Rules for removing unwanted hair in Islam
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Rules for removing unwanted hair in Islam

Islam is very pure, sophisticated, and pure religion and the Islamic Shari’ah places great emphasis on the purity and cleanliness of the outward (body) and inward (batin). In the Holy Qur’an, in surah Tobah Allah says:

لَا تَقُمۡ فِيۡهِ اَبَدًا ‌ؕ لَمَسۡجِدٌ اُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقۡوٰى مِنۡ اَوَّلِ يَوۡمٍ اَحَقُّ اَنۡ تَقُوۡمَ فِيۡهِ‌ؕ فِيۡهِ رِجَالٌ يُّحِبُّوۡنَ اَنۡ يَّتَطَهَّرُوۡا ‌ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الۡمُطَّهِّرِيۡنَ‏ ﴿۱۰۸﴾

Do not stand (for prayer) within it – ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves, and Allah loves those who purify themselves. (9: 108)

If a man or a woman keeps unwanted hairs (under the navel, armpits, etc.) for more than forty days and does not clean them, will his/her prayers be accepted? What sin will he/she have?

Expressing God’s love to the purifiers is proof of the importance of cleanliness and purity in Islam. Islam considers the cleaning of unnecessary body hair as a part of purity and a requirement of human nature. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

الْفِطْرَةُ خَمْسٌ: الْخِتَانُ وَالِاسْتِحْدَادُ وَنَتْفُ الْإِبْطِ وَقَصُّ الشَّارِبِ وَتَقْلِيمُ الْأَظْفَارِ.

There are five things in fitra (nature): circumcision, pubic hair cleaning, armpit cleaning, mustache trimming, and nail trimming. (Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)

In this hadith, the cleaning of unnecessary body hair has been interpreted as human nature, so nature requires that at least once a week, theses hairs are preferred to be cleaned, the number of times you clean your hair can be increased or decreased as needed. But it is not permissible to leave them for more than forty days. Hazrat Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

وُقِّتَ لَنَا فِي قَصِّ الشَّارِبِ، وَتَقْلِيمِ الْأَظْفَارِ، وَنَتْفِ الْإِبِطِ، وَحَلْقِ الْعَانَةِ، أَنْ لَا نَتْرُكَ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً.

We need to trim our mustaches, cut our nails, clean our armpits, and pubic hair.

The maximum period for us to trim our mustache, cut our nails, clean our armpits, and pubic hair is 40 days. (Muslim, Al-Sahih, Kitab Al-Taharah, Bab Khasal Al-Fitra, 1: 222, Number: 258

Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Nisa’i, Abu Yali and Ibn Ja’d have also narrated the narration of Hazrat Anas bin Malik with some changes of words. The following are the words of Sunan al-Tirmidhi:

وُقِّتَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلی الله علیه وآله وسلم قَصَّ الشَّارِبِ، وَتَقْلِيمَ الْأَظْفَارِ، وَحَلْقَ الْعَانَةِ، وَنَتْفَ الْإِبْطِ، لَا يُتْرَكُ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا.

And the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

وُقِّتَ لَنَا فِي قَصِّ الشَّارِبِ، وَتَقْلِيمِ الْأَظْفَارِ، وَنَتْفِ الْإِبِطِ، وَحَلْقِ الْعَانَةِ، أَنْ لَا نَتْرُكَ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set aside time for us to trim our mustaches, cut our nails, shave our pubic hair and clean our armpit hair, leaving them no more than forty days.

Sheikh Nizam and his group companions have written in Fatwa Alamgiri with reference to the cleaning of unnecessary body hair:

 وَيَحْلِقَ عَانَتَهُ وَيُنَظِّفَ بَدَنَهُ بِالِاغْتِسَالِ في كل أُسْبُوعٍ مَرَّةً فَإِنْ لم يَفْعَلْ فَفِي كل خَمْسَةَ عَشَرَ يَوْمًا وَلَا يُعْذَرُ في تَرْكِهِ وَرَاءَ الْأَرْبَعِينَ فَالْأُسْبُوعُ هو الْأَفْضَلُ وَالْخَمْسَةَ عَشَرَ الْأَوْسَطُ وَالْأَرْبَعُونَ الْأَبْعَدُ وَلَا عُذْرَ فِيمَا وَرَاءَ الْأَرْبَعِينَ وَيَسْتَحِقُّ الْوَعِيدَ.

A Muslim should clean the hair under the navel and clean the whole body by bathing once a week. If he/she cannot do it, then he/she should do it after 15 days, and even if he/she cannot do it, then he/she must do it after forty days and after this, no excuse will be accepted. Therefore, it is better to do it once a week and or do it once in fifteen days on average or to do it once in forty days and after forty days there is no excuse and he/she will deserve a wa-eed.

Says further:

وَيَبْتَدِئُ في حَلْقِ الْعَانَةِ من تَحْتِ السُّرَّةِ وَلَوْ عَالَجَ بِالنُّورَةِ في الْعَانَةِ يَجُوزُ

It is permissible to clean the hair under the navel, starting from the bottom of the navel, and even if you use light (powder or cream) to clean the hair. 

In another hadith of Sahih Muslim, Abdullah bin Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated from Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 

عَشْرٌ مِنَ الْفِطْرَةِ قَصُّ الشَّارِبِ وَإِعْفَاءُ اللِّحْيَةِ وَالسِّوَاكُ وَاسْتِنْشَاقُ الْمَاءِ وَقَصُّ الأَظْفَارِ وَغَسْلُ الْبَرَاجِمِ وَنَتْفُ الإِبْطِ وَحَلْقُ الْعَانَةِ وَانْتِقَاصُ الْمَاءِ

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Ten are the acts according to fitra: clipping the mustache, letting the beard grow, using the tooth-stick, snuffing water in the nose, cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the hair under the armpits, shaving the pubes and cleaning one’s private parts with water. 

Can we use Hair Removing Creams/powders for armpits? What does Islam say? 

Anyone who is not able to pull out the armpit hair can shave it. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And fear Allah as much as you have power.”

Do not delay in pulling the armpit hair for more than forty days. (Sahih Muslim: 129 / 1H 258)

It is permissible to clean the hair under the armpits with a razor or cream, etc., but it is better to pluck it if a person can bear it or he has become accustomed to it.

Cleaning the pubic hair is part of the physical hygiene

These explanations show that cleaning the pubic hair is part of the physical hygiene of men and women. It is mustahab to clean the unwanted body hair once a week, it is permissible to do it once in fifteen days and it is obligatory to do it once in forty days. It is forbidden to leave unwanted body hair for more than forty days. The prayer of the one who does so will be performed but with disgust and he will also be a grave sinner.

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