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Is it sunnah or fardh for men to keep beards? Will they be sinful if they don’t?

All praises be to Allaah, Lord and Sustainer of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and upon his family and companions.

The correct understanding about growing a beard in Islaam is what is apparent to any sound mind from the statements of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

"Trim the moustache and let the beard grow; be different from the mushrikeen."

(Agreed upon)

Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

"Cut the moustache and leave the beard alone; be different from the mushrikeen."

(Al-Bukhaari)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

"Trim the moustache and let the beard grow; be different from the Magians (Zoroastrians)." 

(Muslim)

These ahaadeeth indicate that it is obligatory to leave the beard alone and let it grow, and that it is obligatory to trim the moustache. This is what is obligatory as taught and enjoined by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

And an obligation can not be dropped unless there is a necessity and the necessity is the risk of losing one's life or facing severe hardship.

And whoever refuses to fulfill an obligation, disobeys Allaah and His Messenger. Allaah says:

"And whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.. And whosoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him ), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment."

[An-Nisaa 13-14]

A Muslim is required to obey Allaah and His Messenger to the best of his ability.

And Allah the Most Knowledgeable knows what is best and most correct.

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