Question: Is it haram to dye your hair?
It is not haram to dye your hair in Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded his companions to dye their hair. He would also dye his beard with henna. But scholars discuss certain colors and hair dye ingredients that are haram to use. Let’s look at what they are and why they are haram.
Is it Haram to Dye your Hair Black?
Majority of the scholars of Islam consider it haram to dye hair black. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he instructed us to avoid using black dye to color hair.
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported that:
Abu Quhafa (the father of Abu Bakr) was brought in front of the Prophet on the day of the Conquest of Mecca. His head and beard were white like hyssop. Whereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Change it with something but avoid black“.
[Sahih Muslim • Book 37, Hadith 124 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
We also find narrations where the Prophet (peace be upon him) informs us of a people who will come at the end of times. He describes their attribute being that of dyeing their hair black. These people will not enter paradise.
Based on these sayings of the Prophet the majority of the scholars consider dyeing hair black to be prohibited.
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, who attributed it to the Prophet peace be upon him):
“Some people will dye their hair black like the breasts of pigeons at the end of time. But they will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i • Book 48, Hadith 36 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Some scholars disagreed with the above interpretations. They debated the understanding of these hadith with the following points:
- There are reports from secondary sources that permit black hair dye. These sources state that the beloved grandsons of the Prophet; Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with them both) used black hair dye.
- The first hadith is not a prohibition of black hair dye but a general dislike to refrain from it. This is known by the wording of the Prophet “avoid black” and not “black is haram”.
- The latter hadith according to these scholars is again not a prohibition but a sign. It is simply describing one of the characteristics of what these people would be known by. Not that it is because of dyeing hair black they would not enter paradise.
To stay on the safe side of all differences it would be better to do as the Prophet commanded and “avoid black”. I would advise to use a very dark shade of brown hair dye to avoid all differences.
Why is it Haram to Dye your Hair Black?
Majority of the scholars of Islam state it is haram to dye hair black because the Prophet prohibited it. There is no explicit reasoning given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) of why it is haram to dye your hair black. But scholars have derived the understanding that it has to do with deception which is a major sin in Islam.
Narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“He who deceives is not of me (i.e. is not my follower).”
[Sahih Muslim • Book 1, Hadith 190 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Dyeing hair black can be a form of deception in appearance. Take for example an old man whose natural hair has become gray. He wants to seek a young virgin bride and so he beautifies himself by dyeing his hair black. By doing so making himself look a lot younger than he actually is.
Even if he was to reveal to her what his natural hair color is he is still using his appearance as a deception.
The scholars state that the wisdom of the Prophet prohibiting dyeing hair black was to avoid deception in appearance.
This is but one example others can be to get a job or other worldly benefit. There can be many scenarios where someone can use black hair dye to deceive someone of their real age or condition.
When is it Halal to Dye your Hair Black?
Some scholars have discussed instances when dyeing hair black may be permissible. I’ll mention some of them below with the reasons and any disclaimers that come with them.
Illness or Abnormality
There is a principle in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). If something is abnormal then to restore it to it’s normal condition or state is permissible.
So for example, it is haram in Islam to mutilate parts of the body. But if someone has six fingers instead of five (i.e. four fingers and a thumb), this is not normal. So in this case it is permissible to surgically remove the extra finger to make it normal.
Similarly, if someone is in their mid-twenties and has an illness or genetic disorder. Because of this their hair is all gray or white. It is not normal for a person in their twenties or even early thirties to have all gray or all white hair. In this case it would be permissible to restore the natural color of the hair even if it is black.
This fatwa of the scholars comes with a very important disclaimer. You should not dye your hair black to deceive anyone despite your condition.
So for example, if a person is twenty and is getting married and they have a genetic condition where their natural hair is gray or white. They should disclose this information to all relating parties of the opposite side. So if a man is proposing to a woman he should let her know of his condition and her wali (father/brother/guardian). And if a woman is getting married who has the illness then she too should make the man aware of her condition too.
You should not under any circumstances attempt to deceive anyone. Deception is a major sin in Islam and you should not dye your hair black for this purpose.
In the Army
Some scholars of Islam mention that when you’re in the army it is permissible to dye your hair black. This is because it would make the enemy think that there are all young men on your side. This would strike fear in their hearts. With gray haired or white haired men this may have the opposite impact.
To Adorn Yourself for your Spouse
Some scholars have also allowed the use of black hair dye if it is done with the sole intention to please your spouse. When a wife beautifies herself for her husband or the husband beautifies himself for his wife. It is a great act of reward to adorn ourselves for our spouses.
This is a minority opinion. To stay on the safe side avoid black as much as you can and use a heavy dark brown shade.
