Cutting the Beard after the Fist – Part Two
Some Statements of the Scholars of Jarh wa Ta’adeel
1 – al-Hakim -rahimullaah- brings a chain up to Sa’eed bin Mansoor al-Makki who said: ‘I asked ibn Idrees did you see Salim bin Abee Hafsa? He said: ‘I saw him, he has a long beard and made it stupid.’
[Maarifath Uloom al-hadeeth p. 204 & ‘al-Ijili 3/374]
In the narration collected by al-Uqali the wording is:
‘Yes I saw him, he had a long beard, and he was stupid.’
[Ad-Dua’fa al-Kabeer by Uqali 2/152-153 no. 655]
2 – Abu Dawood was asked about Abee Isra’eel al-Malaee and he said he was mentioned in front of Hussain al-Jua’fee and he said:
‘He used to have a long beard and was stupid.’
[Swalaat al-Aajjuri Li Imam Abee Dawood 1/122 no.62]
3 – Imam Shafi’aee said:
‘Whenever the beard is lengthened the intellect is lessened.’
[al-Wafi bilwafayaat 2/123 in the biography of Imam Shafi’aee]
4 – Ibn al-Imaad al-Hanbali -Rahimullaah- said: that al-Muzzni said:
‘I never saw anyone with a more beautiful face than Shafi’aee, if he took his beard in his fist, his beard would not be more than his fist. Za’affarani said: his beard was slim/thin from the sides.’
[Shaddarat ad-Dhahab 2/204 in the biography of Imam Shafi’aee]
5 – Abu Dawood was asked about Abi Israeel al-Mala’ee, so Abu Dawood said that he was mentioned in the presence of Hussain al-Jua’fi who said: ‘He had a long beard and he was stupid.’
[Swallat al-Ajjuri li Imam Abi Dawood 1/122]
6 – Al-Mu’mal bin Isma’eel said: I heard Abu Hanifah said: It is said:
‘Whoever had a long beard did not have intellect.’
[Collected by Ibn Hibban in ‘Thiqaat’ 9/162]
7 – Hussain al-Ja’afi said:
‘He had a long beard and was stupid.’
[From Tahdeeb al-Tahdeeb 1/257]
8 – It was asked to Khalid at-Tahaan why do you not narrate from Majalid? He answered: ‘Because he has a long beard.’
[Meezan 3/438 in the biography of Majalid bin Sa’eed al-Hamdaani]
A Discussion about the Statements of the Scholars of Jarh wa Ta’adeel
Questions regarding Trimming the Beard
A discussion took place with Shaykh al-Albaani regarding the Jarh (Criticism) used by the Muhaditheen (Scholars of Hadeeth) regarding someone with a long beard.
Questioner: I have reservations regarding the use of the Muhaditheen when they said about some narrators that they had long beards but in a way of dispraise and criticism, how can the Muhadithoon use it in this way? This opens the door against those who adhere to growing the beard and not just those who grow the beard long.
The Shaykh: Do not say growing the beard because that returns the dispraise of the hadeeth.
Questioner but this could possibly strengthen the thought of the person who says that it is from above the fist .
The Shaykh: therefore, it is necessary to say regarding this point that the dispraise is for the one who opposes growing the beard and lengthens it.
Questioner: Is it possible to use what these Muhaditheen formulated to strengthen the thought of the person who holds the opinion of Ibn Umar –RadhiAllaahu anhumma?
The Shaykh: Absolutely this is correct, because the Imam of the Sunnah, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal holds the opinion of cutting what extends more than a fistful.
Questioner: The use of the Muhaditheen of this criticism is from the point of view of fickle minded, heedless and stupid and other meanings as well?
The Shaykh: Yes!’
Some Statements of the People of Knowledge
1 – Abu al-Waleed al-Baaji said:
‘Ibn al-Qasim narrated from Malik: ‘there is no problem taking from the beard what flutters from the beard and is abnormal.’ it was said to Malik: If it grows very long?’
He answered: I hold the opinion that one takes from the beard and cuts it, it is narrated from Abdullaah bin Umar and Abu Hurairah -RadhiAllaahu anhumma- that they both used to take from their beard what was more than a fistful.’
2 – Ibn Haani said:
‘I asked Abu Abdullaah (Imam Ahmad) about a person who takes from the beard from his cheeks?’ He replied: ‘ Take from the beard what is more than a fistful.’ I said: ‘What about the Hadeeth of the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– : ‘Trim the Moustache and grow the beard’?’ He said: take from the length and from under the throat, and I saw Abu Abdullaah take from the sides of his cheeks and under his throat.’
3 – Hafidh Ibn AbdulBarr said:
‘In the action of Ibn Umar taking from the bottom of his beard in Hajj is an evidence of cutting from the beard in other than Hajj because if cutting the beard was not allowed then it would not have been allowed in Hajj. and Ibn Umar narrated from the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam–: ‘Grow the beard’ and he is the most knowledgeable about what he narrated, therefore, the meaning to him and to the majority of scholars is to take from the beard that which flutters and Allaah knows best.’
4 – Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah said:
‘As for growing the beard then it is left as it is, and if he takes what is more than a fist then this is not disliked. The text for this is as preceded from Ibn Umar, and likewise he took from his beard what flutters.’
5 – Qurtubi said:
‘It is not allowed to shave the beard nor to pluck it, nor to cut a lot of it, as for taking from the length and the width of what flutters from the beard, or that which disfigures him and causes to becoming well-known, then this is good according to Malik and other than him from the Salaf.’
6 – Ibn al-Jawzi brings some narrations:
From Sa’eed bin Mansoor that he said, I said to Ibn Idris, Have you seen Salam bin Abi Hafsah? He answered: Yes, I saw him, he had a long beard and he was stupid.
From Ibn Sireen that he said: If you see a man with a long beard then you know that he has nothing in his intellect.
Zayed ibn Ubayy said: A man’s beard does not increase more than a fist’s length except that increase is deficiency in his intellect.’
7 – Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi mentions:
‘Al-Awfi used to have a very long beard, and regarding his beard there were some strange matters.
Ali bin Abu Ali informed us that Talha bin Muhammad al-Mua’dal informed us that Ahmad bin Kamil narrated to me that Hussain bin Fahm narrated and said: al-Awfi’s beard used to reach up to his knees’.
8 – al-Qadi Ayyad said:
‘As for taking from its length and its width is good.’
9 – Ibn Battal said:
‘Atta said: It is no problem to take a little from ones beard, from its length and its width if it is long.’
10 – al-Mardawi said:
‘and grow his beard . . . .and it is not disliked to take from that which extends from the beard more than a fistful, -and Ahmad had mentioned – there is no problem with taking from the beard and taking from under the throat….’
11 – Ibn Abi Shaybah brings a chapter heading in ‘Musannaf’:
‘What has been said regarding taking from the beard’
From Abu Zura’ah who said: Abu Hurairah used to take a hand hold from his beard then cut what wasa extra from the handful.’
Some Fatawa of Shaykh Albaani From Silsilah Huda wa Noor
Questioner: Regarding what I have heard from someone mentioning from your Fatawa which says it is permissible to take from the beard in other than Hajj or Umrah, is this correct?
Shaykh Albaani: 100 % correct.
Questioner: 100% correct, okay then what is the evidence for this?
Shaykh: The action of the Companions.
Questioner: Is it possible that you could mention some examples for what you mentioned that it is from the actions of the Companions?
Shaykh: The action of Ibn Umar, since it is established from him that he took from his beard restricting it to doing that in Hajj and Umrah, and also without restricting doing so in other than Hajj and Umrah.
Likewise it has been mentioned from some of the Companions and the Tab’aieen, like Abu Hurairah and Mujahid and other than them, this is what I can remember.’
The Shaykh continues the discussion later on..
Shaykh: so how can we view these Companions and at the head of them is Ibn Umar, that either we are saying about him he did not have an understanding of this text [growing the beard] whether it was a general text or absolute; or along with his understanding he opposed the Messenger – alayhi as-Salat wa Salam-, even though he was amongst the Companions, and he was the one single companion of whom we know that he would overstress and had strictness in following the actions of the Messenger – alayhi as-Salat wa Salam- even in those actions which were the Messenger’s natural disposition and were not from the Sunnan of worship; therefore, it is not possible for it to be said that, since Ibn Umar was the one who had great concern in following the Messenger – alayhi as-Salat wa Salam- and indeed he accompanied him for all those years which Allaah had willed, watching the Messenger – alayhi as-Salat wa Salam- coincide his sayings with his actions, and his actions with his sayings, and then he comes along and opposes the saying of the Prophet and his action together!! This is so farfetched to occur from the likes of this Companion!!
