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Grow beard or just a sunnah?

By Humza Mullick



ALLAH made human beings in a perfect shape. “We have certainly created the human being in the best of moulds.” (Qur’an, 95:4)


Beard was always associated as an honor for men in the past. All great leaders in history are known to have strong beards. However, now it’s only a religious sign.

When I decided to start practicing Islam, the first thing I did was grow my beard. Friends and family displayed the utmost horror when they saw facial hair sprouting. “What’s that on your face? Can’t you afford Gillette?!” were some of the most common comments thrown my way.

As my journey into Islam developed, I came across a narration in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered men to grow the beard and trim the moustache. (Sahih Muslim, no. 498). After reading this, I realized that growing a beard was an integral part of Islam for men.

At a time when Muslims around the world are losing their identity (following the Prophet, peace be upon him has somewhat been abandoned), this topic becomes all the more important. It is absolutely baffling that a Muslim man would choose to act and look like anyone else other than the Prophet (peace be upon him). There have been times in England when I passed by a person and did not greet them with Salaams. They got extremely upset and questioned my actions: “Why didn’t you give me Salaams brother? You’re Muslim!”

The reason was simply because his faith was not clear as he didn’t look like a Muslim to me. My religion, however, was quite apparent. Allah created us in the best form, and beard is part of the Fitrah upon which he created mankind (Hadith quoted below). All prophets had beards, the last prophet being no different. His companions had the same feature too.

Dear readers ponder upon this: We were created in the best and pure form, and what was considered pure was, in fact, pure. The mind was free from any contaminated and evil thoughts. When minds became corrupted through the plots of the devil, what was considered good became bad and the bad became good. This reasoning can be seen today. Men are distinguished by beards and women are distinct because they do not have beards.Imam Al-Ghazali says in Ihyaa’ ’Uloom Ad-Deen (2/257), “And with it (meaning the beard), men are distinguished from women.” From this aspect, if a man shaves his beard, he is imitating women, which is prohibited.

Are we ready to take this step?

It is common to hear ‘the beard is only a sunnah’ excuse. Do you think the Companions would ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) when they heard an order that if it was Sunnah or obligatory? No, they wouldn’t worry about that. They would only try their best to implement it. Think about it. We all claim to love the Prophet (peace be upon him), but are we really ready to obey and follow him. Today, we follow people we admire without questioning their actions though they may be completely wrong, yet when it comes to following the Prophet (peace be upon him) who we know was the most truthful of all, our mind fills up with questions and questions.

Allah made following the Prophet (peace be upon him) the condition if we want to be loved by Him. Allah said:


Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him, to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 3:31)


Abu Hurayrah reported that the ruler of Yemen, appointed by the Persian emperor Kisra, sent two envoys to the Messenger (peace be upon him). When they came into his presence, he noticed that they had shaved their beards and let their moustaches grow big. Hating their ugly appearance he turned his face away and said, “Woe be to you, who told you to do so?” They replied: “Our lord (Kisra) did” The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded: “But my Lord, Exalted and Glorified be He, has commanded me to spare my beard and trim my moustaches.” (At-Tabari, declared Hasan by Al-Albani, Fiqh-us-Sirah by Al-Ghazali, p. 359)

Keeping the beard is quite important. All the four great Imams of Ahl-us-sunnah, in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah, declared it to be obligatory.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is).” (Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, book 72, no. 781)

Narrated Ayesha. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Ten things are part of the Fitrah: cutting the moustache, letting the beard grow, cleaning the teeth with a Siwaak, rinsing the nose with water, cutting one’s nails, washing between the finger-joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubic hair and cleaning one’s private parts with water.” (Sahih Muslim, 2/0502) – SG

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