Many Muslims are overcome with western influence in their lives and this makes it easy for them to forget, or even, neglect the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
It has been observed that they prefer keeping a beard in imitation of what is in vogue rather than that prescribed by Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
The impact of the western way of life is luring this unwary group of Muslims into such a craze that the importance of the beard itself is being doubted and scoffed at.
According to Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih al-Uthaimeen, beard is the hair of the face, jawbone and cheeks; thus, everything that grows on the cheeks, jawbone and chin is part of the beard.
Meanwhile, growing the beard and trimming the moustache is from the Fitrah (innate nature). It is from the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Prophets who came before him (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all).
To grow the beard and shorten the moustache is a direct command from Allah’s Messenger. And to disobey a command is a sin that leads to Allah’s punishment.
Allah says in An-Nisaa:
And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination! [Qur’an 4:114]
Unfortunately, many Muslims today, shave their beards without realising the magnitude of their actions in disobeying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Some claim that the matter concerning the beards is a trivial issue which is not worthy of mention or practice. They have forgotten that as Muslims, they are required to follow the Prophet in all aspects of life for he was the best examples.
Concerning the adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet, Allah says:
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. [Qur’an 4:59]
He also says in Al-Anfaal:
O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him (i.e. Messenger Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) while you are hearing. [Qur’an 8:20]
He says further:
O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) calls you to that which will give you life, and know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e. He prevents an evil person to decide anything). And verily to Him you shall (all) be gathered. [Qur’an 8:24]
While in Al-Hashr, He says:
…and whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear Allah; verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. [Qur’an 59:7]
Beards According to the Sunnah
There are numerous Ahadith which convey the obligation of growing the beards and the prohibition of doing otherwise. One of them is the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, who said that a Magian who had shaved his beard and grown his moustache, came to the Messenger (peace be upon him).
So, the Messenger said to him: “Woe to you! Who commanded you with this?” The Magian said: “The Chosroes (Persian emperor) commanded me with it.” So, Allah’s Messenger said: “As for my Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, he has commanded me to grow my beard and trim my moustache.”
In another version, the Prophet said to the Magians: “But we differ from your way, we trim this (the moustache) and we grow this (the beard).
Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) alsonalso that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Trim closely the moustache, and let the beard grow.
In another narration, he said:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered us to trim the moustache closely and spare the beard.
He [(Messenger of Allah (may peace be opon him)] also said:
Act against the polytheists, trim closely the moustache and grow beard.
In the narration of Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Trim closely the moustache, and grow beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.
Beards According to Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence
According to the scholars of Islam, to shave off the beard is unlawful (haraam) and they consider the one who shaves his beard as an unrighteous fellow, hence, they said that it is not permissible to appoint such a man as an Imam.
In his book, Kitaabul Aathaar, Imam Muhammad Bin Hassan Al-Shaybani, related from Imam Abu Hanifah thatI:
Umar used to hold his beard in his hand and cut off which was longer.
Thus, Al-Shaybani said that ‘this is what we follow and this was the decision of Imam Abu Hanifa’.
Therefore, the Hanifiyah school of thought is that to shorten the beard less than a fist length is Haraam.
Also, in his Kitaabul Umm, Imam Shafii states that ‘to shave the beard is Haraam’.
Likewise in Tamheed which is a commentary on Muwata’a, it is stated that to shave beard is Haraam and the only ones that resort to this practice among men are the hermaphrodites.
Also in the famous Hanbali book, Sharahul Muntahaa, it is stated that the most accepted view is Haraam (prohibited) to shave his beard.
Similarly, Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above.
Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women.
When asked if it is Haram to shave the beards, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside.
As for imitating the Kuffaar, Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,
“He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.” According to another version: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad)
The foregoing discussion shows that we are commanded to leave the beard it as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. This stance is supported by the Qur’an, the Sunnah and opinions of upright Islamic scholars. It, therefore, behoves every male Muslim to preserve their beards and not shave it so as to obey the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him)