Here are the dialogue between me & my friend:
Friend : ‘Yo (with a surprise tone)… You want to become Pak Haji ah? Very Malay la you. I told you already before that you are not a Chinese anymore? Very ‘Yok Shuin’ (ugly) la your beard..!!’
Me : ‘Hahaha…. Firstly let me clarified that to become a Haji you do not have to grow your beard. You just have to go for Hajj and you will become Haji. Secondly, I am still a Chinese and more Chinese than you’
Friend : ‘How can you say you are more Chinese than me?’
Me : ‘What religion do you profess ah?’
Friend : ‘Me? I am Buddhist and I worship any God that I saw. You ah no more Chinese in you la… (with a very sarcastic tone)
Me : ‘Oic. So you also worship Tu Di Gong, Kuan Gong & during Chinese New Year you worship Cai Sen (God of Prosperity) also la ya’
Friend : ‘Ya la.. I worship them also if I saw or pass by it’
Me : ‘You look at those Gods that you worship, all of them also have beard and if you look back to China history you will found out that most of the Emperors, the High Ranking Officers and others also have beard. So who is less Chinese now? You or me?’
Friend : ‘But your one very ‘Yok Shuin’ (ugly) la… Theirs is nicer’
Me : ‘But they have beards right and where is your if you claim you are Chinese and must strictly follow Chinese culture and tradition? I am more Chinese now after becoming a Muslim than you leh’
After that he diverted the topic and asks me other question about Islam. Maybe he realized that he created a trap that he himself fall into it but the truth is a race as found in Britannica Encyclopedia as below;
“race, the idea that the human species is divided into distinct groups on the basis of inherited physical and behavioral differences. Genetic studies in the late 20th century refuted the existence of biogenetically distinct races, and scholars now argue that “races” are cultural interventions reflecting specific attitudes and beliefs that were imposed on different populations in the wake of western European conquests beginning in the 15th century”
So from the definition you know that one doesn’t change their race when becoming a Muslim because race & religion are two different topic altogether. Now let me share with you the “culture of beard” among the God’s of the Chinese & people from different faith and some reason why some have kept their beards and some not. As for a Muslim there is few view on growing a beard and mostly grew their beard to follow and feel closer to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says;
‘Clip your moustaches and lengthen your beards and do not follow these People of the Book’.
(Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hambal, vol. 5 p. 264)
Also the fatwa from Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi;
"We see that there are three views on shaving the beard. First, shaving beard is prohibited. This is the view of Ibn Taimyiah. Second: it is Makruh (reprehensible), that is `Iyad’s view. The Third view is that there is no problem in shaving the beard. This view is held by many contemporary scholars.
(Source :Islam Online)
Whichever view that someone is holding to, we need to respect their view. Agree to disagree as long as the opinions is based on authentic hadith. Here is some of the photo that I mentioned earlier;
God Of Prosperity - Cai Sen (Love By Chinese especially during Chinese New Year)
Founder of Taoism - Lao Tze
If you look at the photo of all the Gods believe by majority of Chinese you will found all of them have beard. Who is more Chinese now? Hmmm..... Now I will share with you the photo of people from other faith and why they have beards.
One might question why does Orthodox Christian priests wear beards? and why does the long beards of Orthodox priests makes differences with the Roman Catholics?
Here are the few reasons:
1. Long beards wearing’s tradition among Orthodox Christian priests and monks comes after Christ
Jesus (peace be upon him) himself had a beard as it was normal and considered proper for a man to wear long beard. The fact that Jesus (pbuh) had a long beard himself can clearly be observed on all Orthodox Christian icons.
2. Long beards priest wearing comes as a natural tradition from the Old Testament’s times and the tradition of early Church If one reads thoroughfully the old testament, he will find out that even from Moses and Aaron and onwards the tradition is the same. All the Godly man and the priests had their long beards unshaved as a mark for their belongship and dedication to God. To generalize the long beards wearing is according to ancient old testamential ancient tradition.
Jack Passion - Two Time Worldwide Beard Champion
Greek Gods Family Tree
If you notice in the Greek Gods Family Tree, you will found majority of them kept their beard too. By looking at the picture you can immediately differentiate which is man and which is woman easily right? Can you imagine a lion without all his beard just like this?
Now I would like to ask why they felt is ok for their Gods to have beard or is fine for people from others faith grew their beard but when it come to Muslim they accused us as extremist or even terrorist?