The Laws of the Beard and Hair in the Light of Ahadith

by Shaykhul Hadith Hadhrat Moulana Fazlur Rahmaan Azmi


Islaam is a complete way of life. Just as all other aspects of Islaam, Mua'asharaat (social dealings) also play a vital role in Islaam. Guidelines regarding a person's outer appearance, form and clothing are contained in the teachings of Islaam. A true and complete Muslim is he who adheres to these Islaamic teachings and practices upon them. While Allaah Ta'aala is aware of our inner qualities, there is a social need for our outer condition to be correct. Therefore, the claim of having complete Islaam without one's outer condition being proper is false.

The religion of Islaam has given special guidelines regarding the hair. In this treatise, we will discuss the beard. The following words of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are narrated by many Sahaba in authentic Ahaadith: "Lengthen the beard and oppose the Mushrikeen (Idolaters) and the fire worshippers."

The many benefits of keeping a beard have been recorded in the kitaabs. Briefly, every nation and religion has some special distinguishing mark or symbol. Similarly different departments of a government also have distinguishing signs. The police have their own uniform, traffic officers a different uniform, and so too with the army and the naval forces. These differences makes an important effect on a person. History has proven that a nation which does not adhere to its distinguishing features finally loses its entire identity and dissolves with another nation.

When Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came to the world, Kufr and Shirk was common everywhere. The Mushrikeen (idolaters) had their own customs and rituals. Through Islaam, Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prepared a nation who were completely different from all other nations. They followed Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in every way - from Ibaadat (worshipping) and etiquettes right down to their outward appearance, attire and dress, according to the Quraanic injunction:

    "Assuredly there is an excellent example (pattern) for you in the Rasul (Messenger) of Allah(Sallallahu alahi wasallam)." [Surah Ahzaab No: 21]

Similarly Allaah Ta'aala has mentioned to the Ummat via Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam):

    "Say O Muhammed, (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), if you have love for Allaah then follow me." [Ale Imran No 31]

Following Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) means to tread on his path. From the above Aayat, it becomes apparent that the Qur'aan has given an order to this Ummat to follow the lifestyle, ways and outward appearance of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which he has ordered. There are many more verses mentioned in the Qur'aan regarding this.

The religion of Islaam is a natural religion. Any person who has a natural disposition will be inclined to the laws of Islaam. It is only in Islaam that a person's benefits lies. Keeping a beard and cutting the moustache is also from amongst these laws. It has also been the practice of the other Ambiya (A.S). Mention has been made in the Qur'aan about Haroon (Alaihis-Salaam's) hair and beard that it was so long that Moosa (Alaihis­Salaam) could hold it.

In a Hadith ten things have been mentioned as being from "fitrat" (nature). Ulema have interpreted "fitrat" to mean the way of the Ambiya (Alaihis­Salaam). Among these ten things, lengthening the beard and cutting the moustache has also been mentioned.

Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dahlawi (RA) has mentioned the following benefits of keeping a beard:

    The beard helps in differentiating seniors from juniors. It is a means of honour and beauty for a person. A person's man-hood is completed by keeping a beard. It is the Sunnah of all the Ambiyaa (Alaihis-Salaam).

Shaving the beard is the practice of the fire Worshippers, Hindus and most non-Muslims. Similarly, due to the fact that generally common people as well as people of low status shave their beards, a person who does not keep a beard will be included among them. [Maariful Hadith Vol.3 page 62 from 'Beard and the Sunnats of Ambiyaa, pg 129]

In shaving the beard one of the harms is that a person will be imitating the non-Muslims, and it has been narrated in a Hadith. 'The person who imitates a nation is from amongst them.’ [Abu Dawood Pg 559]

The above Hadith is an important principle of Deen from which many laws are extracted. Another harm of shaving the beard is that a person resembles females, as women do not have beards. It is narrated in a Hadith: "Nabi (Sallailahu alayhi wasallam) had cursed such men who imitate women and such women who imitate men.’ [Bukhari Pg 874 Vol 2]

May Allaah save us from the curse of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)

Allaah Ta'aala has kept this as a natural difference between man and woman. The person who opposes this is in actual fact opposing the decision of the Sovereign of all sovereigns, and he is changing the natural creation of Allaah Ta'aala. Allaah Ta'aala mentions: "(And follow) the nature of Allah according to which he has constituted mankind, and do not alter the creation of Allah." [Surah Rum No 30]

It is sufficient for a Muslim that one sacrifices oneself in only following the way of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The beard of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is described as follows in Shamaail Tirmidhi: "The beard of Nabi (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) covered his chest from right to left." [Shamaail Tirmidhi Pg 28]

It is narrated in Muslim Sharif that the hair of the beard of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was dense. [Muslim Vol 2 pg 259]

In Shamaail Tirmidhi it is stated that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had a thick beard (pg 2). The person who has a glimpse of love in his heart, will desire to follow Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He will gain satisfaction by the mere thought that he will be resembling Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).