It is possible for the sake of argument, that the like of this opposition to occur from those Companions who were Bedouins, like the Bedouin who came to the Messenger – alayhi as-Salaam- and believed in him and heard some advises or some issues then he returned to his sheep, camels and the desert. But as for Ibn Umar who accompanied the Messenger – alayhi as-Salaam- and had that concern, which was a strange and strict concern in following him – alayhi as-Salam- even in those things which others will see as not being at all from following the Messenger, but rather Ibn Umar’s love for the Messenger led him to overstress in following the Messenger – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– even in that which was not from the Sunnah.
It is extremely difficult to hold the opinion that Ibn Umar would come and see the Messenger -alayhi as-Salam- do something – and what confirms this is the Messenger’s saying: ‘and grow the beard’ – then he would not grow the beard and oppose what he saw from the Messenger and what he heard from the Messenger.
I believe that none who has an intellect and understanding has any doubt that this address which a companion hears generally and Ibn Umar heard specifically and directly from the mouth of Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– with his own ears, that he will have a better understanding than any other person who appears at a later date or even a long time ago however he had not directly heard from the Messenger – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.
Shaykh: As for it to be said that this is specific to Ibn Umar, then no, firstly this is not just established by Ibn Umar alone, but rather it is also established from Abu Hurairah. It is established on more than one of the Successors (Taba’een, followers of the Companions), so much so that one of them and that is, Ibrahim bin Yazeed an-Nakha’ee who said: ‘They used to take from their beards.’ If a Taba’ee (a Successor) narrates with the wording ‘They used to’ who do they mean? The Companions. Therefore, we have a number of texts that taking from the beard was not something that Ibn Umar alone carried out and not other Companions. . .
The Shaykh continues later. . .
Shaykh: . . . you have understood that the text is general [not to cut the beard] and Ibn Umar did not understand that the text is general, this is not something a person would say. So they had a better understanding than us, this is firstly, then secondly there is something with which they are distinguished above us which is the saying of the Messenger -alayhi as-Salam: ‘A witness sees that which an absent person does not see.’ And the second hadeeth . . . ‘Being informed is not like the one who investigates it.’ This is a great hadeeth.
The Shaykh continues. . .
Shaykh: . . . O people this is a general text upon which the Salaf did not act upon it [in this way] there is no hadeeth from the Messenger nor from other than the Messenger that they would leave their beards . . .
The Shaykh continues. . .
Shaykh: here we say, we are Salafioon, we do not ascribe to the Salaf in vain and futilely, but so we don’t fall into problems like these, and start understanding the text opposite to how they understood the text. This is why Allaah Ta’ala said:
ومن يشاقق الرسول من بعد ما تبين له الهدى ويتبع غير سبيل المؤمنين نوله ما تولى ونصله جهنم وساءت مصيرا
<< And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.>> Here we have perfect wisdom, the mention of the path of the believers. . . .’
. . . .if we want to act upon a general text then it is obligatory to keep it as it is, however what was the stance of the Salaf to this text? Here it becomes clear to you the importance of our Salafi Manhaj when we say, it is not sufficient to follow the Book and the Sunnah but it is necessary to return to the Salaf who implemented these texts which were the statements of the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam. The first of these [Texts], which has reached you is the narrator of the Hadeeth ‘grow the beard’, he was Abdullaah bin Umar and he would take what was more than his fist full of his beard, he would cut what was more than a fist full. He was not the only one to do this, rather this action is also authentic from Abu Hurairah, it is also authentic from a number of Companions without there being any mention whatsoever from anyone of the Companions that they opposed this action.
We know from some of the scholars of Fiqh, like Ibn Qaddamah al-Maqdasi and others from the scholars that when they mentioned an action of a single Companion they would clarify it by saying, ‘and we do not know of anyone who opposed him in this, then this is a consensus (Ijma’)’. So how about the situation if the issue being conveyed is not just from one Companion but from a number of Companions and it is not mentioned that anyone from them opposed them in this issue.’
Questioner: It has reached us from some of our brothers that you have mentioned it is obligatory to take from the beard. That you have used as evidence or mentioned the proof of the action of Ibn Umar that he would take from his beard and him being the narrator is more aware of the meaning of what he narrates.
