Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Is liposuction for enhancing one’s appearance permissible in Islam?
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Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure in which excess fatty tissue is removed from a specific area of the body, such as the thighs or abdomen, by means of suction.
Islam generally encourages Muslims to appear neat, tidy and well groomed; this applies equally to males and females. At the same time, Islam denounces excess in beautifying oneself that requires altering one's physical features as Allah created them. The Qur'an regards such alterations as inspired by Satan, who “...will command them (his devotees) to change what Allah has created...” (An-Nisa’: 119)
The general rule in Islam is that one should be satisfied with the way Allah has created him/her. One should not spend too much time or money on changing ones shape or style. Instead of wasting ones time or being preoccupied with the body, one should rather give time to the worship of Allah and to the acts of goodness and charity.
It is reported in a Hadith that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, cursed the tattooer and the person who is tattooed and the one who shortens the teeth and one whose teeth are shortened (reported by Muslim). In another Hadith he condemned those women who widen the gap between their teeth for the sake of beauty.
On the basis of the above religious texts, Muslim jurists considered all cosmetic surgeries Haram (unlawful), unless they are done to correct a defect that causes hardship to a person physically or psychologically or to improve his/her performance.
Answering the in-hand question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
“Liposuction, when undertaken purely for cosmetic purposes, is not considered permissible in Islam for it falls under the category of unnecessary tampering and altering of human body.
However, the ruling will be different if it is undertaken because of a medical necessity. For if it has been determined by expert medical practitioners in the field that excessive body weight may endanger someone’s life then addressing that problem is permissible, provided liposuction is deemed to be the safest method of ridding the body off excessive body fat or baggage. In such a case of necessity Islam makes it permissible to do what is otherwise held as forbidden or undesirable.
If, however, no such compelling medical necessity exists, but, nevertheless excessive fat or body weight has become an extreme deformity for a person in such a way that makes it difficult for him/her to function normally in society, then also it shall be regarded as permissible for him/her to undergo liposuction, provided it has been determined to be the safest method of correcting such deformity. The Prophet, peace be and blessings upon him, allowed some of his Companions to take certain steps to correct deformities.”
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.islam.ca
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