Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Is it permissible to get a fade haircut?
I pray this finds you in the best of health states.
To completely shave any part of the head and leave the rest unshaven is disliked, based on the hadiths in which the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) specifically prohibited doing so to one’s child. This prohibition would apply a fortiori to an adult. [Fatawa Hindiyya; Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha; Birgivi, Tariqa Muhammadiyya; Bukhari; Muslim]
Scholars are in unanimous agreement that such partial shaving is disliked: some deem the prohibition to indicate it being sinful, while others understand the prohibition to indicate that it is mildly disliked (makruh tanzihan) and not sinful per se. [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih]
Imam Birgivi mentions that the prohibition is due to the ugliness of such a look, and that it is based on the Prophet’s love for balance (peace be upon him), since partial shaving is a type of injustice to the head, leaving some of it covered and the rest bare. In that sense, it resembles the prophetic discouragement of wearing only one shoe. [Tariqa Muhammadiyya]
If part of the hair is not completely shaved but merely shorter than the rest, then it does not fall under the explicit prohibition of the hadith. However, if one does so specifically to imitate people who should not be imitated (such as celebrities or pop stars that display corrupt behavior), then it would be prohibited for that reason.
Some contemporary scholars are strict regarding such haircuts and do not allow them at all, due to the fact that imitation of corrupt people is usually the motivating factor. But if it is not, then it should be fine.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Faraz A. Khan
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani