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Myths About the Muslim Beard

There are certain practises that give us our Muslim identity. For women, that may be the hijab. And for men, that’s the beard. 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW emphasised the importance of letting the beard grow long for this very reason i.e. to preserve Muslim identity and make sure Muslim men stand out from the crowd of Jews and the Mushrikeen (Idolators). 

Besides being emphasized on in the hadith, beard is also a Sunnah of our Prophet SAW. 

Therefore, most men in our society keep a beard in accordance with the Sunnah. This “Sunnah beard”, however, has become a fashion statement too lately. And so, some men now choose to let their beards be for other, non-religious and more voguish reasons. 

Regardless of what the intent behind the beard may be, myths about the Muslim beard are quick to appear as soon as a beard is spotted and the guy is often stereotyped without a fair judgement. 

Its about time we bust these myths and call the stereotypes out. 

Myths about the Muslim Beard: Squashing the Stereotypes

Stereotypical labels, which are almost always associated with beards, lead to unfair aassumptions. What’s alarming is that these assumptions don’t just affect individuals who choose to grow beards. Beyond that, when looked at as a symbol of Islam, the stereotypical labels associated with the beard lead to misleading assumptions about the deen itself. 

Myths about the Muslim beard lead to people misunderstanding Muslim men and forming unfair and highly inaccurate (and crazy) opinions about Islam, which harms our cause. 

This is why it is now more important than ever to address these myths and burst them to ensure people stop using a man’s beard as a lens to judge his actions and misconstrue not just his character but the deen as well. 

Here are some common myths about the Muslim beard along with relevant reality checks for myth-busting purposes: 

Beard Myth #1: Bearded Men are Moulvis

Moulvi is a noun and a term with its own stereotypical and primarily negative connotations. A man with a beard in this society is automatically assumed to be a moulvi and thought to be following a doctrine based on extremism and lack of logic. Such assumptions are widely common in the liberal left but we see similar opinions in the right and center as well. 

The truth is, not every man with a beard is necessarily a moulvi and fits the negative image built in the minds of the liberal leftists.

More importantly, if we remove the negative connotations around the term moulvi and start using the term for what it really means—an expert in Islamic law—we begin to see why it may be wrong and how severely unfair to promote every man to the honorable status of a moulvi without thinking twice about whether or not this bearded dude has even read past the Noorani Qaida. 

Beard Myth #2: Bearded Men are Always Pious

It’s about time we stop adopting and believing the idea that every person who follows one Islamic ruling would be perfect in everything else as well. 

If a man puts a beard on his face, that does not mean all of his actions will always be in line with Islamic principals. Many people look at a bearded man and go “MashaAllah” in their heads assuming if this person is practising the Sunnah of growing a beard, he will be fair in his dealing, perfect in his Salah, and will without a doubt have the best possible Akhlaq (manners) in all his relationships. 

This leads to a too-good-to-be-true judgement about the man. More importantly, such judgements also lead to people putting these individuals on a high pedestal and taking them as the representatives of Islam, which results in them eventually forming negative stereotypes about all bearded men when this guy inevitably does something wrong. 

Beard Myth #3: Bearded Men Are Boring

People see a guy with a beard and, more often than not, assume this guy must hate life, never smiles, and most likely scrunches his nose when he sees other people enjoying their life. 

This is yet another misconception. But it is not hard to see why it exists. Quite ironically, smiling has become a forgotten Sunnah among certain people who choose to follow the Sunnah and keep a beard. But again, the number of such people may be few and judging the entire population of bearded, practising men based on the unsmiling nature of these few would be akin to stereotyping.

The truth is, bearded men do not hate life. They know how to have fun, smile, or even laugh hysterically sometimes. Sure, some of them may do all of that within the bounds of Sharia’a (Islamic law), but again, let’s not categorize bearded men and assume that since they have a beard, all their actions will always be within the bounds of Islam. 

Beard Myth #4: Bearded Men Are Intolerant Extremist

You might think this myth about the Muslim beard is prevalent in the West only courtesy of Osama Bin Laden and his post-9/11 portraits. But many people in our so-called Muslim society also think practising people with a beard will almost always be intolerant and may even be extremists. 

While some bearded men may be more practising than others, that doesn’t necessarily mean they would always be extreme when it comes to religious morality and intolerant when it comes to things as harmless as a simple, innocent joke. 

Beard Myth #5: Bearded Men Oppress Women

Along the same lines as the last myth is this one. And this stereotype may be a more general misconception about all practising men. 

Again, there’s no denying the fact that people have oppressed women in the name of Islam, but we have to understand that those people do not represent Islam and the values our deen has for women. 

Women in Islam are empowered. Let’s not forget that Islam allowed women the right to inheritance and liberty in terms of finances well before feminism was even conceptualized. It is our deen that earned women respect in times when it was scarce. 

Most importantly, our Prophet SAW practically showed men of all times how they should honour and respect the women of their household through his own blessed actions. 

Now, how is it possible for someone who honours the Sunnah and keeps a beard to disrespect, mistreat, or usurp the rights of women around him? And those that do, well, they are not representing Islam and the Sunnah too accurately. So, their actions cannot be taken to form an understanding and an opinion of all Muslim men and the nature of the deen. 

Stereotyping is Unfair. Let’s Stop. 

Misconstruing a man’s character and skewing it unfairly, whether towards the positive or negative, just because he practisea a Sunnah or keeps a beard for other reasons, is stereotyping in one of its most unfair forms. 

What’s worse is, these stereotypes do not stay restricted to individuals or groups but extend to pollute the perception of the entire deen. 

So, it is vital that we address all these stereotypes and bust any and every myth related to the symbols of Islam. This will help us make sure the society has the right understanding of Islam and forms fairer opinions about Muslims. 

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