Is it permissible to trim your nails and cut your hair if you intend to do a sacrifice (qurbani) on Eid?

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Is it permissible to trim your nails and cut your hair if you intend to do a sacrifice (qurbani) on Eid?

It is a question which arises every year and is famously disagreed upon by scholars.

The answer is:

It often seems there is only one opinion but in fact, there are three valid opinions:

  • Permissible – Malki opinion

1. The position Abu Hanifa and some Malikis, is that trimming hair and nails during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah by the one who intends to offer a sacrifice is permissible. It is not forbidden.

  • Disliked – Shafii’ school

2. The position of the Shafii’s, and Malik is that it is ‘makrooh’ (disliked) and within that category, specifically ‘makrooh tanzeeh’, (discouraged but closer to permissible than sinful). It is not forbidden.

  • Forbidden – Hanbali opinion

3. The Hanbali school, according to Imam Ahmad says that it is sinful and forbidden.

What is the evidence it is prohibited?

The hadith of Umm Salama who reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) said:

If anyone has in his possession a sacrificial animal to offer as a sacrifice (on Eid al-Adha), he should not get his hair cut and nails trimmed after he has entered the first days of Dhu’l Hijja. (Muslim)

What is the evidence that it is permitted?

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

I used to twist the garlands for the Hadi (sacrificial animals) of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) with my own hands, then the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) would garland them with his own hand. Then he would send them with my father, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) would not refrain from anything that Allah, the Might and sublime, has permitted until the Hadi was sacrificed. (Muslim and Nasa’i)

What she is saying is the Prophet (peace be on him) would send his animals to be slaughtered, (when he was not performing Hajj) and would not refrain from doing anything such as cutting nails or anything else that was prohibited to those who are in ihram.

Imam Nawawi discussed the opinions in his book Al-Majmou’:

Our school is that removing hair and nails in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah for those who want to sacrifice is lightly makrooh, until he makes the sacrifice. Malik and Abu Hanifa said it is not makrouh, (i.e it’s permissible).

The Hanafi and Shafi’i give precedence to the Hadith of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) over the hadith of Umm Salama.

The Summary

There are two main opinions – one which says it is haram and one which says it is permissible. The issue has a broad scope, so whoever wants to be on the side of caution, can keep away from cutting nails and hair and thus avoid the disagreement. Whoever wants to cut his hair or nails, there is no sin on him as per the hadith of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her).

Shaykh Haytham Tamim

24th July 2020

 

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