This post is mostly a response to someone who asked me whether i have a beard or not. It spurred me on to write this article on the evolution of shaving the beard. Where it originated from, and the sunnah of those who do/did (shaving) it. I gave a brief response in one of the comments for Just for Men; article. This is where i am going to elaborate on it further.
To begin i am not accusing anyone, or trying to find faults with others. (as it seems to be the case most of the time when i write, in people’s opinion). It is only a look into the history.
Does a beard make a man a man? the answer is obviously no, but a beard on a man is his sign. Just as a building has a sign to show or inform a person. The beard is a sign of a man.
Recently, i was in a lecture where the shaykh delivering the talk, delved into this aspect briefly and it lit the burning desire within me to find out more. It was mentioned that one of the early people in history amongst others to shave were the people of lot (lut) (ali’hisalam). These people were stubborn in being rebellious to Allah. Introducing customs which no humans in the history had ever done before. One of the rebellious actions they introduced, was the filthy, perverted act of homosexuality. Shaving was another action which was introduced by these people. Since men used to have relationship with other men. One of them out of the two would shave in order to look more like a woman, and therefore be more attractive to ‘him’. Later on, the Egyptians were the ones who caught onto the trend, later on down the line. Also the Greeks:
We also know that the ancient Greeks wore long, flowing beards until Alexander the Great introduced the custom of shaving. It is believed that this great general and conqueror had ordered his soldiers to shave …
In the Twelfth Century radical changes were made in the way many societies dress and groom. In the beginning, French men are wearing non-stop beards, but by the close of the century, almost all chins were clean-shaven. we can clearly begin to see – (although i just briefly touched on it). That shaving is clearly the sunnah (way of actions, etc) of those who are rebellious to the Lord of all the worlds. To keep a beard is the sunnah of all the prophets, not just the prophet Muhammad (sallahu’alihi’salam). It is unacceptable in all the divinely revealed religions. For example for the judo/christian tradition we find:
Leviticus 19:27 –
“You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard”
To sum up, Shaving was a rebellious custom amongst the ancients pagan religions, who would act in defiance to the divine laws. Shaving the beard in unnatural, the beard is a natural asset to man. A man with a beard automatically has more of a masculine appearance than one without one. It is a shame on our (muslims) part that we try to follow the customs and traditions of people, without knowing where it stems from or what the significance of the act is. When looking at other communities such as the sikh community they follow their traditions vehemently without fear or shyness. On ‘what people will say’ basis. Many, in our community are slaves to this apprehension/thoughts as: “if i was to keep a beard what would he/she say?” “I don’t want to look like them cave dwellers” …”these are backward people, you know… the ones that have beards” etc..
When such statements are made amongst the muslims – never mind the non muslims. Then it can be detrimental in leading to lose ones iman, as such statements leads directly to accusing all the prophets, Espically the final prophet (syyiduna Muhammad) (sallahu’alhi’wa’salam) of be such the type. As it was their sunnah to keep a beard!
If you dont want to keep a beard then don’t make fun of it.
Secondly, everyone knows the reward of having a beard. One such i would like to mention (something which my shaykh mentioned), most maybe are not aware of is; when we leave the dunya all our assets both from the dunya and in relation to the hereafter come to a stop/kept from us. The turban we used to wear, the Rolex watches, the cars etc. But, one thing that will go with us to the hereafter, and by which when the angels see it will become happy, is the beard! Automatically you will have a head start on your interview with the munkar and nakeer angels (the angels who ask the questions in the grave) in your grave. As, just like in the dunya, when going for an interview if a person is dressed more appropriately for the occasion his chances of succeeding are greater than one who goes to the interview in his pajamas.
Having said all this, there are conditions for those who keep a beard aswell:
It must be one fist long, as this was the sunnah of the sahaba.
It must be kept nice and clean, (combed, washed) etc, so that it looks appealing to others, hence make them want to keep a beard aswell.
One who has a beard should not look down on others who don’t have a beard.
apply itr (perfume) once in while.