If someone trims his beard, can we offer our salat behind him? How important is keeping a beard in Islam?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
If someone's beard is longer than a fist in size, it is permissible for him to trim it so as to make it a fist in size. However, it is prohibited and sinful to trim one's beard shorter than a fist in size. This sin is worse than other sins in the sense that one engaged in it cannot hide it and he has no choice but to expose it to everyone; and just as committing a sin in prohibited, exposing one's sins to others is also prohibited. It is also worse than other sins in the sense that once a person engaged in other sins stops committing them, he stops getting further sins; however, in the case of shaving one's beard or trimming it shorter than a fist in size, one keeps on getting sins even when he goes to sleep.
It is makrooh tahreemi (i.e. prohibited) to offer one's salat behind someone who trims his beard shorter than a fist in size. Hence, one should not choose such a person to lead the salat. However, if someone did offer his salat behind such a person, his salat is valid and he does not have to repeat it.
One should choose a practising Muslim who has a proper beard to lead the salat. However, if there is no such person available, then it is better to offer the salat in jamat (congregation) behind someone who trims his beard than to offer it alone.
(Fatawa Usmani: 1/394; Fatawa Mahmudiya: 6/121-129)
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Faizal Riza
Darul Ifta Australia