The Deal on Eyebrow Plucking and Shaping

{via Bold Natural Eyebrows}
Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah,
Dear Shahirah,

What are your thoughts on eyebrow-shaping? Not to reshape, but to keep them neat and tidy.
                                        - H

Wa alaykummusalam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh H,

Thanks for your question. Here are my personal thoughts on this issue.

I've never plucked my eyebrows because I don't see the need for me to do so. Make up artists have told me that I should because neatly plucked eyebrows would frame my face in a better way but I believe in this: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. There is also a hadith which says,

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Allah has cursed the Washimat and the Mustawshimat, the Namisat and the Mutanammisat, and the Mutafallijat for beauty, who change what Allah has created." 
{Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, and At-Tirmizi}

The Washimat are the tattooers, and the Mustawshimat are the people who are tattooed. The Namisat pluck the eyebrows to straighten them or to make them thinner, and the Mutanammisat are the people whose eyebrows are plucked. Some Muslim scholars apply this prohibition of plucking the hair to all the facial hair of the woman. The Mutafallijat for beauty are the peoples who widen the gaps between their teeth for the sake of beautification.

"Some scholars say that shaping the eyebrows or trimming them falls under the same rule. However, other scholars consider shaping eyebrows or trimming them to be permissible. They say that the prohibition in the above hadith specifically refers to plucking eyebrows, and it is prohibited because it is akin to mutilation, and also it is more likely to result in defaming one’s face.

(Have you seen how some women over-pluck their eyebrows? You just wanna reach out to them and say, "Honey, I'm sorry but that just looks so wrong.")

As opposed to this, shaping the eyebrows if they are excessively long or thinning them if they are excessively thick, is enhancing Allah’s creation rather than mutilating it. Its analogy, therefore, is to trimming the mustache or cutting hair, and so on, which are not only permissible but may also be recommended. In light of the above, according to these scholars, it is considered permissible to shape or trim one's eyebrows if they are excessively long or thick for the purpose of appearing neat and tidy." (source)


"As for removing the hair from between the eyebrows, it is lawful, because it is not part of the eyebrows.
What is prohibited is an-Nams, which denotes removing the hair of the eyebrows by plucking in order to make it thin." (source)

"God is beautiful and loves beauty." {Sahih Muslim}

From this hadith I've extracted the idea that Allah s.w.t. wants us to feel and look our best (inner and outer beauty). It is encouraged for us to be clean and look presentable. It is also permitted for us to fix a bodily defect or abnormality which can get in the way of us leading healthy, normal lives. For example, the use of braces to straighten one's teeth is not prohibited. What Allah wants us to avoid is vanity. 

"Eat what you feel like and wear what you feel like. 
But avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance (and vanity)." {Sahih Bukhari}

Raina Hein proves that natural, thick
eyebrows are beautiful.
{via Flickr}
This hadith is addressing our consumption of material things. What we eat and wear is the epitome of our nafs (worldly and bodily desires) and what Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was basically trying to say is, "Do what you want, just don't over-do it". In other words, we are allowed to fulfill our desires according to Islamic guidelines but an obsession with our nafs can be a great distraction from our true purpose in life. We live in a time when everything is about the image we choose to portray and the brands we consume to make a statement about ourselves. I think many of us are guilty of this and don't you agree that the pursuit of society's approval can really take over our lives to the point that we're willing to compromise our moral and religious values thus forgetting what truly matters?

Trends come and go. We can see that with fashion. As Heidi Klum famously says, "In fashion, one day you're in, the next day you're out." In that industry people, especially women, are like clothes. They are dispensable. Therefore, love fashion if you want but don't get too caught up in the industry's ways because it promotes a very superficial way of life.

Perhaps the plucking of eyebrows could be a sign of a woman paying too much attention to her physical appearance and ladies, we all know how easy this is to do. By all means, look after yourself - internally and externally - but don't let your physical beauty become the 'be all, end all' of  who you are as a woman because that mentality is the leading cause of anorexia, bulimia, depression and low self-esteem.

Alright, back to eyebrows again. I know there are differing opinions regarding the plucking and shaping of eyebrows but at the end of the day they're just eyebrows. They're not worth too much fuss or argument. I think, as Muslims in the 21st century we've got bigger fish to fry. 

I hope that answers your question, H. You already know this but I'll just say it anyway, Allah s.w.t. knows best! 


Unknown said…
i've stopped plucking my eyebrows since i've started wearing hijab and fortunately it has grown beautifully in a perfect shape, alhamdulillah. God works in mysterious ways :)
Yunne Osman said…
sha, you've explained it perfectly enough for everybody to understand. bravo lil' sis! i don't think anybody else could answer any better. you surely have a good head over your shoulders. =) xoxo
Khadeja said…
I had a tattoo before i converted. Also i plucked my eyebrows. I dont do that anymore. I am worried, does that make me bad in front of God..?
Thanks for the post! Interesting... I do it to keep it neat as it really doesn't before I do lol! But I agree that there are much bigger fish =)
Ali said…
Bismillah. Asalamu alaikum Khadeja, alhamdulilah you have had the blessing of realizing mistakes from your past, may Allah help us all realize our faults in order that we may improve ourselves, amin. I have read that many Hanafi and Shafi'i scholars believe that after becoming concious of the impermissibility of tatooing after having done it, they should repent and if possible without excessive hardship, they should remove the tatoo especially if it contains pictures of human or animals. If you do this sincerely, inshaAllah, you will be forgiven by the Almighty. Allahu 'alam. May Allah forgive us all! Amin. All the best Khadeja.
syieranuar said…
well said sis :)
Elisa said…
Great job at explaining this topic, Shahirah! I couldn't have said it better. Sounds like we both agree on this. Personally, I remove hair from my eyebrows to keep it well maintained, but I don't make them thinner. In fact, I find a thicker eyebrow to be much more attractive. I just clean up the strays :) Insha'Allah, this is okay!
P.S. Masha'Allah you are BEAUTIFUL, sister!! And such an intelligent woman! May Allah bless you in this life and the next. Ameen.
Esra said…
Mashaallah your eyebrows look great naturally. I agree with alot of what you said here - people need to know their limits, and you see people with eyebrows that have been hacked away at every angle!

