Can a person dye his hair black?

Message: As Salaamu Alaikum!
Hope this reaches you in good health. Is there a reason stated as to why someone cannot dye their hair black? If someone has naturally brown hair, can they then dye their hair in that same colour brown if grey hair appears?
Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,

الجواب بالله و التوفيق

Using black dye is prohibited in the ahadith of the Prophet (S.A.S). In this regard, it is narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) that the Prophet (S.A.S) said ‘ At the end of time, there will be people who will use black dye like the flocks of crows. They will not experience the fragrance of Paradise.’ (Sunan An Nasaii, Ahmad). In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A.S) is reported to have said ‘Whoever colours his hair in black, Allah will blacken his face on the day of Judgement.’ (Abu Dawood, Tibrani – Tuhfa Al Ahwazi – Kitabul Fatawa, Vol. 6, Pg. 76, Zam Zam Publishers, Karachi 2008). It is narrated in another tradition that Abu Quhafah was brought to the Prophet (S.A.S) on the day of the conquest of Makkah, and his head and beard were white like Al Thaghamah (a plant with white fruits). The Messenger of Allah said  ‘Change this (colour) to something else, and avoid black.’ (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No.1663).

There are other ahadith in which the prohibition of using black dye is evident. Based on these, the Fuqaha (Jurists) have stated that using black dye for one’s hair is forbidden or disliked unless when going to war.

Black dye has the similitude of the original blackness of the hair, and is tantamount to deception and delusion. For this reason, whoever applies black dye (in the beard is referred to as kazib fil lihyah (delusive in terms of the beard).

It is reported that when Umar (R.A) was the khalifah, he penalized a man who had deceived a woman into marriage by using black dye (pretending to be younger than his real age).

It is also narrated that once Amr Ibn Al’Aas visited Umar (R.A), while he (Amr) had dyed his hair and beard black. Umar (R.A) asked him who he was and he said he was Amr. Upon this Umar said, “You pledge to me (as the Khalifah) when you were old, and now you are young. I want you to wash yourself. (Fatah Al Misr wa Akhbaruha-Abu Al Qasim Quraishi Berut, Dar Al Fikr 1998).

From these narrations many scholars have indicated that the reason why the ‘Prophet (SAW) has prohibited one from dyeing in black, was that it was a way of deception. As for dyeing in other colours like that of red, yellow, brown (when a person uses henna (mahendi), these do not bring about any form of deception with respect to the age of a person. Dyeing one’s hair in black, shows one to be young and youthful although he/she may be old and aging.

The answer to your other question is that if one has naturally brown hair, then it will be permissible to dye in the same color if grey hair appears.

And Allah knows best,

Mufti Waseem Khan