In his book: ‘Aadaab Az-Zafaaf’ Sheikh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaani writes:
“Shaving of the beard:
The Fifth: And what is similar to it in terms of ugliness – where there is nothing uglier than it in relation to the one possessing the sound Fitrahs – What has overtaken most of the men in terms of beautifying themselves by shaving their beards in Taqleed (imitation) to the disbelieving Europeans to the point where it has become a shame on the groom to enter into his marriage ceremony if he is not cleanly shaven. In relation to this there are the following violations:
a) The changing of the creation of Allah: Allah Ta’Aalaa said in regards to Shaitaan:
لعَنَهُ الله وقال لأتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عبادِك نصيباً مفروضاً ولأُضِلَّنَّهم ولأُمنِّينَّهم ولآمُرنَّهم فَلَيبتِّكُنَّ آذانَ الأنعام ولآمُرنَّهم فلَيُغيِّرُنَّ خلقَ الله ومَنْ يتَّخِذ الشيطانَ وليَّاً من دونِ الله فقد خَسِرَ خُسراناً مُبيناً
“Allah cursed him. And he [Shaitan (Satan)] said: “I will take an appointed portion of your slaves. Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaitan (Satan) as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.”
So this text is Sareeh (blatantly clear) that the changing of the creation of Allah without permission from Him Ta’Aalaa is an obedience to the command of Shaytaan and a disobedience to Ar-Rahmaan Jalla Jalaalahu and there is no doubt that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ cursed the changers of the creation of Allah for beautification as we have just previously mentioned, and there is no doubt that the shaving of the beard enters into this mentioned cursing due to the shared ‘Illah (reasoning) which is not hidden. And I have only said: Without the permission of Allah Ta’Aalaa so as that it is not understood that the mentioned change includes the like of shaving the pubic hair or something similar which the Shaar’i has permitted or indeed made Mustahabb and Waajib.
b) The violation of his ﷺ’s command:“Shorten your moustaches and grow from your beards”and it is known that the command carries the obligation unless there is a Qareenah and the Qareenah here is re-affirming to the obligation and it is:
c) Resemblance to the Kuffaar: He ﷺ said:“Trim the moustaches and grow the beards and differ from the Majoos (fire-worshippers)”and the obligation is also supported by:
d) Similarity to women: He ﷺ said:“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ cursed the men seeking to resemble women and the women seeking to resemble men”and it is not hidden that in the shaving of the man’s beard which Allah has distinguished him with over the woman that this is the closest thing that can be done to resemble her. If what we have presented in terms of evidence has not convinced those who are afflicted by this violation then may Allah strengthen us and them from all that He does not like or that which does not please Him.”
And he (Al-Albaani) also said in the margins of this book: “And from that in which there is no doubt is that anyone who’s Fitrah is sound and his intentions are pure will find in everyone of these four evidences what is sufficient to establish the obligation of the growing of the beard and the prohibition of shaving it and how else can they be understood?!”
Sheikh Abu Iyas Mahmoud bin Abdul Latif al-Uweida from Jordan in his book Al-Jami li Ahkam as-Salah “A complete guide of the rules of prayer” volume 1, chapter 5 responds to the above arguments as follows:
And the response to him is from a number of angles:
a) I will first take his statement: (of beautifying themselves by shaving their beards in Taqleed (imitation) to the disbelieving Europeans) where he has made the shaving of the beard a Zeenah (beautification) and did not mention that growing the beard is another type of beautification where it is possible that growing the beard is more beautiful than shaving it. In addition he considered the shaving of the beard as entering the category of being Taqleed (imitation) to the Kuffaar and this makes it necessary for us to explain the meaning of making imitation to the Kuffaar and its ruling.
The Taqleed of the disbelievers is of two kinds: Imitation in matters of the Deen and imitation in relation to the matters of life. What is related to the Taqleed (imitation) of their actions and affairs connected to their Deen then this is what is meant by ‘Taqleed in the matters of the Deen’. What is related to their actions and matters which is not connected to their Deen then this is what is meant by ‘Taqleed in the matters of life’.
Imitation in the matters of the Deen is Haraam and differing from it is obligatory whereas those matters which are not related to the Deen are Halaal and there is no sin attached to them and whether it is more proper to leave it unless the essence of this thing is forbidden in our Deen and in which case would be Haraam. So imitation in wearing clothing like suits and neck-ties, or army clothing like their army clothing in terms of head gear, or greeting heads of state with twenty-one rifle shots and lines of soldiers as in respect of them, or imitating them by cutting a tape with scissors when new projects are opened and the like of these are all acts of imitation with no sin attached to them and are not Haraam even if leaving them would be more appropriate.
On the other hand imitating them in terms of mixed (non-segregated) education in the universities or the imitation of the Tabarruj (beautifying) of women is Haraam and not permitted and even if this is not related to the affairs or matters of their Deen but because they are Haraam for us and as such remain Haraam.
As for imitating them in terms of religious dress like that worn by priests and their religious people or imitating them with Christmas trees, or imitating them with wooden coffins for the dead or the like of this are all Haraam and not permitted and it is Waajib to differ and oppose these acts because these matters and acts are from the affairs of their Deen and imitating the disbelievers in their disbelief or to imitate them in their description as disbelievers is Haraam.
Imitating them in other than this does not contain Hurmah (a prohibition) unless it is Haraam for us (from our Deen) and even if it is Awlaa (better/more appropriate) to leave it. So the Muslim when he shaves his beard in imitation of the Europeans he is not imitating them in their description as disbelievers and he is not imitating them in a matter of their Deen but rather it is only a matter of the Dunyaa which has no relationship to the Deen. Imitating them therefore is not Haraam in this just as it is not in all other acts and matters which have no relationship to the affairs of their Deen. From this it is apparent that imitating the Europeans in shaving the beard does not bring or establish (Yufeed) a prohibition.
As for his statement: (to the point where it has become a shame (‘Aar) on the groom to enter into his marriage ceremony if he is not cleanly shaven) then this includes exaggeration and this is because ‘Aar is something that brings disgrace upon the person and brings disgrace and humiliation, and this meaning is not present in this reality.
b) We will now discuss the four evidences about which he said:“That each of these four evidences is sufficient to establish the obligation of the growing of the beard.”The Aayah that Sheikh Al-Albaani used as evidence saying that it was valid to prohibit the shaving of the beard is found in Soorah An-Nisaa and in order to establish whether the Aayah guides to what he has claimed then it is necessary to place it within its context within the Soorah and thereafter seek an evidential understanding from it.
إن اللهَ لا يَغفرُ أن يُشْرَكَ به ويَغفرُ ما دون ذلك لِمَنْ يَشاء ومَنْ يُشْرِكْ باللهِ فقد ضلَّ ضلالاً بعيداً. إنْ يَدْعونَ مِن دونِهِ إلا إناثاً وإنْ يَدْعُونَ إلا شيطاناً مَريداً . لعَنَهُ الله وقال لأتَّخِذَنَّ مِن عِبَادِك نَصِيباً مَفْرُوضاً. ولأُضِلَّنَّهم ولأُمنِّينَّهم ولآمُرَنَّهم فلَيُبتِّكُنَّ آذانَ الأَنعامِ ولآمُرنَّهم فلَيُغيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللهِ ومَن يتَّخذ الشيطانَ ولياً مِن دون اللهِ فقد خسرَ خُسراناً مُبيناً. يعِدُهم ويُمنِّيهم وما يعِدُهُمُ الشَّيطان إلا غُرُوراً. أولئكَ مَأْواهُمْ جهَنَّمُ ولا يجدونَ عنها مَحِيْصاً
“Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away. They (all those who worship others than Allah) invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaitan (Satan), a persistent rebel! Allah cursed him. And he [Shaitan (Satan)] said: “I will take an appointed portion of your slaves. Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaitan (Satan) as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.”
By scrutinizing this Aayah it becomes apparent that it has been mentioned as a subject of Aqueedah and not in the subject of the Sharee’ah rules. If you are to examine any of its Aayaat this would become clear, the first Aayah relates to Shirk (associating with Allah) and this relates to the Aqueedah (belief), the second Aayah relates to idols and the Shaytaan and this an Aqueedah subject, the third Aayah relates to the exiting of a section of the believers to a group of disbelievers and this relates to Aqueedah, the fourth Aayah relates to slitting the ears of livestock to gain closeness to the idols and this relates to the subject of Aqueedah, the fifth Aayah relates to the wishes of Shaytaan conceitedness which is a subject of the Aqueedah and the sixth Aayah relates to the Aqueedah when it discusses the entering of Jahannam and settling in it. Therefore all of the Aayaat address one issue which is the belief (Aqueedah) and there is not a single Aayah from among them that discusses the branches of the Ahkaam Ash-Sharee’ah.
And secondly: These Aayaat discuss in a clear way about misguidance as seen in the beginning of the fourth: “I will lead all of you astray” and misguidance (Dalaal) is the opposite of guidance (Hudaa) and these are thoughts related to the Aqueedah so the Daall (one astray) is the one who opposes (differs in) the Aqueedah in its whole, Usool (foundations) or its branches. As such
His (swt) statement: “indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah” is restricted to the Aqueedah and the acts within its meaning and not acts that establish being Haraam or Halaal because if the Ayah and Hadeeth have come for a specific subject then it is obligatory to restrict it to this subject. It is not said here that: ‘Al-‘Ibrah bi’Umoom-il-Lafzh Laa bikhusoos-is-Sabab’ (The important thing is the generality of the expression and not the specificity of the cause) because the subject is not a cause. The reason or cause of the revelation of these Aayaat was not the Aqeedah but rather the Aqeedah was the subject of what the revealed Ayaat related to and the difference between the cause (or reason) of something and the subject is a very large. A number of Mufassireen have indicated this precise meaning in regards to these Aayaat and a number of them have explained them with the statement: That what is intended by the changing is that Allah (swt) created the sun, moon, rocks, fire and other created things for the reason they were created and then the disbelievers made them and changed them to being idols that are worshipped and Az-Zajjaaj was amongst those who said this.
This opinion is supported by the second Aayah: “They (all those who worship others than Allah) invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah)” which was explained by Abu Maalik as reported by At-Tabari, Ibn ul-Mundhir and others when he said: “Al-Laat, Al-‘Uzzaa and Manaat are all female.”
Ubayy Bin Ka’b explained it according to Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Ibn ul-Mundhir and others as: “It is said (in regards to) every idol” and Al-Hasan said: “In every place of the Arabs they had an idol which they worshipped and named it as the female of so and so tribe (lineage) so Allah revealed that they do not call except to females (as idols)” and this was mentioned by Sa’eed Bin Mansoor, Ibn Jareer and Ibn ul-Mundhir.
Ad-Dahhaak said: “The Mushrikoon said: The angels are the daughters of Allah, and we only worship them so as to get close to Allah” and Ibn Abu Haatim mentioned it.
Ibn Jareer At-Tabari related from Qataadah his statement in explaining: “They will cut the ears of the livestock”: “They would slit in the lakes and would mostly cut their ears due to their tyranny”. Ibn Jareer and others extracted that Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) said in relation to the statement of Allah (swt): “Indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah” he said: “The Deen of Allah” and similar to this has been reported from Ad-Dahhaak and Sa’eed Ibn Jubair. This is the meaning of ‘Changing’ and this is the subject which the Aayah relates to and as such interpreting it in another way is an error. Their opinion that it means castration or branding or other than that like shaving the beard is outside of the subject of the Aayah, its form and scope.
