Soon after my arrival in India I saw many old guys with their hair dyed red. I thought it was strange, but didn’t pay too much attention
But the red-dyed Muslims I saw in Mumbai got me thinking if there is a discrepancy between the rigors of Islam and cosmeticizing yourself for hiding old age; and why would one use red and not a dark color anyway? But little did I know…
Later I found out that it is an old custom for many Muslims, outside and inside India, to dye their head red when they start to become old. They do that using Henna, a red dye made from the plant with the same name. Not only that it is accepted in the Muslim tradition to dye red, but it is rather recommended, as prophet Mohammed himself is said to have done the same thing. Nevertheless, Muslims can only use natural products (Henna), and should not dye their hair in pure black, unless they are at war and want to frighten the enemy.
I remember that while in India I also saw women with their hair dyed in red, but of course that didn’t had such a strong impression on me.