THE BEARD IS A GREAT AND DISTINGUISHED SUNNAH, as well as a salient and outstanding sign (Shi’aar) of Islam. It was the practice of all the Ambiyaa عَليْهِمُ السَّلام and was the way of all our Akaabir and Aslaaf.
In the Malfuzaat of Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ, Hazrat Maulana رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ had encapsulated the distinction and excellence of the beard, saying that it is something so wonderful, which enhances the dignity and handsomeness of a man and makes one’s appearance noble. Unfortunately, this Sunnah is disregarded and looked down upon in these days. …It is belittled and mocked at. Many people make up excuses and reasons to discard this Sunnah.
Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala has blessed our ‘Ulama and Mashaa’ikh with great insight and intellect as well as the ability to negate any disparaging opinions and unfounded arguments.
On one occasion, a person said to Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ: “The beard is unnatural, so it should not be kept. The fact that we were born without beards proves this!”
Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ replied: “If this is your argument, then take out all of your teeth as well. Your teeth should also not be kept, since you were born without teeth!”
Alhamdulillah, Hazrat Maulana رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ furnished a fine response, which was sufficient to silence the man.
THE FACE OF A FATHER
Once, a person, who was highly educated and who had a distinguished post in the society, visited an ‘Aalim, in Bombay. The person had his infant child with him. When the baby saw the ‘Aalim, he started crying. The father, who was clean-shaven, said: “The child got frightened seeing your beard.”
In response, the ‘Aalim said: “There is a reason behind the child’s fear. All along, this child thought that he had two mothers. When he touched your face, it was smooth. When he touched his mother’s face, her face too was smooth. This is the first time the child is seeing the face of a father… therefore there is some fear; otherwise children are not frightened by the beard.”
BE LIKE THE LION
My respected Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ, had presented an apt example regarding the beard. Hazrat رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ said that the beauty and awe of the lion is in its mane. Similarly, the beauty and awe of a man lies in his beard. It symbolises his bravery and manliness.
Stressing the importance of keeping the beard, Hazrat رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ further said, by way of correcting this failing in many men, that the lion does not seek to emulate the lioness because the lion knows that he is a lion, and that his awe and beauty lies in his mane – yet man, who has been blessed with ‘Aql (intelligence) seeks to look like his counterpart – a female – by removing that splendid sign of his awe, strength and handsomeness. Even a lion seems to know better!
Those who shave their beards should keep in mind that Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam cursed those men who emulate or seek to resemble females and vice versa.
The beauty of a man is his beard. There are a group of angels who read the following Tasbeeh: “Glory be to Allah, who gave beauty to men with their beards and who gave beauty to women with their locks of hair.” …A Khalifah of Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ, who also composes poetry, said: “If the beard was going to make a person look ugly, it would not have been the Sunnah of my Beloved Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam.”
Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “Lengthen the beards and shorten/remove the moustaches.” 
To keep the beard one fist length is Waajib (compulsory) and to shave or shorten it less than this is forbidden. Of course, the beard should not be unkempt. The person should maintain the Sunnah length, as well as the neatness of his beard.
In this day and age – more than fourteen centuries later – research confirms that there are health benefits and various advantages for men to keep beards. The same has been proven with many other Sunnats, such as wearing the pants above the ankle, etc. …We do not need to wait for medical proof or scientific research to prove the benefits of the Sunnah. Our belief in the supremacy of the Sunnah and Shari’ah is not dependent on scientific proofs.
On a lighter note, there was a survey that was taken in Europe and the majority of women there said that they would choose a man with a beard over a man without a beard. So this is the “Fatwa” of the European women.
There are many Ahadīth which clearly convey the obligatory nature of the beard and the importance of keeping the beard one fist length. Alhamdulillah, there are many detailed articles and even Kitaabs on the subject matter of the beard, with authentic, strong proofs. Our Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ had presented a wonderful proof from the Qur’aan Shareef, of the beard being one fist length.
