**This is a guest post. The writer is an engineer from NUST, a wanabee student of knowledge, an occasional blogger, a photography and digital arts enthusiast, a self proclaimed philosopher and a sports and adventure fanatic. A true jack of all, master of none :p.**
(The writer`s own words and not the editor being judgmental, ya all:P)
Most of my friends think I always had a beard, as in literally. But NO, I hereby disclose that it ain’t true. I GREW (I kid you not!) a beard when I was 18. I will not be talking about the Fiqh of it and all, but it’s quite an experience. This huge step outside the comfort zone, has a lot to teach.
Here are a few pointers from my experience. (Randomly arranged – just because I am not good at organizing texts).
I was never a “shave daily” bacha anyway – I would usually shave once a week, or on special days. I had this weird philosophy of keeping room for looking my best so that when I try to look good, at-least people notice. And the philosophy is still under practice.
I didn’t grow a beard; I just stopped shaving – quite literally. I never knew it will grow this big.
It was not like one day I decided to grow a beard and then I did! – In my case, I just couldn’t gather the courage to shave, or to cut it short. So I would postpone it to the next day, every day! Sometimes with a razor in my hand. And it kept growing (it really does keep growing if not touched – ask Dumbledore :P)
YES I had those funny thoughts of growing it after the marriage etc as well – but sorry Shaitan, that was so illogical. Illogical on so many fronts (I can do another post on that one thing!)
Being logical by nature, I knew I will grow a beard one day, be it towards my 40s. I knew that I had the “just do it” thing working, and that the Iman high was not going to stay for long, and might take a lot of time to return. And so I took a plunge, a leap of faith! Logically, in my forties I ought to have more peers and a larger permanent social circle than what I had in my teens (I hope :P) , and that would mean more peer pressure.
I was NOT forced to grow a beard; neither did anyone try to convince me of it. Not one single person.
Like all other kids of my time, I, despite respecting my religion and wanting to do good, too had this media-influenced belief that all bearded men are “extremists” (and somewhat retards – ok most if not all ). And then I met some sane, educated, thorough gentlemen with (duff-roll) BEARDS! YES BEARDS! I realized how shallow I was acting by being judgmental about it, and that how too had the same power within me, to impact others, to inspire change!
I met some weird people along the way (editor`s note: Don`t we all? sigh). People who never really cared to talk to me or hardly knew my name suddenly had sympathies for me. Like I was once supposed to travel with an uncle on a two-hour journey. And he was slowly building up the conversation and I could see it coming:
– and he finally came to the point saying, “look beta, I have a beard this long inside me *pointing to his waist*, but it is not necessary I grow it outside.
And on and on it went.
And then he said that this would make it difficult for me to get a job (he was at a good position in a multinational himself -_-). THAT just made me work harder to achieve the very best I can! I am still working on it – I just want to make sure no one else can say that to a kid in the future, at-least not to a kid who knows me. Then there was the uncle who actually guaranteed me a job, just because I grew some hair. Alhumdolillah! There are all sorts of people out there, and not everyone is out to get us bearded ones:D
And you know how we always come up awesome, witty replies AFTERWARDS (good to make a list of these :P), so this is my standard reply now: “uncle I failed to grow a beard inside, so I thought why not grow it on my face *with a nice smile*.
I understand most kids start going crazy when parents fail to understand this change. Some get rude; answer back or some just give in. I had a few days of rudeness, and it was affecting the already dry relationship negatively. But then, one day I sat down with myself and decided that I’d be a yes-man to them. I’d never say “No” to whatever they say, and be the most charming and obedient I son I can be! No friend`s party had priority over family functions, and no trips without permissions – be it those religious trips! To my friends I was clear; call me “mummy daddy” or whatever, what my parents say is a priority! (Don’t fear being labelled, embrace it if you know it`s right, Fillahi, Lillahi Remeber!) It was like an oath I made with myself, and I somehow managed to stick to it. Today, 7 years down the line, I enjoy a relationship that I believe would have never been possible otherwise.
Instead of just letting go my wit and putting on a mask of seriousness, I literally, and very consciously, worked on it to make it better! For example, made it a point to be funny without hurting anyone, etc. I was an introvert. That little time period, and the need I felt to be a significant part of everyone’s life saw me turn into quite an extrovert! (Quite the opposite of what usually happens I know :p). Whatever little confidence I have now, I owe to that little decision. Back then, I practically “didn’t care what people said” !
NO I did not lose any friends, NONE. And I DID NOT miss out on any fun. I mean Hello! It’s a beard not some frictional force that prevents you from riding bikes or playing games.
I know I made it sound like the world literally revolved around me for the first 2 years, but honestly it didn’t. This was more about what was going on inside my head, and I swear everything else just went on the way it was. No one thinks this much about your change, and no one remembers after a few days, so just relax – and do your thing (as long as it`s the right thing).
Today, seven years down the line, I think it was a huge learning experience for me, probably the biggest yet in my life. And at that age, it turned out to be priceless. Not that I knew it would be like that, but if you read between the lines of this long self obsessed post, you’d know (No I’m not going to single out everything again -_-). And this goes perfectly with all the learning theories, that one learns the most when pushed outside one`s comfort zones. Add a bit from my side to it – that this learning is maximized if you, and only YOU, are responsible for pushing yourself outside your comfort zones.
An end note for people who are quick to judge others on the basis of looks, here is something I learned that might help:
Someone having a beard (applies the same to sisters supporting Hijab/Naqab) does not mean he is perfect, and the most pious person on earth. In fact he can fall into some serious sins as well. What this does tell is that the person has a past – as in a past where he experienced the beauty of iman on some level. And what this also suggests is, that the person, however lost in sins he might be, is open to listen to good advice. So instead of talking at their backs, go ahead, and talk to them. They’ll welcome it In’sha’Allah.
– All good is from Allah, and all faults are my own. I felt like thanking Allah in every paragraph in this article, but I didn’t just for continuity. I can’t thank Allah swt enough for making things happen the way they happened, and making me feel the way I feel about them today, and helping me see the good in everything that happened (I can go on here, but I’ll just cut the already long article short – Alhumdollilah). This was just to let everyone know, that when you have to do it, you just do it, and good things follow. And if they don’t, well, stick with it, cuz’ when you gotta do it, you gotta do it ! and its all in your head, mess a little with the way you think and everything falls into place – It’s all beautiful, Alhumdolillah!
Editor`s Note: Don`t forget to visit the author`s Photography Page: Ansaar Moughis’ Photography . A lot of the pictures around Malonama are the author`s handiwork.