“I trust that Hadhrat is in good health. I am making a request to you regarding research on the Mas`alah of the beard. I hope that you will enlighten me on the subject. We have heard that the Deobandis, Barelwis, Ahle Hadith and pious personalities of every faction have placed considerable stress on the beard.
It is on the status of Sunnat-e-Muakkadah or Waajib. In fact it now holds a position of being a Shi`aar (sign/hallmark). The Masnoon length of the beard is that it be longer than fist-length. Shorter than this is not permissible. It should be at least one fist length. The author of Durrul Mukhtaar and Sheikh Ibn Humaam have averred unanimity on this, in fact, we also hear that Sheikh Ibn Humaam has expounded that to keep a beard shorter than a fist-length is the practice of hermaphrodites. Contrary to this the members of Jamaat-e-Islaami do not grant importance to the beard. The keeping of beards by them is a heavy burden. They are forced to keep little, little beards. Their leaders claim that there is no specific length for a beard. Whatever little beard a person keeps is Masnoon. In this regard, in the December issue of Tarjumaanul Qur`aan you may have noted that Janaab Ghulaam Ali Saheb has stated in his article that the Ijma` is incorrect. The request is that you shed some light on this subject.”
(by Janaab Moulana Sayyid Ahmad Saheb U`ruj Qaadiri, editor of the monthly Zindagi, Raampoor)
Above is a summary of a letter. The author of this letter has also authored another letter wherein he has made clear his sentiments that Moulana Maududi himself, with all his qualifications, did not place any importance on the beard and this effect has fallen on Jamaat-e-Islaami.
There is a large group of Ulama and laymen who differ in principle with Moulana Maududi and Jamaat-e- Islaami. But these people keep this hidden and they capitalise on matters such as the beard etc. If I receive a letter from this type of group then I tear it up and discard it. However there are many such people who agree with Jamaat-e-Islaami and they seriously wish to understand this Mas`alah. The above letter emanates from this genuine group. This letter is based on a misconception therefore this humble writer deems it appropriate to first remove these doubts. This which he has written that the members of Jamaat-e-Islaami and Moulana Maududi himself place little importance on the beard is completely contrary to the truth. The object of whatever Moulana Maududi has written on this subject is definitely not as he has claimed that they place scant importance on the beard. In fact contrary to this, with regard to the importance of the beard some of his discussions are wholly inspiring. I am unaware whether the author of this letter has studied all Moulana Maududi‟s treatises which appear in the first part of Rasaail wa Masaail. My advice to the author of this letter
is that he thoroughly read through the subject matter which appears in this Kitaab under the caption: “A question regarding the beard”
Any objective person who reads through this content will not claim that the beard is an unimportant thing. From his writings one may have this doubt because he does not attach much importance as other Ulama and Mashaaikh do to the length and breadth of the beard. His opinion in this mas`alah is that according to the Shariah there is no specified length for the beard therefore (in his view) to specify a minimum of at least one fist-length is incorrect. As far as I know there is no such excerpt in Jamaat-e-Islaami which can be misconstrued as their attaching no importance to the beard.
The author of the letter should also ponder over this fact that if according to Moulana Maududi the keeping of a beard is unimportant, then why would his influenced members “be forced to keep little, little beards”? Why do the countless new recruits who were previously clean-shaven now sport beards? I also accede to this fact that many of the members are influenced by the Moulana‟s view regarding the length of the beard. One must also remember this much that it is incorrect to aver that all the members agree with this view of his. I am unaware of the condition in Pakistan, but as far as the Jamaat-e-Islaami in India is concerned, which has already established itself, many of its members who, notwithstanding studying Moulana Maududi‟s works, disagree with him on this point. This humble author also disagrees with Moulana on this point. Since the author of the letter has enquired in earnest, it is appropriate that I explain my view on this Mas`alah in some detail.
In order to reflect upon this Mas`alah, I have outlined a few points hereunder:
1. Why was the order given to lengthen the beards and what is the object of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) words?
