Beard is a gift from Allah The Exalted (subhanahu wata`ala) for male descendants of Adam. It is an indicator of manhood. Keeping it is Allah's commandment, as conveyed by prophet Muhammad shallallahu alaihi wasallam (Peace Be Upon Him) in his sayings.

Messenger of Allah shallallahu alaihi wa sallam once said:

أَعْفُوا اللِّحَى، وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ

Let the beard grow and trim the mustache. (Hadith reported by An-Nasa'i)

He shallallahu alaihi wa sallam also said:

خَالِفُوا المُشْرِكِينَ: وَفِّرُوا اللِّحَى، وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ

“Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beard and cut the moustaches short.” (Hadith reported by Al-Bukhary)

Messenger of Allah shallallahu alaihi wa sallam also said:

جُزُّوا الشَّوَارِبَ، وَأَرْخُوا اللِّحَى خَالِفُوا الْمَجُوسَ

“Trim the moustaches, let the beard grow, and do the opposite of what zoroastrians do” (hadith reported by Muslim)

It was revealed from many narrations that the Messenger of Allah shallallahu alaihi wa sallam always commands his people to let the beard grow. And his commands is an obligation to every capable muslim. What forbids us from obeying his command?? What allows us to go against his command??

Allah The Exalted stated:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“And let those who conspire to evade orders beware lest grief or painful punishment befall them.” (Surah Nur : 63)

Aside from his (shallallahu alaihi wa sallam) command on the obligation to keep the beard or let it grow, it is essential for us to know the nature of his beard, whether it was thin or even non-existent ?? Or perhaps his is thick and numerous ??

One of the prophet's companion, Jabir bin Samurra once reported the description of his beard in a hadith:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَدْ شَمِطَ مُقَدَّمُ رَأْسِهِ وَلِحْيَتِهِ، وَكَانَ إِذَا ادَّهَنَ لَمْ يَتَبَيَّنْ، وَإِذَا شَعِثَ رَأْسُهُ تَبَيَّنَ، وَكَانَ كَثِيرَ شَعْرِ اللِّحْيَةِ

“... There had appeared some whiteness on the front part of the head and beard of Allah's Messenger. When he applied oil, it did not become visible, but when he did not (apply) oil, it became apparent. And he had a thick beard.” (Hadith reported by Muslim)

Jumhur (the dominant majority of the) ulama deemed that keeping the beard is obligatory and trimming it is prohibited. Among them including Ibn Hazm (rahimahullah – may Allah bestow His Mercy) even quoted the ijma` (consensus) that trimming the beard is prohibited.

He said:

وَاتَّفَقُوا أَن حلق جَمِيع اللِّحْيَة مثلَة لَا تجوز

“And the ulama had reached the consensus that trimming the beard in totality/as a whole is prohibited.” (Maratib al-Ijma`, page 157)

The beard of the rightly guided caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and `Ali radhiyallahu anhum (May Allah be pleased with them) were also described as thick. Below are the description of their beards.

Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu:

Aisha radhiyallahu anha (his daughter) once described the beard of Abu Bakr radhiyallahu :

أخرج ابن سعد عن عائشة -رضي الله عنها- أن رجلاً قال لها: صِفي لنا أبا بكر، فقالت: رجل أبيض، نحيف، خفيف العارضين

Narrated by Ibn Sa`d, from Aisha radhiyallahu anha that a man once asked her, “Please describe Abu Bakr to us!” She thus said, “he was a white man, lean, and having thin sideburns” (Tarikh al-Khulafa`, p. 30)

Umar bin Khattab radhiyallahu anhu:

وأخرج ابن عساكر عن أبي رجاء العطاردي قال: كان عمر رجلًا طويلًا جسيمًا أصلع شديد الصلع أبيض شديد الحمرة في عارضيه خفة، سبلته كبيرة

Ibn Asakir narrated from Abi Raja` Al-Atharidi that he said: “Umar was a tall, powerfully-built man, his head was shaved (or he was bald), his complexion was reddish white, his sideburns was thin and his beard thick.” (Tarikh al-Khulafa` p. 105)

Uthman bin Affan radhiyallahu anhu:

وأخرج ابن عساكر من طرق: أن عثمان كان رجلًا ربعة: ليس بالقصير، ولا بالطويل، حسن الوجه، أبيض مشربًا حمرة، بوجهه نمشات جدري، كثير اللحية

Ibnu Asakir reported from several narrations that Uthman bin Affan was an average-sized man, neither short nor tall. He was a handsome man with a reddish white complexion. He had mole in his face, and plenty of beard” Tarikh al-Khulafa` p. 119

Ali bin Abi Thalib radhiyallahu anhu:

وكان علي شيخًا سمينًا، أصلع، كثير الشعر، ربعة إلى القصر عظيم البطن، عظيم اللحية جدًّا، قد ملأت ما بين منكبيه بيضاء كأنها قطن

And Ali was a stout old man, there were patches of baldness on his head, but he still had plenty of hair. He was of medium to short height. He was plump, and having a very thick beard. His beard filled his chest region, was of white colour similar to cotton” Tarikh al-Khulafa` p. 130

In conclusion, those were the description of the beard of our prophet Muhammad shallallahu alaihi wasallam and the rightly guided caliphs. It is our obligation to follow through their path (their Sunnah). The Messenger of Allah shallallahu alaihi wa sallam once said:

فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ الْمَهْدِيِّينَ، وَعَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحْدَثَاتِ الْأُمُورِ، فَإِنَّ كُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ، وَإِنَّ كُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ

“So you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafa ar-Rashideen (the rightly guided caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it stubbornly [literally: with your molar teeth]. Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bidah (innovation) is misguidance.” (Hadith reported by Ahmad)

And Allah knows best, we pray to Him for the beneficence of this article.

Translators: AU

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