“Why do you keep a beard?” is an oft-repeated question I am asked.
The question makes me think that, I am not being asked this question because I sport a beard, but because Muslims have given up keeping beard the Sunnah way, in India and also elsewhere.
Why do I keep it then? The simple answer is : It is a Sunnah or in Indian sub continent we say, Sunnat. But I know this does not qualify to be justified answer to many, to people I am not at all answerable anyway.
But, the topic in itself deserves some explanation. Especially in the times when the many Muslims choose NOT to adopt this Sunnah in their lives.
Sunnah/Sunnat in Islamic terminology is any action that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم (peace be upon him) used to do and recommended his followers to do as well.
People choose different role models to follow, and try to emulate their footsteps and their ‘Sunnah’/(way and teachings). Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Martin Luther. I, like millions of others, chose Muhammadصلى الله عليه وسلم.
There are some people who think about the welfare of themselves only, some about the welfare of the their families, some who think about the welfare of the entire neighbourhood, some who think about the welfare and well being of entire city, and so on, some who think about the welfare of entire Earth.
There was one who used to think about the welfare and well-being of entire Mankind, and was also concerned about the welfare of the generations to come till the Day of Resurrection. He not only thought, but also toiled and made his life dedicated to the upliftment of Human Race, till the very last person on Earth, Muhammadصلى الله عليه وسلم . The last of all the Prophets of God.
It is imperative for every individual to know and learn about the teachings and life of the person who thought and worked about the individual’s welfare much before s/he was born, and realise:
Have a glimpse of of his tremendous mercy in the video presentation below. This is the Prophet of mercy, and highest standard of character in mankind.
After knowing some of the things about him, my inquisitiveness urged me to know more, so I enquired about the authoritative and authentic biography of the Prophet and got Seerat Un Nabi. (biography of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. Then I wanted to know about the lives of his companions, so I got the book Hayatus Sahabah (Lives of the Companions of Holy Prophet) biography of companions of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Why beard now ? Why not later in life ?
I am aware, in today’s twitter age, it may seem easier to people to watch a TV show or a movie than to offer Namaz/Salaah.
Trying to practice the Sunnah, (which many wrongly consider to be secondary in Islam) is a distant question altogether. Its easy on one’s nafs (inner desires) to do what is easy and seemingly entertaining (entertaining to hell, literally !).
Reasoning out religion, on the other hand seems challenging. People easily give up this option because of the combined effect of the pull of their nafs and their tendency to choose seemingly easy things.
As the psychology professor at my institute told recently, that the tendency for ‘survival’ is dominant over the ‘truth finding’ in humans, and that is why they find the scientific inquiry to be boring. Being concerned over the essentials for survival is there in animals too, thing that makes us human, is a developed brain and scientific inquiry. Unfortunately today we are in the grip of survival instincts. Materialist is the word.
And if some time remains, then 100 hour per minute video upload rate on youtube (as in 2013) and on other places on the internet makes sure that we are ‘busy always’ and have enough entertainment till we visit our graves. And if one has come some way trying to figure out the underlying reality (by the guidance and help from God), then thanks to the media, such non conformational, rational attitude against the pre-set trend is not accepted, equations like “Muslim + Beard = Backward, Old Fashioned, Extremist and a possibly a terrorist” arise. Which are directly an attempt to put a blot on the teachings Islam and of the holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. And which needs to be cleansed, not by shying away, but by presenting the true picture. Islam is peace, the teachings of the Prophet are of peace. And going through the links provided at the end of article, will further put the light on the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم blessed life and lives of his companions to substantiate the claim.
“Too much of religion sounds troublesome these days. Those terrorists caught are all orthodox, I fear you may not end up somewhere bad.”
Ans : This is one more reason I am adamant on keeping the beard, and urge fellow Muslims to keep as well. “To break the jinx !”.
And I ask other Muslims to follow the suit as well.
The true message of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and his teachings needs to be presented, and this is what is intended by my small efforts. Especially, when there is a virulent propaganda against Islam on the Internet and other media.
Quran was not revealed to CNN or BBC, it was revealed to Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and if wants to know about Islam, instead of asking Shaykh Google, one should read the Quran him/herself. Read the translation that is followed since quite some time (atleast 50 years) and is established and accepted. (Point of caution: Lot of distorted translations are present by the hate-mongers and neo-shaykhs. Beware !)
Since I do not understand Arabic much, when I read, I read 2-3 translations by the accepted translators (A. Yusuf Ali, Abdul Kareem Parekh being my favourite) and try to get the beauty and depth with which The Creator talks with His creation. Alhamdulillah (All praise be to God).
And this beautiful revelation was given to Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and so it is imperative to read about him as well. A person who knows Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is bound to admire him , he is a fountain of love whom even the Sufis consider their source. And he was indeed sent with the message of peace and love.
God says in Quran about Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم
“We have sent you forth as a mercy to all mankind.” (21:107)
sadaqal-laahul aleeyul azeem..! (Verily God has spoken the truth.)
Some sources related to his blessed life are given below.
His Companions : http://islamicbookslibrary.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/1336/
Some of his selected sayings : www.muntakhabahadith.com
Inspiring short clips related to the Life of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.
The coloured lines taken from book “Men around the Messenger” by Khalid Muhammad Khalid.