2. What is the meaning of I`faa (lengthen) and what other words have been reported which are synonymous to it?
3. What is the standing of the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in so far as the length of the beard is concerned?
4. Is the order to lengthen the beards a general one or is it specific?
5. Is there any Faqeeh from those Fuqahaa who take the view of the order being specific who aver that it is permissible for the beard to be less than a fist-length?
6. Clarity on the view of Moulana Sayyid Abul A`laa Maududi
(1). Upon reflection on the Mas`alah on the beard and the length of the beard this comes to one‟s attention that when Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) gave the order to lengthen the beards both he (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) had beards. The entire (male) population of Arabia had beards. In fact, even the citizens of the countries in the vicinity of Arabia were not habituated to shaving their beards. Every single person at that time, in those areas saw the beard as a clear distinction between the genders and the beard was even looked upon as a symbol of beauty upon the face of men. They naturally regarded those who could not grow beards and those who shaved as being defective.
A question now arises as to why, amidst this situation, was an order issued to lengthen the beards and what was the object of this instruction? In answer to this question I will cite a Hadith which will clarify the issue of both the beard and its length and one will come to know the Shar`i standpoint on the issue:
“It is reported from Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu anhu) that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) said: „Trim your moustaches and lengthen the beards, (in this way you will) oppose the fire-worshippers.‟” [Muslim Shareef]
This Hadith is reported thus, in the words of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu): “It is reported from Ibn Umar from Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), that he said: „Oppose the Mushrikeen, (by) lengthening the beards and trimming the moustaches.‟” [Bukhari Shareef, Kitaabul Libaas]
In this Hadith the word Mushrikeen is used for the fire-worshippers. Allaamah Aini (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: “The words „Oppose the Mushrikeen‟ refer to the Majoos (fire-worshippers). The narration in Muslim „Oppose the Majoos‟ indicates towards this.”
This Hadith indicates the reason for this instruction being given. From amongst the neighbours of the Arabian continent, the Persians were the first to make an attack on the masculine beauty – the beard. Since at that time shaving of the beard was regarded as a defect and looked upon with disdain, the fire-worshippers (Persians) did not have the courage to immediately remove their beards. They began this process by slowly shortening their beards. Steadily some eventually started shaving it off. This effect of the Persians slowly crept in amongst the Arabs who also began shortening their beard and shaving it off. At that time, although the Muslims had beard, but they did not have a Deeni ruling regarding it, so there was a fear and a possibi lity that this effect of removing the beards would permeate into the Muslims from the Persians, and the latter generations would have imitated this custom and evil habit of the fire-worshippers. In order to prevent this catastrophe, Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) gave the instruction that it is incumbent for all Muslim males to lengthen their beards so as to oppose the fire-worshippers. The matter of the beard is not merely a customary or habitual trait.
It has a firm Islaamic hue and it is a hallmark of the Deen. This much is recorded by all the Muhadditheen that at that time the fire-worshippers were not in the habit of shaving off their beards completely, but they kept short beards. During the time of Abu Shaama, when custom of shaving the beard gained some impetus, he said with great grief and sorrow:
“Now, such people are being born who shave their beards. This matter is graver than what has been reported about the fire-worshippers, because they used to shorten their beards.” [Fathul Baari]
Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) writes:
“It was amongst the habits of the Persians that they used to shorten their beards, and the Shariah has prohibited this.” [Commentary of Muslim]
There were some amongst them who used to shave off their beards completely, as Allaamah Aini writes:
“Because indeed they would shorten their beards and some amongst them would shave it off.”
From this discussion the object for the order to lengthen the beards can clearly be understood. In this narration there is also an indication as to the length of the beard. Since the fire-worshippers used to shorten their beards and the Muslims have been given the instruction to oppose them then it is quite obvious that the beards of the Muslims be longer than that of the fire-worshippers. However, the matter is still slightly unclear, and this uncertainty is dispelled by observing the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum).
