Fatawa in Islam - Family

Q: What is the shafi ruling on using synthetic alcohol in food products like ice cream, biscuits etc

A: The fact that alcohol is synthetically produced (assuming that synthetic production entails chemical processes other than fermentation) is of no consequence in determining whether or not it is khamr. That fact is to be determined simply through the presence or absence of the quality of iskar.

Having said that, our fuqaha have ruled that the presence of khamr in medicinal compounds is overlooked when two conditions have been met: a need for the medicine (حاجة), and obliteration to the point of untraceability (استهلاك) of the khamr.

قال في مغني المحتاج: "إن التداوي بالخمر حرام إذا كانت صرفا غير ممزوجة بشيء آخر تستهلك فيه. أما الترياق المعجون بها ونحوه مما تستهلك فيه فيجوز التداوي به عند فقد ما يقوم به التداوي من الطاهرات فعندئذ يتبع حكم التداوي بنجس. وكذا يجوز التداوي بذلك لتعجيل الشفاء بشرط إخبار طبيب مسلم عدل بذلك، أو معرفته للتداوي به وبشرط أن يكون القدر المستعمل قليلا لا يسكر."

Alcohol was used in medicine, not as a primary ingredient intended to intoxicate, but as a solvent intended to bind ingredients into a single substance. The same is true for its use in composite foods today.

It is true that most composite foods are not necessities. As such the element of need cannot be invoked. However, alcohol, specifically ethanol, as a solvent has a very widespread presence, not only in composite foods but in many other substances with which people commonly come into contact: dyes, paints, inks etc.. The factor of need (حاجة) for such substances is thus replaced by the element of common affliction (عموم البلوى). Both these factors create exception from the rule.

The second condition of untraceability is satisfactorily met in that the alcohol content tends to be a very small fraction of a percentage.

In light of the above we are persuaded that the consumption of foods in which ethanol has been used as solvent, and remains in microscopic quantities, is permissible.

Should the solvent happen to be any alcohol other than ethanol, it is permissible without having to resort to the rule of exception.

والله تعالى أعلم


Q: Is it permissible for a lady to pluck her eyebrows?

A: The question of the permissibility of plucking the eyebrows is one that needs to be dealt with. Despite the clear quotations from our jurists regarding its permissibility, we find a large numbers of scholars issuing the unequivocal verdict that it is haram. The scholars of this latter opinion take their cue from the Prophetic tradition narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd radiyAllahu ‘anhu which clearly indicates impermissibility of plucking the eyebrows.

Entering the masjid only in a state where ghusl is not incumbent
I will first present the relevant quotations from our Shafi‘ī jurists and then get into a discussion on the hadith of Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd radiyAllahu ‘anhu.

A presentation of quotations

Imam ar-Ramli is quoted to have said:
ويحرم أيضا تجعيد شعرها … والخضاب بالسواد … والتنميص – وهو الأخذ من شعر الوجه والحاجب المحسن، فإن أذن لها زوجها أو سيدها في ذلك جاز، لأن له غرضا في تـزيـنها له كما في الروضة.

“And it is also haram for her to make taj‘īd [I think it means to curl, no dictionary with me] of her hair… and to dye [her hair] black… and tanmīs – that is plucking facial hair or eyebrows for adornment. If, however, her husband permits her to do the above then it will be permissible, as the husband has a right to his wife’s adornment as mentioned in Ar-Rawdah.”

Khatib ash-Shirbini in his Mugni said:
والتنميص – وهو الأخذ من شعر الوجه والحاجب للحسن لما في ذلك من التغرير، أما إذا أذن لها الزوج أو السيد في ذلك فإنه يجوز، لأن له غرضا في تزيينها له وقد أذن لها فيه

“And tanmīs – that is plucking facial hair or eyebrows for adornment [is haram] since it creates deception. However, if the husband or master grants her permission then it will be permissible, as the husband has an objective in her adornment and he permitted her to do so.”

Consequently, the Shafi‘ī school considers the plucking of the eyebrows for the married lady with the permission of her husband as permissible. Unmarried women, however, are not allowed to pluck “since it creates deception”.

A discussion around the hadith of Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd

It should be noted from the very outset that my discussion here is merely an attempt to understand how our jurists dealt with the prohibition within hadith. The wording of the hadith as it appears in Sahih Muslim reads:

“May Allah curse the tattooer and tattooed; the one who plucks (facial hair) and the plucked; those who split their front teeth seeking thereby adornment, changing the creation of Allah.”

The hadith clearly seems to be prohibiting plucking along with tattooing and splitting of the front teeth. Ibn Jarir at-Tabari adopts what is probably the most severe stance here when he considers the prohibition in the above tradition as completely general, thereby considering the removal of any facial hair as haram. Imam Nawawi, however, when commenting on the hadith says that a lady who grows a beard or moustache is exempted from the generality of this prohibition and, consequently, may remove those hairs. The point I wish to highlight at this juncture is the phenomenon of exemption from generality. The legal maxim reads: there is no general [prohibition] except that it may be exempted/specified.

This wAllahu ‘a‘lam serves as a starting point: that even though the prohibition in the hadith is general there would always be exceptions or instances of specifications. One such instance, according to our jurists, is the removal of facial hair [plucking the eyebrows specifically] for a married lady with the permission of her husband. Khatib Shirbini in the above quotation provides us the reason for this exemption. He identifies the ratio legis (‘illah) behind the prohibition and then applies the maxim that “a particular ruling stands while the ratio legis exist; when the ratio legis ceases to exist then too will the ruling”. Pointing out the ratio legis, Khatib ash-Shirbini said, “And tanmīs – that is plucking facial hair or eyebrows for adornment [is haram] since it creates deception”. Thus when plucking creates deception, as in the case of an unmarried lady who might deceive a prospective husband, it will be haram; when the ‘illah or deception is absent then too will the ruling of impermissibility be absent.

Yes, one could possibly argue that the hadith mentions “changing the creation of Allah” and thus the ‘illah should be tagyīr khalqIllah or changing the creation of Allah, as was the opinion of Hafiz ibn Hajar and others. To this end our response would be that the statement “changing the creation of Allah” refers specifically to “those who split their front teeth seeking thereby adornment” as hinted to by Imam Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim. In addition, if we were to assume that removal of facial hair is haram since it is tantamount to “changing the creation of Allah”, then we’ll have to consider the shaving of the moustache for the male also as haram for the very same reason, an opinion that probably no scholar ever held.

And Allah knows best
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
2 Sha‘bān 1431
Tarim, Hadramawt

Q: Is it permitted that the bride attend the marriage ceremony which is traditionally performed in the mosque and attended by men only?

A: The bride is allowed to attend her nikah ceremony in the masjid, provided that the normal decorum and etiquette of the masjid is maintained. The same rules will apply to her presence in the masjid for the sake of her nikah ceremony as are applicable to her presence for the sake of salah. Some of those rules would be:

Maintaining the strict separation of sexes, especially when there is a large gathering of men
Observing proper dress
Entering the masjid only in a state where ghusl is not incumbent
Taking care not to raise the voice unduly

In any event, the bride is still advised against attending the masjid for the sake of witnessing her nikah, on grounds of the hadith in which Rasulullah [peace be upon Him] says:
Prevent not your womenfolk from (attending) the masajid of Allah; but their houses are better for them. Narrated by Abu Dawud: 567

Q: Is it permitted Islamically to perform cosmetic surgery to correct a birth defect? If not, will the surgeon be equally culpable in the eyes of Shari`ah? What if the patient was non-Muslim? Would you also provide some titles of works in English to which I could refer?

A: Permissibility of Cosmetic Surgery in Islam
The Shar'i position on cosmetic surgery depends upon the motivation for undergoing such surgery. When the patients decision to undergo cosmetic surgery is motivated by reasons which are recognized as valid by the Shariah, surgery will be regarded as permissible. If the motive for undergoing cosmetic surgery is one that is in itself disallowed by the Shariah, the surgery would be deemed unlawful.

We recognize two general conditions under which cosmetic surgery is performed:
Cosmetic surgery performed in order to correct unusual physical and functional deformities. Deformities of this kind are usually such that they cause pain and discomfort, either physical or psychological, to the patient.
Cosmetic surgery performed upon a normal face or body, i.e. a face or body which does not contain abnormal or unnatural deformities. This would include surgery performed for the purpose of altering apparent or conventional unattractiveness.

Types of Cosmetic Surgery
Undergoing cosmetic surgery is lawful and permissible when it is done for the sake of correcting abnormal or unusual deformities. In this case it is governed by the legal maxim 'Harm will be eradicated'.
In terms of this maxim anything regarded as harmful may be removed. A healthy tooth, for example, may not be removed, but when it causes pain and discomfort, its removal becomes permissible (jaaiz). The removal of something harmful may even become incumbent (waajib) if the pain caused by it becomes unbearable or life-threatening.
On the other hand, cosmetic surgery done for the purpose of enhancing physical beauty through altering features of the face or body that are perceived to be unattractive, will be unlawful. It is disallowed on grounds of an ethos which exists in the Shariah, according to which severe censure is placed on alteration to the creation of Allah. This ethos is inspired by various verses of the Quraan and ahadith of Rasulullah [peace be upon Him]. Below we quote some of these.

...and they call but upon a rebellious shaytaan. Allah did curse him. And he (Shaytaan) said: I will take of Your servants a fixed portion. I will mislead them; I will give them false hopes; I will command them, and they will split the ears of cattle; and I will command them, and they will alter the creation of Allah. Whoever takes Shaytaan, instead of Allah, as his friend, has incurred a manifest loss. (an-Nisa:117-119)

The concept of altering the creation of Allah admittedly has a wider meaning than physical alteration of the human body. However, alteration of the body most definitely falls within the wider scope of the intended meaning, as borne out by the following hadith:

Ibn Mas'ud [r'a] said: May Allah curse the woman who tattoos, and the woman who has herself tattood, and the woman who plucks out the eyebrows, and the woman who splits her teeth for the sake of beauty such women who alter the creation of Allah ... He said: Why should I not curse those who are cursed by Rasulullah and who are in the Book of Allah? (Sahih al-Bukhari no. 4886)

Cosmetic Surgery on a Muslim Patient
Wherever cosmetic surgery is allowed, it is obvious that it is as lawful for the doctor to perform the operation as it is for the patient to undergo surgery. Conversely, when surgery itself is disallowed, it would be unlawful for both doctor and patient to be involved in the operation. This would apply to all instances where the doctor and the patient are both Muslims. If the patient is a Muslim and the doctor a non-Muslim, it would still be unlawful for the patient to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery on a non-Muslim Patient
In the case of cosmetic surgery by a Muslim doctor on a non-Muslim patient, it would still be unlawful for the doctor to be involved in an operation regarded as unlawful by the Shari'ah. The fact that the patient happens to be a non-Muslim is inconsequential, and does nothing to make this case different from the case of a Muslim patient. Ahadith such as the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud quoted above where both the one who tattoos and the one who is tattooed are cursed by Rasulullah [peace be upon Him] make it clear that the Shari'ah applies individually to both parties involved in such an operation. Therefore,when it happens that the Shari'ah doesn't extend to one of the two parties, the Shar'i position of the other party remains unaffected.

To the best of our knowledge not much has been written in English on this topic. In Arabic too, we do not know of any specialized works on the subject. The major works on Fiqh all include material that are related to this topic, but not in the sense of modern cosmetic surgery. Some writings have appeared of recent which deal with the general topic of Dress and Adornment. One of these would be the doctoral thesis Al-Libas waz-Zinah fish-Shari'ah al-Islamiyyah (Dress and Adornment in Islamic Law) by Dr. Muhammad 'Abd al-'Aziz 'Amr, published by Muassasat ar-Risalah, Beirut in 1985. Pages 454 to 462 of this work contain a discussion of cosmetic surgery.

In response to your request for Shar‘î advice regarding the hosting of a music show, I am pleased to submit to you the document below. It is regrettable that haste, as a result of the short notice, as well as my own preoccupation, has prevented a more detailed presentation. In any event I trust that what has been documented here will suffice.

I hope and pray that Allâh grants us guidance in our affairs, and inspires us with the courage to follow truth wherever it may be, and however disagreeable it may appear.

Please download fatwa here: Shar‘î advice regarding the hosting of a music show

Muslims in the Western Cape are divided into 2 parties regarding the celebration of the 2 Eids. Some celebrate according to local sighting while others follow Saudi Arabian sighting. While this issue has been examined from various angles none have resolved the differences. What is the way forward for concerned Muslims?
~ Taken from an article written by M.T.Karaan for inclusion in a work on The Eid Conflict by Sh Amien Fakier.

Centralised decision making in public matters
The root of the problem:

While much has been said, and probably will still be said, concerning the various fiqh arguments that support the celebration of Id al-Adha in accordance with a regional sighting of the moon or in conjunction with Makkah, the real root of the problem does not lie in the comparative values of those particular arguments of fiqh.

By the above I do not mean that the issue is not fiqh related. On the contrary, I would insist that this is most certainly a matter of fiqh. However, the jurisprudential fulcrum of the issue does not lie in whether the plural form of the imperative in the hadith of Ibn Umar sanctions universal application, or whether the hadith of Kurayb is absolutely unambiguous in localising moonsighting. Beyond semantics, it is unrelated to the validity of calculations, and transcends even the avant-garde association of our local Id with Makkah. It is to another area of fiqh that we have to look in order to discover the root of our problem. That area has in recent decades acquired a name of its own:fiqh al-aqalliyyat, the fiqh of minorities.

Classical fiqh almost always presupposes that the Muslim community to which it addresses itself lives in an Islam-dominated land where everyone, both government and citizen, is subject to the Shari'ah. The first major loss of political power came when Islam was driven out of Spain, and the few pockets of Muslims who remained in Ferdinand and Isabella's Catholic Spain, who managed in some way or the other to escape forcible conversion, were probably the first to experience what it is like to become a Muslim minority. Colonisation brought several Muslim minorities into existence (our own community at the Cape being one of those); but the major factor behind the existence of Muslim minorities has to be the migration of Muslims from their own countries to especially the West.

To the individuals forming these minorities the observance of their religious duties has always been a matter of conscience. Accordingly they created structures and founded institutions within their societies to enable them to carry out their duties as Muslims. Thus they were not much different from their brethren in Muslim countries in respect of their masajid and madaris and the activities that took place therein. As such, there was no need for a specific adaptation of fiqh to regulate their activities in this regard.

The one area in which Muslim minorities found themselves markedly different from Muslim majorities was that of centralised decision making in public matters. I would define public matters here as those matters which entail the observance of public occasions by the Muslim community at large. Obvious examples of such matters would be the observance of Ramadan and the two Ids. Determining how and when to observe these occasions is undoubtedly a matter of Shari'ah, but when differences of opinion arise amongst the fuqaha, the selection of one of the various rulings becomes a matter of state.

In countries with Muslim majorities this has never posed a problem. All the state does is to delegate this authority to an appointed official or a body, such as a state mufti or a ministry of Islamic affairs. Whatever decision this official or body makes is binding on all Muslim individuals in that country. Even a very erudite faqih living in that country who holds an opinion at odds with the one promulgated by the official mufti or the ministry is not at liberty to enforce his view upon the general public.

With Muslim minorities the situation is different. They too, find themselves at that place in the road where two divergent fiqh opinions fork away from one another. But because they do not hold the reins of government in their hands, they are unable to resolve the issue in the straightforward manner that a Muslim country would. This is where alien factors like ethnic divisions, petty politics and devotion to personalities find the space to start playing havoc. Year after year we see the same painful scenes of disunity being replayed, and the fact that these scenes are enacted exclusively in countries like England, France, America, Australia and South Africa points unmistakably to the fact that this problem affects only Muslim minorities.

These minorities have two options. They could request their non-Muslim government to use its authority in order to create for them the centralised structure that would decide upon its public matters. This option would expectably be unpalatable to many, smacking as it does of non-Muslim interference in Muslim religious matters. The other option is for initiatives to create such decision making structures to arise from within the Muslim minority communities themselves. This was the path favoured by most, if not all Muslim minorities. In the case of the Cape this step was taken over half a century ago, with the founding of the Muslim Judicial Council in 1945. Subsequent years saw the founding of similar bodies in other provinces of the country, and in the late 1980s an agreement was reached between the various ulama bodies in terms of which not only South Africa, but the whole of southern Africa would celebrate Ramadan and the Ids in unison. The federalisation of the South African ulama bodies into the United Ulama Council of South Africa was another positive step towards centralising the decision making process for public matters.

The 1963 fatwa of al-Azhar included in this volume [i.e. the original work by Sh. Amien Fakier] affords not only a ratification of this process as the proper Shar'i way for minorities to conduct their affairs, but serves also to underscore in the clearest possible terms the authority of the Muslim Judicial Council to make decisions on public matters. This authority was upheld and probably even invoked by all those who had at some stage been members and office bearers of the Council. The great test would come upon the departure from the ranks of the Council of personalities who had once been its chief executives: Would the authority of the Council be afforded the same esteem it enjoyed before their departure? Or would their departure signal the end of their acknowledgement of the Shar'i authority vested in the Council? The answer is known to all and sundry. The process of creating decision making structures within minority situations suffers from one major weakness: Abiding by its decisions cannot be enforced. If anyone wishes to go against its rulings there would be no one to compel him to abide. If any particular mosque or imam decides to pursue its own agenda there are no structures in place to ensure that the unity of the community at large is not destroyed.

It is here where Muslim communities such as our own are called upon to display greater maturity and sensibility than the average Muslim community in Muslim countries. Unity in the celebration of Id is to them a matter of forced compliance; for us it is a matter of choice. For us, unlike them, the ball is in our court. Having suffered the pain and turmoil of a split Id for so many years, no one would know better than our community just how desirable a unified Id is. But few of us seem to know just how close within our reach it really lies.

The pursuit of politically motivated agendas has seen many a novel development, the latest of which is an absurdly baseless and jurisprudentially unjustifiable absolutisation of the relative position that Id ought to be celebrated in conjunction with Makkah. The process of bridging the yawning chasm that separates us will never be served by such excrescences. The first step in the journey that will take us back to the harmony that we knew before 1989 would be to reaffirm ourselves to the rule of Shar'i law. The particular law referred to here has nothing to do with whether celebrating Id with Makkah is an obligation or not. It has no relation to generalising or localising moonsighting. It does not at all impinge upon the validity of using astronomical calculations. Rather, it is the simple requirement that for their public observances, Muslims in a minority situation can have only one decision making body. Abiding by the decision of that body, while by no means enforceable, is a sure sign of a mature, sensible and responsible community.

Q: I’ve had people recently asking me the ruling for shaving the beard in accordance to my understanding all four schools of thoughts had a consensus that shaving is haram however I have read recently that the relied-upon position for the Shafii Madhab is that it is makrooh (not sinful) to shave the beard is this correct? If yes, then the fact that this is a sign of islam to keep a beard how can i explain to those who pick and chose from different schools of thought or if someone is [following] the Shafii Madhab How do i tell them that they should still grow it and not consider it a small act to shave? If there is no way then that is understandable Also, i dont know the terminologies in the shafii madhab when it comes to makrooh so is someone shaves and never grows a beard in accordance to the shafii madhab will he ever be considered a sinner. Jazak Allah Khair.

A: Wa alaykumus salam wa rahmatuLlah
Each of the four madhahib regards the keeping of the beard as virtuous and exemplary. None of them discourage its keeping or encourage its removal. All of them furthermore look with disapproval at shortening or shaving the beard. The only area in which a difference exists is the level of censure incurred by the removal of the beard. This is where the rajih view within the Shafi’i madhhab stops a little short from the other madhahib. Whereas the other madhahib (as well a marjuh view within the Shafi’i madhhab) deem it haram and sinful, the rajih view of the Shafi’is stop short at karahah. And karahah would by definition mean that the act, while frowned upon and disapproved, does not quite amount to sinfulness.

You are correct in saying that the beard is a sign of Islam. However, not every sign is necessarily wajib to observe or haram to remove. The general covering of the head for males would be a case in point. And then, not every sign of Islam requires enforcement through the threat of sinfulness. What ought rather to be done is to create love of the Sunnah of RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam so that people will willingly and with love adopt not just the sunnah of the beard but other sunnahs as well, both of external appearance and internal character.

With the highest of respect to the sunnah of the beard, one should not fall into the trap of becoming so focused upon its enforcement that sight of lost on the one hand of the good qualities possessed by those who fail in observing the sunnah of the beard, and on the other of some not-so-good qualities within those who do keep the beard. It is not just the beard with whose inculcation within the masses the ulama are tasked, but the entire Shari’ah. When the fuqaha have differed about the level of censure attached to non-observance of the sunnah of the beard, those who do happen to subscribe to that view should, in my humble opinion, should be afforded the latitude of their choice.

What may however be brought to their attention is that it is a misunderstanding to say that any particular madhhab displays apathy towards the beard. Apathy towards the beard is nowhere to be found in our entire Shari’ah. The Shafi’i madhhab does not say, “Don’t keep a beard,” or “You don’t have to keep a beard.” It says that the beard is a great sunnah whose observance is highly meritorious and whose removal caused distress to RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam, wherefore it is a loathsome act whose doer falls just short of being sinful.

