Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: I know it is disrespectful to tell your parents to do thing,
but I also know it is sunna to keep a beard and it is highly disliked to shave the beard. Is there a way that I can tell my father to keep his beard without being disrespectful.
The Sunna of the Beard
Before answering your specific question, it is important to understand that the scholars have valid difference in regards to the obligation of keeping a beard. Some of the madhabs, including the Maliki and Hanafi, have considered keeping a beard on the entire jawbone to be an obligation. Other scholars, such as some of the Shafi’is, have considered that it is a Sunna and to shave it would be disliked but not prohibited. Because this valid difference of opinion exists, one would have to be gentle in advising of keeping a beard.
Enjoining Righteousness (Hisba)
One of the three conditions to enjoin righteousness (hisba) is that there be consensus on the matter that is being enjoined. If there is a valid difference of opinion, then one must take a different approach which is called advice (nasiha) and must use more gentleness in the method (Dardir, Hashiyatul Sharh al-Kabir). For more on the conditions of Hisba see the following answer: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
Hisba with Parents
Imam Malik was asked about how a person goes about enjoining righteousness with a parent and he said, “He does so but also lowers the wing of humility” referring to verse 17:24 (Mawlud, The Rights of Parents). Normally, not angering a person is not a condition of Hisba but in the case of the parents, it is. Imam al Ghazzali in the Ihya, when speaking about enjoining righteousness, also mentions that a condition of this when dealing with the parents is that they do not become angry.
Allah ordered us to speak kindly to our parents and to use “noble speech” when speaking with them (Quran 17:23). Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib was asked what constitutes noble speech to which he responded, “The way a meek slave who has committed a crime would speak with his harsh and majestic master” (The Rights of Parents, Mawlud). So, imagine you are that slave and you wanted to advise you master about following the sunna of keeping a beard, how would you approach the topic? Or would you approach it at all?
In conclusion, if advising one’s father to keep a beard will make him angry, then it is prohibited to do so. And Allah knows best.