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Find a Job, Keep Your Beard


When I began searching for a job back in ’04, I was advised by experts that a clean-shaven face was a must for the interview. A bearded face was a job seeker’s death sentence.

Now me, I follow the opinion that you leave the beard alone and just let it grow. Most people don’t follow that opinion, and I’m cool with that – I’m just happy when I see something resembling a 5 o’clock shadow on a brother’s face.

I point out my beard size for a simple reason – generally speaking, the longer the beard, the more difficult it is for one to find a job. The advice which follows worked for me, and insha’Allah, if you follow an opinion which prohibits shaving or trimming, this advice will benefit you.

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When I prepared myself for the interview, I did a few things:


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Siraaj is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He's spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor's in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master's certificate from UC Berkeley. He's very married and has 5 wonderful children



  1. Tim

    June 10, 2009 at 12:34 AM

    Brushing your beard daily will do wonders for keeping it looking neat. Mine is in the middle of the bushy phase (I haven’t been clean-shaven in some time, but I trimmed my beard down fairly short a couple months ago when my youngest daughter was in her “spit up on or grab everything” phase – you fathers out there know what I mean…) on the way to getting a good length, and the daily brushing is a lifesaver as far as keeping my beard neat. I also trim my mustache back to where it doesn’t get in the way while drinking, which helps considerably. I joke about it being a filter, but it’s a pain to keep clean when it gets in the tea all day!

    Shampooing at least a few times a week doesn’t hurt either, though I found I get very little benefit from conditioning, particularly considering the hassle.

    Sure, appearance DOES count, but I have found that if you can wear your beard naturally and just not call attention to it there are minimal problems. Even if, like me, you naturally tend toward the mountain man look.

    Outside cultures where it’s at least somewhat acceptable to wear a beard, though, you may encounter a bit more difficulty.

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:00 PM

      Man, I completely feel you on that children grabbing the beard issue. My 4 year-old daughter once came behind me when I was sitting on the floor with a gathering of brothers and effortlessly pulled me down on my back by standing behind me and grabbing me by my beard.

      My one year old son also realized that when I tickle him, he can grab my beard for revenge, so I’ve had to learn how to tickle and protect my beard at the same time :D


  2. monkeynurse

    June 10, 2009 at 12:51 AM

    people come in all shapes and sizes. there are ways to follow the deen without compromise and still land great positions. trust in allah that he will pave the way for you.

    a few more points i want to add:

    1) the beard can be seen as a plus to some employers. it shows that you are dedicated to something higher and won’t compromise your ethics
    2) if you feel your potential employer doesn’t believe in #1, then beef up everything else. looking GQ (i.e. decked out) is a standard in professional interviews. this way the beard is no longer the center of attention.
    3) #2 additionally proves that your beard isn’t out of neglect, but is pre-meditated and done with a purpose
    4) use your other skills => i love to talk and i won’t hold back during an interview. especially if you know who you will be interviewing with, plan ahead and know their interests. interviews are like playing a game. i have a few more tips for interviews, but seeing as this is a beard + interview post, i won’t bore you.

    i’ll tell you from personal experience, don’t compromise on your deen for small gains in this dunya. what are you going to compromise next? salat? jumah? so what if you don’t get a job because of your beard? allah will get you a better job.

    my best friends father used to be an ER doctor and would work locums shift in different ERs around the country. whenever he would do an interview and they would ask if he had any questions. he would tell them that he has 1 requirement: that they allow him several small breaks during the day for salat and that it must be written into his contract. that’s hardcore.

    may allah make me and all of us muslims with hardcore iman.

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:01 PM

      Ameen to those du’aas bro.

