Answered by Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali
Question: Can I put hair extensions in my hair that are made of nylon not human hair, so that my hair can be made firm, so that I can clip it? I have heard that the Prophet cursed such women.
Answer: Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahimi
Wearing wigs or hair extensions which consists of human hair (or pig hair) is prohibited in Islam by consensus. It is permissible in the Hanafi madhhab to wear non-human hair. However, because of the strong difference of opinion in other madhhabs about its unconditioned impermissibility, it may be better to avoid.
The Impermissibility of Wearing & Buying Human Hair
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah curses the woman who joins her (or another’s) hair with someone else’s hair and the one who requests it and (Allah curses) the woman who tattoos herself (or another) and the one who requests it.” [Bukhari; Muslim; Abu Dawud; al-Tirmidhi; ibn Majah; Ahmad; Sunan Nasai; ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]
The fundamental meaning in the Arabic language of the phrase ‘Allah curses’ is to be distanced and far from the mercy of Allah. [al-Nahlawi, al-Hadhr wa al-Ibaha; ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari; Tafsir al-Qurtubi] For this particular narration, the phrase also indicates the intensity of the prohibition to join one’s hair with the hair of another. [ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari; al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir] This is a warning from Allah so that one may avoid falling into harm. [al-Sanadi, Hashiyyat al-Sanadi ‘ala ibn Majah]
Scholars conclude that the reason Allah curses such women is because they are all assisting each other in trying to change the way Allah created them, which is sinful. [ibn Battal, Sharh al-Bukhari] In truth, Allah fashioned our forms in the best of manner and He made us each beautiful in different ways. It proves pointless to alter our outer forms after knowing that Allah willed us to look the way we do out of His supreme and divine wisdom.
Additionally, every part of the human body is deemed noble and honorable. One cannot benefit from someone’s body in any manner. Consequently, wearing or selling another person’s human hair is deemed impermissible. [ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Kamal ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir; Muhammad ibn Sulayman, Majma al-Anhur] Furthermore, this action can lead to deception, as many would be fooled by one’s true appearance.
Position on Non-Human Hair
Yet, the Hanafi scholars note that there is a dispensation for a woman who attaches the fur or wool of animals to her own hair. This act is considered permissible because it is seen as a form of decoration, not deception. [al-Nahlawi, al-Hadhr wa al-Ibaha; al-Kasani, Badai al-Sanai’, Kamal ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir; al-Babarti, al-`Inayya Sharh al-Hidayya] Therefore, if the hair extension is made from purely synthetic hair or from animal hair other than pigs, it would be permissible to wear it.
However, there is a strong difference of opinion in other madhhabs. [Nawawi, Sharh Nawawi ‘ala Muslim; al-Ayni, Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari] Thus, it may be superior to avoid such a practice.
Barak Allah fikum
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.