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Adhering to the Sunnah at Difficult Times


Assalamu aleykum! I have a question regarding the adherence to the blessed Sunnah and current sociopolitical issues. Because of the vile and abominable actions of certain groups and people who falsely claim to represent Islam, who have outwardly all the marks and characteristics of the Sunnah (such as the beard, clothing etc), these visible Sunnahs has come to in many common people’s minds, both non-Muslim and Muslim, to be associated with the evil, oppression and fitnah of these groups. I personally know of practicing brothers who have been assaulted and attacked merely because they had a Sunnah beard, for example, and the psychological effects of these evil groups on common lay people’s perception cannot be denied. My question is thus, might it be permissible for us, in this time and age, to temporarily refrain from adhering to certain visible Sunnahs due to the very negative connotations they have gained, until the situation have improved?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

In principle, a Muslim should adhere to his religion in different environments and societies, and he should be proud of that.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the righteous people from this nation, in every age and in all places, have set a good example for us to follow in this regard. The Muslim should not care about the mockery of others, because facing this mockery with patience increases one’s reward abundantly.

Allah Says (what means): {Indeed, those who committed crimes (i.e., the disbelievers of Quraysh) used to laugh at those who believed. And when they passed by them, they would exchange derisive glances. And when they returned to their people, they would return jesting. And when they saw them, they would say, “Indeed, those are truly lost.”.} [Quran 83:29-32]

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 338416.

If there are some people who outwardly adhere to the Sunnah but distort the image of Islam because of their erroneous behavior, then one should not stop adhering to the Sunnah because of that.

Rather, people of proper understanding must prove, by their behavior and morals, the good traits of Islam and that those wrong behaviors should be attributed to those who do them and not to Islam. This is possible, but it requires patience and diligence, and utilizing Islamic Centers and Organizations to achieve this aim.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 173405.

If anyone finds it difficult to adhere to the rituals of his religion in a particular country, then he must migrate to a country where he does not face this difficulty.

Shaving the beard is forbidden according to the most preponderant opinion, as well as dragging the garment (under the ankle) even if it was not for boasting.

If someone is compelled, or has a dire need, to stay in those countries and he needs to act upon some concessions in certain matters, then he can do so. For example, if one fears that he would be subjected to a severe harm, imprisonment or torture, then he can utilize the minimum concession and move onwards. Accordingly, he does not resort to totally shaving his beard unless it is proven (to him) that shortening it does not repel the harm; in this case, he would be shaving his beard because of necessity, and necessity must only be assessed proportionately.

It should be noted that this is not a general ruling that applies to every single person in that country, rather, the matter varies from one person to another, from one country to another, and from a specific city in that country to another.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 86405.

Allah knows best.


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