What is the Minimum Amount of Hair that Must Be Cut to Exit the State of Ihram After Hajj or Umrah?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Will you please explain by Hadith, that if there is minimum & maximum of cutting hair after umrah or haj for ladies. What about a good hair-cut instead of some little part of hair.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

According to the Hanafi school, the minimum length of hair that needs to be cut to exit the state of ihram is the length of one-third of the finger (i.e., from the fingertip to the first joint; a little over 1cm or so).

The sunna is to cut this length from all of one’s hair, yet the minimum requirement is that this length of hair be cut from at least one-fourth of the head (yet one should still do a bit more than one-fourth out of precaution). This criteria applies to both men and women. [Ascent to Felicity, p. 157]

According to the Shafi`i school, the minimum amount that must be cut is three strands of hair. [Mawsu`a Kuwaitiyya]

So a “good haircut” should be more than sufficient according to both schools.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that “hadith” is not the only source of law in Islam. The jurists (fuqaha’) use many other sources of law when deriving rulings, such as the Qur’an itself, scholarly consensus (ijma`), and legal analogy (qiyas). And certain schools (more than others) also used the understanding and verdicts of Sahaba, the inherited practice of certain communities (such as Medina or Kufa), legal preference (istihsan), and several other sources of law — as delineated in works of legal theory (usul al-fiqh).

So the appropriate way of posing a question such as yours is to ask about the limits of cutting the hair, as per one (or more) of the four schools of law. Each school has its proofs, which are based on hadith as well as other sources of law.

And Allah knows best.