Many Muslims, unfortunately, either copying the Western lifestyle or because of ignorance of Islamic teachings do not follow the important commands in their daily life. One of those commands is obligation of keeping beard for men. We also see some people prefer keeping a beard in imitation of what’s in vogue rather than that prescribed by Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam). The impact of the modern way of life seems to be luring unwary Muslims into such a craze that the importance of the beard itself is being doubted and scoffed at.
To those who feel the issue is trivial to worry about, may Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) guide them. But to those who genuinely wish to learn and practice what is right, here are sufficient proofs from the Quraan, Hadeeths and learned Ulamaa (Islamic Scholars).
Concerning adherence to the Sunnah in the Holy Quraan
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ [النساء: 59]
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” (An-Nisaa 4:59)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَأَنْتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ [الأنفال: 20]
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not turn away from Him when you listen (to him).” (Al-Anfaal 8:20)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ [الأنفال: 24]
“O you who believe! Respond to Allah and the Messenger when He calls you to what gives you life, and be sure that Allah intervenes between man and his heart, and that to Him you shall be gathered.” (Al-Anfaal 8:24)
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا [الأحزاب: 21]
“There is indeed a good model for you in the Messenger of Allah – for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely.” (Al-Ahzaab 33:21)
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ [الحشر: 7]
“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you from, abstain (from it). And fear Allah. Indeed Allah is severe in punishment.” (Al-Hashr 59:7)
What does the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) say?
Hadhrat Abu Dardaa reported that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
أَنَا بَرِيءٌ مِمَّنْ حَلَقَ وَصَلَقَ وَخَرَقَ
“I have no connection with one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing (e.g. in grief or affliction).” (Muslim)
The teachings of Hadhrat Ammar Bin Yaasir, Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Umar, Hadhrat ‘Umar bin Khattaab, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah and Hadhrat Jaabir, indicate that all used to keep beards that were one fist length or more.
Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Umar relates that: “He who imitates the Kuffaar (non-Believers) and dies in that state, he will be raised up with them on the Day of Qiyaamah (Resurrection).”
Hadhrat Ibne ‘Umar narrated that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) says:
أَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ وَأَعْفُوا اللِّحَ
“Trim closely the moustache, and let the beard grow.” (Muslim)
In another Hadeeth, Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Umar reported that:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَمَرَنَا بِإِحْفَاءِ الشَّوَارِبِ وَإِعْفَاءِ اللِّحَ
“Allah’s Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe Wasallam) ordered trimming the mustache and leaving the beard to grow.” (At-Tirmizi)
In yet another Hadeeth, Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Umar states that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
خَالِفُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَفِّرُوا اللِّحَى وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ
“Be different from the idolaters. Let the beard grow and trim the moustache.”
وَكَانَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ إِذَا حَجَّ أَوْ اعْتَمَرَ قَبَضَ عَلَى لِحْيَتِهِ فَمَا فَضَلَ أَخَذَهُ
“Whenever Hadhrat Ibne ‘Umar performed the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage, he would grab hold of his beard and cut what was beyond his grasp.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
It is reported that:
ورُوي عن عبد الله بن عمر وأبي هريرة رضي الله عنهم أنَّهما كانا يأخذانِ مِن اللِّحيةِ ما فضَل عن القبضةِ
Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Umar and Hadhrat Abu Hurairah used to cut that portion (which exceeds the grip of the hand) of the beard. (Al-Muntaqa Sharah MoAttaa)
Hadhrat Abu ‘Hurairah reported that the ruler of Yemen appointed by the Persian emperor Kisra, sent two envoys to the Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam). When they came into his presence, he noticed that they had shaved their beards and let their moustaches grow big. Hating their ugly appearance, he turned his face away and said: “Woe be to you! Who told you to do so?”
They replied: “Our lord (Kisra) did!”
The Messenger (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) responded: “But my Lord has commanded me to spare my beard and trim my moustaches.” (Ibne Jarir at-Tabari, Ibn Sa’ad)
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
جُزُّوا الشَّوَارِبَ وَأَرْخُوا اللِّحَى خَالِفُوا الْمَجُوسَ
”Trim closely the moustache, and grow beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.” (Muslim)
The beard according to the great Imams of Jurisprudence
Given below are Fataawaa (Religious Verdicts) issued by the four schools of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and its leading scholars on the issue of growing the beard:
Imam Muhammed writes in his book "Kitaab ul Aathaar” where he relates from Imam Abu Hanifa who relates from Hadhrat Haytham who relates from Ibn Umar that he (Ibn Umar) used to hold his beard in his hand and cut off which was longer. Imam Muhammed says that this is what we follow and this was the decision of Imam Abu Hanifa. Therefore, according to Hanafies, to shorten the beard less than a Fist length is Haraam and on this is Ijmaa (Consensus of opinion).
