Status of the Beard
By a
Student of Darul-Uloom, Holcombe, Bury
see also Shamaile-Tirmidhi, Noble Characteristcs of the ProphetPeace and Blessings be upon him
Imitating the Disbelievers
The Turban, Kurtah and Topee (headgear)


All the great scholars of Islam unanimously agree on this issue that to grow a beard no less than the length of a fist is compulsory upon all Muslim men as it is a distinctive sign of Islam, and it is haram (forbidden) for a mature stable Muslim to shave his beard.

This verdict was reached on the grounds that there are numerous ahaadith where the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam is explicitly commanding the Muslims to grow a beard. In this respect a few ahaadith from Bukhari and Muslim are quoted below.

Translation: Ibn Umar radiyallahu anhu quotes the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as saying, "Cut short the moustache and lengthen the beard."

(Bukhari and Muslim)
Translation: Abu Huraira radiyallahu anhu quotes the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as saying, "Shorten the moustache and lengthen the beard."
(Muslim)
 Translation: Ibn Umar radiyallahu anhu quotes the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as saying, "Grow (lengthen) the beard."
(Muslim)
Translation: Yahya ibn Kathir says that, once a person from Ajam (external province) who had grown a moustache and shaved off the beard entered the mosque. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam asked him, "What motivated you to do this act? He replied that his Lord had ordered him to do so. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Allah has ordered me to shorten my moustache and lengthen my beard." Besides these ahaadith, there are other ahaadith which support the necessity of growing the beard. Therefore, to shave, or trim one’s beard less than the length of a fist is haram (forbidden) and anyone contradicting this ruling will be committing a major sin and regarded as a fasiq (immoral person).

The above mentioned ruling applies to all Muslims as a general rule, as for an Imaam or a Hafiz it becomes all the more important to grow a beard as he will have to lead the prayers and the Imamat (leadership) of a person who shaves or trims his beard is makrooh-e-tahrimi (severely disliked), although the prayer behind such a person will be valid. It is stated in a hadith of Ibn Majah that (page 77), ‘Let not a sinful and immoral person lead in a prayer of a true believer.’ It is also stated in Raddul Mukhtar (page 560, vol. 1), ‘It is makrooh-e-tahrimi for a fasiq (immoral person) to lead the prayers. An Imaam is the best person in the community worthy of leading the people in their prayers, he should be pious and apparently free from sin and immorality.’ In a hadith of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam it is stated, "If you wish that your prayers are accepted, than the most pious amongst should act as your Imaam, for he is a messenger between you and your Lord."

It is apparent from these ahaadith that an Imaam must grow a beard in order to lead the prayers. According to all four schools of thought (Madhabs), it is compulsory upon a Muslim man to grow a beard and refrain from shaving it, or trimming it to less than the length of a fist. Given below are fatawas (religious verdicts) issued by the four Madhabs and it’s leading scholars on the issue of growing the beard.

Hanafi madhab:

To trim the beard when it is less than a fist’s length, as done by some modern people and hermaphrodites is not permissible in the opinion of all the jurists. To shave the beard as done by unorthodox Jews, Hindus and others is also not permissible.

(Durre Mukhtar)
Maliki madhab:

To shave the beard is haram and to trim it in such a manner that it changes one’s natural and normal facial features is also haram. It is also quoted in Kitabul Ib’daa’, that without doubt the four Madhabs are agreed that the beard should be lengthened and that shaving it is haram.

Shafe’ee madhab:

It is quoted in Al Ibaab’, that Imaam ibn Ar’rifaah says that Imaam Shafe’ee, in his book, Kitabul Umm, has categorically stated that shaving the beard is haram.

Al Azraiy says that the correct position in the Shafe’ee madhab is that to shave the beard without a valid medical reason is haram. Similar verdict of prohibition has been issued by Zarakhshi, Baihaqi in his book, Shu’ab Al Iman, and by his teacher Qa’ffal Shashi in Muhasin As Shar’iyyah.

Hanbali madhab:

It is narrated in Shar’hul Muntahaa’ and Shar’hul Manzoomatul Adaab, the most accepted view is that it is haram to shave the beard. Some Ulama like the author of ‘Insaf’, have categorically stated that it is haram. There is no report from anyone to the contrary.

Sheikhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah says, "Shaving the beard is haram."

Ibn Hazm has narrated Ijma (consensus of the Muslims) regarding the obligation of trimming the moustache and keeping the beard, he brings the following ahaadith in support of this Ijma:

Translation: "Oppose the Mushrikeen polytheists), trim the moustache and lengthen the beard."

(Muslim)
Translation: "Whosoever does not trim his moustache, he is not from amongst us."
(Ahmed Tirmidhi and Nasai)
The following are some fatawas given, issued by some prominent Muftis of the Arab world, in recent time regarding the necessity of keeping the beard.

Sheikh ibn Abdur Rahman Al Banna writes in Fathur Rabbani, "Shaving the beard is strictly haram. This is the madhab of Hanbalis and Zahiriyyah. Sheikh Nasir Uddin Albani writes, "Due to the above references, it is wajib to lengthen the beard and to shave is haram."

Sheikh Abu Bakr Al Jazari writes, "One should leave his beard until it fills his face, because the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam has ordered, shorten your moustaches and lengthen your beards."

We can conclude from what has been said that to keep a beard is compulsory and to trim it or shave it is haram.

