Is laser epilation permissible?

The Details of the Question

Is it religiously permissible for a woman to have the hair on her arms and legs removed through an operation in a way that will prevent it from growing again?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The parts of the body of a woman and man that need to be covered are called awrah. There are four types of awrah:

1. The awrah of a man for another man,
2. The awrah of a woman for another woman,
3. The awrah of a man for a woman,
4. The awrah of a woman for a man.


1. The awrah of a man for another man: The part of the body between the knees and the navel. It is haram to look at the body of another man between his knees and the navel. That is the view of the majority of the scholars. According to some Malikis, the thigh is not awrah.

2. The awrah of a woman for another woman is between the knees and the navel. It is not permissible to look at the body of another woman between her knees and the navel in any place including a public bath.  

3. The awrah of a man for a woman is between the knees and the navel if he is mahram. If he is non-mahram, according to some scholars, it is between the knees and the navel but according to others, it is the whole body. That is the view of Shafii madhhab. That is, it is haram for a woman to look at a man as it is haram for a man to look at a woman.    

4. The awrah of a woman for a man is the whole body including her face and hands according to Shafiis and Hanbalis. The whole body of a woman except her face and hands is awrah according to Hanafi and Maliki madhhabs.

It is haram to look at and touch awrah places. If it is necessary like giving birth or a treatment, it is permissible to the extent that it is necessary.  

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God Almighty created everybody 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 one 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. For, such an intervention that is made randomly can cause a person to be held responsible seriously.

The Prophet (pbuh), who prohibited to make changes in the human body without any real necessity, said that Allah had cursed the women who tattooed and who had themselves tattooed, those who plucked hair from their faces and those who made spaces between their teeth for beautification for changing what Allah had created and warned them and said that those who did them would be away from divine mercy.

Acting upon this hadith, fiqh scholars say 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. For, teeth, eyebrows and eyelashes are like organs. There is no drawback to removing the hair by a woman on her face that grows later and that were not present in the beginning because they are not like eyebrows or eyelashes. Similarly, it is permissible for a woman to remove the hair on her legs because it is not regarded as an organ like the eyebrow.   

When we look at fiqh books, we see the following decree:

– The hair on the face that makes a woman ugly can be removed. It is permissible for a woman to remove the hair that resembles the beard and mustache of men from her face.

“Ibn Abidin states that beard and mustache are not natural for women and hence it is mustahab to remove them. The best way of removing such hair is to use wax, powder or similar things, not to shave.” (Kadın İlmihali, Mürşide Uysal, p. 370)

It is understood that it is mustahab for a religious woman to make herself attractive to her husband. One of the reasons for it is to protect her husband from the attraction of non-mahram women.

- Is it permissible for men to have the hair on their faces removed?

It is permissible for women to remove the hair that resembles the beard and mustache that grow on men and that are natural for men from their faces. Beard and mustache are not natural for women; therefore, they can be removed; it is even mustahab to remove them. However, it is not permissible for women to have the thin, natural peach fuzz on their faces removed. It is included within the scope of the prohibition in the hadith "May Allah damn a woman who plucks the facial hair and has it plucked!" 

Men can have the hair that grows on their cheeks and that seem ugly other than the beard and mustache so as not to resemble mukhannas (a man who resembles women) people.  

- Can men and women have epilation?

Epilation is the name given to the application of burning the roots of the hair with a needle, etc. in order to prevent it from growing again. This application is used for the hair, especially on the face, that grows abnormally due to a hormonal disorder.

It is not appropriate for men to have epilation for the hair on their bodies though it is not haram. The exception for it is the extra unnatural hair that grows on the body due to a hormonal disorder. Men can have epilation in such cases.   

Women can have the extra unnatural hair that is not part of the eyebrows, resembling a beard and mustache on their faces removed. However, it is not permissible for women to shave and to have the thin, natural peach fuzz on their faces removed through such applications.

It is permissible for women to shave the hair on their arms and legs. It is also permissible for women to remove them through epilation.  

It is not permissible for women to have their hair removed through epilation by a non-mahram man. For, it is not an illness or something that is obligatory. It is not permissible for a woman to show her awrah places to non-mahram men unless it is obligatory.

If the person to apply the epilation procedure is a woman, it is necessary to act in accordance with the awrah limitations between women. That is, it is not permissible for a woman who wants to have epilation to show her body parts between her navel and knees to another woman.

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