(2). The words which are used in the Hadith for lengthening the beards also makes clear the intent of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Five words are used in these Ahaadith: I`faa, Eefaa, Irjaa, Irkhaa and Towfeer. In some narrations the word used is I`faa, in other narrations Owfoo, in others Irjoo, in others Irkhwaa and in others Wafru.
Regarding all these words, Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: “The meaning of all theses words is: Leave the beards in their present (natural) condition.” Haafiz Ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) states that the meaning of Wafru and Owfoo is to leave it in its condition. The meaning of Irkwaa is to lengthen it. Imaam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih) and other Muhadditheen have stated that I`faa means to lengthen. In this regard Ibn Daqeequl Eid states:
“The interpretation of I`faa is to lengthen and this is based on this principle that a Sabab (reason/cause) stands in the place of the Musabbab (causer / originator), because indeed the reality of I`faa is to leave, that is, to leave the beard to lengthen naturally.” [Fathul Baari, vol.1]
The explanation of all these words used in the various narration clearly explains that the object of the Hadith is not merely for the keeping of a beard, it is for lengthening the beard.
(3). Now let us reflect and ponder with regard to the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in so far as the length of the beard. The Ulama of Usool have categorised the actions of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) into various types and they have explained them in detail. The actions of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) are divided into two types; firstly are those actions which have no connection with proximity (to Allaah Ta`ala) or Ibaadat. They have a relation to habit and instinct, for example, eating, sitting, sleeping, getting up, wearing clothing, etc. Such matters have the scope of permissibility in the Shariah. That is, it is permissible to carry out any of these actions.
The second type of action of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) are those which do not have any relation to the habit or instinct of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), in fact, they are directly related to gaining proximity to Allaah Ta`ala and Ibaadat. This type of actions are further sub-divided into many other categories. One of these types is directly related to the mas`alah under discussion. That it, those actions which are either ordained by the Qur`aan Majeed or they are clearly ordered by Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). The ruling regarding such actions would be as these actions were expounded and instructed. If the action is to be Waajib then the explanation and verb used would indicate this. Similarly for Mustahab (optional). This much is also accepted that various different rulings can be ascertained from the actions and instructions of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
The Mas`alah under discussion is also classified and interpreted under the accepted principle of the Shariah and it is free from any doubts and vagueness. The interpretation and explanation of the instruction to leave the beard in its natural form and allow it to lengthen can be found in the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). The ruling of this order of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) can be found in his Mubarak action and practice. So, if the order for lengthening the beards was Waajib, then the action of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) would also be Waajib and if it was optional then this would be found in the action of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). All Ulama-e-Haqq are unanimous that lengthening the beard is a Sunnat-e-Muakkadah and the beard is a hallmark of Islaam.
The explanations and incidents which involve the blessed beard of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) that can be found in the Ahaadith and history Kitaabs make it clear that his beard was certainly longer than a fist-length and most certainly not shorter than this. It appears in some narrations that he (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) was “Fully bearded”, that is, the beard of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) had abundant hair. In other narration it is stated that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) was “Thick bearded”, that is, his Mubarak beard was dense and thick. Some narrations state that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) was “big bearded”, that is, his Mubarak beard was full. This same condition can be found in the history Kitaabs regarding the Khulafaa-e- Raashideen (radhiAllaahu anhum). Sheikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlwi states in Mudaarijun Nubuwwat: “The beard of Ameerul Mu`mineen Hadhrat Ali (radhiAllaahu anhu) used to fill his chest. In a similar way the bards of Ameerul Mu`mineen Hadhrat Umar‟s (radhiAllaahu anhu) and Hadhrat Uthmaan‟s (radhiAllaahu anhu) beards used to fill their chest.”
It is said regarding Hadhrat Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu): “He was thick bearded” [Isti`aab]. It is said regarding Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiAllaahu anhu): “He was big bearded” [As-haabah] From this we ascertain that the beards of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Khulafaa -e-Raashideen (radhiAllaahu anhum) were longish, thick and dense.
(4). Is the ruling regarding the words I`fool Luhaa (lengthen the beards) general or are there any exceptions?
The answer to this question is that there is a group of Ulama who aver that the ruling of this is general with no exceptions. Tabri has mentioned that some Fuqahaa have opined for the meaning of this Hadith at face value. They aver that it is Makrooh to trim the beard on any side. [Fathul Baari, vol.10]
Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) has made mention of it twice in the commentary of Muslim Shareef. In one place he mentions: “This is clear from the Hadith, which is the import of the words. This is what a group of our companions and other Ulama claim.”
He writes in another place:
“The preferred opinion is to leave the beard in its natural condition and not to trim it al a ll.” The author of Tuhfatul Ahwazi writes, whilst refuting those who have made Takhsees (an exception) to the length of the beard:
“Hence the best and preferred view is that view of those who opine for the Hadith at face value, that is, to leave the beard in its natural state. They prohibit that any part of the beard be trimmed either lengthwise or breadthwise.” Allaamah Shaukaani (rahmatullahi alaih) has also taken the view of Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) and he has accepted the Hadith to be general and unrestricted. He does not accept that the Hadith of Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) to be regarded as an exception to the general. He also does not regard the Hadith of Hadhrat Amr Bin Shuaib (radhiAllaahu anhu) as being worthy of proof [Neel, page 142, vol.1]
The proof of this group that the Hadith is Aam (general) is that there is nothing in the words or action of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) which indicates that the Hadith can be made Takhsees. They say that the Hadith which instructs it in words is free from any exceptions (in the length) and the Hadith of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) practice is weak.
From this explanation we gather that the view of Takhsees is such that it is not in the category of certainty, where all the Fuqahaa are unanimous upon it. In fact, there is a group, amongst whom is Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih), who is a notable personality, that refute the claim of Takhsees. The other group of Fuqahaa do not regard the Hadith as being Aam, in fact, they hold the view of there being Takhsees in the ruling of the length of the beard. This group is further divided. Haafiz Ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) writes, quoting from Imaam Tabri (rahmatullahi alaih):
“The view of one group is that if the beard grows to longer than a fist-length then the excess should be trimmed off. In substantiation of this view, Tabri has quoted three narrations. The first is that Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) did this. Secondly, Hadhrat Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) did like this for a certain person where he trimmed off that part of his beard which was over a fist-length. Thirdly, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu anhu) also did likewise. Besides this, Abu Dawood has quoted this authentic narration from Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiAllaahu anhu), where he says: „We used to leave our beards in their natural state, except on the occasion of Hajj and Umrah, where we would trim off slightly.‟ It is apparent from the narration of Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiAllaahu anhu) that the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) would only trim their beards on the occasion of Hajj or Umrah.
Then Tabri expounds on the difference regarding whether there is any limit to trimming the beard or not. In this regard he has made mention of three views. The first group aver that only that part of the beard be trimmed off which is longer than a fist-length. The second view is that of Hasan Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) who says that the beard must only be trimmed lengthwise and breadth-wise such that it does not conform to the length and thinness that is adopted by the non-Arabs. Hadhrat A`taa (rahmatullahi alaih) has also expressed this view. The third group aver that it is Makrooh and impermissible to trim the beard other than on the occasion of Hajj or Umrah.
