In the teachings of Islam, dyeing hair is a practice addressed by various Hadiths and scholars, guided by principles rooted in religious wisdom and modesty. The permissibility of dyeing hair, particularly for men and women, is outlined based on the sources of Islamic jurisprudence.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, recommended dyeing the hair so that people do not fall under the imitation of people of other religions.
In a hadith mentioned in Sunan Tirmidhi – Sayyiduna Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said, “Change the old age (white/grey hair), and do not imitate the Jews.”
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The hadith was contextual to the conditions of his contemporary time when the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and his companions lived alongside the Jews in peace.
It’s essential to note that dyeing hair is recommended (mandub) if the ingredients used in the dye are considered Halal (permissible).
Let us go into the depth of the discussion and find out the nuances and details of the topic.
Types of Hair Dyes and Their Permissibility
There are different types of hair dyes, with some of them recommended by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, himself, and others are permissible.
Henna and Katm
These natural substances, recommended by the Prophet Muhammad, are permissible and even encouraged for changing hair color.
Henna, derived from a red plant dye, and Katm, a type of grass, are endorsed in Islamic teachings.
These dyes change hair colour align with the Prophet’s guidance, promoting modesty and personal grooming within Halal boundaries. It is considered mandub (recommended) to dye the hair with Henna.
Pure black dye usage has triggered diverse opinions among Islamic scholars.
Using in Deceit
Its prohibition arises in cases involving deceitful intentions, such as using it for misleading purposes in relationships or job scenarios.
Within Islamic teachings, deceit and dishonesty are unequivocally condemned, especially when employed to mislead or deceive others for personal gain or advantage.
The hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud underscores this principle by quoting the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who explicitly stated, “Whosoever deceives us is not from us.” (Sahih ibn Hibban).
Islamic teachings adamantly discourage deception in any form. Therefore, employing pure black dye for deceitful motives is deemed impermissible (haram) as per Islamic jurisprudence.
Regarding the use of pure black dye for adornment, scholars have a difference in opinion.
Some, like Imam Abu Yusuf, a prominent Hanafi jurist and a student of Imam Abu Hanifa, held the view permitting the use of black dye for adornment purposes, specifically for wives to beautify themselves for their husbands.
Moreover, historical accounts and narrations from some revered companions of the Prophet Muhammad, such as Sayyiduna Uthman, Sayyiduna Hasan, and Sayyiduna Husain (may Allah be pleased with them all), indicate instances where they used black color dye.
These narratives contribute to the diversity of opinions regarding the permissibility of using black dye for adornment within certain contexts.
Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani’s Opinion
One of the leading scholars of the Muslim world, Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani’s perspective on the use of black dye offers a nuanced understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.
His assertion that the use of black dye, while not being considered unlawful (haram), falls under the category of being disliked (makruh) aligns with a balanced approach to the issue. See Taqrir Tirmidhi, 2/354.
He clarifies that the prohibition mentioned in certain Hadiths should be understood in the context of using black dye with deceptive intentions.
In other words, the discouragement associated with black dyeing pertains specifically to situations where it is employed for deceitful purposes, such as misleading others or creating false impressions.
However, the overall consensus leans towards the dislike (makruh) of using pure black dye for adornment due to the Prophet’s warnings against it, especially when employed solely for aesthetic purposes.
Imam Abu Yusuf highlighted the concept of mutual adornment between spouses, stating, “As I desire my wife to adorn herself for me, she also desires that I adorn myself for her” (Radd al-Muhtar).
Dyeing Hair Black During War
According to the consensus found in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, a renowned Islamic jurisprudential work, if a warrior (mujahid) uses black hair dye to instil awe and fear in the hearts and minds of the enemy, it is deemed permissible.
In times of conflict or war, creating a formidable and imposing image can play a role in psychological warfare. The act of dyeing hair with black, specifically to intimidate or strike fear in adversaries, is permitted as a tactical measure.
Another Opinion Regarding Black Dye
Another group of scholars believe that using black dye is completely prohibited without any consideration.
Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported an incident during the conquest of Makkah where Abu Quhaafah, whose head and beard were white, was advised by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, to change the color but specifically to avoid black dye. (Reported by Muslim, no. 3962).
Furthermore, Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated a prophetic statement foretelling a time when people would dye their hair black resembling the crops of pigeons and that such individuals would be deprived of the fragrance of Paradise (reported by Imam Ahmad, Saheeh al-Jaami‘, no. 8153).
This emphasizes the gravity of using black dye, hinting at its spiritual consequences.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, recommended changing grey hair using any color except black.
Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet said, “The best things with which to change grey hair are henna and ‘katam’” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1675).
In summary, while Henna and Katm are endorsed for dyeing hair in Islam, the usage of pure black dye is subject to stringent conditions.
Its application for deceitful intentions is unequivocally prohibited, while its use for adornment, especially in marital relationships, remains a topic of differing opinions among scholars.
It’s advisable to approach such practices with an understanding of the ethical and religious considerations, seeking guidance from knowledgeable scholars to align with Islamic principles.