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Last Updated: 2012/02/15
Summary of question
If keeping the beard harms the conjugal relationship of a husband and wife, given such circumstances, what will be the ruling on keeping the beard?
Considering the significance of the relationship of the husband and wife in Islam, and the status of the family, if keeping the beard is harmful to one’s conjugal life, what will be the ruling of keeping it in such circumstances?
Concise answer

1- As you know, in Islam, the family and family related matters, especially conjugal life, bear special importance, and one can confidently claim that such importance hasn’t been given by other religions and schools of thought more than Islam.

2- Rulings of the divine religion of Islam are legislated based on the real benefits and harms behind actions, meaning that if Islam orders for something to be done, or for something to be refrained from, one can be sure that all of the different effects and dimensions of such an action have been weighed up and taken into consideration; the obligation of keeping the beard being no exception.

3- Families must keep in mind that family related issues, such as raising and training children, conjugal life, etc., are much more important than to be negatively affected by keeping the beard or strengthened by shaving it.

4- According to all of the maraji’, the permissibility of shaving the beard entirely, is disputable and cannot be verified [1] , but for something to be called a beard doesn’t mean that it has to be kept long and thick. One can also trim it short and neaten it in a way that it is not said that it has been shaved off, or to somehow trim it in a way that won't be harmful to one’s conjugal relationship and also brings about the wife’s satisfaction to an extent.

 For further information, see:

1- Question 2070 (site: 2123), Index: Shaving the beard and body hair.

2- Question 20900 (site: 20047), Index: Shaving the beard and body hair.

[1] Of course, some of the maraji’, such as Ayatullah Khu’i (rah) consider keeping the hair on the chin (which is also referred to as a ‘goatee’) and shaving the rest of the facial hair to suffice. See: Sirat al-Najat (of Ayatullah Khu’i annotated by Ayatullah Tabrizi), vol. 2, pp. 284-285.

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