Imaam Tabri has preferred the view of Hadhrat A`taa (rahmatullahi alaih), who says that if a person leaves his beard to grow unrestricted and wildly, then such a person is making himself a pawn of jest for others. Tabri has used as a proof in this Mas`alah the Hadith of Amr Bin Shuaib that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) used to trim some part of his blessed beard lengthwise and breadth-wise. This Hadith is reported in Tirmidhi, but Bukhari has rejected this Hadith on the basis that one of its narrators, Umar Bin Haroon has been declared as unreliable and weak by the Muhadditheen. Qaadhi Iyaadh says that to shave, trim and shorten the beard are impermissible. Yes, if the beard lengthens considerably, then one may trim it slightly on the sides. In fact, just as it is impermissible to keep it very short, so too is it impermissible to keep it very long. However Nawawi has refuted this view of Qaadhi Iyaadh and says that this is contrary to the apparent Hadith, which instructs that the beard be lengthened. He says the preferred view is that the beard be left in its natural state and not trimmed at all. Nawawi means here that besides the occasions of Hajj and Umrah, the beard must not be trimmed at all. This is the reason why Imaam Shaafi (rahmatullahi alaih) has stipulated that it is Mustahab to trim the beard slightly on the occasions of Hajj and Umrah.” [Fathul Baari, vol. 1]
I have quoted here this extract from Fathul Baari because it has all the different views regarding the Takhsees and it also lists the various proofs. From these views, I wish to firstly dilate on that of Hasan Basri and A`taa (rahmatullahi alaihima). This is also the view which Tabri has opined for. Some people have understood the import of the words “The beard should be trimmed lengthwise and breadth-wise so that it does not become wild” to mean that the beard can be trimmed to less than a fist-length. It is the opinion of this humble writer that this opinion is incorrect for two main reasons. The first being that Imaam Tabri (rahmatullahi alaih) has clearly expounded on this view. He has cited two proofs for preferring this view. The summary of the first proof is that if a person pays no attention to his beard such that it grows wildly on all sides then his face becomes a pawn of jest and fun for others. We know that this is also the view of Hasan Basri and A`taa (rahmatullahi alaihima) that the beard not be left to grow indiscriminately where it becomes an object of fun for others. It is apparent that it will only become an object of fun if it grows longer than one fist-length and not if it is a fist-length. Tabri has quoted as a second proof the Hadith in Tirmidhi Shareef. This is a firmer proof and indicates unambiguously that there is no permissibility for having the beard shorter than a fist -length. The reason being that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) never kept his beard shorter than that.
A second pertinent point in my opinion is that if their statements are misconstrued as meaning that a beard can be kept shorter than a fist-length, then this would be a clear contradiction of the injunction “Oppose the fireworshippers”. Besides this it would also be in clear contradiction of the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum). The difference of opinion in the statement of Hadhrat A`taa does not imply that he means a beard can be kept shorter than a fist-length. In fact, it means the opposite. He does not regard it as being permissible to limit the length of the beard to one-fist-length. He is of the opinion that the beard may be kept longer than one fist-length, on the condition that it does not grow unrestrictedly so as to become an object of jesting.
The author of Tuhfatul Ahwazi has explained the view of Hasan Basri and A`taa (rahmatullahi alaihima) as follows:
“I say that if the Hadith of Amr Bin Shuaib is authentic then the view of Hasan and A`taa is the most correct and just. But, the Hadith is weak and not worthy of being used a proof.”
From this also we ascertain that the proof of Hadhrat Hasan Basri and A`taa (rahmatullahi alaihima) is the narration of Amr Bin Shuaib. If their view was that the beard be kept shorter than a fist -length then the author of Tuhfatul Ahwazi would never have said that their view is the most correct. As far as my research on this matter goes, I have never seen any Faqeeh state the view of Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullahi alaih) in substantiation for the permissibility of the beard being less than a fist-length. One of the proofs of whatever I am saying is in the words of Qaadhi Iyaadh (rahmatullahi alaih). Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) writes, quoting from Qaadhi Iyaadh:
“Qaadhi Iyaadh says: „Indeed the predecessors have differed as to whether there is a limit (to the length of the beard). Amongst them are some who have not specified any limit for it except that it not be left unattended and to trim it if necessary. Imaam Maalik has forbidden growing it very long. Amongst them are those who have limited it to a fist-length and trimming any excess. Amongst them are those who have forbade trimming it except on the occasion of Hajj or Umrah.” [Commentary of Muslim Shareef]
The first group mentioned by Qaadhi Iyaadh includes Hadhrat Hasan and A`taa (rahmatullahi alaihima). Haafiz Ibn Hajar has cited the view of this group quoting Tabri who has attributed it to Hasan Basri and A`taa. Allaamah Aini has quoted Tabri who had attributed it to A`taa. From this discussion we note that there was a difference of opinion between the predecessors regarding whether there is a limit to the beard or not. There are only two views on this subject. The one group aver that the limit may be upto a fist -length and the other group say that there is no limit and that it should be longer, but not so long that it becomes wild and laughable. It was not even in the thoughts of any of the predecessors that the beard be shorter than a fist-length.
