Is it permissible for men to pluck or to shave the hairs on their body parts?

Details of the Question

Can chest hairs be waxed. Is it halal or haram?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is not permissible for men to pluck or to shave the hairs on their legs, arms, shoulders, backs, hips, chests and other places in their body. (The hairs on the face can be shaved but they cannot be plucked) it is not permissible religiously.

The state of the hairs on the body for men;

The removal of the pubic hairs start from under the belly and the hairs around the private parts are removed. It is often asked whether the hairs around the anus can be removed or not.

In Islamic sources the word “anat” is mostly used for the removal of the pubic hair (For instance, see Ghazali, Ihya, I/146,); the anus is not included in that word.

Imam Nawawi gives the following information about the issue: "The part which is sunnah to remove the hairs is around the private parts and the part over them for both genders. In “Kishtabul-Wadai” attributed to Ibn Surayj – I do not think that it was written by Ibn Surayj – I saw some information stating that it is sunnah to remove the hairs around the anus. It is not correct. I have never seen anything like that in a reliable source. If it is thought that they cause dirtiness, then there is no drawback to removing them." (Nawawi, al-Majmu, I/289).

According to Islamic sources, the pubic cleaning is carried out in a way that is easy for the individual: by plucking the hairs, using wax or other material, shaving, etc.

It means there is no sin in not removing the hair around the anus. However, there is no sin in removing the hairs around the anus, either.

It is sunnah to remove the pubic hair every week, to shorten the moustache, to remove the hairs in the armpit and to trim the nails. If a person forms a habit of cutting or shaving his hair on his head every week, it is sunnah to do it every week. It is makrooh (abominable) to delay removing them more than forty days according to all madhhabs (sects). (see Jazari, al-Fiqhu ala’l-Madhahibi’l-arbaa, 2/44-46; Zuhayli, al-Fiqhu’l-Islami, 1/311).

According to Hanafis, it is tahriman makrooh (see Jazari, al-Fiqhu ala’l-Madhahibi’l-arbaa, 2/45).

In addition, the time of the usual haircut should be arranged so that the hair will not have an untidy and ugly appearance. Our Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who has hair on his head should take care of it and keep it clean.”(Naylu’l-Awtar,1/123). It is makrooh to shave some of the hair on the head and to let some of it grow. It is contrary to the practice of our Prophet.  (see Zuhayli, al-Fiqhu’l-Islami, 1/311).

According to Shafiis, it is makrooh to pluck the hairs in the nose. If they are too long, it is sunnah to cut them using scissors. (see Jazari, ibid. 2/44).

According to Hanafis, it is not right to pluck the hairs in the nose because it causes an illness. (Fatawa Hindiyya; Celal Yıldırım; Ibn Abidin)

According to Malikis, it is permissible to remove all the hairs in the body that disturb a person, whether man or woman. It is wajib (obligatory) for a woman to remove the hairs that her husband does not like. (Jazari, al-Fiqhu ala’l-Madhahibi’l-arbaa,  2/45).

According to Hanafis, it is contrary to decency for men to shave the hairs on their backs and chests. (Jazari, ibid.)

It is understood from that expression that to remove the hairs on the back and chest is not haram or tahriman makrooh for Hanafis. It can only be tanzihan makrooh, contrary to decency.

The pubic hairs must be removed in forty days at the latest. It is sunnah to pluck the hairs in the armpit but there is no drawback to shaving them. It is mandoob (recommended) to bury the hairs that are shaved, plucked and cut; it is makrooh to throw them in to the toilet or bathroom. It is said that they may cause illness. (Qurtubi, al-Jamiu li-Ahkami'l-Quran, II,105; Alauddin Abidin, al-Hadiyyatu'l-Alaiyye, p. 335).

That cleaning is present in the sharias of all Prophets. It is makrooh to carry out that cleaning when one is junub (needs to have a ghusl). It is appropriate to remove those hairs before a person is junub. All of the parts that are removed from the body should be removed when one is not junub.

