The Position of the Beard in Islam

By al-’Allaamah Badee’ud-Deen Shaah ar-Raashidee as-Sindee

All praise is for Allaah, Lord of the Worlds; and prayers and peace be upon the Master of the Prophets and Messengers, and his household, family and companions; whomsoever follows them with goodness until the Day of Recompense.

To Proceed:

Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has made the figure of the human being very well and pleasing. As He said, “We have certainly created the human being in the best of moulds.” [Sooratut-Teen 95:4] [1]

It is proven that man’s figure is very well and pleasing. And Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has created humans in pairs, for external distinction in both (i.e. male and female). He made the man having a beard, with which beauty and dignity augments. Such that, it is a crown of a man’s face. Hence, it is generally observed that for each and every madhhab (mode of life, religion, ideology, etc.), be it Muslim or non-Muslim, the chieftain is bearded. Such that, man naturally considers the beard to be a source of honor. [That is so] because this is a divide hue (frame: religion), in comparison to which, there is no other hue, “Our religion is the religion of Allaah. And who can give a better religion than Allaah? And we are His worshippers.” [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:138]

So long as the mentality of the Muslims was secure from the hue of the polytheists, and the Jews and the Christians and their like, both, whether man or woman, considered the beard to be an adornment and beauty for the man. Accordingly, Ibn Batootah in his travelogue entitled, Tuhfatun-Nazaar fee ’Ajaa‘ibil-Asfaar (1/17) records an occurrence which goes as follows: Shaykh Jamaalud-Deen Saawee was a very handsome person. Hence, one woman was infatuated with him, and through some type of pretense, called in to her house. After entering she had the doors closed. Then she called the Shaykh towards her for evil (fornication). The Shaykh tried his best to escape. However, when he did not find any means of escape, he first decided to go to the toilet and after entering, he took a blade and shaved his beard with it. When he came out, the woman found his face to be so hideous that she was disgusted with him. Thus he came out safe and secure, escaping evil.

Dear readers, consider this: When the mind was pure, the divine shape was liked by everyone. When the mind became impure, the good appearance appeared bad and the bad appearance appeared good. In fact, this is a mischief of shaytaan who dared to speak before Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and said, “I will surely take from among Your servants a specific portion. And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allaah.” [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:118-119]

Meaning, the ways and means of leading astray that he directed Allaah’s servants to. Among them was that he would instruct them that they should change Allaah’s form of creation. And the Divine Commandment goes as follows, "So direct your face towards the religion, haneef (upright on the truth). Adhere to the fitrah [2] of Allaah, upon which He has created the people. No change should there be in the creation of Allaah. That is the straight religion, but most of the people do not know.” [Sooratur-Room 30:30]

Imaam of Hind, Shaah Waliyyullaah ad-Dihlawee says in Hujjatullaahil-Baalighah (1/152), “Its cutting, meaning the beard, is the way of the Magians [3], and it is the altering of Allaah’s creation.” And likewise shaving of the beard resembles oneself to the woman, about which there is a severe threat. It is narrated from Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyallaahu ’anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men. [4] And similarly, Ibn ’Abbaas’ narration is also related in Musnad Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah. It is narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allaah has cursed the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women.” [5]

Dear onlookers, that deed on which is the curse of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is considered a very major and perilous sin. Al-’Allaamah Ibn Hajr al-Haythamee has included it among the major sins in az-Zawaajir ’an Iqtiraafil-Kabaa‘ir. And externally, the beard is man’s specific distinction, and the absence of the beard is the woman’s specific distinction. So whoever shaves the beard certainly resembles the woman. Imaam al-Ghazzaalee says in Ihyaa’ ’Uloomud-Deen (2/257), “And with it, meaning the beard, men are distinguished from women.” So he (the man) is included in this severe threat. And the beard is the Sunnah (exemplary way) of all the Prophets. Accordingly, there is a mention of Haroon’s (’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) beard in the Noble Qur‘aan, “O son of my mother, do not seize me by the beard or by my head.” [Soorah Ta-Ha 20:94]

Also, there is a mention of both Moosaa (’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) and Aadam’s (’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) beard in ad-Durrul-Manthoor (1/62). And there is also an ordered in the Qur‘aan, “Those (Prophets) are the ones to whom Allaah has guided, so take their guidance as an example.” [Sooratul-An’aam 6:90]

That is, take as an example only those deeds other than which the Sharee’ah (Divine Law) of Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has abrogated. However, this Sharee’ah did not abrogate the ruling on the beard. Rather, it has affirmed and emphasized it. Therefore, our Supreme Guide, Master of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad’s (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) blessed beard filled his chest. As is related by Yazeed al-Farsee in Shamaa‘ilut-Tirmidhee, “Chapter of Seeing the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in a Dream,’ who said, ‘Indeed, I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in a dream.’ So he said, ‘Verily, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to say, “Indeed, the Shaytaan cannot imitate me, so whoever has seen me in a dream has indeed seen me.” Can you describe the person you have seen in the dream?’ I said. ‘Yes. I will describe him between the spectrum of two men. His body and flesh were moderate, complexion was brown-skinned, inclining towards whiteness, eyes were kohl-smeared, smile was pleasant, figure was beautiful and round-like, his beard reaching here to here and it filled his chest.’ So Ibn ’Abbaas said, ‘If you had seen him while awake, you could not have described him beyond that.’”

Similarly, the four well-known Caliphs, Aboo Bakr, ’Umar, ’Uthmaan and ’Alee, all had large beards. As mentioned in Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’d (3/114), Taareekhul-Khulafaa‘lis-Suyootee (p. 102, 116, 129). Also, the shaving and cutting of the beard resembles the polytheists and Magians. That is why avoiding it is definitely obligatory upon Muslims. This is so because whoever imitates a people, is included among them. As is the saying of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), “Whoever imitates a folk is but among them.” [6]

Dear readers, shaving the beard is [indeed] distinguished of oneself, meaning, making oneself defective. As Imaam Fakhrul-Andalus Ibn Hazm says in Maraatibul-Ijmaa’ (p.157), “They (the scholars of the Ummah) are in agreement that shaving the whole beard is disfiguring – not permissible. So, al-Haakim has brought in Mustadrak a narration by ’Imraan and at-Tabraanee from the hadeeth of Ibn ’Umar and Mugheerah (radiyallaahu ’anhumaa), “The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has prohibited disfigurement.” [7]

The meaning of disfigurement is “making defective.” The disfigurement of the body is to amputate the nose and lips. And the disfigurement of the hair is to shave and depilate the hair of the cheek or to dye the hair black. As mentioned in the famous book of language and hadeeth, an-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil-Hadeeth wal-Hadeeth wal-Aathaar authored by Imaam Ibn Atheer al-Jazaree (2/294) and Majma’ Bihaaril-Anwaar authored by al-’Allaamah Muhammad Taahir Patnee, (3/289). Therefore, this is also the reason why the shaving of the beard is prohibited. Rather, there is severe warning against the disfigurement of the cheek.

In Mu’jamul-Kabeer (11/41), there is a narration by Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyallaahu ’anhu), “Indeed, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever disfigures his hair, there is no share for him with Allaah.” Although there is a kalaam (discussion, debate) about this narration, since the real issue is proven through several evidences, quoting such narrations are useful for the purpose of targheeb wat-tarheeb (incitement and intimidation). And in the books, an-Nihaayah and Majma’ul-Bihaar the wording of this narration is, “The disfigurement of the cheeks is shaving the hair of the cheeks.” Rather, all four madhaahib (schools of jurisprudence) which are attributed to the imams: Imaam Aboo Haneefah, Imaam Maalik, Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee and many other imaams have declared the shaving of the beard unlawful. [7]

Dear onlookers, in the previous subject matter few ahaadeeth were mentioned, from which the virtue and emphasis of the beard is made evident. And its shaving and cutting is proven to be a loathsome act. These are great facts for a sensible Muslim and his admonition. After this, specifically those ahaadeeth will be mentioned by which the virtue of leaving the beard and its emphasis, and besides that the evil and harm of shaving and cutting, is known. May Allaah grant us the tawfeeq (Divine-help) to receive this admonition – aameen.


