On Keeping the Beard




I’ve had people recently asking me the ruling for shaving the beard in accordance to my understanding all four schools of thoughts had a consensus that shaving is haram however I have read recently that the relied-upon position for the Shafii Madhab is that it is makrooh (not sinful) to shave the beard is this correct?

If yes, then the fact that this is a sign of islam to keep a beard how can i explain to those who pick and chose from different schools of thought or if someone is [following] the Shafii Madhab How do i tell them that they should still grow it and not consider it a small act to shave? If there is no way then that is understandable

Also, i dont know the terminologies in the shafii madhab when it comes to makrooh so is someone shaves and never grows a beard in accordance to the shafii madhab will he ever be considered a sinner.

Jazak Allah Khair


Wa alaykumus salam wa rahmatuLlah

Each of the four madhahib regards the keeping of the beard as virtuous and exemplary. None of them discourage its keeping or encourage its removal. All of them furthermore look with disapproval at shortening or shaving the beard. The only area in which a difference exists is the level of censure incurred by the removal of the beard.

This is where the rajih view within the Shafi’i madhhab stops a little short from the other madhahib. Whereas the other madhahib (as well a marjuh view within the Shafi’i madhhab) deem it haram and sinful, the rajih view of the Shafi’is stop short at karahah. And karahah would by definition mean that the act, while frowned upon and disapproved, does not quite amount to sinfulness.

You are correct in saying that the beard is a sign of Islam. However, not every sign is necessarily wajib to observe or haram to remove. The general covering of the head for males would be a case in point. And then, not every sign of Islam requires enforcement through the threat of sinfulness. What ought rather to be done is to create love of the Sunnah of RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam so that people will willingly and with love adopt not just the sunnah of the beard but other sunnahs as well, both of external appearance and internal character.

With the highest of respect to the sunnah of the beard, one should not fall into the trap of becoming so focused upon its enforcement that sight of lost on the one hand of the good qualities possessed by  those who fail in observing the sunnah of the beard, and on the other of some not-so-good qualities within those who do keep the beard. It is not just the beard with whose inculcation within the masses the ulama are tasked, but the entire Shari’ah. When the fuqaha have differed about the level of censure attached to non-observance of the sunnah of the beard, those who do happen to subscribe to that view should, in my humble opinion, should be afforded the latitude of their choice.

What may however be brought to their attention is that it is a misunderstanding to say that any particular madhhab displays apathy towards the beard. Apathy towards the beard is nowhere to be found in our entire Shari’ah. The Shafi’i madhhab does not say, “Don’t keep a beard,” or “You don’t have to keep a beard.” It says that the beard is a great sunnah whose observance is highly meritorious and whose removal caused distress to RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam, wherefore it is a loathsome act whose doer falls just short of being sinful. Someone who opts for this view of the Shafi’i madhhab and decides to remove his beard must therefore know that he has every reason short of sin to feel guilty for removing his beard.

I hope this helps.


Mln Taha Karaan

Thanks to Dar Al Turath Al Islami for their permission:


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