Are Muslim Women Permitted to Shorten Their Hair?

05 August, 2020
Q Dear scholars, as-salam `alaykum. What is the ruling on women having their hair shortened? Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

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 women having their hair shortened as long as it is done for the sake of beautifying themselves and nothing more.

In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

A woman can shorten her hair provided she avoids a hairstyle peculiar to men. The Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) has cursed men who copy women and women who copy men.

This applies to hairstyle and appearance. So long as she avoids this, she is permitted to cut her hair.

We should remember that originally the rule is permission; prohibition is only an exception.

However, we must add a word of caution. A Muslim woman is required to cover her head and not expose it except to her husband or her mahram (non-marriageable relative).

Shedding more light on this issue, we would like to cite the following:

Islamic Law differentiates between ‘shaving‘ and ‘shortening’ one’s hair‘. Shaving hair (i.e., cutting it by a sharp object such as a razor blade or skin-close clippers, etc.) is forbidden for women unless there is a justifiable reason such as when the woman needs an operation on her head or has to undergo special treatment on her scalp.

But shortening her hair is allowed if she desires to do so. The only thing is that when women shorten their hair, they should not be doing this to imitate men. Therefore, the intention is important behind the act.


Almighty Allah knows best.