‘In reality we have a very important principle, we hope that the students comprehend and understand it correctly, because as a result of this principle there are hundreds of Fiqh issues which branch off from it if not thousands. The Principle is: ‘It is not allowed to act upon general texts, which due to their nature are general and include a number of different sections in that text, when it is established that the Salaf did not act upon a section of these different parts of the text. So here it is not allowed to act upon this because of the generality of this text, due to this part of the text being specific.’ Is this speech clear? However, it will become clearer by driving home an example or more than one example.
Before we bring a new novel example, we would like to bring to attention that every Bida’ which is wide spread among the Muslims, which the Mubtadia’ (people of Bida’) have no lack of, meaning the Mubtadia’ or those who regard Bida’ as good are never deprived of finding a text for their Bida’ in the Book or in the Sunnah, a general text which aids this section of the Bida’ that they establish.
Take for example: the Adhan al-Muhammadi (the Prophetic Adhan) which commences with ‘Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar’ and ends with ‘La ilaha illAllaah’ all the Muslims acknowledge this reality. There does not exist, and I hope that it does not exist, that a person, no matter how ignorant he is or misguided that he says that Bilal, Umar bin Umm Maktoom and Abu Mahdoorah used to say after saying ‘La ilaha illAllaah’ that they would say: as-Salat ala Rasool -Alayhi as-Salam (aloud).
This did not occur and I hope it does not occur, however along with this they use as an evidence against us – the callers to the Sunnah and to follow the Salaf and the Imams- the saying of Allaah Ta’ala: <<O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allaah to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islaamic way of greeting (salutation i.e. As-Salamu ‘Alaikum).>>
They say this is a general text, and they are truthful, it is a general text, because Allaah Ta’ala did not say send Salat in a certain place, or do not send Salat in a certain place, but rather send Salat generally. So what is our reply to these people? [The reply is]the previous principle [‘It is not allowed to act upon general texts, which the Salaf did not act upon.’]
Now I will give you an imaginary example, because sometimes the imagination can broaden the horizons of thinking and cause to comprehend a reality which a person discusses. So we are now discussing that a generality in a specific section of which was not acted upon is not allowed to be acted upon.
[The example is] we say if a person were to enter a Masjid at the time of Dhur prayer for example, and a group of people enter along with him and each one went to a separate part of the Masjid wanting to pray two Rakat Sunnah or four Rakat Sunnah before the obligatory prayer, then one of them says, O people lets pray [Sunnah prayer] in congregation and immediately uses as proof two Ahadeeth; ‘Allaah’s Hand is upon the Jama’ah’ and ‘Prayer in congregation is twenty five or twenty seven times better than prayer individually.’ Is this use of proof correct? Of course all of you will say no, even if there was – and Allaah forbid- a Mubtadia’ among you. Why? We have no reply [to their claim] except the same reply to [saying Salat aloud] after the Adhan, before the Adhan and increasing upon giving Salat. There are tens, hundreds even thousands of examples like this. So our reply is that if this was good they [the Salaf] would have preceded us in it. If it was good to pray optional and prescribed Sunnah prayers in congregation and the Messenger had said: ‘Prayer in congregation…’ till the end of the Hadeeth, did not they [the Salaf] have a better understanding than us or not? They were more concerned than us to come closer to Allaah. Secondly, if they did not act upon [a deed] then this is an evidence that they did not take this understanding which you have understood. I think this principle has become clear.
Applying this issue [cutting the beard] to this principle; we know that in many Ahadeeth the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– said: ‘Trim the Moustache and grow the beard and differ from the Jews and Christians.’
This is an absolute text (Mutlaq). ‘Grow the beard’ is an absolute text as we mentioned as an example earlier with the ‘prayer in congregation’, ‘Allaah’s Hand is upon the Jamah’ and as we gave an example with that Ayaah, <<O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allaah to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islaamic way of greeting (salutation i.e. As-Salamu ‘Alaikum).>>
‘I have found it to be very, very important to especially bring to attention this point that it is not allowed to act upon a section from the sections of a general text of which the Salaf did not act upon, this is because they have a better understanding than us.
It is strange that I say all goodness is in following the Salaf and all evil is in what the Khalf innovated, and if it was goodness, they would have preceded us in it, but it does not enter into the hearts of our brothers.’
Should we implement the principle ‘The consideration is with the narrator’s narration and not by his opinion’ in the issue of cutting the beard?
Some people present a doubt regarding the issue that a narrator of a Hadeeth is more knowledgeable of his narration than anyone else, they say that in this research of taking from the beard we implement another principle which is ‘The consideration is with the narrator’s Hadeeth and not by his opinion’, so how do we reply to this doubt?
