Is It Permissible to Shave the Beard If Ordered by One’s Father?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Sami‘ al-Yaqti


Is it permissible for me to shave my beard if my father orders me to do so?


Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon the master of messengers and on his family and companions altogether.

Short Answer

Leaving the beard to grow is one of the matters that Islam has called for and commanded in many authentic hadith. Scholars have differed in interpreting this command as obligatory or commendable. The majority of scholars, including the Shafi‘i School in one opinion, consider the shaving of the beard as prohibited. Therefore, it is not permissible to obey the father if he orders his son to shave it, as obedience to the creation is not allowed in the disobedience of the Creator.

However, the Shafi’i School – and this is the most accurate and relied upon opinion in fatwa – considers shaving the beard as disliked, and therefore, it is permissible for a son to obey his father in shaving it, especially if there is a legally valid interest or excuse.

In any case, the son should kindly discuss and understand his father’s viewpoint, and choose what is most suitable for his situation from these opinions, and Allah knows best.

Detailed Answer

The Beard (Al-Lihya)

It is the hair that grows on the cheeks and chin, with its plural being “اللِّحَى” and “اللُّحَى.”

اللَّحْيُ” (the jawbone) is the singular of “اللَّحْيَيْنِ”, which are the bones containing the teeth, and upon which the beard grows.

Letting It Grow

This is unanimously required by Sacred Law due to the narrations about it, including the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said:

“Oppose the polytheists: let the beards be full and trim the mustaches,” Whenever Ibn ‘Umar performed the Hajj or ‘Umra, he used to hold his beard with his hand and cut whatever remained outside his hold. [Bukhari]

Also, Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Trim closely the moustache, and grow the beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.” [Muslim]

And the hadith of ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said: “Ten things are from natural disposition,” and he counted “letting the beard grow” among them. [Ibid.]

Ibn Hajar said: The meaning of the Prophet’s saying: “Oppose the polytheists” is to oppose the fire-worshippers (Majusi), as they used to cut their beards, and some used to shave them. And he said: The majority went to the interpretation of “let it grow” as meaning to make it plentiful or to let it be full. [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

After this important introduction related to the question, let’s return to the answer, which relates to two issues or matters: the ruling on shaving the beard and the ruling on obeying the parents in this regard.

Related Rulings

We will first explain the ruling on shaving the beard and then the ruling on obeying the parents in shaving the beard.

The Ruling on Shaving the Beard

The majority of jurists, and it is an opinion among the Shafi‘is, went to the prohibition of shaving the beard because it contradicts the prophetic command mentioned in the above hadiths. [al-Mawsu‘a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

The most correct opinion among the Shafi’is is that shaving the beard is disliked, and they interpreted the command in the hadiths as commendable. [Qalyubi, Hashiyat al-Qalyubi]

His (the author of Fath al-Mu‘in) saying: “Shaving the beard is prohibited,” the relied upon opinion, including Ghazali’s, Ibn Hajar’s, Ramli’s, Khatib’s, and others, is that it is disliked. [Bakri, I‘anat al-Talibin]

And Khatib al-Shirbini in al-Mughni said: “It is disliked to pluck the beard when it first appears, preferring beauty.” [Shirbini, Mugni al-Muhtaj]

And Bujayrimi, in his commentary on al-Khatib, said: “His saying: (It is disliked to pluck the beard when it first appears) is not a condition, and it applies to the elder also, meaning that shaving the beard is disliked even for the man and it’s not prohibited. Perhaps he specified it for his saying: Preferring beauty.” [Bujayrimi, Tuhfat al-Habib]

Ibn Hajar said: “They mentioned here in the topic of beard and the like, some disliked traits, including its plucking and shaving, and also the eyebrows. [Ibn Hajar, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj]

And he (Ibn Hajar) said in explaining al-Muqaddima al-Hadramiya: “It is disliked to have Qaza‘ haircut (i.e., having part of a boy’s head shaved and leaving part unshaven.)… and plucking the beard,” preferring beauty. [Ibn Hajar, Sharh al-Muqaddima al-Hadramiya]

The Ruling on Obeying the Parents in Shaving the Beard

Firstly – Based on the opinion of prohibiting shaving the beard: It is not permissible to obey the parents if they order to shave it.

