Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I am in the process of getting a job as a first aid responder/EMS responder with Bombardier. This is not only a private airport but also a manufacturing facility which handles a lot of paints, chemicals, etc.
In case of emergencies, all EMS responders MUST wear a mask that is seal tight. However, with the beard, the mask won’t stay on so I must take off my beard if I want to take this job. I have the option to keep a goatee if I like. I can always move on to another job which would give me the flexibility to keep my beard but the disadvantages are that I would have a lesser pay and that means I would have to do two jobs to sustain my necessities. Additionally, this job is important to me as this gives me a lot of hands-on experience and this will prepare me to get into what I really want to get into, policing.
Please advise me on what would be the best thing for me in this world and the hereafter!
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
Congratulations on your hard work in education, training and striving to attain a good job.
In most cases, if you are to speak to your Human Resources department at your employer and let them know your beard is for religious purposes and also verify that with a letter from your local masjid, they will allow you special exemption to keep the beard. In fact, they will have a special mask ordered for you keeping in mind your beard. This right is enshrined in the Canadian Charter and you should exercise it.
If this employer denies this right to keep the beard, you always have the option to search for an employer that respects your religious values. In Islam, we are also taught that when we leave something sincerely for God’s sake, God will grant us something even better.
“You will never leave something for the sake of God, but God will give you something better in return.” (Musnad Aḥmad)
If you are in a dire situation and there is no other work for you except in a place where you cannot exercise your religious practices, then you may work there temporarily while actively looking for a more suitable job. Once that is found, you must leave this position and opt for a position where you may practice Islam without any compromise.
Our advice in order of merit, is the following:
- Seek the accommodation/ religious exemption at the current place of employment you want to work at.
- Find a job where your religious values are easily accommodated.
- If you are unable to keep the full beard, keeping some kind of beard is better than totally shaving your beard.
Majority Islamic scholars of all schools of jurisprudence regard keeping some length of the beard as an emphasised prophetic practice (sunnah muakkadah).
Completely shaving facial hair on the chin and cheeks is considered contrary to the Prophetic practice, for men and makrūh (religiously disliked).
Ibn ‘Omar (may God be pleased with him) relates from the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) that he said, “Do otherwise than those who ascribe partners to God; leave beards, and trim mustaches”. (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Whenever Ibn ‘Omar (may God be pleased with him) went on Ḥajj or ‘Umrah, he would grasp his beard with his hand (fist length), and remove what was in excess of it. (Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
And Allāh Knows Best