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Shaving the Beard; A Modern Effeminacy

Shaving the Beard; A Modern Effeminacy
Muhammad al-Jibaaly


The beard (Arabic: liyah) 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 Islaamic Ruling Concerning Beards

Growing the beard is a waajib (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 ulamaa of Islaam. One should not be misled by the neglect to this sunnah by a few contemporary shaykhs, and by their providing shaky fatwas to support their action. By doing that they make people follow them into the wrong way, when the Messenger sallallaahu '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:

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

A List of Violations

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

a. A Disobedience to Allaah ta'ala

Shaving the beard is a disobedience to Allaah ta'ala. The ruler of Yemen, appointed by the Persian emperor Kisraa, sent two envoys to the Messenger sallallaahu '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 Kisraa.)" The Messenger sallallaahu '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. [Recorded by Ibn Jarra-abar, and judged to be Hasan (good) by al-Albaanee.]

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

Shaving the beard is a disobedience to the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. In many hadiths, the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam commanded men to leave alone their beards. These different hadiths have a similar meaning: Trim the moustache and save the beard. [al-Bukhaaree and Muslim] Obeying the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam in that is equivalent to obeying Allaah ta'ala who said (what means): He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allaah. [An-Nisaa 4:80]

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

Shaving the beard is a deviation from the appearance and guidance of the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. The Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to have a large beard [Muslim]. One should strive to imitate him sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam in his practices, as Allaah ta'ala said (what means): In the Messenger of Allaah is a good example for you to follow. [Al-Ahzab 33:21] And the Messenger sallallaahu '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 sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, the sahabah (Prophet's companions), the great 'ulamaa, 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 Allaah 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. [An-Nisaa 4:115]

e. An Imitation of the Disbelievers

Shaving the beard is an imitation of the disbelievers. This has been emphasized in several hadiths of the Prophet sallallaahu '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 Allaah ta'ala); trim your moustaches and save your beards. [al-Bukhaaree and Muslim] We have been commanded to be different and distinct from the disbelievers, as in surat ul-Fatihah. Also, Allaah ta'ala said (what means): Follow not the whims of those who have no knowledge (of Islaam). [Al-Jathiyah 45:18] And His Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: Whoever imitates a people is but one of them. [Recorded by Abu Dawud, and judged to be authentic by al-Albaanee]

f. Changing Allaah's Creation without Permission

The Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam declared that the women who change what Allaah 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 Allaah ta'ala. [al-Bukhaaree 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 Allaah has created. [An-Nisaa 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 sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: Allaah curses those men who imitate the women, and He curses those women who imitate the men. [al-Bukhaaree]

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

Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu '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 sallallaahu '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 up-bringing. [al-Bukhaaree 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 sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam declared in the above hadith. This fitrah never changes with time: Allaah ta'ala said (what means): The pure nature according to which Allaah has created people. There is no change in Allaah's creation. [Ar-Room 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 Allaah ta'ala and His Messenger sallallaahu '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 wudu as instructed in the Sunnah. What the 'Ulamaa and Imams Say All the 'ulamaa 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 bin Abdil-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 Allaah 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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