1st November 2013
Question: Are women allowed to dye their hair black or any other colour?
حامداً و مصلياً
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Generally, to dye the hair and beard are permissible using any other colour apart from black. Sayyidunā Abū Hūrairah radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Change the white hair but do not imitate the Jews.” (Tirmizi)
It is recommended to dye the hair using henna because it is Sunnah. The noble companions would also use henna to dye their hair and beard. Black dye however, is prohibited. Sayyidunā Abdullāh Ibn Abbās radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said; “There shall come such people towards the end of time where they will colour their hair with black like (the colour of) a pigeon’s chest but they shall not scent the fragrance of paradise.” (Abu Dāwood)
Sayyidunā Jābir radhiyallahu anhu relates that during the conquest of Makkah Sayyidunā Abū Bakr’s radhiyallahu anhu father, Sayyidunā Abu Quhāfah radhiyallahu anhu, was brought before the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam whose hair and beard was completely white. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam on seeing him remarked, ‘Dye his hair and beard with any colour but abstain from black’ (Muslim).
The underlying reason for the prohibition of using black hair-dye for men and women was to deceive others – making old people appear young in front of others. This is unanimous amongst all of the scholars. However, if a person applies black hair-dye to adorn themselves to please their spouse then the scholars have differed in this regard; Some scholars have disallowed it even in the case of adornment for one’s spouse. They argue that the prohibition of black colour has a general implication and adornment also comes into the category of deception therefore still prohibited. Other scholars, such as Imam Abu Yusuf rahimahullah one of Imam Abu Hanifah’s rahimahullah prominent students, has permitted black hair-dye for adornment purpose (for their spouse) and argued that adornment does not come under the category of deception. (Fatawa Hindiyyah, vol 5, p439).
Due to the delicacy of this issue the most preferred judgement in this regard given by Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani Sahib (May Allah preserve him) is as follows;
“The preferred judgement in this regard is that if it is applied for adornment purpose where a woman applies it to please her husband or the husband applies it to please his wife then this is not considered Haram, but rather Makrooh-e-Tanzeehi (discouraged and best to refrain from). As for the Hadeeth but abstain from black the explanation of this ruling would be that if it (black hair-dye) is applied to deceive others then this ruling (of prohibition) becomes bounded. If it is for adornment purpose for each other’s spouse then this ruling is preferred (discouraged) and to abstain from it is better otherwise if someone (in the case of adornment for one’s spouse) applies it then it will not be considered Haram.” (Taqreer Tirmizi, vol 2, p354)
In conclusion with the exception of pure black dye, it would be permissible to dye the hair with any other colour. To apply black hair-dye with the purpose of deceiving others is prohibited. For adornment purposes, it is better to refrain from but not Haram otherwise. One must be cautious that when dying the hair with colour it must not contain any impure ingredients nor to apply it with the intention of imitating those of other faiths.
[Allāh Knows Best]
Written by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed
Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam
JKN Fatawa Department