Rules Concerning Hair
by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra)
1. It is sunnah to grow one’s hair on the entire head till the ear lobes or slightly below them. If a person wishes to shave his head, it is sunnah to shave the entire head. It is also permissible to merely clip the hair. However, it is not permissible to clip all the hair and leave the front portion long, as is the fashion today. Similarly, it is also not permissible to shave a portion and leave another portion long. From this we deduce that it is not permissible to sport the babri hairstyle (or to cut the hair in the shape of a cap or to shape the front part of the hair).
2. If the hair has been lengthened considerably, it is not permissible to tie it into a tail like women.
3. It is harâm for women to shave the head or clip the hair on the head. The Hadith has cursed such women.
4. It is sunnah to clip the moustache to such an extent that it is clipped to the skin. There is a difference of opinion with regard to shaving the moustache. According to some it is a bid’ah, while others have permitted it. Caution demands that one does not shave it.
5. It is permissible to lengthen the moustache on the sides on the condition that the area above the lips is not lengthened.
6. It is harâm to shave or clip the beard. However, it is permissible to clip it if it is longer than the length of one fist. Similarly, it is permissible to clip it on all the sides in such a way that it becomes neat and straight (provided it is beyond one fist).
7. It is permissible to clip the hair and straighten the hair line that grows on the cheeks. Similarly, it is also permissible to straighten and cut the eyebrows a wee bit.
8. The hair on the throat should not be shaven. However, it has been related from Abû Yûsuf rahmatullâhi ‘alayh that there is no harm in this.
9. Shaving the hair of the lower lip is regarded as a bid’ah by the jurists. Therefore this should not be done. Similarly, they have said that it is makruh to remove the hair that is on the nape of the neck.
10. It is not permissible to pluck out grey hairs merely for the purposes of beautification. However, it is better for the mujâhidîn to do so in order to instil fear and awe in the hearts of the enemy.
11. The hair of the nose should not be tweezed out. Instead, it can be clipped.
12. It is permissible to remove the hair that is on the chest and back. However, it is not good to do so.
13. It is preferable for men to remove the hair of the pubic region from just below the navel onwards. When shaving, they should commence from below the navel. It is also permissible to use sulphurate of arsenic and other preparations (such as hair-removing creams, etc.) to remove the hair of the pubic region. As for women, the sunnah method is that they should remove the hair of the pubic region by pinching it out or tweezing it out and that they should not use a shaving machine.
14. It is preferable to remove the hair of the arm pits by tweezing them. However, it is permissible to shave them.
15. As for the hair of the balance of the body, it is permissible to shave it or retain it.
16. It is also sunnah to clip the nails of the feet. However, it is mustahab for the person who is engaged in jihad not to clip his moustache and nails.
17. It is preferable to clip the finger nails in the following order: commence with the index finger of the right hand until you reach the little finger. Thereafter, commence with the little finger of the left hand until you reach the thumb of the left hand. Thereafter, complete by clipping the thumb of the right hand. As for the toe nails, commence with the little toe of the right foot and end with the little toe of the left foot. This is the preferable method. However, it is permissible to clip in any way that may be contrary to this method.
18. Clipped nails and hair should be buried. If they are not buried, they should at least be kept in a safe place. However, they should not be kept in any impure, dirty place as there is the fear of falling ill.
19. It is not good to bite the finger nails as this is a cause of leprosy.
20. It is makruh to trim the hair, clip the nails and remove pubic hair while one is in a state of impurity.
21. It is preferable to remove the pubic hair, hair of the arm-pits, nails, to have a bath and cleanse oneself at least once a weak. It is best to do all this on a Friday before going for the jumu’ah salât. If one cannot do this on a weekly basis, he should carry it out every fortnight. If not, at least every forty days. There is no concession beyond forty days. If forty days expire and the person does not carry out the above, he will be committing a sin.
(Written by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra) in: Bahishti Zewar)