Someone who opts for this view of the Shafi’i madhhab and decides to remove his beard must therefore know that he has every reason short of sin to feel guilty for removing his beard. I hope this helps. Was-salam. M.T.Karaan

Q: Jazak Allahu Khair for the reply.
Just some more questions…
If it is not a sin then why would its removal cause distress to the prophet (SAW)? Regarding other Ahadith where the prophet (SAW) wouldn’t look those who shaved and one who shaves will he still receive the intercession of the prophet (SAW) on the day of qiyamah And also has then always been the opinion of the shafii madhab that it is makrooh or is it from recent times? I’m still having trouble telling those who follow the shafii madhab to keep a beard i’m not enforcing it but if i tell them it causes distress to the prophet (SAW) it doesn’t seem to affect them and in accordance to the madhab i can’t tell them it is a sin is there any way it will reach the level of a “sin” in the shafii madhab

A: Causing distress to RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam, as serious as it is, does not of necessity, by consensus, and under all circumstances amount to sinfulness. A case in point is that of salah in jama’ah. The distress this caused RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam is by no means unknown, yet a fair amount of the Fuqaha of the Ummah believe it to be not an intrinsic obligation, but an emphasised sunnah. This is in fact the position taken in Hanafi mutun like Quduri and Tanwir (although the mufta bihi opinion might differ). About udhiyyah RasuluLlah was emphatic enough to bar those who failed to do it from attending the salah, leading the hanafis to conclude that it was wajib. Yet the Shafi’is and Hanbalis unequivocally, and the Malikis in their rajih position believe it to be a sunnah mu’akkadah.

The hadith about RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam refusing to look at those who shaves is exactly what lies at the bottom of my earlier statement that shaving causes him distress. To conclude from their that it is haram (or in the case of the Hanafi madhhab, makruh tahrimi) to shave is quite tenable, but it happens to be a position that all the fuqaha have historically not agreed upon. If the intention is to open up the door to verify the established views of the madhahib in light of dalil, I see no reason why this approach should be restricted to this issue alone. This very Salafi-like approach, despite what appears to be its merits, is bound to cause the Ummah more harm than good.

As for intercession, why should it be restricted to the beard alone? Yes, indeed, shaving the beard causes distress to RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam. But to restrict shafa’ah to the beard is to deny anything else any sort of value. Without in any way subtracting from the value of external observances, it must be realised that there are things which weigh as much if not at times more than the external display of the Sunnah. The hadith of the jester AbduLlah who used to be called Himar and was duly punished for it, imparts an important lesson about not setting so much store by the external that sight is completely lost of internal attributes. had it been true that every bearded Muslim man is universally and without exception a paragon of virtue, i would have been inclined to agree that the non-observance of this sunnah will deprive one of Shafa’ah. But obviously, that is not the case.

The Shafi’i madhhab achieved standardized tarjih centuries before any other madhhab. The phenomenon of differing positions within the madhhab was stabilized by Imam Rafi’i and Imam Nawawi, both of whom lived in the 7th century after the Hijrah. It was on account of their tarjih that the view of karahah as opposed to tahrim came to be the standard position of the madhhab. This tarjih is therefore slightly under 800 years old. Now while there have been individual jurists after them who still preferred the position of tahrim, and while this continues up to the present day, and notwithstanding the fact that I myself am inclined to the tahrim position as well, this does not change the historical reality that in terms of the qawa’id of tarjih it is the preferences of Rafi’i and Nawawi that decide where the madhhab stands and not anyone else.

You would be well-advised to let go of the idea that your duty is unfulfilled until every Shafi’i person you know has a beard. Your duty is but conveyance, not enforcement. If the brothers you speak of were unaffected by your saying that it causes distress to RasuluLlah sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam, what guarantee do you have that they will comply when you say it is sinful (disingenuous though that may be)? Our Nabi sallaLlahu `alayhi wasallam experienced even greater distress at the non-acceptance of Iman by the people around him, and even by his beloved uncle, until Allah had to reveal to him:

إنك لا تهدي من أحببت ولكن الله يهدي من يشاء

That was iman itself; this is one sunnah act. I am sure there are many other neglected things of importance which deserve as much if not more attention than the beard. You have conveyed; now leave hidayah and tawfiq to Allah. Was-salam.