Recently an acquaintance of mine was refused for being the imam of a mosque, just on the ground that he does'nt had a beard. He is a admirable and pious man with a sound knowledge of Quran. He is also a Qaari/hafiz.

So is it necessary or compulsory for a Imam to have a beard according to Fiqh.


2 Answers 2


The major issue is how do scholars qualify a shaved man?

So the majority of scholars consider a shaved man as fasiq and that shaving the beard is haram, but a saghira (minor sin). While shafi'i scholars say it is only makroh. And their major evidence are ahadith like this one from sahih al-Bukhari (can also be found in sahih Muslim and Musnad al-Imam Ahmad) and this one from sahih Muslim.

A fasiq is somebody who has committed a major sin or performing a minor sin (more or less) permanently.

Now that we cleared that the majority consider a shaved man as fasiq, we can check, what scholars say about praying behind a fasiq: The majority of scholars say that it is makroh to pray behind a fasiq.
While the hanbali scholars and one of two statements of the maliki school is that it's not allowed to pray behind a fasiq.

Now who is the best person to lead a congregation: a hafidh/hafiz or a man of knowledge. The majority of scholars say it is always a man of knowledge, but hanbali scholars say it should be a hafidh/hafiz.

One could conclude from all of this that among sunni scholars it is -at least- considered as makroh to pray behind a shaved Imam, as he is considered as fasiq. The shi'a view can be concluded from both the answer of our brother Zia and the comments of brother Ali on it.

For further information (see this fatwa and this one from the Saudi Arabian fatwa council in Arabic).

A special case is an child Imam, this means if for example a boy is hafiz/hafidh, most scholars accept him as an Imam for nafl/sunnah prayers (taraweeh for instance).

Also note that the fatwas refer to man who shave their beards, not for those who don't have a beard for natural (given by Allah) reasons or in case of a very slow growth.

And Allah knows best.

  • 1
    to conclude and correct me if i am wrong, conditions for choosing an imam comes down to which school of thought, a masjid board is abding.
    – tariq
    May 9, 2016 at 15:06
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    @tariq yes and no. Yes if we assume the whole masjid is from the same school, which is not the case in general. No as makroh in such cases has a touch of haram: As the prayer is something very important praying behind an imam whom to follow is makroh wouldn't be accepted by the majority of people.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 10, 2016 at 5:28
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    I'd like to add that the hadiths used as an evidence to say that shaving the beard is haraam, seem to me weak, because at the time it was rather unlikely to find men who shave their beards! Only in a few civilizations or regions shaving was common.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 11, 2016 at 7:22

As per Syed Ali Al Sistani

  • Question: What are the necessary qualifications of a prayer leader?

  • Answer: The Imam of the congregational prayers should be adult, sane, ithna Ashari Shia, adil (just), of legitimate birth and with correct recitation. Furthermore, if the follower is a male, the Imam also should be a male. To follow a boy of ten years of age is a matter of Ishkal


But as I have never come across a imam without beard , so it is better to ask him specifically about beard.

  • Nice answer. but i reckon this is related to just (adil) who ought not to commit sin... / So cutting beard is haram ... / Anyway, nice response. May 9, 2016 at 13:16
  • @Shia_Sunni___________UNITY What about those people who are hafiz and had never grown a beard in the first place.
    – tariq
    May 9, 2016 at 15:16
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    Interesting query. To the best of my knowledge, it would be permissible for them, since they have not committed sin about that. But, I personally assume it would be nicer if As much as possible, we use from nice individuals with beard to keep an apparent more Islamic shape... (My notion). Good luck. May 10, 2016 at 6:10

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