Culture of spiritual beard originated from Jewish/Christian tradition



Salaam Alaikum to all

The Noble Quraan portrays no connections between spirituality, beard and long robes.  It  gives us no reasons to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wore a long untrimmed beard.   When the Noble Quran instructs believers to follow the Prophet (SAAW), it does not refer to the physical appearance of the Prophet, rather the reference is to the Prophet's exemplary character.  Yet today every Muslim clergy and spiritualist consider it mandatory to carry that 'exclusive priestly look' which many of them actually find a lot more important than a correct perception of Faith and righteous conduct. 

Let's look at the origins of the culture of beard linked with spirituality.  Have you ever thought how this notion crept into Islam?  A simple research with a bit of common sense and reflection will expose the truth of its origin.  The practice has been borrowed by the Hadith writers from the orthodox Jewish and Christian traditions.  Besides, the culture of growing a long unkempt beard also existed in the pre-Islamic era just as it exists today among people of various non-Divine religions like hindu hermits and sikhs. 

The Christian Rastafari Movement says that a male Rastafarian's beard is a sign of a man's pact with God (Jah or Jehovah).  The Bible says "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh." (Leviticus 21:5)  Also the Bible states "You will not deface the figure of your beard." (Leviticus 19:27)  The exact nature of disfiguring the edges of the beard is debated by Christian "scholars." Some believe it forbade shaping the beard into a round or square shape that was popular in some ancient countries. More likely it was forbidding shaving off part of the beard (along with the sides of the head) in a display of grief.  They have tried to make the 'modern-orthodox' Christian perspective on beard a bit more flexible by saying that it is better for a man to have a beard than to not have one. He who has a beard should not think less of him who does not, and vice-versa.

According to the orthodox Jewish culture, a Jewish man must grow a beard and payot (the long hair at the temples).  Throughout history the Jews have honored the beard as a mark of manhood. To this day, the orthodox Jews have little respect for clean-shaven men. During periods of mourning, the ancient Jews allowed their beards to go untrimmed.  The practice was dervied from the notion of avoiding doing anything which could possibly result in a transgression of God’s commandments to the Jews.  One of those is the prohibition against suicide and self-harm  (which has also been borrowed by the Hadith about which the Quraan says nothing).  In that respect, religious Jews are precluded from cutting any hair growing around the jawbone.

The following are some early Christian attitudes on men growing beards.

Sayings of St. Clement of Alexandria

"The hair of the chin showed him to be a man." St Clement of Alexandria (c.195, E), 2.271

"How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!…For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest--a sign of strength and rule." St. Clement of Alexandria,  2.275

"This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature….It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.” St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.276

"It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man’s natural and noble adornment." St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.277

Sayings of St. Cyprian

"The beard must not be plucked. 'You will not deface the figure of your beard'." (Leviticus 19:27) St. Cyprian, 5.553

Sayings of Lactantius

"The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength." Lactantius (c. 304-314, W), 7.288

Words of Apostolic Constitutions - 4th century collection of books on early Christian discipline

"Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, “You will not deface your beards.” For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men." Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c.390, E) 7.392. (1)

Such are the ideas borrowed by the Hadith and brought into Islam by medieval imams as can be seen from the following false narrations.

Rasulullah (SallAllâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said "Trim closely the moustache and grow the beard." - Reported by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501

Rasulullah (SallAllâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Anyone who shaves has no claim to the mercy of Allâh" - Reported by Ibn Abbas (R.A.) in Tibrabi

Narrated ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard" (Sahih al Bukhari)

Abu Hurayrah " reported that the ruler of Yemen, appointed by the Persian emperor Kisra, sent two envoys to the Messenger !. When they came into his presence, he noticed that they had shaved their beards and let their moustaches grow big. Hating their ugly appearance, he turned his face away and said, “Woe be to you, who told you to do so?” (Fiqh us-Sirah by al-Ghazali p. 359)]

The overall resemblance of the concepts of the writers of these false ahadith with those of the Jews and Christians are striking.

Compared to all this, the Glorious Quraan never mentions a single word about beard nor defining its importance in relation to one's iman (Faith), ethics and conduct.

