Is it Permissible for a Muslim Surgeon to Perform Cosmetic Surgery on a Patient?

Is it Permissible for a Muslim Surgeon to Perform Cosmetic Surgery on a Patient?

Question:

As an oral maxillo-facial surgeon, there are certain cosmetic procedures we have to perform on patients. I have been told having surgery for solely cosmetic reasons is not permissible. Patients come that want to improve their smiles, have their teeth fixed in a certain way, etc. If we don’t perform such procedures, their life will not be at harm. So, its not that they absolutely need the surgery — however if it was done, it would make them better looking and normal.

Is it haram for a surgeon to perform such procedures? What if the surgeon works under someone who orders such procedures to be performed? If I do these surgeries, is the money I make lawful upon me?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

As mentioned in detailed in an earlier answer that 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) For more details, you may refer to the earlier answer available on this website and sunnipath.com.

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.

In such cases, it will be permitted for the Muslim doctor to refer the patient to someone else saying that he/she cannot carry out the surgery; hence, you may visit some other specialist. 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 (Allah bless him & give him peace).

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Question #: 6131
Published: 02/08/2005
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