Cosmetic Surgery in Islam

Plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery is a medical specialty interested in the correction of form and function. While famous for aesthetic surgery, plastic surgery also includes a variety of fields: craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, burn surgery, microsurgery, and pediatric surgery. The word “plastic” derives from the Greek plastikos meaning to mold or to shape; its use here is not connected with the synthetic polymer material known as plastic.

The general ruling with regards to cosmetic surgery is that of impermissibility, for it involves mutilation of one’s body (muthla) and changing the nature created by Allah (taghyeer khalq Allah). However, in genuine cases of extreme abnormality, there is a dispensation of permissibility, for necessity makes prohibition lawful. (Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir)

 “Surgeries for beautification are in vogue today as the result of the materialistic pattern of Western civilization, whose main focus is the body and its desires. Men and women spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to reshape their noses or breasts, or whatever they consider defective. This behavior most certainly belongs to the category of excessive beautification, unnecessarily changing what Allah has created, and it makes one subject to the curse of Allah and His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Likewise, it involves torture, pain, and waste of money merely for the sake of one’s appearance, in addition to its being an expression of an individual’s preoccupation with form rather than substance, with body rather than soul.

Allah Almighty says: “And surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command themand they will slit the cattle’s ears, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah’s creation. Those who choose Shaytaan for a patron instead of Allah is verily a loser and his loss is manifest.” (An-Nisaa’: 119)

Based on this, it will not be permitted for a doctor or surgeon to perform surgery for purely cosmetic reasons and merely for the purpose of beautification. It will be unlawful for a Muslim surgeon to carry out surgery in order to merely make someone look better or to improve their appearance. However, if there is a genuine case of need, it will be permitted.

Allah Most High says:

“Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but help you not one another in sin and rancour.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, V: 2)

Assisting another in sin and being a cause for someone else’s sin is also sinful, especially when one’s action becomes a direct cause for that sin being carried out. Thus, this job would not be Halal, with the income made on it being unlawful. However, if a surgeon’s work comprises of many jobs (and also includes performing cosmetic surgery), then his complete earnings will not be considered Haram.

Doctors have to be extra careful and vigilant in matters like these, because they can find themselves in many situations where it is easy for one to fall into sin. May Allah Most High guide us to that which pleases him and His beloved Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi Wassallam).

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best,

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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