In Surah TaHa, Allah Ta’ala relates the story of Hazrat Musa عَليْهِ السَّلام in great detail. When Hazrat Musa عَليْهِ السَّلام returned to his people from Mount Toor, he found them gone astray in the worship of the gold calf. Angered by their ignorant behavior, he grabbed hold of the beard of his brother, Hazrat Haroon عَليْهِ السَّلام, and asked him regarding the situation of the Bani Isra’eel. In response, Hazrat Haroon عَليْهِ السَّلام said:
“He said: ‘O son of my mother, do not seize (me) by my beard or
by my head…’”
[Surah TaHa 20 : 94]
Hazrat Maulana رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ explained that Hazrat Musa عَليْهِ السَّلام had grabbed hold of the beard of Hazrat Haroon عَليْهِ السَّلام, which clearly indicates that the beard could not have been anything less than one fist length. To grasp or catch hold of someone’s beard, there has to be length in that beard! سُبْحَانَ الله
Hazrat Maulana رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ would also say that Jannah is the place where men will be beardless. So long as we are in this world, we have to follow the Shari’ah. We should not try to be Jannatis “in advance”. To do so, would place us in the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala.
Sadly, many Muslims avoid this great Sunnah. If not, then to appease themselves, some keep a short beard – a goatee or a designer beard – as some describe the different look beards.
How many are wont to say: ‘The heart has to be clean.’? …Had there been any thought to this statement, we would find it to be a flimsy excuse and a feeble justification from the nafs. …We should think: Was not the heart of Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam or the hearts of his companions, and all the righteous ones who followed them, clean? Are our hearts really so clean, or cleaner than theirs? …If the heart of the eagle is sound, but its wings are clipped, will it ever soar in the skies? ...No.
Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ had given the example of a plane: If the plane has the best engine but has no wheels, or if one wheel of the plane is punctured, will the plane be able to fly? …No.
No doubt, the beard, itself, is not the only requirement. Both the outer and inner self have to conform to the teachings of Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam. To progress in Deen, we require both the Zaahir (external) and the Baatin (internal).
GIVING UP THE SIN OF SHAVING ONE’S BEARD
There are many laws governing Municipal gardens and parks and public areas. No person can cut down, damage, destroy or remove plants, trees or other shrubs. Any person who violates or fails to comply with these laws is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine, if convicted.
The beard is the garden of Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam. There are laws that govern this beautiful Sunnah garden. A person cannot remove this garden from his face; cannot disfigure it by shaving off the sides, etc. or by shortening it. The regulation is to keep it one fist length. If a person does not comply with this law of Allah Ta’ala, then the person is guilty of a very serious offence.
The person who is clean-shaven is – as if – announcing: I am not happy with the face of Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam. … نَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ. It may not be said in words, but we know that actions speak louder than words!
When a person stands in front of the mirror to shave his beard, then he should say to himself: What a sinful person I am, that I choose to shave off this beautiful garden; this beautiful Sunnah of the beard! This action of mine causes great grief and sorrow to my Nabi Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam… My shaving my beard is shaving the sensitive heart of my Nabi Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam!
Each time the razor is taken to shave one’s face, talk to Allah Ta’ala and acknowledge the wrong. Say: O Allah, I am so foolish by committing this sin. Even worse is that I do this knowingly and I place myself under Your anger 24/7. I am acknowledging my weakness, and I ask for Your assistance to overcome this terrible failing from my side, and to bring alive the Sunnah of Your Beloved Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam, on my face and in my life!
Keep addressing oneself in this manner. Insha-Allah, this will hold one back from shaving one’s beard and will be a quick remedy in giving up a very grave sin. Insha-Allah, this will offer incentive to grow the beard one fist length, to have some resemblance to the Beloved Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
If we adorn our faces with the Sunnah of the beard, and we adopt the libaas (dressing) of the Beloved of Allah Ta’ala (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam), at least on the Day of Qiyamah, we can say:
“O Allah, I have come with the outward form of
Your Beloved Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
O Allah, You give me the Haqeeqat (reality).
I have come with the outer appearance.”
…One brother wrote to Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ and said that he was keeping his beard as is Sunnah – one fist length. However, people were laughing and mocking at him. Hazrat Maulana رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ replied: “Let them laugh. At least you will not cry on the Day of Judgment!”
Do not allow the teasing and mocking of people to discourage you from the obedience of Allah Ta’ala. They will be of no assistance to you in the grave or in the Court of Allah Ta’ala, on the Day of Judgment. So be strong and courageous. Make Allah Ta’ala happy. Then you too will enjoy happiness. On the Day of Judgment, you will be laughing and rejoicing.
“(Many) faces on that day shall be bright; laughing, joyous
(at good news).”
