Preacher Says Beardless Men Cause ‘Indecent Thoughts’ As They Look Like Women

Murat Bayaral believes in the necessity of facial hair. The Islamic preacher proclaimed on Faith Medreseleri, a religious TV station in Turkey, that men without beards were likely to cause “indecent thoughts,” as they may be confused with women, especially if they have long hair.

“Men should grow beards,” Bayard said, as they are “one of the two body parts that separate men from women.” It is Bayaral’s firm belief that beardless men are not paying enough respect to the Islamic faith. He also stated that men do not need permission from their wives to shave their beards.

While beards are often considered to be a symbol of the Muslim faith, it is not dictated in the Quran that men must grow them. The prophet Muhammad is believed to have had a beard, and therefore the expectation for men is to try and appear more like the prophet. However, men without beards are not breaking the rules of the Islamic faith.

The recommendation to grow a beard comes from hadith. Hadith are considered to be important accounts and narratives regarding the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. These accounts are not actually written in the Quran but are considered by many to be a supplemental aspect of the Islamic religion.

Beardless Men Cause 'Indecent Thoughts' As They Look Like WomenFaith Medreseleri

The idea that a Turkish Islamic preacher thinks that beardless men look like women is really part of a larger problem, which is the shrinking idea of secularism within Turkey. President Tayyip Erdoğan has been leading the country down a more religious path. He believes that Islam should become a part of public life in all sectors of society within Turkey.

Bayard is a marginal figure in Turkish politics. However, allowing him to say that men without beards are not truly practising the Islamic faith on national television conveys the impression that people with those beliefs should be given a platform within Turkey. It is indicative of Erdoğan’s intent to raise what he called “devout generations.”

Debates such as this one occur frequently in Turkey, according to Magdalena Kirchner, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Centre in Turkey. The country’s leadership faces an increasingly difficult objective of balancing the secular and religious sectors of Turkey. The word ‘secularism’ is written in Turkey’s constitution, but the current leadership appears to be favouring religion.

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