Dye for hair

Q187 :In the past, you have mentioned that it is permissible for men to dye their hair, but you have not clarified the position regarding a black dye. Indeed, you have tended to make it permissible, when the Prophet's advice was clearly quoted to avoid "black". Would you please review the verdict with this clarification?

A187 : You seem to be clear in your mind that using a black hair dye is not allowed in Islam. I feel you are being too strict. It is true that the Prophet has recommended Henna and Katam as the best material to use when dyeing hair, but there is nothing specific in the Hadith about prohibiting or discouraging the use of black dyes, except in a particular incident to which I will be presently referring. Henna is a plant which can be used for hair dye and which imparts to the hair a reddish color. Apparently, it is beneficial to hair, because it is used in making shampoo. Katam is a similar stuff but it gives the hair a darker color which is nearly black but with a touch of red. Some of the companions of the Prophet used to dye their hair using both these dyes or different ones. Abu Bakr used both Henna and Katam, while Umar used Henna alone. What is important to guard against when dyeing one's hair is that there should be no attempt to give oneself a false appearance. It happened during the days of Umar that a man got married to a girl who was much younger than him. Shortly after the marriage, she discovered that he had dyed his hair to appear much younger. Her parents complained to Umar who reproached the man for giving a false appearance and ruled the marriage null and void. But there is no other restriction on using a black dye. Az-Zuhri says: "We used to dye our hair black when we had young faces. When wrinkles appeared and teeth dropped, we stopped." Some scholars say that using a black dye is permissible only during the time of war, because it gives an appearance of strength to the Muslim army. Other scholars say that it is permissible at all times. The incident, which has come as the source of some confusion took place at the time of the conquest of Mecca by the Prophet. Abu Bakr brought his father to the Prophet to declare his adoption of Islam. Needless to say, Abu Bakr's father was an old man in his eighties. His hair had gone all gray, that you could not see a single black hair on his head. The Prophet gave instructions that his hair should be dyed, but he told his son "to avoid black". Scholars agree that this instruction by the Prophet did not indicate any prohibition. It simply takes care of the old man's position. If he were to dye his hair black, his appearance would have been ridiculous. The point was to change the total whiteness of his hair with something respectable. I hope I have clarified this subject.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )