Beard. Somewhere it is perceived as an element of fashion, an indicator of the brutality of its wearer, and somewhere – as slovenliness and an indicator of bad taste. But for almost every traditional culture, a beard signified belonging to a male identity. A boy with a beard began to be perceived as a man, and somewhere, for example in ancient Rus’, shaving off a beard did mean belonging to a non-traditional orientation.
For Muslims, a beard, like everything else in a person, is primarily a gift from the Almighty. And if you ask yourself why Muslims wear a beard, then the answer will follow clearly and immediately: our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ wore a beard, Sahaba and Salaf wore it. However, meanwhile, it is known that there have been and still are numerous theological discussions between Islamic jurists about whether a beard is a fard (prescribed, obligatory for a Muslim), or just a sunnah? Is shaving or trimming the beard forbidden, i.e. haram?
A beard in Islam is the fitrah of a man
Allah created man and woman in their original form – what in Islamic terminology is called the word fitra (primordial nature). A beard also belongs to the fitra of a man’s appearance. And its shaving is, therefore, a change in the fitrah, since the beard belongs to the nature of a man.
Ibn Umar narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Cutting the mustache is a fitrah.”
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “Fitra is five things: circumcision, shaving [the hair] in the groin, plucking the hair under the armpits, cutting the nails and trimming the mustache.”
It is unequivocally known that wearing a beard was part of the Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ, and, accordingly, his noble command to us – his ummah:
It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ conquered Mecca, he said: “Indeed, Allah Almighty and His Messenger forbade you wine and payment for it, forbade carrion and payment for it, forbade pork and payment for it. And he also said: “Shorten your mustache and let your beard grow, do not go to the markets without an izar, and he who practices other people’s customs is not one of us.”
The very fact that the Prophet ﷺ wore a beard, never shaving it, clearly indicates to us the preference for wearing a beard. But today, as people know, the simple practice of the Messenger is not enough. They like to record such an action in the Sunnah, that is, according to them, optional for execution. Otherwise, they need a specific dalil (argument), where it would be clearly and clearly stated: forbidden or allowed. And Islamic scholars, of course, have such a dalil.
Positions of scientists
Imam Ahmad narrates a hadith from one of the companions: Whoever does not shave his groin, does not cut his nails and does not trim his mustache, he is not one of us.
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Be different from the polytheists: grow a beard and trim your mustache.” Every time Ibn ‘Umar performed Hajj or ‘Umrah, he took his beard in his fist and cut off what stood out for his fist. (al-Bukhari 5892, Muslim 259)
The prohibition on shaving the beard is unambiguous in the Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali madhhabs (al-Mauswatul Fikhiyatul Kuwaitiya 35/225-226). Among the Shafiites, the main opinion is makruh (undesirability) of shaving the beard, and this is the opinion of Imams an-Nawawi and al-Rafi’i, may Allah be pleased with them. There is another opinion, for example, Imam al-Shafi’i, al-Zarkashi, al-Khalimi, may Allah be pleased with them, that the correct position is a complete ban on shaving the beard.
According to the Hanafi madhhab, in order for the beard to reach such a length that a fist can grasp it, and only then it is recommended to cut it.
Based on all of the above, the reader could be convinced of the obligation to leave a beard and the prohibition to shave it.
Shaving and trimming the mustache
The next topic, directly related to the previous one, is the hukm (sharia ruling) regarding trimming the mustache or shaving it completely. In this regard, we also have a huge number of hadiths and those different conclusions that scholars draw on the basis of these hadiths. In the case of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools of thought, the mustache should be completely shaved off. Later Hanafis, such as Ibn ‘Abidin rahimahullah, said that the mustache should be shortened, and not completely shaved off.
In the case of Shafiites and Malikis, they agreed on the preference for shortening the mustache. So, for example, Imam al-Nawawi rahimahullah says: “The border in shortening the mustache is that they are cut so that the edge of the lip is visible, but they should not be completely shaved off.”
It is known that the Persians and Zoroastrians had a custom to grow mustaches and completely shave off their beards. Since the Prophet ﷺ said “And he who practices other people’s customs is not one of us” and thereby forbade us assimilation to the unbelievers, the reason for the command of the Prophet ﷺ, which is transmitted from Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, becomes obvious: “Do not do what pagans: grow beards and trim mustaches.
And Allah knows best.