Sunday, 21 June 2009

Shamâ´il al-Muhammadiyyah [Part 21] - Is it Recommended to Dye white Hairs

Is it recommended to dye white hairs?

(MS) The scholars have not differed concerning the permissibility of dyeing the hair with henna and the likes but they have differed concerning which is better: dyeing or not dyeing.[1] (Q) al-Mîrak said, 'The scholars, the early and latter, differed as to whether dyeing is the better course or not dyeing. A group of the People of Knowledge were of the opinion that it is better to dye depending upon the hadîth of Abû Hurayrah recorded by Bukhârî and Muslim that the Prophet (SAW) said, "The Jews and Christians do not dye their hair, so oppose them." They also depended upon the hadîth of Abû Umâmah who said, "The Messenger of Allâh (SAW) came out upon a group of elderly people of the Anŝâr whose beards were white and said, 'Gathering of Anŝâr, dye with red or saffron and oppose the People of the Book.'" Recorded by Ahmad with hasan isnâd. It was for this reason that al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and a large group of the senior Companions dyed their hair (MS) such as Abû Bakr, `Umar, `Uthmân, Mu`âwiyah, al-Mughîrah, Abû Hurayrah, and Jâbir.[2] an-Nawawî said, 'Our madhab is that it is recommended for a man and woman to dye their white hair with henna or saffron and it is prohibited for them to dye it black according to the most correct opinion.'[3] (Q) However, many scholars leaned towards the opinion that not dyeing was the better course due to the hadîth of `Amr ibn Shu`ayb from his father from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) said, "Whoever attains a white hair, it will be light for him unless he plucks it or dyes it." This is how at-Ţabarî reports it but al-`Asqalânî said, "Recorded by at-Tirmidhî who declared it hasan but I have not seen this exception mentioned in any of its routes."[4] at-Tirmidhî and an-Nasâ´î record on the authority of Ka`b ibn Murrah that the Prophet (SAW) said, "Whoever attains a white hair while in Islâm, it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment." at-Tirmidhî also records it from the hadîth of `Amr ibn `Abasah and said it was ŝahîh. at-Ţabarânî records the hadîth of ibn Mas`ûd that the Prophet (SAW) used to dislike altering the colour of white hairs. It is for this reason that `Alî, Salamah ibn al-Akwa`, Ubayy ibn Ka`b, and a group of the senior Companions did not dye their hair. at-Ţabarî reconciled these reports by stating that, 'Whoever's white hairs look distasteful, it is recommended for such a person to dye his hair; as for the one whose white hairs do not look distasteful, it is not recommended for him to dye his hair. However the better course, in general, is to dye white hair because by doing so one is following the command to oppose the People of the Book and preserving his hair. However if the habit of a land is not to dye, not dyeing for a person who resides there is better.' This is an excellent reconciliation.

Dyeing with black

Moreover those who hold that is recommended to dye have differed concerning the permissibility of dyeing with black. The best course is to dye with red or saffron and most of the scholars were of the opinion that it is reprehensible to dye with black. (MS) This is without doubt the correct opinion and Imâm Ahmad was asked, 'Do you dislike dyeing with black?' to which he replied, 'By Allâh, yes!'[5] (Q) and an-Nawawî leant towards the opinion that the reprehensibility is one of prohibition. Some of the scholars allowed dyeing with black when undertaking Jihâd but others did not. Muslim records on the authority of Jâbir that Abû Quhâfah was brought to the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) on the Day of the Conquest of Mecca and the hair of his head and beard was white like hyssop. He (SAW) said, "Change the colour of this but avoid black."' (MS) Abû Dâwûd records on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs reports that the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) said, "In the last days there will be a people who dye their hair black such that they look like the chests of pigeons: they will not smell the scent of Paradise."[6] (Q) The authors of the Sunan record on the authority of Abû Dharr that the Prophet (SAW) said, "The best thing with which you alter your white hairs is henna and al-katam." We have previously mentioned that dyeing with these two leads to a colour between red and black.[7] (MS) `Aţâ´ said, 'I did not see any of the Companions dyeing their hair black, rather they would only use henna and al-Katam and this yellow dye.'[8] al-Hakam ibn al-`Amr al-Ghifârî, 'My brother, Râfi`, and I entered upon `Umar ibn al-Khaţţâb and I had dyed my hair with henna and my brother had dyed his hair with saffron. `Umar ibn al-Khaţţâb said to me, "This is dye of Islâm," and he said to my brother, "This is the dye of faith."['9 ] (Q) Some differentiated between men and women in this: allowing black for women but not for men and this is the chosen opinion of al-Halîmî, (MS) and Ishâq ibn Râhawayh.[10] (Q) As for dyeing hands and feet, this is recommended for women and prohibited for men, unless it is for medicinal purposes.

Plucking white hairs

Plucking white hairs is reprehensible in the view of the majority of scholars due to the hadîth of `Amr ibn Shu`ayb from his father from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) said, "Do not pluck your white hairs for they are the light of a Muslim." Recorded by the authors of the Sunan and at-Tirmidhî said it was hasan. (MS) an-Nawawî said, 'This is the view of our companions, [the Shâfi`îs], and the companions of Mâlik.'[11]

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1. Ibn `Abdu-l-Barr, al-Istidhkâr [8/439]
2. Ibid. [8/440-441].
3. `Adhîmabâdî, `Awn al-Ma`bûd [11/257]
4. However the first exception is proven by a hasan hadîth recorded by at-Ţabarânî, al-Kabîr on the authority of Fadâlah ibn `Ubayd that the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) was asked about a person plucking his white hairs to which he replied, "Whoever wishes, let him pluck his light." Ŝahîh at-Targhîb [#2092]
5. ibn al-Qayyim, Tahdhîb as-Sunan [11/257 of `Awn].
6. Abû Dâwûd, refer to Ŝahîh at-Targhîb [#2097].
7. Hadîth #37.
8. ibn `Abdu-l-Barr, al-Istidhkâr [8/441]
9. ibn al-Qayyim, Tahdhîb as-Sunan [11/257 of `Awn]
10. ibn al-Qayyim, Tahdhîb as-Sunan [11/257 of `Awn]
11. Sharh Ŝahîh Muslim [15/78]