An Imam Who Trims Or Shaves His Beard

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{jb_greenbox}An Imam Who Trims Or Shaves His Beard{/jb_greenbox}


Q: Zaid leads the salaah but trims his beard to less than a fist length. What is the ruling with regards to appointing him as an Imam and performing salaah behind him? When this was brought to the attention of the Imam, he took no heed. What length should the beard be? Please explain.


Answer: It is waajib (compulsory) for men to have a beard. This is amongst the important hallmarks of Islaam. Imaam Muhammad رحمه الله writes in his Kitaabul Aathaar that it is Sunnah to have the beard a fist’s length, which means that a person may hold his beard (from beneath the chin) and then trim off whatever exceeds the fist. This is also acording to Imaam Abu Haneefah رحمه الله (Durrul Mukhtaar with Shaami, vol 5, p 359)

Durrul Mukhtaar (vol 2, p 155) also states, “To trim the beard to a length less than a fist as the western people and effeminates do, has not been permitted by an of the scholars. Shaving off the beard is a practise of the Hindus of India and non-Arab fire-worshippers.”

Faydhul Baari (vol 4, p 380) states that trimming the beard to a length shorter than a fist is Haraam according to all the Imaams of jurisprudence.

Tajnees wal Mazeed and Hidaayah state that it is not permissible to shave the beard because Rasoolullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم instructed that moustaches be trimmed and beards allowed to grow. (Nisaabul Ihtisaab, p 15. See also Maa Laa Budda Minhu, p 130)

The above makes it clear that it is Waajib (compulsory) to grow a beard. It is makrooh tahreemi to trim it to length shorter than a fist, and doing so will render the person a faasiq (flagrant sinner).

Fataawa Daarul Uloom (vol 3, p 128) states that trimming the beard to a length shorter than a fist is tantamount to shaving it off.

Keeping the beard contrary to the Sunnah method opposes the sanctity and importance of the post of an Imaam. One who does so is an open faasiq and it is necessary for him to repent and to grow his beard to the required length. If he does not do so, it will be makrooh for him to be the Imaam, and he should be fired from the post.

Shaami (vol 1, p 523) states that the reason for not appointing a faasiq as an Imaam is that he does not give importance to the injunctions of the Shari’ah. The post of an Imaam will accord him status and honour, whereas he really deserves to be humiliated.

An Imaam must be religious and abstain from public sins. A hadeeth reported by Hadrat ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما states that the best of you should be appointed as Imaams, because they serve as ambassadors before Allaah. Another hadeeth states that Rasoolullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If you wish that your salaah reach the highest levels of acceptance, you should appoint your learned ones as your Imaams so that they could serve as messengers between you and your Rabb.” (Tabaraani, as quoted in Sharhun Niqaayah, vol 1, p 86)

Kabeeri (p 479) states that people will be guilty of a sin if they appoint a faasiq as their Imaam.

It is necessary to keep a beard that is at least equal to one’s fist in length. The commentator of Mishkaatul Masaabeeh, Shah ‘Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi رحمه الله writes that it is Waajib (compulsory) to keep a beard that is equal in length to one’s fist. (Ashi’atul Lam’aat, vol 1, p 288)

It is Haraam to trim the beard to less than a fist length. (Maa Laa Budda Minhu, p 130)

The Imaam must be fired and if the trustees of the Masjid do not do so, you should perform your salaah at another Masjid. If there is no other Masjid, you will be forced to perform salaah behind this Imaam because it is improper to forsake salaah with jamaa’ah on acount of the emphasis the ahaadeeth place on it. Some Ulemaa state that performing salaah in jamaa’ah is waajib. It must therefore not be left out, but a concerted effort should be made to have the Imaam relieved of his post.

The following appears in Fataawa Daarul Uloom (vol 3, p 181):

Q: Zaid trims his beard to a length shorter than a fist. Is salaah behind him valid?

Answer: Durrul Mukhtaar states that it is Haraam to trim the beard to a length shorter than four fingers. Salaah behind such a person is therefore makrooh, even though the salaah will be valid. However, such a person should not be appointed as an Imaam.”

And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best what is most correct.


[Fatawa Rahimiyyah, Hadrat Haafidh Maulana Qaari Mufti ‘Abdur Raheem Lajpuri رحمه الله]