Keeping the beard has been the practice of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam, as it has also been the practice of the earlier Prophets before him.

When Musa alaihis salaam returned from his journey of Mount Tur and found the Israelites engrossed in idolatry, he became furious and in severe anger he pulled the beard of his deputy (and brother) Haroon alaihis salaam who said:

Translation: "O son of my mother, seize me not by my beard nor my hair." In the books of ahaadith, numerous hadith describe the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as having a copious beard.

Translation: Umm Ma’bad radiyallahu anhu says that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam had a copious beard.

At an age when moral and spiritual decline is at its peak, acting upon a single prophetic tradition could insure success in the hereafter. It is narrated in a hadith,

Translation: "One who is steadfast upon my Sunnah at the decline of my Ummah, for him there is the reward of a hundred martyrs."
 
 

One Maulana has said, "Within a body there is nothing which we can imitate the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam. Our hands, feet, chest, eyes, ears, nose etc. cannot imitate the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam. There is only one thing and that is the beard, in which we can imitate the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam. He had a full, dense beard. We should try to imitate him in this matter.

Acting upon the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam brings the pleasure of Allah and in turn great rewards in the hereafter. Similarly, opposing the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam brings the displeasure of Allah. It is stated in a hadith,

Translation: The messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wasallam has cursed those men who imitate women and those women who imitate men.

The beard is a distinctive sign of a man and removing it is like imitating a woman and anyone who commits this crime earns himself the displeasure of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam and to displease the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam is to displease Allah. May Allah save us all from Allah’s displeasure and wrath. Ameen.

Modern scientists and doctors have realised the benefits of keeping a beard.

One doctor writes, that by continually shaving, the veins of the sight are affected, resulting in failing eyesight. Another doctor writes that a lengthy beard stops harmful germs from reaching the throat and chest. Another goes so far as to say, "If men shaved for seven generations, the men in the eighth generation will have no beards. This means that the sperm gets weaker in every generation, until in the eighth this quality is completely destroyed."

Keeping the beard is the right of every individual. Therefore, even parents cannot order their children to shave the beard. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said,

Translation: "There is no obedience to any creation when the creator is being disobeyed."

In such situations where children are forced to shave their beard by their parents, the children must oppose them, for there is no obedience to anyone when the rules of Shari’ah are asked to be violated.

A Muslim should strive hard to imitate the blessed Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam in all aspects of their life and refrain from imitating the non-Muslims.

There are numerous ahaadith in many books of hadith which describe the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as having a full beard. Given below are some ahaadith regarding this:

Translation: Ali radiyallahu anhu narrates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam was neither too tall nor too short. He had long hair and beard.

Translation: Bukhari and Abu Dawood narrate from Abu Ma’mar, who says, "We asked Khabbab radiyallahu anhu, did the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam recite the Qur’an in Zuhr and Asar prayers?" He replied, "Yes." We asked him how he knew this. He said, "From the movement of his beard."

Translation: Muslim narrates from Jabir ibn Samura radiyallahu anhu, who says, "The front part of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam’s hair and beard had become grey. When he used to apply oil, it was not apparent but when the hair was unkempt it use to become apparent. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam had a dense beard."

Translation: At’a ibn Yasir radiyallahu anhu says, "The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam was in the mosque, when a man entered who’s hair and beard were unkempt. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam indicated towards him with his hand as though he was ordering him to adjust his hair and beard. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, ‘Is this not better than coming with unkempt hair like shaitan.’"

Translation: Aisha radiyallahu anha relates that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Ten things are of nature in which shortening the moustache and growing a full beard are mentioned."

Translation: Amongst the fitraat (Deen) of Islam is the cutting of the moustache and the lengthening of the beard, for surely the Majoos (Fire worshippers) lengthen their moustaches and cut their beards. In these two hadith, it has been mentioned that the beard is the natural beauty of a man. To shave it is a unnatural act. Also, shaving the beard is imitating the Kuffar, which is forbidden in Islam.

Translation: Ibn Al Jawzy narrates in Al Wafa Bi Ahwal Al Mustafa from Ali ibn Abi Talib that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam had a full beard.

Translation: Tirmidhi narrates in his Shamaail from Abu Hala, who used to describe the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam. He says that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam had a copious beard.

Translation: Muslim narrates from Ibn Umar that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Oppose the Mushrikeen (polytheists), shorten the moustache and lengthen the beard."

In another hadith, the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam warns the Muslims not to imitate the Kuffar. It is stated in the hadith:

Translation: The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "One who imitates another nation, he is from amongst them." This is a severe warning to those Muslims who wish to imitate the non Muslims in their dress and appearance.

Translation: Anas radiyallahu anhu narrates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam, most of the time used to oil his hair and comb his beard.

The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam used to take care of his beard and hair. In one of the hadith that has been previously mentioned, the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam told a man to comb his hair and beard. He also given the similarity of a man who has unkempt hair and beard with the devil.

To conclude, the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam has emphatically commanded the Muslims to grow a beard. He also gave a severe warning to those who oppose this command, especially those people who openly oppose it. In a hadith it is mentioned:

Translation: "All the sinners of my Ummah are forgiven except those who commit sins openly."

This is a warning to those people who openly shave their beards and have no shame in doing this act. May Allah give us all the ability to act upon the commands of the Shari’ah. Ameen.

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