The Prohibition of Al-Qaza’ ― A Type of Hairstyle Disallowed by Allah’s Messenger Where a Part of the Head is Shaved and Other Parts are Left Long… Imitating the Styles and Fashions of the Unbelievers.

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All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.

From the affairs that many people and especially the youth have been tried with, in our times, is their relentless following of Western fashion and competing to be up-to-date with the latest trends in society. They want people to look at them and recognise the fact they are wearing the latest designs and have the most fashionable haircuts. And this desire to be fashionable leads them to imitate the well-known sinners and unbelievers in society such as singers, musicians, actors, sports personalities, fashion models, celebrities and “influencers”. These followers of fashion among our Muslim brothers and sisters may be ignorant of the Sharī’ah rulings regarding garments, hairstyles and resembling the Kuffār, and others may be aware but are overwhelmed with the desire to fit in or keep up.

And from the fashions of the unbelievers that the Muslims have been afflicted with is imitating their hairstyles, those which are prohibited in the Sharī’ah texts. The most apparent of these is the Qaza’ which was defined by Nāfi’ (rahimahullāh) in his saying: “It is to shave a part of the head of a boy while leaving another part long.” He also said: “It is when a boy has his head shaved leaving a tuft of hair here and a tuft of hair there.” And he said: “As for leaving hair on the two temples and the nape of the neck, 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 it is to leave hair on either side of his head.” (Reported by Al-Bukhāri no. 5920)

Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) narrated: The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) saw a boy with some of his head shaved and some of his head left alone, so he forbade that. And he said:

احْلِقُوهُ كُلَّهُ أَوِ اتْرُكُوهُ كُلَّهُ

“Shave all of it or leave alone all of it.” (An-Nasā’ī no. 5048, Abu Dawood no. 4195, Al-Albānī graded it sahīh in Sahīh an-Nasā’ī) And Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) prohibited shaving a part of the head and leaving another part long.” (An-Nasā’ī no. 5051, sahīh)

The author of Mukhtār As-Sihāh, Muhammad Ibn Abī Bakr, stated in his definition of Qaza’ (p. 547): “To shave some of the head of a boy and to leave parts with hair.” It is stated in Al-Misbāh Al-Munīr (p. 410): “It is to shave some parts of the head to the exclusion of others.” Al-Mardaway stated in Al-Insāf: “It is to take from a part of the head and leave other parts. This is what is correct according to the madhhab, and this is what was said by Imām Ahmad and this is the definition of the majority of the Hanbalis.” And this is in accordance with the ahādeeth already cited above.

It is for this reason that the Permanent Committee of Scholars (Al-Lajnah Ad-Dā’imah) issued the Fatwā stating:

لا يجوز ترك بعض شعر الرأس أطول من بعض

“It is not permitted to leave some of the hair of the head longer than other parts.” (Fatāwa Al-Lajnah Ad-Dā’imah, 5/176, 5th question, no. 667, Ibn Bāz, Abdullāh Al-Ghudayān, Abdur-Razzāq ‘Afīfī, Ibrāhīm Ibn Muhammad Ālash-Shaikh)

Shaikh Abdullāh Al-Bassām (rahimahullāh) stated in Taysīr al-‘Allām (2/988): “That which some of the youth practice these days by shortening some of their hair and leaving other parts to grow long, then this is something newly introduced, repugnant and hideous―and it is from the hated Qaza’.”

Shaikh Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) was asked: “Does the style of different lengths of hair on the head enter into Qaza’? It involves shortening the hair at the back of the head and leaving it long at the front, or shortening the hair at the front of the head and leaving it long at the back of the head.” He responded: “I fear that this matter, though it is not Qaza’, I fear it is distortion and corruption and it is a must that one does not do it because it resembles Qaza’. It is not Qaza’, but it resembles it.” (Source: ibnbaz.org.sa)

The practice of Qaza’ is repugnant and in opposition to the guidance of our Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) saw a youth, and on his head were tufts of hair, so Ibn ‘Umar said: “Do you not know that Allah’s Messenger prohibited (nahā) that parts of the head of a boy be shaved to the exclusion of other parts?” (sahīh, Musnad Ahmad, no. 5846) As-Sindī (rahimahullāh) said: “It is a hairstyle that comes about by taking away some of the hair, and to leave certain places around the head that are not removed―in the fashion of the Qaza’.” (See Musnad Ahmad, 10/95, Ar-Risālah Al-‘Ālimiyyah print)

The jurists (fuqahā) have differed regarding Qaza’―a group who said that it is makrūh (hated)―and a group who said it is prohibited (harām) because the Prophet himself forbade it and he did not permit it. When differing occurs among the scholars it is not permissible to take what suits a person’s desires and whims, rather he is obligated to cling to the Sunnah and the command of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). And the origin as it relates to the command of the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) is that it must be obeyed and one cannot resort to the opinion of his shaikh after the clear text reaches him―and as it relates to the Qaza’, he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) forbade it. So that is the origin. He ordered that either the whole head be shaved, or that all the hair be left to grow, and the texts show that Qaza’ is harām.

Furthermore, this practice of fading and making steps in the hair, or shaving parts of it resembles the Kuffār or the open sinners who have no shame. And we have been commanded to differ from imitating them lest we be counted among them!

