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I'm in my mid-twenties, and my husband and I have been married for a few years now. A year after our marriage, he started growing a beard. I didn't like the way it felt or looked, but I kept trying to ignore it, and lok past it, because he was following Prophet Muhammad (SAW) – I didn't want to go against what Prophet Muhammad said. A lot of times, I would sleep with him, just so the Angels wouldn't curse me at night. Now, I'm at the point whereby I can't stand it! I hate how it feels – it scratches my skin – it feels like I'm kissing a porcupine. This has obviously led to to problems when intimate. I've talked to him numerous times about his beard, and he doesn’t like growing it, but he tells me that it's a command from Prophet Muhammad (SAW), so he must grow it, because he wants the reward in the Afterlife. I've read numerous articles online, and some scholars say it is haram, (forbidden) to shave it, some say that it's makruh, (disliked), and some say that there is no problem in shaving it. Too any views on the topic, so it's confusing. My husband has trimmed his beard very short to try and please me, and still follow the Sunnah, ways of Prophet Muhammad), to enhance our intimacy, and to make me attracted to him. But still, I'm not attracted to him because of his facial hair. It's so sad and depressing. I don't know what to do anymore. I've thought about divorce, but that is not a good option. Should I just stay married to him,and not enjoy our intimacy or be attracted to him, or do you think that this is a problem in our relationship, and we should end it? I'm just so confused, and I don't want to do anything against Prophet Muhammad, and be blamed for it. At the same time, I can't help it. All my life I've ben attracted to men without facial hair. What should I do? Please help me – give me some suggestions if you can.
Praise be to Allah.
When you met your husband, what was it that attracted you towards him? Was it his clean shaven face, or/and was it the qualities that he possessed? After a few years of marriage, what has changed about him, and has it changed for the worse? Is an attractive clean shaven husband who treats his wife badly, more attractive or less attractive? Silly question is it not? But that it the risk you take if you should divorce and marry again.
When we hold onto something, an idea, a like, when it is being challenged it sets up a pattern of inner conflict because we resist that challenge. The more we hold onto it, the more our reaction to it becomes the problem, not the challenge itself. Holding onto it even more, the problem controls our perception of what is acceptable, and we find ourselves unable to accept the challenge to our nafs, (ego, and personality). Because of this resistance, you are contemplating divorce!?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Ten are the acts according to fitrah (nature): clipping the moustache, letting the beard grow, using the tooth-stick, cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the hair under the arm-pits, shaving the pubes, and cleansing one's private parts (after easing or urinating) with water. The narrator said: I have forgotten the tenth, but it may have been rinsing the mouth (Abu Dawud 1: 0052)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Bakr ibn Nafi from his father Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered the moustache to be trimmed and the beard to be left (Malik Muwatta Book 51: 51.1.1)
Not all men can grow a beard, but the context is according to fitrah, (nature). So if it is natural for your husband's facial hair to grow, then it is an act of Sunnah to let the beard grow. Your husband sacrificed his personal; preference to follow this act of Sunnah, and has tried to find balance between your preferences and following the Sunnah.
Despite, this, from what you have said, your confusion is not only because of the variety of sources you have turned to, but because you are unhappy with the situation, and you have not found an answer, an Islamic answer that is coherent with how you feel that can help you to make your husband shave his beard.
Popular teacher in Islam, Yusuf Estes refers to "shopping for Fatwas". Some people like to ask questions, and if the answer does not suit their personal beliefs, they just keep on asking around until they get a Fatwa that are happy with. The etiquette of asking a question in Islam is that:
When one asks a question about Islam, one should ask one who knows, i.e. a knowledgeable scholar, or a sheikh.
One must seriously consider if they truly want an Islamic answer, an answer in Islamic jurisprudence, and Shari`ah, because once you get the answer, you are expected to acknowledge and practice it
So, you are bound to come across a variety of answers, because not all of those you have come across have the same level of experience and understanding. But regardless, what you are left with is a husband you love, a husband who loves you, so are you willing to allow your reaction to his beard to get the better of your marriage, or are you going to accept the challenge to your nafs? A husband and wife should be attractive to one another, and this is fully supported in Islam, but at what point does your marital relationship grow past this to a deeper level of meaning and understanding? You are in the early years of marriage still, so allow some time to get closer emotionally and psychologically to your husband, so that your marriage can become more meaningful, and thus much stronger. Marriage is about mutual sacrifices, because from those sacrifices we learn unconditional love – the love that is built on the foundations of a deep compassion that is strong enough to raise children on.
If you note in the ahadith of Malik Muwatta, a man was advised to groom his moustache and beard, so in this you can encourage your husband, to make his beard softer some how, and thus less irritable to your skin. When your marriage is strong enough, it will be fully capable of seeing his beard as just another physical characteristic of who he is – and who he is, is a man who is willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of Allah (SWT), in sha 'Allah.
And Allah knows best.
Question Date: 2011-01-02
* The views posted are the opinions of the individual author of each posting, and are solely meant for education, discussion, and debate, not for any illegal purpose. The authors are not responsible or liable for the intentional, reckless, or negligent actions of any individual, and we assumes no responsibility for the content of the authors. Thus, the articles and materials posted do not represent, endorse or express the views of Muslims of Calgary or any of its affiliate organizations.
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