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Pakistan: Cleric Says Muslims Shaving Beards Misguided, Deceived by Satan
Nawa-e Waqt
November 6, 2008

Ameen Ullah trims his beard as others offer Friday prayers in the streets of Quetta, Pakistan on November 30, 2001. U.S. warplanes pounded Taliban troops dug in at the airport of their last stronghold, Kandahar, on Friday, while ethnic Pashtun tribal leaders told the Northern Alliance to steer clear of south Afghanistan.

Unattributed report: “Prophet Said: `Grow Beard`; English Fashion Has Annihilated Many Generations -- Maulana Ilyas Qadri

Multan -- Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadri, chief of the Da`wat-e-Islami, has said that the people who are shaving their beards are utterly misguided and deceived by Satan. He said that these people were following the Jews rather than the Prophet of Islam.

Addressing a gathering organized by the Da`wat-e Islami in Multan from Karachi through Madani television channel, he said that after their death, these people would be stung by scorpions and would receive a severe torment for their misdeeds. He narrated the story of a youth who died in an area away from his home when he was shaving his beard. He further said: “The local people conducted his funeral and buried him. When his relatives received the information, they came to the area and expressed the wish to exhume his body and bury it again in their area. When they dug the grave, they found scorpions on the face of the body. His relatives got frightened and buried him again.”

The cleric said: “If we claim to be the lover of the Prophet of Islam, we should also honor his countenance.” He said that the English fashion had annihilated many generations. He said that the Prophet of Islam had ordered the Muslims to grow a beard and shave their moustaches. He said: “Our salvation lies in growing a beard.”

The religious gathering of the Da`wat-e-Islami is continuing in the Multan desert, where hundreds of thousands of people from home and abroad are offering rituals at the tents erected on 400 acres of land. On the last day, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadri will deliver his sermon, which will be aired on the television channel. Besides, female congregations will be held at nine places. Maulana Ilyas Qadri will offer the final prayers, and on the occasion, countless people will participate.

(Description of Source: Rawalpindi Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu -- Privately owned, widely read, conservative Islamic daily, with circulation around 125,000. Harshly critical of the US and India.)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Somali Islamist rebels force men to grow beards
Monday, December 21, 2009

The spokesman of the hardline Al-Shabaab Islamist group Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage (Ali Dhere) addresses supporters in Somalia`s capital Mogadishu, January 4, 2010. Al Shabaab, which is fighting to impose strict Islamic rule on Somalia, has said it is ready to send reinforcements to Yemen should the U.S. carry out strikes on Islamist militants there.

 “We will never accept to see men with long beards and moustaches together. They have three days to follow the order.”

Somalia`s Islamist Al-Shabab rebels on Saturday ordered men to grow long beards, shave their moustaches and wear their trousers above the ankle.

It is the first time in the lawless Horn of Africa country that the insurgents, who seek impose a strict form of Islamic sharia law, have focused on men`s appearance, having previously ordered women to cover their entire bodies, and banned bras.

“We are ordering all men in Kismaayo not to shave or trim their beards, but shave the moustache,” Shaykh Ibrahim Garweyn, a senior Al-Shabab official for the public awareness in the southern Somali port town, told reporters on Saturday.

“We will never accept to see men with long beards and moustaches together. They have three days to follow the order.”

The group, which Washington says is an Al-Qaidah proxy, has already banned musical ring-tones, dancing at weddings and playing or watching soccer.

Al-Shabab has carried out executions, floggings and amputations to enforce its rulings, mainly Kismaayo.

The group is battling the government of President Shaykh Sharif Ahmad for control of Mogadishu, and is fighting a another Islamist militia - Hisb al-Islam in the provinces.

Al-Shabab also ordered men to wear their trousers above the ankle. “They have 15 days to follow the order,” Garweyn said.

A two-and-a-half year insurgency has killed more than 19,000 civilians, displaced 1 million people, allowed piracy to flourish offshore and spread security fears in the region.

Somalia has lacked a functioning central government since 1991. Its transitional government controls little more than a few blocks of Mogadishu, with the rest carved up between Al-Shabab and Hisb al-Islam.

In a separate incident on Saturday, fighting between Al-Shabab and Hisb al-Islam fighters near Doblai close to the Kenyan border killed six people.