Imam Shafi in his Kitabul Umm states, "To shave the beard is Haraam.” (Sharh ul Minhaj)
Shaikh Ahmad Nafarawi Maliki in the commentary of Imam Abu Zaid’s booklet states, "to shave the beard is without doubt Haraam according to all Imams.” It is also mentioned in "Tamheed” which is a commentary of "MuAttaa” that to shave the beard is Haraam and among males the only ones to resort to this practice (of shaving) are the Hermaphrodites (persons who possess both male and female features and characteristics).
It is narrated in Sharh ul Muntahaa and Sharh ul Manzoomat ul Aadaab, the most accepted view is that it is Haraam to shave the beard. Some Ulamaa like the author of ‘Insaaf’, have categorically stated that it is Haraam. There is no report from anyone to the contrary.
Thus, a Muslim who shaves or shortens his beard is like a hermaphrodite, his Imamate near prohibition; his evidence is not valid; he will not have the right to vote or being voted for. Shaving and shortening the beard is the action of non-believers. Imam Ghazaali says: “Know that the key to total bliss (Sa’aadah) lies in following the Sunnah and in emulating the life of the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) in all that issues from him, and in all his doings even if it concerns the manner of his eating, rising, sleeping, and speaking. I do say this is in relation to rituals in worship only because there is no way neglecting the Sunnah reported of him in such matters – but what I say includes every aspect of his daily life.” (Kitaab ul Arba’een Ad-Deen, Cairo 1344, p. 89)
Furthermore, in the Holy Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) told that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) to say:
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [آل عمران: 31]
“Say (O Prophet!): ‘If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very- Merciful.”(Aale ‘Imraan 3:31)
The daily recitation of a band of angels of Allah is “Holy is the Being who adorned men with beards and women with braids.” (Takmela-e-Bahr al Raaiq, Vol. 3, p. 331)
In the Holy Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَنْ يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ [النور: 51]
“The only reply of the (true) believers, when they are summoned to Allah and His messenger that he (the messenger) may judge between them, is that they say: ‘We listen and obey’. Such people are the successful.” (An-Noor 24:51)
Here in this, the call is to grow a fist length beard, let us hear and obey to prosper.
Muslims are overcome with western influence in their lives and it’s easy to forget, nay, neglect the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam). Little do these Muslims realize the magnitude of their actions in imitating Kuffaar. This is a truly shocking! Hopefully the information presented herein will enlighten those. And then there are others who claim that the matters concerning beards is a “little” issue not worthy of mention nor practice. To them I say get off the denial bandwagon, you’re a Muslim! Follow the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) in all aspects of life, for he was the best of examples. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve mistaken a Muslim brother (outside of the Masjid) for a Kaafir (Infidel) on account of his clean-shaven, well oiled, face. How can I say “As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Brother!” when I do not know if he is a Muslim. Yet that very brother then wonders why he was ignored! Sure, he can tell if others are Muslim on account of their beard, but what about himself?
From one brother to another, I say: “Grow a beard, then, since it also promotes Brotherhood in the real world. Stand with your Brothers, be one. We know you think you are handsome without it (a beard), but who cares? What matters is how Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) sees you. And when you do grow a beard, don’t mock the Sunnah, please grow it correctly i.e. fist length. That is the prescribed length and no shorter.
Finally, go through this Hadeeth. Hadhrat Abu Said Al Khudri narrated that the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
خْرُجُ نَاسٌ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ وَيَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآنَ لاَ يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيَهُمْ، يَمْرُقُونَ مِنَ الدِّينِ كَمَا يَمْرُقُ السَّهْمُ مِنَ الرَّمِيَّةِ، ثُمَّ لاَ يَعُودُونَ فِيهِ حَتَّى يَعُودَ السَّهْمُ إِلَى فُوقِهِ
“There will emerge from the East some people who will recite the Quraan, but it will not exceed their throats, and who will go out of the Deen (Religion) of Islam as an arrow passes through the game. They will never come back to it unless the arrow comes back to the middle of the bow by itself (i.e. impossible!).
It was asked:
"What will their signs be?”
"Their sign will be the habit of shaving off of their beards”. (Bukhari)