Is Cosmetic Surgery Permissible?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 

Question Summary

I have just recently removed a birthmark that was in the middle of my forehead. I wanted to remove it due to several reasons. The major ones are that I look like a Hindu to some people and that it’s annoying/irritating to have it in the middle of my forehead. Then there are little reasons, like marriage, etc., that pop up in my head from time to time.

My question is if what I did was permissible or not? I thought it was allowed, but now I’m unsure.

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him.

Your operation was lawful, and Allah knows best.

Still, believers should check the rulings of Sacred Law before and not after significant actions.

Cosmetic Surgery

Scholars have classified cosmetic surgery into essential and non-essential.

Essential Cosmetic Surgery

Necessary cosmetic surgery refers to the type of procedure that “fixes” what is perceived to be an abnormality. Examples of the essential category address “faults” resulting from sickness, traffic accidents, burns, etc., or to remove congenital “defects” with which a person was born (such as extra digits).

It was narrated that ‘Arfaja Ibn As’ad had lost his nose in the battle of Al-Kulab during the Time of Ignorance’ (Jahiliyya). He then wore a nose made of silver, but it became putrid, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told him to wear a nose made of gold. [Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Abu Dawud]

Non-Essential Cosmetic Surgery

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed those women who pluck their eyebrows and file their teeth for beautification and change the creation of Allah. [Agreed Upon]

“Those who file their teeth” refers only to purposes of beautification. What is unlawful is done for beautification only, but if it is needed for medical treatment or to “correct a fault” in the teeth, eyebrows, odd birthmarks, etc., there is nothing wrong with it, and Allah knows best. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

I pray that this benefits and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.