Many muslims disregard the important sunnah of keeping a beard (which is obligatory (waajib) to follow) . Some of the reasons for that are:
1. They think that following sunnah is not obligatory at all, as sunnah is not in the Quran.
From the Quran…..
The Holy Quran, Sura #59;Ayah #7
“And whatever the RASUL GIVES you, ACCEPT IT and whatever he FORBIDS you, ABSTAIN (from it)”
The Holy Quran, Sura #3;Ayah #132
And obey Allah and the Messenger; that ye may obtain mercy.
The Holy Quran, Sura #47;Ayah #33
O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger, and make not vain your deeds!
The Holy Quran, Sura #24;Ayah #63
” And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad SAW) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.”
From the Quran, it is very clear that following sunnah of Rasulullah (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) is not optional but obligatory as Allah has ordered us to do so. If Allah orders something in the Quran, then it becomes obligatory on us to obey that order.
2. They think keeping a beard is not waajib (Obligatory).
Sunnah has two meanings –
a. The complete life style of prophet (SAWS) which includes Faraidh, Waajibaath, Sunnah, Mustahabbat, Mubah, Makruh, Makruh Tahreemi and Haraam. The legal way or ways, orders, acts of worship and statements of the Prophet, that are ideals and models to be followed by Muslims.
b. Sunnah – from Fiqh point of view – which is otherwise known as Sunnat-e-muakkadah.
Many people are confused that Sunnah is optional but they don’t know that from the Sunnah (complete lifestyle) the faraaidh, waajibath etc are derived. In otherwords some sunnah are Fardh, some are waajib, some are emphasized sunnah etc.This division is done by Mujtahid ulema who have the knowledge of Usool-al-fiqh.
So beard falls in the category of Waajib as there is a clear evidence of its order from Rasulullah SAWS.
How do we know whether, this is an order, or a plea, or a advice from the Prophet SAWS?
When a subordinate person asks a person of authority, then it is a plea. When a person of similar status tells something then it is an advice. When a person of authority tells something it is taken as an order.
When master of both the worlds, Rasulullah SAWS is saying to do something, we have to take it as an order. Keeping a beard falls under such category.
In the Light of Sahih Hadith…..
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith # 780:
Narrated Nafi’ (Radhiallaahu Án) “Ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Án) said, The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short.” Whenever Ibn ‘Umar performed the Hajj or ‘Umra, he used to hold his beard with his hand and cut whatever moustaches. Ibn Umar used to cut his moustache so short that the whiteness of his skin (above the upper lip) was visible, and he used to cut (the hair) between his moustaches and his beard.
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith #781:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (Radhiallaahu Án) “Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, “Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is).”
Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith # 0501:
Narrated AbuHurayrah (Radhiallaahu Án) “Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “Trim closely the moustache, and grow beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.”
It is reported in the Tabrani Vol 3 Page 90/9, that Kaiser, the King of Persia, after having read the letter sent by the Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) inviting him to accept the faith of Islaam, ordered his sub-ordinate Bayon (Badhun), the governor of Yemen, to send two persons to bring the RASUL of Islaam before him. Bayan accordingly sent two messengers who according to the fashion of those days were clean shaven and having long moustaches. When they appeared on the scene toward the Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), he very much disliked the unnatural appearances of those persons and said; “Woe to you, Woe to you. Who ordered you to adopt such appearances? They said; “Our lord Kaiser”. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) then told them “My Rabb COMMANDED me to lenghten my beard and clip my moustaches”.
The opinions of the great scholars about the beard…
According to all four schools of thought (Madhabs), it is compulsory upon a Muslim man to grow a beard and refrain from shaving it, or trimming it to less than the length of a fist. It is Haraam to shave the beard or shorten it less then a fist length. A man who shaves the beard or shortens it less than fist length is sinful.
Muhadditheen employed a principle not to take a Hadith from a person who shaves as it is considered to be open rebellion against prophet SAWS. Even the witness of person who shaves in the courts was rejected as he was deemed not trustworthy. Even imams who leads prayer should have a sharii beard as he is representing the people in front of Allah.
Imaam’s leading Salah without a beard
Ibn Majah page #77
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “Let not a sinful and immoral person lead in a prayer of a true believer.”
It is also stated in Raddul Mukhtar (page 560, vol. 1),
‘It is makrooh-e-tahrimi for a fasiq (immoral person) to lead the prayers. An Imaam is the best person in the community worthy of leading the people in their prayers, he should be pious and apparently free from sin and immorality.’ In a hadith of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam, “If you wish that your prayers are accepted, than the most pious amongst should act as your Imaam, for he is a messenger between you and your Lord.”
It is apparent from these ahaadith that an Imaam must grow a beard in order to lead the prayers.
Some advantages of keeping a beard other than rewards for following the sunnah:
1. People will recognize us as a muslim and they can say Salaam to us.
2 . We are conscious of being a muslim so as not to commit any indecent act which degrades Islam or muslims.
3. Promiscuity and show off vanish.
4. Excellent opportunity for Dawah.
5. Allah will love us. When Allah loves us, all the creation of Allah loves us.
The Reward of following The Sunnah
Hadrat Malik bin Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said, “I have left amongst you two things. You will not go astray so long as you hold fast to them. These are the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of His Messenger.” (Malik)
Hadrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said, “Whoever will hold fast to my Sunnah when corruption shall prevail among men will earn the reward of a hundred martyrs.” (Baihaqi)
Further this is the sunnah of all Prophets (Peace be upon them all).
As muslims, we should adopt this very important sunnah and encourage others with hikmah to do so. The Sunnah of Rasulullah (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) not only will help us to gain rewards and mercy of Allah but also help us protect our Imaan. May Allah give us the ability to adopt complete sunnah in our lives. Ameen.