  3. mirza

    June 10, 2009 at 1:48 AM


    almost same story. jazakumullah kheir; relieved those horrible memories while i read this revitalizing and refreshing reminder siraaj bhai.
    jazakumullah kheir.

    in my case, since i too did not trim my beard ( shorter than what i usually do), al hamdulillah telling the director after 7 rounds of interview that see this is not what is written on paper please if you like to take me, take me for what i am and this is what my real experience is and i came to this country few weeks ago ( i did not know these dirty tricks and business of consulting/ body shopping species existed before that); director was pleased with my performance in the interview and al Hamdulillah i got my break through; going on good though, ( not much into systems programming yet but still surviving halal and lakal hamd laka shukra ); for me i had ( still have, after reading your article on izzah its more evident now) no reputation to lose because all that is given to us is form Allaah, he will take it the way he wish and if he is giving us something, subahan Allaah.

    just one suggestion, never ever compromise for your deen; if you don’t appreciate it, then who else? all izzah and rizq only belongs to Allaah.
    money / pride are two spoiled qualities of corporate world. may Allaah save us from those fitna of fame and showing off. ameen.

    i also know a man who happen to speak to a shaykh, in his time, to determine what portion of his salary would be unethical based on so and so number of fake experience he edited to his original profile. i can’t imagine we have this ethically unethicals among us. our fitrah tells us that something wrong we are doing, if we are doing that something wrong. but with period some get desensetized.

    if above paragraph did not make sense to you, then just realize that your example is very motivating and jazakumullah kheir for sharing it; i share the same pain for the ummah,
    today i received an email from weekly reminder ( which many of reader might have received) that how honesty leads to jannah and how sin is something that makes your heart feel uneasy. many more funny details to share, i will tell you in person insh Allaah sometime.

    it read as follows,
    Live your life in a way that if someone was to open the door on
    you at any moment, you would have nothing to hide. This is true
    success. Think of something that you may be ashamed people will
    find out about, and take some action right now to stop doing

    how true,,,

    barakallahu feekum,

    may Allaah give us tawfik to truly sincerely be among mukhliseen wal mustaghfireena bil asahaar ( ps i don’t know what your personal dua’s are so the dua i ask is make us among those who get up in tahajjud and ask our own duas);

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:03 PM

      Unfortunately, the issue of fabricated resumes is more common among us than I care to mention.


      • Ibrahim

        April 1, 2016 at 11:50 PM

        Assalamualikum warahmatullahiwabarakatuhu,
        Dear brother,
        I left my beard very long ,before leaving beard I worked in sales and marketing sector after leaving beard I loose my job since 6 years iam jobless and iam not able to support my family economically so brother please help me by giving good suggestion which really helps me.
        Shaik Ibrahim

  4. muslimsister

    June 10, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    My experience going to a job interview and graduate school interview with hijab was very similiar. I went to 13 or 15 interviews when I graduated (after 9/11). It was sooo frustrating that I’d have the job on the phone and the offer would disappear when I showed up for the interview. Then, I must have tried every form of hijab at home to make it less obvious….finally wore it as I should for each interview. It took patience, dua and a prayer of need to get my first job. Now I still wear hijab, have my dream job, have fridays off, take the last 10 days of Ramadan off, and pray at the office with my co-workers aware that I’m offering my prayer so they do interrupt me! al-Hamdulillah. I would definitely suggest the brothers to keep at it and not lose hope…It’s hard but patience is sweet. The promise of Allah SWT is true. I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined this 6 yrs ago.
    Insha-Allah you will all find your dream jobs!

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:08 PM

      May Allah reward you for your persistence. I knew a brother whose father pressured him, telling him, “You do some interviews with the beard, and if it doesn’t work, then you must take it down.” The first few didn’t work out, and so he did what his father asked and got the job with the compromise.

      I’m in the same situation as you now – I get to work Fridays from home, my work hours are flexible, and my boss is flexible on paid time off (doesn’t count sick days, or personal work to be done outside of work like fixing car, etc).


      • Miako

        June 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM

        academic jobs, and ones where you don’t have to be public relations, are generally easier to get if you are “special” (and I meant that in many many different ways. one of my friends is in a wheelchair, for example).

        just as a helpful tip for anyone looking for career advice.

    • Rana

      June 26, 2009 at 8:13 AM

      Dear Sister,
      Assalam Alaikom & Thank you for sharing that story,it really gave me some hope as i’m moving to US very soon and i’m totally terrified from not having the chance to find a job cuz i wear Hijab! I really dont know where to look for it, how to dress or what to mention in my CV… And -Unfortunately- what make things even much harder, that i’m not having the required support from my family, cuz i’m the only memeber who wear Hijab (Allah yehdehom), and they are trying to convince me to loose it cuz it will threaten my life and make it harder over there!
      I really need to show the whole world that i can do it even much better cuz i have my Hijab on

  5. AbdulRahman

    June 10, 2009 at 4:21 AM

    Awesome beard ma sha’ Allah!

  6. AMW- BrandyAminah-Zahira

    June 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM

    Masha’Allah I applaud all you brothers for keeping your beards and striving for the sake of Allah. And for the sisters who do the same wearing hijab.

    Sadly here in UAE and when I lived in lebanon many poeple belive you will never get a job unless you shave it down to a mear shadow instead of a long beard AND fib all over your resume. They get business owned BY THE FAMILY to verify that someone had worked fo them for years when it was NOT true. Sad.

    May Allah reward those who are striving hard. Amin.

  7. mirza

    June 10, 2009 at 5:51 AM

    did i say your beard is super cool mash Allaah, an inspiration for self and many who wish to follow.

    i hope not shaking hand with opposite sex interviewer while politely putting forth your reason firmly, can do wonders ( in my case i was changed from my project, al Hamdulillah rabbil ‘alameen, only to go on better projects :)

    may Allaah guide who seek guidance and like to see (perceive) his signs. ameen.

    jazakumullah kheir for the article siraaj bhai. you never seize to amaze me, mash Allaah, with the sheer clarity of expression(s).

  8. Troubled?

    June 10, 2009 at 6:10 AM

    Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah,

    MashaAllah, may Allah bless you, that was very good advice and something to definitely to think about.

    ….its funny that the incident relates to Muslim dress, now, I’m actually going through a slightly awkward phase in my life and if you can advice, actually if any brothers or sisters can advice I’ll be very grateful.

    Okay you mentioned, beard while at an interview, emmmm how about Niqaab while at a summer placement? To cut the story short, I’m a uni student doing my masters in the UK, and I got my summer placement only it was all via online, so I’ve never been interviewed but I do have an open day to attend at the end of this month where all the students hired for summer placement will be mixing etc. They want smart dress. No one I know has ever been in my position in this specific subject area, so, to say the least I’m in need of some advice.

    They wont speak to you say via the phone, if you have any queries you need to email them.

    Hmmm….any ideas?

    • Amatullah

      June 10, 2009 at 11:46 AM

      Sister, try emailing them and letting them know of your religion and your dress code. That has worked in the past alhamdulillah.

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:14 PM

      Sister Amatullah’s advice is great – I used it recently for a time management seminar with a female instructor. I found out in advance the instructor’s gender, and then wrote an email introducing myself, writing a quick line about what in the seminar I was looking forward to, and then explained that I am an “Orthodox Practitioner the Islamic Faith”, and so didn’t shake hands with members of the opposite gender.

      I went on to acknowledge that I understand the behavior is different or strange, and simply wanted to head off any potentially embarrassing situations. She replied back no problem, and during the seminar, she was excellent in her behavior towards me during class.


      • Miako

        June 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

        as a non-muslim, I am honestly bewildered. how is not shaking hands so weird? many countries don’t do it, anyhow! (also, do you have some form of appropriate greeting? is it always merely verbal? little cat is curious.)

        • Siraaj

          June 10, 2009 at 4:18 PM

          Well, I think not shaking hands isn’t so weird, but if someone initiates, and you flat out refuse, it comes off as a low level form of rejection. Add to that that this is limited to inter-gender handshaking, and now it becomes an issue of sexism, women’s rights, etc.

          I’m not aware of any hard and fast rules for greeting. I’m good with a simple, “Hi, how’s it going?” :D


          • Norma Loquendi

            June 10, 2009 at 10:01 PM

            I am a Canadian woman of Saxon & Nordic descent who HATES shaking hands – I despise touching strangers – and as an atheist I have no religious excuses for not responding to another’s outstretched hand. When people do try to shake my hand I get past it by pointing out, with a smile, that I’d rather not risk transferring my cold germs. Whether or not I actually have a cold, it’s always the truth that there’s a risk of transferring potentially infectious bacteria through touching people, and I find that very few people will be insulted by being told I don’t want to make them sick.

            Besides, it’s a convention that goes back to the days when we went around bristling with weaponry – we invented the handshake to demonstrate that we weren’t going to stab the other guy, and also to make sure we could keep a potential opponent under some kind of control until we could check out where HIS weapons were. I always think that if there’s no logical reason to keep a tradition or convention it should be abandoned, and hand shaking – especially in these days of antibiotic resistant super viruses – is just a stupid holdover that can’t be justified by any logic.

            So thank you for NOT shaking hands, and please don’t any of you feel you have to take up this regressive and pointless habit just because many of us still feel compelled to do it. A genuine smile and a gentle demurral, like doing people the courtesy of letting them know the reason for your refusal to shake, is a whole lot better way to greet a person.

          • amad

            June 10, 2009 at 10:09 PM

            Norma, that’s a perspective I have never heard before… thanks for sharing!

    • Abd- Allah

      June 10, 2009 at 2:29 PM

      If it helps, I consider niqab as smart dress.

    • bluebird

      August 20, 2009 at 11:37 PM

      Assalamu Alaykum sister! I found your story very very inspiring and touching!! How did your summer placement go with niqaab?!! MAY ALLAH GRANT YOU SUCCESS IN THIS LIFE AND THE HEREAFTER AMEEN <3

  9. Pingback: Find a Job, Keep Your Beard | | Job Search Daily

  10. MR

    June 10, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    I think most tech jobs nowadays skip the HR interview and go straight to the developer interview. My job interview was fairly easy. I was given a project to build out. I did it with ease and emailed it in. A few days later the HR person was asking me when can I start. Alhamdulillah, still working at the same company and its amazing here.

    Younger tech companies are very muslim-friendly, which is probably due to the fact that the majority of web/software developers are atheists.

  11. Hassan

    June 10, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    Hmm, I think you are not aware of our history brother. Let me show you pictures of our ancestors (in geekness and technology):

    (Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie Unix and C creators)

    (James Gosling, java creator)

    (Steve Jobs, apple guy)

    (Steve Wozniak, apple co creator)

    (Microsoft staff photo from December 7, 1978)

    • MR

      June 10, 2009 at 8:50 PM


      Nerds FTW!

    • monkeynurse

      June 10, 2009 at 9:15 PM

      that’s hilarious!

    • Sadaf

      June 11, 2009 at 1:37 AM

      Your contribution of links to these pictures is very effective! It will counter the argument which most Muslim skeptics put forward, that a man can not progress in the corporate world in US especially, if he has a long beard.
      Jazak Allahu khairan.

  12. faatimah

    June 10, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Nicely done.

  13. Abu Hafsa

    June 10, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    JazakAllah Br. Siraj. Your experience echos mine almost verbatim. In college, no experience, contacted by so called ‘IT Consultants’, beefing up the resume, me saying ‘No’ etc etc. It’s all very much the same. But Alhamdulillah I was fortunate to land a job even before my final semester began through campus recruitment.

    May Allah grant us all the tawfeeq and yaqeen in our hearts to be steadfast on our deen.

  14. Shirtman

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Again, I think the entire Muslim Ummah has bigger problems then beards, cheeseburgers, dress code, shaking women’s/ men’s hands and days of Ramadan/Eid.



    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 12:29 PM

      The Ummah certainly has bigger problems to contend with. I doubt anyone would want to compare the importance of the beard vs the importance of salaah, or the situation in ghazzah.

      On the other hand, if the Creator of the heavens and earth made sure that a certain matter was clarified for us through His Messenger, then that matter by default is still important.

      If we were to go back and look at the context in which the discussion of the beard took place, you would find that the circumstances surrounding the Muslims at that time were no less grave, yet the matter, among others some would deem “less important” was still covered.

      Finally, please note that this post is not advocating a position. It states very clearly all opinions are welcome and accepted, and if you believe you must maintain some form of beard, here’s some help in removing the dichotomy of, “Either I have to be religious, or I have to live practically in the ‘real world'” and changing it to, “I can be both religious and live practically in the real world.”

      I personally believe we can save scholars a lot of time in fatwa dispensing by simply finding creative, proactive, and practical solutions to the problems we face.


      • Jeremiah

        June 10, 2009 at 12:52 PM

        Brother Siraaj,

        JazakAllahu khairan for the way you responded to this comment. Very nice, mashaAllah.


  15. Farhan

    June 10, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    I worked in Corporate America, dealing with the CFO and CEO of the company on a regular basis, for 2 and a half years with a beard I just let go. Keep in mind, I spent 20 minutes minimum each morning making it straight and all. But, I only trimmed the mustache.

    My trick was this: You know how if you get your hair wet, and then lay down, once it dries, it’ll be somewhat firm in that position? Likewise, if you get your beard wet, straighten it out, and let it dry while forced into a certain position, it’ll remain that way throughout the day. I did it every single morning.

    (I also used to use a straightening Iron. I know….)

    • Siraaj

      June 10, 2009 at 1:39 PM

      I use a circular brush with close teeth and blow dry on HOT (cold or medium heat always goofs up).


      • Tim

        June 10, 2009 at 5:14 PM

        I skip the blow drying (it leads to beard frizzies and those make me look ENTIRELY too much like some sort of overgrown Ewok, and that’s never a good thing; my nickname in Basic in the Air Force was Chewbacca as it is…) but brush it thoroughly after a quick towel dry. It’s still damp enough that it helps it stay in place once dry. I use a brush similar to one of my wife’s hairbrushes – a broad brush with medium-spaced bristles with the little nubs on the end. It helps wrangle the hairs and feels pretty darn good on the face to boot. The way my beard is, if the brush (or comb, for that matter) has bristles too closely-spaced my whole beard starts to list to port.

        I suppose there could be entrepreneurial space for more dedicated beard-care products… I sure feel under-served in the health and beauty section of the local Wal-Mart and Safeway.

  16. Shirtman

    June 10, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    Thanks Siraaj,

    Interestingly enough, everything was covered and was important. But all of these things have already been conveyed in some form. I feel MM should stop these posts, I know you put time into this and people will benefit, but if we are going to suceed again and be prosperous we need to work on the important things first.

    Just my 2 cents.


    • ibnabeeomar

      June 10, 2009 at 5:05 PM

      this sounds like a very practical, moving-forward kind of attitude, but in all reality i think it creates stagnation.

      how do you define what is important, and at what point do other issues get addressed? for example, should all muslims ignore any subject other than the evils of ribaa until x% of muslims are no longer involved in ribaa?

      no matter what subject you come up with, someone will find something more ‘important’ or more ‘pressing’ and you’re left sitting there trying to figure out what to address.

      islam’s a complete way of life, its not for us to ignore one aspect over another. i agree with putting things in their proper place, however, i feel its a bit negative to take this attitude (ironically, you yourself have posted comments criticizing MM before for being “critical” of those who are trying to be positive). if posts like this help someone struggling with these issues, what’s the beef? sometimes conquering a “smaller” issue helps give motivation to tackle bigger ones as well, Allahu Alam.

  17. ny

    June 10, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    Mashallah- I never knew of the dedication that gos into a beard , so I commend the brothers for sticking it through, and by the sounds of it, some of them have a better hair care regime then us ladies!

    I’d be curios to know how brothers who keep the sunnah of wearing their trousers above their ankles, find working in corporate america/europe? Unlike the beard, which non-muslims might associate with extremism etc, I can imagine the look of a suited man with ankle swingers looking…well…a little odd?

  18. imz

    June 10, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    I’d be curios to know how brothers who keep the sunnah of wearing their trousers above their ankles, find working in corporate america/europe? Unlike the beard, which non-muslims might associate with extremism etc, I can imagine the look of a suited man with ankle swingers looking…well…a little odd?

    Yh…..iam sure there are some stories out there

  19. B

    June 10, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    On the topic of hand shaking, generally in the US, people shake hands during introduction, and it never happens again. I have noticed that women don’t extend their hands if you place your hand on your stomach, I think they get the hint that you are “reserved”. It works for me a lot, but not always. . .

  20. B

    June 10, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    Another idea I had, but never tried yet, was to pull this out of your front pocket if a woman extends her hand, and, actually, shake hands!

    • Abd- Allah

      June 10, 2009 at 7:01 PM

      well once you try it, let us know how it goes!

    • Amatullah

      June 10, 2009 at 7:08 PM

      lol that’s too funny.

    • muslimsister

      June 10, 2009 at 8:16 PM

      lol once you try that the lady will definitely never forget you. ;)

  21. Sadaf

    June 11, 2009 at 1:46 AM

    Brother Siraaj – you have done a great favor to the younger men of the Muslim Ummah by writing this post. I think it’s very beneficial and much needed. I also agree with the “let it grow” opinion regarding beards. My husband has heard many things regarding his generous beard e.g. when he went and sat at a table occupied by men at my friend’s wedding reception, he was asked, “Are you from Al-Qaeda?”.
    Alhamdulillah, it’s a tough decision to keep and maintain a long beard, and sometimes even tougher to smile in response to, and jokingly laugh off, such comments. Mind you, sometimes the people who make the most insulting comments about beards are Muslims themselves.
    I commend any brother who maintains such a beard in the West. May Allah grant all of you the company of the Prophet (peace be upon him), whom you are struggling to emulate, in Al-Firdaus in the Akhirah. Ameen.
    I think readers who are undermining the importance of articles pertaining to the beard need to fear Allah more, and cooperate more in Al-Birr and Taqwa.
    Allah knows best.

    • Habeeb

      June 11, 2009 at 2:15 PM

      Mind you, sometimes the people who make the most insulting comments about beards are Muslims themselves.

      I agree 100%

      • Abd- Allah

        June 11, 2009 at 5:16 PM

        and sometimes, those people are your own family as well…

        • volleybeard

          June 25, 2009 at 12:45 AM

          I’ve been threatened to be shaven while I sleep. Fortunately I’ve had hardcore training and learned to sleep with one eye open.

          man i’m so tired…lool

    • Victor

      September 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      I’ve had visitors come to our Masjid and more of the non-Muslim visitors had beards than the Muslim hosts!

  22. Marya

    June 11, 2009 at 4:18 AM

    I’ve been placed in the extremely awkward position of editing the personal statements/resumes of Muslims who have lied. I always, always stress that I will not facilitate an “embellished” product, and often take out the lies all together. However, sometimes the people are so adamant you can’t do anything :/

    The interesting this is that the personal statements/resumes that are completely honest tend to be the ones which have the most baraka, and the individuals usually end up in amazing places. :)

    May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala make it easy on all of those searching for jobs and economic security during these tough times. Ameen.

  23. mirza

    June 11, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    subahan Allaah, sometimes i think post 911 if a person is reviving the sunnah of beard in corporate culture, i think many ( not all interviewer ) would regard the person internally as a confident person who defies the norm of people keeping aside the faith. of course the subject matter and individual substance they would judge in the interview itself and might as well keep as well; don’t we think from their perspective, some may even think that, since they know generally muslims keep beards, and you are doing so, if you are not loyal to your faith, how can be you ( really ) honest to your job?

    regardless , i don’t regret a bit repeating siraaj bhai’s punch line, ‘for religious reason, i cannot shake hand with you’ got me transfer of finally new project today :) jazakumullah kheir, you are an inspiration today in many ways… al Hamdulillah.

    again our main aim is only and only to please Allaah t’ala through our deeds and intentions.


  24. Amad

    June 11, 2009 at 10:47 PM

    Here’s an interesting google ad to go along with the post:

    Tired of a crooked Goatee
    Shave your goatee evenly with this fully adjustable shaving template

    Anyone have crooked beard problem?

  25. UmmeAmmaarah

    June 12, 2009 at 12:53 AM

    JazakAllahu khair brother for this absolutely lovely article. May Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’Ala strengthen out tawakkul in Him.
    one favor please: please write one article about how using office stationery, internet, copy machines, etc., for personal purposes is anti-taqwa (like in the wonderful story of Umar RadhiAllaahu anhu)

  26. Eid Farha

    June 12, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    JazakAllahu Khayr for the beneficial article……

    What advice can you provide us with avoiding shaking the hands of women who are interviewing you?

