Question: Assalamu aleykum, Last year I converted to Islam and my occupation caused me some issues because, as a skin therapist, I had to work with close contact to men. Therefore I quit that job and have plans to start my own business to only work with women. Among the services I planned to offer are eyelash extensions and permanent eyebrow makeup. However, I have read that these may be haraam. Please advise me on this issue. Jazak Allahu Khayran
Answer: Seeking lawful provisions is a very honorable endeavor in Islam. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “No food is better to man than that which he earns through his own labor”. (Sahih Bukhari) Allah says: “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan.” (Qur’an 2: 168)
In many cases, it can be a serious challenge to reconcile between the dynamics of the workplace and the tenets of our faith. As Muslims, we view our transactions and financial dealings as a critical aspect of our devotion to our Creator. Hence, Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) emphasized the importance of understanding our religious duties before engaging in transactions: “No one should sell in our markets except one who has understanding in the religion.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi) I commend you for taking the steps to ensure that your income is coming from halal sources.
Thinning or plucking the eyebrows is a very popular trend in the modern day. Even those who do not have any facial abnormalities are tempted to make changes to their natural beauty. In authentic traditions of our Prophet (SAWS), hair extensions, tattoos and plucking or thinning the eyebrows have been specifically addressed with strong prohibitions. It should be noted that there are a lot of nuances surrounding the aforementioned issues.
The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Allah has cursed those women who modify their eyebrows or ask others to do it for them” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim). The Prophet (SAWS) has prohibited both modifying the eyebrows and doing that for others, and such severe wording has been connected to this deed. The spirit behind the prohibition is to disavow beautifying oneself by means of distorting Allah’s creation.
Can any changes be made to the eyebrows? What are the parameters to this discussion in light of our Islamic legacy?
Being that the focus here is changing Allah’s creation, many scholars have allowed removal of hair that is between the two eyebrows. Some have allowed a very light trim, if it is so thick that it is seen as abnormal. For more details regarding the Fiqh nuances, I encourage you to read the fatwa posted by SeekersHub, a popular fatwa resource: bit.ly/EyebrowFatwa
As for hair extensions, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Cursed is the maker and wearer of extensions and the tattooer and the one who is tattooed”. (Sahih al-Bukhari) In terms of extensions to the head, many scholars have allowed synthetic extensions and have limited the prohibition to actual human or animal hair.
As for eyelash extensions, if it is for someone who has suffered some ailment that has caused a facial abnormality, some scholars have allowed such eyelash extensions. However, if it is purely for leisure, many scholars say that it is prohibited because it entails changing Allah’s creation. If permanent makeup for the eyebrows is done purely out of leisure, it would follow the same ruling.
As you can see, the scope of your field has a number of restrictions in Islamic law. If you are able to apply these guidelines, I pray that it will be a source of halal income. Otherwise, I strongly encourage you to be patient and search for other means for your livelihood. And Allah knows best.