It is stated in Fatawa Darul Deoband (Fatawa No. 967) that a Muslim who shaves his beard or trims it less than a fist length is a Faasiq (Transgressor). To read Salaat behind such a person is Makrooh. [Karachi Print Vol 3 pg 240]

At another place it is stated: "The person whose beard is shaven is a Faasiq, and just as his Imaamat for Fardh Namaaz is Makrooh-Tahrimi so is his Imaamat for the Taraweeh Salaat." [Fatawa No. 935 Vol 3, pg 226]

Mufti Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi writes in Ahsaanul Fatawa. "A person who trims or shaves his beard and adopts a western hairstyle is a Faasiq. Thus his Azaan and Iqaamat is Makrooh-Tahrimi. It is Mustahab (desirable) to repeat the Azaan, not the Iqaamat." [Vol 2 pg 286]

It is stated in Durre Mukhtar: To trim the beard less than a fist length (as some people of the west and some men who imitate women do) has not been regarded as permissible by any Scholar. To shave the entire beard is an act of the Jews of India and the non-Arabs and the fire worshippers. [Durre Mukhtaar with Shaami Vol.2 pg.123 Rasheedia Print]

The above text indicates that to shave the beard and trim it less than a fist length is not permissible. The Ulema of all four Schools of Fiqh (Hanafi-Maliki-Shafi-Hambali) have consensus on this Masala (ruling).

[Refer to Al-Minhal-ul-Gharbul Morud - commentary of Abu Dawood Vol.1 pg.186, Ibn Hazam Zaahiri regards keeping of the beard as Fardh (Almahali Vol 2 pg 220]

The verdict of the four Imaams of fiqh has been quoted in Moulana Mohammed Zakariya (RA)'s book entitled "Dhari ka Wujoob" and Mufti Saeed Ahmed Palanpuri's book entitled "Dhari our Ambiyaa ki Sunnat" as well as Mufti Mohammed Shafi (RA)'s book entitled "Jawahir-ul-fiqh." The above books can be referred to.



All Ulema regard keeping of the beard at least one fist length, as being Waajib or Fardh and trimming it less than this as Haraam on the basis that it is the nature and disposition blessed upon man by Allaah Ta'aala. Similarly it was the pattern and practice of all the Ambiyaa (Alaihis­Salaam). Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has always emphatically commanded the keeping of the beard. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his blessed Companions also practised upon it. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) abhorred such Kaafirs who shaved their beards. He disliked even looking at them.


    Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: "Oppose the Mushrikeen (idolaters) and lengthen the beard and shorten the moustache." [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 875]

    Abu Hurairah (Radhiallahu-anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: "Trim the moustache and lengthen the beard (let the beard hang). Oppose the fire worshippers." [Muslim Vol 1 pg 129 Pakistani Edition]

    Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: "Ten things are fitrat (natural). To cut the moustache and lengthen the beard (are from amongst these ten things)." [Muslim Vol 1 pg 129]

    Ibn Abbas (RA) reports from Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed such men who imitate women and such women who imitate men. In one narration it stated that such people should be thrown out of their houses. [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 874]

From the above narrations the Mujtahideen and Fuqaha have decreed that it is waajib to keep a beard, because there is a common order mentioned in the Hadith proving wujoob (compulsory) and when there is no reason to take any other meaning. In these Ahaadith there is no other reason, hence it proves wujoob.

Imaan Nawawi writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim that the word "Ifaa" (as mentioned in the Hadith) means to lengthen. The word "afoo" means the same. It was the habit of the Persians to shave their beards. The shariat has forbidden it [commentary of Sahib Muslim Vole 1 Pg 129]. Thereafter Imam Nawawi (RA) writes five words have been mentioned in the various narrations. The explanation of all these words are that the beard should be kept in its original form. [Vol 1 pg 129).

Hafiz ibn Hajar(RA) has also written in the commentary of Sahih Bukhari that the fire worshipers used to shave the beards and some of them used to trim it. The Ahaadith has ordered that these ways should be opposed. [Fathul Baari Vol 10 pg 288]

All the Sahaba, Tabieen and pious believers have acted upon this order of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Acting contrary to this order has not been recorded. Instead, stern warnings and admonitions have been narrated for not keeping a beard. Therefore, this command is wajib (compulsory).

