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It is well-established in the sunnah that the prophet encouraged his followers to keep their beards long, but trim their mustaches. It is also well-established in the sunnah that the prophet discouraged his followers from doing anything to resemble non-muslims.

It can even be said that the two are correlated, such that the command to keep the beard and trim the mustache is to directly oppose the practice of the pagans at the time (who, as I understand, would keep their mustaches long and trim their beards). The following hadith (Bukhari 7:72:780) suggests this interpretation, where the prophet is reported to have said:

Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the mustaches short.

However, it is less clear exactly what the sunnah would be in a situation where the non-muslims also follow the practice of keeping their beards long while trimming their mustaches. Two examples would be the Hutterites, prevalent in the Canadian Prarires, or the Amish, prevalent in the Northeastern USA. Both of these groups are Trinitarian Christians, and as such neither are communities that we as Muslims should wish to emulate.

Even if one is not actually living in a Hutterite or an Amish community, the correlation between "long beard" and "Hutterite/Amish" is strong enough that a Muslim — especially a non-Arab Muslim — may be confused for one on sight.

In such situations, which would be the preferred tradition of the prophet to follow? Keep the beard and trim the mustache, or avoid resembling the non-muslims?

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To cut, trim, shave the beard in any way for whatever reason is haram and clear disobedience of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). As was pointed out, to have the beard grow, and to trim the mustache short is of human nature, Source. So to do something against that nature because some disbelievers are on that nature, is absurd. The point is, in such a situation as described in your question, one should not trim, cut, shave the beard so not to look like the non-Muslims who are following human nature and an aspect of the way of the Prophet's, rather keep it and follow the sunnah.

And by the way, Muslims should be unique among the people, so you wouldn't wear what what the Amish (for example) would wear, I don't think the Amish or Hutterite would wear turban's (or at least the Kufi). And even if a mistake happens, it is as easy to fix and explain to clarify, as it is to make a mistake about someone. I pray my answer is clear.

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    Right! Do the right thing regardless of what others are doing should be the general rule of thumb. Plus, growing beards have been also common among followers of Abrahamic religions. Rabbis wear it. Many early Christian priests did so, too. The Christian Amish are therefore being more faithful to the original tradition. – infatuated May 25 '14 at 19:16
  • Growing beard is not fard, and trimming is not haram. There is consensus among scholars that although it is sunnah and recommended by prophet, Prophet never called it a sin and it does not make a person sinner. Mention sources if you are making such a huge claim. islamhelpline.net/node/3278 – Waqas Bukhary Feb 5 '18 at 10:29

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