Using dark brown hair dye will keep you away from any differences of opinion. And you will also be able to adorn yourself for your spouse.
Is it Haram to Dye Hair (Blue, Pink, Purple, Green, Silver)?
Majority of the scholars of Islam say it is haram to dye hair with strange colors. Such as blue, pink, purple, green, silver etc. And even dyeing hair multicolored like the rainbow.
The reasons for this is that it does not look natural, draws unnecessary attention and is imitating non-believers.
As Muslims we have our symbols and customs. And our friends and neighbors of other faiths have their symbols and customs. It might be common among some non-believers to dye their hair blue and pink. And it also might be trendy among celebrities and singers to do this. But as Muslims this is not our symbols and customs.
We should be humble and proud with our own symbols and customs. We should wear our Muslim identities confidently. We should not lose our identities as Muslims by imitating other people.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade us from imitating people of other faiths. So we should seek the pleasure of Allah and avoid imitating people of other faiths.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who imitates a people is one of them.”
[Sunan Abi Dawud 4301 • Book 34, Hadith 12 • Graded Reliable Authentic (Hasan-Sahih)]
Another reason why scholars state that it is haram to dye your hair bizarre colors. Such as blue, purple, green, pink etc. Is that vanity and pride are major sins in Islam. Seeking the attention of the people in our appearance can lead a person to become vain and prideful.
At the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) there was a custom among the Quraysh. They would drag their lower garments on the floor as a sign of seeking attention and being vain.
The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) was so disgusted by this vanity that he said:
“Whoever lets his lower wrap drag out of vanity, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah • Book 32, Hadith 3699 • Graded Authentic – Sahih]
What Colors are Halal to Dye your Hair with?
You are allowed to color your hair with any natural hair color but avoid black. Brown, dark brown, gray, blonde are all natural hair colors that are halal to dye your hair with.
The recommended hair dyes by the prophet (peace be upon him) are henna (a red plant dye) and katam (type of grass).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best things with which grey hair are changed are henna and katam“.
[Sunan Abu Dawud 4205 • Book 35, Hadith 47 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Is it Haram to Dye your Eyebrows or Beard?
It is not haram to dye your eyebrows or beard. The same ruling as dyeing hair applies. You can use any natural hair color dye your eyebrows and beards but avoid black.
Is it Haram for Men to Dye Their Hair?
It is not haram for men to dye their hair. It is actually a good thing and recommended to dye your hair. Men should dye their hair if they can. The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to differentiate ourselves from people of other faiths by dyeing our hair. It is one of the distinguishing factors of Muslim men to dye their hair.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
“The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so do the opposite of what they do (i.e. dye your grey hair and beards).
[Sahih al-Bukhari • Book 60, Hadith 129 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Besides the colors mentioned above. The Prophet also forbade men to dye their clothes or hair saffron color.
Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) forbade dyeing (one’s cloth or hair) in saffron. Hammad said that it pertains to men only.
[Sahih Muslim • Book 37, Hadith 121 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Did Prophet Muhammad Dye His Hair?
There is a difference of opinion among the scholars if the Prophet (peace be upon him) dyed his hair or not. We have conflicting narrations in the books of hadith that suggest he did dye his blessed hair. There are also other narrations that state he did not dye his hair. On face value this may sound like a contradiction but I’ll explain why this is not the case.
Different companions accompanied the Prophet at different times in his life. It’s almost impossible to know exactly at what time in his life a companion was with the Prophet. So it’s possible that when a certain companion accompanied the Prophet he was not dyeing his hair. And at another time another companion was with the Prophet and the Prophet was dyeing his hair.
So both sets of narrations are in fact correct. They are simply an observation of a companion as he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) at that time.
The companion Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said the Prophet looked very young. He only had a few gray hairs on his head so he did not need to dye his hair.
Ibn Sirin (may Allah have mercy on him) reported:
I asked Anas b. Malik whether Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) dyed his hair. He said: “He had not reached the stage when (he needed) dyeing (of his white hair). He had a few white hair in his beard“.
I said to him: Did Abu Bakr dye his hair? He said: “Yes, with hina’ (henna)”.
[Sahih Muslim • Book 43, Hadith 132 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
‘Abdullah, the son of ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both) was asked about why he dyed his hair. He responded he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) dyeing his hair so he liked doing it too.
Narrated by ‘Ubaid Ibn Juraij:
I asked ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), “O Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman! I saw you dyeing your hair with Henna (a kind of red dye). He replied “No doubt I saw Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) dyeing his hair with it. That is why I like to dye (my hair with it).
[Sahih Al-Bukhari • Book 4, Hadith 32 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Why do Muslim Men Dye their Beards?
