Is epilation Haram? That is the question

You might have thought Iran had enough things to worry about what with sanctions and a planned nuclear deal. But no. The big issue now is banning female epilation!

Even in Iran?
Potkin Azarmehr
On 5 May 2015 08:42

It may seem that the current nuclear negotiations, saving Iran's collapsing economy or removing sanctions are the most pressing issues that the authorities or the people in Iran should be concerned about. But such an assumption does not apply to everyone in Iran.

A huge controversy started in the Iranian town of Qazvin last week, after a group calling themselves "Social and Cultural Activists of Qazvin Province" published a letter, condemning the practice of epilation, openly advertised in the hair salons.

Just reading the advertising notice, "We do epilation here”, in a hair salon shop window, prompted the titillating image of a female having her hair removed, enough provocation to lead a faithful Muslim youth into temptation, vice and debauchery apparently.

The letter resulted in an emergency meeting between the Qazvin Public Prosecutor, Head of police monitoring shops and premises, the head of the local hairdresser's guild and the "Social and Cultural Activists" who wrote the initial letter.

The issue then became the butt of much humour across the Iranian social media. Some suggested that the Qazvin "Social and Cultural Activists" had misunderstood the word "epilation" thinking it was some kind of a massage like the ones they had encountered in their pilgrimage tours toThailand.

Another Iranian social media activist asked why is epilation necessary in hair salons? just listening to the Friday prayer sermons often causes one’s hair to fall out!

"In the next 'elections' an approved candidate will be presented to the voters who will ask 'is epilation the most important issue for our youth?' and the Iranians will think he is more of a moderate compared to the other imposed candidates and they will view him as their reformist saviour and flock to vote for him and so life will continue under the Islamic Republic" -- was another amusing statement expressed on the Iranian social media.

Finally Qazvin's public prosecutor, Hojat-ol-Islam Sadeq Niaraki, issued a ruling that all advertisements about epilation services in shop windows are to be banned, and those who defy this ban will be severely dealt with.

The matter was also referred to the Grand Ayatollahs including the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, himself. Below are some of the responses to the question of whether epilation is permissible or not in Islam:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

"If the epilation requires touching or viewing the genital parts then it is not permissible"

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, whose representative office was given a grant by Brent Council for promoting religious freedom and religious tolerance, also gave his ruling:

"Looking at someone else's genitals whether for the purpose of epilation or else is not permissible, but hair removal of under armpits and such like by a person of the same gender is without a problem"

And so the important matter of epilation is settled and everyone in Iran can now live happily ever after.

Potkin Azarmehr left Iran for the UK after the “Cultural Revolution”. He is currently a contributor to several newspapers and Television stations on Iran related news and also writes and produces a number of TV programs

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