Are women allowed to cut their hair?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Abu Salamah Bin Abdur Rahman said: I along with the foster brother of Saaidah Aisha Radialahu Anha went to her and he asked about the bath of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam after sexual intercourse. She called for a vessel equal to a measure and she took a bath. There was a curtain between us and her. She poured water over her haid thrice and he (Abu Salamah) said “The wives of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam collected hair on their heads and this extended up to their ears.” (Sahih Muslim p.148 v.1)
The main issue regarding this hadith is the Arabic text “Yakhuzna min Ruusihinna Hata Takuna Kal Wafarah”.
Some people translate the aforementioned text to mean that the wives of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam would cut their hair until it would reach their shoulders.
However, there are three reasons why the aforementioned translation is incorrect to use regarding this hadith.
Firstly, the word Wafarah has different meanings: It may be hair collected upon the head or hair hanging down upon the ears or hair extending to the lobes of the ears only. (Lanes Arabic, Sahih Muslim English Translation by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi p.231 v.1 & Fathul Mulhim p.156 v.3)
Secondly, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani (RA) has explained this Hadith in the following words: – “In my opinion, the Hadith explains that the wives of the Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam used to curtail the hanging hair and bind them on the back of their heads or on their heads as is commonly done by old ladies of our time or by women while taking a bath, especially after washing the head. If the hair is not twisted and is allowed to hang down, the water trickles down over the body.” (Fathul Mulhim p.156 v.3)
Thirdly, there are many proofs and evidences which indicate towards the impermissibility of women cutting their hair.
Imam Haskafi (RA) has said “If a woman cuts her hair, she will be sinful and cursed. In al-Bazzaziyya it is added: “Even with the permission of the husband, as there is no obedience to the creation in disobeying the Creator.” (Raddul Muhtar)
Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuree (RA) has said: ‘It is a grave sin if a woman cuts her hair because her husband wants her to or even if she herself desires such a style. In an act of sin, obedience to the husband is not permissible, because there is no obedience for makhlooq in an act which is disobedience to Khaaliq.” (Fatawa Rahimiyah p.321 v.10)
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) says: ”It is unlawful for a woman to shave and cut her hair. (Behshti Zewer)
Furthermore, there are two main reasons given by the scholars for it not being permissible for women to cut their hair.
The first being imitation of men. Saaiduna Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam cursed those men who imitate women and those women who imitate men. (Sahih Bukhari)
The second being the imitation of the immoral people in which the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: He who copies any people is one of them. (Sunan Abu Dawuud)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham