Self Beautification in Islam by @smugdisguise

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Salaam Alaekum, this post has been in the works for a while now and the second time Safiya would be guest writing for the blog. Her last guest post was on Sadaqat ul-Fitr. I must add, I think a lot of sisters out there will benefit from this post. *************************

This post is on self-beautification in Islam. Any form of beautification that alters the physical appearance of what Allah created is prohibited in Islam, except for medical reasons. This prohibition is applicable to the various surgeries carried out by people to change the shape of their nose, lips, size of their breasts, or other parts of their bodies.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prohibited tattooing and widening the gap between the teeth for the purpose of beautification, as well as plucking/shaping/carving/eyebrows, wearing of wigs and hairpieces.

The emphasis in this post will be on eyebrow plucking/shaving/shaping/carving.

May I humbly state that this post is first and foremost a reminder to me; as i have full eyebrows so the temptation to pluck, shape and carve them is constant (just to have “perfect” brows). In as much as it appears harmless to shave our brows, there are several hadiths that frown at this practice.

By His wisdom Allah (SWT) created us differently, so are our eyebrows different; some are full, bushy, heavy, while others are scanty. This is one of the uniqueness in Allah’s creation. Based on this, it is not permissible to pluck/shave them because it is changing the creation of Allah.

• It is permissible for a woman to remove facial hair apart from her eyebrows.

• It is permissible to shave the eyebrows only if there are visible defects in them such as unusual thickness, length that cover the eyes or are linked together.

• It is not permissible to shave, neaten or trim the brows of a non-married woman who may expose herself in front of non-mahram men. 

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah has cursed the Washimat and the Mustawshimat, the Namisat and the Mutanammisat, and the Mutafallijat for beauty, who change what Allah has created.” - (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, and At-Tirmizi). 

The Washima are the tattooist, and the Mustawashima are the people who are tattooed. The Namisa pluck the eyebrows to straighten or make them thinner, and the Mutanammisa are the people whose eyebrows are plucked. Some Muslim scholars apply this prohibition of plucking the hair to all the facial hair of the woman. The Mutafallija for beauty are the people who widen the gaps between their teeth for the sake of beautification.

Plucking our eyebrows is prohibited due to the curse stated in the Hadith for the one who practices it or helps someone else in this act.

It is narrated in Al-Sahiheen from Ibn Masoud that he said: "Allah curses those ladies who practice tattooing and those who get themselves tattooed, and those ladies who remove the hair from their faces and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth in order to look more beautiful whereby they change Allah's creation". 

There is no narration from any companion that approves plucking or taking out hair from our brows. I am yet to see any Hadith that permits a woman to take from or pluck her eyebrows (Allah knows best).

Some Muslim scholars posited that plucking eyebrows to neaten them is forbidden only for unmarried women while they have disagreement concerning a married woman if her husband permits her. The generally accepted opinion is that shaving, plucking, etc., are all forbidden for all women irrespective of marital status. The rationale for this prohibition is the changing of the creation of Allah and that includes plucking, shaving etc. Also, the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) did not make any exemption for the married women.

From the narration that a woman asked Aisha (Radiya Allahu Anha), "Oh mother of believers, I have hair on my face, is it ok to pluck it to beautify myself for my husband? To which Aisha said: 'Remove the harm from you and make up yourself for your husband as you do at the time of visiting" - Ibn Abder Razzaq reported in al-Musannaf.

It therefore, means only the hair that is not from eyebrows can be removed as confirmed by a group of scholars since it is permissible and even likeable, for a woman to remove a beard or mustache growing on her face.

It is common practice in modern times to bleach the eyebrows instead of plucking in other to get the desired shape. While some people are of the view that bleaching the brows is permissible, the contemporary scholars differed concerning the ruling on lightening the eyebrows.

Some scholars stated that it is not allowed as lightening the top and bottom of the eyebrows in the manner mentioned is not permissible, because it is changing the creation of Allah and it imitates the plucking that is forbidden in Sharee’ah, because it achieves the same effect. More so if it is done in imitation of the kuffaar.

As to women adorning their eyebrows or faces with rings it is permissible so long as it is in front of other women and Muharams, or else exposing their adornments in front of other non-muharams is forbidden.

Allah the Exalted stated in the Quran that,

"Believing women should not show off their adornment except that which is apparent". - Surat al-Nur 24:31

“And whatsoever the Messenger [Muhammad (SAW)] gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)”. - al-Hashr 59:7

It is therefore, advisable to desist from doing things that will place us under Allah’s curse and Allah Knows best. May Allah make it easy for us to follow the path of guidance and reward our efforts with Al-Jannah, Amin.

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Written by: Safiya Hassan

IG: @smugdisguise

Twitter: @smugdisguise