    • Siraaj Muhammad

      June 13, 2009 at 1:30 AM

      Salaam alaykum ‘Eid,

      1. If you know you have a female interviewer, you can email her directly and explain your situation to her.
      2. If you don’t know, call up and find out who it is, and what their contact info is, and let them know.
      3. If the circumstance is such that you can’t do that, then do the following:

      a. Imagine the situation in your mind that some random nonMuslim woman is trying to shake your hand (business interview, meeting you for the first time, doctor’s appt, etc). Now imagine and rehearse the answer you give her.

      b. The answer should be done kindly, courteously, and I do the malaysian / indonesian thing – I put my hand to my heart and say, “I’m sorry, for religious reasons, I don’t shake hands with members of the opposite gender, but it’s good to meet you.” I may even nod my head.

      I did this, by the way, at a funeral of nonMuslims where every woman was trying to shake my hand because of my father-in-law’s passing. It helps if you “look” muslim (bearded in my case, hijaabified in a woman’s case) because they can already see something different about you, so they can make the leap more easily in their minds.


      • Anonymous

        June 13, 2009 at 3:15 AM

        Last part was very true. Sometimes people will put their hand out even when you are wearing a hijab or have a beard, but when you tell them they already know why(basically they knew the explanation was coming), so it’s a lot easier.
        I remember I went to the doctor’s once, and they had to bring in another doctor to speak to me, and it was a male so when he put his hand out I started to tell him but he took it back and stopped me and already said he knew, however sometimes they just want to do it out of courtesy. InshaAllah you deal with mostly these types of people!

  27. faraj

    June 14, 2009 at 2:07 AM

    Subhan’Allah! Thanks for the great article…. what a blessing from Allah (swt) to bestow you guys with full beard…an opportunity to emulate Rassulu’Allah (saw) and get even closer to his sunnah. Isn’t that great?….. In my case nothing grows! :( but i can’t complain alhamdulillah…jazakhallah khair once again and keep it up yo!

    May Allah make us among those who look up to Muhammad (saw). Ameen.

  28. Shirtman

    June 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    Being positive is fine, but I have again and again posted that we need to focus on more important issues. This is one of the downfalls of the Muslims in Andalusia, focusing on minor issues and broadcasting them. The Muslim country eventually collapsed, let’s learn the lessons of the ones who have make the mistakes, life’s too short.

    • Siraaj

      June 25, 2009 at 3:46 PM

      Focusing on minor issues to the detriment of others would be a problem – no one is suggesting that, and I would venture if you were to count the number of articles MM has run on the beard or other “minor” issues vs big issues, you’d find it to be less than 1% of the articles.

      Having said that, this is an issue for Muslims, people do have questions about this, and for those who do, here’s a resource. For those who don’t, the are other articles.


      • Sandy

        August 26, 2010 at 10:42 AM

        Brother Siraaj,

        I live in Northern VA and although the Muslim population here is quite big I have to say that outside of the mosque my husband is the about the only brother I ever see with a beard, a long one at that . Even some of the Imams are clean shaven . Since we have moved here my husband has had a tough time with jobs so I was hopping you could contact me directly so I can explain a little more and you can maybe talk to him because I see him loosing hope in himself and becoming depressed. i think that hearing something positive from a brother who also believes in just letting it grow will make a difference.

        jezzak Allah kher,


  29. Pingback: Jobs … in this economy? — Blog

  30. Sa'ad

    September 26, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    Assalumalaykum all,

    Hope we all in the best of states and iman. I just came across this blog and learnt alot from it. Alhamdulillah, I have an interview coming up and was wondering how they would react to my beard as all my family have been trying and failing to convince me to trim it. My interview is for a masters in Embedded systems, was just wondering if anyone could provide me with some technical questions that could come up?

    Jazaakum Allahu Khayran

    • Siraaj

      September 26, 2010 at 9:49 PM

      If you can wow them with your academic prowess, your beard is a non-factor. If you don’t, everyone will use your beard as a scapegoat.