‘Here, when an opinion opposes the narration as is [the example of] the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah. Abu Hurairah narrated the Hadeeth of washing seven times, ‘If a dog licks your container then you must wash it seven times the first of which with soil.’ It is narrated in an Isnaad from Abu Hurairah which contains a person whose name is Abdul Malik ibn Abi Sulayman, who is from the narrators in Saheeh Muslim. There is some sort of criticism about him, but I say this is from the aspect of information even though I am certain of his trustworthiness. He narrates from Abu Hurairah that Abu Hurairah himself said wash the vessel which a dog has licked three times, here O brother comes this principle, because this statement [of Abu Hurairah] contradicts the other [the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah]. It is not possible to say that this statement of Abu Hurairah is a Tafseer (explanation) of the Hadeeth. As for the principle of general text and absolute text, then this is not like that principle.
We say O brother, if Ibn Umar used to take from his beard and lived in a society not like the societies of our time today, where there is no enjoining good, or forbidding evil, at their time it was totally the opposite, as soon as a person appeared to do something opposite [to the Sharia] you find some objection and disapproval from all angles. Then they will be informed of what is correct, this is if, one person were to do so, how about this issue, you have Companions Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah, the Taba’een (successors to the Companions) ‘Atta ibn Abi Rabbah and al-Hasan al-Basri and many others, this is from just one book ‘al-Musannaf’. What if we opened a book for example, ‘Shua’b al-Eemaan’ which was printed recently, we would find other Athaar (narrations).
Therefore, if we understand that taking from the beard is the Salafi Sunnah of the best of the people at that time, then in this situation the principle, that the Hadeeth of a narrator precedes his opinion. In this situation of taking from the beard, then this is not an opinion.’
The Shaykh said:
‘….. now we enter into the crux of the subject, actions of the Salaf. Here it is necessary for me to pause, our Dawa’ is not limited to the Book and the Sunnah, as is the Dawa of every Muslim, as it should be. However we want to say that our Dawa is established by the Book, the Sunnah and the Manhaj of the Salaf as-Salih. Why? Because if it was not for the Salaf as-Salih we would not have been able to understand our religion precisely and this is why the Islamic Jama’at -old and present time – have separated into groups and parties. <<each group rejoicing in its belief >> as Allaah has mentioned in the Noble Qur’aan.
I say, why is this? Because the Islaamic groups did not rely upon that what the Salaf as-Salih were upon and they took the Tafseer (explanation) of the texts according to their whims and desires, so they fell into confusion and extreme contradiction. They separated, as we mentioned into groups and parties. As for us, then we say we are Salafis, we see how the Salaf as-Salih used to understand the Sunnah of the Messenger, with its three divisions, his statements, actions and allowances and we follow that path.
Is it upon us to limit ourselves with this limitation [understanding of the Salaf] and act upon the Sharia’? We say how can we not! Allaah Ta’ala said: <<And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to him and follows other than the path of the believers. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination. >>
Therefore, opposing the path of the believers is the same as opposing the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah -Alayhis Salaam- because the intent of following them is that they directly saw the Messenger and they conveyed to us the Sunnah of the Messenger. They were his Companions, then those who came after them, then those who came after them, as is mentioned in the authentic Hadeeth. So when we say the Book, the Sunnah and upon the Manhaj of the Salaf as-Salih, taking this from the Ayaah and the Hadeeth of al-Irbaad bin Sareeyaa, ‘upon you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa’.
Also taking from the Hadeeth of Anas bin Malik & Muwaweeyah and others:
‘and my nation will split up into 73 sects all of whom will be in the fire except one.
The Companions asked, ‘Which one O Messenger of Allaah?’
“What I am upon and my Companions are upon.”
Now we return [to the issue], we do not have a single Hadeeth not even a weak one like our Hadeeth which says that the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– used to take from his beard from its sides and length, we said it was weak. Nor does there exist a weak Hadeeth that the Messenger did not take from his beard. There are those from the scholars now who say that the Messenger did not used to take anything from his beard, there is no origin for this Hadeeth at all. What there is, is the speech which says a general Hadeeth, ‘and grow the beard’. However, this generality is like the other generality upon which no action was done because of it.
