Prophet's hair and its reverence

Q519 :I have seen in some houses and mosques in India and Pakistan hairs which are said to be from the beard of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). One hair is preserved in a decorative bottle with a glass top. It is displayed on a certain day every year, coinciding with the birth anniversary of the Prophet. People from the surrounding area come to view the hair and pass file very respectfully paying homage. Some touch the box or kiss it and then rub their hands on their faces and bodies, hoping for a blessing. It is also believed that the preserved hair grows inside the box. Its custodian cuts the grown hair and gives it to another mosque to make a similar box for a similar display. Please comment.

A519 : Let us begin first by assuming that this hair has actually been taken from the Prophet's beard. What then? It remains a hair which cannot bring any benefit or cause any harm. We have not heard of any companion of the Prophet who has taken anything that has been cut off or fell off the body of the Prophet to preserve it for reverence or to keep it to one's family. When the Prophet offered his pilgrimage, he went to Makkah with his hair long. He shaved his head there in order to release himself from the state of consecration, as pilgrims do. If there were any benefits to be gained from preserving his fallen off hair, his companions would have competed to take his hair or to distribute it among themselves. None of them ever contemplated the idea. Similarly the Prophet clipped his nails regularly, but we have no report that anyone of his wives or companions preserved any of his nail clippings. We must not forget that the companions of the Prophet had a much keener insight into what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in Islam than any one of us. The Prophet lived among them and they loved him as true Muslims should love the Prophet, demonstrating practically that they were always prepared to sacrifice themselves to defend him against his enemies, so that he might complete his mission and convey Allah's message to mankind. They, however, did not consider the body of the Prophet as an object which should be sanctified. Hence, had this hair been truly taken from the Prophet's beard or head, it should have been buried, as it is recommended to do with any part of a human body which falls off or are cut off or amputated. Is it not time for people of this day and age who claim to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and believe in his message to question some of their practices in order to find out whether they are in line with the teachings of the Prophet? These rituals that are done annually in connection with this hair should certainly be questioned. Is it not time that somebody in the community asks: If we do all this with a hair that we claim to have fallen off the beard of the Prophet, why is his body buried? The Prophet's wives, uncles, cousins, and companions would have taken care to preserve his body and keep it for future generations to receive blessings. But they have done nothing of that sort because they knew that such an action would have been un-Islamic. Moreover, if the body of the Prophet or any part of it should have been an object for preservation and reverence, would Allah have allowed it to be buried? The fact is that Islam does not allow any such practices. Hence, the Prophet was keen to explain to his companions that he should be buried in the same manner as other mortals. Moreover, Prophets are always buried in the same spot where they die. Hence, a grave was dug for the Prophet in the room of his wife, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her. His body was not kept for any length of time for viewing or blessing or paying homage. His closest companion supervised the preparation of the body for burial, without any delay. Hence, the honorable thing to do with this hair, if it was truly from the Prophet, is to bury it. It may be argued that there is no harm in people showing their love of the Prophet in this way, even if there is some doubt about the origin of the hair. The question to be asked here is whether this is the right way of showing our love of the Prophet. Throughout the ages Muslim scholars have been unanimous in telling us that the proper way to demonstrate our love of the Prophet is to follow his guidance, implement his Sunnah and advocate his message. You do not need a trace of his body in order to do that. You persevere that you love the Prophet more if you follow his guidance more conscientiously. If you do not implement his teachings, no reverence to this hair, or indeed any part of his body or his person, would be of any use to you on the Day of Judgment, when Allah will question you about your actions and about following the Prophet's guidance.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )