Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Muslim Man's Beard & An African American Woman's Hair

Chris Rock has documentary out at Sundance Film Festival titled Good Hair, navigating himself through the world of black women's hair.

Watching the trailer for it made me realize that there is a great amount of similarities between a Muslim brother who lets his beard grow in accordance to the Sunnah and an African American woman who keeps her hair natural.

For a Muslim brother, there is pressure to conform and be clean shaved or to have goat tee or have the 2 or 3 day beard shadow for two reasons.

1st reason is that well, it doesn't bring attention to you. You don't stand out without facial hair or a small shadow beard (especially in NYC).

The 2nd reason is that many (key word many) Muslim sisters and most other women want men with some facial hair but not really a beard.

Lets face it, many Muslim sisters who consider themselves practicing and want another practicing Muslim brother want him to have George Clooney's facial hair...

Rather than than Yusuf Islam ...

The point I'm getting at is that many Muslim men have the same experience of millions of black women in America when it comes to changing their hair.

For Muslim men its shaving or keep a shadow of their beard, where as for Black women it means getting a weave or using chemicals in their hair to 'relax' it or straighten it. Like the reasons I mentioned about brothers not keeping the beard because of it trying to fit into their jobs/careers in America or subtly motivated by the impression that sisters have put out there about their preferences for the beard, I find reasons about black women that there is preference for straight hair in corporate America or that their man wants them to look that way and gives them money to get their hair done.

Anyways, these are just some of my thoughts. I'd love some feedback from others - especially African American women.

I'd love a Muslim brother to go out there and make documentary about the beard.


At 5:50 PM, Blogger haqqi said...

I think you have a point. However to compare an obligation to a preference is like apple and oranges. Allah requires men to not shave their beards and most sisters I know who are practicing will not give a shaved bearded brother the time of day! As a black woman the hair thing is such a wide topic and I am super happy it's a big discussion.

At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer George Cloony, i like my man to be neat and not look rough. Having a trimmed beard or a long one does not make any difference to one's character.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Dunia's Stranger said...


Does Yusuf Islam look messy and rough?

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion he does, i prefer clean and shaven look or a well kept small beard. Too much facial hair on a man hides his facial features and makes them look older.

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous cocolamala said...

i was browsing and came across your post, and since you asked...

i think it is a similar experience but not the same, i am an african american woman, but not a muslim so i don't have insight into that side of things but -- when i was a little girl wearing cornrows, people at school would periodically follow me around and ask "who did your hair" and all types of other questions. it was friendly questioning but it still regularly put me on the spot.

black women's hair is also tied to self esteem and beauty issues, and their relationship to femininity, and other women.

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

assalamu aleikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu!

I used to blog under and I posted on a story about a New Orleans family and their ordeal during Katrina. You commented on that post. I just wanted to update you and let you know that they wrote a book about that family and it is on the New York Times Bestseller list! The review is incredible and you can check it out here:

Also, please spread the word about the book. They are good friends and they are GREAT people may Allah (SWT) bless them.

Ramadan Mubarak!


At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
Haha,The point where you compare Clooney with Yousuf Islam was funny.But its its a bit sad that people tend to incline to looks than submission while Cleanliness is already a must in it.
Oh anyway,I am nobody to judge.

And for the record,though many (key word many,lol) Muslim sisters dont prefer long bearded men,I am alhamdulillah happy and a bit proud to announce you that if a good pious muslim who has kept a long beard for Allah's pleasure came to me,I would certainly accept him,insha allah.

Whats more beautiful and attractive than piety?


At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalaam Alaikum, well said brother, i bet it is coz of the media that portrays the image that clean shaven men are decent or sth. N yea many sisters dun want their husbands having long beards, but i being a Muslim sister agree with sister Khadijah on this.
Truly said sister Khadijah, there is nuthin more beautiful o attractive than piety! :)


At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I <3 Yusu Islam's beard so stop stereotyping all the sisters.

I think I went through your entire blog, it is very interesting & informative.

oh what me recover my those low imaan is recitation of Quraan; no reminder better then Quran and no heart softener better than it. However, reciting and not implementing it has dire consequences on the state ''Qalsun Saleem'' however that discussion for some other day.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

''What helps me recover from my low emaan days''

At 4:07 AM, Blogger Hasna'a said...

The deen is actually based on differing from the disbelievers.
The prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhee wasallam said whoever is similar to a people is from them.

Many of us raised in the west have unfortunately been moulded to like and aspire after what has been presented to us or ingrained in us through the society we were raised in.

If we dont understand how important it is for us to align our mentality with the Quran and Sunnah then naturally we will prefer the look of the people who seek this worldly life versus those who are striving for that which is better and eternal.

May Allah make us Better and keep us from being like that foam of the sea ... plentiful but without any real substance..a harm rather than an aid to this ummah.


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