Connect with us

The Beard Story: Exclusive Interview With Yasir Qadhi

Omar Usman



*Stay tuned tomorrow for a special behind the scenes look and an outtake reel. 

*Mp3 files are at the end of the post.

A few months back, I posted an article entitled Job Interview Tips for Muslim Men. Shaykh Yasir left a comment on the article stating,

Ma sha Allah, great article as usual.

IbnAbeeOmar, may I suggest that your next article be on ‘tips for grooming and combing beards’. We’ll need specific details, such as: what conditioner works best for what type of hair, what is the best way to trim beards for those who believe its permissible, what should brothers do for ‘split beard hairs’, and, last but not least, how to hide those pesky ‘bald’ cheek-spots !!!


I was honored to see such recognition for my beard maintenance skills. I began to write about my tips for how to cut, trim, and condition. At IlmSummit, I got to speak to him about this pressing issue one on one. I gave him my recommendations for using a spray conditioner that you can leave in your beard such as




But I was left wondering why the man who went from




was asking me for such tips? I got a few tips in return from him, and thought that getting Shaykh Yasir to discuss this important issue would be far better than just writing about how to even out your beard. So the MuslimMattes shura set out on a mission. We gathered up a list of questions amongst ourselves and got him to agree to the interview.

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of such an interview – after all, when was the last time you actually heard a good talk about this subject on its own? Or read a book that didn’t begin and end with the halal and haram of keeping a beard?

I did have some specific questions that we needed to get addressed,

  • The fiqh of trimming
  • Beards = Hijab?
  • Yasir Qadhi’s favorite brand of shampoo/conditioner.

We got to hear some funny stories from Madinah, as well as Shaykh Yasir’s own most embarassing beard moment.

We also touched upon a number of serious issues which I hope people will pay attention to and take to heart. Although the overall nature of this interview was somewhat light-hearted, we did cover some serious issues that the beard often represents such as lack of prioritization in the deen, over-zealousness, and adab for interacting with community members.

While preparing the interview, I could not help but recall what is quite possibly the ‘classic’ beard moment (if we can call it such a thing) in the history of the dawah in North America – and it comes courtesy of no less a figure than one who in many senses epitomizes dawah, Shaykh Yusuf Estes,

[youtube DVtlSHW3DwA]

And lastly, I don’t want to ruin any of the interview, but if you’re ever in the market of getting Shaykh Yasir a gift, you can’t go wrong with this:



I hope that you enjoy and benefit from the interview insha’Allah.

Download the Interview

 download.png Download Part 1 | Part 2

Listen to the Interview

Part 1 [audio:]

Part 2 [audio:]

*Please subscribe to our podcast, if you already subscribed then you got to hear the interview a little earlier than everyone else :)


Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at



  1. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:08 AM

    LOL! At first I thought this was a joke, but there is actually an interview!

    I met a few brothers from MM at IlmSummit and Ibn Abi Omer’s beard is really styling. Siraaj’s, wow.

  2. Avatar

    ibn alHyderabadee

    November 24, 2008 at 12:18 AM

    my beard is like half str8 and half curly weird huh

  3. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    ok seriously…meterosexual daee.

  4. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:21 AM

    “when you see a beard you know what it is”

  5. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    November 24, 2008 at 2:27 AM

    Sh. Omar Baloch (Azhari) has a nice lil youtube clip of length of beard with evidences here

    Why have the Muslims turned homo?

    Even some greek orthodox and hasidic jews got their stuff out…and we play the metrosexual game.
    Everybody needs to man up and get some hair on their face and chest, we’re getting ridiculous.

    PS The secret to nice beard hair is Cold Pressed Virgin Olive Oil.
    PPS Nobody take offense, I’m only joking…but kind of not joking?

  6. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 2:30 AM

    much needed article, although as Shaykh Yasir did say that beard was not a pressing issue in our Ummah, for some reason it comes up in debate a quite a bit.

    I’ll definitely be posting this on forums, blogs, etc. when the issue comes up.

  7. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 2:41 AM

    salam u alikum , one of the best posts i have seen in here.

  8. Avatar

    ibn alHyderabadee

    November 24, 2008 at 3:03 AM

    i always wanted to try soakign my beard in battered eggs and milk…

  9. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 3:53 AM


    Nice article. I’ll save this article for when my beard comes about.

  10. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 4:03 AM

    What’s the deal with the photo out in the woods – he looks like a shaolin monk off to train from some huge martial arts tournament (or maybe this is where he learned his ping pong technique ;))


  11. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    November 24, 2008 at 6:32 AM

    Yasir Qadhi mentioned that around three of the Sahabah and several of the scholars from their successors trimmed that which was below their fists, does this then imply that there are no other reports from the first two generations in which others from amongst the Sahabah and their successors trimmed that which was beneath their fists and/or that none of the Sahabah and their successors trimmed that which was beneath their fists?

    If this is the case then I am curious to know at what point in history the opinion that it is permissible to trim that which is beneath the fist first came about?

  12. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    While I like the fact that Muslims are now starting to groom and take care of their beards (and trust me they need to – some of them look like they have put their hand in electric sockets), I disagree with the idea of a beard being compulsory.

    First, in the youtube video, the shiekh who quoted “keep your beard and shave your mustache” himself had a mustache. If beard was fard according to him as per that hadith then he should have shaved off that mustache!

    Second, there is this ridiculous notion that not having a beard is like a woman. A woman once wrote about this on my blog (a guest post). If anyone wants to debate this, you can go there.

    Again, I feel we don’t get it. We have bigger issues here than who is having a beard or not.

    • Avatar


      May 8, 2016 at 8:13 PM

      The ruling is to TRIM the beard and not to shave it necessarily. And also, the notion of not having a beard being like a women is more of an explanation of the origin of the beard ruling and how it was never an issue before. This was more of the cultural difference back then and was never made to be one of the main points for why having a beard is obligatory. The reason why it is obligatory is simply because there are numerous accounts of the issue being stated explicitly in the hadith.

      An issue like not having the beard can still be haram without being nearly as bad as other issues. You have a point when saying that there are other issues that are far more important than this one. So you are correct. However, this does not automatically disqualify the issue of not having a beard from being haram as well. It is simply just not as major of the sin. That is why there is a differentiation between major and minor sins. There are varying levels of haram and halal.

  13. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Excellent interview!

  14. ibnabeeomar


    November 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM

    mezba, did you listen to the interview? :) i think youd be (pleasantly) surprised.

    keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post with exclusive behind the scenes pictures of the interview and the interview gag reel

  15. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    I saw the youtube clip above. It was a good interview, and I like Shiekh Estes. I hope he comes to RIS this year.

  16. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:09 PM


    nice and neat interview…

  17. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    @ Mezba,

    First, in the youtube video, the shiekh who quoted “keep your beard and shave your mustache” himself had a mustache. If beard was fard according to him as per that hadith then he should have shaved off that mustache!

    Yakhi, he said, “trim the mustache”, he did not say, ‘shave your mustache’, please listen carefully brother before making a hasty conclusion :)

    We have bigger issues here than who is having a beard or not.

    This is what exactly sheikh said in his intro. I guess Br. IbnAbeeOmar made it to be ‘pressing’ issue :),
    On a joking note, I guess Br. IbnAbeeOmar needs to be blamed for making it as a pressing issue :P

    Jazakallahu Khair Br. IbnAbeeOmar, i think its a much needed article Barakumullahu Feek.

  18. ibnabeeomar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    mezba, i meant the interview with yq that is at the end of the post in mp3 format :)

  19. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 12:55 PM

    Again, I feel we don’t get it. We have bigger issues here than who is having a beard or not.

    Mezba, please listen to the MP3, you may have mistaken the video for the main event of this post – there are two MP3 audio files where Shaykh Yasir discusses this issue in depth, and he frames (meaning starts and ends) the lecture with the point that there are MUCH bigger things to worry about, and this discussion is primarily for people who are at the stage where they are ready to grow it, or their independent, and so forth.


  20. ibnabeeomar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    i edited the post to make the audios at the end stand out more hopefully

  21. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:05 PM

    Excellent article/podcast from MM. I liked the YouTub vid too.
    That was educational and entertaining.

    the 2 pics look like a Before and After shot for a commercial :P

  22. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM

    Second, there is this ridiculous notion that not having a beard is like a woman. A woman once wrote about this on my blog (a guest post). If anyone wants to debate this, you can go there.

    And I responded to this post (not quite with the debating you invited, though).


  23. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:07 PM

    OK.. will take a listen now. It was a bit confusing, I didn’t see the mp3 at first (it didn’t show up on my firefox).

  24. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:33 PM

    What’s the deal with the photo out in the woods – he looks like a shaolin monk off to train from some huge martial arts tournament (or maybe this is where he learned his ping pong technique ;))


    hahahahaha. I cant stop laughing. that is such an amazing description. I didnt get the ping pong stuff though. Is Shaykh Yasir good at ping pong?

  25. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 1:35 PM

    When my beard was much longer, I used to use a straitening iron every morning cuz it curled at the bottom
    It was very very….troublesome :-(

  26. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    hahahahaha. I cant stop laughing. that is such an amazing description. I didnt get the ping pong stuff though. Is Shaykh Yasir good at ping pong?

    Ilm Summit joke, go to youtube and check out the vids of the two shaykh yasirs playing ping pong, you’ll understand.


  27. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    bro that picture of Abu Ammar had me rolling … it reminded me of those tarzan tamed pictures with the wilderness behind him…lol good stuff

  28. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 3:55 PM

    Why did i get into this post at all. I already had enough pressure to shave my beard off and now iam having doubts myself after listening to this interview,, Yaaa Allah make me firm on this.

  29. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 4:04 PM

    I agree that the beard itself is not an important issue, but what it leads to can be. Sometimes it reveals that a person has issues with these concepts:

    -Obedience of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “If it’s not in the Qur’an, I don’t gotta do it!”
    -Having Trust in Allah: “Having even a short beard will prevent me from getting married, getting a job, and flying in planes”
    -Muslim Identity in America: “I shave my beard because I don’t want people at work to know I’m muslim. I’ve got it worse than Obama”

    This is why the overzealous types (I used to be one of them) get so emotional; they sincerely want brothers to obey the Prophet, have proper Trust in Allah, not be afraid of showing that they’re muslim, etc.

    Although there are some people that would be better off not displaying their Islam (because of their terrible morals/akhlaq etc.), it does sadden me a bit when I see good muslim brothers (that do all the obligatory deeds and have good akhlaq) shave the beard. These days, having a long beard is associated with extremism, backwardness, mysoginism, etc. This stereotype stirs up one’s emotions because a long beard is part of the sunnah of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and he wasn’t extreme or evil in any way.
    Thus, personally, I would like to see good brothers wear long beards while doing good deeds, in the hopes that this stereotype would be minimized in the eyes of the public. In short, having a long beard is doing da’wah in a way, and this simple way of daw’ah is being ignored.

    So you can see the underlying reasons why people make the beard a big deal. I think this is why scholars started to write books about this, because when a person says, “Aw man, a beard is obligatory…”, they then ask “Well, how short can I cut it?”

    Note: I do agree with just about everything Sh. Yasir said, I just wanted to reveal the “other side”. :)

  30. AnonyMouse


    November 24, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    Haha, this was great masha’Allah… hahaha, my dad gets the “Are you Jesus/ Moses/ Santa Claus/ God?” question all the time!

  31. Avatar

    abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    November 24, 2008 at 5:06 PM

    bismillah. the secret of the woodland shaykh? is Yasir one of Robin Hood’s merry men? from the story “Friar Tuck meets Shaykh Yasir?” nope, unless Zakir Naik has a secret Ping Pong base in Mumbai, that’s a screenshot from a segment or commercial on Peace TV, vintage Yasir’s Seerah series.

    ibnabeeOmar — maybe move the youtube video to the top or remove it altogether. i wonder how many people only watched the video wondering which conditioner corresponds to which shaykh….

    dontaskme — i would only ask you to listen to the mp3. one thing to understand is that growing the beard is not a hardship upon you.

    mezba — many people seek out wisdoms and reasons for growing their beard, and for many other actions in Islam. well-meaning people and scholars try to provide them explanations so the first group will be convinced and then obey Allah and His Messenger, sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam. “fasting increases your appreciation for the plight of the poor.” so if a person who relied on that wisdom lived in some utopian society where there were no poor people, would that person be justified in giving up fasts?

    no. a wise person does not make obedience to Allah conditional upon his or her intellect. a wise person obeys the commands of Allah and His Messenger because there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah, and obedience is part and parcel of worship.

    a person who predicates obedience on comprehending the wisdom or rationality of a command, that is a person whose faith is weak. such a person has fundamentally undercut his faith because he limits it to his comprehension, whereas Allah and His Wisdom are beyond comprehension. if such a person lives in society in harmony with the commands of Allah, his faith may never be tested. but if this person lives in a society where mores and sensibilities are dictated by television and mass media… then his faith would be tested often.

    the wise person appreciates what truth he may find in the wisdoms and reasons offered to explain the commandments of Allah. but his obedience does not depend on the strength or weakness of any man-made argument.

  32. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 5:24 PM

    Salaams, Subhnallah I was just thinking about writing my own blog post about an incident I had occur recently. I shall call it: The Daari Discount… For the non-desi bro’s Daari = beard. Insha Allah will get on to it as soon as I get a chance.

  33. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 5:40 PM

    Just found a recording of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shareef on the beard issue: Beard Q & A

  34. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    MashaAllah, my father use to mix eggs and avocado and he would put it on his beard. His beard looked more healthy and it grew longer. His beard looked much better and he didn’t look like wolverine anymore :)

  35. Avatar

    ibn alHyderabadee

    November 24, 2008 at 6:14 PM

    my beard is changing color by itself…i;m seeing red hairs……is that normal?

  36. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 6:53 PM

    ibn alHyderabadee said:

    my beard is changing color by itself…i;m seeing red hairs……is that normal?

    They will turn white.. I had few brown hair and I was puzzled, and they turned white eventually

  37. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    November 24, 2008 at 7:13 PM

    What’s the deal with the photo out in the woods – he looks like a shaolin monk off to train from some huge martial arts tournament (or maybe this is where he learned his ping pong technique ;))


    LOL!! Nice one Siraaj. Actually that was taken in a REAL setting (no fake background) in some location outside of Mumbai that’s used by Bollywood to shoot some of their movies (yes, the very ones where actors and actresses do their scenes).

    I was recording episodes for my Seerah show – alhamdulillah land does not become polluted due to what happens on it in the past!

  38. ibnabeeomar


    November 24, 2008 at 7:17 PM

    LOL!! Nice one Siraaj. Actually that was taken in a REAL setting (no fake background) in some location outside of Mumbai that’s used by Bollywood to shoot some of their movies (yes, the very ones where actors and actresses do their scenes).

    I was recording episodes for my Seerah show – alhamdulillah land does not become polluted due to what happens on it in the past!

    So in this seerah show, you don’t randomly change clothes from one scene to the next do you? or break out into group nasheeds? ;)

  39. Avatar

    Dunia's Stranger

    November 24, 2008 at 7:45 PM

    While Yasir Qadhi does a great job discussing what you cannot do with your beard – cannot shave it completely, I feel that his definitions for the middle ground between completely shaved and the a fist full are left wanting because of no precise definition of what length a person can trim till.

    In the following segment on what extent one can trim (being at 11:15 mark on the 1st mp3), Shaykh Qadhi comes to the conclusion that the only thing can be sinful is complete shaving of the beard and not the trimming beyond the fist full.

    Thus the central question he poses is: what is the bare minimum?

    To answer this, he turns to the arabic definition of beard (lihyah). This he defines as hair that grows on the cheeks and the chin.

    Yet, Shyakh Qadhi shifts gears from what is the linguistic definition to a some type of ‘reasonable person standard’ of a person who looks another another and says that “this is beard” because they have met the bare minimum (we are to assume that the bare minimum means the linguistic definition he gives earlier on: hair on the cheeks & chin), it constitutes a beard. Now here is the part that gets interesting…

    Shaykh Qadhi clearly says (at 13:10 mark mp3 lecture 1) that “I do not think the Sharia has a minimum in terms of centimeters,” to which the questioner asks “what about the draw line” (which I assume is missed shaving for 2 days beard) to which Shaykh Qadhi, responds with, “the draw line, if some body looks at, I really do not think it is called a beard, even in the english language, I mean, I think this is the facial hair – no shaving for 2 days. I think a reasonable amount of hair, and here’s the point now – who defines what is reasonable? I don’t have a precise definition. I mean, when you see a beard you know what it is. Nobody takes a measuring tape and measures how long the hairs are and how wide it is – I think that this is a bit too precise. But what your talking about that pencil thin, which is less than 1 millimeter, and not shaved for 2 days: that doen’t quite constitute a beard because it is not the full cheeks, the full cheekbones, and the full chin that a person has hair on.

    I see a bit of a contradiction in the logic Shaykh Qadhi employs to answer that brother’s questions. For instance, Shaykh Qadhi clearly says that “I do not think the Sharia has a minimum in terms of centimeters” and previously defines a beard as in the arabic language as having hair on the cheek. Then how can he logically argue against 2 day beard? What’s the basis for arguing against a beard that looks like the missed 2 days of shaving when your first definition of beard only constitutes having hair on the cheeks and chin and you refuse to consider a minimum length? According the first set of definitions for the beard, the 2 day missed shave is a valid beard.

    Yet in the questioning section where the interviewer brother asks him about the draw line, Shaykh Qadhi places an additional definitions that contradict his first set of definitions. Why does at that point Shyakh Qadhi use the word “full”

    But what your talking about that pencil thin, which is less than 1 millimeter, and not shaved for 2 days: that doen’t quite constitute a beard because it is not the full cheeks, the full cheekbones, and the full chin that a person has hair on

    Where does Shaykh Qadhi now find the basis to insert “full” into his previous definition of beard having no limit. I find this problematic because it is his arbitrary perception of the beard being “full.” This leads back to the problematic arguments of qualifying what is the beard by depending upon the “reasonable” person who says: this is a beard. Given that the ‘reasonable’ person will vary from person to person, does it even make much sense to use them to assist in defining that this is the minimum limit of the beard? You get 10 different people and you get 10 different definitions. An Afghan beard is totally different from a Malaysian.

    Furthermore, why does Shaykh Qadhi even try to address what is a beard is defined within the english language – How is that relevant to the previous definition of beard which was established in the arabic language, when the arabic language only provides that hair be present on the cheeks & chin, and is silent about volume/mass of the beard?

    the draw line, if some body looks at, I really do not think it is called a beard, even in the english language,

    While I enjoyed the lecture on the beard, I feel that Shaykh Qadhi’s definition cannot exclude the 2 day missed shaving beard – and most definitely not the 3 day or 4 day missed shaving beard, based upon him adhering to the no minimum definition coupled with the linguistic definition that only specifies that hair be present on the cheeks and the chin (not that it be full).

  40. ibnabeeomar


    November 24, 2008 at 7:56 PM

    duniastranger: the question was oriented around a jawline beard (aka pencil beard), not draw line.

    here’s an example:

    this is different from a 5 oclock shadow or just not shaving for 2 days.

  41. Avatar


    November 24, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    Assalamu alaykum,

    why did shaykh yusuf say it is shirk to make du’aa for the bread to grow? I didn’t understand.

  42. Avatar

    Dunia's Stranger

    November 24, 2008 at 8:25 PM

    Thanks ibnabeeomar for the clarification,

    I suspected the David Craig type would not muster the test for a “beard” since it eliminates hair on the cheeks to begin with.

    Yet, Shaykh Qadhi also excluded the 2 day not shaving as not being within the beard category (he didn’t mention the 5 o’ clock shadow).

    Thus, why would these types of beards be excluded?

    Most people consider Baron Davis as having a beard – yet as someone whose facial hair grows fast ( I used to get the 5 o’clock at 1 o’ clock) – I can pull of Baron Davis’ beard in about 2 days or less.

  43. Avatar

    Dunia's Stranger

    November 24, 2008 at 8:27 PM

    For those who don’t know Baron Davis or the type of beard he has:

  44. Avatar

    ibn alHyderabadee

    November 25, 2008 at 2:14 AM

    So in this seerah show, you don’t randomly change clothes from one scene to the next do you? or break out into group nasheeds?

    I bet YQ would appeal to a whole notha’ audience if he did that…..
    they would play it in bollywood theaters across the country…..

  45. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 2:38 AM

    I think i’m gonna start a club for long bearders. Maybe me and Siraaj can be the founders. Then we’ll make mp3’s about how awesome it is to have a long beard and what short bearders are mssing out on :)

    Benefits of long beard:

    1. People can’t forget who you are even if they don’t know your name
    2. Other Muslims recognize you and say salaam just by seeing the beard (doesn’t happen as much with individuals with shorter beards)
    3. Insulation in the winter
    4. Feels soft if you take care of it
    5. People will always ask you “how long did it take you to grow it?” and “why do you grow your beard like that?” allowing an easy da’wah opportunity without having to approach people
    6. You can hold pencils in it and make kids and people laugh
    7. Allows you to dispel the myth that bearded people are evil moolahs
    8. Hippi’s love you
    9. Holds water and provides cooling factor with wind on hot summer days
    10. Certain Muslims feel comfortable speaking with you
    11. Feels good combing it

  46. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 2:48 AM

    Sure, just pull one of these off and your in ;)

  47. Avatar

    Ron Ibn Abi Paul Al-Anti-Illuminati

    November 25, 2008 at 4:39 AM

  48. Avatar

    November 25, 2008 at 4:59 AM

    Beard Champion of the World right here:

    I’ve seen an Egyptian brother with a bigger beard than that (I think)

  49. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 8:38 AM

    Akhi, those are some profound 11 points, many of which I’ve pulled off lol. The pencil in the beard thing… did that like 2 weeks ago in Physics class, made my friend Brandon laugh. Also, the beard is a good protectant from liquid spills. Alhamdullilah, it saved my shirt on one occasion… Combing is another matter, I cannot stop twisting it…

  50. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    Walaykumus Salam,

    I respectfully disagree with Sh Yasir in that trimming below fist length is okay or makrooh at best. I haven’t heard any classical or contemporary scholar say this. But after his views on participating in elections, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

    Sh Yasir, I really hope the popularity you have gained in the west does not make you waver from sticking to the Quran and Sunnah. You will face fitan and challenges around you, but if you stick to the truth, even in the most seemingly trivial issues, inshaAllah Allah (swt) will bless you in this dunya and Akhirah. I really and honestly hope you are sincere and only seeking to please Allah (swt).

    – Sirat

  51. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 12:55 PM

    Sirat, here is the opinion of the Shafi’i school:

    the two great verifying scholars of the Shafi`i school, Imam Abul Qasim al-Rafi`i and Imam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi—in accordance with the position of Imam Ghazali—have ruled that to keep a full beard is merely recommended, not obligatory, and that it is neither unlawful to shave it nor to shorten it, even when this is done without an excuse. It is, however, disliked to shorten or shave the beard because it contravenes the prophetic command to grow a full beard.

  52. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 1:17 PM

    Walaykumus Salam,

    I respectfully disagree with Sh Yasir in that trimming below fist length is okay or makrooh at best. I haven’t heard any classical or contemporary scholar say this. But after his views on participating in elections, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

    Sh Yasir, I really hope the popularity you have gained in the west does not make you waver from sticking to the Quran and Sunnah. You will face fitan and challenges around you, but if you stick to the truth, even in the most seemingly trivial issues, inshaAllah Allah (swt) will bless you in this dunya and Akhirah. I really and honestly hope you are sincere and only seeking to please Allah (swt).

    – Sirat

    Salaam alaykum Sirat,

    It’s not popularity – it’s age and experience. Although I personally disagree with the opinion presented, I did enjoy the discussion and gave it consideration and then decided to maintain my opinion. And while I disagree with it, I agree with something else that was said – there are far more important issues to deal with, and that fiqh differences of opinion are fiqh differences of opinion, 2 rewards for the one who is right, 1 reward for the one who is wrong. Many of our scholars and advanced students of knowledge maintain beards that are trimmed well below the four fist limiit, and I personally see nothing wrong with that if that is the conclusion they have come to, seeking the pleasure of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.

    Let’s always be sure to assume the best until we can prove the worst, and not the opposite. You probably know better than anyone online that was my own tactic on certain forums for a number of years and realized the mistake in that through, as I said, age and experience.


  53. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 3:13 PM

    If you have a lot of knots in your beard, you might want to use a blow dryer. It makes your beard much easier to comb, especially when it’s wet.

  54. Avatar

    MM Associates

    November 25, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    bismillah. [written by abu abdAllah]

    ya sirat, i pray that Allah subhanahu wata ala will guide you and guide others like you. like you, i was once very willing to look at statements of shuyukh and pass judgment on them. to say that such and such a statement must mean this and that. and it became a hindrance for me in learning.

    i had the good fortune to approach one shaykh and ask him directly about another, and the best thing for me was that the shaykh i approached had zero-tolerance for what i had done. he told me about an incident he had witnessed in Madinah, where a student asked a teacher why they were studying a certain book when its author had said such and such and was known to have done this and the other. the teacher reprimanded the student because the student’s question presumed (1) that the teachers were ignorant of what the student had mentioned, and (2) that the teachers did not know what was beneficial in the text and what was not.

    the student had not challenged content of the book, he was challenging positions of the writer on other issues. that tactic of conflating the issue at hand is what you have engaged in when you wrote:

    But after his views on participating in elections, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

    it’s not an intellectually honest tactic. it is divisive. and it is most used by those who cast aspersions from the comfort of a dorm room or cloister that they might be too ashamed to do by the light of day. so i urge you to do some serious soul-searching, and i pray you will benefit from it.

  55. Avatar


    November 25, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    Asalamu Alikum
    I don’t think it should be considered a smaller issue. It is not the actual hair, but is a more a sign of obedience and submission to the commands of Allah. Regarding the sacrifice, Allah says (intepretation of the meaning);
    “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.” (al-Hajj 22:37).
    Moreover, it is a true sign of love of Allah and His Prophet when it is done for the sake of Allah. The Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wa sallam commanded the beard, and Allah commanded us to obey His Prophet.

  56. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    November 25, 2008 at 7:42 PM

    In the link posted to Q’s & A’s on the beard with Muhammad ash-Sharif he mentions that the opinion he is propagating is that of his teacher, Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtar bin Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shanqiti, the son of Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin [and I assume he means ash-Shanqiti] who he states was the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia before Shaykh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin Baz. I had thought that Shaykh Ibrahim Ali ash-Shaykh was the Grand Mufti before Shaykh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin Baz, is this not correct? I would be surprised if Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shanqiti was the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia since not only was he not “Ali ash-Shaykh” [and I know that neither was Shaykh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz], but he was not even from Saudi Arabia.

    It seems that Muhammad ash-Sharif shares the view of his teacher which is obviously therefore a contemporary view, and Yasir Qadhi didn’t make mention [from what I can remember] of any scholars from the early generations who either trimmed that which was less than a fist length or said it was permissible to do so. This for me at least is a very important issue, because I for one believe that it is important to know how the early generations understood the actions of the generations that came shortly before them, did they understand such actions to be that of restriction on or permissibility of trimming? And at what point in time did the view that it is permissible to trim that which is less than a fist length become a known opinion?

  57. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 1:25 AM

    this is an awesome interview mashaAllah. 13:04 and onwards of part 2= my favorite. wish more people would listen and understand those few points.

  58. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 6:25 AM

    Shaykh Yasir says that all four madhaib say beard is wajib, but doesn’t the shafi’i madhab differ on this issue and say it is makrouh?

  59. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 6:25 AM

    Shaykh Yasir says that all four madhaib say beard is haram to shave, but doesn’t the shafi’i madhab differ on this issue and say it is makrouh to shave only?

  60. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    Shaykh Yasir, you said that brother in Univ of Madeenah had the longest beard you’ve seen. Take a look at this:


    Fi Aman Allah

  61. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    abuAbdullah and siraaj,

    I’m not conflating the issue at hand. I’m merely pointing out what I have observed overtime- basically that we’re witnessing a more relaxed approach by certain students of knowledge when it comes to contemporary issues; in other words, there is an element propagating a more watered down religon to the western muslim youth, albeit in a very very gradual manner.

    This has nothing to do with my youthful exuberance; what I say has been said by a very wise, knowledge and elderly person who has met and knows many of these madinah graduates, he himself being a graduate from madinah. If you asked him 2 years ago, he had already predicted this gradual change as it is a common result of excessive popularity. If you ask him now, he will tell you that many of these instructors still lack age and experience; much of what they’re saying now as regards to issues we face today (beard and voting being two recent examples) is contradicted by their very own teachers who taught them in Madinah :-)

    Wallahu alam – I usually tend to stay away from these forums and from Almaghrib in general, so I wouldn’t want to get into detailed arguments – it wouldn’t benefit or change anyone. The above was just my observation and I believe I have the right to voice my opinion – its a free country after all :-)

    May Allah guide us all. Forgive me if I offended anyone.

    – Sirat

  62. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    as Abu Hatim said:
    – I dont’ recall as well Shaykh Muhammad Ash-Shanqeetee being the grand mufti before Shaykh bin Baaz. Very odd statement indeed.
    – In fact, I do not recall a single scholar not of saudi descent being grand mufti. Shaykh Bin baaz was pretty much an exceptional case not being form “aal al-shaykh”. But he was still a native saudi.
    – Then again, I could be totally off. But in some bio’s i’ve read on him, they do not mention he was grand mufti. How could they miss this?

  63. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM

  64. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    November 26, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    @ Br. Sirat

    You raise some very deep and profound issues, which I myself am currently discussing with students and scholars, peers and teachers. I too have to face this ‘charge’ directly and I understand where it is coming from.

    I am currently in the process of writing a lengthy article (it is an ongoing article, and I don’t plan to release it in the immediate future) where I’m collecting my thoughts and the thoughts of many other peers and scholars on the issue. I’m afraid that while it is self-appeasing to assume that there are simple psychological issues at play and dismiss these opinions ad hominem (which, in the end, is what is happening despite how ‘nicely’ its done :) ), there are in fact far deeper methodological principles that are involved. It is clear that some activists, myself including, are fine-tuning the dawah from how it was expressed and practiced a decade ago by the previous generation of duaat. Some view it as watering down, I personally view it as wisening up. I would go so far as to state that the change in direction that we are witnessing is completely in accordance with the goals of the Shariah, and is also directly a cause (and not a result) of the success of our methodology, with the help of Allah before, during and after of course.

    But that is the topic of the longer article, and when it does come out it will explain a lot more than this brief note. I just wanted to state that obviously I am well aware of this difference of perspective, and respectfully disagree. I also believe that there will always be, let’s say, more ‘conservative’ understandings of our religion, and they are free to practice the religion as they see fit. The problem will come as a result of their view that anyone who doesn’t agree with their specific understanding (or take from their scholars) is somehow not fully authentic (if this sounds familiar, its because it is very similar to other phenomenons that we have all witnessed) .

    Lastly, my opinions on voting and the beard were the same in Madinah as they are now. So this is not a recent ‘change’ but rather my standard opinion for the last (almost) decade.


  65. Amad


    November 26, 2008 at 3:04 PM

    Well said Shaykh sahib, I look forward to this wonderful and much-needed article. It isn’t just scholars and students of knowledge who have to expound on what this watering-down or maturing is, depending on perspective, but also for the other people in dawah and even the laymen to understand properly.

    The example of voting, brought up by Sirat, actually illustrates quite the opposite to what he is indicating. The fact that some great scholars like Ibn Uthaymeen said it was permissible, should lead one to question on the breadth and wideness of one’s own “cliques of scholars”.

    As YQ indicated, many of us have “been there, done that”. I still remember reading Sh. Albani’s book on salah, and engaging in “amr bil maroof and nahil munkar” on fiqh of prayer, because in my mind everyone else HAD to be wrong. The world of scholars was REALLY very small indeed at the time… in fact you could count the scholars on your fingers (at least the “kibaar”). And then I think many of us discovered that there was a world beyond the bubble– a world that was equally full of vigor, intellect and yes, scholarly works.

    Also, the personalities we held on to… we believed they were right in all circumstances, and often we viewed the world through their colored lenses. It was the sort of taqleed of the living students of knowledge, that we warned others about doing with madahib.

    This isn’t an easy struggle. In fact, not long ago, I bemoaned the changing world in this piece on my own now-defunct blog. I think the reflections are still valid. The question is whether the “new us” is better than the “old us”. Change, or more appropriately, the process of maturing, is not always bad.

    I recommend the short-book (nearly a booklet) “Who moved my cheese“… it has an enriching message that everyone will appreciate.

  66. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    As-salam Alaykum Bro Sirat,

    I think that although you took great care of wording your post in a seemingly courteous manner, it is very clear that it is a ‘vicious attack’ on the character of certain dawah-carriers.

    You said:

    I usually tend to stay away from these forums and from Almaghrib in general, so I wouldn’t want to get into detailed arguments – it wouldn’t benefit or change anyone.

    Then brother why didn’t you follow your own advice/methodology and stay away from making this post? Obviously your post doesn’t benefit or change anyone, so why did you post it?

    You say:

    I respectfully disagree with Sh Yasir

    Followed by the contradiction:

    Sh Yasir, I really hope the popularity you have gained in the west does not make you waver from sticking to the Quran and Sunnah. You will face fitan and challenges around you, but if you stick to the truth, even in the most seemingly trivial issues, inshaAllah Allah (swt) will bless you in this dunya and Akhirah. I really and honestly hope you are sincere and only seeking to please Allah (swt).

    The only insincerity is yours.

    Fi Aman Allah

  67. Avatar


    November 26, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    I’m not conflating the issue at hand. I’m merely pointing out what I have observed overtime- basically that we’re witnessing a more relaxed approach by certain students of knowledge when it comes to contemporary issues; in other words, there is an element propagating a more watered down religon to the western muslim youth, albeit in a very very gradual manner.

    Since when was the beard a contemporary issue?

    This has nothing to do with my youthful exuberance; what I say has been said by a very wise, knowledge and elderly person who has met and knows many of these madinah graduates, he himself being a graduate from madinah. If you asked him 2 years ago, he had already predicted this gradual change as it is a common result of excessive popularity. If you ask him now, he will tell you that many of these instructors still lack age and experience; much of what they’re saying now as regards to issues we face today (beard and voting being two recent examples) is contradicted by their very own teachers who taught them in Madinah.

    Is following blanket non-fiqh related conclusions made by one’s elders considered a valid form of taqleed? I’m not so sure. I have not seen evidence to demonstrate that these teachers have watered themselves down due to popularity – it’s an unjust aspersion to cast against someone without evidence, and the evidence needed is heavy because it goes not just into the action, but the intention behind it – can your teacher (who you’re taking from) prove it? If not, then it’s not worth mentioning.


  68. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 4:43 AM

    I have not seen evidence to demonstrate that these teachers have watered themselves down due to popularity

    I think the real reason is that the very popular dawah carriers tend to be smarter people, students of knowledge who shine above and beyond the rest. Every year, hundreds of people graduate from Univ of Madeenah and other Saudi schools…but how many of them do we hear about? The fact is that people like Yasir Qadhi are exceptional; he is a truly gifted and intelligent man.

    So because these people are so smart, they usually come to realize how the simplistic version of Islam that these ‘exuberant youths’ does not represent true Islam.

    The less intelligent dawah-carriers don’t get as famous because they are not exceptional, and because they are not very intelligent, they never expand their religious knowledge like the smarter ones do. Yasir Qadhi has grown by leaps and bounds, and this just shows his intelligence, nothing more. The dumb people are just too dumb to realize this.

  69. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    November 27, 2008 at 6:24 AM

    @ Yasir Qadhi

    Dear Yasir Qadhi

    Earlier on in this thread I posted:

    “…and Yasir Qadhi didn’t make mention [from what I can remember] of any scholars from the early generations who either trimmed that which was less than a fist length or said it was permissible to do so. This for me at least is a very important issue, because I for one believe that it is important to know how the early generations understood the actions of the generations that came shortly before them, did they understand such actions to be that of restriction on or permissibility of trimming? And at what point in time did the view that it is permissible to trim that which is less than a fist length become a known opinion?”

    I would appreciate it if you could answer my questions concerning this particular issue, since knowing who and/or if any of the early generations understood the actions of some of the sahabah and several of the tabi’in to be highlighting the permissibility of trimming without restriction or to be highlighting the restriction on what can and cant be trimmed is the crux of the issue.

    I look forward to your response!

  70. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 7:33 AM

    Assalaam’aalaikum brothers,

    Subhaan allah-I saw this on some other posts (which Amad might remember) and I see this again. With the exception of the noble response of the Sheikh – I found the others who responded to Sirat (whether I agree or not) – to be cliqueish and attacking. Siraaj/Amad – I feel the sheikh is well qualified to defend himself and clarify if required (J-ireserve my comments for i know little to nothing about you) Brothers – please let me be able to say I love you all for the sake of allah (which is sincerely where i started when i first started coming on to – do not become the same people who you deride time and again on these boards-you know the ones i speak of. Even the politest of language can conceal the harshest of attacks-i’m sure u realise that.

    Ya Sheikh Yasir – a teacher is often reflected in his students – we saw this with what happened in the late 90’s and early 2000’s with certain cliques. I remember when Abu Ameenah and many others would tell us that truth will soon ‘out’ – to have patience and adhere to the middle way and await the time when the scholars would finally speak, and remember the noble manner in which he handled his attackers – people who were far harsher and downright insulting in their attacks – I implore you to advise your students to tone down their responses. I dont want to jump the gun here – but I fear for these brothers and I fear for their increasingly antagonistic stand towards ‘conservative’ (if i could use a better term-I would) salafis, ahl us sunnah / call it what u may.

    To the brothers – if it was a point to defend or refute – lets do it with scholarship not acrimony – the one who responds in a noble manner is better than the harsh person (or the one who seems to be attacking).


    Abu Moosa

    (now-go ahead and refute away)

  71. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 10:59 AM

    I have a question:

    1. Can we change the captions of the Sh. Yasir’s pictures from “Before/After” to “Before Marriage/After Marriage”?

    2. A little gem that I still love to this day: “If you sincerely think you’re sincere, then you need some sincerity in your sincerity” – Imam Nawawi rahimahullah.

    3. At what point does not shaving the beard turn from a fiqh issue to an issue of a persons aqeedah?

    4. Is it not of the adaab to give advice to specific people in private?

  72. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    November 27, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    @ Abu Hatim

    There are some reports (e.g,. from Mujahid and Ata) where they said it was permissible to trim during Hajj, and they didn’t specify how long. So it is possible to say they didn’t mean any specification, and it is possible to say that they were referring to what other tabiun said of trimming to a fist length. But that is not my main point, rather it’s an usuli one which I tried to summarize in the lecture. The fact that the Companions trimmed is an indication that they understood that what the hadith intended was to grow a beard, and not that it should go untouched. To derive from all of these athar that someone is SINFUL for trimming less than a fist’s length is where I disagree. I simply cannot extrapolate the ruling of tahrim from the actions of some of our early respected generations.
    As I said, if someone were to say that a fistful is mustahab, I would agree (and that is my opinion). In fact, I would even lean towards sayings trimming less than a fistful is makruh (although personally I follow the opinion that is mubah, but I sympathize very much with saying its makruh and see fully where they are coming from). My issue comes from saying that a Muslims faces the punishment of Allah for trimming – I don’t see the evidences stacking up to this claim.

    @ Abu Moosa
    I appreciate the comments, and I do hope that anyone who defends me or any other Muslim, layman or daee or scholar, does so for the sake of the truth, and not for any ‘cliquesh’ reasons.

    @ Zuhair
    Both pics are ‘after marriage’, akhi, so don’t read YOUR fears into them ;)
    The beard issue would never become an aqadi one unless someone says that he doesn’t really care what the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam wanted us to do – now THAT would be a major issue (of kufr, that is!)

  73. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    to be cliqueish and attacking. Siraaj/Amad – I feel the sheikh is well qualified to defend himself and clarify if required

    Not sure what you mean by either clique-ish or attacking – do you want to elaborate on that?


  74. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    November 27, 2008 at 6:51 PM

    For those who were asking for quotes from the scholars of the past, here is one:
    The famous Maliki jurist al-Qadi `Iyad (d. 543) wrote in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (2/64):

    As for taking from the beard, from its length and its width, then this is something recommended. And it is disliked to grow up to a length at which it would be considered boastful, just as it is disliked to trim it excessively. But the scholars of the salaf disagreed amongst themselves as to whether there was a specific limit [to the beard], so some amongst them considered there to be no specific limit (lam yuhadid), except that they said that it should not grow to a length of arrogance and fame (shuhra), but rather should trim it. And others amongst them set a limit, and said that anything more than a fistful should be trimmed.

    The concept of shuhra is of course relative, and I am NOT employing it here. Rather, all I’m saying is that there is an opinion that states anything that constitutes a ‘beard’ would be fulfilling the requirements of the Shariah, and that is the position that I hold to. When the Sacred Texts themselves do not specify limits, we turn to language. It is also for this exact same usuli reason that I hold that the definition of ‘travel’ is a relative matter, not defined by a specific distance; even though this is an extremely minority position amongst the classical scholars (perhaps even more of a minority than the opinion that allows trimming the beard), it has become so popular in our times that many think it is a majority opinion! With respect to the travel issue, this was primarily popularized by Ibn Taymiyya, who claimed that since the Shariah did not specify, we should in fact turn to the language and customs. He did this in the face of the fact that the vast majority of scholars of the first few generations have very specific opinions regarding what constitutes ‘travel’ (i.e., they set a very precise measurement for it).

    In the end, Allah knows best, and we try to achieve Allah’s pleasure, and all those who are sincere are rewarded for their striving.

  75. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 9:51 PM

    I want to preface this by saying that I agree with Ustadh Yasir Qadhi that there is no real evidence to support the idea that it is sinful to trim your beard so that it is less than a handful.

    Having said that, I think that from a purely aesthetic sense, Yasir Qadhi looked better in the longer beard, i.e. the Madeenah hardcore one. It seemed more symmetrical and nice to me. Wallahu Aalim.

  76. Avatar


    November 27, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    For the sake of clarifying some previous comments – confusion often occurs when discussing scholars from Mauritania. Many scholars, and people in general, from Mauritania have the name Muhammad and they also have compound names such as Muhammad al-Mukhtaar, Muhammad al-Hassan or Muhammad al-Ameen. You even have cases where all the boy children have the name Muhammad and they distinguish them by Muhammad ath-Thaani or Muhammad II, etc.

    Shaykh Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Mukthaar Aal-Mazeed ash-Shanqeeti (hafidhahullah) who teaches in al-Masjid an-Nabawi and also in Jeddah is not the son of Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen b. Muhammad al-Mukhtaar ash-Shanqeeti (rahimahullah), who also taught in al-Masjid an-Nabawi but was never mufti of Saudi Arabia. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen (rahimahullah) also has children who teach in al-Masjid an-Nabawi.

    If you’re not confused yet then in the least it is probably very obvious to you by now that quite a few times opinions and views have been attributed to the Shaykh which he is innocent and free of to the point that there is even a message on his website – – regarding attributing something to him without verifying it beforehand. I am not necessarily referring to anything being discussed here in this post.

    So the Shaykh is the son of Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtaar (rahimahullah) who was a teacher in al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. His father (rahimahullah) was an outstanding scholar as well with an amazing memory like many from Mauritania. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) once said he had memorized the entire history book of Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) and Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (rahimahullah) included him in a work of his which was an index of scholars of genealogy.

    Anyone who visits al-Madeenah should take the opportunity to sit in the class of the Shaykh. He is both a faqeeh and waa’idh, connecting fiqh issues to the heart so that the purpose and goal of ‘ibaadah is kept in mind. Though classes may be on hold at the moment since Hajj is coming, they are usually on Thursday at al-Masjid an-Nabawi on al-Muwatta and on Wednesday in Jeddah at Masjid al-Malik Sa’ood on Sunan at-Tirmidhi (listen here – There are also many lectures of his here –

    I know all of this is a bit off topic and I apologize for that but I just wanted to clarify for anyone interested and I hope this is helpful and Allah knows best.

  77. Avatar


    November 28, 2008 at 12:47 AM

    except that they said that it should not grow to a length of arrogance

    Subhaanallah, that one statement says volumes about the culture of those people – it was a sign of arrogance that a man grew a beard, as though it was like, the longer the beard, the more manlier the man, and the more boastful and prideful he could be about it (just thinking about some of the quotes scholars who could not grow beards said about themselves).

    Now, we’re in the opposite – long beards are frowned upon, and it’s no longer potentially showing off, but rather, stubborness :D


  78. Avatar

    Hasan S

    December 1, 2008 at 12:55 AM

    Bismillah. This is a topic that on the surface may seem trivial, but is a serious matter because it is Allah who has created us and has Decreed that we have . First of all, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, commanded us to “let the beard grow” and did not command us to “grow your beard”. There is a huge difference between “growing you beard” and “letting your beard grow” – it is Allah who grows the beard, not the human. Man can allow the beard to grow by not trimming it down, but cannot “grow” the beard. The length and texture of the beard depend on your genetic makeup. The Prophet’s command is the command of Allah, and in a Mu’min’s mind, there should be no distinction between a “Quranic command” and the Prophet’s command that we get from the authentic Ahadith. The beard is a feature of the adult human male’s face, no matter how hard Hollywood would have us believe otherwise. Allah has made us in the best of forms (Surah Teen).(Unwarrantedly) changing the creation is from Shaitan – “And surely I (Shaitan) will command them and they will change Allah’s creation.” (An-Nisa’: 119). Muslims are commanded in certain cases, and allowed, in others, to change the creation of Allah as demands of Fitrah. By changing Allah’s creation in any other way, we may be committing kufr and shirk. Let’s face it – preserving the beard takes time and energy, and sometimes the bearded man is faced with hostility from men and women who are programmed to consider beardless men as normal. Alhamdu Lillahi ‘ala kulli ‘haal. If trimming the beard were allowed, our Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, whom Allah sent as Rahmatullil ‘alameen, would have allowed us to trim the beard and would have trimmed it himself. A man maintaining his beard in its natural form (untrimmed from the start), is not an unusual burden on him or those who see him, if only our society were used to the concept. The untrimmed beard, especially the beards that have never been mutiliated, are soft, graceful, dignified, and natural looking – sort of like untrimmed eyebrows.

    Second, the proof that leaving the beard to grow on its own (sparing it) being a command of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, (and he has used various words to make the command clear that the beard is to be spared, let grown, having mercy on it, lengthening it) is in the most authentic Ahadith and the proof is in the same Ahadith from where circumcision is established as obligatory – it is a ‘demand’ of the fitrah – so the beard should be the first thing that a Muslim man should keep (upon the beard appearing, of course), just as circumcision is performed at an early age. On the other hand, the Ahadith that record the Prophet and a few sahabah trimming their beards, are extremely weak, with fabricators in the musnad, wa-Allahu ‘alam. Since when is taking a weak Ahadith over the strongest Ahadith acceptable to Muslim scholars, when the two Ahadith are contradictory? A’ishah ” reported that Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “There are ten qualities of fitrah: trimming the mustaches, SPARING the beard, siwak (brushing the teeth), inhaling water (to clean the nose) [and rinsing the mouth], cutting the nails, washing the finger knuckles, plucking the armpit hair, shaving the pubic hair, washing the private parts with water, [and circumcision].” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shaybah, and others. The part between square brackets is not in Muslim (Sahah ul-Jami `no. 2222)] This fitrah never changes with time. Allah tells us: “So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. [ar-Rum 30:30]. How can people interpret “spare the beard” in any other way, except letting the beard to grow naturally? The Arabic words are even clearer.

    Third, in the authentic Ahadith of Ibn Umar, radi Allah ‘anh, in which he trimmed a few hair of his beard that his fist could not hold, the reason for his action is that he thought the trimming of the beard is a ritual of Hajj, along with shaving the hair on the scalp, which was his personal interpretation of the requirements of Hajj. In this case, it is following a command related to a specific act of worship, even if it contradicts the general command. Ibn Umar himself is one of the narrators of the Qualities of the Fitrah Hadith. A similar example, where we make an exception to the rule, is making tahayyatul masjid after ‘Asr – it is forbidden to make salah between Asr and Maghrib, but it is obligatory to make the two rakahs before sitting in a masjid. We have to remember that even though Ibn Umar used to follow the sunnah, he was not the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and in the Qur’an, Allah has commanded us to obey the command of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. “Whatever the Messenger gives, take it, and whatever he forbids abstain from it.” (Surah al Hashr, 59:7). In other words, whatever instructions and orders the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gives to the people, he gives them on behalf of Allah. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam,

    Fourth, it is a falacy, and a mockery of reality, that if left on its own, the beard will keep on growing down to the ankles or “sweep the floor”. The length of the beard, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was described as thick. Again, is upto Allah to determine the length to which the beard should grow, not humans. He has made us in the best of forms. If no one else in modern society, look at the beards of the ultra-orthodox jews who have the strength of faith to preserve their religion and let their beards grow naturally, despite opposition from western society. (We do not agree with their letting their moustache grow as well, which we are commanded to trim down).

    Lastly, is it not time that we became loyal slaves to Allah, instead of to western ideals of acceptable facial features? Racial bigotry may have forced our forefathers who lived under oppression in lands colonized by western governments, to subject their beards to trimming (which we are commanded to do to our moustaches) and shaving (which we are commanded to do to our pubic hair), but in today’s world, discrimination on the basis of genetic makeup is considered unacceptable. To copy the colonial masters in their dress, language and even their physical features, was a matter of survival – several generations ago, not now. Men mutilated their beards and let their moutaches grow to disgusting lengths, and women wore wigs, plucked hair from their faces, and had their teeth extracted for (attempted) beatification, despite knowing about the curse that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam cast on such women. Alhamdu Lillah, we are free to be Muslims, and men have the right to let their beards grow, in accordance with the command of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, just as women have the right to cover their bodies in public.

    We no longer have to follow our forefathers and please the white Christian colonial masters and struggle to look like them. Is it not time that we stopped pretending to be something we can never be? Brothers, trim your MOUSTACHE, not your beard…SPARE your BEARD COMPLETELY! May Allah spare us COMPLETELY from the Torments of this world and the next, because of our sparing our beards from mutilation, completely, aameen.

  79. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 3, 2008 at 1:50 AM

    Asalamu Alaikum. The argument that as long as we do not shave or pluck the beard hair, we are not disobeying the commands of Rasool-Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and trimming is allowed, is flawed, to note the least. Has someone thought for a minute that maybe the reason why the beard was not an issue of contention among Muslims for centuries, is that no Muslim interpretted the clear instructions of Rasool-Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – to spare, have mercy on, forgive – the beard, as other than what it means – do not mutiliate the beard. That the beard is to be left in its natural shape dimernsions, is especially clear when we consider that the same Ahadith that mention the beard, list the acts of trimming, shaving, and plucking to be performed on the moustache, public hair, and underarm hair, respectively!

    BTW, if someone has ever made fun of any Muslim man whose beard sometimes appear to be scraggly because they have stopped trimming the beard upon Submitting to Allah completely, after years of abuse in the form of shaving and trimming, he or she should restate the shahadah, because making fun of any aspect of Islam is kufr. Whatsoever Rasool-Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has commanded us to do or not do, defines Islam.

  80. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 3, 2008 at 2:09 AM

    What gives scholars the authority to contradict the clear commands of Rasool-Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam! How dare they tell us their “opinion” on any matter of Islam, without quoting Allah or Rasool Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and in contradiction with Allah and Rasool Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam! Let’s not be the ones to follow the mistakes of the People of the Book (even though it is a Prophecy of the Prophet that the ummah will follow the Jews and the Christians in everything they do) who allowed their scholars to change their revealed religion…They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. [At-Tawbah:31]

    And who are we to try to ‘improve’ the form that Allah has created us in? Should we not love the face of Rasool-Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who is not reported (in any non-daeef Hadith) to have ever trimmed his beard, and has told us using several various words to let our beards grow?

  81. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    December 3, 2008 at 6:17 AM

    @ Yasir Qadhi

    Jazak’Allahu khayran for taking the time to answer my questions. I guess what I am trying to get at is whether or not there are any explicit statements from those very early generations in line with your understanding.

    I do not understand what you mean by “usuli”, because I had always thought that the “usul” of understanding Islam in the first place is to understand it based on the understanding of the Sahabah, and by extension those very early generations who came just shortly after them.

    Ibn Abi Shaybah reported that al-Hasan al-Basri said: “They used to allow for what was in excess of what is gripped by the hand of the beard, that it be taken from.”

    This is an explicit statement from al-Hasan al-Basri stating that they would “allow” that which was in excess of a fist length, so I guess what I am asking for is something in which a scholar from the first 3 generations used to “allow” that which was less than a fist length to be trimmed.

  82. Avatar

    Umm Ibraheem

    December 7, 2008 at 4:00 PM


    Jazza kallahu khairn. I just noticed a bit of a contradiction of where, Sh. Y. Qadi said while he was in Medina, as a over zealous student he let his beard grown and not trim it. But, because of his circumstances now he says its okay in his view to trim the beard. Now, is that because he is at Yale and at Yale you can’t grow the beard the full length? Islam in Medina is same as here in the USA? no?

    Just confused.

    Is there any recommended length of the beard?
    is there any recommended length of the beard traceable from Prophet Muhammad SAAW

    Praise be to Allaah….

    [message clipped, please refrain from copy/pasting, a link to the article is sufficient. -editor]

  83. Avatar


    December 7, 2008 at 6:30 PM


    I am sooooo impressed by your post………….. MASHALLAH.
    YOU said it in the best possible manner.

  84. Avatar

    medium sized beard salafi guy

    December 7, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    Now, is that because he is at Yale and at Yale you can’t grow the beard the full length? Islam in Medina is same as here in the USA? no?

    Did you actually listen to the interview?

    Also the Islam in Medinah is not the same as in the USA. When we have police making sure you go to the masjid 5 times a day, and women not being allowed to travel without a mahram … among other things, then you can say the Islam here and there is the same.

    The comments on this thread are really sad. Why do people insist on giving their opinion about something they CLEARLY did not even listen to in the first place??!?!

    Why do you ask about the recommended length of the beard when the question is not only answered in the audio from the post, but you then proceed to answer it yourself with a copy paste from a fatwa site – which it does not seem yasir qadhi seems to deny as illegitimate in any way.

    this is not a manhaj issue. i shudder to think what would happen if muslim matters decided to make a post about the “minimum requirements of hijab”

    comment edited for language -editor

  85. Avatar


    December 7, 2008 at 10:44 PM

    Aslaamua alkaikum,

    My dear brothers and sister we need to remain calm and balanced, an take every thing in context and then coment once we have thought about, once we get into emotions its just gets out of control..

    Ya Akhi medium sized beard salafi guy Islam is Islam is it not so. is this that which makes it soo beautiful that it trancends everything yet remains constant .. ?
    Yes there are some issues that are different from region to region..

    But what people are saying is we don;t have any incidents from the sahaba that they trimmed thier beards below the fist .. do we if we do would someone care to bring it ? It would change the dynamics of this dramatically.

    Having listened to the audio there is no actual proof in there .. for the shortening of the beard to such an extent… there is not one specific narration…
    Now we are differing on this matter we need to refer back to Allah and his messenger .. and the actions of the companions to resolve this matter ..
    As Allah says in surah An Nisa

    And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad ) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.

    From the hadith from the Prophet we have the command to grow the beard ..

    Now then from the actions of ibn umar comes the trimming of the beard which some shayuk allow…
    And this also sets the limit on the beard woudln’t you say, ?
    Ibn Umar also narrates the hadith about growin it and then we have his action of trimming it and this was someone who loved the prophet so much that he imitated him soo much in every action.
    And in hadith the narrator of the hadith knows best the understanding of the hadith.

    Now if someone was to bring another narration about trimming the beard to less than a fist… not a general trimming but a specific mention of less than we would have game on !

    So can any of our knowledgable brothers do that please ?

  86. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 8, 2008 at 12:22 AM

    Asalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.

    Masha Allah Umm Ibraheem has brought solid evidence to this thread – Jazakum Allahu Khair, sister. I wish all the sisters were like you.

    “medium sized beard salafi guy” used offensive language in his post, and should apologize to Umm Ibraheem.

    Just to add to the evidence, in Sahih Ahadith, the Prophet’s amr (command) regarding the beard is Aufu, A’ufou, Arjou’, Yukhsiroo, Arfou’, which cannot be interpretted in any way other than his commanding us to let our beards grow to its own natural dimensions. Especially if we keep in view that in the same Ahadith, he orders us to trim, shave, and pluck, the moustache, pubic hair, and underarm hair, respectively, his command to “leave” (etc.) the beard becomes even clearer that that we cannot trim, shave or pluck the hair of the beard. I am amazed how, especially modern day ulama, take the amr of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, so lightly.

    As for the Sahih Hadith of Ibn Umar, where he trimmed his beard only at Hajj (not otherwise), Ibn Umar’s ijtihad was that in the Quran regarding the requirements of Hajj, “muhaliqeen” is to do with shaving the head, and “muqassireen” is to do with trimming the beard, which was his personal ijtihad and is relevant only to Hajj.

    In the Hadith in Tirimdhi, that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to trim his beard, in the chain of narration there is a person, Umar Ibn Haroon, who was deemed a fabricator by muhadiseen, including Imam Bukhari, which makes the Hadith extremely weak and not acceptable. We know from the usool of Fiqh that when an extemely weak Hadith contradicts several Sahih Ahadith, the weak hadith is not considered, (duh!)

    The logic of those who assert that as long as you keep some part of the beard, and don’t shave or pluck the beard, the command of the Prophet to leave the beard is fulfilled, is perverted, to say the least. Ma’az-Allah! Using this logic, someone could say that even shaving will fulfill the command of leaving the beard, because you have not completely removed the hair through plucking! May Allah Guide us all.

    If you know Urdu, Shaikh Abdullah Naasir Rehmani’s khutba on the importance of the beard is available at

    Jazakum Allahu Khair.

  87. Avatar


    December 8, 2008 at 12:52 AM

    A Muslim man said:


    why are we arguing about the beard………………. just keep according to the sunnah. SIMPLE>

    When people don’t want to do something than they make it complicated.

    You know like when the Bani-Israel didn’t want to sacrifice the animal , they kept asking what color, what breed, and what whatever,
    and they wanted specifics BECAUSE they really didn’t want to sacrifice.

    JUST DO IT>…………………..

  88. Avatar

    Dunia's Stranger

    December 8, 2008 at 12:59 AM

    As salaamu alaikum,

    I’ve come to a point in my life where I realized that I’ve wasted – yes I will use the word “wasted” – much of my time reading, researching, and discussing what is and is not acceptable of my beard.

    In the end, I gained little piety or beneficial knowledge from a narrow fiqh issue.

    As a Muslim teenager in college who decided to be a good practicing Muslim, the issue of the beard with thrust upon me by these “clear” rulings/fatwas by Great Scholars of the past on growing the full beard (I was initially under the impression that even trimming more than what a fist holds was not the preferred method).

    This coupled with the “zealous” young Muslim brothers around me who emphasized the need for a beard so much that it shaped the way I perceived Muslim men who shaved/kept small beards as being open sinners for openly doing something directly in opposition to what the prophet told use to do (let our beards grow).

    In fact, some even pointed me towards the likes of Shaykh Yasir Qadi is an example of of an intelligent American Muslim who held firm to his Islamic principles and let his beard grow in the Sunnah manner. Seeing and knowing that Shaykh Yasir was out there in America and doing great dawah work and even attending Yale later with his Sunnah beard gave me much hope and inspiration to pursue my own academic and professional studies with the feeling that ‘hey, if Yasir is doing it with the full Sunnah beard – I should be able to pull it off as well.’

    This helped me not to cave into all my other family members who regularly pressed me that I should at least shape up my beard and make it “neat and not unkempt looking” since my beard was thick, curly, and frizzy. This concern was further magnified by them when I (still currently am) began my graduate studies and went to job interviews looking very much like the Medina Yasir in terms of my beard.

    Yet now, in this lecture I come to find that I had it all wrong: I should have made my beard “neat and professional” as Shaykh Yasir points out in lecture tape 1 (24:40 mark). I guess I was wrong and stubborn for trying to keep what I genuinely perceived to be a Sunnah beard (coming from the same scholars who I learned/read about hadith & aqeedah and the one’s Shaykh Yasir quoted and referenced in his lectures/books).

    In the end, all this emphasis on following the “correct sunnah” of the Prophet ended up distancing me for learning and practicing other important aspects of Islam – from memorizing more of the Quran, reading more Seerah, and making more prayers/adkhar.

    After 5 years from my teenage years, I’ve come to to this point: I no longer care about what others do/ have about their beard or may think about mine. All of this has left me disillusioned about my Muslim identity and feeling like the narrator in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man – only the Muslim version.

  89. ibnabeeomar


    December 8, 2008 at 2:01 AM

    For all those who are posting here with the other fiqh opinions. My question for you is this:

    Do you believe that a scholar holding that trimming is a valid ikhtilaaf? Especially if it is the case that this opinion exists in the madhahib. I’m not asking you whether you AGREE with the opinion, but whether it is ALLOWED for someone to hold that opinion?

    If it is indeed the case that its a legitimate difference, then why all the arguments on it? I would have to echo the comment above and ask whether the majority of people commenting here have actually listened to the interview posted above or not?

  90. Avatar


    December 8, 2008 at 5:27 AM

    @ ibnabeeomar

    As has been quoted for the growing of the beard there is precedence for this..

    And for cutting after a fistful, no one is asking for illumination on this from our brother Yasir Qadhi..

    But rather that of cutting itself less than a fistful thats where there is a need for a specific narration as such as none has been brought for this…. and on a knowledge based religion… this isn’t too much to ask for.. is it ?

    @Yasir Qadhi

    So please for the sake of Allah could you take some time out and post this for us it would be most beneficial…

    @ Dunia’s Stranger

    Following the sunnah of the prophets ( as they all had beards) is a most beloved thing, and as it is such a physcial thing and we have been commanded to have a beard, people become enthuasiastic about it.

    As for how it looks to people we should not be overly concerned about it as long we are giving the beard its rights, combing it oiling it etc…
    And remeber you will be tested by Allah … so do not become disillusioned because to Allah we wll return and all this will seem soo trivial then..

  91. Avatar

    Abu Ninja

    December 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM

    MashaAllah akhee AK has pretty much summarized all the important issues from everyone’s posts and raised an excellent point.

    A simple question, is there any explicit narration from any of the first three generations where the ulamah allowed to remove hair shorter then the length of the fist?

    If there is.. please could someone share?

    I have personally also noticed that over the years some of the duaat who have graduated from Madinah are promoting a ‘new type’ of dawah which their own shayookh who taught them disagree with.

    Personally, the reason why myself and many of the brothers I know respect many of the duaat in the West is because of who they have studied under and learnt the deen from. Now some of these same duaat openly say, that we do not need to refer to those same ulamah. anymore

    Personally I see two extremes..

    One extreme of the ghulaat hadaddis..

    An some of our brothers and duaat going to the other opposite extreme and co-operating with Ahlul Bidah and presenting this new ‘modern’ salafi dawah.

    Allahu musta’aan.

  92. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    December 12, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Salaam Alaikum

    With respect to the ‘new’ understandings of some issues, as I said I am in the process of writing a longer article on this topic, and while I understand the concerns I obviously disagree with them. I would also like to point out that there are many ulama, alhamdulillah, who do understand the need to take different cultures and circumstances into account, and even on my last trip to Madinah a few months ago I met with one of my main teachers and had a nice discussion regarding the direction of our dawah. While he personally did not agree on each and every decision that we are making, he was supportive of the fact that we are taking the knowledge he taught us and applying it to our locale. The circumstances of different countries are indeed different, and there are some issues, not all, that are contextual based, and change from culture to time to location. It is the job of the people of knowledge to separate what is immutable from what is not. Insha Allah more on that later.

    With regards to asking for an explicit narration, I think that some more usool needs to be understood before we continue this discussion (and I don’t really plan to discuss too longer). The primary issue at stake is: what is the legal status of a statement, or even an action, of a Companion, or Successor? Are you claiming that disobeying a Companion in a fiqh issue incurs Divine sin? If you say so, then in reality you are saying something that no scholar has every said before, and raising a Companion to the level of a Prophet. In fact, even if we were to find (and there is none) that a Companion explicitly said, “To trim the beard less than a fistful is haram,” that statement in and of itself would remain an opinion of a Companion, and by itself could not become Shariah unless other evidence could be found to support it. There are numerous opinions from the Companions that contradict one another, and it is from these differences that the madhabs and other schools actually differ. Of course this is with fiqh and not aqidah. Later scholars either chose between these opinions or even proposed new ones if they felt there were overriding evidences to suggest so. I have already given one example: that of calculating the distance required to be a ‘musafir’. We find numerous reports from the early generations, and most of the madhhabs took one of these reports. Ibn Taymiyya, however, felt that all of these opinions were not strong enough to make it Divine Law, and proposed that a ‘musafir’ varies from time to place. This is in the face of explicit narrations from the first few generations.

    With regards to the beard, not only do we NOT have any explicit narrations commanding a specific lenght, we have general narrations that state that some of the Successors and early scholars saw no problem with ‘taking from the beard’, and they didn’t specify how much. I quoted al-Qadi Iyad and there are others as well, who clearly understood that this meant they didn’t put a limit on it.

    Now, for someone to come and say that a Muslim will incur Divine Wrath for trimming less than a fistful, because it is reported that Ibn Umar trimmed more than a fistful, is basically using usul al-fiqh that I would very strongly disagree with. To claim that it is BETTER to have a fistful beard because Ibn Umar trimmed after a fist is valid. To go beyond this and say it is makruh to trim less than a fistful is something I would not say, but I would not object to either. But to say that it is haram is simply faulty usul (in my opinion, again), and really extrapolating the actions of a few Companions to become Divine Law. As I said, the very fact that the early scholars allowed trimming shows that they did not view trimming to contradict the hadith of growing a beard. It is therefore logical to assume (as I have done) that any type of trimming would be permissible as long as one still has what constitutes a beard. To say that the trimming of the Companions was done to show anything less was haram is simply going beyond what the text can give you, and also raising the Companions to a higher level than usul al-fiqh (or even theology) allows.

    And to reiterate: conflating this issue with the development of a different methodology of Orthodox Islam here in the West is not accurate. The fact that I trim my beard more in America than I did in Madinah does not imply that I held it to be invalid back then. While I will be the first to admit that I have changed some of the positions I’ve held in the past, the beard and participating in the voting process are not on that list.

    I really think I have written way more than needs to be; there has been a classical difference on this regard from the earliest times, and I do think it is a sad state of affairs when even classical differences such as this one are viewed with such negativity and suspicion if one goes against what someone else has concluded is the ‘correct’ opinion.


  93. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    December 20, 2008 at 1:48 PM

    @ Yasir Qadhi

    As-salamu ‘alaykum

    I am not sure if I have understood this right, so if not please do correct me. It is regarding the principle you spoke of:

    The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] ordered us to leave our beards alone, he didn’t tell us to trim them; rather, he only told us to trim our moustaches, so would I be correct in assuming that if it were not for the actions of some of the sahabah in that they trimmed that which was more than a fist length, those who hold it permissible to trim one’s beard, be it what extends beyond the fist or is less than a fistful, would not have any evidence for their opinion? If so, would we all then have to conclude that it would not be permissible to trim our beards at all?

    You mentioned that you do not hold that the action of a Sahabi constitutes a legal ruling in the Shari’ah, but is it not the actions of the sahabah that you base your opinion on? You stated that the actions of some of the Sahabah demonstrate the permissibility of trimming as opposed to highlighting a restriction on what can be trimmed. If I am correct in what I assumed in the above paragraph then it means that to state otherwise must be based on tangible evidence, and in this case the only evidence we have that it is permissible to trim the beard are the actions of some of the Sahabah. If that is the case then whatever opinion one holds with regards to what one can or can’t be trimmed they would be basing it on these actions, would that then not constitute a ruling on the permissibility of trimming based on those actions?

    If the action of a Sahabi is not a legal ruling in the Shari’ah then does this not make the opinion of those who say that you can’t trim at all, all the bit stronger, because they are basing their opinion on the fact the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] told us to leave our beards alone which is a legal ruling in the Shari’ah [right?] and not on the action of a Sahabi which according to some scholars does not constitute a legal ruling in the Shari’ah. So if you hold the opinion that the action of a Sahabi does not constitute a legal ruling in the Shari’ah you would by default not be able to hold the opinion that the action of some of them highlights the permissibility of trimming, right?

    I really hope what I have said makes sense because I am not sure if I have managed to convey what I mean in how I have worded it. But essentially what I tried to do was tie the various points I mentioned together so that it could all be understood under one light.

    Although I understand how one could argue that the actions of the Sahabah only highlight the permissibility of trimming I feel that the opinion that they demonstrate a restriction is stronger for a number of reasons:

    1. The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] told us to leave our beards alone.
    2. Although some of the Sahabah, including one of the narrators of the Prophet’s [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] command trimmed their beards; there is no report [to the best of my knowledge] of any of them ever trimming that which was less than a fistful, had it been permissible to do so then surely there would be at least one report of at least one of them doing so.
    3. I haven’t seen any report from any of the Sahabah or their successors that have explicitly stated that they understood the actions of some of the Sahabah to mean one could trim less than what those illustrious Sahabah did, i.e. less than a fistful.
    4. Ibn Abi Shaybah reported that the famous successor to the Sahabah, al-Hasan al-Basri said that they did not allow for less than a fistful to be trimmed, which is an explicit report on what can and what can’t be trimmed from a scholar from the first two generations of Islam.

    And Allah knows best!

  94. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    December 20, 2008 at 8:58 PM

    Just wanted to add some nice points and excellent questions a friend of mine posed to me about the issue at hand:

    “On the point of the sahaabah’s action being a proof: Is the trimming of the Sahaabah of their beards an uncontested action? If it is then wouldn’t that take legal status, showing at least permissibility of trimming, because we follow the Qur’an and Sunnah with understanding of the Sahaabah? This surely is different to where the sahaabah’s view is contested by other sahaabah by action or saying where supporting evidence would be required to see where the haqq lies.

    So if their trimming is an uncontested action the discussion which remains is what ruling their trimming takes: restrictive or showing permissibility, how are we to understand this action?”

    Sorry to drag this out, but some of the finer details of this issue are very interesting!

  95. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 21, 2008 at 4:53 AM

    Asalamu Alaikum

    The act of unnecessarily modifying the human body, especially the face, should not be taken lightly, because then we may be expressing our dissatisfaction with how Allah has decreed our physical features to be. The beard, once trimmed, loses its natural form that Allah has decreed for us. Allah is Ahsan-ul-Khaliqeen – then why are we trying to make ourselves more “beautiful” than how he has created us?

    Questions for Brother Yasir Qadhi. In which compilation of Ahadith is the proof that Sahaba allegedly trimmed their beards? Who all are the Sahabah, and what is the authenticity of the Ahadith is which this action is mentioned? If possible, please describe the situation in which the Ahadith are set, because this is important.

    Reading the Hadith of Bukhari (Rahmatullah ‘Alaih) in which Ibn Umar (Radi Allahu ‘Anh) is reported to have cut a few hair from his beard, it is obvious that the occasion was Hajj or Umrah – he reportedly thought that cutting a few hair from the bottom of the beard is part of the masakin (rituals) of Hajj and Umrah. The narrators were very careful to mention that he cut the hair at Hajj and Umrah, which is surely an unusual action – given the crystal clear directives of Rasul Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to let the beard grow – and that is why this extraordinary act and the occasion at which it used to happen, was mentioned. In Ibn Umar’s case, it was his understanding of the masakin of Hajj, that the beard is also to be trimmed. Also to note is that when Ibn Umar clasped his beard in his fist, it is not mentioned that his fist was in touch with his chin of whether he left a few inches or more between his chin and his fist. This Hadith might as well be describing the scenario in which his beard was down to just above his navel, and he grabbed his beard such that only a millimeter of beard hair were visible below his fist, and cut only that much. The Hadith, from what I can tell reading the translation, does not necessarily give us a definite answer about the length of Ibn Umar’s beard after he trimmed it. It does tell us what his cutting technique was. Again, he trimmed only at Hajj and Umrah, because his understanding was that this is part of the masakin of Hajj and Umrah. This action cannot be traced to Rasool Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

    Please clarify what the source of the other Ahadith about sahaba ever trimming their beards is – I am looking for name of the person who authenticated the Ahadith (e.g. Imam Bukhari, or Tirimdhi), and the category of the Ahadith (e.g. Sahih, or Daeef). So far I have seen only vague quotes such as ‘taking from the beard’, which could mean anything from plucking, to cleaning the beard, and no source of the Hadith has been given.

    In sharp contrast to the weak argument for ever trimming the beard are the multiple Sahih Ahadith in which all the practicable techniques for reducing the hair are mentioned – trimming, shaving, plucking, and it has been commanded to let the beard grow, have mercy on it, lengthen it, forgive it, which clearly indicates that trimming, shaving, and plucking are not to be done on the beard. Reading the descriptions of the Prophet, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the khulafa rashideen, one cannot imagine that they ever cut their beards. And why should they, when Allah has made their faces and they were the thankful and sincere slaves of Allah, never seeking faults with Allah’s creation and Allah’s definition of beauty and aesthetics, and when Rasool Allah – Allah’s Prophet – Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, had made clear to them the halal and the haram, regarding the beard, through his words and his actions, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. By trimming the beard, are we trying to claim to have a better aesthetic sense than Allah, who has decreed that men of certain races shall have hair growth on their faces, up to a certain length and width, and of a certain color, and who has sent the Prophets who never cut their beards to demonstrate to us that beards are not to be ever cut? Who are we fooling, when we think that if we trim the beard that the Prophet, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has instructed us, using various phrases so that there is no doubt in our minds, to let grow, we are not contradicting him?

    My Ikhwaan, if we love Rasool Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, we should also take his directives seriously and love the characteristics of his face so that we can be in his company in Jannah, be-idznillah, instead of in the company of Hollywood actors (Sean Connery in Entrapment and in The Rock and Johnathan Frakes “Commander Riker” in “Startrek: the next generation”) wherever they may end up in the next life.

    Brother Abu Ammar, Jazakum Allahu Khair for helping us find our Muslim identity as the loyal followers of Allah and Rasool Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. We love you for the sake of Allah, and we love all Muslims for the sake of Allah, however, we expect proof from Qaal Allah and Qaala Rasool Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and its source, when you tell us about Islam. It is not enough to tell us that scholars thought so, because, again, the scholars are not Rusul and the burden to provide the proof from Al-Qur’an and Ahadith, is on the scholars. Without this proof, at best, there is a high probability that ikhtilaaf will exist, not to mention the other major implications (the scholar’s claim to Prophethood being one). Let’s please recognize that the scholars can make mistakes, and even sahaba can make mistakes, however, Rasool Allah, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is guaranteed to be on the Siraat Al Mustaqeem, and he said only what is the truth, and that too in plain words.

    May Allah save us from following Shaitan who wants to distort Allah’s creation, and may we be satisfied with Allah as our Rab, Islam as our Deen and Muhammad as our Nabi, Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, Aameen.

    Allahu A’lum.

    Brother Abu Ammar, please respond. Jazakum Allahu Khair.

  96. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 21, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    Asalamu Alaikum Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

    Please accept my apologies for any harm that I may have caused to anyone, directly or indirectly.

  97. Avatar

    Abu Ibrahim

    December 23, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Shaykh Yasir, jazak Allahu khayran for a very benficial interview indeed. Can you please coment on the following contention:

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to let our beards grow in a number of reports. Looking at those reports alone and applying our usul, it seems to me that letting the beard grow would be considered obligatory, and trimming it in any way would be considered unlawful. However, when we look at the actions of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), especially that of Ibn Umar which was tacitly approved by all the Companions around him (amounting to ijma` sukuti) we can safely conclude that it is permissible to trim the beard, but only to the extent that the Companions did it, because the asl here is what was indicated by the command of the Prophet (i.e. to leave the beard alone)?

    So we are not basing tahrim of trimming the beard beyond a fistful on the actions of the Companions, but rather we are qualifying the general Prophetic prohibition of trimming the beard by the actions (or silent consensus) of the Companions, but only to the extent that their actions indicate.

    Jazak Allahu khayran.

  98. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 23, 2008 at 3:09 PM

    Asalamu Alaikum,

    I am amazed at how we can choose to contradict the clear directives of Rasool Allah, salllallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, based on one Sahabi’s ijtihad that of the manasik of Hajj and Umrah is that the beard should be trimmed. We cannot claim that “the Sahaba” (meaning all the Sahaba) trimmed their beard. Ibn Umar’s trimmed a few hair from his beard at Hajj and Umrah only and not at any other time. That was his personal ijtihad on what should be trimmed at Hajj and Umrah- one that happens to contradict the Prophet’s directives, salllallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. We should not be in the business of judging the Sahabah when they are reported to act in a manner that contradicts the Prophet salllallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’s directives. We should make excuses for them instead and find out why they did it. Ibn Umar’s reason for trimming his beard at Hajj can be traced to the Quran:
    “muhallaqeen ru’usakum wa muqassireen – shaving their heads and cutting [their hair].” Al-Fath [48:27]
    His ijtihad was that muqassireen could be applied to the beard. Allah A’lum.

    In addition, from the Hadith that Ibn Umar held his beard in his fist and then cutting what extended from his fist, we cannot conclude without doubt that the length of his beard after the trimming was that of the width of his fist. Holding the beard together with his fist and then cutting the hair is his trimming technique, not a measure of the length of his beard after the trimming. From the description of a barber holding a person’s hair between two fingers and cutting the hair that extends beyond the thickness of his fingers, we cannot conclude that the barber cut the person’s hair down to less than an inch. The barber may have held the person’s hair close to the end of the hair length. Similarly, in reality, Ibn Umar’s beard could have extended below his navel, and he could have held his beard around where his navel was, and then cut the part of his beard that protruted from his grip. After the trimming, his beard would still reach his navel.

    As for the other Companions (Abu Huraira) trimming his beard, what is the source and authenticity of that Hadith?

    Allahu A’lum.

  99. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    December 23, 2008 at 4:36 PM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum

    Dear brother

    There was actually more than just one Sahabi who trimmed that which exceeded a fistful from his beard, there were several. However, there are no reports [to the best of my knowledge] of any of them ever trimming that which was less than a fist.

    The statements of the Messenger of Allah [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] are the “base” of the whole issue, whereas the actions of some of the Sahabah are known in Usul al-Fiqh as “specifying evidence” that show the exact and correct understanding of the “base evidence”, in this case the clear and explicit statements of the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]. It is generally agreed that the ijma’ of the Sahabah is binding upon us, however, when it comes to the actions of some of the Sahabah the scholars differed as to whether or not these actions constitute a proof.

    So, if like Br. Yasir Qadhi one does not hold the actions of some of the Sahabah to constitute a legal ruling in the Shari’ah it is irrelevant what some of the Sahabah did or didn’t do, and as such one will not be taking into account the “specifying evidence” when considering the correct stance on any given issue. Rather, one will be basing his/her opinion on the “base evidence”, and with regards to the issue of the beard the “base evidence” is found in the clear and explicit words of the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], words such as: “Awfu”, which means “let them grow to their full”, “arkhu”, which means “let them loose untouched”, “waffiru”, which literally means “save them [let them grow to become plentifull]”, and “a’fu”, which means to “set free [ don’t touch them].”

    If one only takes into account the “base evidence” and disregards the “specifying evidence” he/she can only conclude from the clear and explicit words of the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] that it is impermissible to trim anything from the beard. If I have understood Br. Yasir Qadhi’s argument correctly then he is not taking into account the “specifying evidence”, and if this is the case I do not understand how one can conclude that it is permissible to trim at all, let alone trim that which is less than a fistful.

    In short, if one only takes into account the “base evidence”, then based on the clear and explicit statements of the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] he/she can only conclude that the beard cannot be touched at all. If however one takes into account the “specifying evidence [i.e. the actions of some of the Sahabah that show the exact and correct understanding of the “base evidence”]”, then one can conclude that it is permissible to trim that which they [some of the Sahabah] trimmed, but cannot trim more than what they trimmed, this is because as mentioned a plethora of times already, their actions are the “specifying evidences” that show the exact and correct understanding of the “base evidences”, and since they did not trim less than a fist length their actions show the exact and correct understanding of the issue at hand.

    And Allah knows best!

  100. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 23, 2008 at 5:25 PM

    Wa Alaikum Salam,

    Will someone please tell us what the source of the Ahadith and their authenticity is, in which Sahabi other than Ibn Umar used the same trimming technique as Ibn Umar – held his beard in his hand and trimmed it? We learnt in Heavenly Hues, that if one quotes a Hadith, one has to give the source of the Hadith, otherwise it is assumed that the source is Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim.

    Again, and this still does not seem to be accepted by some people, Ibn Umar’s action was relevant only to Hajj and Umrah, was not something he did outside Hajj and Umrah, and from the description of his action, we cannot conclude that he trimmed his beard to the length of the width of his fist – only that he held his beard in his fist and cut hair that extended beyond his fist. The distance between his fist and his chin could have been a few feet or several inches.

    Let’s look at the description of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the Khulafa Ar-Rashideen, and see whether the fist length rule holds.

  101. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    December 23, 2008 at 5:50 PM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum

    Dear brother

    As for the Sahabah, al-Bukhari reported Ibn ‘Umar’s action and al-Albani mentions a number of authentic reports in his “Ad-Da’ifah” that some of the Sahabah would cut that which EXTENDED beyond a fist-length, namely Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Hurayrah, he also mentioned that some of the Salaf would do likewise, namely Malik and Ahmad.

    I was not suggesting other than what you have regarding the action of Ibn ‘Umar, so I agree with you on that point. All I am saying [as I mentioned in my last post] is that either one takes the “base evidence” and disregards the “specifying evidence”, thus concluding it is impermissible to trim anything at all from the beard or one takes the “base evidence” and understands it in light of the “specifying evidence”, thus concluding that one can trim something from one’s beard, but that something is only that which EXTENDS beyond a fist-length due to the reasons I mentioned in my last post.

    And Allah knows best!

  102. Avatar

    Abu Muslim

    December 23, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    I believe that some people may have misunderstood the point.

    One of the main issues raised is the status of the Ijtihaad of a Companion(RA.)

    Yaser Qadhi has highlighted above that an opinion of a companion cannot be held to be binding in the way that a hadith is, because the statements of Companions(RA) are not considered to be revelation.

    Regarding the claims of consensus, where is the evidence for those who claim that thousands of Companions (RA) all clearly(Ar. qatee’an) agreed that
    1) the beard is obligatory
    2)its minimum length is one fistful?

    Regarding the hadith, the meaning is open to interpretation and cannot simply be reduced to “the hadith is clear”.

    Whilst we should respect legitimate Shareeah opinions, we cannot accept exaggeration in the Religion.

    I would like to emphasise also that even if a person believed in the strictest opinion, to exaggerate in any obligation and to treat it as a pillar of the Religion would be considered a bid’ah(a blameworthy innovation.)

    At the end of the day it will be the Ulema who will give the final ruling based on the evidence and for the Muslim masses to follow.

    Wallah bittawfeeq.

  103. Avatar

    A Muslim man

    December 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    Wa Alaikum Salam

    I think we’re getting close to the source of the confusion and ikhtilaf now, be-idthnillah.

    Jazaum Allahu Khair for the reference – Ad-Da’ifah. The full title of the book by Al-Albani, Rahmatullah ‘Alaih, is Silsilat Al-Ahadith Ad-Da`ifah wa Al-Mawdu`ah wa Atharuh As-Sayi’ fil Ummah. This is a book of Daeef (weak) and Mawdu’ (fabricated) ahadith, as the title suggests. (Correct me if I’m wrong).

    Can someone give us the exact words of the Ahadith in which Ibn Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Malik, and Ahmad allegedly cut their beards, and the classification of each Hadith? The actual meaning may have been lost in translation. The description that he grabbed the beard in a fist and cut the hair that extend beyond that fist, does not tell us the length of the beard after the trimming, because the person may have held the beard away from his chin, with possibly several inches, or even a few feet of hair in between the fist and the chin.

    Again, the beard is not a minor or trivial matter, and is a very important part of the Muslim identity. Already we have seen the cultural effects of attacks on it – we have seen shaven imams and the youth regard Muslims with untrimmed “long” beards as weird. We have come to a point in civilization where few people know how long a beard gets if left untrimmed. The Answer: depends on the race and environmental factors, but the beard, if left untrimmed over a lifetime, does not become as long as the shayateen among humans have lied about it becoming. I have seen people from a hairy racial mixture (Arab and Indian) who have never trimmed their beards, and in their thirties their beards are hardly twelve inches long, from their chin. The growth slows down with age and length.

    Just to clarify, the purpose of this research and investigation is to uncover the truth and draw the RATIONAL and CORRECT conclusion from the evidence in existence. This investigation is not meant to belittle the efforts of ulama of the past who have held on to the conclusion that the beard can be trimmed as long as it is of fist-length. They will get a reward from their Rab, just for trying. May Allah illuminate the graves of the ulama who’re on the siraat al mustaqeem, aameen.

    Jazakum Allahu Khair.

  104. Avatar


    January 4, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    This is from al-Albani’s ‘as-Silsilah ad-Da’ifah‘ (5/375):

    “However, this act (of trimming the beard) is affirmed from some of the Salaf, and for you, I present a brief exposition on the topic below:

    1 – Marwan bin Salim al-Muqaffa’ said:

    “I saw Ibn ‘Umar grasp his beard and cut off that which had exceeded a fistful.”

    This was reported by Abu Dawud and others with a hasan chain as I have explained in ”Irwa’ al-Ghalil’ (920) and ‘Sahih Abu Dawud’ (2041).

    2 – Nafi’ said:

    “When ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar used to finish fasting in Ramadan and he intended to make Hajj, then he would not take off any of his hair or beard until he had made Hajj.”

    And in another narration: “When ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar used to cut his hair after Hajj or ‘Umrah, he would also take from his beard and moustache.”

    Reported by Malik in ‘al-Muwatta’.’

    And al-Khallal reports in ‘at-Tarajjul’ (p. 11) with an authentic chain from Mujahid, who said: “I saw Ibn ‘Umar grasp his beard on the day of sacrifice, then he told the cupper: “Take off what is below a fistful.”” al-Baji said in ‘Sharh ‘al-Muwatta”: “meaning that he used to trim form it along with cutting his hair, and Malik recommended that since trimming it is in a way that does not alter the natural disposition of the creation in terms of beauty…”

    3 – Ibn ‘Abbas said, regarding His – the Most High – Saying: {“Then let them complete their prescribed duties…”} [al-Hajj: 29]:

    “The duties are: shaving the head, trimming the moustache, plucking out the armpit hairs, shaving the pubic hairs, cutting the nails and taking hair off the cheeks (and in another narration, the beard) and throwing stones at the pillars (jamarat), and staying in ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah.”

    Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah (4/85) and Ibn Jarir at-Tabari in his ‘Tafsir’ (18/109) with an authentic chain.

    4 – Muhammad bin Ka’ab al-Quradhi used to say, regarding the verse: {“Then let them complete their prescribed duties…”} [al-Hajj: 29] what has been stated above, and in it is his saying “…and trimming the moustache and beard.”

    Reported by Ibn Jarir as well, with a chain that is authentic.

    5 – Mujahid said the same as above with the wording:

    “…and trimming the moustache…and trimming the beard.”

    Reported by Ibn Jarir as well, and its chain is authentic.

    6 – al-Muharabi said:

    “I heard a man ask Ibn Jurayj regarding His Saying: {“Then let them complete their prescribed duties…”} [al-Hajj: 29], and he said: “Trimming the beard and the moustache…””

    Reported by Ibn Jarir also, and its chain is authentic.

    7 – And in ‘al-Muwata” also, that it reached him that when Salim bin ‘Abdullah intended to go into ihram, he asked for some scissors and trimmed his moustache and beard before setting off and before putting on his ihram.

    8 – Abu Hilal said:

    “I was informed by an old man – I think he was from the people of Madinah – who said: “I saw Abu Hurayrah trim the hair from his cheeks.” And he said: “And I saw him with a yellowish beard.”

    Reported by Ibn Sa’d in ‘at-Tabaqat’ (4/334).

    So, the authentic narrations contain that which is a proof for the permissibility of trimming the beard or taking from it, and that it was a well known practice amongst the Salaf. This is in opposition to what some of our brothers from Ahl al-Hadith think, those who are severe against allowing the trimming of the beard, clinging to the general saying of his “…and leave the beard!” without paying attention to the fact that what was understood from the general meaning was not intended due to the lack of the action of the Salaf upon this interpretation, and amongst them are those who reported the general hadith itself, and they are: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar, and his hadith is in the two ‘Sahih’s; Abu Hurayrah, and his hadith is in ‘Sahih Muslim,’ and I have given the origins of both in ‘Jilbab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah’ (p. 185-187); and Ibn ‘Abbas, and his hadith is in ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’ (5/169).

    And from that in which there is no doubt is that the reporter of the hadith is the most knowledgeable about the intended meaning of it than those who did not hear it from the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he is the more enthusiastic in following it than them.

    al-Khallal has reported from them (Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah) in ‘at-Tarajjul’ (p. 11) with two authentic chains, and he reported from Imam Ahmad that he was asked about taking from the beard, so he said: “‘Ibn Umar used to cut off that which was in excess of a fistful,” and it is as if this was Ahmad’s opinion. Harb said: “I said to him (Ahmad): “So, what is meant by ‘leaving it’?” He replied: “It is reported from the Prophet that this is what ‘leaving’ was, according to him.””

    And it is well known that the narrator is the most knowledgeable about what he narrates than others, especially when he one who is very strict about following the Sunnah – such as Ibn ‘Umar – and he saw his Prophet – the one who ordered with leaving it – day and night, so reflect upon this!

    Then al-Khallal reported by way of Ishaq, who said: “I asked Ahmad about a man who trims from his cheeks, so he said: “He should take off his beard what is in excess of a fistful.” I said: “And the hadith of the Prophet: “Trim the moustache and leave the beard”?” He replied: “He takes from its length and from under his neck,” and I saw Abu ‘Abdullah (Ahmad) trim its length and take from under his neck.”

    And I have expanded a little bit here by mentioning the sayings of some of the Salaf and imams due to their strength and due to the misconception of many people that this is in opposition to the general “and leave the beard,” and they did not pay attention to the principle that when an element from the elements of the general ruling is not acted upon, then is it proof that it is not intended meaning.”

    End Quote.

  105. Avatar


    January 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM


    @ brother yasir qadhi..

    i am a normal muslim guy who is as sinful as anyother human and as good as a muslim as anyother muslim would be.certainly i am not a scholar and an alim but alhamdulilah blessed with an understanding of the religion. i came from pakistan to states for residency (medicine)
    .i kept beard when i was 22 and it was the normally found length. but i always knew that fistful is the mos appropriate length.
    when i came here i dont know how i came out of that fear of growing it and alhamdulilah now its out of the normally found length.though a lill short of the fist length bc my hair growth is slow but i know that it should be neat and decent and alhamdulilah apart from my family who is against beard nobody ever said it looks bad on me.

    but i found a problem when my family gives reference of you and other scholars who are here and they say that if people of those stature can do like this what is the your problem.?
    i didnt get any interview and one i got i was questioned about it and the interviewer gave quite a bad remarks about it.which i listened to with smiles becuase i knew he is ignorant about my religion.
    i am never afraid of any nonmuslim but when my family say things about it i just…anywaz
    brother honestly speaking those people who can become signs for us to present to the ordinary people are becoming problem. what should i say to them because i dont want to short it and go back again to the same length to get out of which it took me 5 years.

    its not that brother i am saying it to you its just that i am sick and tired of the beard issue…when i am not saying it to anyone that u should be particular about these sunnahs but they kept on saying me about beard ,if i fold my pants , if i place a topi because they are not particualr about their namaz , no girl do pardah and music and dancing is the common thing.
    then they keep on saying these non muslims would not give you job (though may be my link to pakistan and my religious outlook is a problem) but why dont we muslims wana believe nothing is but from ALLAH.

    anywaz brother i just wanted to share my feelings with you…yesterday when i came to know that u shortened it from the length i was quite disturbed…anywaz…i have heard your interview and your views but i just want to say one thing
    with every passing day things are becoming difficult to follow the proper sunnah,yes our rituals would remain there but the proper way of doing them would be are a scholar and i have no objection about your fiqhi stance about it but may be when i needed you the most i didnt find you there.
    may ALLAH bless you for all the good deeds you do..i am not one of those who measure the iman with the length of beard your respect in my heart remains the same and thanks for the beautiful lectures on surah yusuf.

    ALLAH hafiz

  106. Avatar


    January 8, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    This article that i am sending on this site is good news for all the brothers that keep the BEARD according to the SUNNAH…………..
    and for those that don’t as well

    I am sending an EXCERPT:

    “Women see a broad chest and shoulders as a sign of someone who can clobber a steady supply of meat and keep lions away from the cave. And while a hairy chest and a full beard have fallen out of favor in the waxed and buffed 21st century, they are historically–if unconsciously–seen as signs of healthy testosterone flow that gives rise to both fertility and strength.”

    and the web link…………….. better yet read the Journal that the study it was published IN. IGNORE THE PICTURE FOR NOW,9171,1704672-2,00.html
    You decide if it is the TRUTH……….

  107. Avatar


    January 10, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Dear Yusuf,

    Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtar bin ash-Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen ash-Shanqiti is the son of Shaykh M al-Ameen ash-Shanqiti, the author of Tafsir Adwa’ al-Bayan fi Eydah al-Quran bi al-Quran and the teacher and colleague of Shaykh Bin Baz. I think Ustadh Alshareef was referring to him in his speech. He was among the seniormost scholars in Saudi Arabia.

  108. Avatar

    The Ghazzali Blogger

    January 14, 2009 at 5:12 AM

    So one question (and forgive me if this was asked before because I skimmed through all this comments). We have Muslim fire fighters here in NYC (converts) and at one point I was going to be a firefighter HENCE I ask (because at one point it did concern me). Now they can’t grow their beard, they always need to be clean shaven so when a fire happens they can quickly where their gas masks and run in. However if they have a beard and the alarm goes off they really do not have time to shave, specially if it is a fist length beard. Now I know my construction worker/plumber friends who have to be working in a tunnel and also wear masks. But they grow their beards and when they are told to go work in an area that will require the mask, they shave it that day, and then restart to grow it (they live in Malaysia where most of the population is Muslim and the country does need its workers, unlike here where a Muslim can choose to work someplace else). However firefighters do not have that option for obvious time reasons. So my question is, is this one of the times we can make the acceptation for the beard (or should one not be a firefighter, but if that’s the case then should Muslim nations import firefighters from overseas?).

    OH and if you have itchy beards like I do. Use coconut oil :) and rub a little head and shoulders into your beard when you shower. :)

  109. Avatar


    February 18, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    Salaam …i went through the posts but maybe i missed the point I was looking for …

    Can someone tell me of other salaf scholors …of today and of the past who have had the same view about the beard as Shailkh Yassir has.


  110. Avatar


    April 9, 2009 at 2:06 AM

    Asalamu Alaikum, ladies and gentlemen of Islam. I am not commenting on Yasir Qadhi, specifically. He seemed to be quoting other scholars. This debate is an example of the classic tussle between the people who follow the Qur’an and Ahadith, ‘saying’ Sami’naa wa ata’naa (Ghufraanaka Rabbaanaa wa ilaikal maseer) and the people who rely on opinions and qiyaas even though the opinions may contradict the Qur’an and Ahadith. It makes sense for me to follow Allah and His Messenger, only, in order to be on the Siraat Al-Mustaqeem. In the Qur’an, we are told that when we have a dispute, we should refer back to Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, meaning the Qur’an and Ahadith.

    The words and actions of the Prophet, salllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the Khulafa Rashideen, are well documented and authenticated, and leaves no doubt in the honest reader and thinker’s mind, that the beard is to be “forgiven”, “kept (protected, as in, O Allah, keep us)”, allowed to grow, lengthened, and not trimmed at all. We ask Allah for complete Forgiveness, don’t we? I will leave this for you to derive the implications of disobeying the Prophet’s commands.

    Examining the ahadith that are used to justify trimming, the ahadith are classified as da’eef shiddan, weak, or MADE-UP! The only Hadith that is truly authentic to my knowledge, is the Hadith about Ibn Umar, authenticated by Bukhari, Rahmatullahi ‘alaih, which starts with the Prophet’s clear instructions, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, of trimming the moustache and leaving the beard, describes Ibn ‘Umar holding his beard in his fist at Hajj or Umrah…and his trimming the moustache such that his skin could be seen…and trimming between his moustache and beard (meaning the hair that covered any part of his lips…). Where he was holding his beard from (he could have been holding his long beard at navel-level) and why (probably to save it from being trimmed, while he was trimming his moustache), is anyone’s guess.

    Trimming the beard may be justified only when there is a threat to life from not trimming it, or when keeping oneself from doing dhulm on one’s nafs, in specific circumstances, just as eating pork is allowed for survival, but not in normal circumstances. Firefighters sometimes have large moustaches, so I don’t buy the cop-out that beards somehow threaten the safety of the firefighters. They can wear a thin ski mask, to improve the seal of the breathing apparatus on their faces. When Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has decided on a matter, it is not befitting for the Believers to have an ‘opinion’, let alone following the contradictory opinion of a non-Prophet, ‘faqih’.

    BTW, we are commanded to PLUCK (not shave) our underarm hair, and shave (not trim) our public hair. Also, it is insulting to Muslims, that an image of a razor be used for linking to this page, as it is/was done on the website.



  111. Avatar

    abu zayd

    February 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    If there are more important issues in today’s world than growing a beard, then surely its ironic that it is the very fact that Muslims have left the Sunnah of the Messenger (SAW) that they are in the current weakness and crisis? The fard of growing the beard is intricately linked to being a Muslim, an identity.

  112. Avatar

    Muslim Man

    February 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    As-Salaam Alaikum. Bismillah Rahman Raheem, wa-Ssalaatu wa-Sassalamu ‘ala Rasoolillah.

    The Ahadith on trimming the MOUSTACHE and leaving/sparing/forgiving/lengthening/having-mercy-on the beard are Sahih, and the meaning well known, correct?

    Perhaps this is a matter of aqeedah, and not only fiqh, if we believe in the Quran that declares the Prophet “does not speak of his own desire; his (speech was nothing other than) a revelation that was revealed.” see In fact, in one of the narrations – the one in which he told the foreigners who had large moustaches and shaved or trimmed beards, that my Lord has Commanded me to trim my moustache and leave my beard . So the Command to trim the moustace and leave the beard is from Allah.

    Once we believe that the Prophet’s word in matters of Deen were a Revelation, the question then is whether trimming the beard contradicts the commands of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam or not. And the answer is, “YES, it does”. The command is to trim and MOUSTACHE and spare the beard, not trim the moustache and trim the beard as well. Trimming and sparing the beard are mutually exclusive, except in the minds of those (‘scholars’ and ‘students of knowledge’) who, using twisted logic, want to make trimming (and even shaving parts of) the beard halal. If you trim the beard, you will no longer be leaving/sparing/forgiving/lengthening/having-mercy-on it.

    Brother Yasir Qadhi in one of his posts rightly points out that the words and actions of some of the Companions do not become Divine law. He correctly applies this principle to reject the one-fist rule, but then does not apply the same pricipal to reports of Companions ‘taking from their beards’. Even if the reports that he mentioned that ‘some of’ the Companions and ‘early scholars’ “took from the beard” (a vague description as it is) are Sahih (their Sahih status is yet to be proven by him), the actions of a few Companions and ‘early scholars’ do not make the authentic Commands of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, invalid. Remember the Prophet’s saying ‘laa nabiyyaa ba’dee” (there is no Prophet after me)?

    Just because in the West, Shaitan has convinced us that it’s a little inconvenient to spare the beard to let it grow to its natural length, this does not mean people have the authority to justify disobeying the Command of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Masha Allah, it’s not like we’re in Combodia in the 70’s where someone would murder us if we appear to be Muslim. One can tie a long beard with rubber bands and tuck it in when playing sports or when there’s danger of persecution.

    It’s obvious that trimming and shaping the beard is what the non-Muslims do. Do we want to live our lives imitating them and disobeying the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam?

    Then there is the class of scholars who have declared that one can SHAVE the upper and lower parts OF THE BEARD because these are not part of the beard! Unbelievable!

    Let’s not forget the jewish people’s mistakes. Lard was forbidden to them. They used to melt the lard before consuming it – according to their logic, melting the lard changes it and so it becomes something that is not forbidden. They cast nets before the Sabbath and retrieved their catch at the end of Sabbath. These practices of theirs have earned them the Wrath of Allah.

    (Wa-Allahu A’lum)

    May Allah Save us and the scholars of Islam from His Wrath and from being misguided and from misguiding others, and may He Guide us and Keep us on Us-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem, aameen.

    Wassalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

  113. Avatar


    September 23, 2010 at 3:47 AM

    Fascinating conversation. Very personalized and heartfelt description about the beard.

  114. Avatar


    October 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I don’t need Yasir Qadhi or any Tom, Dick or Harry to tell me what I should do with my facial hair.

  115. Pingback: Q&A Concerning Modern-Day Callers & Groups and The Tricks they Employ [Abu Khadeejah on Yasir Qadhi and Al-Maghrib Institute] | working towards heaven

  116. Avatar


    April 7, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    If there is ijma on fist-length beard (if I am not mistaken), why does brother Yasir Qadhi say there is nothing wrong in trimming beard less than a fist length? Is it okay in usul-al-fiqh to go against ijma?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Unexpected Blessings of Being Alone

Juli Herman



My seven-year old son sat on the ground, digging a hole. Around him, other children ran, cried, and laughed at the playground.

“He’s such a strange kid,” my oldest daughter remarked. “Who goes to the playground and digs holes in the ground?”

In an instant, scenes of my ten-year-old self flashed through my mind. In them I ducked, hiding from invisible enemies in a forest of tapioca plants. Flattening my back against the spindly trunks, I flicked my wrist, sending a paper shuriken flying towards my pursuers. I was in my own world, alone.

It feels as if I have always been alone. I was the only child from one set of parents. I was alone when they divorced. I was alone when one stepmother left and another came in. I was alone with my diary, tears, and books whenever I needed to escape from the negative realities of my childhood.

Today, I am a lone niqab-wearing Malay in the mish-mash of a predominantly Desi and Arab Muslim community. My aloneness has only been compounded by the choices I’ve made that have gone against social norms- like niqab and the decision to marry young and have two babies during my junior and senior years of undergrad.

When I decided to homeschool my children, I was no longer fazed by any naysayers. I had gotten so used to being alone that it became almost second nature to me. My cultural, religious, and parenting choices no longer hung on the approval of social norms.

Believe it Or Not, We Are All Alone

In all of this, I realize that I am not alone in being alone. We all are alone, even in an ocean of people. No matter who you are, or how many people are around you, you are alone in that you are answerable to the choices you make.

The people around you may suggest or pressure you into specific choices, but you alone make the ultimate choice and bear the ultimate consequence of what those choices are. Everything from what you wear, who you trust, and how you plan your wedding is a result of your own choice. We are alone in society, and in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as well.

The aloneness is obvious when we do acts of worship that are individual, such as fasting, giving zakah, and praying. But we’re also alone in Hajj, even when surrounded by a million other Muslims. We are alone in that we have to consciously make the choice and intention to worship. We are alone in making sure we do Hajj in its true spirit.

We alone are accountable to Allah, and on the Day of Judgment, no one will carry the burden of sin of another.

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا

“Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good; whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” Surah Al Israa 17:15

On the day you stand before Allah you won’t have anyone by your side. On that day it will be every man for himself, no matter how close you were in the previous life. It will just be you and Allah.

Even Shaytaan will leave you to the consequences of your decisions.

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.’ A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers” Surah Ibrahim 14:22

But, Isn’t Being Alone Bad?

The connotation that comes with the word ‘alone’ relegates it to something negative. You’re a loser if you sit in the cafeteria alone. Parents worry when they have a shy and reserved child. Teachers tend to overlook the quiet ones, and some even complain that they can’t assess the students if they don’t speak up.

It is little wonder that the concept of being alone has a negative connotation. Being alone is not the human default, for Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was alone, yet Allah created Hawwa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a companion for him. According to some scholars, the word Insaan which is translated as human or mankind or man comes from the root letters that means ‘to want company’. We’re naturally inclined to want company.

You might think, “What about the social aspects of Islam? Being alone is like being a hermit!” That’s true, but in Islam, there is a balance between solitary and communal acts of worship. For example, some prayers are done communally like Friday, Eid, and funeral prayers. However, extra prayers like tahajjud, istikharah, and nawaafil are best done individually.

There is a place and time for being alone, and a time for being with others. Islam teaches us this balance, and with that, it teaches us that being alone is also praiseworthy, and shouldn’t be viewed as something negative. There is virtue in alone-ness just as there is virtue in being with others.

Being Alone Has Its Own Perks

It is through being alone that we can be astute observers and connect the outside world to our inner selves. It is also through allowing aloneness to be part of our daily regimen that we can step back, introspect and develop a strong sense of self-based on a direct relationship with Allah.

Taking the time to reflect on worship and the words of Allah gives us the opportunity to meaningfully think about it. It is essential that a person gets used to being alone with their thoughts in order to experience this enriching intellectual, emotional and spiritual experience. The goal is to use our thoughts as the fuel to gain closeness to Allah through reflection and self-introspection.

Training ourselves to embrace being alone can also train us to be honest with ourselves, discover who we truly are, and work towards improving ourselves for Allah’s sake. Sitting with ourselves and honestly scrutinizing the self in order to see strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement is essential for character development. And character development is essential to reach the level of Ihsaan.

When we look into who we want to be, we are bound to make some decisions that might raise eyebrows and wag tongues. Being okay with being alone makes this somewhat easier. We should not be afraid to stand out and be the only one wearing praying or wearing hijab, knowing that it is something Allah will be pleased with. We should not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in even if it makes us unpopular. Getting used to being alone can give us the confidence to make these decisions.

Being alone can strengthen us internally, but not without pain. Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the “pain of independence.”

All our prophets experienced this ‘pain of independence’ in their mission. Instances of different prophets being rejected by their own people are generously scattered in the Quran for us to read and reflect upon. One lesson we can extract from these is that being alone takes courage, faith, conviction, and confidence.


We Come Alone, Leave Alone, Meet Allah Alone

The circumstances that left me alone in the different stages of my life were not random. I always wanted an older brother or someone else to be there to rescue me from the solitude. But the solitude came with a blessing. Being alone gave me the time and space in which to wonder, think, and eventually understand myself and the people around me. I learned reflection as a skill and independent decision-making as s strength. I don’t mind being alone in my niqab, my Islam, or my choices. I’ve had plenty of practice after all.

Open grave

You are born alone and you took your first breath alone. You will die alone, even if you are surrounded by your loved ones. When you are lowered into the grave, you will be alone. Accepting this can help you make use of your moments of solitude rather than fear them. Having the courage to be alone builds confidence, strengthens conviction, and propels us to do what is right and pleasing to Allah regardless of human approval.

Continue Reading

Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.




israel, occupied Palestine

Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

Continue Reading

This Article Could be Zakat-Eligible

Who Accounts For This Pillar of Islam




Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.  

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.   

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.  

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.   

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.  

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.   

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.  

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.


  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

Continue Reading