Muslim men dye their beards because this was the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet would dye his beard with henna. Every Muslim strives to emulate the example of the Prophet of Islam in deed and appearance. This is why Muslim men dye their beards. It is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him.
It was narrated that Abu Rimthah said:
“I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and I saw that he had dyed his beard with yellow dye.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i • Book 48, Hadith 45 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
I saw Ibn ‘Umar dyeing his beard yellow and I asked him about that. ‘He said: “I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) dye his beard yellow.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i • Book 48, Hadith 204 • Graded Authentic (Sahih)]
Is Highlighting Hair Allowed in Islam?
It is allowed for women to highlight their hair in Islam. You may highlight your hair in any shade of natural human hair color but avoid black. So if you have brown hair and want to put matching blonde highlight streaks in them this is permissible. But keep reading, as there are some Islamic conditions to this.
In Islam the main cause for concern is not the highlighting of hair but rather who will see the highlights.
It is obligatory for Muslim women to cover themselves. This includes covering their hair with a hijab in front of everyone who is not a mahram to them.
Highlighting hair is halal but what would be haram is exposing your beauty in front of strange men. This form of beautification should only be done in front of your mahram. Basically, your father, blood brother, husband, paternal/maternal uncle etc. Or of course in women only gatherings.
Is Garnier, Revlon, Loreal, Bigen Hair Color Halal or Haram?
The ingredients of hair dye brands such as Garnier, Revlon, Bigen and Loreal may change over the years. So it is not possible for any scholar to give a blanket ruling on whether they are always halal or always haram. So you’d have to do your own research for each hair dye product and look up if the ingredients are halal or haram.
The two ingredients in hair dyes that often concern Muslims are ammonia and alcohol.
Ammonia is a chemical that is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is produced from nitrogenous animal and vegetable matter. But the quantity is trace amount. I am not aware of any school of thought that considers the ammonia compound as haram.
There are many hair dyes available on the market that are ammonia-free. So this might be a better choice for Muslims. Ammonia-free hair dyes smell better as it does not give off fumes. It’s also said to cause less damage to the hair, safer and protection from harmful UV rays.
The second ingredient alcohol is something the scholars have differed over. All Muslim scholars agree that alcohol is haram to drink as it is an intoxicant. But some scholars also consider it impure (najas) to touch but others classify it as not impure to touch. This is a huge academic discussion among the scholars that is beyond the scope of this answer.
My teachers and I follow the group of scholars that do not consider alcohol haram to use in products on the skin. If the alcohol is in small quantities, changed through chemical processes and does not intoxicate then it is halal.
Example is vinegar that is made from fermented wine/alcohol or hand sanitizers. These products contain alcohol but the alcohol has gone through a chemical process. The alcohol may also be in its purest form which means it cannot intoxicate you even if you tried to drink it. Most likely consuming such alcohol would cause a person to die, not intoxicate.
I asked my wife which brand she uses so I can recommend it to the people. She said to be on the safe side she avoids black and prefers to use a dark brown shade. This is the product she uses which is a 4.0 grade dark brown hair dye and is ammonia-free. At the time of writing this post this hair dye is halal, in’sha’Allah. The ingredients for this product may change over time. You should do your own due diligence and look up the ingredients at the time if they are still halal or not.
Is it Haram to Dye your Hair while Fasting during Ramadan?
It is not haram to dye your hair while fasting during Ramadan. Dyeing hair has no impact on the validity of your fast. Your fast will not break if you dye your hair.
The things that invalidate fasting are; intercourse, eating, drinking, blood, vomiting and menstruating. Dyeing hair does not come under any of these rulings that break the fast.
So if you’re fasting and have some free time this is the best time to dye your hair.
If you’re a man dyeing your beard and mustache then just be careful not to ingest any hair dye. Which normally should not happen anyway so it shouldn’t even be a problem.
Is Bleaching Hair Haram?
Scholars have differed whether bleaching hair is haram or not. Some have allowed women to bleach their hair if it is done only to please the husband. They also make it a point to be mindful that the chemical that you use to bleach your hair is halal. It should not contain any haram ingredients.
Dyeing your hair is not haram in Islam. You can dye your hair to your natural color but avoid black. Other bizarre hair dye colors such blue, pink, purple, silver etc. are also prohibited. Use only halal hair dye colors that look like natural human hair such as brown, dark brown, blonde etc.
Majority of the scholars of Islam consider it haram to dye hair black based on the hadith of the Prophet. Some scholars have allowed it if it is done to please the husband. To be on the safe side avoid black as much as you can and use a heavy dark brown shade.
All evidence provided is from the authentic (sahih) and reliable (hasan) hadith.
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And Allah the Most Knowledgeable and Most Wise knows best.