A Beardy Encounter

This happened when I lived in the UK. Salford, Greater Manchester, to be precise.

Some 5 minutes from our flat a nice Muslim fellow had one of the neatest stores I’ve ever been in. The guy was incredibly nice. He seemed like an all round super decent guy.

Once I had to top up my phone or something, so I went to his store. As I was getting my wallet out he looked at me seriously and asked, “Are you religious?” As a matter of fact I am and so I answered in the affirmative, but I guess my confusion at the slightly out of the ordinary question must have showed. He immedately added, “It’s just at you have such a big beard.” He went on to expain briefly the somewhat holy position beards occupy in Islam and I explained that while no such comparable teaching was to be found in Christianity, Jesus probably wore a beard and wearing one could be seen as imitating Jesus, a central sacred duty according the faith. He expressed regret that his working in the store prevented him from growing his and we shared a moment of mutual – and masuline – respect and affection, for each other and for beards.

Beards – bringing people together across cultures, religions and cash registers.


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