Is it halal (lawful or permitted) for a woman to wear a wig, cut or dye her hair?

Allah created each person with a separate beauty. The beauty in which the seal of oneness is read on the face of human beings is the beauty that is inherent and natural. It is a sign of being a slave of Allah to keep it, to thank Allah for the characteristics and beauty he owns and be content with what Allah has granted.

Therefore a person should not make any changes in his/her body if it is not something vital or obligatory. Our Prophet (PBUH), who prohibited to make changes in the human body without any real necessity, said Allah had cursed those women who tattooed and who have themselves tattooed, those who pluck hair from their faces and those who make spaces between their teeth for beautification for changing what Allah has created and warned them.(1)

By acting upon this hadith the fiqh ulama said it is permissible for a woman on whose face a beard or mustache grows to remove them; however it is not permissible for a woman to make her eyebrows thin, to put them out of their natural state, to arrange the eyelashes, to use false eyelashes. Teeth, eyebrows and eyelashes are like organs. There is no drawback in removing the hairs by a woman on her face that grow later and that were not present in the beginning because they are not like eyebrows or eyelashes.

Similarly, to wear a wig made of human hair is among those that were forbidden in sunnah (way of the Prophet (PBUH)). However it is stated in the sources that it may be permissible for women to add something made of animal hair or artificial things and to wear wigs made of these materials. (2)

However a woman can wear things like that on her hair when she is near her husband or her close male relatives whom she cannot marry religiously. It is not permissible for a woman to wear a wig no matter what material it is made of near other men.

As for cutting the hair, the judgment may be different depending on the work and intention. Hair is the adornment and natural ornament of a woman. It is an important factor differentiating women from men. So a woman forms a unity with her hair. Therefore a woman who cuts and shortens her hair without an excuse will have resembled men. As a matter of fact our Prophet (PBUH) did not like women who resembled men and men who tried to resemble women with their clothing, appearance, attitudes, actions and way of living and said the following:

"May Allah keep women who try to resemble men and men who try to resemble women away from His mercy." (3)

However, the position of a woman who cuts or shortens her hair because of an excuse or illness is different. If a woman has difficulty in maintaining and drying her hair and if she does not have an intention to resemble men, she has no drawback in shortening her hair to her ear lobes. (4)

Anyway, no man except her husband and her close relatives like her father and brother can see her hair thanks to tasattur. Thus the drawback to show her hair to others will be removed. As for dyeing the hair and the beard; as it is now, during the time when our Prophet (PBUH) lived the old Jews and the Christians did not dye their hair Our Prophet (PBUH), who did not like this said, The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their hair), so oppose them ". (5)

The sunnah way of dyeing ones hair is to dye it using henna or vegetable dyes like the mixture of red and black (such as the indigo plant). The words of our Prophet (PBUH) about this subject were regarded as an encouragement or advice not as an order. According to many Islamic ulama it is makruh (disliked, undesirable) to dye ones hair black. (6) There is no limitation for women about this subject. All kinds of ornamentation are legal for them.

1. Nasai, Zinat: 22,73; Muslim, Libas: 119-120;
2. Al-Fatawa'l-Hindiyyah, 5: 358.
3. Abû Dawud, Libas: 31.
4. Al-Fatawa'l-Hindiyyah, 5: 358.
5. Muslim, Libas: 80.
6. Ayni. Umdatu'l-Kari, 22: 50-51.

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