Sunday, December 02, 2007

Smooth move: Hamas militants who edge into West Bank punished with close shave

These are hairy times..or maybe not. Bearded gunmen from the militant wing of Hamas are ritually humiliated with a razor after they are taken in custody by the Palestinian Authorities, the Jerusalem Post disclosed. At least 21 Hamas fighters with full Islamic beards recently were transformed into "bare-cheeked boys" in this manner, a disciplinary gesture once endorsed by Yasser Arafat's inner circle. They had noticed the success of Egyptian secret police who defuzzed the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders. During the 90s, many Hamas members started voluntarily shaving off their beards to avoid arrest by the PA security forces, and this trend recurred after the Hamas takeover of Gaza last summer. If the treatment doled out to Sheikh Husam Harb, 48, from a village near Nablus, is any indication, the razor straps are out again.

According to prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al- Qardawi, the Prophet related the reason for growing a luxuriant beard to the necessity of distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims.

The non-Muslims referred to are the Persians who used to shave their beards. The Prophet wanted to teach Muslims how to be distinguished in their appearance and their behavior.

Besides, explains al-Qardawi, "Shaving a beard is an act of revolting against the nature of man, and imitating women. Thus, the beard is a sign of maturity and manhood and many Muslim scholars have made it haram [prohibited] to shave a beard."

Showing religious devotion through sprouting a matt of facial hair is hardly exclusive to the Muslims, as anyone who goes to synagogue can attest. But I must admit that the holy beard bit baffles me. It's only a symbol, and one which requires little real effort. I understand that a jazz spot won't cut it (and the Taliban required a flowing beard two fists long.) Surely a righteous man can have a smooth shave.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They say that a good Muslim needs a beard two fists long so that the angel willhave something to hold on to when he yanks the pious man up to paradise.
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