How did the Prophet take care of his beard? How wide and long should be a beard of Sunnah?

The Details of the Question

- I am twenty-one years old and I grow a beard of sunnah. How did the Prophet take care of his beard? What did he apply on his beard? How often did he comb his beard? Did he apply the thing after or before combing his beard?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh) had some sunnahs that were like his natural deeds. His dressing, eating, drinking and taking care of his body and cleaning it are like that. Most of them are included in the rules of good manners. When believers act in accordance with those sunnahs, they will illuminate their deeds.

Hz. Aisha narrates some of those natural sunnahs from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as follows:

“Ten are the acts according to fitra (nature): clipping the moustache, letting the beard grow, using miswak, snuffing water in the nose, cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, plucking the hair under the armpits, shaving the pubes and cleaning one's private parts with water.” (Muslim, Taharah 56; Nasai, Zinah 1)

Thus, there is no doubt that growing a beard is both natural and a sunnah.

It is unanimously agreed that the amount of the beard that is sunnah is as long as what the palm of a hand can hold. It is sunnah to cut the extra length. For, the Prophet (pbuh) cut the amount that was longer than a handful by taking from its width and its length (Tirmidhi, Adab 17); he always kept his beard in a good shape. 

The length of beard less than a handful is not regarded as sunnah; the scholars did not say “sunnah is fulfilled” with that length. (Fathul-Qadir, 2/77; Ibn Abidin, 2/113, Jaziri, 2/44)

Some scholars say that it is necessary to grow the beard as long as the Sunnah (a handful) and that no part of it should be cut but others say it is necessary to cut from the length and the width

Imam Nawawi regards cutting from the width of the beard objectionable but Hanafi and Hanbali scholars do not regard it objectionable based on a clear hadith regarding the issue and showing the practices of Hz. Umar, Abdullah Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayra as examples.

Some other scholars say, "If the beauty of the face is spoiled when the beard is very long, it can be shortened." According to those scholars, it is necessary to cut from the width and length of the beard if it causes people to make fun and if it grows in a way that spoils the shape of the face.

It is permissible to cut the part of the beard on the throat.

It is a fact that the Prophet (pbuh) warned those who had messy hair and beard to take care of them.

However, it is not permissible to lengthen or shorten the beard with the purpose of fame and show off. (Tuhfatul-Ahwazi, 8/38-39; Muvatta, Sha’r 7)

It is an Islamic deed to support this Sunnah, to congratulate those who act in accordance with that Sunnah, to show respect to them; it is not a normal act to despise and criticize those who cannot grow beard or who abandon growing beard due to an excuse and to regard it as a big Islamic deficiency.

It does not fit a conscious Muslim to harm the bonds of unity and brotherhood among Muslims due to this issue.

Those who fulfill this sunnah by growing beard should not have bad thoughts about those who do not grow beard and mustache due to any reason and they should not commit a haram deed by having bad thoughts about a Muslim who does not / cannot fulfill a sunnah deed.

Those who cannot grow beard and mustache should think of the issue of not resembling others and should try to grow at least a mustache and they should not lengthen the mustache so much as to cover the upper lip.

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