Can a man remove the hair on his cheeks (above the beard) PERMANENTLY? e.g. via electrolysis.
The definition of a beard given by many scholars is “that which grows on the jawbone” even though some have defined it as “that which grows on the cheeks and the chin”. (Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-Arab, 12/259).
Thus, Imam Anwar shah al-Kashmiri (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned commentary on Imam al-Bukhari’s Sahih, Faydh al-Bari:
“A beard is that which grows on the jawbone. This is the reason why it is known in the Hindi/Urdu language as “Darhi” because it is derived from the root-word “Darh (molar teeth)” for a beard is that which grows (on the outside of the) molar teeth. As regards to the hair which grows on the two cheeks, it is not part of the beard linguistically, even though (some) jurists have disliked removing it, because shaving it with a razor causes the cheeks to become rough, and plucking it weakens the eyesight.” (Faydh al-Bari, 4/380)
The great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam Ibn Abidin states, quoting from al-Mudmarat:
“There is nothing wrong (la ba’s) in removing the hair……of the face as long as it does not cause one to resemble an effeminate.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/407. The same has been mentioned in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/358)
Therefore, hair which grows on the jawbone is included in the beard, and above that the hair which grows on the cheeks is not considered to be part of the beard. As such, it will be permitted to remove hair of the cheeks by shaving or trimming it, as is the practice of many Scholars from Yemen and elsewhere.
It will also be permitted to remove this hair permanently via electrolysis or any other method. In fact, in my personal opinion, this would be better than shaving or plucking the hair, as Imam Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri (Allah have mercy on him) pointed out above that shaving hair from the cheeks is disliked by some Fuqaha because it causes the cheeks to become jagged and rough, whilst plucking it causes one’s eyesight to become weak. As such, it would be better to have (and Allah knows best) permanent removal of this hair than to keep shaving it. (In this way, one will also be saving one’s time!).
As far as the hair on the throat and neck is concerned, there is a difference of opinion between the Hanafi Fuqaha as to whether one can remove it or otherwise.
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“One should not shave the hair from one’s throat. However, it is narrated from Imam Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on him) that there is nothing wrong in it.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/407, the same has been mentioned in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/358)
Therefore, it will be permitted for one to remove hair which grows on the throat under the chin, for it is not considered to be part of the beard, as beard is that which grows on the jawbone.
Finally, the extended part of the moustache, i.e. the two sides which go on to join with the beard, is considered to be part of the moustache, hence it will be permitted to remove it. There is also nothing wrong in keeping this hair, as some of the Salaf (such as Sayyiduna Umar) did not remove the sides of their moustache. (See: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/358)
Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“There is nothing wrong in leaving the Sibalatayn, meaning the corners of the moustache, as it is proven from the practice of Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with him) and others.” (Ihya Ulum al-Din)
In conclusion, it is permissible for a man to remove hair from his cheeks, throat, and sides of the moustache. This can be done by shaving, trimming or employing any other method.
And Allah knows best