I confess I get my eyebrows done, but only to tidy them up - makes my face look so much cleaner. Like Elisa said above, I think thicker eyebrows look far better anyway.
Anonymous said…
thank you for the very informative post. May Allah bless you. All of us.
Wonderful post hun.
It really helped me understand this issue; and I learned something new : )
Thank you <3
iati blush said…
thank you 4 sharing, i hv always wnder of da hukum n all, now i noe. thank god hvnt done netin 2 it;)
Shahirah Elaiza said…
Ami Schaheera: Alhamdulillah, natural beauty is always the best form of beauty because it's what Allah swt has given us!

Yunne: Aww thank you sis. Insha'Allah I have answered this person's question well. If I did, all thanks to Allah swt. He gives us inspiration when we need it the most.

Khadeja: As Br. Ali replied, insha'Allah after realising that it's not permissible to have tattoos and repenting from past mistakes, Allah s.w.t. will forgive you. After all, when you converted all your past sins are washed away and you are a brand new person =) Check out this link:

Mrs. Handbag Addict: Yeah it's just unnecessary to argue with people about eyebrows =P

syieranuar: Thanks =)

Elisa: You are too generous with your praises mashaAllah, thank you for understanding my point of view.

Esra: Aww thank you! I think they're alright lol. Tidy eyebrows makes quite a difference to someone's face - thick or thin - as long as they're natural.

Anon: Your welcome! But thanks to H for asking and thank Allah s.w.t. =)

جيسي فهد: Glad you learned something new Jessie. Hopefully I conveyed the right message insha'Allah!

iatiblush: No problemo =) insha'Allah we all learned something today.
RS said…
u've got really nice eyebrows though!
Shahirah Elaiza said…
RS: LOL. Thanks hun but you might wanna see me in person 1st before you make that judgement =P
Shahirah Elaiza said…
L&S: Hey you! How's your holiday going? Aren't you supposed to get in touch with me? lol Btw, I have a question for you! It's about Melbourne.
♥Soso♥ said…
Raina Hein looks beautiful with thicker eyebrows..
You explained it really well sis
Aisha said…
ahhh shahirah u always explain things so well, masha'Allah. ive never plucked my eyebrows because ive never seen the need to do so...and anyhow i love how they look natural =)
Anonymous said…
Great post =D !!!

LOL eyebrows look beautiful naturally? Lucky sisters! I'd look like a man if I had not plucked *to neat* my eyebrows.
great post :) I agree it's ok to trim but not shape. I've had many friends that started to pluck their eyebrows, their whole face changed, they looked really different.
Loved the post! You explained it all so well! (Y)
Ive never felt the need to pluck my eyebrows, I think they're fine just the way they are. Your eyebrows look great naturally! :)
thanks for sharing, Sha
usually the best eyebrows are those which are left unplucked!
great post =)
Anonymous said…

love your blog soooo much... and thanks a lot for the info... ;)

since u wrote about eyebrow plucking, how about fake eyelashes??

i saw lots of "muslimah fashionista" love the fake eyelashes...i think most of us know that wearing fake eyelashes is haram just like wearing rambut palsu rite?? correct me if i'm wrong....

maybe you can write in your next post...


xoxo ;)
Shahirah Elaiza said…
soso: She does!

Ashi: Yeah, like I said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." LOL

Muslim Jedi: LOL I'm pretty sure you don't like a man without unplucked eyebrows =P Don't be hard on yourself like that.

hijabi hippie hypo: True, some people lose their nur when they do it wrong and they constantly need to keep plucking/threading it too which is unnecessary hassle, in my opinion.

Smiley: You, me and Ashi should start a club =P

Diana: Your welcome!

Sorlisa: I agree. Leave them eyebrows alone if you can, people! lol

Anon: Aww thanks for the love. Fake eyelashes? Hmmm... interesting. I might have to do a little bit of research on that. Thanks for the idea!
ajjah said…
nicely done sha :)
Anonymous said…
Lol no no. I do. My mother has naturally perfect eyebrows and my dad very bushy ones. On his side of the family, they have those sorts of eyebrows that aren't defined. Meaning the hairs are numerous and scattered around. I didn't want to pluck them for the longest time. My friends told me I should do something, My Mother, my Family. Strangers... :S. It go to the point where my mom actually forced me on a chair and made the hairdresser do it. Bleh, they look normal now. But it's tempting. To shape them that is :P
Anonymous said…
So I just want to clarify... Reshaping and making it thinner is not allowed, but to tidy it up is allowed?