Hadith No. 4 on P.6 indicates that shaving the beard amounts to imitating women, and therefore one is cursed by Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and being distanced from the mercy of Allaah. The sin on which a stern warning is given is regarded as a Major Sin. Thus to shave the beard is also a major sin, and the person who commits a major sin is faasiq (i.e. being outside the bounds of Allaah's orders and obedience). The Imaamat and Azaan of a Faasiq is Makrooh, similarly a faasiq's testification and evidence is rejected. Therefore the Muftis have passed the ruling of wujoob for keeping a beard. (May Allaah save all the Muslims from this curse).



Hafiz Ibn Katheer(RA) has quoted an incident in his book, Al Bidayah wa Nihaya, that Bazaan, a minister of the king of Persia (Kisra) sent two men to capture Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) (May Allaah forbid). When two men came, Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) disliked to even look at them as their beards were shaven and their moustaches long. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked them: "Who ordered you to do this (i.e. shave your beards and keep your moustaches long)." They replied: "Our Rabb, Kisra (King of Persia)." Upon this Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: "But My Rabb ordered me to lengthen my beard and cut my moustache." [Al Bidayah wa Nihaya Vol.1 pg 270]

This incident has been quoted in many books.

Note: Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) objected to their actions although they were Kaafirs, and even disliked looking at them. Hence, one can imagine how unpleased and unhappy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be if an Ummati of his who claims to have love for him, shaves the beard. One of the three questions that will be asked in the grave "What have you to say regarding this person." According to some Ulema the blessed face of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be presented when this question will be asked. How will a person who shaves his beard face Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). What a great deprivation will it be if Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has to turn his face away because of his unhappiness and dislike. Similarly on the plains of reckoning also a person will come in front of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) for intercession. What answer will a person have to offer if Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has to ask "that you neglected my way and chose the ways of my enemies, the Kuffaar and the Mushrikeen?"

May Allaah Ta'aala grant us the ability to repent sincerely and conform to the Sunnat of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Many sins are such that a person only remains a sinner while he is involved in that particular sin e.g. adultery - homosexuality - drinking - lying - stealing etc. When he stops doing so, then the sin also comes to an end. Trimming or shaving of the beard on the other hand is such a sin that until a person repents and starts keeping a Shari Beard, he will remain a perpetual sinner. He will be regarded as a sinner even whilst sleeping or eating and even whilst performing Ibaadat. This increases the seriousness of this sin. At the time of Ibaadat, just as Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) abhorred it, similarly if Allaah Ta'aala does not focus the level of acceptance on the person, then his Ibaadat will not reach the level of acceptance. Then ponder and think what will be that person's condition in the Aakhiraat (Hereafter)!


Mirza Qateel was a Persian poet of the past who rendered many poems on Marifat (Recognition of Allaah) and wisdom (Hikmat). An Iranian, after reading Qateel's poems, became his ardent follower and finally came to meet him, expecting him to be a very pious person. When the Iranian person came, he saw the poet shaving his beard. Surprised, he asked "You are shaving your beard?" Qateel replied: "Yes I am shaving my beard but I am not hurting anyone's heart." Upon this the person immediately said: "Why not, you are hurting Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) heart." Hearing this the poet fell unconscious. After regaining consciousness he recited a Persian couplet which means:

    "Thanks to you, for opening my eyes and making me understand."



The Ulema have a difference of opinion as to what is the actual length by which a person will fulfil the wujoob (compulsion) of the beard.

A group of Ulema are of the opinion that there is no particular length of the beard. A person should let it grow on its natural course, without interfering. They prove their view by stating that many different words have appeared in the Ahaadith which all indicate that the beard should be left to grow in its natural way, and no Hadith proves that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) trimmed or shaved it. Imaam Nawawi (RA) states that the apparent words of the Ahaadith (i.e. it should be left to grow) and a group of Ulema hold this view, including the Ulema of the Shafi school of thought. [Commentary of Nawawi with Sahih Muslim Vol 1 pg 129]

A second group of Ulema state that the Ahaadith do not imply that the beard should be left to grow on its natural course no matter how long it becomes. However, the Ahaadith imply that the beard should be so long that a person differs from the fire worshippers, who cut or trim their beards. Hence, this group of Ulema maintain that the beard can be trimmed once its length reached a fists length. The Ulema of the Hanafi school of thought also hold this view. The proof of their view is that it is reported that the narrators of the Ahaadith, Hadhrat Ibn Umar(RA) and Abu Hurairah (RA) as well as Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) used to trim that part which exceeded a fist length. The meaning of the Ahaadith is best understood by its narrators. A person can understand the context of the Hadith by the narrator's actions.