The view of two groups have been expounded upon. One group have taken the Hadith on Umoom (general) without any Takhsees (exceptions and exclusions), whist the other group have opined that the beard not be allowed to grow indiscriminately. The third group have said that a limit for the beard is one fist -length. They are of the opinion that any hair longer than the fist-length may be trimmed off. This view necessitates some dilation since generally, the Hanafi Fuqahaa have stated that the length of fist-length is Masnoon. According to my research of the Kitaabs thus far, it appears as though there are two groups of those who hold the view of one-fist-length. The smaller group among them is of the opinion that it is necessary and Waajib to trim whatever is longer than the fist-length. The second group aver that the minimum Masnoon length is a fist – length. To make it shorted than this is impermissible.They say that to keep it longer than a fist-length is not only permissible, in fact, it is preferable. The first of these two groups do not have any Shar`i proof to back their claim, hence it would be futile to discuss this view. However, the second group‟s view is substantiated and also the preferred one. As mentioned earlier, Hadhrat Tabri has quoted the narrations regarding three Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) which substantiates the view of one fist-length. The practice of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhuma) has an authentic Sanad (chain of narrators), hence to use this as a proof is preferable and appropriate.
Imaam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih) states under Baabul Libaas under Taqleemul Asfaar: “During Hajj and Umrah Ibn Umar used to take hold of his beard (in his fist) and trim whatever exceeded (a fist-length).”
Haafiz Ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) has narrated the Hadith from Muatta Ibn Maalik in these words: “When Ibn Umar used to shave his head, he would trim his beard and moustache.” The narration in Bukhari clarified the length which Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) would trim off on the occasion of Hajj and Umrah. As stated previously, some Fuqahaa do not regard this narration of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhuma) as being sufficient to render the Hadith of “Lengthen the beard” from Aam into Takhsees. However two other groups have made Takhsees of the Hadith based on these practices of the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum). One group have stated that the limit of one fist-length be trimmed only on the occasion of Hajj or Umrah, as borne out by the authentic narration in Bukhari and Muatta Imaam Maalik. According to them to trim the beard on any other occasion in impermissible. The other group have not restricted this Takhsees to only Hajj and Umrah but have stated that one may trim the beard upto a fistlength at any time. As mentioned previously, this group have a few narrations to back their view. As for those who completely overlook the practice of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) and other Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) have not acted fairly or correctly. To rule for permissibility based on the practices of the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) is necessary. It does not appear that the view of the Hanafi Fuqahaa is
erroneous when they claim that the minimum limit for the beard is a fist-length based on the various narrations and practices of the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum).
The Fuqahaa and Muhadditheen have listed numerous possibilities regarding the practice of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu). It is the view of this humble writer that the best possibility is the one stated in Fathul Qadeer. As mentioned earlier, Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) did not only give the instruction that the beards be lengthened, he also said “Oppose the fire-worshippers”. It was also mentioned earlier that it was common practice at that time for the fire-worshippers to keep short beards. They were not yet habituated to shaving. Now the difficulty arises as to what the minimum length would be so as to oppose the fire-worshippers and at the same time lengthen the beard also, so as to conform to the blessed words of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). This difficulty is removed by the practice of Hadhrat Abdullaah Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) where he demonstrated that minimum final Masnoon limit is a fist-length. None of the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) ever objected to this practice of his. It is apparent that this length demonstrated by him is Masnoon and at the same time in opposition to the fire-worshippers. This is the perfect balance, otherwise it would not be possible that no one objected to it. This possibility and explanation is a fair reconciliation between all the narrations and it also appeals to the mind and intellect.
