An American Muslim boxer barred from competition last year because of growing a beard has won the right to participate this year after successfully taking up the fight for his religious rights, WXYZ reported.
“It opened up my mind to life is bigger than just me. People are fighting for opportunity,” Basheer Abdur said.
It all started when the USA Boxing had banned 19-year-old boxer from taking part in the Golden Gloves Tournament because of his beard.
The rules at the time required a religious waiver be filed 7 days before each fight. However, in progressive tournaments, you can’t file 7 days in advance for fights you don’t yet qualify for.
With the help of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan, he called for a change.
This year at the Golden Gloves a sign was posted letting Muslim boxers know they can participate.
In fact, the English amateur body, England Boxing, reversed a similar ban in 2018 following an eight-year campaign from Muslim and Sikh boxers.
His attorney at CAIR-Michigan, Amy Doukoure says they have won round one. In round two she wants a system in place so fighters don’t have to repeatedly file religious waivers.
“I don’t want them to go through the same thing I went through,” said Abdur.
Based on the regulations of the Islamic Shari’ah, the Muslim scholars are in dispute on whether growing a beard is an obligation or just a Sunnah.
In fact, with regard to prayer imamship there’s no evidence in the Shari’ah stating that having a beard is a must for leading prayers as an imam, for example, bearing in mind that praying is the most important ritual in Islam.
There is no text from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that makes beard a condition for the validation of prayer of a Muslim believer or an Imam.
Other scholars believe that allowing beard to grow and trimming the mustache is ruled as mandatory according to the Sunnah in Sunni Islam by consensus.
Some scholars believe it’s considered of the fitra according to Sahih Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith #781 Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “Cut the mustaches short and leave the beard (as it is).”