An-Nawawī stated: “The scholars have agreed (ijmā’) that the Qaza’ is hated where there are parts of the head shaved and other parts left with hair, unless it is done for medical reasons.” (Sharh Sahīh Muslim 14/101) Ibn ‘Uthaimīn stated after making it clear that Qaza’ is hated: “…but if it resembles the hairstyles of the unbelievers, then it is harām. Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Whoever resembles a people is from them.'” (Sharhul-Mumti’ 1/167)

The Amīrul-Mu’mineen, the second Caliph, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) placed some conditions upon the Jews and Christians living among the Muslims, and from the conditions that they placed upon themselves was: “That we will cut off the hair at the front of our heads.” Reported by Al-Bayhaqī 9/33―and Ibn Taymiyyah in Al-Iqtidā 3/164 traced back to Harb; Ibn Al-Qayyim in Ahkām Ahlidh-Dhimmah 2/657 traced back to Abdullāh ibn Imām Ahmad, and from him, Al-Khallāl in Kitāb Ahlil-Milal. Ibn Taymiyyah graded the isnād as good (jayyid). Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “These conditions upon the Ahlul-Kitāb living in the Muslim lands are so well-known that they not in need of [specific] chains of narration, and the great scholars accepted the reports, and they cited them in their books, and they were carried out by many of the Caliphs and were made obligatory.” The Sahābah who were along with ‘Umar agreed with him, and no one differed with him.

Shaikh Al-Fawzān stated in response to those who state the opinion of the scholars that Al-Qaza’ is makrūh and not harām: “The origin of the negation (nahī) is that it is harām. That is the origin―especially since it also involves imitating the Christians and resembling them.” (Sharh ‘Umdatil-Ahkām) It should be made clear to the seeker of knowledge that if the Sharī’ah texts prohibit something, then the intent is that it is harām unless there is another text that removes the ruling of it being harām. That is the madhhab of the great majority of scholars and the verifiers. For this reason, it is not permitted to alter the wording from its apparent meaning without the presence of a text. (See Ar-Risālah of Ash-Shāfi’ī p. 343, Al-‘Uddah 2/425, Al-Bahr Al-Muhīt 2/462 among others).

Furthermore, the term karāhah (makrūh) that is found in the language of the early scholars actually carried the meaning of prohibition (tahrīm or harām) with them. However, their followers in later times took the term makrūh that was used by their predecessors to mean that it was disliked and not harām. So, they misunderstood the intent of their Imāms and due to that, they fell into error and false understanding of the texts of the Sharī’ah and the sayings of the Imāms. Imām Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) clarified this in his work I’lām Al-Muwaqqi’īn (1/32): “Many of the late-comers fell into error, those who were followers of the early Imāms, due to this reason wherein the Imāms would, out of piety (wara’), avoid using the word tahrīm (signifying harām) unrestrictedly, so instead would use the term karāhah (makrūh). So the late-comers negated the ruling of harām based on the usage of the term karāhah (makrūh) by the earlier Imāms. Thereafter, they became easy-going with the term makrūh [not comprehending the intent of the early scholars]. So this easing of the ruling became the norm with them. Some of them took the ruling [that was initially seen to be harām] to be understood to mean that it is purer not to do it (tanzīh). Some went even further and took makrūh in the terminology of the early Imāms to mean, ‘what is better has been left’. And there is much of this changing of realities found among them (the latecomers). So, due to this, great mistakes have been inflicted upon the Sharī’ah and upon the Ummah.”

Regardless, the Muslim is commanded to avoid following the unbelievers, and imitating them in their fashions and ways. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

لَتَتَّبِعُنَّ سَنَنَ مَنْ قَبْلَكُمْ شِبْرًا بِشِبْرٍ وَذِرَاعًا بِذِرَاعٍ، حَتَّى لَوْ سَلَكُوا جُحْرَ ضَبٍّ لَسَلَكْتُمُوهُ ‏ قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى قَالَ ‏ فَمَنْ ‏‏‏

“You will surely follow the ways of those who came before you handspan by handspan and cubit-length by cubit-length, so-much-so that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it also!” We asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you mean the Jews and Christians?” He replied: “Who else?” (Reported by Al-Bukhāri, 3456) So this is a severe rebuke from Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) that cannot be answered by the weak saying: “O but there’s a difference of opinion!” There is no difference of opinion in following and obeying the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).

So if these styles are copied from the Kuffār or the open sinners and they resemble their fashions, then it falls under the forbiddance of imitating the unbelievers. And the prohibition of imitating the Kuffār in that which is particular to them is clearcut. And this is the position even of those scholars who hold Al-Qaza’ to be hated (makrūh) because imitating the fashions of the unbelievers necessitates prohibition due to the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever resembles a people is from them.” (Abu Dawood, sahīh). The claim of the person that he does not intend by his action imitation of the unbelievers is a weak and false argument because that claim does not affect the ruling of prohibition so long as the action resembles the particular customs and fashions of the unbelievers. And these hairstyles are taken from the fashions of the famous personalities among the unbelievers and sinners―based on that alone, these styles are considered to be forbidden (harām).

Al-Marrūdhī said that he asked Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullāh) about shaving the back of the head, so he replied: “It is from the deeds of the Magians (Majoos), and whoever resembles a people is from them.” (Ibn Muflih in Al-Ādāb Ash-Sharī’ah and Ibn Taymiyyah in Iqtidā As-Sirāt Al-Mustaqīm) The scholars make the point here that the prohibition of Imām Ahmad here is due to the resemblance of the unbelievers because that prohibition is clear.

This should be sufficient for any Muslim in avoiding the Qaza’ and other fashions that are invented and brought into vogue by the unbelievers and sinners.

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