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

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

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

When a person enters a state of ihram for Hajj, they are not allowed to trim their hair or clip their nails since these are among the things prohibited while in ihram. This includes shaving, and any other forms of hair removal.

Does this apply to those who are doing a sacrifice but have not gone for Hajj?

This question arises every year and is famously disagreed upon by scholars.

In a nutshell it is recommended but not obligatory to avoid cutting hair and nails if you are the person paying for the sacrifice. It is worth noting that this only applies to the one who is paying for the sacrifice – not all the family members on whose behalf the sacrifice is made.

The explanation for this is that there are three valid opinions from the four Schools of Thought:

  • Permissible – Hanafi and Maliki 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 – Shafi’i 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.

What is the wisdom behind not cutting nails and hair?

The reason the one offering the qurbani does not cut their hair or nails is that they are emulating those who have gone for Hajj, as one of the conditions of being in ihram is that one does not cut their hair or nails. However in reality there are three types of Hajj, and in Hajj al-tamattu’ the Hajji does not stay in ihram for 9 days continuously, therefore the requirement not to cut hair and nails is a recommendation not an obligation. 

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

What do I need to know about Qurbani?

20 years of Utrujj

Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.