Dreadlocks are a hairstyle that weaves the hair into a solid mass that is a far cry from loose, straight hair. Dreadlocks are automatically associated with the Rastafarian culture, and no wonder, because they are the main emissaries of this style to use the hair.
The Islamic religion is well known for being quite a traditionalist, but it is necessary to understand that the different branches of this religion interpret Islam differently. However, these branches have something in common, they are guided by the Koran and by regulations known as Halal and Haram. Halal are those customs, practices, and rules that are approved by Islam, on the other hand, Haram is the word that defines those practices that are neither approved nor well seen by Muslims.
Islam is practiced all over the world and thanks to migration it is natural to find Muslims everywhere, however, how are certain Islamic practices interpreted in places that may be culturally different? Will this affect the hairstyles worn by Muslims outside of Islamic territories?
It is very common to confuse the term dreadlocks with dreadlocks, although they are related to the same hairstyle, dreadlocks refer to the shape of the hairstyle, while dreadlocks have a deeper political-religious connotation, as it comes from the word Rastafari.
Rastafarians are a religious and cultural movement in Jamaica, who defend the freedom and identity of people of African origin, and who believe that the godsend was Haile Selassie. If you want to know more about the religious implications of this hairstyle and if they are Haram in Islam, continue reading this article.
Are Dreadlocks Haram In Islam?
Islamic culture has established codes of behavior since ancient times. These codes stem from the teachings of Muhammad as a direct prophet of Allah. These religious regulations function as criteria of conduct that help to maintain the foundations of Islamic culture and in turn, also serve to honor Allah, these regulations are known as Halal, on the other hand, those attitudes or behaviors that are contrary to Islamic norms are known as Haram.
It is much easier to determine what is forbidden than what is allowed, and within cultures and religions there will always be such rules, in the case of Islam it is well known that it is Haram to gamble or eat pork, but other questions also arise, Do Muslims Drink Coffee? or Do Muslims Drink Alcohol?
Dreadlocks are not a product of the Muslim culture, but this does not mean that there are no experiences that relate the practitioners of the teachings of Islam with this type of hair. One of the direct examples of dreadlocks in Islam is that of the Dervishes, who belong to the Sufi ethnic group and are also Muslims. They are people living in Iran and Turkey and the 19th century, they used to wear the hairstyle we know today as dreadlocks.
This hairstyle is very old. The origin of its use is possibly due to comfort since this type of hair that is tangled is easier to create in hair that is not straight, mainly in those who do not have access to implements to care for the hair properly, this is well understood by Muslims, who are quite sympathetic to those humble people or who by cultural tradition use dreadlocks, this type of origin of the Rasta hair is Halal (traditionally accepted) as it is a cultural condition.
According to Muslim tradition, men should preferably have short hair and the beard can be shaved or left long (it is customary to leave it as long as possible in certain countries). Some more conservative countries are not allowed to wear a mustache, as it is considered immoral. This regulation is quite respected, however, there are common causes of Muslims who leave their hair long. They implemented the fashion of cutting the hair on the sides and leaving it long on the top of the head, however, as mentioned before, the lowered hair is the most common, but this will depend on the country and the branch of Islam you are taking into consideration.
Is Hair Fixing Haram?
As mentioned above, Muslims have some permitted practices, better known as Halal, which are mainly associated with the eating habits of Muslims, there is established whether or not the believers of this religion can drink alcohol, meats, consume coffee and other foods, as well as certain limits, are mentioned with impermissible practices such as gambling among others that may offend Allah, these prohibited actions are known as Haram.
It is common to see the Imams teach about the importance of personal care, and possibly, the care of both hair and beard are crucial in this ritual but being something so typical the hairstyle is easy to question whether or not it can be a permitted practice, as well as how we can ask ourselves if Is Clean shaving in Islam Haram? or other such interesting facts that can easily be solved with an informative talk or by reading more curious articles like this one.
Is Wearing Dreadlocks Exclusive To Rastafarians?
Wearing dreadlocks not only represents belonging to the Rastafarian society, but today it is also a very common hairstyle for those who do not profess that religion wearing dreadlocks is no longer frowned upon but has become an aesthetic movement quite accepted by modern society. In short, anyone can wear dreadlocks without necessarily being a Rastafarian.
However, the use of dreadlocks has more than just an aesthetic fashion trend, it has a political, social, cultural, and, of course, religious significance. To further understand this phenomenon of wearing dreadlocks we must know a little more about what it means to wear this hairstyle for Rastafarians, what today is considered a fashion trend, is a tradition that has been consecrated for decades.
Dreadlocks have a religious significance, for them a long hair and preferably dreadlocks honor god. This is reflected in the following passage: Leviticus 21:5 “They shall not make baldness on their head”. On the other hand, the long dreadlocks are symbolically compared to the mane of a lion, an animal that is very popular in the Rastafarian culture and that refers to the lion of Judah, present in the Ethiopian flag, which is characterized by being very powerful and peaceful, values that define the Rasta community.
The Importance Of Aesthetics & Haircut In Islam
Professing Muslims are known for how they handle personal aesthetics, as for them it is a fundamental aspect of their life. Having a good and proper appearance, clean and neat at all times, is also a way of honoring Allah. Especially and mainly, at the time of prayer or when visiting temples. This is mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an, in the words that were spoken by the Prophet Muhammad himself.
Muslims strongly associate physical appearance and aesthetic style with different roles, and as in other cultures, being well-dressed and clean can also mean a higher economic or social status.
With this in mind, it is difficult to imagine a Muslim, whose culture is so different from Rastafari today, wearing dreadlocks, but would this be allowed by the Islamic religion?
The Prophet & The Hair
It is known that the Prophet Muhammad used different hairstyles throughout his life, and not only that, it was also known that he paid special attention to the care of it, since on different occasions it was narrated how was the process of hygiene and specific care of both his hair and his beard.
According to Ibn Abbas, who was Muhammad’s cousin, explained that “The Prophet liked to follow the practice of the people of the previous divine religions in matters for which he had no specific instructions. These people left their hair loose, while the unbelieving Arabs used to have their hair parted. The Prophet left his hair loose on his forehead for some time, but then he parted his hair” (Reported in the six authentic anthologies).
So we can say that the deadlocks are halal because they are allowed, despite not being a regulation written directly in the holy books of Islam, if they are approved for use as long as they do not have a religious purpose as they do for example the Rastafarians. The well-known Imam Assim al Hakeem referred publicly in one of his television programs (whose theme revolves around Islam) on the use of dreadlocks, he also states that they can be used by any Muslim, however, he recommends that those who are in societies where the use of this style of hair is common, as in the case of Caribbean countries. In this way the use of dreadlocks would become a cultural issue rather than a matter of the Islamic religion, in this case, there is no problem to use them.