Imaam Bukhari (RA) also gives preference to this view. After mentioning the Hadith of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in which it is stated that the beard should be kept in its normal form and the moustache should be cut thoroughly, Imaam Bukhari (RA) thereafter mentions the action of Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) that when he used to proceed for Hajj or Umrah he used to hold his beard with his fist and trim the excess hair (below it). [Bukhari Vol.2 pg 875]

Hafiz ibn Hajar(RA) states that it is quite apparent that Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) did not link the action of trimming the beard with Haj or Umrah. However, he took the Hadith to mean that the beard should be lengthened but not to that extent which spoils the appearance of a person (looks untidy). Thereafter Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) quoted the text of Tabri in which the actions of Ibn Umar, Abu Hurairah and Umar (Radhiallahu-anhuma) are mentioned. Their actions were general, it was not linked to Haj of Umrah. [Fathul Baari Vol 10 pg 350]

Some Ulema maintain that the beard should be left according to its normal growth. However, at that time, Ulema say Jaabir (Radhiallahu-anhu) says that we used to leave our long beards as they were except at the time of Haj or Umrah. This narration appears in Abu Dawood with a reliable sanad (chain). The above Hadith indicates that they used trim their beard at the time of Haj or Umrah only. [Fathul Baari Vol 10 pg 350]

Tabri has chosen Ataa's (Radhiallahu-anhu) view. It has been narrated from Hasan Basri and Atta (Radhiallahu-anhu) that a person may trim only a little from the length and width of the beard. Tabri has proven this view of his from a narration in Tirmidhi Sharif in which it is stated the Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to trim a little from the length and breadth of his beard [Vol.2 pg.105]. However this is a very weak narration. It cannot be used as proof. Therefore, it is rather appropriate to prove it from the actions of the Sahabah (Radhiallahu-anhum), and the narration of Tirmidhi can only be taken as a added support to this view, not as a proof. The condition of the beard being one fist is mentioned in these narrations which describe the action of the Sahabah (Radhiallahu-anhum).

Imaam Nawawi(RA) gives preference to the first view (i.e. the beard should be left as is) as mentioned in authentic narrations. Therefore, the preferred view according to Imaam Nawawi(RA) probably refers to the times other than Haj in his view, because Imaam Shafi (RA) has clearly stated that it is Mustahab to trim the beard at the time of Haj and Umrah. [Fathul Baari Vol 1 0 pg 350]

From the above discussion it is quite clear and apparent that no Scholar holds the view that it is permissible to shorten the beard less than a fists length.

Note: It is stated in a few books that it is Masnoon (Sunnat) to keep the beard a fist length. [Durre Mukhtar Vol.2 pg.123 Rashidia print]. This statement does not apply that it is only Sunnat to keep a beard and not waajib or that there is no sin in doing so. This is a grave misconception, because immediately thereafter it is mentioned that to shorten it less than a fist length is not permissible. It is the custom of a few westerners and a custom of those men who imitate women. Therefore, the correct interpretation of the above text is that it is Sunnat to trim the beard after it has reached a fist length. In other words the wujoob (compulsion) of keeping the beard will be fulfilled by keeping it a fist length. The Sunnat method of fulfilling this waajib act is that the beard should only be a fist length. The excess should be trimmed. This is the correct interpretation of the above text which is not contrary to the wujoob of lengthening the beard.

However, whosoever maintains that it is Sunnat to trim the beard after a fists length should present proof as there is no Marfoo Hadeeth (i.e. a Hadith which has the words or actions of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)) to that effect. Proof cannot be taken from Hadith of Tirmidhi, as one of the Raawis (narrators), Umar bin Haroon is a very weak narrator and no mentions of a fist length is made in that Hadith. Therefore, Imaam Shafi (RA) has only regarded trimming the beard after a fist length as Sunnah at the time of Haj or Umrah. Similarly the narration that Imaam Bukhari(RA) quotes stated that Ibn Umar(RA) used to only trim excess of a fist's length at the time of Haj or Umrah. Ibn Umar (RA) used to perform Haj in one year and Umrah in the next. [Bukhari pg 648]. This indicates that he only trimmed it once a year and it is quite apparent that the beard used to grow more than a fist's length thereafter. It is said that Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) used to trim his beard at other times besides Haj and Umrah as Hafiz Ibn Hajar(RA) maintains due to the narration of Tabri. On the contrary, as his act contradicts the apparent Hadith this will be regarded as exception and the only leverage and permission will be proven from his action. Therefore, it will be appropriate to say that the excess after a fist length may be trimmed. According to Shah Muhammed Ishaq Muhaddith Dehlawi (RA) it is preferable not to trim even the excess of a fist length. [Tirmidhi - footnotes Vol.2 pg 105]

Some Scholars have also written that it is waajib to trim the excess of a fist length. This view is also incorrect. When trimming of the beard is not regarded and proven as Sunnah, how can it be regarded as waajib? Therefore by the word "Waajib" those scholars imply "Thabit" i.e. it is proven. Other scholars have mentioned the word "Afzal" i.e. it is preferred in place of the word "Wujoob" -it is waajib. [Durre Makhtar and Shaami Vol.2 pg.123]

Similarly it is incorrect to state that there is no specific length of the beard. The beard is that which you take to be the beard. Maududi has mentioned the above in his book Rasaail-wa-Masaail. The Shariat has ordered that the beard should be left as is so that it may grow. If the action of Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) and other Sahabah (RA) were not present, then to trim the excess of a fist's length would also have been impermissible.