(5). Is there any Faqeeh from amongst those who opt for Takhsees that avers the permissibility of the beard being shorter than a fist-length? The answer to this question has passed in the previous pages, which is that no one have ever consented to less than fist-length. However, it would be appropriate to mention here the view of one great Faqeeh – the author of Fathul Qadeer, Imaam Ibn Humaam (passed away 861 A.H.). He states: “However the shortening of the beard to less than this (a fist-length) as is the practice of the westerners and hermaphrodites, has never been consented to by anyone.” [Page 77, vol.12]
His claim of “has never been consented to by anyone” besides being true and acceptable, would be difficult to refute. This quotation of Ibn Humaam (rahmatullahi alaih) has been cited in many Kitaabs subsequent to his era, and none has ever refuted or opposed his claim. From amongst the latter Ulama, even Allaamah Ibn Aabideen Shaami (rahmatullahi alaih) has verified this claim and accepted it.
(6). Whatever Moulana Abul A`laa Maududi has written regarding the Mas`alah on the beard, is mentioned hereunder:
(a). Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has not specified any limit to the length of the beard (Page 140}.
(b). He (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) did not even mention that the beard and moustache be kept according to his own practice, as Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) stated regarding Salaat that read Salaat like how you see me reading Salaat. [Page 247]
(c). To suffice upon a brief instruction and abstaining from a detailed explanation, in itself denotes and points to this fact that the Shariah has left this matter free for the masses to decide what suits them. They may trim their moustaches and lengthen their beards to the extent that suits them and whatever they feel is appropriate for their features. [Page 248]
(d). Whatever length Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) kept his blessed beard upto will be related to his habit (Aadat-e-Rasool). [Page 236 and 242] Further explaining this he states: This question remains that since Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) gave the instruction to keep a beard and he has intended a specific beard which he demonstrated in his practice. That is, the Sunnat beard is the one Nabi (sal lAllaahu alaihi wasallam) himself kept. This is such a proof that a person says Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) ordered covering the private parts, so the exact same clothing he used to cover his private parts, that very same type of clothes must be used by all and sundry and this is the Sunnat. [Page 249]
(e). Only this much was ordained that it (beard) be kept. [Page140]
(f). The limit and length of the beard is based merely on the research of the Ulama. [Page 145]
All the above citation I have extracted from the first part of his Kitaab Rasaail Wa Masaail, which was published by Maktab Jamaat-e-Islaami Hind. I will now dilate on each of his views:
(a). That Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has not specified a length for the beard, is mentioned so many times by Moulana Maududi that the reader may start thinking that nothing will be able to be specified unless Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) had specified it. Whereas this principle is accepted without any doubt that the specification of a limit or explanation of an unclear thing can be done by Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) actions as well as by his words. The limitations of many things have been established in the Shariah merely by the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). There are also some things, which besides the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) cannot be found elsewhere. For example there is no Shar`i limit in the form of explicit text (Nass) which is specified as a punishment for the drinker of alcohol. Where is the hand of a thief to be cut? Regarding this there is no Hadith of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) which specifies it. How many Rakaats are there in Taraaweeh? There is no clear text on this. So why does the Ummat not have the choice in these matters just as they have in the length of the beard to do as they please? If in all such matters the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is incumbently to be followed, then why can we not apply this same premise for the beard?
(b). Whatever is said in this second citation of his is an explanation to the first. Upon reading this sentence of Moulana Maududi‟s one cannot help but be astonished that he has restricted the Hadith of “Perform Salaat just as you see me performing Salaat” to only Salaat. That is, this statement of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) can be used as a guidance for other matters as well. Whereas all the Ulama of Usool have unanimously extracted from this statement of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Hadith regarding Hajj “Take from me the rites (of Hajj)” the general principle and ruling that the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) serves as an explanation to the unclear matters. The action of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) verifies a compulsory act for the Ummat. Another point to reflect over is that is the Hadith “For you is (compulsory to adhere to) my Sunnat and the Sunnat of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen” restricted or limited to any particular Sunnat?