We conclude by saying that this Aayah is not valid to be used under any circumstances as an evidence to guide to the prohibition of shaving the beard as the Aayah relates to a subject and the shaving of the beard relates to a different subject and as long as the shaving or growing of the beard do not relate to the Aqaa’id (beliefs) then using it as an evidence in this case is not correct.
c) His statement:“And it is known that the Amr (command) indicates an obligation unless there is a Qareenah (to state otherwise)”is not accepted as it is and contains some obscurity because when the normal reader reads: ‘And it is known’ (It is from the known things) he believes that this a principle that has been agreed upon by the majority of the Fuqahaa and scholars of Usool because he presented it as a known principle in an absolute manner without restriction where in fact it is known that this principle has not been stated by all of the Fuqahaa and scholars of Usool. Due to this it was more appropriate to have said: “And as it is known according to us (our view)” or “It is known that a number of Fuqahaa said…” or “The Amr (command) yufeed (benefits) Wujoob (obligation) according to so and so” or something similar to this so that the reader is not mislead.
d) His statement:“And the Qareenah here is affirming to the obligation and it is the resembling of the disbelievers”meaning that if the command is connected to resembling disbelievers then it is obligatory. He made resembling the Kuffaar a Qareenah for obligation or a Qareenah to affirm the obligation. So what would he say in regards to the following Hadeeth:
Abu Hurairah (ra) said: The Nabi ﷺ said: “The Jews and Christians do not dye so differ from them” as recorded by Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and Abu Daawood?
So the Hadeeth requests that we dye our white hair and to differ from them in this act so is being different from the Kuffaar a valid Qareenah for the obligation of dyeing? I do not believe that anyone has stated the opinion of dyeing the white hair as being obligatory. And what would he say in relation to the Hadeeth reported by Shadaad Bin Aus who said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Differ from (Khaalifoo) the Jews because they do not pray in the shoes and sandals” as recorded by Abu Daawood. And no Faqeeh has said that praying in shoes or sandals is obligatory? As such the differing from the disbelievers should be viewed in line with this approach (understanding).
And I will repeat what was previously said in regards to the imitation or resembling the disbelievers and between resembling them in the matters of the Deen and resembling them in matters of the life. This means that if the disbelievers were to leave the white hair as an act of worship and we then did this to resemble them in this issue then it would be Haraam and it would be a valid Qareenah (indication) of being obligatory and if the disbelievers shaved their beards as an act of worship and we did so to resemble them in this act of worship and their Deen then that would be Haraam and it would be a valid Qareenah for the obligation. However no one has stated that the disbelievers shave their beards as an act of worship and as such it is not valid as a Qareenah (linkage/indication). With his argument we have negated the soundness second and third evidences in regards to the growing of the beard being obligatory.
e) His statement:“And the obligation is supported from the angle of resemblance to the women”and he mentioned the Hadeeth about the resemblance and then commented: “And it is not hidden…it is the greatest form of resemblance to her” so he sees and affirms that the shaving of the beard is an act of resembling women and exaggerated his statement by saying that it was the greatest form of resemblance.
And the response to this is from a number of angles:
1) Resemblance to women means a resemblance with women in an absolute form and not in the specificities meaning the exiting of a category of men from the attributes of men and not from the attributes of Muslim men or from the attributes of a specific group of men. This is because the Hadeeth states: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ cursed the men seeking to resemble women and the women seeking to resemble men” so it generalised and did not specify meaning that the Hadeeth is saying that the man who resembles the woman is cursed and this happens when the man does something that is outside of the description of all men and makes a resemblance with the generality of women. This is the meaning of the Hadeeth and there is no specification (Takhsees) in it or restriction (Taqyeed). So does shaving the beard take someone out of what all men are described as absolutely? The answer is that this view is negated by the reality and by the Ahaadeeth texts.
As for the reality then most of the men in the world shave their beards and therefore shaving of the beard is widespread as a practice amongst men and nobody claims that these millions and millions of men have had the quality of manhood stripped from them due to this issue and that they are resembling women.
