The Question of Keeping a Beard (1)
Islamic Customs and Etiquette
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I have been wondering for a long time whether it is compulsory in Islam for men to keep beards?


Keeping a beard is a desirable act for men. The Prophets of Allah kept beards and expressed their liking for it since this is from among the norms of human nature. It is an expression of manliness and as such a sign which distinguishes men from women. However, the Prophet (sws) did not regard keeping beards as part of the Islamic Shari‘āh. Also, it is not compulsory for men to keep a beard and if a person shaves his beard he may be deprived of some reward, but he is unlikely to be punished on this. This view also conforms to the Shafite jurists1 and to many scholars of Hadīth including Qādī ‘Ayād 2 who regard shaving the beard as makrūh3 (undesirable).




1. See Dr Wahbah al-Zahīlī, Fiqhu’l-Islamī wa Adillatuhū, vol. 1, p. 308.

2.See Nawawī, Sharah Sahih Muslim, 2nd ed., vol. 3, [Beirut: Dāru’l-Ahyā al-Turāth al-‘Arabī, 1972], p. 151.

3. While defining makrūh Abū Zuhrah says:

The jurists say that the perpetrator of makrūh is not to be condemned while a person who desists from it is praiseworthy. (Abū Zuhrah, Usūlu’l-Fiqh, 1st ed., [Cairo: Dāru’l-Fikr al-‘Arabī, 1958], p. 41).


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