Wa`alykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
There is nothing wrong with plastic surgery if it is used to treat a deformed organ where the operation will offer a better quality of life.
In this context, the eminent Muslim scholar, Dr. `Abdel-Fattah Idrees, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar Univ., states:
Islam denounces excess in beautifying oneself to the extent of altering one’s physical features as Allah created them. The Qur’an considers such alterations as inspired by Satan, who “ …will command them (his devotees) to change what Allah has created…” (An-Nisa’ 4:119)
There is nothing wrong with plastic surgery if it is used to treat a deformed organ where the operation will offer a better quality of life. However, such surgery is not permissible if it is used for the mere purpose of beautification and altering the creation of Allah.
The previous view does not in any way dissuade a person from showing interest in his outward appearance and beauty. Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to have an interest in his appearance and adornment. And he also urged his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) to follow suit.
Shedding more light on this issue Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following:
Beautification which is used to reshape a deformed part of the body is generally recommended in Islam, as long as it is used for a valid reason.
The first kind of plastic surgery is used for medical treatment, mainly to alleviate the suffering of the person. For example, there is nothing wrong with the use of plastic surgery in skin grafting, suturing a hollow wound and bone-setting. This kind of beautification is permissible. It is a form of co-operation in what is good and preventing harm that a person may face due to a deformity in his physical and outward appearance.
The second kind is cosmetic surgery that is normally used to change the Creation of Allah in an attempt to look more beautiful such as breast enlargement or reduction, face-lifts, spacing between teeth (just for beautification), reducing the size of lips and nose. This kind of surgery is not permitted in Islam because they alter the Creation of Allah. Allah Almighty says: “And surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command them and they will cut the cattle’s ears, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah’s creation. Whoso chooseth Satan for a patron instead of Allah is verily a loser and his loss is manifest.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:119)
Plastic surgery has advanced at a rapid rate in an attempt to reduce people’s suffering. Unfortunately, some forms of surgery are used for luxurious purposes and not for a sound reason. Islam, however, welcomes the use of plastic surgery as long as it is done in people’s favor. In certain cases, it is a necessity to remove an unwanted tooth or finger that might appear in a person’s body.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.