I have been told that there is a hadeeth in Muslim, where Abu Salamah bin Abdur Rahman narrates that the wives of the Prophet (S.A.W) would cut their hair until it became wafra (hanging over the shoulder) and upon it Imam Nawawi comments that this shows the permissibility of women cutting their hair. I wanted to know the answer to this as this opposes the Hanafi viewpoint.
While explaining these narration of Sahih Muslim, the great scholar, Allama Shaikh Shabbir Ahmad Al Uthmani (AR) writes in his famous commentary of Sahih Muslim, Fathul Mulhim, ‘In my understanding, what is meant by this tradition is that the wives of the Prophet (SAS) used to wrap their hanging hair and tie it into a ‘bun’ on their nape without having them into plaits or joined together. This looked like a ‘wafra’ since it did not exceed beyond the ears. This is the manner in which many old women and young girls keep their hair in our time. In fact, most of the women will do this while taking a bath after they wash their head. For certainly, if the long hair is allowed to remain hanging, it becomes difficult to apply water to the area of the body, which is beneath the hanging hair. (Fathul Mulhim vol.3 pg.156-157).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan