Trimming and shaving of beards in Afghanistan have been banned by the Taliban.
The Taliban has issued a new decree advising barbershops not to shave or trim beards, citing Islamic prohibitions on such practices.
This comes just days after Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers imposed travel restrictions on women, stating that women must be escorted by a male relative when travelling long distances.
This week, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice issued a copy of the instructions that Afghans are expected to follow.
The original order was shared in Pashto by a Taliban official.
When contacted by VOA, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was “trying to get information” about the decree but did not dispute its authenticity.
The order cited several Quranic verses and hadiths, or sayings, about Muslims doing whatever the Prophet Muhammad told them to do.
“Growing a beard is a natural deed,” the instructions state, “and the Sunnah [way of life and legal precedent] of all Prophets and Islamic Sharia has repeatedly emphasized it.”
Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Haqqani, Minister for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, signed the order.
The order includes the following: “Shaving or trimming one’s beard is prohibited by a unanimous decision of religious scholars. The Prophet Muhammad’s companions, followers, successors, Mujahideen [holy warriors], and other scholars do not agree on shaving or trimming the beard.
“As a result, it is clear that shaving or trimming a beard is against human nature, as well as against Islamic Sharia.
“In light of the foregoing, all barbershop employees are reminded to keep Islamic Sharia and Islamic injunctions in mind while cutting hair and serving customers.”
The following is the order: “All provincial departments under the ministry are directed that having beards is one of Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah and that all Muslims should follow Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah. All barbershop workers in the provinces are also instructed to follow the instructions when trimming customers’ beards.
“Officials should also try to carry out the order politely and while speaking to the people, so that citizens live in accordance with their religion, Islamic obligations, and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.
“These instructions have been forwarded to you for execution.”
In mid-August, the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital. They have been enforcing Islamic laws since then.