Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Some people have been criticizing major scholars for having trim beards, almost implying that it is a sign of weak religious commitment.
There is a need to wake up and smell the coffee, Sidi:
1. Reality indicates that 3 of the 4 madhhabs of Sunni fiqh consider a full beard recommended, not wajib. And the other madhhabs do not have something called makruh tahriman in the sense of being sinful.
2. There is scholarly consensus that all four madhhabs are, in principle, permissible to follow.
3. The sounder opinion according to the scholars of usul and fiqh is that one does not have to stick to one madhhab in everything.
4. There is a general principle that when matters become difficult with regards to an issue, its rulings are made more easy. (Qa`ida: idha daqa al-amru, ittasa`a al-hukmu — Majalla, Ashbah)
5. There is a widespread problem in terms of people’s application of the Hanafi position on the beard. Its application in the West, especially, and many Muslim countries is difficult. So…
Given this, what is the fuss?
It must also be remembered that the scholars concur that there is no condemnation regarding issues that are differed upon within the bounds of the Sunni schools of law. Commanding the good and forbidding the wrong relate only to those issues that are agreed upon to be obligatory or impermissible. As for issues differed upon, the most one may do is offer sincere advice (nasiha) while respecting others’ right not to follow the opinion one believes to be correct.
This is the path of tolerance, and mercy.
Beard and trouser length are each given only a couple of lines in even the most comprehensive of fiqh texts, yet are made to sound as if they are the pillars of our deen, so much so that people on the fringe are often turned away for such matters
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Make things easy; do not make them hard. Give glad tidings, and do not turn people away.” [Bukhari & Muslim]