"Resemblance in appearance or dress is meaningless because at present, unfortunately, those Muslims who in appearance look most like Muslims (in beard, garb, etc.) are the ones bringing Islam into disrepute, and their appearance is not making them into correct followers of Islam."
Assalaam ulaikum brothers and sisters,
I recently spoke with a brother who stated that he read some Hadiths in which it was stated that those who shave their faces are not of the Prophet and therefore will go to the hellfire. Now I am in the U.S. military and I am required to shave my beard. The American Muslim Council, the Military Muslim Members, and the Muslim American Military Association have made many attempts to have this reversed, but without success.
I do not reject hadith all together, but I have a serious problem accepting that Allah is going to condemn me to the hellfire (for whatever period of time) based on the fact that I shaved my beard. The brother I was talking to stated that by shaving my beard I am being like the unbelievers and therefore I am considered one of them because I dress like them or look like them or something to that effect. I was born and raised in the African-American Hip-Hop Culture and I do not feel that I have to dress like an Arab (no offense to those who are Arabs) to enter Paradise. I dress modestly and I feel that that is sufficient. I think that shirts to the knees with very baggy pants (Pakistani) or those shirts that go to the ankles (Saudis) are cultural and modest in their own way. Well, that is all I have to say for now, but if anyone would like to comment, please do.
Wa alaikum assalaam,
The hadith your friend is referring to is: Man tashabbaha bi-qaum-in fa huwa min-hum, "whoever takes a resemblance to a certain people, he is one of them". There is an interesting incident related by Dr. Basharat Ahmad in connection with this hadith, given in the compilation of his articles in Bashaaraat-i Ahmadiyya, volume 1, pages 225-227.
He relates that there was a dispute between two maulvis (in the city of Ambala in 1903) as to which of them should give the khutba. One of them alleged against the other that as he wore an English style jacket, thereby resembling Christians, therefore in accordance with this hadith he was a Christian and a non-Muslim. Dr. Basharat Ahmad says that he discussed this hadith with an enlightened, intelligent Hafiz, who was coming out of that mosque as this dispute was going on.
The doctor asked the Hafiz whether this hadith mentioned clothing that you wear. The Hafiz said, no. The doctor said, what if someone resembles a people in their beliefs? The Hafiz said, that would be the greatest resemblance.
So the doctor said, what if someone holds beliefs about Jesus which are similar to what the Christians believe, for example, that he rose to heaven physically, has been alive there for 2000 years without food or drink, created birds, knew the unseen, brought the physically dead back to life --- all attributes which belong exclusively to God, but which our ulama ascribe to Jesus, and the same attributes because of which the Christians believe Jesus to be God? What is your verdict about such ulama? Are they not Christians under this hadith?
Dr. Basharat Ahmad relates that the Hafiz laughed and said: your argument is perfectly right and we have no answer to it.
So this hadith is not referring to resemblance in dress or physical appearance which makes a person belong to those whom he resembles, but resemblance in wrong beliefs with another people.
Resemblance in appearance or dress is meaningless because at present, unfortunately, those Muslims who in appearance look most like Muslims (in beard, garb, etc.) are the ones bringing Islam into disrepute, and their appearance is not making them into correct followers of Islam.