Question: Can a women cut her hair to please her husband? Also can she cut her hair on medical grounds to prevent more falling out?
Yes, she may, since it is permissible for her to shorten her hair (unless excessively, which would be disliked (makruh)), let alone if done to please her husband or a medical reason.
It has been mentioned in al-Majmu’ that it is disliked for her to shave it completely, as it would entail disfigurement. This is due to narrations seemingly discouraging or forbidding it,
(عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ تَحْلِقَ الْمَرْأَةُ رَأْسَهَا)
On the authority of ´Ali (may Allah be pleased with him): “The Messenger of Allah (salla-Allahu ´alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) forbade that a woman would shave her head.”
Further, unless the shortening would be excessive (such as what is normal for a man), it would not be disliked whatsoever, and I have not seen the contrary from our scholars.
Additionally, the plucking of eyebrows and facial hair is unlawful for a woman, yet for the married woman with her husband’s permission, it becomes permissible (mubah), then even more so for cutting the hair, which in its most excessive form is but disliked, whilst the plucking of eyebrows and facial hair is prohibited, except for the abovementioned case. As such, if it is pleasing to her husband, it would be highly encouraged for her to comply.
However, shortening of the hair must not be done with the intention of any of the following:
1. Imitating men.
For the Prophet (salla-Allahu ´alayhi wa alihi wa sallam), in a rigorously authenticated hadith, cursed the men who imitate women, and the women who imitate men. [Sahih al-Bukhari].
(وعن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المخنثين من الرجال، والمترجلات من النساء)
On the authority of Ibn ´Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them), said:
“The Messenger of Allah (salla-Allahu ´alayhi wa sallam) would curse the effeminate men, and the women who imitate men.”
(وفي رواية: لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء، والمتشبهات من النساء بالرجال)
And in another narration: “The Messenger of Allah (salla-Allahu ´alayhi wa sallam) would curse the men who imitate women, and the women who imitate men.”
Narrated by Al-Bukhari.
This was also narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Abi Dawud, Ibn Majah,
In a version of Sunan Abi Dawud it even says, (أَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِنْ بُيُوتِكُمْ), meaning “Make them leave your homes.”
Note: Keep in mind here, that the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) would not be able to identify people’s intentions, rather they would judge on what is apparent.
2. Imitating non-Muslims in hairstyles that are specific for them.
3. Imitating the sinful people (fussaq) in hairstyles that are specific to them.
The Prophet (salla-Allahu ´alayhi wa alihi wa salam) said,
(مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ).
”Whosoever imitates a people is from them.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
Ibn Hibban graded it rigorously authenticated (sahih), and this hadith is well-known, and a substantiation for the prohibition of imitation (tashabbuh).
Furthermore, it would be encouraged to look at the practice and acceptability amongst the scholars and upright Muslims in regards to a specific hairstyle, whether something will be perceived as belonging to the opposite gender, non-Muslims, or the openly sinful from the Muslims (fussaq).
This would be prudent, especially as the Hanafi school considers it prohibited, as explicitly mentioned in Radd al-Muhtar in [كتاب الحظر والاباحة]. This prohibition would extend even to a case where the husband permit it, because of the hadith, (لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق), "there is no obedience to the creation in the disobedience to the Creator," and (إنما الطاعة في المعروف), "Verily obedience is in what is good." [Bukarhi & Muslim] The prohibition would also extend whether the intention of imitation (tashabbuh) is present or not.
Hence I would say, if this is what is adhered to in your family (especially your husband, or if unmarried, your parents) or your environment, you should try your best to adhere to it.
Wa Allahu a´lam
Answered by Shaykh Isa Husayn