What comes under the category of making alterations in the creation of Allah and beautification? In a related matter, is the beard mandatory? Some say it is because not wearing it one will make you resemble the Kuffar and that’s why its mandatory. If so, why? If not, why not?
For my opinion on the position of beard, please refer to a few of my earlier responses to related questions.
As for the difference between altering one’s nature and beautification, I have written in one of my earlier responses to a related question:1
… the problem really is to draw the line between where the allowable level of beautifying oneself ends and where the boundaries of changing one’s nature are crossed. Is piercing of the ears to wear earrings allowed for a woman? Should such an act be considered as ‘changing one’s nature’ or should it be considered within the allowable limits of beautifying oneself? Would a man’s trimming his beard, to make his appearance clean and tidy, be considered within the ambit of allowable level of beautification or would it be construed as ‘changing one’s nature’?
In my opinion, there are certain beautification activities that give an appearance, which is generally considered as perverted and weird. These activities are obviously outside the scope of allowable beautification, as they attempt to give a look which is against man’s natural appearance. For instance, consider a person dyeing his hair with shocking shade of red or green. In my opinion, it is, in fact, this category of activities, which have been condemned by the Prophet (pbuh), in the referred narrative. Other activities, which do not give a perverted or a weird appearance, as for instance, keeping one’s hair trimmed and combed, keeping one’s moustaches and beard trimmed and properly kept, a woman’s wearing earrings or removing hair from her lips, chin or shaping her eyebrows and the likes, not only fall within the allowable limits of beautifying oneself, but can sometimes be highly desirable to give a fresh, clean and tidy look.
As for the argument that it is mandatory to keep a beard because shaving it would make one resemble non-Muslims, it can only be considered with seriousness if it can first be established that:
all non-Muslims DO NOT have beards; and
It is mandatory for all Muslims, for all times to come, to adhere to an attire and appearance which is distinctly separate from ALL non-Muslims.
I hope this helps.
January 9, 2003
- Reference is to the question titled ‘Hadith Condemning Women Who Style their Eyebrows by Shaving or Trimming Their Edges‘. [↩]