Fatwa n° 857
Category: Fatwas about Purification – Sunan Al-Fitrah (Innate Practices)
The ruling concerning shortening the beard under administrative instructions from those in authority
Some administrative authorities have issued a law obliging employees to shorten the beard. So, should the ruler be obeyed in such a case? And may Allah reward you.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.
Know that the Sunnah observed by the predecessors among the Prophet’s Companions and others, is to let the beard grow except that which exceeds the handful of it, it is cut off. Abu Dâwûd and others reported on the authority of Marwân Ibn Sâlim who said: “I saw Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما holding his beard with his hand and cutting what exceeded the handful of it”(1), this was also reported from the hadith of Abî Hurayra رضي الله عنه(2). Furthermore, Ibn ‘Abbâs رضي الله عنهما said in the interpretation of the verse:
﴿ثُمَّ لۡيَقۡضُواْ تَفَثَهُمۡ﴾ [الحج: 29].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾Then let them complete their Tafath (their prescribed duties)﴿ [Al-Hajj: 29]. The “Tafath” means: shaving the head, the moustache and the armpit, cutting nails, cutting off what exceeds the handful of the beard, throwing pebbles and standing in ‘Arafât(3) and Muzdalifa(4)”(5). This was judged recommendable by Mâlik, Ahmad and others. Ibn Al-Qâşim reported from Mâlik who said: “There is no harm to cut off that which grows in an odd way from the beard”, upon this it was said to Mâlik: “And what if it (the beard) becomes very long?” he said: “I see that its length should be reduced and cut off”. And it was reported from ‘Abd Allâh Ibn ‘Umar and Abî Hurayra رضي الله عنهما that they used to cut off that which exceeds the handful of the beard(6). In addition, Al-Bâjî Al-Mâlikî said: “Indeed, that was recommended by Mâlikرحمه الله because shortening the moustache and cutting off what exceeds the handful of the beard does not alter the beauty of the creation; unlike shaving them (i.e. the beard and the moustache) which is similar to shaving the woman’s hair, so it is forbidden to shave them [at all] or to change them in a way that leads to an alteration or a deformity of the creation. However, the hair that grows in an odd way and exceeds the limits of the beauty, then cutting it off is permissible”(7). Therefore, if only that which exceeds the handful of the beard is cut off, then we have already stated that this practice was known among the righteous predecessors and it is incumbent to obey those whom Allah سبحانه وتعالى has commanded to be obeyed in Al-Ma‘rûf (right and good action). Nevertheless, cutting off more than that which exceeds the handful of the beard is in contradiction with the commandments of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عليه وآله وسَلَّم, relating to abstaining from shaving the beard and letting it grow, that denote the obligation in his saying صَلَّى اللهُ عليه وآله وسَلَّم : “…and let the beard grow”(8), and “…and keep the beard” (9). It is well-known that the obedience of the ruler should be in what Allah عزّ وجلّ and His Messenger صَلَّى اللهُ عليه وآله وسَلَّم have commanded, and it is not permissible to make a decision in advance before Allah and His Messenger, according to the verse in which Allah عزّ وجلّ said
﴿يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُقَدِّمُواْ بَيۡنَ يَدَيِ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦۖ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٞ ١﴾ [ الحجرات: 1].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾Ô you who believe! Make not (a decision) in advance before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing﴿ [Al-Hujurât: 1]. Forasmuch as “None should be obeyed in the disobedience of Allah”(10), and “Verily, the obedience is in Al-Ma‘rûf (right and good action)”(11), as it is confirmed in the two authentic compilations of hadith (i.e., Al-Bukhârî and Muslim) according to the saying of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عليه وآله وسَلَّم.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Muhammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers on: Sha‘bân the 17th, 1429 H
Corresponding to: February the 15th, 2008 G
(1) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (2357). This hadith is judged well (Haşan) by Al-Albânî in “Al-Irwâ’ ” (4/39).
(2) Reported by Ibn Abî Shaybah in “Al-Musannaf” (25481). See: “As-Silsila Ad-Da‘îfa” by Al-Albânî (5/376).
(3) ‘Arafât: a famous place of pilgrimage on the southeast of Makkah about twenty-five kilometers from it.
(4) Muzdalifa: a place between ‘Arafât and Mina where the pilgrims while returning from ‘Arafât, have to stop and stay for the whole night or greater part of it (the night), between the ninth and tenth of Dhu Al-Hijja and to perform Maghrib (evening) and ‘Ishâ’ (late-evening) prayers there.
(5) Reported by At-Tabarî in his “Tafsîr” (9/134), and by Ibn Abî Shaybah in “Al-Musannaf” (15673), from the way of ‘Atâ’. The hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albânî in “As-Silsila Ad-Da‘îfa” (5/376).
(6) See: “Al-Muntaqâ” by Al-Bâjî (7/266).
(7) Ibid: (3/32).
(8) Reported by Al-Bukhârî (5893) and by Muslim (259), from the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما.
(9) Reported by Muslim (260), from the hadith of Abî Hurayra رضي الله عنه.
(10) Reported by At-Tabarî in “Al-Mu‘jam Al-Kabîr” (18/170), from the hadith of ‘Imran Ibn Husayn Al-Khuzâ‘î رضي الله عنه. The hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albânî in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi‘ ” (7520).
(11) Reported by Al-Bukhârî (7145) and by Muslim (1840), from the hadith of ‘Alî Ibn Abî Tâlib رضي الله عنه.