  31. William

    April 18, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    Keep your beard! I’m not of your faith; but I feverently support the law that states that employers can’t discriminate on the basis of religion and that is part of your religion so stand your ground. Project yourself with confidence and let your naturally friendly and decent personality show through and it shouldn’t matter. If it does then the odds are this is an employer that you won’t want to work for anyway. Take it from an agnostic American working class hippie:) Employers that are that stringent in wanting that much control over an individual tend to have high turn over for a reason and you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. If Doctors can wear a beard in surgery you should be able to wear one at a desk. Just like the tie; it’s a part of the “uniform” imposed by social convention and doesn’t have anything to do with the work. Peace.

  32. Anis

    September 21, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    Assalam o alikum brothers and sisters this is Anis ur rehman,, I just got rejected from a job because of the same reason that i got a beard :O i never knew that to get a Job in UAE one must be clean shaved or a shadow like beard holder. Well this is a kind of disappointing but i hope for the better. May ALLAH guide us to the right path. And this artical really was helpful thank you all of you.


    Anis ur Rehman

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      September 21, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      May Allah grant you a better job which values you for your Muslim identity and give you barakah in your earnings

      • Anis

        September 22, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Ameen. same goes to you :) and may ALLAH bless you in this world and hereafter.

  33. Abdullah

    December 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Asalamu Alaykoum,

    I work in IT field and worked for well known companies. At that time I had my beard trimmed. After having been laid off due to acquisition and merging of companies, el hamdulilah I went to Hajj and when I came back I decided to let grow my beard. In my quest of finding a new job, which lasted 7 months, I’ve been turned down several times. The first and second phone interviews go generally well, but after I do video calls, I don’t get replies anymore or they just say thank you. A couple of companies invited me by paying flight tickets and hotel to visit them at their headquarters for the last interview stage. But when they found out I had a beard and didn’t shake hands with women, they’ve turned me down.

    I found a freelance job as a software engineer in a startup. The people in the company were all male except the secretary. During the interviews no one mentioned the beard, and it was cool because I’ve been hired. But during my first day, the secretary came to give two kisses (tradition here in Spain), I replied kindly that I did want to look rude, but I neither give kisses nor I shake hands. She blushed and felt offended, and everybody in the office were watching. That day, I went with my manager to have lunch, and his first question was if I were muslim. After I confirmed it, he said he was atheist but supposedly he had nothing against religious people. The next few days, I found out there was a little mosque nearby the office (10min by car, i.e. total of half an hour to go pray and come back). During summer I used to leave 2 times (Dhur and Asr), but during this autumn I had to go 3 times. I never had time to have lunch with colleagues because it clashed with my prayer time. So I was kinda isolated from the group. I could have prayed in the building stairs but I felt it was more rewarding going to the mosque. Sometimes I missed or arrived in the middle of meetings. I knew I was observed by my manager who were sitting beside me. He was aware that I fastened during ramadan and that everyday I go to pray in the mosque, but he never said anything. But a week ago, he called me and gave me the bad news… I and another non-muslim colleague were laid off… reasons: reducing costs because of lack of funding… I found out some days later they were interviewing other people supposedly junior profiles… Only Allah Knows.

    Last week, I’ve sent tons of resumes to find a new job, because if I don’t, I won’t be able to pay my flat rent, and will be kicked out with my wife and 2 years old son from the flat, and I have nowhere to go…

    I have 3 upcoming interviews with big well-known companies this week and the next one. The thing is that all these positions are client facing ones!. My family (brother, sister, mother) who are muslims and who live in another country keep asking to trim the beard. My sister says I look like an Afghan guy :/

    My question is what should I do? Am I allowed to trim my beard? If I don’t get a job by the end of December, I’ll be in big troubles…

    Sisters and brothers, please don’t forget me in your prayers. May Allah Grants us health and halal wealth, and keep us away for sins. Ameen.

    • Karim Badri

      April 29, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Brother Abdullah. I ask Allah to facilitate a good job for you inshallah. I realize that your post is a couple of months old now but please update us on your situation. I am currently in the same situation now, approaching 10 months without a job and I think my full beard and the no handshaking issue is a big part of my ‘test’. But I am trying to stay positive and make lots of Duaa.

  34. Mohammed Afwan

    June 16, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Brothers, I am not able to read anything past “When I prepared myself for the interview, I did a few things:”
    Can anyone please comment the rest of the part? It would be really helpful.. Baarik Allaahu feekum :)

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