After discussing the beard and moustache, it is just appropriate that we discuss the Ahaadith and masaail concerning the hair of the head because deficiency and extremism is noted in this matter also. A person should follow the Sunnat pattern as far as his hair is concerned and refrain from those ways which are impermissible.

Khatibi and other scholars state that it was the custom of the Arabs to keep long hair and beautify themselves by it. Shaving of the hair was not common amongst them, in fact at times they considered shaving of the head as an act of fame and the way of non-Arabs. Therefore, it used to be difficult for the Sahabah (RA) to shave their heads at the time of Haj and Umrah. Hence, they used to suffice on Qasr (i.e. trimming of the hair). [Fathul Bari Vol 3 pg 564]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) therefore gave more virtue on shaving all the hair (i.e. at the time of Haj or Umrah) There is a greater extent of obedience found in it, as a person subjects himself completely to the laws of Shariah, and accepts it sincerely with a true heart. Those who only trim their hair are keeping some beauty, and a person who shaves his head complete sacrifices this [Ibid]. Hence the reward is greater.

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in whose lifestyle is an excellent way for the Muslims always used to keep hair and not shave it. On two occasions only has it been proved that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) shaved his hair - once on the occasion of Hudaibiyah in the 6th year of Hijri and a second time at the occasion of the farewell Haj which took place in the tenth year of Hijiri. Khaaresh bin Umayaw (Radhiallahu-anhu) cut Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) hair at Hudeibiyah and Ma'mar bin Abdullah (RA) at the farewell Hajj. [Fathul Bari Vol 1 pg 274 & Vol 3 pg 564]


THE LENGTH OF NABI'S HAIR (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)

Hadhrat Anas (radhiallahu-anhu) reports that the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached till half the ear. [Shamaail Tirmidhi pg.2]

In another narration Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)'s hair was not completely curly nor completely straight but it was in between, and it reached between the ears and shoulders.

In a third narration from Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) it is reported that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) hair touched his shoulders. [Bukhari Vol.2 pg.876]

Hadhrat Baraa bin Aazib(RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) hair was up to the earlobes. In another narration it is stated that it was near his shoulders [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 876]. In a third narration it is stated that the hair was above "Jumma" and below the "Wafra" i.e. it was between the ears and shoulders. Hind bin Haalah (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that when Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to lengthen his hair it exceeded the earlobes [Shamaail Tirmidhi pg 2]. Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) states that the crux of all the narrations is that the long hair reached the shoulders when it was long and that when the hair that was not long, it reached the earlobes.

Hadhrat Baraa bin Aazib(RA) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) hair was up to the earlobes. [Fathul Bari Vol.1 pg.258]

Mulla Ali Qari(RA) writes whilst explaining the Hadith of Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) "the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was up to half the ear."

"It has been said that most of the hair (or in a few instances when no middle path was made) the hair reached half the ear. Hence, this does not contradict those Ahaadith in which it is stated that the hair reached the shoulders and was lying on the shoulders." [Jamal Wasaail (Commentary of Shamaail) pg 74 Vol.1]

When the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to grow very long it used to be cut up to half of the ear. The head ends at the bone between the neck and head. Therefore, the hair that was on the neck was cut. In this instance it reached half the ear. Then it grew till it reached the earlobes. Thereafter it grew further till it reached the place between the ear and neck. Finally it reached the shoulders. In this manner there is no contradiction amongst the different narrations. All are correct. To keep one's hair till the shoulders is proven from an authentic narration of Bukhari Sharif.

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) states that at most times Nabi's (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) hair reached close to his shoulders. It exceeded this length to such an extent that locks used to be formed and Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to gather it, as it has been stated by Umme Hani(RA) in Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi that when Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came to Makkah he had four locks of hair. Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) states that this happened while travelling when the hair was not groomed. (Allah knows best). In an authentic Hadith of Abu Dawood, Nisaai and Ibn Majah, Waail bin Hujr (Radhiallahu-anhu) states, "When I came in Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) presence my hair was long. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: 'This is bad’ I returned and cut my hair. The next day when I came again Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: 'I was not referring to you but it is good (that you cut your hair)'." [Fathul Baari and Abu Dawood Vol 10 pg 360 and Abu Dawood Vol 2 pg 576]

The above indicates that although it is permissible to keep long hair but, it is not preferable. [Bazlul Majhood Vol 6 pg 77]

The very same explanation (as the above) will apply to the Hadith in which Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said that Khuraim Asadi (RA) is a good person if his hair was not long and his trousers were not below the ankles. When Khuraim (Radhiallahu-anhu) heard of this he took a pair of scissor and cut his hair till his ears and lifted his garment up to half of his shin. [Abu Dawood, Mishkat pg.382]

Hadhrat Sheikh Muhammad Zakaria (RA) explains the Hadith of Umme Hani (Radhiallahu-anha) thus: "For men to have locks on the hair like women is Makrooh." By locks is meant such locks which do not resemble the plaits of women as Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has himself prohibited that. [Khasail Nabawi pg 26]

Hence, the meaning of the words that appear in the Ahaadith is that the hair was separated into two, joined and made round, not that the hair was plaited like a woman's. [Dhari aur Ambiya ki Sunnatte pg 94]

It is a very important principle in Shariah that men do not imitate women and vice versa. It is stated in a Hadith that the curse of Allaah is on those men who imitate women and on those women who imitate men. [Bukhari Vol 2 pg 874]

Hadhrat Ganghohi (RA) states that a person may lengthen his hair as much as he desires, however, to cut a portion of hair and leave another portion is an imitation of the Jews which is Makrooh. To lengthen all the hair equally is not an act of imitating the Jews, nor is it forbidden. Imitating women is when a person makes plaits like a woman's otherwise it will not be an act of imitation nor will it be Makrooh. (Allah knows best). [Fatawa Rashidia pg 484]

Doctor Mohammed Abdul Hay (RA), who was the Khalifa of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) writes in the book 'Uswae Rasool-e Akram' (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam):

    "The hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached the middle of his ears. In other narrations it is stated that it reached the ear itself."

A third narration states that it reached the earlobes. Besides the above it is also stated in other narrations that the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reached his shoulders or close to his shoulders [shamail Tirmidhi]

The deduction from all the above narrations is as follows:

    When Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to put oil and comb it, it used to become longer - otherwise it remained as it was. Another obvious conclusion is that the length used to increase before cutting it and the length would decrease after cutting it.

It is stated in Mawaahib-e-Ladunya and Majmaul Yihari:

    "When the hair of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was not cut for a long period it used to be long, and when it used to be cut it would be short."

The above also indicates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to cut his hair not shave it. However, regarding shaving it, he himself states that besides Hajj and Umrah, Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never shaved his head. [Madarij-un-Nabuwwah Uswa-e-Rasul Akram pg 1521]



It is also permissible to shave the head, besides the time of Hajj and Umrah, although it is preferable and Sunnat to keep hair in accordance to the practice of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, it is not even Makrooh to shave off all the hair as this Sunnat of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is from amongst the Sunnat-e-Zawaaid. As a habit Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to keep his hair not as an Ibaadat, hence it is not Makrooh (detestable) to leave out this Sunnat. [Check Fatawa Imdadia pg 299 vol.4]

Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade women from shaving their hair. [mishkaatpg 384]. Whilst explaining this Hadith Mulla Ali Qari (RA) states that this Hadith indicates it is permissible for men to shave their heads by taking the opposite meaning (i.e. If it is not permissible for women than it will be permissible for men who are the opposite sex). There is no difference of opinion regarding it being permissible for men shaving their heads.

However, there is a difference of opinion regarding whether the shaving of the head is Sunnah or not. Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallahu-anhu) shaved all his hair and Nabi (Sallailahu alayhi wasallam) substantiated it by not forbidding him.

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) states: "Hold fast to my way and the way of my Khulafa."

On the other hand Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as well as all the other Sahaba used to shave their heads. This means that to shave the head at all times besides the times of Haj and Umrah is regarded as being permissible.

This view is correct. [Mirqaat]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered that the hair of Jafar's (Radhiallahu-anhu) children be shaved after his demise. [Abu Dawood Vol.1 pg 577]. This Hadith proves that it is permissible to shave the head. Similarly this Hadith indicates that children can also keep long hair and in fact they used to keep long hair in the time of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It is stated in Bukhari that Ibn Abbas (RA) had long hair whilst he was still a child. Similarly in Abu Dawood it is stated that Anas (Radhiallahu-anhu) had long hair and in Nisaai it is stated that Husein (Radhiallahu-anhu) also had long hair. [Behesi Zewar Pg 967part 1]

Just as it is permissible to shave off all the hair, similarly it is permissible to shorten the hair on condition that it is shortened equally. The proof of this is the word "Mukhsaareen" in the Qur'aan which means "to shorten." However, to cut off all the hair and to keep the hair form the head which is in fashion nowadays is not permissible. [Behesi Zewar Pg 967part 11]

PROHIBITION OF QAZ’A (i.e. to cut a portion of hair and leave the rest)

This is prohibited. Its prohibition is proven from an authentic Hadith:

    Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that a child was brought to Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) whose hair was partly cut and the rest uncut. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Either cut it completely or leave it completely." [Muslim Mishkaat pg 380]



When a person keeps long hair according to the Sunnah, then he should keep in mind all the other Sunnats regarding the keeping of long hair.

They are as follows: Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to apply a lot of oil to his head, and he used to comb his beard. He also used a head cloth. (A piece of cloth which was placed on the head). It used to get soiled with oil, hence Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam's) clothes used to become oily. The narration of Sharhus Sunnah [mishkaat pg 380) is that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to say that whoever has hair should look after it. [Abu Dawood pg 573]. A person should wash his hair, apply oil and comb it. [Bazlul majhood pg.71]. The above narrations are regarded as "Hasan." [Fathul Baari Vol 10 pg 3681]

On one occasion Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw a person whose hair was dishevelled. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked:

    "Does he not find such a thing (oil etc.) by which he can gather / straighten his hair." [Ahmed / Nisaai - Mishkaat pg 375]

Ataa bin Yasaar (RA) narrates that once Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was in the Masjid. A person entered whose hair and beard were dishevelled. Nabi (Saliallahu alayhi wasallam) indicated to him to straighten his hair. He then straightened it and came back. Upon which Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked: "Is this not better than anyone of you coming with dishevelled hair, looking like Shaytaan." [Narrated by Imaam Malik-Mishkat pg 384]

The chain of this Mursal narration is authentic. Jaabir (Radhiallahu-anhu's) Hadith is in substantiation for the above which appears in Abu Dawood and Nisaai with a Hasan (reliable chain). [Fathul Bari Vol 10pg 367]

Ibn Abbas (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that before Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) received any command from Allaah Ta'aala, he preferred to act in accordance to the Ahle-Kitaab (Jews-Christians). For example, the Ahle Kitaab never used to make a middle path, but the Mushrikeens (Idolaters) used to. Thus, initially Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never made a middle path, but later he used to do so. [Bukhari Vol.1 pg.503; vol.2 pg.877 and Shamaail Tirmdhii pg 3]

Thus to make a middle path is Sunnat. [Bazlul Majhood Vol.6 pg.76]

Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) used to comb Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam)'s hair and she used to make the middle path in such a way that the hair used to be divided into two sections from the middle and she used to separate the hair of the forehead towards the two eyes. [Abu Dawood pg 576 gist of the Hadith]

Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) once asked Nabi (Safiallahu alayhi wasallam): "I have long hair, should I comb it?" Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied "Yes, and look after your hair." Hence Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) used to sometimes apply oil twice a day (i.e. apply oil and comb it) because of the order of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). [Imaam Malik has narrated this Hadith Mishkaat pg 384]

It is reported in Nisaai Sharif that Abu Qatadah (Radhiallahu-anhu) had long hair. He asked Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding it. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: "Look after it and comb it everyday." [Nisaai pg.291]. Hence combing of the hair every day is proven from this Hadith.

However, Abdullah bin Mughafal (Radhiallahu-anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has prohibited combing of the hair every day. [Tirmidhi Vol pg 305 and Shamaail Trimidhi pg 4].

Tirmidhi has stated that this Hadith is Hasan and Sahih.

The reason for the above Hadith, according to Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) is that a person should refrain from attracting a lot of attention to beautifying oneself. In another authentic Hadith, Abu Ummah (Radhiallahu-anhu) states that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: Simplicity is part of Imaan, [Abu Dawood]. Imaam Nisaai has quoted a Hadith in which Ubaid (Radhiallahu-anhu) reports that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to prohibit beautifying oneself excessively. [Fathul Bari Vol 10 pg 368].

Therefore, the Ulema say that if a person's hair becomes dishevelled easily then one can comb it every day but if it is not dishevelled then a person should comb it occasionally. [Gist of Khasaail Nabawi pg 28].

Masala (Ruling): When a person combs his hair he should first make the path of the right side then the left. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) reports the Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) preferred this way - [shamaail pg 4]. Therefore, this is the Sunnat method for woman. The path should be in line with the nose. Today the custom is to have side paths. This is un-Islamic. [Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 94].

Masala: It is forbidden to trim the hair of the nape. The Fuqaha [jurists) have prohibited it. [Safaaie Muamalaat - Hadhrat Thanwi and Dhari our Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 97]. The hair is till half the ear. Below that, is regarded as the neck.

