Religious attitudes and customs about shaving and hair removal.
Shaving? It Seems That The Devil Makes Me Do It!
Men have been shaving for thousands of years.
But, it surprises me to learn that various religions have different attitudes concerning beards, hair removal and shaving. So this post is written more because of my own curiosity than anything else.
Naturally, I wouldn’t be in the business of developing and selling traditional shaving products if I did. So please don’t take me for a zealot. The post is non judgemental. It is interesting though (at least to me….)
Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches and some Hindu, Jain and Buddhist (usually only monks or nuns) temples of shaving or plucking the hair from the scalp of priests and nuns as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. Amish men shave their beard until they are married, after which they allow it to grow.
Among Hindus, a child’s birth hair is shaved as practice in the religion. This allows for a check to be made of proper fusing of the skull. It is also believed that this allows the hair to grow back thicker and healthier.
In Sikhism, Kesh (sometimes Kes) is the practice of allowing one’s hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God’s creation. The practice is one of the Five Ks, the outward symbols ordered by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 as a means to profess the Sikh faith. The hair is combed twice daily with a Kangha, another of the Five Ks, and tied into a simple knot known as a Joora or Rishi knot. This knot of hair is usually held in place with the Kanga and covered by a turban.
On its website, it said that “Sikhs are not supposed to cut hair from any part of their body. All Sikhs are thus supposed to have unshorn hair, and do not shave.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The definition of the beard as stated by the scholars of (Arabic) language is: the hair of the face, jawbone and cheeks, in the sense that all the hair on the cheeks, jawbone and chin is part of the beard and removing any of it is counted as a sin, because the Messenger said: “Let your beards grow,” “Leave your beards alone,” “Let your beards increase,” “Let your beards be full.” This indicates that it is not permissible to remove anything from the beard. But the sin may vary in degree – shaving the beard is worse than shortening it, because it is a more obvious contradiction of the Sunnah. But shaving of pubic hair and armpit is obligatory at least once in forty days.
According to the Shia scholars, the length of beard should not exceed the width of a fist. Trimming of facial hair is allowed, however, shaving it is haram (religiously forbidden).
Observant Jewish men are subject to restrictions on the shaving of their beards, as Leviticus 19:27 forbids the shaving of the corners of the head and prohibits the marring of the corners of the beard. The Hebrew word used in this verse refers specifically to shaving with a blade against the skin; rabbis at different times and places have interpreted it in many ways.
Tools like scissors and electric razors, which cut the hair between two blades instead of between blade and skin, are permitted to use.
I am really at a loss on how to conclude this post. I do find the cultural and religious practices and attitudes toward shaving and hair removal to be interesting. How about you?