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.”
Translation: Ibn Umar radiyallahu anhu quotes the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam as saying, “Grow (lengthen) the beard.”
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 Prophetsallallahu 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 Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Trim closely the moustache and grow the beard.” [Muslim, 501: Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA)]
Scientific benefits for having a Beard
1. A beard protects the face from harmful chemicals, radiation (uv) and pollution in the air, which will cause cell damage, and increase wrinkling and bad skin. So keeping a beard protects your skin from the elements, reduces wrinkles, ageing, and bad skin.
2. The beard covers the skin, which protects the sebaceous glands from being infected by acne vulgaris bacteria, thus preventing acne, spots & pimples.
3. Keeping your face warmer and protects your chin from dangers.
4. It protects the tonsils from sunstroke.
5. Most of the respiratory problems are prevented by keeping beard as thick beards that have grown under the chin and neck will raise the temperature of the neck and may help battle colds.
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.
| Q. The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) forbid us to alter eyebrows. Why?
Ans. Eyebrows prevent rain, sweat, moisture, dandruff etc from falling into the eyes. The typical shape of the eyebrow with a slant on the side and the direction in which eyebrow hairs are pointed, make sure that moisture has a tendency to flow sideways. As per new research, they also providing a more sensitive sense for detecting objects being near the eye, like small insects.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
| Practical benefits of Beard
An excess of electromagnetic radiation in the ultraviolet waveband can cause severe damage to skin cells and their DNA. Fortunately, various natural protection mechanisms exist, but until recently, one has been almost entirely overlooked in the dosimetric literature. New details are revealed in the latest (July 2012) edition of the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry, which features a paper from a cross faculty team at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.
“The longer hair provides a higher UPF at the smaller SZA, but the difference between the protection provided by the longer hair compared with the shorter hair reduces with increasing SZA. Protection from UVR is provided by the facial hair; however, it is not very high, particularly at the higher SZA.”
Abbreviations- UPF: ultraviolet protection factor, SZA: solar zenith angle, UVR: ultraviolet radiation
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.”
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.”
| 5 lesser-known benefits of having a Beard
1. Sun Protection
According to recent research from the University of Southern Queensland, beards block up to 95 percent of the sun’s UV rays, which can play a huge role in preventing basal-cell carcinomas (the most common form of all cancers). Key stats to know: Four out of five cases in men appear on the face, head, or neck and the sun is to blame for up to 90 percent of the visible signs of aging. So while facial hair won’t keep your forehead from developing Jack Nicholsonesque creases, it will keep the bottom half of your face looking young.
2. Blemish-Free Skin
Forgoing the razor doesn’t just hide blemishes—it actually prevents them. “Razor rash, acne, and folliculitis [hair-follicle inflammation] are often the result of shaving,” said Dr. Shannon C. Trotter, a fellow of the Osteopathic College of Dermatology and a dermatologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Razors can irritate the skin or even spread bacteria, causing an infection of the hair follicle.”
3. More Masculinity
The more facial hair a man has, the more masculine both men and women perceive him to be. Psychological and behavioural science explanations for the existence of beards include signalling sexual maturity and signalling dominance by increasing perceived size of jaws, and clean-shaved faces are rated less dominant than bearded. Modern biologists have reaffirmed that there is evidence that a preponderance of females find men with beards more attractive than men without beards.
4. Natural Moisture
You probably didn’t know your face has its own built-in moisturizing regimen—it’s called your sebaceous glands (oil glands for short) and, according to Trotter, it secretes a natural oil that keeps skin moisturized. A thick beard not only prevents you from rubbing it off of your face, it also protects the face from wind exposure, which leads to redness and dryness (just in case you were planning your next high-altitude climb).
5. Trapped Allergens
Your nose hairs trap more than you think they do. In addition to what you see in a tissue, nose hairs trap pollutants that could actually cause your body harm. So the more hair you have under your airways (read: the bigger your beard), the more pollutants you’re snaring every day, according to Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, Allergy and Asthma Care of NY medical director. Just be sure to treat your beard like any other filter and wash it regularly.
Source: FOX News (Health)
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.
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 wasallamsaid, ‘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.
| Beard as cosmic antenna
The human brain is like a huge transmitter, capable of sending out a multitude of very accurate waves and thoughts. In fact, telepathy is nothing more than that. But this type of transmitter requires antenna, and the hair and beard are these antenna. That is why you should not shave off any hair if you want to make use of your transmitters (see Kirlian photography). You may have noticed that all the Prophets had a beard, and often hair reaching the shoulders. Scientists and other wise people have them, too. These antennae bring you greater quantities of subtle, cosmic energy.
And have you heard about Samson? He was commanded by God to never cut his hair, and no wines or liquors. Some people also think that the Mighty Samson, who was so strong that he could uplift two mountains and rub them together like two clods of earth, was able to communicate with “God” by telepathy, thanks to his natural antenna, his hair. Some writers even quote that, “If you want to have telepathic communication of a very high quality do not cut your hair or your beard too often, for it takes quite a span from the last time your hair was cut for new antennae to form at the tips of the hair.”
