Question # 239: Assalamu Alaykum; My question is on behalf of a sister who is from a country that is majority Christian and is asking all the citizens to have national IDs. She just found out that all the citizens have to take pictures without any head scarf or hat or kufi. Even if you are a Muslim woman, you can’t have a headscarf and have to show your hair for the ID. She is asking whether to wear a wig to cover her hair in order to take the picture only. The national id is mandatory upon all the citizens and could cause her harm if she doesn’t have one. Jazakum Allahu khayran

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Taking off her hijab in a picture tantamount to disobedience to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى); however, dire necessity allows what is forbidden. So, if one is in a dire need of securing the National ID as in case of this sister, else it will cause her harm, she can do it. Nevertheless, she should not let a stranger (non-mahram) take her picture, rather the photographer should be a mahram to her or a woman like her, unless she cannot find anyone who meets that criterion, in which case she is excused. Lastly, it is not permissible for her to do any more than uncovering the head. As for wearing wig/false hair, the scholars have agreed that it is forbidden. 

Long Answer: It is not permissible for a woman to obey anyone who tells her to disobey Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and take off her hijab in a picture, …unless it has reached the point of necessity, such as being compelled by force to do that, … [or for essential documents such as residence permits and ID cards,] …  Whoever is forced to do that should not let a stranger (non-mahram) take her picture, rather (the photographer) should be a mahram to her or a woman like her, unless she cannot find anyone who meets that criterion, in which case she is excused. And it is not permissible for her to do any more than uncover the head. (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)

The principle rule is impermissibility, …however, …the dire necessities allow what is forbidden in order to remove the need. So, if [one is] in a dire need [of securing the National ID as in case of this sister, else it will cause her harm, she] can do it, and I hope Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) overwhelms [her] with His Forgiveness, and [she should] ask Allah to keep [herself] and all of us safe from all harm, and to replace [her] hardship with ease, for He is indeed the Most Capable. (Fatwa of Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America)

Some people insist that ID photographs, for the safety and protection of everyone, must show a person’s complete head and face, including the hair. They hold that all head coverings of any type must be removed for the photo. However, several government agencies have made exceptions to this rule in the case of religious headwear.

The U.S. State Department, for example, gives explicit guidelines for U.S. passport photographs: Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo? Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face. In this case, it is acceptable for the hair to be covered, as long as the full face is visible. Under no circumstances are face veils (niqab) allowed to be worn in U.S. passport photos.

[With respect to wig/false hair,] Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah has cursed the woman who adds false hair and the woman who has this done, and the woman who tattoos and the women who has this done.” (Reported by al-Bukhari)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Allah curses the Waasilah (who attaches hair to others’ hair) and the Mustawsilah (the one who gets hair attached to her hair).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) There is a narration of An-Nasa’i in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) called it zoor (deceit, falsehood). Based on these, as well as other evidence, the scholars have agreed that adding human hair to one’s hair is forbidden… (Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam