Question:

What answer can be given to those who say: how keeping the beard to a fist length can be classified as the Sunnat while even the jews, hindus etc wear long beard? Please give a jami' answer.

 

Answer:

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

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

The objection above stems from misunderstanding the dynamics of what can be considered a sunnah. As requested, we shall provide a short and concise answer with the following points:

1) The existence of an act in another religion does not mean that such acts are forbidden in Islām. The reason for this is very simple; Jews and Christians are ultimately the followers of Prophet Mūsā (`alayhis salām) and Prophet Īsā (`alayhis salām). Some even say that the Hindus also learnt their religion from a prophet sent by Allāh Ta`ālā[1] as is apparent from the following verse of the Qur'ān:

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلَالَةُ

And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid Taghūt. (idol worship)" And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. [Al-Nahl (16): 36]

This is to the extent that some have even found prophecies regarding the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) in divine Hindu books such as the Vedas and Puranas.[2] Nevertheless, each religion may still retain certain divine teachings that were originally the teachings of their respective prophet. This is also why the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) would at times imitate the Jews and Christians in those actions that were not yet revealed to him by Allāh Ta`ālā.[3]

Of course, it is apparent that many of these teachings were later distorted through interpolation of their texts and various political splits that occurred within such religions. Hāfiz ibn Kathīr provides a basic principle regarding teachings obtained from non-Islamic texts in the following words:

فَأَمَّا مَا شَهِدَ لَهُ شَرْعُنَا بِالصِّدْقِ فَلَا حَاجَةَ بِنَا إِلَيْهِ اسْتِغْنَاءً بِمَا عِنْدَنَا، وَمَا شَهِدَ لَهُ شَرْعُنَا مِنْهَا بِالْبُطْلَانِ فَذَاكَ مَرْدُودٌ لَا يَجُوزُ حِكَايَتُهُ إِلَّا عَلَى سَبِيلِ الْإِنْكَارِ وَالْإِبْطَالِ

In regards to those things that are consolidated by our Shari'ah as being the truth, we have no need for such things because what we have (i.e. Islamic teachings) is sufficient for us. And in regards to those things that are rejected by our Shari'ah as being false, such narrations will be disregarded and it is not permissible for one to narrate such things except for the purpose of disapproving or denouncing it.[4]

As such, those acts that were concurred by our Sharī`ah and further encouraged by the Messenger of Allāh (sallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) remain a part of the universal Dīn Allāh Ta`ālā sent down to us through His beloved messengers.

2) Keeping a beard has been mentioned as an act related to fitrah or the natural quality of a human being. Simply put, a beard is a natural feature bestowed to man by Allāh Ta`ālā; therefore, keeping a beard is 'natural' and an inherent feature built into us. Those who adopt it are simply adhering to something 'natural' that they were created with, even if they attribute such a thing to their religious sources. The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

عَشْرٌ مِنَ الْفِطْرَةِ: قَصُّ الشَّارِبِ، وَإِعْفَاءُ اللِّحْيَةِ، وَالسِّوَاكُ، وَاسْتِنْشَاقُ الْمَاءِ، وَقَصُّ الْأَظْفَارِ، وَغَسْلُ الْبَرَاجِمِ، وَنَتْفُ الْإِبِطِ، وَحَلْقُ الْعَانَةِ، وَانْتِقَاصُ الْمَاءِ

Ten acts are according to fitrah (natural disposition): clipping the moustache, letting the beard grow, using the tooth-stick, snuffing water in the nose, cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the hair under the armpits, shaving the pubes and cleaning one's private parts with water.[5]

If we state wearing a beard is imitating Jews, then having teeth is also common with all human beings; Jews, Christians, Hindus, etc. Is it expected of us to remove our teeth to avoid imitating them?

3) During the time of our beloved prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), it was prevalent among polytheists and those who did not follow a divine religion (i.e. a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) to refrain from growing a beard. This is apparent from the following two ahādith:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «جُزُّوا الشَّوَارِبَ، وَأَرْخُوا اللِّحَى خَالِفُوا الْمَجُوسَ»

The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: Trim closely the moustache, and grow the beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.[6]

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: " خَالِفُوا المُشْرِكِينَ: وَفِّرُوا اللِّحَى، وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ " وَكَانَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ: «إِذَا حَجَّ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ قَبَضَ عَلَى لِحْيَتِهِ، فَمَا فَضَلَ أَخَذَهُ»

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu `anh) that the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short.' (The narrator from Ibn `Umar radiyallāhu `anh says:) Whenever Ibn `Umar performed the Hajj or `Umra, he used to hold his beard with his hand and cut whatever remained.[7]

To conclude, the keeping of the beard is something that the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to do directly; thus, it inherently becomes a part of our religion regardless of who imitates it in the future.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Mohammad

Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

 



[1] Dr. Z. Haq, "PROPHET MUHAMMAD IN HINDU SCRIPTURES", Cyberistan, accessed on September 15, 2014, http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/prophhs.html

[2] Ibid.

[3] قال البخاري في صحيحه:

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ يُونُسَ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، «أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، كَانَ يَسْدِلُ شَعَرَهُ، وَكَانَ المُشْرِكُونَ يَفْرُقُونَ رُءُوسَهُمْ، فَكَانَ أَهْلُ الكِتَابِ يَسْدِلُونَ رُءُوسَهُمْ، وَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُحِبُّ مُوَافَقَةَ أَهْلِ الكِتَابِ فِيمَا لَمْ يُؤْمَرْ فِيهِ بِشَيْءٍ، ثُمَّ فَرَقَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَأْسَهُ» (البخاري، ٣٥٥٨، كتاب المناقب)

 

قال الحافِظ في الفتح:

قَوْلُهُ فِيمَا لَمْ يُؤْمَرْ فِيهِ بِشَيْءٍ أَيْ فِيمَا لَمْ يُخَالِفْ شَرْعَهُ لِأَنَّ أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ فِي زَمَانِهِ كَانُوا مُتَمَسِّكِينَ بِبَقَايَا مِنْ شَرَائِعِ الرُّسُلِ فَكَانَتْ مُوَافَقَتُهُمْ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ مُوَافَقَةِ عُبَّادِ الْأَوْثَانِ (فتح الباري تحت حديث ٣٥٥٨)

 

[4] Al-Bidāyah wa 'l-Nihāyah, v. 1 p. 15, Dār Ibn Rajab

[5] Muslim, 261, The Book of Purification

[6] Ibid., 260

[7] Bukhārī, 5892, The Book of Dress

KHARWASTAN

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