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‘An insult to the beard’ — and Islam

‘An insult to the beard’ — and Islam

That Pakistani society is becoming increasingly regressive has been proven yet again with Rukhsana Kausar, an Opposition member in the Provincial Assembly of Punjab from Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N), submitting a resolution yesterday seeking legal action against men having fashionable beards and also the barbers trimming them.

<img class="wp-image-5680 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Ec90iwMXYAI1o5z.jpg" alt="" width="499" height="459" /> The resolution tabled by PML-N lawmaker Rukhsana Kausar

"The beard is a Sunnah (tradition) of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Therefore, legislation should be made to allow strict action against those who shape beards in fashionable styles. Any kind of designing on the beard is a grave sin and an insult to the beard," Kausar said in the tabled resolution.

"When I see youngsters on the streets and in the markets with different styles of beard in the name of fashion, I feel hurt, because that is against the teachings of Islam," it said further calling for strict action against those 'who make fun of beard' and also the barbers styling them.

The development was picked up by Pakistani channels, some of them even suggesting the styles and shapes befitting a ban.

Many activists and leaders took to social media, severely criticizing the resolution saying it will only lead to further Islamization of Pakistan's culture and promote radical thinking.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">Want to ride time machine. Go to Pakistan, will take you 1400 years back.
Punjab Assembly tables a resolution to declare triming or designing of beard illegal &amp; &amp; punishable, bcoz Beard is Sunnat nabwi so it should not be designed or crafted. <a href="https://t.co/mex3c3zViF">pic.twitter.com/mex3c3zViF</a></p>
— Arif Aajakia (@arifaajakia) <a href="https://twitter.com/arifaajakia/status/1283604940078944258?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 16, 2020</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">PMLN MPA Rukhsna Kausar resulation at PA to ban trimming of beard, on same path of religious fanatics; PMLN must explain, is it official resolution of PMLN? <a href="https://t.co/g3TbRQslok">pic.twitter.com/g3TbRQslok</a></p>
— Farooq Tariq (@FarooqTariq3) <a href="https://twitter.com/FarooqTariq3/status/1283372596373925888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 15, 2020</a></blockquote>
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It isn't though for the first time in Pakistan that beard has been a talking point amongst the lawmakers.

In 2018, the Dera Ghazi Khan District Council had passed a similar resolution for imposing a ban on growing beard of various designs.

"According to the resolution, shaping beards in fashionable styles (French cut, goatee) was inconsistent with the teachings of Islam and goes against the Sunnah. The resolution demanded that Dera Ghazi Khan Deputy Commissioner should be directed to impose a ban on various designs of beard common among youth these days. Terming the act against the Sunnah, the resolution called for strict action against those ‘who make fun of beard’. Asif Khosa, who tabled the resolution said that there was a dire need to create awareness about this Sunnah among the youth," Pakistan's leading daily,<a href="https://tribune.com.pk/story/1644493/1-resolution-passed-impose-ban-stylish-beards-dg-khan"> <em>The Express Tribune</em>, had reported</a> two years ago.

Last year, another Pakistani newspaper, <em>Dawn</em>, had reported an incident of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in Shabqadar tehsil of Charsadda detaining four barbers for styling customers' beards despite an unofficial ban imposed by a local traders’ union which had termed such beards un-Islamic.

"The incident came to the fore in a video widely circulated on social media this week. In the video, a man named Sameen, who is the president of the shopkeeper’s union, can be seen guiding police in the arrest of the hairdressers. He asks the hairdressers why they were shaping beards in a stylish manner, when there is a ban in place on the same. According to Sameen, some days back the union had banned the designing of beards and had informed all hairdressers of the same. Despite our decision, some shop owners were trimming the beards in stylish designs, the union leader said in the video," <a href="https://www.dawn.com/news/1508775">reported the newspaper</a>.

The same newspaper had last month reported Punjab Assembly enacting a law which stipulates that no material related to Islam can be published as part of textbooks unless it is approved by the Muttahida Ulema Board Punjab.

While congratulating the House on the passage of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (Amendment) Bill 2020, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said, "We want to protect future generations from the evil. This country has been built in the name of Islam and shall never allow desecration of the religion."

Earlier this week, Pakistan's National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) passed a resolution calling for the Holy Quran to be taught in universities and higher education institutions across the country with Urdu translation.

These and a lot more, there are cases aplenty from the recent past which show an alarming growth of religious fundamentalism in Pakistan.

And, those who try to question the growing radicalism in the country—like senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and a former foreign minister<a href="https://indianarrative.com/opinion/those-who-feed-radical-islam-get-devoured-by-it-5544.html"> Khawaja Asif who is facing the ire of radical Muslims</a>, and a blasphemy complaint against him, for saying in parliament that all religions are equal—are labelled a Kafir, or an infidel, immediately..