Importance of keeping a beard.

Question: I find keeping a beard difficult due to my job. I is necessary to keep a beard?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Islam is a complete way of life. Just as all other aspects of Islam, social dealings also play a vital role in Islam. Guidelines regarding a person’s outer appearance, form and clothing are contained in the teachings of Islam. A true and complete Muslim is he who adheres to these Islamic teachings and practices upon them. While Allah the Almighty is aware of our inner qualities, there is a social need for our outer condition to be correct. Therefore, the claim of having complete Islam without one’s outer condition being proper is false.

The religion of Islam has given special guidelines regarding the hair of a Muslim. The following words of The Prophet () is of utmost importance: “Lengthen the beard and oppose the Mushrikin (Idolaters) and the fire worshippers,”

The importance and benefits of keeping a beard have been recorded in many sayings from The Prophet (). He repeatedly instructed the growing of a beard, and his own habitual and continuous practice was that of growing a full beard. Thus, the obligation of keeping a beard for Muslim men is clear.

Aishah radialiahu ‘anha narrates that Nabi said: “Ten things are fitrah{natural). To cut the moustache and lengthen the beard (are from amongst these ten things).

Sayyiduna Jabir ibn Abd Allah Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that the Messenger of Allah () had a thick beard….” (Sahih Muslim)

From the above narrations the Mujtahideen and the Fuqaha have decreed that it is wajib (compulsory) to keep a beard, as there is a common order mentioned in the Hadith proving wujoob (compulsion). Hence these narrations prove compulsion.

All the 4 Madhahib (schools of thought) agree that it is impermissible to trim or shave the beard to less than 1 fist length.

Every nation and religion has some special distinguishing mark or symbol. Similarly different departments of a government also have distinguishing signs. The police have their own uniform, traffic officers a different uniform, and so too with the army and the naval forces. These differences have a definite effect upon a person. History has proven that a nation which does not adhere to its distinguishing features finally loses its entire identity and dissolves with another nation.

Through Islam, The Prophet () prepared a nation who was completely unique from all other nations. They followed Him in every way – from worshipping and etiquettes right down to their outward appearance, attire and dress, everything was according to Qur’anic injunctions:  “Assuredly there is an excellent example (pattern) for you in the The Prophet () of Allah” (33:21).

Following The Prophet () means to tread on his path. From the above verse it becomes apparent that the Qur’an has given an order to every Muslim to follow the lifestyle, ways and outward appearance of The Prophet (). There are many more verses mentioned in the Qur’an regarding this aspect[1].

The religion of Islam is a natural religion. Any person who has a natural disposition will be inclined to the laws of Islam. In the laws of Islam lies only a person’s benefit. Keeping a beard is also from amongst these laws. It has also been the practice of the other previous Prophets: Abraham, Moses, Jesus (Peace be upon them) to keep a beard.

Without doubt, it is well documented that in many developed countries the provision for obligated religious covering is a provision given in the uniform. Both men with their beards and women with their hijab are some of the common allowances given specially to Muslim offices in the Police Service. I personally have classmates who are police officers in the U.K. In one particular case the officer grows a full size beard and was not hampered by the law in the process of expressing his religious right.

Keeping a beard while at one’s job by no means would hamper one in doing his work, nor present an undesirable appearance. It should be kept in a neat manner at an appropriate length.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad) /

[1] Laws of the Beard and Hair in Light of Ahadith By Shaykh Fazlur Rahman A’zmi