It is necessary to keep the materials and instruments used for cleaning the body in a separate place and in special containers so that they will not be infected. There may be some cuts and bleeding while removing those hairs. The microbes in those instruments and materials that are not clean can enter the body through that blood; a minor neglect may cause a big trouble.  

Besides, it is possible to remove those hairs using depilators or depilatories.

The state of the hairs on the body for women;

Almighty God created each person in a different beauty. The beauty on the face of a person that the seal of unity is seen clearly is the inherent and natural beauty. It is a sign and level of being a slave to maintain it, to thank Allah for the characteristics and beauties one has and be content with what Allah has granted him/her.

Therefore, it is necessary not to make any changes in the body unless there is a vital need or obligation. A casual change like that may make man responsible for it. 

Our Prophet (pbuh), who prohibited making changes on the human body, informed those who added postiche and extra hair, who tattooed or had their bodies tattooed, who thinned their teeth in order to beautify them and women who plucked their eyebrows and eyelashes that they will be away from divine mercy because they change what Allah created and warned them. 

Acting upon that hadith, fiqh scholars state that a woman with hairs on her face like a mustache and beard can remove them; however, they also state that thinning eyebrows and changing their natural forms, cutting the eyelashes and using false eyelashes are not permissible because teeth, eyebrows and eyelashes are organs. There is no drawback to removing the hairs on the face for a woman because they are not original; they are things that appear later. Similarly, there is no drawback to removing the hairs on the legs for a woman because they are not organs like eyebrows.

When we look at the fiqh books, we see the following judgments:
– The hairs on the face that make  a woman ugly can be removed. If things like beard and mustache that are normally seen in men appear in women, it is permissible to remove them.

“Ibn Abidin says beard and mustache are not natural in women therefore it is mustahab (recomended) to remove them!

The best way to remove those hairs is not shaving but using natural depilatories like wax or powder.” ( Kadın İlmihali, Mürşide Uysal, p. 370)

It is understood that it is recommended for a woman to make herself attractive for her husband. One of the wisdom of it is protecting her husband from the attraction of other women.

As for the hairs between the eyebrows and around them:

“There is a normal form of the eyebrow of a woman. The hairs that are not normal, that seem ugly and make a woman ugly and therefore disturbing her can be removed. It is not permissible to thin the normal eyebrows and to change the places of the eyebrows in order to be up to date.” (Prof. Dr. Hayreddin Karaman)

The judgment about plucking the hairs on the face, thinning the eyebrows and lengthening the eyelashes of women has kept Islamic scholars busy a lot. Regarding this hadith of Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) “A woman who plucks or has the hairs on her face plucked is cursed by Allah” (Bukhari, 'Libas', 84; Muslim, 'Libas', 120), Islamic scholars have discussed what acts that expression included."

According to most of the scholars, it is permissible for a woman to remove the hairs that are not natural for a woman (like beard, mustache), to wear make up and to remove the scattered hairs around her eyebrows (between the eyebrows and around them) in order to seem beautiful for her husband with the permission of him; the prohibition in the hadith is to remove her hairs on the face and to pluck her eyebrows when she goes out and for non-mahram men.

Consequently, it is better to understand the plucking that is prohibited in the hadith not as the hairs that appear later as a result of an illness and that make the face ugly (like beard and mustache) but as thinning the eyebrows or plucking the hairs of eyebrows to move them upwards in order to seem beautiful for others. 

Man needs to show respect to the body that his Lord entrusted him to the extent that he believes in Allah and needs to thank Him for His bounties. Therefore, when a Muslim woman maintains the beauty that Allah gave to her face, it shows her respect to Allah; and when she adds more beauty to it by reflecting the spiritual luminescence of the peace of her, it shows her love towards allah, the Exalted, the owner of that face. (Dr. Jale Şimşek)

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