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From Can I dye my beard or hair black?, we see that there's a bunch of ahadith which prohibit dying one's hair black. For example:

"Some people will dye their hair black like the breasts of pigeons at the end of time, but they will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."
Sunan an-Nasa'i 5075 [grade: sahih]

However, many people have naturally occurring black hair, which raises the question:

Question: How do we reconcile ahadith which imply dying one's hair black is haram, given that black hair occurs naturally?

Logically, we can infer there are two requirements to this problem:

  1. the color black, since dying one's hair other colors was not considered a problem, and

  2. the act of dying (not simply possessing black hair), since non-dyed black hair is fine.


Other questions on this topic are

  1. Why has black hair dye been singled out?
  2. Is it permissible to dye my hair with black henna?
  3. Does dying one's beard or hair black play a role in jihad?
  4. What is the reason why it is haram to dye one's hair black?
  5. The ruling on black hair dye
  6. girls having coarse, thick, black hair are haram/halal
  • What do you mean by “reconcile”? The Hadith talks about dying the hair black. It has nothing to do with natural black hair. – Shadi Jan 4 '18 at 23:13
  • Usually, when something is not allowed, there’s an underlying reason. In this case, I can’t figure it out. So I’m interested in how I should be thinking about this situation, which is essentially what I mean by reconcile. – Rebecca J. Stones Jan 4 '18 at 23:46
  • One major reason for these ahadith is that the majority of people who where addressed naturally have black or dark hair. Most scholars interpreted these ahadith as a prohibition for hiding the white hairs that appear with the age with the same color so that they might not be distinguished from the other hair. So maybe the correct interpretation is that we are not allowed to hide our age by dying our hair (so dying them black was just a special case). Note that dying hair black is allowed in case of necessity. – Medi1Saif Jan 5 '18 at 17:05
  • @Medi1Saif What necessities allow dying hair black? – Armaan Jan 5 '18 at 20:38
  • @Armaan the one I've flown over of is warriors in a war, but no guarantees.. – Medi1Saif Jan 5 '18 at 20:52
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The answer is there is no answer. Your question is about the cause of the ruling ('illah, Arabic: عله). None of the multiple ahadith on the topic gave a reason why dying with black is forbidden. This is a matter of "We hear and we obey" rather than being a matter of logic. So, whatever you may hear or read on the matter will be speculation or personal opinions (including those of some scholars who tried to explain why, which all seem to focus on the black color being more "deceptive" of one's true age).

On another note, reconciliation of ahadith is done when there is an apparent contradiction (e.g., a hadith that contradicts a verse in the Qur'an, or a hadith that contradicts another hadith, etc.) with the intention of clarifying whether this is a matter of abrogation, context, or otherwise. Natural existence is not an aspect that scholars considered for reconciliation. After all, opium naturally exists but one is not allowed to use it recreationally (if indeed it can be used thus) while one is allowed to use it medically.

  • I don't understand how opium is analogous to black hair. Opium exists outside people, black hair in people. – G. Bach Jan 4 '18 at 12:14
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    @G.Bach — The analogy is that of natural existence vs. permissibility ("dying one's hair black is haram, given that black hair occurs naturally"), not of the medium of existence (within or without people), Natural existence does not automatically translate into something being permitted. – III-AK-III Jan 4 '18 at 12:37

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