Miscellaneous

Is it Sunnah to trim or clean-shave the moustache?

Q: What is it like to clean-shave the moustache?

Questioner: Muhammad Maqbul Ansari
 
Answer:
Both the words ‘trim’ [احفوا الشوارب] and ‘cut’ [قصوا الشوارب] regarding the moustache are narrated in the hadith.
 
Allamah Ibn Hajar states with regard to both:
فان القص یدل  علی اخذالبعض والاحفاء یدل علی اخذالکل وکلاھما ثابت فیتخیر فیما شاء
‘Cut’ means to take a few [hairs], and ‘trim’ all [hairs], and both are valid, so choose which one you like.
[Fath al-Bari Sharh al-Bukhari: 16/479]
 
That is, if you want, you can shave it completely, or if you want, keep something left.
 
Allamah ‘Ayni states in Sharh Bukhari:
فقال الطحاوی ذھب قوم من أھل المدینۃ الی ان قص الشارب ھوالمختارعلی الاحفاء قلت ارادبالقوم ھؤلاء سالما و سعیدبن المسیب وعروۃ بن الزبیروجعفربن الزبیروعبیداللّٰہ بن عبداللّٰہ بن عتبۃ وأبابکربن عبدالرحمن بن االحارث فانھم قالوا المستحب ھو ان یختارقص الشارب علی احفایٔہ والیہ ذھب حمیدبن ھلال والحسن البصری ومحمدبن سیرین وعطاء بن ابی رباح وھومذھب مالک أیضاً وقال عیاض  ذھب کثیرمن السلف الیٰ منع الحلق ۔۔۔۔۔۔وقال الطحاوی و خالفھم فی ذالک آخرون فقالوا بل یستحب احفاء الشوارب ونراہ افضل من قصھاقلت ارادبقولہ الاخرون جمہورالسلف منھم اھل الکوفۃ و مکحول ومحمدبن عجلان ونافع مولیٰ بن عمروابو حنیفۃ وابویوسف و محمد رحمھم اللّٰہ فانھم قالوا المستحب  احفاء الشوارب وھوافضل من قصھا
 
Imam al-Tahawi has stated: “A group among the people of Madinah has taken the side of saying that it is better to trim the moustache than to clean-shave it. I say that this “group” refers to Salim, Said b. Musayyib, Urwah b. Zubayr, Jafar b. Zubayr, Ubaydullah b. Abdullah b. Utbah and Abu Bakr b. Abd al-Rahman b. Harith. They said it is better to trim the moustache than to clean-shave it. Hamid b. Hilal, al-Hasan al-Basri, Muhammad b. Sirin and Ata b. Abi Rabah have taken the same side and this is also the position of Imam Malik.” Hazrat Iyyad has stated, “Many predecessors have gone the way of forbidding the clean-shaving of the moustache.” Al-Tahawi stated: “In this regard, many of them have objected to the ruling of those who say that it is recommended to clean-shave the moustache and it is better than trimming it.” I would say the “other group” refers to the majority of the predecessors including the people of Kufa, Makhul, Muhammad b. Ajlan, Nafi Mawla b. Umar, Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad (Allah have mercy on them). They said it is recommended to clean-shave the moustache close and it is better than trimming.
[Umdat al-Qari Sharh al-Bukhari: 15/88, قص الشارب]
 
Furthermore, Imam al-Nawawi says about clean-shaving the moustache:
قص الشارب فسنۃ ایضاً ۔۔۔۔ واما حدمایقصہ فاالمختارانہ یقص حتی یبدوطرف الشفۃ ولایحفّہ من اصلہ واما روایات احفوالشوارب فمعناھااحفواماطال علی الشفتین۔
It is also Sunnah to trim the moustache, and the limit of this is that it should be trimmed until the edge of the lips appears and not to trim it completely. And the narration of trimming the moustache means trimming the hair that overlaps the lips.
[Sharh al-Nawawi ala al-Muslim: 1/414]
 
It is in Fayd al-Qadir:
حلقہ بالکلیۃ فمکروہ علی الاصح عندالشافعیۃ و صرح مالک بانہ بدعۃ۔
Clean-shaving the moustache is disliked [makruh] according to the authentic principle. According to the Shafa’iyyah and Imam Malik, it is an innovation [bidah].
[vol. 1, p. 255]
 
Shaykh Abd al-Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi states:
لیکن بودن مذہب حنفی افضلیت حلق شارب محل تردداست بآنکہ ظاہرازکتب ایشاں آنست کہ سنت قص اوست وساختن اومثل حاجب وگفتہ اندکہ بہ ناخذوعلیہ الفتوے۔
But among the Hanafites, shaving the moustache is a concern. It is clear from the books of the Hanafi scholars that it is Sunnah to trim the moustache and it is said that this is what they take and this is the ruling.
[Sharh Safar al-Saadat: 494, فصل درقص شارب آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم]
 
It is stated in the reliable book of Hanafi Fiqh Bada’i al-Sana’i:
قولہ’’اخذمن شاربہ‘‘اشارۃ الی القص وھوالسنۃ فی الشارب لاالحلق وذکرالطحاوی فی شرح الآثار‘‘ ان السنۃ فیہ الحلق ونسب ذالک الی أبی حنیفۃ وأبی یوسف و محمد رحمھم اللّٰہ و الصحیح ان السنۃ فیہ القص لما ذکرناأنہ تبع للحیۃ والسنۃفی اللحیۃ القص لاالحلق کذافی الشارب۔
According to him, the meaning of “اخذمن شاربہ” is to trim the moustache, not to clean-shave. And Imam al-Tahawi has stated that it is Sunnah to clean-shave the moustache in Sharh al-Athar and attributed it to Abu Hanifa, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on them). And the authentic premise is the trimming of the moustache, just as we have said that the moustache is subdued to the beard, and the trimming of the beard is Sunnah and not clean-shaving it, just as is the case with the moustache.
[2/422: کتاب الحج]
 
Huzoor Alahazrat states:
As for the lips, it is ordered to trim the moustache so that they do not come near [the lips]. However, it should not be clean-shaven, on this point the scholars differ.
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah: 22/606]
 
Conclusion: It has been proved in the light of the above texts that clean-shaving the moustache is not Sunnah, but trimming the moustache is Sunnah.
 
Mufti Muhammad Zulfaqar Khan Naimi Kakralwi
10-Shaban-1433 || ≈ 30-Jun-2012
 al-Fuyudat al-Nabawiyyah fi’l-Fatawa al-Hanafiyya (Fatawa Uttarakhand): vol. 1, p. 390
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