Riddle Me This: The Hijab is to Sisters as the ? is to Brothers

A little while back, I was speaking with a Sheikh here in Calgary about how tough it is to get married, not only for Sisters, but also for Brothers. He likened the challenge of wearing the hijab to those Brothers who decide to grow a beard. The Sheikh appeared sad when he said he knew many devoted, professional and active Brothers who were turned down by Sisters because they have a beard. I was somewhat shocked by this statement, but then after thinking about it for a while, I decided to examine this issue a little closer.

This whole notion of Brothers being clean-shaven is obviously Western in origin, there's nothing in the Quran or Sunnah about this issue. Not to say that Sisters in the Middle East (i.e. motherland, LOL) don't have this preference either. But I really think it had to come from the West and then migrated out East. And I include Europe when I say 'West'. If we look at clean-shaven stereotypes that are out there (i.e. these are not mine but those that I've heard/seen), they include synonymity with neatness, professionalism, WESTERNISM, among others. Personally, I've evolved when it comes to these stereotypes, since as I've become more religious and learned about the hijab, I find myself wanting to learn more Brothers' duties towards Islam. So I did a little searching about why the beard is encouraged (which is a mild word) for Muslim men:

    (1) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said "I have no connection with one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing eg. in grief or affication." - Reported by Abu Darda (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501
    (2) The teachings of Hadhrat Ammar Bin Yaasir, Abdullah Ibn Umar, Sayyidina Umar, Abu Hurairah and Jaabir (R.A.), indicate that ALL used to keep beards that were one fist length or more. Hadhrat Jaabir (R.A.) had said: "We used to grow long beards and only during Hajj and Umrah did we trim them to the required length (i.e. fist length)."
    (3) Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (R.A.) relates that: "He who imitates the kuffar (non-believers) and dies in that state, he will be raised up with them on the Day of Qiyamat (Judgement)."
    (4) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) says: "Trim closely the moustache, and let the beard flow (Grow)." - Narrated Ibn Umar (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 498
    (5) "Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ordered us to trim the moustache closely and spare the beard" says Ibn Umar. - Muslim, Hadith no. 449
    (6) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)said: "Act against contrary to the polythesists, trim closely the moustache and grow the beard." - Reported by Ibn Umar (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 500
    (7) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said "Trim closely the moustache and grow the beard." - Reported by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501
So there is quite a lot of evidence for Brothers to keep a beard. But the reasons why some don't are probably multiple. For example, apart from fear of being judged by non-Muslims, perhaps it's too itchy, or perhaps they think it doesn't suit them, or perhaps it's hassle to keep clean, who the heck knows??!! But I can imagine that it would be hard for some brothers to keep a beard for fear of retribution by their Western counterparts. 

Then I had another thought: if I was given a choice between two brothers with identical qualities, but one being clean-shaven and the other with a beard, which one would I go for?

If I look back at my own trials and tribulations along the (ONGOING!) path to marriage, I'm honest when I say I really have had no 'pursuits' by a Brother who has a beard (NOTE: LOL and not as if I've had many pursuits, that word is quite deceiving!!). If I think about the present and future and if that opportunity came up, I would not judge a Brother by the fact that he has a beard. 

Why? you ask.

Because it's no different than a Sister being judged for wearing the hijab.


  1. Assalam alaikum sis ..

    Interesting analogy :)

    I guess that you are right. Today, beard is to Muslim men what Hijab is to Muslim women.

    In fact, I too, have started growing my beard since last November (when Allah Ta'ala blessed me & my family the opportunity to perform Hajj).

    The reaction from my friends, family and colleagues, which I felt after growing my beard, was somewhat similar to what women would have experienced when they start wearing Hijab.

    But I am glad and indescribably thankful to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala that HE has provided me the courage and will to obey and observe a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (May peace and mercy of Allah be upon him).

    May Allah guide us to adopt "Siraat-e-Mustaqeem" and instill that degree of sincerity in our "Eemaan" which leads us to completely subdue all our desires to HIS injunctions and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (may peace and mercy of Allah be upon him). Aameen!


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