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Is Hair Transplant Permissible or Prohibited?

Many people inquire about the ruling of hair transplant in Islam, whether it is permissible or prohibited in terms of religion, before taking any step in this procedure. Before answering this question, we need to know how the hair transplant procedure is done, because it is not right to judge anything before knowing it. Many people inquire about the ruling of hair transplant in Islam, whether it is permissible or prohibited in terms of religion, before taking any step in this procedure. Before answering this question, we need to know how the hair transplant procedure is done, because it is not right to judge anything before knowing it. 

How is the hair transplant done?

Hair transplant is transferring hair follicles from one area to another in the head of the same person. Cultivating hair transplant procedure is performed as follows: hair follicles are extracted from the back of the head of the patients, then the implantation area is prepared by making a tentative map for implantation grading, then follicles implantation spots are specified, small holes of 1 mm diameter are made according to the required grading, and those follicles are implanted in those holes. The implanted hair often falls in the first three months, but the follicles remain unchanged therefore it is advised not to shave during the six months following the procedure. Then the hair cycle is completed and one can shave or proceed with the transplant procedure later. This is the medical way available now according to the latest used techniques, and it is called follicles extraction technique.

Before talking about the rulings that allow hair transplant, let us talk a little about the prohibited hair extensions attachment, that may be mistaken for hair transplant, they're totally different concepts.

What is Hair Extensions Attachment?

Hair extensions attachment is attaching the original hair of a person with another additional hair to make it longer and change its appearance. Hair extensions attachment was popular and known at the time of prophet Muhammad  (PBUH), and it's narrated that a woman came to the prophet and told him that her daughter is going to get married but she has a hair problem and she wants to look beautiful (it may be because her hair is too short). The woman asked the prophet whether she can make her daughter's hair longer by attaching an extension, so the prophet told her that it's forbidden and he said, "Allah has cursed the woman who adds hair extensions and the one who has them added", i.e. the one that has asked for hair extension and the one that attaches the hair extension, therefore hair extensions attachment is prohibited. 

What is the difference between hair extensions attachment and hair transplant?

The most prominent differences between the two include:

1. In hair extensions attachment, the thing attached to the original hair is not from it, and this extension is either hair or something else. While in hair transplant the added hair is from the original hair itself with follicles, and it is all about hair being transferred from the back of the head to the headline or the area to be implanted. 

2. The hair extension attachment is from another person (or thing), while in hair transplant the implanted hair is often from the same person. 

3. The extension (hair or something else) is attached and tied to the original hair, therefore it's called attached extension. The attached hair extension is added to the hair and tied to it to make it thicker. While hair transplant is different, as the implanted hair is implanted in the scalp - or in the area to be implanted – directly, and it is not connected to the existing hair, as the transplant is in a bald or almost bald area (often). 

4. The purpose of hair extension attachment is adding more density to the original hair, making it longer and making it look as if it's thick, however the extension doesn't grow and doesn't make the hair longer or thicker for real. While in hair transplant, the hair emerging from the implanted follicles grows, becomes thicker and can be cut and shaved. Hair transplant is making it look as it was before and not just a false implication of hair density like in hair extension attachment.

5. In hair extension, the extended hair itself is the intended thing as it will appear on the head, whereas in hair transplant the intended thing is hair follicles extracted from the same person, the implanted hair itself will fall in a few weeks, and after three or four months the new hair that will stay on the head will grow. 

6. Hair extension attachment is often used with existing hair, then the purpose is to pretend that the hair is long and beautiful, whereas hair transplant is performed on a bald person or when there's no hair in some areas of the body, and might be performed when the hair is thin and spacing, meaning that hair extension attachment is deception and delusion, and implanting hair is a treatment. 

Therefore, it's clear that hair transplant is completely different from hair extensions attachment in terms of meaning and purpose.