(c). Upon reading this text of his, any student of Deen will be astounded. From this is seems as though no practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) can be regarded as a demonstration or guide for an unclear Deeni matter. Or his practice cannot be regarded as an explanation to any vague matter. A question arises as to why such a well-read and well-studied person like Moulana Maududi makes such statements. The answer to this is forthcoming in the next answer.
(d). This is the original doubt and ambiguity which explains how Moulana Maududi has overlooked the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) with regard to the length of the beard. It is the opinion of this humble writer that to make an analogy (Qiyaas) of the length of the beard with that of covering the private parts is a typical example of Qiyaas Ma`al Faariq (erroneous, illogical and incorrect comparison). The first thing is that covering of the private parts has got to do with clothing and as far as the Sunnat clothing of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is concerned no one has declared its following to be Waajib. All Ulama regard this as being from the habits of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and not a Sunanul Hudaa, which has a connection with Ibaadat and proximity with Allaah Ta`ala. Is the ruling of the beard also in this category? It is apparent that this is not so. No Imaam of Fiqh has classified the Mas`alah of the length of the beard as being from amongst the habits of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Therefore, to make Qiyaas of this Mas`alah upon that of clothing is incorrect. Another major point of difference is that as far as limits and size are concerned the ruling regarding the covering of the private parts is not a vague or unclear one which requires explanation. For example, if any organ of the body has to be necessarily covered, one does not ask how much of it must be covered and how much can be exposed. But as far as the Mas`alah on the lengthening of the beard is concerned, Moulana himself concedes that its limitations are unclear. How then, can this Mas`alah be made Qiyaas upon with the covering of the private parts. Due to all these reasons, it is the opinion of this humble writer that it is incorrect and an oversight to make Qiyaas of the length of the beard with that of covering the private parts. It is due to this oversight that Moulana has overlooked the practice of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in this regard.
(e). To interpret the order of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) for lengthening of the beard as being a mere „request‟ to keep a beard is taking the matter extremely lightly. There is no word or indication in the Hadith that suggests this interpretation, in fact, the Hadith is explicit that the beard must be kept and it must be lengthened and we must oppose the practice of the fire-worshippers. Whatever explanation the Muhadditheen have made regarding the lengthening of the beard has already passed in the previous pages. Hereunder I will quote a definition from some dictionaries.
Ibn Dareed states in Jamhuratul Lughat:
“A`raa Sha`ruhu: When in lenghthens. A`fan Nabatu Wa Sha`ru Wa Ghayruhu: to lengthen, in a Hadith, indeed Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) ordered with “I`fail Luhaa” and that is to lengthening the hair and increase it and not to trim it like the moustache…”
From this it is ascertained that when the word “A`fa” and “I`faa” are used for hair then it means to lengthen and increase in it. Hence, to imply that these words which are used in the Hadith means to just keep a beard will be incorrect since the dictionary meaning of these words imply increasing in the beard.
(f). After studying the preceding pages, then it will be difficult for anyone to accept this claim of Moulana Maududi that the Mas`alah regarding the length of the beard is merely the result of the research of the Ulama (i.e. that it is a result of their deductions). To aver that it is the result of the deductions when in reality it can be found in the words and actions of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), and in the practice of the Khulafaa -e- Raashideen, the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum) and Tabieen (rahmatullahi alaihim), will be incorrect. When the Ulama say that it is impermissible to trim the beard more than one fist -length then it is not merely a result of their conjecture, in fact, there is no Shar`i evidence to prove this (that it is permissible to trim the beard less than a fist-length). Besides this, it is incorrect to claim that the result of the research of the Aimmah-e-Fiqh holds any lesser rank than those rulings for which there is Nusoos.
Allaah Ta`ala says in the Qur`aan Majeed:
“And whoever opposes the Rasool after guidance has been expounded for him and he treads a path other than the path of the Mu`mineen, then We direct him to that path (which he has chosen), and We will fling him into Jahannum, an evil abode.”