As-Salam ‘Aleikom brother,
Since you live in the UK, you might have noticed that it is a huge trend to keep a beard for men. It is fashion and nobody looks at it as a strange thing. I know you don’t have beard because of fashion, but it is easier to have it for personal and religious reasons when it is more acceptable in the western society. Let’s hope this beard trend is here to stay and never ends, In sha’ Allah.
I can’t tell you whether to keep your beard, and I can’t tell you whether your field of work is going to be cool with it. No one can, with 100% accuracy, except the company itself. The simple fact of the matter is that there ARE people out there who are prejudiced against beards, and some of them have hiring power. You just have to make a choice, and do your best to calculate the risk involved.
I know your beard is precious to you, and you should keep it and wait until you find the job of your dreams that will value it as much as you do. Just know that you might have to wait a while, and you might get passed over a few times. If that’s okay with you, and you have enough financial security to do that, then by all means, don’t compromise. If not, whether it’s because you don’t have a source of income at the moment, or because your options are more limited in the field you want to work in, then you have to make a difficult decision. There’s just no two ways about it.
In a perfect world, no one would judge you for having a beard, and you would get hired based solely on your merit as a worker. But we live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people, and sometimes that means you have to do things you don’t want to do. As your career goes on, and you accrue more experience and a positive reputation in your field, then your appearance will probably matter less and less. At the beginning of your career, though, it’s unfortunately all about first impressions, and your appearance plays an enormous role in that.
As time goes on, and the generations of people who hold certain prejudices get phased out, then this will become less and less of a conversation. For now, though, it’s one we have to have, and we have to face the reality of the situation. Some people are more tolerant, though, and what’s more, some people will love your beard. Here’s to hoping you land a job with those people.
There are some jobs that simply require shaved faces, whether it’s for safety reasons, health reasons or otherwise. If your career path is pointed in that direction, you may have to accept it and shave. Jobs at industrial plants with large machinery often bearded men on the premises, and some jobs in the healthcare industry might not allow them due to health concerns. These jobs are few, but they’re still out there. Do some research on your ideal career job and find out. Sometimes there’s gray area, like in food processing, where you can have a beard, but you have to wear a hair net on your face, but this is also pretty marginal.
Growing a beard is one of the many injunctions of the Sharee’ah. According to my knowledge, one must follow this and not violate it, but he may be excused from this injunction in some exceptional circumstances, such as if he faces actual harm which is considerable in Sharee’ah and he cannot avoid it. In this condition, he may shave his beard. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
“So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah ]; it is better for your selves. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful.” (64:16)
You should fear Allah (swt) by following His rulings and avoiding His prohibitions. Ask Him to give you lawful sustenance as He (swt) is the All-Provider, Owner of power, and the Strongest. Isn’t Allah (swt) sufficient for all His slaves?! Allah (swt) says:
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.” (Quran 65:2)
I suggest that you keep your faith strong and believe in Allah (swt). Try looking into companies in your field that already have employees with beard. You can do that by looking them up online on Facebook, LinkedIn, and do some research about different companies before you start the job hunt. I am sure if you do your homework, then you will not be disappointed and get the job you want in a company that respect you beard and your religious values, In sha’ Allah.
May Allah (swt) ease your problem and give you success in your work.
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