Are there any situations where aesthetic surgery is permissible?

Details of the Question
I am a muslim boy,my teeth are awkwardly placed in the mouth.Due to that reason i have lost the beauty of my facial appearence.Who so ever meets me ,urges me to get my teeth braced without relating it with sins.My dentist wants to take out four normal teeth, to space the crowded teeth. I now want to know, Am I allowed to go for this dental surgery?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Is it a sin to have aesthetic surgery? Is it permissible in certain situations? For instance, there are some people whose faces are destroyed or burned as a result of accidents. There are also some people who have aesthetic surgery just to become more beautiful.

Today the operations that are known as “aesthetic or beautification surgery” are generally related to nose, chin, breasts and face. It is a nuisance that is encouraged by the materialistic mentality that gives importance to form and appearance rather than the beauty of spirit and ethics.

Basically, a person having common sense feels contented with the body that Allah has granted him because it is enough for a person to thank Allah to have his organs having been created appropriately in their usual places. Man should feel contented with his existing beauty and characteristics that he owns without having made any efforts or expenses; he should not attempt to change his creation and transform his body into an artificial form in order to “make it more attractive”.
When we deal with the matter in terms of religion, we face three issues:

The first one is that the issue originates from a devilish delusion. As a matter of fact, when the devil did not bow down to Adam and when he was drawn away from the mercy of Allah he started to say the following:

I will order them to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah... Whoever, forsaking Allah, takes Satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest.”1

Before Islam, Arabs listened to that delusion of the devil and dyed their skins blue and left some hair on the heads of their children in the name of their idols.

Our Prophet did not approve of acts directed at changing the bodies with some actions. It is stated in the hadiths reported by Bukhari and Muslim that those who tattoo or have their bodies tattooed for beauty, who chisel their teeth and thinned them, who pluck their eyebrows and thin their eyebrows, who wear wigs and who change what Allah has created are away from divine mercy.2

Those who carry out or have others carry out the above mentioned actions and those who have aesthetic operations do not accept the form and beauty Allah has given them, oppose fate and do not like the divine art. It is not legitimate to have aesthetic operations without any excuse and serious medical reasons but only for the thought of beauty.

The second reason why it is not regarded legitimate is that it gives the body pain and makes it undergo torture and agony. Those who had their bodies tattooed and who had their teeth chiseled and thinned in the past, and those who have aesthetic operations now endanger and torture their bodies and they give pain to the bodies that Allah entrusted them. A person who goes under the knife and who is anesthetized faces a great danger. God Almighty forbids acts like that by saying “make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction”3.

The third reason is that aesthetic operation is very expensive and it leads to a lot of waste. And that waste is made not for truth and essence but for appearance and form. While many people cannot find enough money to have operations in order to get rid of some chronic diseases, those who have aesthetic operations only in order to make their bodies beautiful waste millions of lira. Waste (extravagance) is haram.

However, if there is a legitimate and reasonable excuse, the question becomes different. For instance, those who have harelip by birth or those who have a similar bodily defect are exceptions. Those who have defects in their bodies as a result of a fire, traffic accident or a similar accident are regarded in the same group. That is, if such a person has a psychological depression in the society, has inferiority complex, his honor is hurt and his defect makes him seem despicable and ugly, removing that defect becomes like a treatment.4

Therefore, there is no drawback to having an aesthetic operation for such a person because Allah does not make the religion a difficulty for us. The phrase “for beauty” in the hadith mentioned above clarifies the issue. That is, if the aesthetic operations or other changes in the body are carried out for beauty, not with the intention of removing a defect or ugliness, it is haram; if they are carried out to eliminate a harm or ugliness, and to make the body normal, it is permissible.

1. an-Nisa, 119.
2. Muslim, Libas: 119-120; Bukhari, Libas: 82, 85.
3. al-Baqara , 195.
4. Umdatu’l-Qari, 22: 63; al-Qardawi, Al Halal wal Haram fil Islam p. 103.

Mehmet PAKSU

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