Are Women Allowed to Cut Their Hair?

Hanafi Fiqh

Women Cutting Their Hair

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: A very venerable shaykh told us that it was makruh tahrimi for a woman to cut her hair unless absolutely necessary. What if one’s husband wants her to cut it? Is that considered to be one of those “absolutely necessary” cases?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

In general, the books of the Hanafi school are very strict about women not cutting their hair. The scholars differed, however, about what exactly is meant by this.

What I learned from several scholars was that a woman’s hair cannot resemble a man’s (therefore, it should be below the shoulder); it cannot imitate those of non-Muslim or corrupt women; the best is that it be long.

According to leading Hanafi scholars of Syria, including Shaykh Adib Kallas, there is no harm in a woman cutting her hair, as long as:

a) it remains feminine (and thus does not resemble men);

b) it is not cut with the express intent of imitating non-Muslim fashions; and

c) it is not cut excessively.

The texts in the Hanafi school indicating the impermissibility of women cutting their hair are understood, these scholars say, to be conditioned by the above considerations.

In the Shafii school, it is permitted to even cut the hair very short if the husband prefers it that way.

And Allah alone gives success.


Faraz Rabbani