Fiqh & Sunnah
Typography

Definition

The beard (Arabic: lihyah) is defined as the hair which grows on the cheeks and the jaws. It includes the hair of the temples, the growth underneath the lower lip, the hair of the chin, and the hair that grows on the lower side of the jaws.

The Islamic Ruling Concerning Beards

Growing the beard is a wajib (mandatory) for all males who are capable of doing so. This has ample evidence in the Sunnah (as will be shown below) and is the unanimous opinion of the 'ulama of Islam. One should not be misled by the neglect to this Sunnah by a few contemporary shaykhs, and by their providing shaky fatawa to support their action. By doing that they make people follow them into the wrong way, when the Messenger sallalaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:

"He who starts a good Sunnah (way) will be rewarded for it, in addition to receiving rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow him into it. Whereas he who starts a bad Sunnah will be burdened with it, in addition to receiving burdens equal to the burdens of those who follow him into it." [Muslim]

And he said:

"Allah does not pull the knowledge abruptly from the hearts of people, but he takes away the knowledge by taking [the lives of] the 'ulama (true scholars). When no 'ulama are left, people will take ignorant persons for leaders. Those will give them fatawa (religious verdicts) without knowledge. By doing this, they will stray and lead others astray as well." [Al-Bukhari]

A List of Violations

Shaving the beard results in a series of Islamic violations, as is obvious from Allah's Book and His Messenger's Sunnah. The following is a list (not necessarily comprehensive) of such violations:

a. A Disobedience to Allah ta'ala

Shaving the beard is a disobedience to Allah ta'ala. The ruler of Yemen, appointed by the Persian emperor Kisrah, sent two envoys to the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam to summon him. When they came into his presence, he noticed that they had shaved their beards and grew their moustaches. He hated to look at them (because of their odd appearance) and he said: "Woe be to you, who told you to do so?" They replied: "Our lord (referring to Kisrah)!" The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam then said: "But my Lord, may He be exalted and glorified, has commanded me to leave alone my beard and to trim my moustache." [Judged to be Hasan (good) by al-Albani]

b. A Disobedience To the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam

Shaving the beard is a disobedience to the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. In many ahadith, the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam commanded men to leave alone their beards. These different ahadith have a similar meaning: "Trim the moustache and save the beard." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Obeying the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in that is equivalent to obeying Allah ta'ala who said (what means): "He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah." [Al-Qur'an 4:80]

c. A Deviation from the Appearance and Guidance of the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam

Shaving the beard is a deviation from the appearance and guidance of the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to have a large beard [Muslim]. One should strive to imitate him sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in his practices, as Allah ta'ala said (what means): "In the Messenger of Allah is a good example for you to follow." [Al-Qur'an 33:21] And the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Verily, the best guidance is Muhammad's guidance." [Muslim]

d. A Deviation from the Way of Believers

Shaving the beard is a deviation from the way of believers. All the Prophets, the Sahabah (Prophet's companions), the great 'ulama, and the righteous early Muslims of this 'Ummah (Nation) grew their beards. There is no report of a single one of them ever shaving his beard. Thus, this is their way, and Allah ta'ala says (in the meaning): "Whoever disobeys the Messenger after guidance has been clarified to him, and follows other than the path of the believers, We shall give to him what he deserves and broil him in hell, which is the worst abode." [Al-Qur'an 4:115]

e. An Imitation of the Disbelievers

Shaving the beard is an imitation of the disbelievers. This has been emphasized in several ahadith of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. For example:

"Cut the moustaches and grow your beards. Be different from the Magians (followers of a religion that dominated in Persia)." [Muslim]

"Cut your moustaches and leave your beards alone. Be different from the people of the scripture." [Muslim]

"Be different from the Mushrikin (those who worship other than Allah ta'ala); trim your moustaches and save your beards." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

We have been commanded to be different and distinct from the disbelievers, as in Surah al-Fatihah. Also, Allah ta'ala said (what means):

"Follow not the whims of those who have no knowledge (of Islam)." [Al-Qur'an 45:18]

And His Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:

"Whoever imitates a people is but one of them." [Recorded by Abu Da'wud, and judged to be authentic by al-Albani]]

f. Changing Allah's Creation without Permission

The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam declared that the women who change what Allah ta'ala has created (such as removing the hair from their faces or filing their teeth or tattooing their bodies) seeking by that to improve their appearance, are accursed by Allah ta'ala. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] The hadith mentioned women in particular because they normally seek to beautify themselves more than men. But the warning surely applies to both sexes, because the condition for the curse is declared, and thus the curse applies to anyone who satisfies such condition. Shaving the beard falls under this warning, as it is much worse than the nam (removal of facial hair) practiced by some women. It involves obeying Satan who said: "'And I shall tempt them until they change what Allah has created.' " [Al-Qur'an 4:119]

g. An Imitation of Women

The beard is a major distinction between men and women. Shaving it removes this distinction, and is thus a means of imitating women. The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah curses those men who imitate the women, and He curses those women who imitate the men." [Al-Bukhari]

h. Shaving the Beard Contradicts the Pure Fitrah (Nature)

Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam mentioned ten qualities as indicative of a good, clean nature [Muslim]. Two of these qualities are to trim the moustaches and to grow the beard. The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam also tells that every child is born with a clean, pure fitrah, which later may get deformed by the influence of the environment and the upbringing. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. In the footsteps of the disbelievers, many Muslims' fitrah is now, unfortunately, so much deformed that they seem to find a clean-shaven man more handsome and masculine than one with a beard - exactly the opposite of what the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam declared in the above hadith. This fitrah never changes with time: Allah ta'ala said (what means): "The pure nature according to which Allah has created people. There is no change in Allah's creation." [Al-Qur'an 30:30]

For shaving their beards, some men give the strange excuse that their wives prefer them without one! As if their purpose in this life is to follow the deformed inclinations of their wives instead of the clear-cut commands of Allah ta'ala and His Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam! Others claim that growing their beards results in an irritability and scratching. This cannot result from abiding by the pure fitrah, but would result (if true) from neglect of the proper cleaning and washing with wudhu' as instructed in the Sunnah.

What the 'Ulama and Imams Say

All the 'ulama of as-Salaf us-Salih, including the Four Imams, agreed that shaving the beard is haram (prohibited). They considered shaving it an impermissible mutilation, as has been reported about 'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz. They used to consider the person who shaved his beard effeminate. Many of them would not accept his witness or allow him to lead the prayers.

May Allah ta'ala guide us to abide by His Deen, and to adhere to His Messenger's Sunnah, and to be among those whom he blessed in both lives.

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