The Beard Trend and How It Can Benefit Muslims And The Community


It’s becoming impossible to tell whose Muslim from who’s not on the streets of London now because facial hair is ‘in’! The scores of celebrities in the limelight sporting a beard has skyrocketed and so too for the average Joe on the street! I’ve discussed this issue with family and friends and there seems to be mixed reactions as to whether this is a good or bad thing. Some are frustrated that non-Muslim men take the beard (an obligatory Sunnah) as a mere fashion trend. Others feel like they are losing their identity and others applaud the fact that these men are embracing their masculinity. I’m going to discuss why the non-Muslim beard trend is beneficial for Muslims and our communities.


Rick Ross with his trademark beard

A societal norm?
The beard has long been the defining visual aspect for Islam, signifying radicalisation, aggression and the unknown, in Western society. However, since it’s become a trend phenomenon, scores of men of faith and no faith are now donning facial hair- and lots of it. The most influential of these men are movie stars like Brad Pit and notorious rappers such as Rick Ross, who have contributed to changing societies perception of the beard to something cool and sophisticated, simply by donning one with swag and a suit. Now, the average layman is following fashion, making the beard the most sought after accessory on the high street, let alone Hollywood. With the beard’s ever-growing visual presence in Western society, it seems set to become a societal norm, which could mean less stigmatisation and suspicion for Muslim men. Law enforcement officials and average people in the street may have a hard time differentiating Muslim beard bearers from bearded fashionistas-which could result in decreased Muslim racial profiling (insha’Allah).

More community cohesion
Some non-Muslims choosing to adopt a beard have become victims of racial profiling, and Islamophobic attacks. One non-Muslim man documented his experienced of dealing with racist comments and persistent questions about whether he had converted to Islam, almost on a daily basis. He confessed, ‘racial profiling made me shave my beard.’ This type of scrutiny and predujice has caused some to empahise with the Muslim community and has paved the way for dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims concerning the beard and Islam.

Reviving a Sunnah
Not all Muslim men keep beards-the reasons for this are complex, however, medical and psychological reasons for shaving one’s beard should be taken into account. Those who are sick and/or needing medical treatment because of a beard would be required to remove it from a Shar’I perspective. Allahs says,

“He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity” [al-An‘aam 6:119].

However, keeping a beard is obligatory for a man in Islam, if it does not harm him and he is able to do so. This is because the Prophet (saw) commanded,

“Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.”

Unfortunately, some Muslims have swayed to societies negative perceptions of the beard and prefer to keep a clean shaven look. Such individuals are more susceptible to following fashion, and thus as fashion changes, so do they. It is these fashion followers that may have taken up the beard just because it’s ‘in’. However, we’ve all got to start somewhere and the beard trend could be a means to reviving the Sunnah of the beard, inshaAllah.

Alhamdulilah, the beard does not define Muslim men, nor does any other physical aspect of a Muslim. It is our behaviour that creates lasting impressions on people and societies. We may soon see masses of non-Muslim women wearing hijabs too, which may make it even more difficult to tell Muslims apart from others. Which is why it is crucial, is that we uphold the sunnah of Muhammed (peace be upon him)-his mannerisms, his dealings with people and the way he interacted with his brethrens. It may be that only the ‘salaams’ (greetings of peace) will distinguish us from non-Muslims-this and our prayer, of which we need to hold on to firmly.

If you have any ideas as to how the non-Muslim beard trend could have a positive impact on Muslims , please share your comments below-JazakAllahu khayran.

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