Trimming the Beard – Shaykh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali


What is the correct position of the beard in the maliki madhab. Are we allowed to trim, have a goatee or shave the hair on the cheeks?

Answer from Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali:

Abdullah ibn Abi Zaid says in his Risalah,

“And the Prophet (pbuh) ordered that the beard be left alone and allowed to grow abundantly and that it not be trimmed. Malik said: “And there is no objection in trimming from its length when it becomes very long.” And what Malik said, more than one of the Companions and the Successors also said.”

[Hashiyat al-‘Adawi: 2/445]

According to Shaykh Al-’Adawi the order given by the Prophet (pbuh) to let the beard grow long is indicative of encouragement, not obligation. But he does say that if shortening the beard leads to disfigurement (muthlah) – like making a man take on the appearance of a woman – the order is taken to imply obligation in which case it would be haram to shorten or shave it.

However, if shortening it doesn’t lead to disfigurement, there is no sin in shortening or trimming the beard.

He states that Ibn Naji considers it recommended to trim hair from the width of the beard also when it grows too long.

‘Adawi also states that some of the commentators on the Risalah state that the beard being ‘too long’ is determined according to custom in that if one’s beard is longer than the average (Muslim) man, then it is considered too long. In such a case, it is recommended to trim what exceeds the norm, since it mars one’s
appearance and one may be accused of seeking to be noticed (shuhrah) as stated by Abu al-Hasan (another commentator).

But the general rule is that one should not touch the beard and let it grow long.

As for when someone has only a short beard, ‘Adawi relates that some commentators rule that trimming such a beard is haram (forbidden) just like shaving. . Then ‘Adawi states that the apparent context of this opinion is premised on whether or not trimming or shaving it produces disfigurement muthlah – like if doing so makes a man look like a woman. So if disfigurement occurs, it would be haram. But if it doesn’t, then there will be no objection.

But in the case of the long beard, it is always recommended to trim it when it exceeds the customary norm of men and mars a person’s appearance.

As for the goatee, the hair of this area should not be touched at all. But remember to apply this ruling based on all that has been mentioned.

Related: Is It Permissible to Trim The Mustache?

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