Monday, September 6, 2010
Can't Beard The Thought
I woke up one morning slightly dazed and perhaps running a wee bit late to work. I wondered if I should skip shaving for the day and just head out to work. I laughed, rolled out of bed, grabbed my trusty razor and shaving cream and slit of the offending stubble with Sumarai like ease.
I have thought about growing a beard. I can't. I just can't bear the thought of bearding up. For starters, I doubt I can grow a particularly respectable beard; I'd look awful, uneven patches and all that. Secondly, I don't want to deal with the hassle of a beard and thirdly I'm not shallow enough to need to prove to everyone how great a Muslim I am; I'm sure they're all well aware.
How does one identify a good Muslim? Well, one could try to get to know him, but that just sounds like too much effort. Let's just be consistently superficial and focus on what really matters to us. Looks.
Is it his zealous eyes (lowered of course), his terrific posture (kept fit through repeated prayer) and most importantly a long flowy beard, long enough to shame dumbledore on one hand and yet still reminiscent of Fidel Castro on the other.
Apparently, in order to be a good Muslim, you have to have a beard. Unfortunately, my french beards, pencil thin mustache strips and pubescent chin scraggle don't qualify. You need to have a solid all encompassing beard that frames your face to such an extent that covers one skin blemishes as well as provides something soft for your pets to nap on....and your parrot to lay eggs in.
Now, I'm the liberal sort of fellow and was always under the impression that in order to be a good Muslim...well...that you actually had to act like one....or preferably two, because two Muslims are better than one.
I find it offensive is when someone from Team Beard takes me to task for not having a nest sprouting from my face and feels that it is their moral imperative to convert me to their bearded ways with their eyes greedy for sawab much like a degenerate gambler on a hot streak.
One has to wonder, where did the sentiment is that anyone vying for the title of 'good Muslim' needs to have a beard, wear a skull cap and perhaps quote in the Quran in a language that he couldn't order a bun kebab in.
What does a beard say about a person? That he's too lazy to shave? Or think he looks dashing all furred up. I have seen beards that both suit people and some that don't. Some that are neat and others that look like they've made love to a hurricane. Regardless, if one thinks keeping a beard makes one a Muslim, then perhaps they believe that they can create a nation of Muslims by banning razor blades (I think the Afghani Taliban went down that route; sure worked out there).
A few have pointed out to me how it's Sunnah, that the Prophet had a beard; granted, but isn't it possible that he just looked really freaking good with a beard? I'm sure glad for our sanity's sake that he didn't rock out a beard braid. Seriously, did they even have a Gillette Mach II back then?
I'd also like to point out that if we lived the same way the Prophet did, then by that same logic we'd all be brushing our teeth with a siwak (tooth stick) instead of toothbrushes. Anti Tooth Brush Fatwa anyone? Or better yet, we'd ban cars and ride Camel back everywhere.
Whatever happened to tolerance? Why does my clean shaven (and rather dashing) face serve to offend the religious sensibility of others? Why does it provoke at best a superiority complex and at worst, yet another self righteous fundamentalist nut job. Is it because they aren't secure in their own faith and need others' approval for reassurance. If that's the case, I implore them to visit their local chai walla and empathize over the Pakistan cricket team. We all love Chai and Cricket, it's somewhere in our constitution. Yep...the Chai, Cricket and Islam loving Republic of Pakistan.
Why does it matter if I have a beard or not? I doubt God is that shallow when it comes to evaluating the worthiness of our souls. Doubt that God chose the Prophet because he could grow a particular spectacular beard. I may be unfortunately liberal but I imagine that it had something to do with what was in Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) heart. That said, maybe it just seems easier to look like a muslim, rather than be a muslim; which quite frankly, beard or not, we by and large certainly suck at.