The hair of the neck may be cut, not the hair above that. Therefore, it is Makrooh to trim or cut the hair at the nape.

Besides cutting the hair up to the ear, there is no proof that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cut his hair from any other side. Therefore, a person should not cut the hair from any other side - not from the side of the ear nor from the forehead. Now-a-days westerners cut their hair in many different fashionable ways. All these ways are un-Islamic, thus one should avoid them. [Check Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 98]

Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has mentioned in one Hadith:

The person who imitates others is not from amongst us. Do not imitate the Jews and the Christians. The Jews greet with a sign of the fingers and the Christians with their hands or palms, and they do not cut the hair of the forehead. Cut your moustaches thoroughly and lengthen the beard. Also, do not walk in the Masjid and market places without wearing a lungi (or trousers) under your kurta. [Narrated by Tabrani at Targheeb wat Tarheeb pg 435 Vol 3]

Saving oneself from imitating others is an important principle in the Shariah. One should be constantly aware of this. In one Hadith it is stated that the person who imitates a nation is from amongst them. [Abu Dawood pg.559]. That one should not imitate others in dressing and appearance is sufficiently emphasized for anyone to understand.


Imaam Muslim, Imaam Tirmidhi and others have narrated the Hadith of Umme Salma (Radhiallahu-anha) wherein she asked Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

"I make the plaits of my hair tight. Should I loosen it at the time of taking Ghusl from Janaabat (impurity)?" Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: "No, it is sufficient that you pour water over your head thrice, then pour water over your body." [Tirmidhi pg 29]. This Hadith indicates that it is sufficient that water reaches the roots of the hair. It is not necessary to loosen the plaits and wet all the hair. This is the ruling of the Ulema as well.

N.B. From the above Hadith we learn that women at the time of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to keep long hair and plait it. The incident of Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) appears in Bukhari Sharif (pg.45) that when she was in Ihraam she used to loosen her hair which indicates that she used to plait it (when not in Ihraam). Many other incidents also prove the above. This is also from where the law of keeping long hair and of plaiting it is derived. Women have been prohibited from shaving their heads. [Nisaai and Mishkaat pg.384]. Even at the time of Hajj and Umrah the ruling is that a little bit of hair be cut. It is not permissible to shave it. Also, we learn from the Hadith in Bukhari, the woman who imitates a man is accursed, and it is permissible for men to lengthen their hair up to the shoulders and below it also. Thus, if a woman cuts her hair up to the shoulders or below it, it will amount to her imitating men. This is prohibited and an accursed action. Therefore, it has been mentioned in the books of fiqh that if a woman cuts her hair she will be sinful and worthy of curse. [Durre Mukhtar with Shami Vol.5 pg 288]

Nowadays, women cut their hair for the sake of fashion and in order imitate non-Muslim women. It is in imitating these women, that this practice has become common amongst Muslim women also. Therefore it is completely forbidden. It is mentioned in a Hadith:

    "Whosoever imitated a nation will be from amongst them." [Abu Dawood pg.559]

It is of paramount importance that women save themselves from imitating men as well as non-Muslim women, as learnt from the Ahaadith. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed those women who don men's clothing as well as those men who wear women's clothing. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radhiallahu-anha) was once asked to rule regarding a certain lady who wore shoes (like that of men). She replied that Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed that woman who imitates men. [Abu Dawood pg.566]

The above makes it abundantly clear that it is forbidden for women to cut their hair, to wear clothes like that of males, to wear shoes like that of men and to behave like men. [Dhari aur Ambiyaa Sunnate pg.96]

Masala (Ruling): It is permissible for an old woman who is a widow, and who does not need to beautify herself due to old age, to shorten her hair a little. There is scope for it. The action (of cutting the hair) of the blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will be analyzed as above. However, it should be remembered that it is only permissible in the above mentioned instance. To do so specially because of fashion, is completely impermissible. Allaah Ta'aala is aware of the deceit within the heart. [Dhari aur Ambiyaa ki Sunnate pg 97]

Regarding the Hadith in Muslim Sharif in which it is stated that the blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to cut their hair, the commentators of Muslim Sharif, Qadhi Ayaaz(RA) and others explain the very same meaning as above (i.e. it is permissible for an old widowed woman who does not beautify herself). Qadhi Ayaaz writes that the Arab women used to tie plaits. The blessed wives of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did so after his demise as they stopped beautifying themselves, hence no longer needing to lengthen their hair. Imaam Nawawi(RA) states that this is the only reason. This action cannot even be imagined during the lifetime of Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). [Muslim Sharif with the commentary of Imaam Nawawi pg.148 Vol 1]