Plucking the eyebrows for beautification.

Question

Some people say that is permissible for married women to beautify themselves for their husbands by means of plucking their eyebrows. They also attribute this permissibility as being the view of the Hanafi Madhab. Please Clarify!

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Ahaadith of the Prophet ﷺ clearly shows that it is prohibited for a woman to pluck/cut/shape/shave/thin her eyebrows. Irrespective of whether she is married or not.

لعن الله الواشمات والمستوشمات  والنامصات والمتنمصات والمتفلجات للحسن المغيرات خلق الله (متفق عليه)

Allah has cursed those women who practise tattooing and those women who have themselves tattooed, and those women who get their hair removed from their eyebrows and faces, and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth for beauty, whereby they change Allah’s creation.

This prohibition is explicitly mentioned in books of Hanafi Fiqh. Alaamah Ibn Abideen (ra) mentions in his famous commentary Radd al-Muhtaar that; the removal of facial hairs is prohibited except that if a woman grows a beard or mustache, in that case its removal will not be prohibited rather it will be recommended.

إزالة الشعر من الوجه حرام إلا إذا نبت للمرأة لحية أو شوارب فلا تحرم إزالته بل تستحب اهـ[1]

Contemporary Hanafi Jurists also concurs with this ruling of prohibition. Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani in his commentary of Sahih Muslim states the action of those women who cut/shape/trim/pluck their eyebrows and the sides of their faces is strictly Haram due to explicit Shari’ evidence. If however a woman grows a beard, mustache or chin hairs it will be permissible to remove it according to the Hanafi madhab.

و أكثر ما تفعله النساء في الحواجب و أطراف الوجه ابتغاء للحسن و الزينة حرام بنص الحديث أما اذا نبت للمراة لحية أو شارب أو عنفقة فأخذها حلال عند الحنفية هـ[2]

Thus it is clear from the text of the Hanafi books that it is impermissible to remove facial hairs unless they are irregular facial hairs which are regarded as blemishes, imperfections, deformity and blotches.

Misconception:

It is stated in the Hanafi books of Fiqh that a woman is allowed to pluck/cut/shape/shave/thin her eyebrows to beautify themselves for their husbands.

Clarification:

Women are encouraged to beautify and adorn themselves for their husbands, this action is strongly recommended by the Shariah. Beautification and adornment however must be within the limits of Shariah. Many see tattoos as and means of beatification however it is strictly prohibited in Islam therefore such beautification is impermissible.

At the time of the Holy Prophet ﷺ a mother of a newly wedded bride sought permission from the Prophet ﷺ for her daughter to wear a hair extension (using human hair) because her hair was falling off. The Prophet ﷺ objected and didn’t grant permission. He said to the mother that Allah curses the wasilah (the one who joins human hairs) and the mustawsilah (the one upon whom the action is done). In another narration of the same Hadith the mother said concerning the joining of her daughter’s hair that the husband will be pleased with it.

“و الزوج يستحسنها”  قال الشيخ تقي في شرحه على مسلم: و يمكن أيضا أن يكون ضمير التانيث الى شعور المراة و المراد انه يستحسن شعورها

This clearly shows that even though a somewhat need existed was there and it was for beautification for the husband the Prophet ﷺ did not allow it.

Alaamah Shaami (ra) after mentioning the Hadith in which the Prophet ﷺ prohibits the removal of facial hairs states: It is possible that the prohibition mentioned in the Hadith are for those women who beautify themselves in the presence strange men. Thereafter makes an exception to the ruling; “except that if the woman has irregular facial hairs because of which the husband to be disinclined towards her. Therefore to regard its removal as prohibited (in such a case) is farfetched since a woman is required to beautify herself”.

ولعله محمول على ما إذا فعلته لتتزين للأجانب ، وإلا فلو كان في وجهها شعر ينفر زوجها عنها بسببه ، ففي تحريم إزالته بعد أن الزينة للنساء مطلوبة للتحسين

To summarise Alaamah Ibn Abideen (ra) statement; A woman is prohibited from removing facial hairs for purposes of beautification for strange men. As for the removal of facial hairs for purposes of beautification and adornment for her husband then only the removal of those irregular hairs (which are regarded as a blemishes, imperfections, and deformities) are allowed to be removed as it causes disgust to the husband which results in a disinclination and lack of interest towards his wife.

Thus it is clear from the works of the Hanafi Jurists that the removal of facial hairs merely for beautification purposes is totally prohibited. He states that; the removal of the hairs from the face (which includes the eyebrows) is Haram except that if a woman has irregular hairs and if such is the case, it would be Mustahab to remove it.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Kaleem Muhammad

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

 

[1] الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (6/ 373)

[2] ص 115 ج 4