Let the Beard Grow and Flow (islamweb)


My father (not Muslim) always used to say about people who wear a beard that "they just want to hide their faces" and when some years, after I became Muslim, I started to grow a beard, it was not a very
delightful sight for him. On one of these beard discussions I told him in a sarcastically way that the beard is natural, that it is a sign of manhood and that the one who shaves resembles a woman. Upon this, he smiled -and changed the topic.

My desire to grow a beard came with my growing, and still humble knowledge and love for Islam. In the Qur'an, Allah (SWT) gave us a very good advice: In the Messenger of Allah is a good example for you to follow. (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:21)

The example of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (SAWS), is his Sunnah, i.e. his words and his deeds. Sometimes when I learned a new aspect of the Sunnah and decided to practice it, I realized after this that there is great benefit in it.

Some things which the Prophet (SWAS) practiced and taught might seem absurd first, but after practicing them, one sees the great wisdom behind them.

The Prophet (SAWS) was a prophet, which is a man inspired by Allah (SWT), the Most-Wise, which means that there can be no mistake at all in following him in every aspect. Ghazali expressed it in clear words:

"Know that the key to total bliss (Sa'adah) lies in following the Sunnah and in emulating the life of Rasulullah (SAWS) 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 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."

Furthermore, in the Qur'an, Allah (SWT) ordered Rasulullah (SAWS) to say the following to the believers: "Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Al 'Imran: 31)

If we want to follow Rasulullah (SAWS), we should also resemble him in his outer appearance, to which belongs the beard. The Sunnah of growing a beard has quite a big importance, as we can read in several Hadiths where Muhammad (SAWS) summoned us to do so. "Ibn Umar (RA) said: The Prophet (SAWS) said, "Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short?"

Rasulullah (SAWS) said "I have no connection with one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing e.g. in grief."

The Prophet (SAWS) said, "To get the moustaches cut short is characteristic of the Fitra."These three Hadith shall be sufficient proof from the Sunnah that every Muslim should have a beard. We learn
that to keep the moustache short and to grow a beard is a way of distinguishing one self from the pagans, who used to grow moustaches at that time, that this Sunnah is part of the Fitra (i.e. the way of the Prophets; natural state) and that the Prophet has "no connection with one who shaves".

The early scholars of Islam unanimously judged that a Muslim has to have a beard. Ibn Hazm, for example, said: "And they (scholars) have agreed that shaving the beard is a disfigurement, and is not allowed".

Ibn Taimiyah stated that: "Shaving the beard is forbidden". Imam Ash-Shafi'i wrote in his book "Al-Umm" that this is Haram.

Strange that so many Muslims insist on shaving themselves in order to look like a Christian, a Hindu or something else. They might argue that the times have changed and we have to be modern, but because also recent scholars agree upon that still in our times a Muslim has to grow a beard, they have no excuse. Al-Albani, for example, believes that the Ayah, "Allah cursed him. And he (Shaytan) said: 'I will take an appointed portion of your slaves. Verily, I will mislead them, and surely I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.' And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss" (Surah An-Nisa'a: 118-119)

Sayyid Sabiq said that letting one's beard grow and become thick "is a feature of dignity. It should not be cut so short that it appears like a shaved beard, nor should it be left so long that it becomes untidy. It is also a sign of manhood. Says al-Bukhari, "Whenever Ibn 'Umar made the hajj or 'umrah, he would hold his beard in his fist and, whatever exceeded his fist, he would cut off." Regarding other prophets than Muhammad (SAWS), we have no historical evidences like pictures or authentic scriptures which could give us proof how they looked like and if they had a beard, but it is quiet sure that all of them used to wear a beard. In the Qur'an there is the following Ayah about Harun (AS) and his brother Musa (as): He (Harun) said: "O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head" (Surah Ta-Ha: 94), which is a clear indication that Prophet Harun (AS) used to have a beard. Allah (SWT) does not want us to be perfect like a prophet, but He wants us to struggle to reach a level which is near to them. To have a beard is surely not the most important point, but also not the least.

The beard is the identification of the Muslim. It distinguishes him outwardly from the non-Muslims. However, care has to be taken as the beard is not an indicator of faith in the meaning of 'the longer the beard, the better Muslim he must be', because there are many charlatans out there.

It happened to me a few times that in places where not so many Muslims are and I am not wearing any Islamic dress, people come up to me and say: "Assalamualeikum", just because they recognized me as a Muslim because of my beard and the short moustache. Sometimes I wonder about the motives why so many Muslims nowadays don't follow the Sunnah of having a beard. Possibly many are influenced by Bollywood's and Hollywood's heroes, musicians and athletes who are not Muslims or maybe Muslim, but far away from Islam. They might also be afraid that if they have a long beard, they will not be able to find the same dream women like the one in the movie, or their wives could be angry about the stubbles while she receives a kiss from him. Some Muslims might not have a beard, because they are afraid of symbolizing backwardness. They want to show that they are progressed and educated and they hate that the people say to them, "Oh, you look like a Taliban".

In reality it is a sign that they feel inferior of being Muslim or believe that with their jobs as doctors, teachers, scientists, and managers and alike, the beard is incompatible. The Muslim youth have to
be motivated in a same way like the movement of the African-American in the 60s and 70s did. They said "black is beautiful", but we should continue further and say "beard is also beautiful".

The only Muslims, in my opinion, who have a reasonable excuse by not growing a beard, are the believers living under repressive regimes. Depending on the situation, it might sometimes be wiser to shave in order to keep on preaching and work for Islam which otherwise, with a beard, would not be possible. Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan and Muslim only by name, once said: "The basic sign, according to which Uzbek special services separate Wahabbis from other citizens, has become a beard. (A beard) bearer can at any moment be stopped and subjected to humiliating search, and even arrest."

Of course, a Muslim with a beard is not automatically a "Wahabbi", whatever this means, and in this situation the believer has to weigh up if it is better to shave or to go underground.

Luckily these repressive countries are just exceptions and most of the Muslims in the world don't have to fear discrimination because of a beard, not even the Muslim living in the West who, in cases where they have been thrown out of their jobs because of their beards, often went to the court and won, thus there can be also no excuses for them. So if you have a beard, then alhamdulillah. If not, what are you waiting? Your skin is suffering from the razor blades, and after looking in the mirror your face wants to tell you, "You have to look like a man!", so dear brother in Islam, follow the Sunnah of the Prophets and let your beard grow and flow!