The scare tactic in our society is truly hilarious. Some of the stuff that I’ve experienced or heard myself over the years are numerous but I’ll mention a few here. Like there’s a fatwa that says that it is haram (prohibited) in Islam to tweeze your eyebrows so you get fanatic women going around the salons harassing customers getting their eyebrows tweezed. It’s so bad that some salons have private backrooms for tweezing. And other salons advertise that they are Wahhabi fanatic friendly by not even offering the service of tweezing. Girls are told in many schools that the reason behind the Prohibition is that each eyebrow hair is connected to a brain cell and when it’s tweezed out, the cell dies. I guess that explains the dumb ditsy model/cheerleader stereotype.

In school I’ve heard this metaphor over and over again. [loose translation] A girl who shows off her beauty by uncovering her face or displaying herself in any way is like an iced cake that is left out so that people going by could use their fingers to scrape a lick. By the time it reaches her husband, the icing is all gone. And they say the west objectifies women.

In one of the schools I went to the dhar prayer was mandatory for everyone. And as you know, we Muslim women don’t  pray if we’re menstruating. So when its time to pray the admins would round up all the students who can’t pray in one room and record their names. If a student gets her name recorded more than seven days in a row, she is sent to the Principal’s office. Although this private school is famous for it’s conservatism, they stopped doing the mandatory prayer thing. I’ve never heard of a public school that does this now.

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  1. Umm Latifa

    salam alaykum,

    I would like to add, that the fatwa of the scholars forbidding plucking eyebrows is based on the words of the Prophet Muhammad.

    The evidence for that is the hadeeth of Abd-Allaah ibn Masood who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows (al-naamisah) and the one who has it done (al-mutanammisah), and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah.”
    (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5931; Muslim, 2125)

    al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
    The naamisah is the woman who removes hair from the face and the mutanammisah is the one who asks to have that done. This action is haraam, unless a woman develops a beard or moustache, in which case it is not haraam to remove it, rather that is mustahabb in our view. [Sharh al-Nawawi li Saheeh Muslim, 14/106]

    I just wanted to say, that if a woman is a Muslim, and wants to follow her religion perfectly, she would avoid what is forbidden. A Muslim’s obligation towards other Muslim is to remind or teach him/her about the rules of religion in a gentle and wise way (absolutely not to harass). Of course, we are free to do what we want.. But, the truth is – it is not the scholars who forbid plucking eyebrows, it was a Prophet himself.

  2. Inaya

    What if your eyebrows are very bushy and they start to make your face look ugly? Is it still not permissible to get them done?

  3. M Al-Junaid

    Hello Saudi women!

    Interesting thought. I myself used to have many similar questions when I was younger. during the years I’ve spent abroad, away from the Saudi society, I’ve come up to broader understandings on beauty and other things.
    The fact is, the hadeeth on tattoos and eyebrows never mentioned any “brain cells”, this is but a weak interpretation to scare off girls from doing it.
    But: the authentic hadeeth talks about “Changing God’s creation” I guess the whole point is accepting God’s creation as part of his perfection, as he has perfected everything he has created. To acknowledge his perfection, one must accept the way they have been created, the ethnicity they come from, and whatever characteristics come along with that certain ethnicity. In the middle east, this feature includes the thick eyebrows.
    you might find my topic of interest:
    http://mzsjunaid.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/beauty-in-beholders-eyes/

  4. M Al-Junaid

    Acceptance of the shape and form which have been given to us is a general acceptance of God. Learning to see beauty in God’s original creations is an art that needs mastering, and is liberating from man-made standards (i.e. fasion).

    We always hear that what is natural is best, it is because of the fact that nature ages beautifully, and is eternal. Forests stand beautifuly for centuries. Man-made things deteriorate fast and are soon replaced with newer things (i.e. buildings, technology, etc).

    Same thing goes for fashion, its a man made thing, it comes and goes, hence we find the thin eyebrows are “in” in the 20’s, then “out”, like in the 80’s, then “in”, like in the 90’s, then “out”, in the 2000’s.

    By liberating ourselves from man-made notions of beauty, dictated by human beings, we are liberated from the obedience and following of things other than God. Hence, the logic behind the acceptance of the shape given by God and not altering it, as an overall acceptance of God and obedience to him.

    As for the face covering thing, again, all the stereo typical reasonings given by people, such as calling the girl a cake or a pearl, are not to be found in the Quran. You may find this other topic of interest, discussing the topic of Muslim women dresscode, between what God has ordered and between human interpretations.
    http://mzsjunaid.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/hijaab-jilbaab-khimaar/

    Sorry, both articles are in Arabic, but I hope it’s safe to assume you understand Arabic?🙂

  5. This is soooo funny.. hahaha

    U know Ms. Eman when I was in school I was in the blacklist for arguing with Islamic teachers all the time! .. i still have prob with Islamic teachers here in college .. !
    whatever is haram .. is always haram .. never ask why!! or howcome!!
    I don’t even know why this mufti would waste his time thinking about tweezing ..
    that is soo silly!!
    —-
    today I was in elemntry school here in Riyadh and I was in my way to a classroom when I found a poster that says” 15 marks of each subject or course will be detected from students that argue, or disagrees on religious matters”.
    I was like O.o .. those are like 7 -13 years old girls .. not allowed to think criticly about important stuff like believes and religion!

    and there were posters showing women covered up from head to toe .. saying that women must cover up their bodies face.. hands ..etc
    all u see is just black thingie standing!

    tweezing and the brain cells .. that is seriously stupid.. !!
    the mandatory prayer in schools .. really never heard about it .. but I thought it was really sick!

  6. Muslima

    Sure plenty of Muslims (including me) believe that it’s forbidden to pluck the eyebrows but really it’s the other person’s choice and not mine. We shouldn’t harass our fellow Muslims over issues so silly.

    And that prayer thing is just disgusting. Pure disgusting.

  7. Salam alaykum,

    I found your blog last night, and now I’m trying to keep up with your posts regarding women’s life in Saudi.
    I watched this before in Oprah Show, about not allowed to drive and all, but i guess your posts will give us better explanation, bcoz you are inside the circle.

    And eyebrows.. Hmmm… I never pluck my eyesbrows, and never tattooed it either, even before i study my religion.
    It’s just eyebrows. I never worry much about my face, i hv thin eyebrows, so nothing to pluck. And I dont use make up, bcoz I’m alergic to most of the brands, so if my eyesbrows is tattoed yet my face is make-up-free, it will look un-balance.

    But it is interesting to see that this is an issue for some poeple, like some friends I know wearing niqab are so vocal about this.
    It is just eyebrows! For God’s sake stop trashing our sisters in Islam bcoz of this STOOOOPID issue!
    Some says it’s haram. Some says it’s okay as long as you dont put permanent tattoo on it. So What?
    If you think it is haram, don’t pluck, congratz you’re a saint.
    But for people who pluck, will that fact enough to accuse them as evil?

    nice post. LOVE it!

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