Interestingly, many religions however recommend a first haircut for the newborn baby as a means of purification or sacrifice (of beauty) and Allah knows best (اللهُ أعلم).
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.
| Notable Mentions
An illustration of things to come
“Son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a razor to shave your head and beard. Use a scale to weigh the hair into three equal parts. Place a third of it at the center of your map of Jerusalem. After acting out the siege, burn it there. Scatter another third across your map and chop it with a sword. Scatter the last third to the wind, for I will scatter My people with the sword. Keep just a bit of the hair and tie it up in your robe. Then take some of these hairs out and throw them into the fire, burning them up. A fire will then spread from this remnant and destroy all of Israel.” (Eze. 5:1-4)
Dribble off sins
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said :
In another Hadith, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: He who has a sacrificial animal with him whom (he intends) to offer as sacrifice, and he enters the month ofDhu’I-Hijja, he should not get his hair cut or nails trimmed until he has sacrificed the animal. (Sahih Muslim 1977)
In another narration, the Prophet said: ‘Indeed Allah, Mighty and Sublime is He, descends to the lowest Heavens during the night of the middle of Sha’ban, to grant forgiveness to more than the number of hairs on the sheep of (Banu) Kalb.’ (Tirmidhi 739)
Fatima (رضي الله عنها) weighed the hair of Hasan, Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum (رضي الله عنهم) , and gave away in sadaqa an equivalent weight of silver. (Muwatta Malik 26:2)
Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنه) rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard.
| Tell me more…
From the Holy Qur’an, we come to know about the prophetic tradition of wearing a beard as is seen in the following verse:
“O son of my mother, (Aaron cried) do not pull me by my beard or my hair! I was really afraid you may say that I had created a rift among the children of Israel, and did not pay heed to your command.” [Surat Ţāhā (20):94]
Also as per the Bible:
“You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” [Leviticus 19:27]
“They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts on their body.” [Leviticus 21:5]
Shaving, which has to be repeated at least once every day, invariably results in cuts, some of which are microscopic – and that is all the malignant bacteria and dreaded viruses need to swarm to the interior of our bodies. Just like skin, hair helps to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. The Hair is photosensitive/reactive, absorbing sunlight and creating within the body certain biochemicals. The hair is temperature and humidity reactive, reacting to changes in temperature of less than 0.5 degrees and less than 1% humidity The hair is pressure sensitive and movement sensitive, reacting to changes in air movement that the human perception cannot consciously detect and changes in atmospheric pressure to the same degree. The same applies to the hairs, incidental, reactivity to vibrations (i.e. sound waves, radio waves, etc.) in the environment.
Even Shakespeare couldn’t resist to say about shaving beard that:
“God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.”
“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.”
While others comment (written on some t-shirts) that:
“If your Dad doesn’t have a beard, you’ve got two Moms.”
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
| Lessons from Vietnam war files
A psychologist (name withheld) worked at a VA Medical hospital with combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most of them had served in Vietnam. He was in shock from the contents of certain studies commissioned by the government. What he read in those documents completely changed his life. During the Vietnam War special forces in the war department had sent undercover experts looking for talented scouts, for tough young men trained to move stealthily through rough terrain. They were especially looking for men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities. Before being approached, these carefully selected men were extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival. Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field. Serious causalities and failures of performance led the government to contract expensive testing of these recruits. When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ‘sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ‘sixth sense’, their ‘intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ‘read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.
Several studies conducted afterwards seemed to imply that not only does hair in people, including facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment. When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in numbing-out.
Some people assert that (believe it or not) shaving causes imbalance amongst invisible bodily energies and that shaving it completely at certain times can pull out some vital energies from body to the head. Others assert that long hair and beard trap some vital energy and improve the control over senses in tricky situations. It is like a small railing atop a mountain. If one wanders off at night, those railings can stop one from falling. A small barrier can make a big difference at critical times. While some of them believe that women’s energy is represented in the waxing and waning of the moon as it corresponds to their menstrual cycle. This waxing and waning often corresponds to the natural waxing and waning of a woman’s moods and attitudes. Men relate to the energy of the sun. They do not have a menstrual cycle. Without the constant ebb and flow of hormonal change, men do not have the same changes in mood and attitude that women do have. So where does the beard come in? The chin is a moon center that corresponds to emotional activity because of the location of the trigeminal nerve. The man’s beard is a buffer between his emotional self and the world around him.
Cutting of hair is a contributing factor to unawareness of environmental distress in local ecosystems. It is also a contributing factor to insensitivity in relationships of all kinds. Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex. Some people think that this can be explained by understanding the workings of electromagnets. An electromagnet consists of an iron rod with a coil of wire wrapped around it. The strength of an electromagnet can be increased by increasing the number of coils. Considering our head to be the iron rod, hairs are like coils of wire which amplify the spiritual energy. A greater quantity of hair will lead to more coils in the knot and therefore a higher concentration of spiritual energy. In addition most shaving creams have ingredients like methyl paraben, phthalates, etc. which have been linked to disorders from hormone imbalance and hypersensitivity to cancer and neurotoxicity.
Of course, it is possible to experience God without any hair, however anything that helps us to experience God more easily should be welcomed.