What is the meaning of the following hadith and what are its legal implications? Is it allowed for people to go to authentic hadith like this and derive rulings?
Narrated ‘Aisha: An Ansari woman gave her daughter in marriage and the hair of the latter started falling out. The Ansari women came to the Prophet and mentioned that to him and said, “Her (my daughter’s) husband suggested that I should let her wear false hair.” The Prophet said, “No, (don’t do that) for Allah sends His curses upon such ladies who lengthen their hair artificially.” Related by al-Bukhari
According to Dr.al-Qaradawi the legal implication of this hadith, and there are many others like it, is that it is forbidden for a man or a woman to wear false hair: wigs, extension and so on. He states clearly that the nature of these different narrations [I don’t have time to mention them all here but they are sound] is that of a definitive prohibition about which there is no doubt.
Conditions and Differences:
1. The scholars agree that if the extensions or wig is made from human hair then they are not permissible to wear.
2. If the hair comes from non-human sources [ pure animal] then the scholars differed over the permissibility of wearing such things :
- The Hanafi’s considered it permissible as related on behalf of Abu Yusuf
- The Maliki’s considered it forbidden
- The Shafi’s allowed it but only for a woman’s husband
- The Hanabalis took the same opinion as the Malikis except there is another statement, attributed to them, that considers it disliked
3. If the source of the hair is impure then the scholars agreed that it is forbidden
4. If the hair is synthetic then the scholars considered it permissible, and if a woman is married, it should be done after seeking her husband’s council as long as the goal is beautification, ease of lifestyle; not trickery or false identification. This is because the reason behind this prohibition is forgery and trickery. [Ahkam al-Sh’ar fil al-Islam Taha Muhammad Faris pg(s) 180-181. al-Fiqh al-Islami wa al-Dilatuhu, Dr. Wahba Zuhali vol. 4 pg. 2681. Contemporary Religious Rulings, Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi vol. 3. 427]
How do we know that the Hadith above prohibits such an action?
This is based on the legal axiom that any text in which Allah, or His Messenger [sa], threaten people with the Fire [may Allah save us from it], punishment, the word haram is used, or one of its synonyms, or in which Allah’s curse is mentioned, the legal implication of that text is understood to be forbidden; unless there is a secondary text which reduces the magnitude of the punishment to that of being merely disliked instead of forbidden, or if there is another text which conditions the text that contains the threat, thereby limiting its scope to a certain group of people making the act permissible to the others. Regarding this text, there is no such secondary text.
The reason for this prohibition is that wearing false hair involves trickery and deception; something which the Muslim is ordered to stay away from. For that reason, in another narration where the Prophet[sa] forbade this he [sa] referred to extensions as “falsehood.”
Some Examples of When One Could Wear Such Things:
- One born with a defect which causes his/her hair to be absent or abnormal
- One who suffers from a disease which cause his/her hair to fall out [chemotherapy is an excellent example]
- One who has been in some sort of accident [burning]
- Women forced to wear wigs out of desperation for an education: such as Tunisia where wearing the Hijab is forbidden, Turkey, until recently, and France.
It is not allowed for anyone who is not qualified to issue fatwa. However, they can relate what they have heard from scholars to others but they should be very careful in relating that information. My advice is this: if you can’t swim, stay in the shallow end. Reason being that this is equivalent to practicing Law without passing the law examination [a federal crime]. People should be very careful in assuming that they understand texts and are able to derive rulings from them especially when they are relying on translations. For that reason, there is a famous axiom in the law that states: “If an unqualified person issues a ruling and he is correct, he is a sinner. If a qualified person issues a ruling, and he is incorrect, he is rewarded.”
It should be noted that four years in the college of Shari’ah at al-Azhar will not give one the right to issue fatwas. There is a two year program which requires an Azhari degree which one most go through before given a license in law. Thus, if this is the case of an Azhari who spent, at least, a good 6-7 years, and for most 15-16 years, of studying, what can we say of one who has had no training? As Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in al-‘Ilam, “One quick to give fatwa is the quickest to go to the Fire” and the statement of some of the Companions, “Only a fool will give fatwa for everything.”
This does not mean that Islam wants us to be ugly or impure. Islam encourages us to look, dress and speak in the best ways. If you have any more questions please feel free to contact me.
Allah knows best