than his.” Islam custom on decency and modesty is more precious, essential to a refined way of life, well-ordered active principle of existence than copying others who think themselves civilised or cultured whereas they are uncultured, uncivilised, barbarians for their many times mad appearance.
On beard and moustache, it’s seemly behaviuor; not obscene to wear beards on all sides. Due to western culture, which penetrate into ours, people prefer keeping moustaches than beards (army for example). By keeping it long it may mix with drink and food and give germs or disease to our internal body.
Beards on all sides enhance the beauty of male as the manifestation or peak of cock. It is economical not having to buy sharp instruments like razor blade and saves one the trouble of constant shaving. It also makes the skin loose and lends gravity and respect to appearance. The prophet said “Act contrary to polytheist, keep beards and shave the moustaches.” Dyeing of hair is permissible only for gray hairs to be changed and only with black dye. Black dyeing of beards and hair is very much allowed for soldiers in (holy) war.
This article is first in New Nigerian November 3, 1991