Seeing the situation in Syria makes me sad. growing up in Aleppo I remember the long days in summer playing football in the streets and the benign weather in Winter as the winds from the Mediterranean warmed up the city. These days, the state of Syria is a far cry from what it used to be and I fear that the many modern advances we have had in lifestyle will be cancelled by the extremist policies of the Muslim Brotherhood
Lifestyle in Syria
Unlike what many people think, men and women in Syria have a very modern lifestyle. Women wear modern clothes and even clothes especially in Aleppo which is a traditionally Christian city. Men can have their hair in a hairstyle they want and can have beards or no beards and their beards can too be styled any way they want.
This is how Aleppo looks, quite modern…(courtesy of Wikipedia)
We also have nightclubs, cities have plenty of leisure activities one can do and we can head off inland for camping and driving around in 4×4.
In the UK not so much but in the US people think that we are a group of wackos wearing bed sheets ( as I was once told LOL) turbans and beards. Of course, this could not be any further from the truth and most men just wear modern clothes and the beard is not a specific sign of muslim extremism. I would like to focus on beards for a second as living in Holland and wearing a beard and saying I am from Syria has brought me lots of bullshit from many racist pricks in here.
In Arab countries, many men wear beards. In the Qur’an not wearing a beard (so face being clean shaved) is not haram so it is not prohibited. Having a beard, especially a long beard is halal and is supposed to signify that you are a more devoted muslim but that is all. Many men that are not devotees of Islam or who are Christian have beards because they genuinely like having beards. It gets really hot in summertime and having a beard protects the facial skin from getting sunburned so there truly is a purpose to having a beard as a male in Syria or other Arab countries!!
We Syrian men spend a lot in beard trimmers and shavers!
We have a joke in Syria that says that you aren’t a true Syrian man if you don’t have at least one beard trimmer LOL and it is true, I think I remember reading a report on worldwide sales of electric hair trimmers (beard trimmers, moustache trimmers etc) and the Middle East was the region of the world with the highest number of beard trimmers per capita.
I myself own 4 different hair and beard trimmers although the main beard trimmer I use is the Philips Norelco QT4070 beard trimmer which is the beard trimmer recommended in this forum called Mens Hair Forum or menshairforum.com The guys there are professional barbers so when I read that they also like the Philips Norelco QT4070 I was relieved because I paid some good money for that beard trimmer here in Rotterdam !! The cool thing about the Philips Norelco QT4070 is that it sucks the hair that you trim with the trimmer so it is similar to a vacuum which means then the trimmed hair doesn’t go all over the floor or worse yet get the trimmed hair down where the sun don’t shine and it itches like hell hahaha I should know because I use beard trimmers all the time and the one big advantage of the Philips Norelco QT4070 beard trimmer is the suction system for the trimmed beard hair.
My brothers and father all have beard trimmer LOL same with cousins, uncles and even my grandfathers who are still alive and keep a nicely trimmed beard.
Beards are not just for muslim men
I am christian and I have a beard and so do many christian men the same way that many muslim men do not have beards. I explained it before but there is not set rule and having a long beard as a male is simply regarded as being a clear devotee of the muslim lifestyle.
I have seen with our fellow Lebanese brothers that they like to groom their beards A LOT. So not only will they use a beard trimmer but they will also use “finishers” which are like beard trimmers but trim the hair shorter so you can really shape and style your beard !! Lebanese men also invest a lot in beard products and hair grooming products and they are regarded as the Italians of the Middle East for a reason haha We Syrians instead are seen as tough and a bit raw in our looks so our beards and hair tend to be not as groomed and modern as that of our fellow Levant brothers.
Dress as you like and style your hair as you like, except in some parts
Like I said much of Syria is very modern (compared to other Arab countries) and you can wear whatever you want and have whatever hairstyle you want. I am mentioning hairstyles because men in Saudi Arabia have been banned for wearing long hair that is beyond shoulder length !! In men, hair that is not as long but still long is frowned upon in by society and the religious police can stop you and ask you questions. Somehow they see long hair men as rebels and the police doesn’t want rebels just in case movements like the ones in Egypt or even today in Syria occur.
Misconceptions about society
There is a lot of misconception for the kind of lifestyle that we men and women have in Syria. Because of the very tense situation in Syria, we have the bad things that occur in any country in the world magnified so the few people who are crazy make the most noise and then the rest of us in society are labelled as crazy too by the rest of people sitting in their comfy couch watching biased TV news…