Then we have in difference to the issue that it has not been conveyed that the Messenger used to take from his beard, which is that his Companions who witnessed him took from their beards, do you think that these Companions would oppose the Messenger while they narrate the Hadeeth of the Messenger, ‘and grow the beard’? No they do not oppose the Messenger. It is a widespread mistake here and in other issues, which is a two- fold mistake, you previously narrated from Ibn Umar that when he used to perform Hajj or Umrah he would take from his beard. This is an authentic narration, but it is not unrestricted, meaning did he only do that in Hajj and Umrah? No, he used to take from his beard even in other than Hajj and Umrah.
Then there is a second widespread mistake that it was only Ibn Umar who took from his beard, this is also a mistake, since it is also authentic from Abu Hurairah, that he would also take from his beard. It is not just this, but rather it is authentic from Ibraheem bin Yazeed an-Nakha’ee and he is from the Taba’een (successor of the Companions) who said: ‘they used to take from their beards’. ‘They used to take….’ who are ‘they’ who used to take? The Companions of the Messenger – alayhi as-Salaam. There are no texts (narrations) which oppose these texts whatsoever. Therefore, the guidance of the Salaf is not is to let the beard grow (completely) like we see some of those who preceded of [ignorant] worshippers . . . . . and there is no way for us to know the likes of this except by way of the Companions of the Messenger. From among the Companions of the Messenger was Ibn Umar who was the most concerned with following the Messenger, so much so that he would follow the Messenger even in the matters of the Messenger’s habits – and these issues are well known to you. ‘
A Meeting With the Shaykh
My cutting the beard after the fist
By Abbas Abu Yahya
After having been guided to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– I began to grow my beard, and while taking a literal understanding of the Hadeeth: ‘grow the beard and trim the moustache’ I would not trim my beard rather I let it grow.
My beard had reached past my navel. During my first Umrah trip I encountered a student of knowledge who began to question the reasons for the extra long length of my beard. So I reminded him of the Sunnah -as I had understood it – and he promptly informed me that there were Companions of the Prophet –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– who would trim their beards after a fist long.
He mentioned many of the proofs, for example from the books of Hadeeth and that Ibn Hajr mentions that 12 or 14 of the Companions trimmed their beards after the fist. However, even with all this evidence my heart needed contentment and I needed to hear this from a scholar. Here he dropped a bomb and said even Shaykh Albaani holds this opinion.
With this I could not be content without actually asking this question face to face. So began a journey for seeking knowledge. Allaah had favoured me out of His Mercy, that the following day of the night of which I had arrived in the Hashmite Kingdom of Jordan, there was going to be a gathering with the Shaykh and we had been given an invite.
The following is what took place in that memorable gathering.
To set the scene, I was being driven to a gathering with the Shaykh, we headed towards Amman on a Friday morning, around 8.30 – 9.00 o’clock, the weather was nice and warm as it was summer time. We drove off the main highway down a side path surrounded by very tall trees, and at the end of the track was a small farm house, getting out of the car I recognised that famous sweet voice and an amazing smile appeared on my face which contrasted with the nice bright summery morning.
I rushed into the main room where everyone was gathered, sitting tightly squeezed together, and found a place amongst the people and there was the Shaykh of Hadeeth sitting on a large arm chair with his legs on a footstool, covered with a blanket due to rheumatism. The excitement was exhilarating, unfortunately being unlettered in the Arabic language, I could not understand anything, and having been sleep deprived my energy level began taking its toll. I commented to myself, you came all this way and you’re sitting in front of a scholar of the highest calibre and you’re falling asleep!! You need to go outside, this is shameful!!
I picked up the courage when the Shaykh was interrupted and dived outside, the scene was beautiful, picturesque, there I was sitting on the veranda on a nice warm summer’s day listening to that beautiful Arabic tone and as far as the eyes could see, were olive trees lining the earth in front of me. A funny thing happened that Abu Layla – who records the Shaykh’s sittings came out and asked me a question to which I replied in my pigeon Arabic ‘Maafee Arabee’ (no Arabic). Then he quoted the Hadeeth of the Angels sitting in gatherings of knowledge, and I understood the Arabic word for Angels, so I ventured back in.
Anyhow, or the story continues, after Jummah we had returned to the farm house but now the venue was outside in the veranda, and the Shaykh begins by asking me, ‘Are you from the Jamiat Ahl ul Hadeeth of Pakistan?’ I replied, ‘No, I’m not with them.’ (There was a translator on hand).
