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February 29th, 2012
There May Be an Another Reason for the Moustache Tax Break

Bill Seeks Tax Breaks for Men (and Women) with Facial Hair
By Lauren Fox

February 28, 2012 RSS Feed Print The American Mustache Institute claims to have found an ally in Maryland Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. The 19-year congressman rocks a white stache of his own and has agreed to send down the legislative pipeline the so-called "Stache Act"—a law that would give folks with mustaches up to a $250 tax credit every year.

"He sent it over to Ways and Means [committee] without any recommendation of any kind at all," clarifies Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright.

The mustache lobby argues people with over lip hair deserve a tax break because they spend so much to keep them looking sharp. Call it "facial stimulus"—with money spent on dying, trimming and waxing "contributing to the growth of the economy," proponents say. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should Mitt Romney Pay More in Taxes?]

Whisker proponents say Bartlett has promised to pass the "Stache Act" to the House Ways and Means Committee for study, a first step required for any tax legislation.

"There is a long road ahead for this important legislation," said AMI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman in a statement on the group's website. "We thank Representative Bartlett for stepping forward in the fight for fiscal parity for people of facial hair—both women and men."

Bartlett spokeswoman Wright declined to characterize the lawmaker's help as an "endorsement" of the whisker write-off.[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

"It is pretty common practice for advocates to portray that there is more than meets the eye," Wright says.

The "Stache Act" is based off of a white paper by Dr. John Yeutter, an Associate Professor of Accounting and Tax Policy at Northeastern State University, which states that the "social and environmental benefits to mustache growth and maintenance contribute to the growth of the economy."

"Given the clear link between the growing and maintenance of mustaches and incremental income ... mustache maintenance costs qualify for and should be considered as a deductible expense," Yeutter wrote.

The group is planning a "Million Mustache March" in Washington on April 1 where they hope to garner more attention for their legislation. [Five Ways to Spin Obama's Tax Plan.]

So far the group has sought to get their message out to Congress by hosting a news conference, meeting with the Congressional Committee on Taxation and teaming up with CATO, a libertarian tax reform group.


What is the ruling on shaving the beard or removing part of it?

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth that clearly state this, and because of the general application of texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar. One of these reports is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” According to another report: “Trim your moustaches and let your beards grow.” There are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning, which is to leave the beard as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not remove any of his moustache is not one of us.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi). Ibn Hazm said in al-Furoo’: “This is the way of our colleagues [i.e., the Hanbalis].”

Is it haraam (to shave it)? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.” According to another version: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad) ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard. Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard (reported by Muslim from Jaabir). It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/133




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