Fri 25 Jm2 1435 - 25 April 2014
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His boss gave him the choice between reducing his beard or leaving the job

I work in a company and the boss asked me to reduce my beard (not shave it off) or leave the job. He always lets me pray in the mosque at the times of prayer. What is the ruling on reducing my beard?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

Shaving the beard is haraam, as is shortening it and reducing it, because of the evidence which shows that it is obligatory to leave it alone and let it grow. 

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (5/133): Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth and reports that have been narrated concerning that, and because of the general meaning of the texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar, which says that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen; let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” According to another report: “trim your moustaches and let your beards grow.” And there are other, similar ahaadeeth. Letting the beard grow means leaving it as it is and not shaving it, or plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm narrated that there was scholarly consensus that trimming the moustache and letting the beard grow is obligatory, and he quoted as evidence a number of ahaadeeth, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam, according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not trim his moustache is not one of us.” Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi. It says in al-Furoo’: According to our companions – the Hanbalis – this indicates that it is haraam. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus indicate that we are commanded to be different from the kuffaar and that it is forbidden to resemble them in general terms, because resembling them outwardly may cause us to resemble them in attitude and doing blameworthy deeds and even in beliefs. It generates love and friendship inwardly, just as inward love generates outward resemblance. Al-Tirmidhi narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is not one of us who imitates people other than us; do not imitate the Jews and the Christians.” According to another report: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad. And ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of a man who plucked his beard. 

Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: It is haraam to shave the beard, and no one does that but effeminate men, meaning those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard, as was narrated by Muslim from Jaabir and in other reports. And it is not permissible to remove anything from it because of the general meaning of the evidence that shows that that is not allowed. End quote. 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on one who makes the ends of his beard even? 

He said: What is required is to leave the beard alone and let it grow, and not to do anything to it, because it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Trim the moustache and let the beard grow; be different from the mushrikeen.” Saheeh – agreed upon. Narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). And al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated in his Saheeh from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Trim the moustache and let the beard grow; be different from the mushrikeen.” Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Cut the moustache and let the beard grow; be different from the Magians.” 

All these ahaadeeth indicate that it is obligatory to leave the beard alone and let it grow, and to trim the moustache. This is what is prescribed in Islam, and this is what is obligatory, as taught and enjoined by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This is following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them), and differing from the mushrikeen, and avoiding resembling them or resembling women. 

With regard to the report narrated by al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to remove something from the length and breadth of his beard, this is a false report according to the scholars, and it is not a saheeh report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Some people insisted on using this hadeeth as evidence, but it is not a saheeh report, because its isnaad includes ‘Umar ibn Haroon al-Balkhi, who is accused of lying. 

So it is not permissible for a believer to follow this false hadeeth, or to use as a concession that which was said by some scholars, for the Sunnah is binding upon us all, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allaah”

[al-Nisa’ 4:80] 

“Say: Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allaah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)”

[al-Noor 24:54] 

“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination”

[al-Nisa’ 4:59] 

And Allaah is the Source of strength. End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh ibn Baaz (4/443). 

Secondly: 

It is not permissible for your boss to order you to reduce your beard, because this is an order to commit sin, as explained above, and you have no right to obey him. Rather what you must do is be patient and explain the shar’i ruling to him. If he insists on his opinion, and letting your beard grow means that you will lose your job, it depends on your situation and your work. If you can find another job, then leave this one, seeking the pleasure of Allaah. If you cannot find another job, then we hope that you will be forgiven if you reduce your beard, because the scholars have stated that it is permissible to do a haraam action in causes of necessity and extreme need, so long as you limit yourself to the minimum of reducing it that will please your boss. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can”

[al-Taghaabun 64:16] 

See also question no. 70319

And Allaah knows best.

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