“I have seen dead people near Doblai, two young men, Al-Shabab fighters. Also there are another four from the other side,” said a resident who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Residents said Al-Shabab fighters had dug trenches in the town in what appeared to be defence lines against possible attacks from Kenya.

Kenya closed its border with Somalia in 2007 and has boosted patrols in recent months.

Text of report by Somalia`s independent website on 20 December

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Pakistani Taliban Leader Warns Tribesmen To Grow Beards in Accordance With Islam
Monday, May 5, 2008 

 “Men must grow beards and stop shaving within the next two months,” residents quoted senior Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad

KHAR, Pakistan, May 5, 2008 (AFP) - A Pakistani Taliban leader has warned local tribesmen to grow beards within the next two months in accordance with Islamic teachings or face harsh punishment, residents said Monday.

The threat came amid an apparent increase in incidents of militants trying to enforce Islamic Sharia law in Pakistan`s tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, where the new government is trying to make peace with hardliners.

“Men must grow beards and stop shaving within the next two months,” residents quoted senior Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad as telling dozens of people at a mosque in Khar, the main town in Bajaur tribal district.

Beards were mandatory under the harsh Taliban regime which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 as part of a strict morality code that also made women wear the all-encompassing burka and outlawed music and other entertainment.

“It is un-Islamic to shave beards. Harsh punishments will be awarded to all violators,” added Mohammad, the central vice chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban Movement) and also a Muslim cleric.

The group is an umbrella organisation of Taliban factions in Pakistan`s tribal belt. Its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, has been accused of masterminding the slaying of former premier Benazir Bhutto in December.

Mohammad told a rally in March that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and fugitive Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar were not enemies of Pakistan.

Suspected Islamic militants have been meting out vigilante justice in the tribal belt and targeting “un-Islamic” hair salons, music and video shops with explosive devices for the past few years.

But activities have increased in recent weeks amid a lull in military operations and fighting since a new government took power after defeating President Pervez Musharraf`s allies in elections.

Last week Pakistani Taliban militants publicly executed an alleged criminal involved in kidnappings for ransom in Mohmand, another of the seven semi-autonomous tribal areas.

(Description of Source: Hong Kong AFP in English -- Hong Kong service of the independent French press agency Agence France-Presse)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Pakistan: Barbers Comply With Militants Orders Not To Trim Beards in Bajaur
The News
March 20, 2007

A young Afghan has a shave for the first time after 5 years of Taliban Sharia law in a barber shop in central Kabul November 14, 2001. Under its strict interpretation of Islam, the Taliban ordered all adult men to wear a beard. Afghan opposition forces consolidated their hold on the newly captured capital of Kabul and said new gains meant the Taliban now held less than 20 percent of the country as international calls intensified for a new broad-based government and more U.N. involvement.

Report by Mushtaq Yusufzai: “Clean shame”

Threatened with dire consequences, the barbers in Bajaur agency have decided to comply with the directions of the hand-written pamphlets regarding beards.

While the authorities were still unclear as to who issued those warning pamphlets, similar threats were issued to barbers in settled districts of Mardan, Dir Upper and Lower and in the semi-autonomous tribal region of Dara Adam Khel.

In other incidents, girl students in Mardan district have been asked to wear burqa while going to schools. “Otherwise they would be killed in suicide attacks” is how the warning has been worded. In Dara Adam Khel, a barber`s shop, a music centre and an NGO office have been destroyed after delivering them threatening letters to stop their business.

In the pamphlets, the barbers in Bajaur have been warned of strict action if they did not stop their `un-Islamic` activities (shaving and trimming of beards and cutting hair). The authorities, on their part, have asked barbers to carry on their business `as usual`.

No individual or group has so far appeared to take responsibility for issuing the leaflets that created unrest and harassment in these areas.

However, it is widely suspected that local militants or Taliban, as they`re locally known, issued these pamphlets as part of their manifesto for Islamisation of the society.

First, the barbers were addressed through hand-written pamphlets in Pashto language asking them not to shave beards or cut hair as, according to them, it was against the teachings of Islam. After a few fays, in the same volatile tribal region, drivers of public transports were told to stop playing music in their vehicles; otherwise they would do it perforce.

The barbers were also warned that their shops would be bombed if they failed to comply. And they did it by razing two barber shops and a music centre to the ground with bombs at Inayat Kalley bazaar, a second major town of Bajaur Agency after Khar, which serves as regional headquarters.

“I lost my only source of income. This was the shop that helped me earn bread for my children. The government, despite all claims, did nothing to arrest the culprits,” barber Khairullah, whose shop was destroyed in the blast told The News on Sunday.

After receiving pamphlets, the barbers in Bajaur held an emergency meeting and felt the time had come to choose what they called the `lesser evil`. Thus they agreed to comply with the directives of the pamphlets and even decided to impose Rs5,000 fine on those defying the decision.

Almost in every shop, the barbers displayed banners inscribed with a clear message for the customers not to force them to shave beards or cut hair, as it had been declared un-Islamic. Barbers complain they had witnessed a record decline in their business by 70 per cent after issuance of pamphlets. They also said they have been feeling extremely insecure since they are more vulnerable (barber shops open early in the morning and do not close till late at night).

In the first few days, after the pamphlets were distributed, barbers found it difficult to refuse or convince their regular customers. In at least one instance, a disgruntled customer broke the glasses and mirrors of a barber shop he refused to offer him the service required. “I explained to him but he got infuriated and started abusing and breaking mirrors of my shop,” complained barber Nasir Khan.

But that`s not where it stopped. Nasir Khan was then taken into custody by the local administration and put in jail for defying the government order by refusing to shave beards.

“The government wants us to continue with our business while militants warn us of destroying our shops with bombs. And then there is the fear of shopowners who may ask us to vacate in case of damage to their property,” explained a harassed barber, Niamat Khan.

Barbers in Bajaur Agency were conveyed the same message through two similar leaflets some time ago. They did not take those warnings seriously and continued their job. But the latest warning, issued on February 10, has been almost an alarm bell for barbers and may force them to quit their years-old profession.

“We did not pay proper attention to the first letter which was issued about six months ago and then the second one two months later,” said Ghulam Khan, president of the recently-formed Hajjam (barbers) Association.

There are around 200 barbers in the tribal agency. They had, in all probability, never heard the name of `association` in the past, but the present situation has convinced them to get united on one platform. After receiving the last letter, the association members went to the local tehsildar who referred them to the assistant political agent and finally to the political agent.

The authorities apparently assured the barbers of their support and asked them to carry out their business and ignore the warnings. But aware of this `hidden force` active in that isolated tribal region for the past few years, the barbers have announced to obey what was conveyed to them in the pamphlets.

Ghulam Khan said: “When the government cannot protect its own officials and pro-government tribal elders, how can it provide protection to poor barbers like us.”

The issue aroused strong criticism from local tribal people majority of whom already sport beards. Still they don`t like to be dictated. “I am a Muslim and I know that no one can force me to shave or not. This should be my own decision,” said Javed Khan, a regular customer at a barber shop in Khar. “It would send a very bad image of Islam and the tribal areas to the rest of the world.”

Despite fear and harassment, some teenagers have still opted to stay clean shaven. “I am clean-shaven and will remain so. All the barbers refused, so I do it myself at home,” said Zakauddin.

Mufti Hanifullah, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Khar town in Bajaur, opposed all such threats to barbers and forcing people to grow beards. “Islam never supported this way of preaching. We can advise people through juma prayers and other congregations, as beard was Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). But we cannot force them,” he said. Picture taken from Islamabad

The News in English on 18 March 2007 at page 23, showing letter issued by the barbers committee in Bajaur Agency “Unanimous decision of all respected barbers, Bajaur Agency, 13-2-2007 (13 February 2007) “We all respected barbers held a unanimous meeting in which we made the unanimous decision that in future we will not shave (cut off) anyone`s beard, nor will we trim anyone`s beard against the Sunnah (tradition of Prophet Muhammad). If a barber violates this unanimous decision, the Barbers Committee will unanimously receive from that (words illegible) barber five thousand (5000) rupees as penalty and will not accept any kind of his excuse.” (Names of several signatories at the bottom of the letter)

(Description of Source: Islamabad The News (Internet Version-WWW) in English -- Internet version of the widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Hardcopy circulation estimated at 55,000; root URL as of filing date:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

This Oct. 22, 2009 photo shows a Somali Kenyan man with his hair and beard dyed in henna, walking between family huts in the settlement of Dela in northern Kenya near the Somali border.


Sawirro Somaliya


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