Rulings on hair transplant permission:

Based on the above-mentioned information, we would like to review some of the scholars' sayings on this subject:

1. Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may his soul rest in piece) was asked: Hair transplant is an operation that be done to person who suffer from baldness and it is about taking hair from the back side of the head which is the (the donor area) and transplant them in the baldness area. Is that permissible? 

Yes, that allowable because it is an operation that is done to repair the damage that happen to the head scalp, so it is not a changing in what Allah has created. Hair transplant is not consider under cosmetic surgery to adjust Allah creation it is just consider as a therapy we use it to treat this boldness. In fact, it is just a procedure to restore the hair that has been fallen and try to correct this fault. There is a popular anecdote of three people, one of them was suffering from baldness and he has always had a dream that Allah would retrieve his hair again, so the angel touched his hear and Allah returned his hair and give him what he has always dreamed about Fatawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam, p. 1185.

2. In the book "Dirasat Fiqhiyyah fi Qadaya Tibbiyyah ;Mu'asirah 2/549", under the subject of rulings of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Muhammad Uthman Shubair said:

"Surgical hair treatment by having head hair transplantation procedure so that it grows is permissible, as it doesn't involve deception but rather treatment to restore the perfect creation in which man was created". Dr. Mahmoud Sartawi: Ruling of Dissection and Cosmetic Surgery in Islamic Law – Dirasat Magazine – third issue 1984. p. 149.

3. Answering the question (is hair transplant prohibited), Islamic Fiqh Academy gave the following ruling:

Islamic rules permit the necessary and needed plastic surgery intended to: 

  • Restore the shape of body parts to the condition in which man was created, as Allah says: We have certainly created man in the best of stature (Surah At-Tin: 4).
  •  Revive regular task.
  • Conceal the congenital defects like: cleft lip, extremely diverted nose, birthmarks, extra fingers and teeth and adherence of fingers if such defects cause effective material or moral damage.
  • Conceal the defects resulting from burns, accidents, diseases and the like. For example, desmoplastic, reconstructing the breast completely if there was a mastectomy, or partially if it is big enough or small enough to cause a medical condition, and hair transplant for women who suffer from hair loss."

 Hair transplant is included in the permitted treatment section, because it is cultivating in the original place. There is no constraint to have hair transplant as treatment when man loses his hair. This is not about altering the creation of Allah, but rather it is concealing the defect and treating diseases.

Therefore, we can say: according to Islamic rules there's no constraint in transplanting scalp hair, restoring the lost hair in a medical method in a way that removes the defect, cultivates the hair and restores it to the original condition, where the hair grows back after the surgery and gets longer by itself, this is hair transplant, and in this way it has nothing to do with hair extension attachment, but rather it's considered a treatment, which is permitted and permissible.

This ruling is supported by what was said in Sahihain in The tale of three Israelites, where the prophet (PBUH) said: "Allah willed to test three Israelis who were a leper, a blind man and a bald-headed man. So, he sent them a mercy angel. The angel asked the blind man about what thing you do like the most?.' He said I like to have a good hair and I hope one day to be recover of this disease, for the people who feel dissonance for me. Later, the man was recovered from his illness

Related by Bukhari in "Ahadith Al-Anbea", hadith of leper, a blind man and a bald-headed man Israelite: (3464), and Muslim in "Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqaiq" (2964), from the hadith of Abu Huraira may Allah bless him. 

This hadith indicates that concealing the defect by cultivating hair is permitted, if it was prohibited the angel wouldn't do it, and if it was permitted in their religious laws and prohibited in Islamic law the prophet (PBUH) wouldn't acknowledge it at the time of clarification (To delay clarification (on matters) beyond reasonable time is not permissible).

This ruling is also supported with what was narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud "AbdurRahman ibn Tarafah said that his grandfather Arfajah ibn As'ad who had his nose cut off at the battle of al-Kilab got a silver nose, but it developed a stench, so the Prophet (PBUH) ordered him to get a gold nose." This hadith proves that treatment is permissible, and it is the same ruling of hair transplant.