Q. Can a muslim plait his hair? If yes for how long can they keep it?
A. It is an established principle in the shariah that men must not imitate women and women must not imitate men. This is based on the authentic tradition of the Prophet S.A in which he said that the curse of Allah is upon those men who imitate women and upon those women who imitate men’. (Sahih Al Bukhari).
The prohibition of imitating the opposite sex is equally connected to conduct, behaviour, speech, dress and also one’s appearance. This means that in the matter of ‘growing one’s hair and keeping it in a particular style’, one must refrain from doing anything that causes a resemblance / likeness to the style adopted by women. Seeing that plaiting the hair is normally done by women, it will not be permissible for a Muslim male to plait his hair in a similar manner which shows any type of imitation to a female. However, if there is absolutely no imitation and resemblance to the style of ‘plaiting’ by women, then it will be allowed (Khasaa-il Nabawi Pg. 36). In this case, one can keep his hair in this manner, however, while taking a compulsory bath, one must ensure that his hair (including the roots) are washed properly.
It must also be noted that a Muslim has been prohibited from following the fashions /styles adopted by non-Muslims. Hence, in this regard, it is also important for the Muslim male to know that in the matter of plaiting his hair, he should not be a follower of the style of non-muslims.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan