Barbers in Afghanistan have been banned by the Taliban from shaving or trimming beards, saying such actions are forbidden in Islam.
This comes days after Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers imposed travel restrictions on women, stating that women must not travel long distances without a male relative escorting them.
The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued a copy of instructions this week which Afghans are expected to live by.
A Taliban official shared the original order in the Pashto language.
When contacted by VOA, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not dispute the order’s authenticity but said he was still”“trying to get information” about the decree.
The order cited several verses from the Quran and hadiths, or sayings, about following whatever the Prophet Muhammad has asked Muslims to do.
“Growing a beard is a natural deed and the Sunnah [the way of life and legal precedent] of all Prophets and Islamic Sharia has repeatedly emphasized it,” according to the instructions.
The order was signed by the minister for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Haqqani.
The order adds: “Shaving or trimming a beard is forbidden under a unanimous decision by the religious scholars. Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, their followers, their successors, Mujahideen [holy warriors] and other scholars do not agree on shaving or trimming the beard.
“So, it is understood that shaving or trimming a beard is against human nature and the action is against Islamic Sharia.
“In view of the above all workers of the barbershops are informed to keep in mind Islamic Sharia and Islamic injunctions while cutting hairs and serving their customers.”
According to the order: “All provincial departments under the ministry are directed that having beards is one of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad and all Muslims should follow Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. All barbershop workers in the provinces are also instructed to keep in mind the instructions while trimming the beards of customers.
“Officials should also try to implement the order politely and while speaking to the people so the countrymen bring their lives in conformity with their religion, Islamic obligations and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.
“These instructions have been sent to you for implementation.”
The Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital in mid-August. Since then, they have been introducing Islamic laws.