Question # 311: Assalaamalikum. My question is, can I trim the mustache from the middle and let the edges grow? Also, if one is to go by the hadith of ibn Mugerah, that the Prophet (Sallallahualihiwassallam) trimmed his mustache by keeping a siwak, would it include or leave the edges? In short, Can I keep the edges? Jazakallahu khair. AND Assalaamalikum. Taking in consideration the fact that Hazrat Umar had long mustaches, can one trim the mustache from the upper lip and grow it from the sides?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Ibn Umar used to cut his moustache so short that the whiteness of his skin (above the upper lip) was visible, and also, he used to cut (the hair) between his moustaches and his beard. Next, although both the Shafi’is and Hanbalis considered the side edges of the moustache (aka the handlebars) to be part of the moustache, the Shafi’is see no problem in leaving them untrimmed, due to this being the action of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab. The Hanafis and Malikis each have scholars that support both opinions. However, it seems that the strongest view is that they are actually part of the moustache, due to the hadith reported by Ahmad bin Hanbal, wherein Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Cut the sides of your moustaches…” as reported in as-Silsilah as-Sahihah by Shaykh al-Albani. Also Refer Question # 180.

Long Answer: The moustache, in Arabic ‘ash-shaarib‘ comes from the verb shariba, meaning to drink. It is called this as this is the place from which you drink. In Fiqh terminology, it refers to the hair above the upper lip. Narrated by Nafi that Ibn Umar said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short.”  Ibn Umar used to cut his moustache so short that the whiteness of his skin (above the upper lip) was visible, and he used to cut (the hair) between his moustaches and his beard. (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

[In trimming the moustache, the majority of scholars considered trimming as sibaalaan, the hair that joins the moustache to the beard, as part of trimming the moustache. Although, both] the Shafi’is and Hanbalis considered [the side edges of the moustache (aka the handlebars)] to be part of the moustache, the Shafi’is saw no problem in leaving them untrimmed, due to this being the action of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, and due to the fact that they do not generally carry the remnants of food that has been eaten like the moustache does. The Hanafis and Malikis each have scholars that support both opinions. However, it seems that what is strongest is that they are actually part of the moustache, due to the hadith reported by Ahmad bin Hanbal, and narrated by Abu Umamah, in which it was asked of the Prophet: “O Messenger of Allah, the People of the Book cut their beards, and lengthen the sides of their moustaches.” So, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Cut the sides of your moustaches, lengthen your beards, and differ from the People of the Book,” and this hadith is also in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ by Shaykh al-Albani. (The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam