Sunday, March 2, 2008
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Your essay on growing beards is not islamic...you say growing or no growing a beard should not be an issue. it is an issue..it is wajib, almost faraz. How can it be not made an issue? It is an issue. How to distinguish between a Hindo or Christain or jew?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Growing beard not an issue
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Growing a beard was considered normal and natural for a man at the time of the Messenger of Allah (saws), whether he was a believer or not. Even the enemies of Islam like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahb had beards! And because every man naturally grew a beard, it was not necessary for the Prophet (saws) to give an explicit command exhorting the believers to grow a beard.
The only specific saying of the Prophet (saws) regarding the keeping of beards arose when he saw that the pagans used to grow both their beards and their mustaches long; thus he (saws) said to the believers:
Ibn 'Umar related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "Differ from the polytheists: let your beards (grow), and trim your moustache."
Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
It was only a couple of centuries ago, when the western culture and ideology became dominant over the world and muslim lands, that it became a fashion to be clean shaven. And as with any dominant culture, people are always ready to adopt its actions, whether they are of virtue, or of vice! But Islam has its own culture, and growing a beard is part of the Islamic culture.
The question is why should a believer, who professes to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and who professes to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), want to grow a beard?
The answer is simple. Today, you might have seen many youngsters copy the fashion of sport-stars, Hollywood-stars or anybody else whom they love. If you notice today, many hot Hollywood stars and sport stars are sporting a "goatie" beard! And true to fashion, you see a lot of people around today who keep "goatie" beards!!! As Muslims, our role model should always be the Prophet (saws). We love to copy everything he did ... he had a beard, and if indeed, we want to follow the Messenger of Allah (saws), we should strive to grow a beard.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21:
There is indeed the best model for you in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much.
In another narration, the Prophet of Allah said in narrating a prophecy of times to come:
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.651 Narrated by Abu Said Al Khudri
The Prophet (saws) said: “There will emerge from the East some people who will recite the Quran, but it will not exceed their throats, and who will go out of the deen of Islam as an arrow passes through the game. They will never come back to it unless the arrow comes back to the middle of the bow by itself (i.e. impossible!). The companions asked, "What will their signs be?". The Prophet (saws) said: "Their sign will be the habit of shaving off of their beards".
Thus the keeping of beards is an encouraged and preferred Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) and every muslim must strive to keep a beard, if his model is indeed the Prophet of Allah (saws). He will get his due reward from Allah, Insha Allah, if he keeps the beard to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
But if a believer does not want to sport a beard for whatever reason, the other believers should not make an issue out of it. What is important in Islam and in the Sight of Allah, is that one truly believes and does good righteous deeds. And when that happens, it is expected that the beard will follow soon after!
The beard is nothing more than a sign that the believer truly wants to follow a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws). There are many people who have long beards, but do deeds against the commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws). And there are many people who are amongst the best believers, but do not have beards! Allah will not decide the recipient of His Mercy and His Forgiveness from the appearance of the individual; but rather He will decide whether the person believed and did righteous deeds, as he was commanded by Allah and His Messenger (saws).
Your Question: Your essay on growing beards is not islamic...you say growing or no growing a beard should not be an issue. it is an issue..it is wajib, almost faraz. How can it be not made an issue? It is an issue.
Respected brother in Islam, we sincerely seek your forgiveness and above all the forgiveness of our Lord Most Majestic if something we have said or written has given rise to any misunderstanding.
The adorning of a beard is indeed an extremely preferred Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws); and it would only behoove and befit a believing male who claims to believe and follow the Messenger of Allah (saws) that he adorn himself with a beard.
Allah forbid we state that the adorning of a beard for an adult believing male is ‘not’ an issue….for Allah is our witness brother, it indeed is an issue in Islam. All we wish to emphasis was that if one amongst the brothers chooses not to follow the Sunnah and adorn himself with a beard, or one chooses to trim their beard short, etc. the other believers should not make a big issue out of it and declare them sinners, or Allah forbid, disbelievers, etc.
As much as the adorning of a beard is an extremely preferred Sunnah, and as much as it is an issue in Islam….all we were trying to say was that one should not make it a bigger issue than it really is. The Lord Most Majestic, Most High will not decide the recipient of His Mercy and His Forgiveness from the appearance of the individual; but rather He will decide whether the person believed and did righteous deeds, as he was commanded by Allah and His Messenger (saws). If one chooses to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and adorn himself with a beard, he will have his due reward in the Presence of his Lord; and if for any reason, one amongst the believers chooses not to adorn himself with a beard, or chooses to trim his beard short….the absolute maximum one can say is that the person missed a good opportunity to earn extra rewards without declaring such a brother a grave sinner or Allah forbid, a disbeliever!
Your Question: How to distinguish between a Hindu or Christian or jew?
Respected brother in Islam, it is not the adorning of a beard which distinguishes a believer from a disbeliever….but it is the elements of belief and doing of righteous good deeds for the Pleasure of Allah Subhanah alone which distinguishes and differentiates a believer from a disbeliever.
The guidance for adorning oneself with a beard was never meant to distinguish a believer from a disbeliever. Since time immemorial, it was only natural and accepted as the norm for every adult man, regardless of whether one was a believer or a disbeliever….every man used to sport a beard! If one merely looks at the pictures or demonstrations of old Hindu, Christian, Jewish, or any other pagan kings and nobles….one would notice that almost all them sported beards.
Respected brother, in all humility and sincerity, we again ask for your understanding and your forgiveness if anything we have stated has given rise to any misunderstanding….for Allah is our witness brother, at a time when even the best of intentions are misunderstood or misinterpreted in the Ummah, we do not wish to be amongst those who cause differences in the Ummah and Brotherhood of the believers.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,
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