The Shaykh continued by saying: ‘They, like our brothers in Saudi hold the opinion that it is not permissible to trim the beard after a fistful, and they are mistaken in this, since Ibn Umar trimmed his beard after the fist, either in Hajj or Umrah.’
I quickly asked: ‘O Shaykh is this not regarded as his Ijtihaad since he opposed the Hadeeth?’
He answered very cleverly: ‘Who is more knowledgeable about the Hadeeth, you or Ibn Umar?’
I answered bewildered: ‘Ibn Umar – RadhiAllaahu anhu – without doubt!!’
The Shaykh followed up to my amazement: ‘Ibn Umar was the narrator of the Hadeeth, ‘grow the beard and trim the moustache.’ I was dazed, it hadn’t even crossed my mind, that’s why he’s the Shaykh.
He continued: ‘there’s a principle that the narrator of the Hadeeth is more knowledgeable about the narration than anyone else. And Ibn Umar narrated this Hadeeth.
Another thing, imagine Ibn Umar did this action in Hajj or Umrah imagine he was surrounded by companions. They are not like us that if they see something opposing the Sunnah that they would remain silent, but we do not have a single narration of anyone opposing Ibn Umar.’
Here, I was convinced I did not require any more proof. I had been given many more evidences while visiting Saudi. However, I needed clarification of the foundational principle, so I asked: ‘Shaykh are you saying that we can’t follow the Hadeeth except by the understanding of the companions?’
He answered : ‘ Of course!!’
Here it was the clear Salafi Manhaj had been well and truly laid out.
There were five or six others in this gathering, students of knowledge and Imams of Masajid, who had long beards, Abu Layla had passed a pair of scissors around and they began trimming their beards after a fist while saying we have heard and we obey.
The scissors were passed to me and at the same moment the food was brought in, Abu Layla looked at me and I indicated after we’ve eaten.
After having shared food with the shaykh I went to wash my hands and as I looked up from the basin into the mirror I saw Abu Layla standing behind me with his scissors, like a psychopathic murderer! !
After I had trimmed my beard -which I had not trimmed for seven years or so – we went back to the gathering and Abu Layla announced to the Shaykh that I had cut my beard, the Shaykh heartedly said Mubarak! !
[This incident took place in Jordan in the year 1992]
The overwhelming evidence shows – and Allaah knows best – that the correct understanding of the Hadeeth which command the growing of the beard have to be understood with the understanding of the first three generations.
Shaykh Albaani said:
‘Ibn Umar – in regards to him narrating the Hadeeth – it is possible to say:
The narrator knows more about what he narrates than anyone else, especially since some of the Salaf are in agreement with him with taking from the beard as has preceded, without anyone from the Salaf opposing Ibn Umar, from what we know. And Allaah knows best.’
How excellent was the saying of the poet:
Every good is in the following of the Salaf * and every evil is in the innovations of the Khalaf
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وبَحَمْدكَ أشْهدُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلا أنْتَ أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وأتُوبُ إِلَيْكَ
All Praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace and blessings be upon our final Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow his guidance.
 [From ‘ad-Durr fee Masa’il al-Musttalah wal Athar’p.238]
 [al-Muntaqa Sharh al-Muwatta 4/367]
 [Ibn Haani in his ‘Masail (2/151)]
 [From ‘al-Istidhkaar’ 4/317]
 [From: ‘Sharh al-Umdah’ 1/236]
 [From: ‘Mufhim’ 1/512]
 [From: ‘Akbaar al-Hamqa wal Mughafileen’ p.7]
 [‘Tareekh Baghdad’ 8/29-30 No. 4079]
 [Ikmaal al-Mualim 2/36]
 [Sharh al-Bukhari (9/147)]
 [al-Insaaf 1/121]
 [Musannaf 8/356]
 These discussions with the Shaykh were translated and amended for readability whilst adhereing to the meaning of the Shaykh’s wording.
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 42]
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 496]
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 526]
 Soorah Ahzaab: 56
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 526]
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 663]
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 663]
 [Summarised from ‘Silsilah Huda wa Noor’ Tape No. 702]
 [fn: ‘grow the beard’]
 [Silsilah Ahadeeth ad-Daeefah vol. 11 no. 5453]
See Page 18 article
 The transliteration of which is: ‘Kullu khairin fee ittiba’ man Salaf * wa Kullu Sharrin fee Ibtida’ man Khallaf’ (T.N.)