There's a verse in the Quraan that describes a conversation between Moses and his brother, Aaron (peace be on them) after Moses returned to his people with the Ten Commandments and saw that they had reverted to idolatry which made him very angry.  The verse quotes Aaron as saying: "O son of my mother, seize me not by my beard nor my hair."  The 'ulemas' and Hadith adherents attempt to use this verse as a 'proof' that it is necessary for all prophets and men to grow beards.  It doesn't require much intelligence to perceive that this concept is totally incorrect.  The Quraan does not associate Aaron's beard with his spirituality.  Aaron's beard was either in keeping with the common social culture of that era or perhaps his personal choice.  To think otherwise would be nothing beyond a conjecture or guesswork only for the purpose of supporting the Hadith narrations and fatwas.   In medieval era and earlier, it was apparently a more widespread social culture for men to grow a beard than at present.  All sorts of people grew beards.  Even polytheists and atheists grew beards.  It's very likely that Abu Labab may also have grown a beard.

As we have seen, there are numerous hadiths stating the importance of beard in all sorts of strange ways.  These encourage the imams and sheiks to give absurd fatwas on growing a beards.  Some hadith narrations and fatwas are weird enough to state that men who don't grow beards will go to Hell.   Furthermore, scholars have different opinions about growing, shortening and shaving the beard. According to some scholars, it is fard to grow a beard and it is haram to shave it; according to some, it is sunnah to grow a beard and it is makrooh (abominable) to shave it; others say it is mustahab (preferred) to grow. As for their evidence, the first opinion that says it is fard to grow a beard and it is haram to shave it belong to the majority of the scholars.


The 2 things we need to be aware of are:

1) There is absolutely no evidence from any other sources except the highly controversial Hadith which is plagiarised from the Old and New Testaments that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ever even had a beard, let alone confirming its length.  The Quraan mentions NOTHING about the Prophet having a beard and neither does it instruct anyone to grow a beard in connection to piety.  This notion among the Hadith traditionalists and story tellers about the Prophet having a long beard (which has even acquired the title of 'Sunnah beard') is a similar fantasy as the illusionary image of Jesus (son of Mary) created by Westerners as having blue eyes, blond hair and white skin.

2) Even if the Prophet (pbuh) did grow a beard, that would surely be his personal choice which is fine.  Again the Quraan says NOTHING to immitate the Prophet's outward appearance.  The Quraan orders people only to copy the Prophet's moral character i.e. his compassion, kindness, sense of justice, perseverence, taqwa, humility etc.  It's sad that today Muslims do not find it necessary to acquire these great attributes of the Prophet (SAAW) and instead they only waste time on unnecessary issues like beard, miswak, khimar and other totally superficial and irrelevant aspects 'invented' by the imams.

N. Truth Seeker:
Yes, sure the culture of growing an untrimmed beard comes from the Jews, Christians and other pagans.  The Noble Quran says nothing on it, and neither did the Prophet (pbuh). 

Surprisingly, several Muslim scholars are themselves aware that they are taking many traditions & practices from the Jews & Christians, yet they somehow feel so enslaved & captivated by the orders of their 9th and 10th century imams, that they can't refuse. 

The Noble Quran already prophecied that the Jews and Christians will try to bring the Muslims into following their traditions.   It was a prophecy as well as a warning for the Muslims, yet unfortunately the Mulsims fell into these traps of the altered Torah & Bible after the death of the Prophet (pbuh).

"And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah's guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper."  2:120  The Noble Quran

Therefore, our mainstream Muslims who are so in love with Hadith need to beware of what will happen to them on the Day of Judgment.  Now they feel safe and happy following the misguidance of their imams by quitting the Quran and adhering to the hadith books taken from the bibles. But their imams won't plead for them on the Day of Questioning.

The Hadith plagairism of the Bible has been laid out superbly.  Anyone who still can't see the similarities and the obvious source of Hadith law on beards can only be those who are intellectually blind or much too stubborn.

Verse 2:120 is a wonderful prophecy and warning from Allah to so many Muslims who are doing exactly what Allah forbids them to do - copying the practices from the Jews and christians, and ignoring the commands of Allah as in the Quran. 

Thanks sister Zeynab and br. pt.


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