Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
Al-Mugni & The Beard
What is the position of the Shaykh Ibn Qudama's (rh)
Al-Mughni in the
fiqh of the Hanbalis? Is it accepted to contain the mainstream
Also is it true as claimed that Ibn Qudama (rh) held the shaving of
the beard to be only makruh and not haram? Is this the agreed upon
position of the Hanbalis as I know that Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah
(rh) is known for advocating it to be haram? Are there any sound
aqwaal from Imam Ahle Sunnah w'al Jamaa Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rh)
regarding the issue of the obligation of the beard?
The status of Ibn Qudamah's Al-Mughni and its status
today has been mentioned in previous messages. Perhaps the most obvious are
S o, as far as the status of Al-Mughni today: it is an
essential reference work and it can be used for personal practice, but it
is not one of the books used for giving fatwa.
- At this point someone might ask about the place of Ibn Quddama's
Al-Mughni or `Ali Mardawi's Al-Insaf Fi Ma`rifat Al-Rajih
Min Al-Khilaf. The answer is that these books are indispensable in
knowing the opinions and evidence in the mathab and in the case of
Al-Mughni: other mathabs as well. But the mathab continued
developing after these two imams, and later books are used for fatwa.
(See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hanbali/message/2; some typing
- As for following opinions in the mathab, my sheikh says that any book
that was used for fatwa can be followed for personal practice. This
includes the works of Ibn Qudamma; but something to keep in mind is that
Ibn Qudamma's position in Al-Mughni (his later book) sometimes
differs with Al-`Umda (an early book). Sheikh `Abd Al-Qadir Ibn Badran
has a hashiya on Akhsar Al- Mukhtasarat, and in it he sometimes agrees
with the position of Ibn Qudamma over the position of the later scholars.
(See end of http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hanbali/message/24)
I'm not quite sure what is intended by "mainstream". If you mean used for
fatwa, the answer is as preceded. If you mean being representative of
authentic Hanbali opinions: not only is it accepted to be representative of
authentic mainstream Hanbali positions, but it is one of the major
And Allah knows best.
As for the issue of shaving the beard: this is something I
have wanted to look into for a while. I could not find reference to the
issue in Ibn Qudamah's Al-`Umdah, Al-Muqni`, or
Al-Mughni, in places where the ruling is typically mentioned in
the later books (sunan al-fitra) or among the reasons for rejected
testimony. I also did not find it mentioned in Al-`Uddah Sharh
Al-`Umdah, or in Al-Muharrar by Ibn Taymiyyah's grandfather,
nor in Ibn Muflih's notes. I also did not find it in Ibn Muflih's
Al-Adab Al-Shar`iyah. Where I have found the issue is in post-Ibn
Taymiyyah books, and the opinion is typically ascribed to Ibn
What I did find in pre-Ibn Taymiyyah books, including Masa'il Al-Imam
Ahmad (Riwayat Salih), Al-Mughni, and Al-Muharrar,
are things dealing with shaving the back of the neck, plucking hairs from
the beard in general and grey hairs in particular, and shaving the head for
men and for women.
In sha Allah I can look into the issue more thoroughly in books like
Al-Insaf, which track opinions and who held them, and
Al-Furu`, which deals with working Ibn Taymiyyah's opinions into
the mathhab. It is also necessary to do a better search through
Al-Mughni to find an actual opinion from Ibn Qudamah.
So the short answer to your question is that I do not know, and I cannot
find anything conclusive regarding the pre-Ibn Taymiyyah era.
I am always interested in the issues where the later scholars differ with
Ibn Qudamah and determining where exactly the change occurred. In some
places the change is in not in actual rulings but rather the emphasis on
which rulings are mentioned; other times the mufta bihi actually changes;
and yet other times the mufta bihi ruling of the mathhab does not change
but rather a mufti's personal opinion becomes well known. Some examples of
these include using miswak in the left hand, women covering their hands
during prayer, how many times water must be applied in removing filth, how
many days a girl avoids prayer and fasting when having her first period,
and your issue here: shaving the beard. Many of the positions that Ibn
Taymiyyah was so heavily criticized for did not--wa al-hamdu lillah--become
the mufta bihi in the Hanbali mathhab nor its `aqidah.
If you have a specific reference for Ibn Qudamah's opinion regarding the
beard (that it is makruh), it would be helpful.
And Allah knows best.
May Allah have mercy upon and be pleased by the imams and scholars of the
Hanbali mathhab and all others.