In the Sahihain it is narrated that Ka’b bin ‘Ujrah said, “I was suffering from lice and I was carried to the Messenger of Allah while lice were falling off of my face, the Prophet, said:
“I did not realize that your trouble had reached the condition that I see (you in). The Prophet then ordered him to have his head shaved and either fast for three days or feed six poor persons or slaughter one sheep as a sacrifice. ”
Understanding the Causes and Remedies for Lice Infestation: Insights from the Prophet’s Wisdom
Lice appear on the head and body for two reasons, external and internal. The external cause occurs due to uncleanness and impure substances that the skin might carry. The internal reason is caused by rotted substances that the body expels through the skin and then rots due to the wetness in the skin’s pores. The lice appear, then (and feed on these rotted substances). Many times, lice appear after one suffers from various illnesses and diseases because in this case cleanliness is ignored. Children are the typical victims of lice because they usually play and deal with wet things and because of their careless nature. This is why the Prophet “ ordered that the heads of the sons of Ja’far be shaved, as shaving is one the best cures for lice because it exposes the skin to the sun and allows the harmful moistures under the skin to evaporate. Then, the head should be anointed with the cures that prevent lice from reproducing and killing them.
Shaving occurs for three reasons, as a legal ritual, as an act of innovation and polytheism, and as a cure. The first type is performed during Hajj and Umrah. The second type occurs other than Allah, Shaving the head is an act of humility and worship, and this is why it is a ritual that completes the Hajj acts. Imam Shafi’e even considers shaving the head a cornerstone of Hajj since it entails lowering the sides of the head in humility before the Lord and it is an honored act of worship. Furthermore, when the Arabs wanted to humiliate a captured warrior and then set him free, they would first shave his head. Later on, the teachers of false guidance and evil, who seek to acquire the rights of lordship to themselves and whose ministry concentrates on polytheism and innovations came along. Such evil teachers wanted their students to perform acts of worship for their sake. Consequently, they encouraged their students to shave their heads for their sake, just as they lured them to prostrate before them, calling this act other than its true name and claiming that it is not prostrating, but merely lowering the head before the teacher. By Allah! What is prostrating for the sake of Allah, if it is not lowering the head before Him?