... Written by Tijjani Muhammad Musa
There is that word in English that is a bit rare to see being used around. Most of us know not its meaning or how to use it. The word is 'Epiphany'. I checked after it about a day or two ago and a day or two later, its full impact hit someone I know in a most interesting way.
Well, am sure we all remember the Islamic rule on any one who intends to offer udhiyah (sacrifice) on Eid-ul-Adha day, right? For those who know not or who have forgotten, here's a quick reminder;
It was narrated from Umm Salamah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the first ten days (of Dhu’l-Hijjah) have begun, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, he should not touch (i.e., remove anything from) his hair or skin.” Narrated by Muslim…
I have often wondered about the wisdom behind such a religious imposition. Why would Allaah SWT and His Rasool SAWS demand that of us? What is to be gained from such a prohibition, physically, mentally, spiritually and so on? I have always contented myself with submission to the Will of my Lord and Maker, simply obeying the rule with hope and trust in Him AWJ, confident in the fact that though I might not know why and might possibly never know the reason throughout the short duration of my life, it must be for my own good. Allaah's Decision is perfect and always for the good of mankind, if only man can be patient and put absolute trust in Him. If only.
Now, that is what I have come to discover about this life. Knowledge is so common and yet so rare, all at once. Some of it is exposed and other aspects of it are hidden. Some knowledge is accidentally stumbled upon, while many more are known through research. Then there are those that remain forever elucive to you and your generation, only to be revealed after you are dead and gone.
Another interesting thing is the fact that certain knowledge, common to many or almost all people could be kept away from you. Only to be known to you at a particular stage of your life. Most likely, when you need it the most, not by your judgment, but by divine decision. Often, one is surprised at the discovery and filled with wonder at how he or she could have missed knowing such an ordinary thing.
Anyway, one man has just discovered albeit epiphaneously one of the wisdom behind the above hadithic stipulation. You see, Islamically it is recommended that men should grow and keep the beard, while shaving the moustache. This is to make them become distinguished from the female folks, among other reasons, some in the realm of 'ghaib'. Being hairy is a natural masculine feature, contrary to being hairless which is feminine in nature. Again, at several points in time, that has also been a subject of spiritual curiousity to many Muslims, as to why Islam insist that men should keep the beard and side-burns while shaving the moustache.
Looking at it from the modern context, many are of the opinion that a well trimmed moustache with or without a low-cut beard makes many a man look macho, smoove and well groomed. Whereas, a well kept, full grown beard makes a man look matured, well composed, serious and no-nonsensical in his disposition. And the lack of both i.e. moustache and beard inclusive of the side-burns, makes one look young, boyish and femininely sissy. Now, while many non-Islamic society have adopted the moustache as an identity and even instituted it in corporate circles and in military and para-military outfits, Islam always encourage its adherents to have a different look from non-Islamic cultures and have taken on to the beard as a mark of a man.
In one of the many hadeeth on that, Ibn ‘Umar said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: Let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” According to another report: “Trim your moustaches and let your beards grow.”
As for the clean-shaven boyish, feminine look it has been snapped-up by those who see themselves as being different from the majority, from the norm. It is a very rare sight, if not impossible to see anybody who is homosexual, especially the ones who play the wifey part of the engagement spotting a facial hair, most especially the beard and side-burns. They mostly dislike body hair of all kinds and are constantly engaged in shaving it, just like women, thus confirming Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr who said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women.
By the time one considers the Islamic preference for the beard, and its prohibition of homosexual and lesbian acts, it gradually makes alot of sense that maintaining the beard and shaving the moustache would produce a double advantage for Muslim men by giving them a different and distinct outlook from other non-Islamic cultures, as well as telling the whole world that this is not a pro-gay act personality. For many, this sublime reason for Islam's insistence upon the beard is just being acknowledge in the current brazen display and promotion of the gay movement.
Back to the man whose epiphany inspired this write-up. He has found himself in a situation where he is about to marry a new wife after his last marriage, which lasted more than two decades has crashed. The reason? Hmmm, no need to elaborate as there are several reasons why marriages break-up lately. Faults abound from both the men and the women. So, feel free to choose from the millions and one possibilities available. Now, the man is one of those Muslims, though devout but is not too conforming with all the rules, regulations and injunctions. Many of us are similarly guilty.
Of particular interest to us here is the hadeeth about keeping the beard. He is one of the many Muslims who does not comply with it, preferring to go clean-shaven all the time. He has also been seen lately to have adopted spotting a bald head on a regular basis. Though in his early 50s, he looks much younger as the above observation has proved. One would think he is in his early 40s or thereabout.
Islamically, it is commanded to be sincere and truthful in all actions, reactions and interactions with the society one lives in. Deceit of any kind, in any guise is vehemently abhorred. But, of course many Muslims who find some of the divine rules and injunctions in the deen not easy to execute, try to find ways and means to cut corners. Typical of human nature, man being an ease seeker in all circumstances.
The man is a well respected person in his community. Many like him and can vouch for his mutual soundness and kind considerations in his mu'malat. So, his new love and wife-to-be is glad to have caught his attention and secured his interest enough to make him consider her a wife to honor. Thus, fully aware of his social status and age, there is one thing that, though obvious to many, yet she is not quite sure of, and that is his true looks. Besides, it ranks least among her priorities about her matured groom.
At 25 years of age, finding a single man to marry for a single girl, in this highly competitive wedding market is a very lucky break indeed. So, good looks, bad looks, "duk ba su taso ba" (it doesn't really matter). And with the man being at liberty to shave at will in defiance of his Prophet's stipulations (and I repeat, many of us Muslims are guilty of this bad, consequential behaviour), the bride has never seen his real features. All seems well and going according to plan and then comes along the just witnessed Eid-ul-Adha and with it came revelations for both the man and his bride.
As part of the udhiyah rule, for any who wants to slaughter a sacrificial animal (camel, cow or ram), the person must abstain from cutting his hair from any part of his body. Same goes for the nails, no pedicure or manicure is to be observed once the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Lunar Calender starts, until after the Eid Prayer is observed and the animal intended for that special day's offer is sacrificed. Only then, can a person shave his or her body hair and have his finger or feet nails cut. It was in compliance with this rule that the man's true nature and looks became manifest.
Within days in the stipulated 10 days, most of his facial hair has sprutted out and almost all of it is completely gray. The hair on his head, his moustache and beard all looked white. Much as he wished he could hide the truth about his true looks, he could not. In fact, a sister of his who travelled and returned, upon visiting his house, did not recognize him until he greeted her first. Turning to see who was greeting her, she discovered her elder brother looking completely different. She couldn't help, but express her shock and disbelief. "What! My brother when did you become so, so old like this!", gesticulating all over the whiteness of his hairy face with her hands. He just smiled, but was fully embarrassed by the situation.
The bride also got to see her groom in his true color and was complete shocked to see an old stranger coming to visit her instead of the full grown, matured man that she was so proud of. It was such a traumatic experience for her, and almost resulted in her calling off the wedding due to friends influence and instigations. But, it was true love that she felt for him and as the popular saying goes 'Love conquers all'. She overcame the initial shock and re-psyche herself to accept him exactly the way he is. Their wedding arrangements is now in full gear, alhamdulillah.
That was how one of the wisdoms behind the "No shavings or nails cut is permissible" Islamic rule for devotees who intend making sacrifice to their Lord and Maker on the Eid-ul-Adha Day finally became epiphaneously revealed to me. Those 10 days the man had to give up shaving his moustache and beard was all that was needed to show the young woman, the exact image of her man. And thus, she was saved from the shock of discovery at a later date and time, which could have resulted in regrets and disappointments.
The lesson learnt for me was, whichever injunctions Allaah SWT revealed and whatever His Rasool SAWS taught and exemplified and no matter how difficult or confusing it might seem to me, I should be steadfast and very patient in obeying the commands and practicing them. Afterall, I was the one who willingly choosed to be a Muslim. Yes, I know I was born a Muslim, so might not have had a choice in it, but after growing into full maturity, I had to revisit my faith declaration to ascertain for myself the truthfulness of Islam. And now, I am a Muslim by conviction, by choice, after researching and authenticating Islam as the one and only religion of truth. Alhamdulillah.
If I had found it lacking or wanting in anyway, by my Lord's Guidance, I would have abandon it for the true way, whichever that might turn out to be. Just like many, non-Muslims who are abandoning the religions of their fathers and nations and embracing Islam after discovering it is the right path. And so, as sincere faithfuls and true believers in Allaah SWT by our declaration of faith and as followers of Muhammad SAWS, we are duty bound to do as stipulated, even if our rational thinking or common sense cannot grasp the impact of the injunctions.
If only we can patiently persevere, eventually both the short-term, as well as the long-term benefits of any Islamic dos and don'ts command will be made manifest to us. Now, from this development, at least I have an insight as to why it can be unwise to hide anything, which when unavoidably exposed would present me as a liar or a deceitful person to the ones whom I desire and value their trust the most, now and forever.
Clearly, an understanding unknown to me prior to this experience.
(c)(r) 171013 Tijjani M. M.
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