The difference between plucking and trimming eyebrows for women
Is there a difference between plucking and trimming eyebrows for women? If so, why?
Before the advent of Islam, it was a customary practice of prostitutes in the Arabian Peninsula to pluck their eyebrows or what is called in Arabic al-nams, which means to remove the eyebrows totally. This leads to mutilating and defaming God’s creation. Because of this, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) warned Muslim women against imitating this dreadful act of defamation and mutilation of a woman’s natural beauty. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also warned that those who committed such acts would receive God’s wrath and curse. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “God curses the women who give tattoos, get tattoos, the women who pluck the eyebrows of others, and those women who get their eyebrows plucked, and those who part their teeth for adornment; who change God’s creation.”
However, Muslim scholars were divided regarding the issue of trimming eyebrows, as some of them did not permit it due to the social norms that were prevailing at their time. Therefore, the juristic rulings which some scholars arrived at regarding the impermissibility of trimming eyebrows were not specifically based on any legal text, but rather complied with social norms of the past.
With that being said, in modern times the situation has changed. Shaping eyebrows or trimming them is permissible as it has nothing to do with the prohibited removal of the whole eyebrows, since the prohibition in the above hadith specifically refers to plucking eyebrows which is prohibited because it is akin to mutilation, and also because it is more likely to result in defaming one’s face. As opposed to this, shaping the eyebrows if they are excessively long, or thinning them if they are excessively thick, is enhancing God’s creation rather than mutilating it. It is more analogous, therefore, to trimming the mustache or cutting the hair and so on, which are not only permissible, but may also be recommended.
In conclusion, it is permissible for women to shape their eyebrows, to remove any extra hair above or below them, and to trim them in order to keep them neat and beautiful.
And God knows best.