From Ibn ’Umar, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Differ from the mushrikeen (polytheists), save the beards and trim the moustaches.” And in another narration, “Sharply trim the moustaches and leave the beards.” [7]

EXPLANATION: In this hadeeth, there is an order to grow and leave the beard, and the command of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) is for the purpose of obligation and mandate. As described the scholars of principles (usool) of jurisprudence. As mentioned in al-Manaar ma’a Sharhin-Noorul-Anwaar, (p. 230), at-Tawdeeh ma’a Sharhit-Talweeh, (1/132) Usoolus-Sarkhasee (p. 185), Usoolul-Bazdawee (p. 21), Sharhul-Manaar li Ibni Maalik ma’a Hawaash lir-Rahaawee wa Azmee Zaadah wabnul-Hatbee (p. 120), al-Husaamee (p. 40). And al-’Allaamah Ibn Haajim Jamaalud-Deen says in Mukhtasar Usool, “The masses of scholars said that the order in fact amounts to obligation with the masses of scholars.” And in its explanation (Tahreer’s) authored by Ameer Badshah, it says, “Al-’Allaamah Ibn Haajib Baydaawee says it is correct. Imaam Raazee says it is the truth and Aamadee and Imaamul-Haramayn of Shaafi’ee madhhab say, ‘And it is said that this was dictated by Ash’aree to his companions.’” So leaving the beard is obligatory. And its shaver and cutter is a renouncer of an obligation. And renouncer of an obligation is considered a faasiq (open-sinner). And as for he who opposes the order of the Messenger of Allaah is a very great admonishment, “So let those beware who oppose from his (the Prophet’s) order, lest fitnah (trial, tribulation) strike them or a painful punishment.” [Sooratun-Noor 24:63]

Also, it is proven by this hadeeth that cutting of the beards is the action of the mushrikeen, not the Muslims. And whoever imitates them is considered among them, as [mentioned] in the previous hadeeth. So the person who shaves the beard is a mushrik by his appearance and image.

BENEFIT: The word “awfiru” is from “awfara” which means “plenty.” So the meaning of awfiru will be grow the beard and leave it. So that the hair will become dense. As “waffaraahu tawfeeran: katharahu” (in-creased it and grew it).” [8] And in another narration is the “aafoo”which is from “a’faa.” As in the famous book of Language of Hadeeth, an-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil-Hadeeth li Ibnil-Atheer (3/366), “Chapter of ’ayn with faa,” “And that is he leaves its hair and does not cut like the moustaches from explanation of “He left the beard” when it is said “It multiplies and increases.” The meaning, “I’faa ul-lihah” is that the hair of the beard should be grown and should not be cut like the moustaches. The origin of this is from “I’faa‘ush-shay,’” meaning that thing which increased and multiplied.


[1] That is, upright, symmetrical and balanced in form and nature.

[2] Fitrah (natural state, innate predisposition): It is an innate inclination of man to worship his Creator prior to the corruption of his nature by external influences (environment). Thus, Islaam is described as the Religion of fitrah – that of the inherent nature of mankind.

[3] An ancient religion that teaches the worship of fire.

[4] Related by al-Bukhaaree, (2/874).

[5] Refer to al-Jaami’us-Sagheer (2/123).

[6] Refer to al-Jaami’us-Sagheer (2/167), reference to Aboo Daawood from the hadeeth of Ibn ’Umar, and reference to at-Tabaranee al-Aswat from the hadeeth of Hudhayfah. For further explanation of its meaning refer to hadeeth (no. 1) below.

[7] Refer to al-Mishkaat (no. 38).

[8] Tarteebul-Qaamos (4/636)

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