Can women cut their hair?

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Q.) I have read the material on Women's hair length that is on the site, but I have some further questions on the same topic.

I've never come across a source that clearly identifies guidelines for the hair length of a female's hair.

All I've heard is fatwa chatter saying women's hair should be shoulder length to maintain the identity that she actually is a female. Then on the other hand you have men who grow their hair long because its "sunnat". Wait a second . . . doesn't that blur the line of differentiation between a man and a woman? Does he not look more like a female?

Women who naturally have short hair, what of them? Or those who have to keep short hair for a particular reason even if it is fashion?

The identity of a woman can be preserved through many features and that's not only the length of the hair.

Why is there a restriction on it but never any clear cut guideline? Please elaborate on this topic


A.) Firstly, we would like to clarify that there is no Fatawa stating that 'women's hair should be shoulder length to maintain the identity.'

The Fatwa is that a woman should let her hair grow naturally long even way below the shoulder line and is only allowed to trim the bottom to even out the split ends or to enhance the growth. This trimming does not exceed more than a few inches.

Hence, it is in no way permissible for a woman to shorten her hair up to shoulder length. A woman who has naturally short hair is obviously exempted. As for men, it has been established through the Hadith of Rasulullah that he used to, at times, have hair which reached up to his shoulders. There is a clear distinction between males and females. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Update by Mufti Taqi Usmani

Update: I have to make it clear that I have never issued any fatwa for the permissibility of the hair cut prevalent among the modern women which has a clear resemblance with non-Muslims. The question frequently asked here in my country was that some women cut their hair from the lower side in the belief that it will help in speedy growth of their hair and will make their hair longer in future. Cutting of the hairs in this case does not exceed a few inches. Similarly, some women do this to equate the level of their hairs from the lower side. I was frequently asked about this type of cutting. Since it does not have any resemblance with men or non-muslim women which was the basic cause of prohibition according to Imdad-ul-Fatawa v.4, p.227, and Imdad-ul-Ahkam v.4, p.354, I replied that this type of cutting or trimming is permissible.
As for my answer that is placed at the website, I have to clarify some points:

1. It was a question received at email. Since the question specifically mentioned that it relates to that type of hair cutting which has no resemblance with men or non-muslim women, I presumed that the person who has asked this question knows and admits the impermissibility of the prevalent haircut which resembles with non-muslim women, and the conditions mentioned in the question ruled out this possibility. Based on this presumption I replied in affirmative subject to these conditions.

2. The answer was given through email privately on the above presumption and was not intended to be published, but now when it has been published and was misused in favor of that haircut which has clear resemblance with non-muslims I feel that I should have clarified it in express terms.

Especially, after reading the question once again, I noticed that there is a sentence in the citation from Shaikh Abdullah which might create misunderstanding and which was perhaps missed by me at that time otherwise I would have clarified the issue at that time.

3. Now, it should be clearly understood that I have never issued a fatwa for the permissibility of cutting the hairs of women up to the shoulders or up to the ears, as is practiced by the European or American women, and in their imitation, by some others.

However, trimming the hair in order to make them grow quicker, or to bring them in a level in which there is no resemblance with men or non-muslim women is permissible. My answer that has been put on the website should be read in the light of this explanation.

Original question and answer follows.

Q.) I want to know the ruling on the hair cutting of women which involves:-

1. No resemblance with men.

2. No resemblance with Kaafir women.

3. Done with the consent of husband.

I have already heard of the general ruling on this subject that it is haram. But what makes me still ask the question is that the Arab Ulema including the grand Mufti of Saudia Sheikh Abdullah Bin Baz say: "We do not know anything (to disallow) cutting women's hair. What is forbidden is shaving it. You should not shave your hair but you may cut it and reduce its length or volume; we know of nothing wrong with that.

But that should be done in a proper manner which will please you and your husband. You should come to some agreement with him on a kind of haircut that does not resemble kaafir women, because if you leave it long, it will be a lot of trouble to wash it and comb it.

So if the hair is very long or thick, and the woman cuts it to reduce its length or volume, that doesn't matter. Cutting some of it will make it more beautiful, which will please both the woman and her husband. So we do not know of any reason to disallow that. But shaving it altogether is not permissible, except in the case of sickness. And Allah is the Source of strength." (See Fataawa al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah, part 2, p. 515)

So I want to know the Daleel of Ahnaf by which they say this to be haram. Kindly guide to the solution which is most near to Qur'an & Sunnah. Also tell me the views of the four respected Imams on this issue. [Abdul Mateen]

A.) Given the three conditions mentioned in your question I am agreeable to the Fatawa of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Baz.

Article taken (with Thanks) from



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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .