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Question: For the past . years I've been suffering from a condition called Scalp Folliculitis. This is an inflammation of the hair follicles caused by excessive heat, sweat, and at times this problem of mine becomes an infection because of the heat and bacteria triggered by the sweat. When I first discovered the problem I began to wear cotton scarves and cut my hair very short, and thinned my hair as well to accommodate my hijaab. This worked and gave me some relief at the time. I took the medications prescribed by my dermatologist and Alhamdulilah my condition had disappeared. However, he did tell me that this condition is known to be chronic and that this would not be the last time I'd see it. Being optimistic, I didn't believe him, and put my trust in Allah SWT and believed I wouldn't have this problem again. To my dismay, I continually had this problem and it re-appeared time and time again over the past years. Since then, I've ingested so many antibiotics that I've developed an immunity to the medication and now they don't give me any relief. I sought the advice of other dermatologists each gave me the same diagnosis. Because I work full-time, I find it very difficult to wear my scarf now as it irritates my skin and worsens my problem. I don't know what to do. I know I have to wear my hijaab, but then it's so itchy and intolerable. My dermatologist told me that if I take it off for a couple of months, I'd notice a difference in my scalp. I would like to take off my hijaab to heal my scalp, and then return to it as soon as I'm healed, but I don't know if this is the best decision; please advice.

If your condition is unbearable for you and the dermatologist has advised you that you can only get relief by temporarily taking off your hijab, then I think you fall in the category of those who are excused. In Islam there are exceptions allowed for people in similar cases. This can be proven by pointing to the concession the Prophet, peace be upon him, allowed some of his companions to wear silk because of their medical condition, even though wearing silk in general is haraam and therefore considered as sinful for men in ordinary circumstances. Likewise, if your medical condition requires that you should take off your hijab, you may do so until such time that your condition improves, without incurring sin.

But I must caution you against resorting to this action purely on your own personal likes or dislikes; it can only be done if there is a genuine medical reason. For exceptions in shari’ah are simply exceptions and not general rules. They are bound by specific conditions and circumstances in such a way that the allowance is lifted as soon as the condition or circumstance changes.

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