I feel that this topic isn't discussed enough and with all the discussions about Hijab - our Brothers' feel left out. The Brothers' too have their own struggles with the beard so i'm going to touch around it a bit.
Like the Hijab is the identity of a Muslim Woman [i.e- She is recognised as a Muslim] for a Man the beard to some extent does the same job.
Now there is a difference of opinion among the Ulema whether the Beard is fardh, wajib or mutahabb. I'm not going to delve into this a lot because of the differences of opinion. However, we all know for sure that the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam used to have a beard and therefore as Muslims we should follow the Prophet Sallalahu alayhi wassallam and hence the Men should grow their beards. [Not the Sisters'. :P ]
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day…” [al-Ahzaab 33:21]
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” [al-Hashr 59:7]
Now we will look at some of the evidence from the Quran and Sunnah concerning the beard:
Imaam Ahmad, al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moutsaches.”
Ahmad and Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Cut your moustaches and let your beards grow: be different from the Magians.”
It is proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Ten things are part of the fitrah: cutting the moustache, letting the beard grow, cleaning the teeth with a siwaak, rinsing the nose with water, cutting one’s nails, washing between the finger-joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubic hair and cleaning one’s private parts with water.” (Reported by Ahmad, Muslim and the four authors of Sunan, from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her).
All the `ulamaa of as-Salaf, including the Four Imams, agreed that shaving the beard is haram (prohibited). They considered shaving it an impermissible mutilation. They used to consider the person who shaved his beard effeminate. Many of them would not accept his witness or allow him to lead the prayers.
These days, a lot of Brothers' are ignorant about the ruling of the beard. A lot of them don't grow it because they think it won't 'look good' or that maybe the opposite gender won't find it attractive and other reasons include not getting good jobs or being labelled as 'extremists' or 'terrorists' or being made fun off. And last but not the least - family pressure. Especially if the family or Parents' arn't practicing and they feel their son shouldn't be keeping a beard because to them it doesn't look nice and 'Oh dear - what will everybody else think?'.
Firstly, we need to ask ourselves, who do we want to please more? Allah subhanna wa taála or the people of the dunya? Brothers, if you get mocked about your beard, ignore the people who mock you. Sadly, in todays world some ignorant Muslims themselves mock other Muslims. Be it Hijab or the Beard or other things which make our Muslim Identity. They don't realise that they are mocking the practice of the Prophet Sallalahu alayhi wasallam.
Allah subhanna wa taálah says in the Qurán concerning this:
“Say: ‘Was it at Allaah, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed”
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)."
"O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered." (Quran 8:24)
In my honest opinion, a Man with a beard looks more manly and humble then one without [And dare i say - to a certain extent more handsome]. I feel the same honour and pride when I see a brother with a beard that i feel when i see another Muhajabah or Munaqabah. Also, Brothers look more mature with a beard then without. Keep one - even if it is a struggle at first and it doesn't have to be fist length if you find it hard. At least try but please - have some facial hair and Inshallah that'll grow into a proper beard over time as the imaan increases. Do it out of love for the Prophet Sallalahu alayhi wasallam.
Some Sisters' are to blame too. I know some Sisters dislike the beard even though they themselves are Hijabis and discourage their men-folk from keeping one. Most of the time these Sisters don't know the ruling and hikmah behind it and therefore need to be enlightened about it and inshallah they will understand. So ladies, encourage your men-folk about keeping one.
However, i would like to say that this does not mean that we should go around harrasing Brothers who don't have beards. No one should be forced in these things but a Person should do these things from the heart and that way their Imaan and love for the deen increases. If you force someone to do something - there are more chances of them rebelling. Make dua for them instead, talk to them about it and be humble. Present them with the evidence from the Quran and Sunnah and be patient. Don't jump for their throats.
I understand that just like the Hijab is a struggle for Muslim Sisters in some places, the Beard too is a struggle for our Brothers. Be it family pressure, the People in that Country or just the environment. So we shouldn't don't judge anyone Inshallah and instead give out a helping hand for our Brothers and Sisters in Islam and be understanding of them. For example - I know that for some Brothers' who've kept a beard regardless of what their Family or Peers say - it is a daily struggle for them. May Allah subhanna wa taala make it easier for them. Ameen.
Put your trust in Allah subhanna wa taála if you are going through hardship and inshallah Allah subhanna wa taala will easen your pain and difficulty. Ameen.
“… And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed, Allaah has set a measure for all things...” [al-Talaaq 65:2-3]
“…and whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him. That is the Command of Allaah, which He has sent down to you, and whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him and will enlarge his reward.” [al-Talaaq 65:5].
May Allah subhanna wa taáala make the practicing of this deen easy for us.
May Allah subhanna wa taála reward us for our good deeds and may he forgive us our sins.
Wa alaykumsalam warahmutallahi wabarakath