Islam is a religion that has a culturally diverse composition. Believers belong to many racial and regional groups bound together by essential beliefs and practices. Many of these are clearly indicated and detailed in the source material for Islamic behaviour, the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h), so that no Muslim doubts the obligation to enact them. The daily prayers, fasting, etc… are regulated for, in general terms, in the Holy Qur’an and, in detail, by the Sunnah. Thus, for instance, all schools of Islamic law believe that something should be recited in the prostration and, although they vary in what should be said, all Muslims recite. It is sufficient for them that this is what the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was seen to do.
However, when the issue is the beard people who accept all manner of acts as cultural beliefs as “Islamic” demand detailed and incontrovertible proof that Allah, the Most Merciful, wished His Holy Prophets and their devoted followers to retain beards. If this cannot be proven, are they truly content to believe in “coincidence”?, a coincidence by which, in the general perception, Muslim men and orthodox people of the Book are differentiated from unbelievers. If the readers doubt the importance of the beard as a means of recognition, I ask them to submit to the following test.
Imagine that you have an urgent question about the religion and that that you have been directed to the room of a scholar. In the room you find two men seated. Both of similar age. Both of similar dress. Both wearing hats. One has a well trimmed beard and the other does not. To which one would you be inclined to address your question?
The following text gives substantial proofs and reasons for the desirability of the beard that conform to both faith and rationality but being a work concerning jurisprudence and Sunnah it does not stress the universality, amongst the Muslim brotherhood, of the beard as a sign of faith, as a symbol of brotherhood. Whatever clothes or customs have been retained by a nation it has become a social norm for the beard to be grown. It was to stress this aspect that I felt obliged to write this short preface and also as an opportunity to ask the reader to join me in asking Allah, the Most Generous, to reward the author, the translator and their teachers for sharing their knowledge for our benefit. May it, by the grace of The Merciful, be a great reward in this world and the next.