[Surah ‘Abasa 80 : 38/39]
TEST OF LOVE
Some incidents really take be us by surprise and sometimes stun us. The level of our Imaan becomes evident in the face of even small tests.
A young person, with a beard, Deeni libaas (attire) and who is a five-time Namaazi requested me for permission to shave his beard. Why? …Due to an application which was made for a visa to a certain country. The person in charge of the department told him that he stands no chance with his beard. So he said: “I just want permission to shave my beard and get the application through. Once I’ve got my papers, I’ll keep my beard again.”
I said: “Bhai, have I made the Shari’ah that I can give you permission to shave your beard? …What about the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala? If you want to shave and displease Allah Ta’ala, why make me a partner in your sin?”
…If there is deficiency in our love for Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam then there will be weakness in being steadfast on Deen. Love is the catalyst to practise on Deen happily and submit to the Commandments of Allah Ta’ala eagerly and sincerely. If there is genuine love, then we won’t waver and weaken in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam, rather we will persevere and become stronger, Insha-Allah.
This love for Allah Ta’ala, for Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam and for Deen is most easily obtained from the hearts of those who have the reality of it in their hearts. In their company, we will get that steam of love. Otherwise, shaytaan will easily convince us to indulge in Haraam in spite of our Ibaadaat and work of Deen.
So I asked the brother: “What guarantee do you have that the Angel of death won’t extract your soul while the razor is moving down your face? What guarantee do you have that even if you get those documents, you will live to see a few more months, so that the beard grows one fist length?”
Alhamdulillah, the brother made sincere Taubah and kept his beard.
THE DISPLEASURE OF RASULULLAH Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam
A doctor also mentioned to me that he had made an application, in a certain country, for work purposes. He too was told the same thing: People will not give him much consideration because of his beard and Kurta. He was told that if he shaved his beard and wore a suit, he would get some prominence. So he said that he fell for the temptation. He shaved his beard, wore the suit and went for the interview.
He is a pious doctor, a Namaazi, with concern for Deen and Shari’ah, but he fell for the trap of shaytaan and nafs and shaved his beard. …He related: “I swear Maulana that I am speaking the truth. That same night, I saw Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam in a dream and he stared at my face with anger. I could see the anger on his face. When he walked into the room, in my dream, the room became brightly lit. He then stared at me; his face, red with anger. He then suddenly left and the room went dark. And I got up with a fright.”
He did not know what to do and it worried him greatly. Of course, he made sincere Taubah and grew his beard again.
Naturally, it should go without saying, that Islam is not just the beard. Islamic teachings cover all aspects of life. However, let us understand that the beard is a significant feature in the life of a Muslim and a distinguished Sunnah. …Those of us who have beards should not consider ourselves better or superior. This attitude or pride will certainly bring spiritual destruction.
It is also narrated in the Ahādīth that on one occasion two emissaries came to Madinatul Munawwarah. They were from the court of the Emperor Kisra and were clean shaven and had long moustaches. Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam disliked their appearance very much. He Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam turned his blessed face away from them and asked: “Who ordered you to make your appearance like this?”
They replied: “Our Lord, Kisra, orders us to shave our beards and lengthen our moustaches.”
Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam replied: “My Rabb commanded me to lengthen my beard and clip my moustache.”
We should reflect over this incident and the dislike and aversion that was evident from Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam, and ask ourselves: On the Day of Judgment, would I want that my Nabi Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam turns his face away from me for having forsaken his Sunnah and adopting the way which he disliked and disapproved so much?
May Allah Ta’ala grant us such Imaan that we are steadfast on Deen. May Allah Ta’ala give to us such intense love for Him, that it becomes extremely easy to do that which is pleasing to Him and stay away from everything that is Haraam and forbidden. May Allah Ta’ala grant us true love and appreciation for the Sunnah of the Beloved Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam.
by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi 'alayh)
 Akaabir: Seniors
 Aslaaf: Pious Predecessors
 Malfuzaat: Words of wisdom and sterling advices of pious elders.
 Tasbeeh : incantation / glorifying Allah Ta’ala
 Musnadul Firdous
 Khalifah: spiritual appointee
 Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
 Glory be to Allah
 Composed by Khwaja Azizul Hasan Majzoob رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ
 At Tabaqatul Kubra of Ibn Sa’d, Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah