It is reported in the Hadith that Allah Ta’ala loves beauty. But beauty is not everything people regard as beautiful. Beauty has its limits and description in Islam. Most things which are beautiful to kuffaar are ugly in terms of Islam. Nudity, immorality, kuffaar dress-styles, kuffaar hair-styles, wandering in the public bare-headed for both men and women, etc., while beautiful for non-Muslims, are ugly and haraam for Muslims.
Acts of so-called beauty which cause change in the natural physical appearance are termed in the Qur’aan Shareef and the Hadith taghyeer li khaliqillaah. Such change is described in the Qur’aan as an act of shaitaan. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) invoking the la’nat of Allah Ta’ala on women who tattoo, file their teeth, pluck hair from their faces and eyebrows, artificially lengthen their hair, etc. described these acts as wroughting changes in the creation of Allah Ta’ala.
In the Tafseer of Aayat 118 and 119 of Sura Nisaa’, Al-Qurtubi explains:
“Abu Ja’far Tabari said: ‘In the Hadith of Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) is daleel that it is not permissible for (a woman) to change anything in her natural form in which Allah has created her, whether (the change effected) is by increasing or decreasing (anything in her natural form) for the sake of gaining beauty for her husband or for anyone else.” (Al-Jaami’ Li Ahkaamil Qur’aan)
The rigid position adopted by some authorities in this regard, is stated by Al-Qurtubi in the tafseer of the same verses:
“Regardless of whether such change is by her making gaps between the teeth or she has an extra tooth and extracts it, or she has long teeth and has the ends cut. Similarly, it is not permissible if a beard or
moustache or hair grows on her face, for her to shave it off because such an act will be taghyeer khalqillaah (changing what Allah has created).
Qaadhi Iyaadh said: ‘…If an extra finger or limb has grown, it is not permissible to cut it off or to remove it because that will be taghyeer khalqillaahi ta’ala, except if these deformities cause pain, then there is nothing wrong in removing them according to Abu Ja’afar and others.’
In the same category is the statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): ‘Allah curses the waasilah and the mustausilah. Muslim has narrated it. Thus Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has forbidden that a woman joins hair to her hair (i.e. artificially lengthening it). Waasilah is the woman who
effects this act (i.e. the ‘beautician’). Mustausilah is the woman who has this act done to her. Asma Bint Abi Bakr said: ‘A woman came to Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and said: ‘O Rasulullah! I have a daughter who has just got married. Small-pox (or measles) afflicted her and her hair fell out. Can I artificially lengthen it?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Allah has cursed the waasilah and the mustausilah.’
All these (the verses and the ahaadith) are Nass (categoric statements) making haraam joining of hair. Imaam Maalik and a Jama’at of Ulama have said this”. (Al-Jaami’ Li Ahkaamil Qur’aan)
There are differences of opinion among the Fuqaha on issues such as removal of deformities, etc. But from what has been explained it should be abundantly clear that taghyeer li khalqillaah is a haraam and an accursed deed which the Qur’aan Majeed attributes to shaitaan.
Long hair for woman is the accepted and encouraged form of beauty in Islam. But when a physical change is effected to gain even desired and lawful beauty, then it becomes unlawful and falls within the scope of the satanic act. Joining artificial hair brings about a change which is deceptive, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) refused permission for this deceptive change even when the hair of a woman had fallen out on account of an ailment. So severe is the prohibition for taghyeer li khalqillaah that the la’nat of Allah Ta’ala afflicts such a person. Acquisition of beauty is therefore not a valid reason for effecting change in khalqillaah.
Now when artificially the hair is lengthened, no muthlah (disfigurement) and no ugliness occur. Nevertheless, the prohibition is severe enough to invite Divine Curse. What then is the judgement when the natural and beautiful ni’mat of divinely bestowed long hair is cut off ? In this case, several factors of prohibition aggravate the position and Divine Curse will be the consequence to a greater degree. Taghyeer li khalqillaah; disfigurement, ugliness, emulating kuffaar women, emulating men, violating the Islamic Urf and expressing ingratitude for the bounty of Allah Ta’ala are among the evils concomitant to women cutting their hair.
Removing deformities such as long protruding teeth or cutting off the ends is described as taghyeer li khalqillaah. Long protruding teeth are decidedly ugly, especially for a female. But she has to adopt sabr while in this transitory abode of the world and not shorten the teeth as the tafseer presented by the Maaliki Fuqaha has clarified.
When she is not allowed to remove an eleventh deformed finger nor long protruding teeth which make her ugly, then what is the intelligent Mu’min’s judgement regarding cutting off beauty awarded by Allah Ta’ala and commanded by the Shariah to uphold? When she is not allowed to remove ugliness on account of it forming a
natural constituent of her body, how can the Shariah permit her to remove the beautiful tresses which Allah Ta’ala has gifted to her? How can a Mu’minah cut off those tresses by which the Malaaikah of Allah recite His Tasbeeh?
“Subhaan The One who has beautified men with beards and women with tresses.”
Neither is knowledge required nor is there a need for great wisdom to understand this prohibition. Only thinking which is unadulterated with western influences and concepts is sufficient to understand the natural prohibition and the unnatural act of disfigurement of cutting hair for a woman.
In the aforementioned Hadith narrated by Asma Bint Abi Bakr (radhiyallahu anhumaa) which has been mentioned in brief in the tafseer of Imaam Qurtubi, the bride’s mother was prompted to seek permission from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to lengthen her daughter’s hair for the sake of pleasing her husband who was very upset to behold the ugliness which had developed in his young bride on account of her hair having fallen out. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not consider the fancy of the husband in this matter. Nabi-e-Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) responded with the invocation of la’nat for those who commit such acts of taghyeer li khalqillaah.
On the basis of such Ahaadith, have the Fuqaha ruled that even if the husband desires a form of beauty which is repulsive to Islam, he may not be obeyed. Obedience in the first instance is to Allah Ta’ala. It is indeed a self-evident fact that hair-cutting for women comes fully within the glare and scope of the Qur’aanic aayat forbidding taghyeer li khalqillaah and the Hadith of la’nat. For any unbiased Muslim who is conscious of the Deen there is no need to write a book of dalaail to convince him and to prove to him such a simple, straightforward mas’alah which has been known to the entire Ummah since time immemorial, from the time of Hawwaa (alayhas salaam) — the simple mas’alah that long hair and tresses are Waajib and cutting hair for women is Haraam. And, Allah guides whomever He wishes and misleads whomever He wishes.