As for the Hadeeth then they say: Be differ from the fire-worshippers, meaning that they should differ from the men from amongst the Majoos in relation to the beard and the understanding of this Hadeeth is that the men from amongst the Majoos used to shave their beards and its understanding as well is that whoever shaves his beard would then resemble the men from amongst the Majoos which indicates that shaving the beard is not a resemblance to women but rather the men of Majoos. Indeed the Hadeeth restricts it to resembling the men from the Majoos and does not indicate in any way towards the issue of resembling women not from near or far. So is it valid for him after this to say that shaving the beard is resemblance to women? And how could he permit himself to say this statement that is contradictory to the reality and the Hadeeth?
2) Resembling women is not considered resemblance unless a characteristic (attribute) of the man is negated from amongst his attributes and he takes a characteristic/attribute (Siffah) from among the characteristics of women. So for example women wear necklaces and bracelets and men do not wear them and this is general in all times, nations and peoples with the exception of some primitive tribes who are negligible. Where someone from amongst the men wears necklaces and bracelets then in relation to his clothing he has removed one of the characteristics of men and taken one which is bound to women so the wearing of necklaces and bracelets is an act of resembling whereas the act of putting Kohl on (around the eyes) is an act which is shared between men and women and the man who does this is not resembling women because he has not left a characteristic associated to men. Similar to this can be said in regards to the shaving of the beard because it is a description and characteristic that is spread amongst men and the one who does it has not abandoned a description of men and adopted a description associated (only) to women. So he does not resemble women. And the one who puts on perfume then he is doing something that is in common and shared between men and women and those who do it have not resembled women. It is necessary to understand the issue of resembling women in this way. The shaving of the beard is a description associated with men throughout the ages and nobody says that the millions of men in the world who have shaved their beards resemble women and indeed the statement of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ : “Differ from them” contains an evidential indication that before this command they did not differ from them but were rather doing the same as them in terms of shaving their beards and they were men and were not described as women or resembling to them.
3) And where it has now become completely clear and explained that the one who shaves his beard has not separated from the characteristics of men and adopted the characteristic of women, the final evidence used by Sheikh Al-Albaani in relation to his view of the prohibition of shaving the beard has been shown to be invalid.
(f) A point remains related to changing the creation of Allah and I would like to discuss it from another angle. Sheikh Al-Albaani used as evidence what was related from Ibn Mas’ood (ra): “Allah has cursed those women who practice tattooing and those who get themselves tattooed, and those who remove their face hairs, and those who create a space between their teeth artificially to look beautiful, and such women as change the features created by Allah. Why then should I not curse those whom the Prophet has cursed? And it is in the Book of Allah” as recorded by Al-Bukhaari.
That changing the creation of Allah is the ‘Illah (legal reason) for the prohibition of what was mentioned in the Hadeeth and he made analogy upon it with the shaving of the beard because it is for reasons of beauty that he changes the creation of Allah and as such the curse falls upon him. He reinforced this by saying: “There is no doubt” and his statement: “Just as it is not hidden” as if nobody has disagreed with what he has said. Indeed he said himself that changing the creation of Allah is not always Haraam so his statement: “So that it is not imagined that it enters into the change that is mentioned like the shaving of the pubic hair and what is similar to that of which the Sharee’ah has permitted” this indicates that there are changes to the creation of Allah that are Muharram (prohibited) and that there are changes which are not prohibited. We will now move on to this Qaa’idah (principle) that he has placed down and say:
This Qaa’idah (principle) contradicts the view that the changing of the creation of Allah is the ‘Illah (legal reason) for prohibition and this is because the ‘Illah according to the science (‘Ilm) of Usool revolves around the Ma’lool (the thing being reasoned) in relation to its presence and absence, and this necessitates that the ‘Illah (which is the changing of the creation of Allah) would make Haraaam every act which includes change and it would not make Haraam an act that does not change the creation of Allah. This is the meaning of the ‘Illah and what it necessitates. And where there are actions related to changing the creation of Allah which the Shar’a has permitted then this is an evidence that the changing is not an ‘Illah (legal reason) because the ‘Illah never fluctuates and if it is gone against once then its validity as an ‘Illah is negated and where the Shar’a itself has made it invalid in terms of the shaving of the pubic hair, plucking the hair from under the arms, cutting the nails, cutting the hair from the head then this guides to the view that the changing (of creation) is not an ‘Illah for prohibiting the shaving of the beard. As for the statement that the Nusoos (texts) have exempted these rulings then this is not a response to the subject of the ‘Illah. And from this introduction we will now launch into the explanation of the Hadeeth: “Allah Has cursed the women who Tattoo…those who change the creation of Allah”.
