Boys' Hair Style History: Islam

Figure 1.--.

The rise of Islam in the 7th century AD gave religious becking for beards. Millions of Muslims swore on the red beard of Mohammed who taught them to let their beards grow so they would not be mistaken for clean shaven Christian infidels.

Islam spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century. Along with the Koran, Muslims promoted modesty in clothing and hair styling. In public, Muslims modestly concealed their hair while in public under male headwear (headcloth, turban, or fez) or the female all concealing veil. Hair was cared for in their respecive hammams (public baths). Often men had their hair shaved except for a top knot. Women wore long hair and in the baths it was washed and perhaps given a henna rinse.

Islamic Scripture

There are many references in the Koran to hair. Most of them deal with women's hair.

Forbidden Haircuts

Hadith - Bukhari 7:803, Narrated Ubaidullah bin Hafs that 'Umar bin Nafi' told him that Nafi', Maula 'Abdullah had heard 'Umar saying, "I heard Allah's Apostle forbidding Al-Qaza'." 'Ubaidullah added: I said, "What is Al-Qaza'?" 'Ubaidullah pointed (towards his head) to show us and added, "Nafi' said, 'It is when a boy has his head shaved leaving a tuft of hair here and a tuft of hair there." Ubaidullah pointed towards his forehead and the sides of his head. 'Ubaidullah was asked, "Does this apply to both girls and boys?" He said, "I don't know," but Nafi' said, -The boy." 'Ubaidullah added, "I asked Nafi' again, and he said, 'As for leaving hair on the temples and the back part of the boy's head, there is no harm, but Al-Qaza' is to leave a tuft of hair on his forehead unshaved while there is no hair on the rest of his head, and also to leave hair on either side of his head.' "

Plaited hair

Hadith - Muslim, Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas Ibn Abbas saw Abdullah ibn al-Harith observing the prayer and (his hair) was plaited behind his head. He (Abdullah ibn Abbas) stood up and unfolded them. While going back (from the prayer) he met Ibn Abbas and said to him: why is it that you touched my head? He (Ibn Abbas) replied: (The man who observes prayer with plaited hair) is like one who prays with his hands tied behind.

Hair Coloring

Hadith - Bukhari 4:668, Narrated Abu Huraira , see also Bukhari 7:786 Allah's Apostle said, "The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so you shall do the opposite of what they do (i.e. dye your grey hair and beards)."

Hadith - Muslim, Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah When AbuQuhafah (father of AbuBakr) came in the Year of Victory or on the Day of Victory (to the Prophet to pledge his allegiance to him) his head and his beard were white like hyssop. He (the Prophet ) commanded or the women were commanded by him that they should change this with something (that the color of his hair should be changed).

Hadith - Muslim, Narrated 'Ubaid Ibn Juraij ...And about the dyeing of hair with Hinna; no doubt I saw Allah's Apostle dyeing his hair with it and that is why I like to dye (my hair with it)...

Disposing of Hair after Haircuts

Hadith - Muslim, Narrated Anas ibn Malik I saw when the Messenger of Allah got his hair cut by the barber, his Companions came round him and they eagerly wanted that no hair should fall but in the hand of a person.


Hadith - Bukhari, Narrated 'Aisha , see also Bukhari 7:745 The Prophet used to like to start from the right side on wearing shoes, combing his hair and cleaning or washing himself and on doing anything else.

Hadith - Bukhari 1:294, Narrated 'Aisha , see also Bukhari 1:295, 3:362 While in menses, I used to comb the hair of Allah's Apostle .

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Abdullah ibn Mughaffal The Apostle of Allah forbade combing the hair except every second day.

Shaving the Head

Hadith - Bukhari 2:785, Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar Allah's Apostle said, "O Allah! Be merciful to those who have their head shaved." The people said, "O Allah's Apostle! And (invoke Allah for) those who get their hair cut short." The Prophet said, "O Allah! Be merciful to those who have their head shaved." The people said, "O Allah's Apostle! And those who get their hair cut short." The Prophet said (the third time), "And to those who get their hair cut short." Nafi' said that the Prophet had said once or twice, "O Allah! Be merciful to those who get their head shaved," and on the fourth time he added, "And to those who have their hair cut short."

Hadith - Bukhari 2:787, Narrated 'Abdullah The Prophet and some of his companions got their heads shaved and some others got their hair cut short. Narrated Muawiya: I cut short the hair of Allah's Apostle with a long blade.

Hadith - Bukhari 5:504, Narrated Ka'b bin Ujra We were in the company of Allah's Apostle at Al-Hudaibiya in the state of Ihram and the pagans did not allow us to proceed (to the Ka'ba). I had thick hair and lice started falling on my face. The Prophet passed by me and said, "Are the lice of your head troubling you?" I replied, "Yes." The sub-narrator added, "Then the following Divine Verse was revealed: 'And if anyone of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp, (necessitating shaving) must pay a ransom (Fida) of either fasting or feeding the poor, Or offering a sacrifice.' (2.196)"


Hadith - Muwatta 51.7 Yahya related to me from Malik from Zayd ibn Aslam that Ata ibn Yasar told him that the Messenger of Allah was in the mosque when a man came in with dishevelled hair and beard. The Messenger of Allah motioned with his hand that he should be sent out to groom his hair and beard. The man did so and then returned. The Messenger of Allah said, "Isn't this better than that one of you should come with his head dishevelled, as if he were a shaytan?"

During Salah

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated AbuRafi' Sa'id ibn AbuSa'id al-Maqburi reported on the authority of his father that he saw AbuRafi' the freed slave of the Prophet , passing by Hasan ibn Ali (Allah be pleased with them) when he was standing offering his prayer. He had tied the back knot of his hair. AbuRafi' untied it. Hasan turned to him with anger, AbuRafi' said to him: Concentrate on your prayer and do not be angry: I heard the Apostle of Allah say: This is the seat of the devil, referring to the back knot of the hair.


Do not pluck grey hairs

Get rid of those braid extensions and hair pieces!

Clip the moustache and nails, etc, within 40 days

Women should not put all her hair up on the top of her haid like a camel hump. She may put it up at home as long as some hair lays on her neck still, but not when leaving the house in hijab where the hump can be seen to be under the hijab and drawing attention to her hair.

While doing salah, a man should not have his hair braided or pulled back in a knot

Comb your hair from the right side first

Destroy your clipped nails and hair after cutting it by collecting it and burying it. It is not a sin if you don't destroy your hair, but it is preferable.

A woman should not have a hairstyle that resembles a man's hairstyle.

Do not imitate the hair styles or colors of the Jews and Christians; do the opposite!

Christopher Wagner

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Created: March 18, 2000
Last updated: March 18, 2000