An Islamic preacher, Murat Bayaral, appeared on Faith Medreseleri, which is a Turkish television program, over the weekend. He insisted that men must grow beards.
His reasoning might surprise you.
In the Islamic faith, men grow beards to symbolize their devoutness to their religion. But this isn’t the reason this preacher would have every man growing out their lustrous face fro. No, he ascertains that if a man is clean shaven, it could lead you to impure thoughts.
Umm… I know. A head scratcher for sure.
What about men who can’t grow good beards? Growing a beard has to do with your biology. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, determines if you can grow a thick beard or not. The more sensitive you are to it, the better beard you will have. See, even the most devout man cannot will a beard to grow.
As reported by Hurriyet News, Bayaral claims that all men should grow beards because there are only 2 distinctions between males and females. He continues that if a man has long hair, and another man sees him from far away, he might mistake him for a woman. That could lead to a man having indecent thoughts about another man.
His reason for saying so is that men and women dress more alike these days than in times past.
So, he wants all men to grow a beard just in case another man sees you and mistakes you for a woman, and is taken over by indecent thoughts. His opinion on the matter has received backlash, as Turkey has normally been a place where even the very religious are close shaven.
Bayaral is not a mainstream religious figure, so he’s not likely to ever influence society in any significant way. However, Magdalena Kirchner from the Istanbul Policy Center, says there are many in the country who feel the same way. She said modesty and piety are central themes in debates throughout the country.
Kirchner also said that Bayaral’s beliefs revealed the want of the Turkish Government’s to create pressure against a non religious way of life. They want to achieve this without having to make laws about it.
The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in 2012, he intends for Turkish people to create ‘devout generations.’ In the past year, evolution classes have been removed from school syllabuses, and the government has begun to permit girls to wear headscarves at school. This wasn’t allowed before.
The beard thing is nothing new in other parts of the world.
Religious extremists in Afghanistan and Somalia have demanded that their males grow beards, threatening men who refuse to do so.
It isn’t just beards, though. There are many ideals that are being pushed in Turkey in an attempt to rid the country of European influence. Another preacher, Umm Jamal, from Sydney, says that women shouldn’t pluck their eyebrows. She says it is haram, or sinful, to do so.
There is also the notion that children shouldn’t be allowed to listen to music or be encouraged to dance, because then they will love music instead of the Koran.