The Hadeeth mentions that the women who Tattoo, get Tattoos, remove facial hair and make gaps in their teeth for beautifying reasons and change the creation (or created features) of Allah are cursed. And where it has been established that this changing has been contravened in a number of times then it is established that it is not an ‘Illah and that this principle (Qaa’idah) is therefore as a result removed from the whole subject including this Hadeeth. As the changing of the creation or created features of Allah is not an ‘Illah (legal reason) for the prohibition in this Hadeeth, meaning that the Tahreem (prohibition) is related to and rests upon what has been mentioned and not upon the ‘Illah of ‘changing’. Upon this the changing here is not mentioned except as a description inherent in these acts and not other than that as was mentioned by Ibn Hajar. And the question here: Why was this description mentioned in this Hadeeth? And the answer to this is that this description was only mentioned in this Hadeeth to restrict and specify the measure to which these actions would become prohibited meaning that tattooing, removing facial hair and making gaps in the teeth would not become Haraam except if they reached the limit or extent of changing the creation of Allah and if they did not reach this limit and measure then it that case it would not be Haraam and would be Mubaah. So if a woman was to take from her eyebrow a number of hairs and if a woman was to put a couple of drops of Tattoo upon her hands or face or had a slight adjustment to her teeth then in all these cases she would not have done Haraam because she had not done what had reached the level of changing the creation (or created features) of Allah (swt). So this is the purpose in terms of the mentioning of this description and it is to define the measure in which the actions would become Haraam and not so as to be an ‘Illah (legal reason) for the Tahreem (prohibition).
In addition this Hadeeth addresses the women and does not address the men and the linguistic and Shar’iyah principle states that the address to men addresses both men and women however the address made to women addresses them alone and men do not enter into it. So when the Qur’aan says addressing the male form:
يا أيها الذين آمنوا كُتبَ عليكُمُ الصِّيامُ
“O You who believe. Fasting has been prescribed upon you”
then this command to fast includes the men just as it includes the women and when it says:
يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللهَ وقولوا قَوْلاً سَديدا
“O you who believe. Fear Allah and say the true word.”
then this command to have Taqwah and to say the true word encompasses both the men and women. However when the Qur’aan says addressing the female form like:
وقَرْن في بيوتِكُنَّ
“And confine them to their houses.”
then this command does not include the men meaning that it does not request the men to remain in the houses and when it says:
ولا يُبدين زينَتَهُنَّ
“And do not display your charms”
then this command does not mean that men are requested with this and it does not indicate the prevention of men displaying their charms. And when it states:
والمُطلَّقات يتربَّصن بأنفسهنَّ
“And the divorced women should wait with themselves”
then this request does not mean that men should wait upon divorce. And the Prophetic Hadeeth which states: “And you (women) should walk on the side of the road” as recorded by Abu Daawood, is specific to women and does not encompass men and this is according to what is well known and normal. And this Hadeeth: “Allah has cursed those who tattoo…” is from the same type, it is specific to women and it does not mean that Allah has cursed the men who tattoo and so from where does the opinion that the changing of the creation (or created features) of Allah has come including men? The correct and sound view is that this Hadeeth is specific to women and that it is not correct to apply it to the men also for this reason. And due to these two reasons, the reason of their not being an ‘Illah of ‘changing’ and the reason of the text being specific to women, it is not permissible top make Qiyaas (analogy) upon it and it is absolutely not correct to include men and their beards in this Hadeeth at all.
And with that the four evidences (arguments) for the obligation of growing the beard (and prohibition of shaving it) and the correct Hukm (verdict) remains as was mentioned earlier and that is that growing the beard is a Sunnah and not a Waajib.