As reported by Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him), The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It is obligatory upon a Muslim to listen (to the ruler) and obey whether he likes it or not, except when he is ordered to do a sinful thing; in such case, there is no obligation to listen or to obey.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the Creator.” [Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id]

In the narration of Imam Ahmad, “There is no obedience to the creation in the disobedience to Allah, the Exalted.” [Ahmad]

And he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There is no obedience in sin; obedience is only in what is good.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Secondly – Based on the opinion of disliking shaving the beard: It is permissible to obey the parents in ordering to shave it; as obeying the parents is an individual obligation and is prioritized over the Sunna, especially in some cases where there is a legitimate interest or excuse for them, but it should not be always as the scholars mentioned.

Ibn Hajar in al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyya al-Kubra, after finishing the statement of the ruling on some issues related to the son opposing his father’s command and the limit of dutifulness and disobedience, said:

“And with all that, the son should be cautious in opposing his father, and should not proceed based on the apparent of what we mentioned, but he must fully investigate that and refer to those he trusts in their religion and complete intellect; if they see a valid excuse for the father in the command or prohibition, then his obedience becomes obligatory, and if they do not see a valid excuse, then it is not obligatory, but it is emphasized if it does not lead to a reduction in the religion and knowledge or learning of the son. The conclusion is that opposing the father is very serious, so he should not proceed on it except after clarifying the permissible reason for it among those of completeness, and what has been established from what I have determined is the limit of dutifulness and disobedience, so consider that as it is important.” [Haythami, al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyya]

Most scholars agree that obeying the parents is obligatory in doubtful matters and not in pure haram; even if they are annoyed by your eating alone, you should eat with them because leaving the doubt is commendable, and pleasing the parents is mandatory, and similarly, you cannot travel in permissible or supererogatory acts without their permission, and rushing to Hajj, which is a duty of Islam, is supererogatory because it can be delayed, and going out to seek knowledge is supererogatory unless you are seeking knowledge of obligation (…). [Ghazali, Ihya]

Imam Qarafi commented on the above and said:

Imam Ghazali, in his Ihya, said: Most scholars agree that obeying the parents is obligatory in doubtful matters and not in pure haram, and if they dislike him eating separately, he must comply with them and eat with them because leaving the doubt is commendable and leaving their obedience is haram, and haram is prioritized over commendable, (…),

Shaykh Abu al-Walid al-Turtushi said in the book of Dutifulness to Parents:

“There is no obedience to them in leaving a regular Sunna like attending congregational prayers, leaving the two rak‘as of Fajr and Witr, and the like if they ask him to leave that permanently, unlike if they call him for the first time of prayer, then their obedience is obligatory even if he misses the virtue of the first time.” [Qarafi, al-Furuq]

Based on the Above

Firstly, we thank you, dear questioner, for your keenness to adhere to the rituals of Islam and to apply what the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) commanded.

Secondly – You can choose for yourself what you see as appropriate from the previous two opinions regarding the ruling on shaving the beard after reviewing your father’s opinion on the matter with wisdom and good exhortation and understanding of his viewpoint, especially if there is a legally valid interest or excuse, such as fear for you from some security entities or losing a job opportunity due to some laws that prohibit letting the beard grow or otherwise, and Allah guides you.

[Shaykh] ‘Abd al-Sami‘ al-Yaqti

Shaykh Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti is a Syrian scholar born in Aleppo in 1977. He obtained his degree in Shari‘a from the Shari‘a Faculty of Damascus University, a Diploma in Educational Qualification from the Faculty of Education at Aleppo University, and a Diploma in Shari‘a and a Master’s in Shari‘a from the Faculty of Sharia, and Law at Omdurman University in Sudan. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis.

He studied under esteemed scholars such as Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani, and Shaykh Dr. Nur al-Din Itr, among others. Shaykh al-Yakti has worked in teaching and cultural guidance in orphanages and high schools in Aleppo. He served as an Imam, Khatib, and reciter at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and as a certified trainer for Khatibs in Abu Dhabi’s Khatib Qualification Program.

He is involved in developing and teaching a youth education program at Seekers Arabic for Islamic Sciences.

Among Shaykh al-Yaqti’s significant works are “Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni: Bayna Ilm al-Kalam Wa Usul al-Fiqh” and the program “The Messenger of Allah Among Us (Allah bless him and give him peace).”