Muslim Paramedic Shaves Off Beard To Protect Others By Wearing Mask
A Muslim paramedic has been praised for making the difficult decision to shave off his beard in order to protect people while working on the frontline.
Shumel Rahman, 39, has had a beard for more than a decade and said it wasn’t just part of his identity, but was an important part of his religion.
The paramedic, who works for the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), ultimately decided to go clean shaven to protect his patients and colleagues, as not having a beard will allow any face masks to fit properly.
Mr Rahman, from Gosforth, Newcastle, shared his decision to shave his beard off on social media, saying it ‘wasn’t a step [he has] taken lightly’ and adding: ‘My beard is not just part of my identity but of my religion.’
After a lot of thought and much deliberation I’ve decided to shave my beard off. This is to allow the respiratory equipment to fit properly. I’ve had a beard for well over a decade and I can’t remember the last time I shaved.
I’ve consulted many Islamic scholars and teachers, locally and nationally, sought advice from fellow Muslim healthcare professionals and very helpfully from the BIMA British Islamic Medical Association. This is was not a simple yes or no answer, however this is exceptional circumstances, totally unprecedented and a unique situation.
I’ve shaven off my beard to protect my patients, my colleagues and my family. One of the greatest acts is to save someone’s life. This simple act may help do that.
Since sharing ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of his face online, his post has attracted a lot of positive attention from both his loved ones and complete strangers – especially since the the NEAS shared his pictures on social media too.
The ambulance service congratulated Mr Rahman for his selfless actions, writing: ‘One of our Muslim colleagues, Shumel, has shaved his beard off to keep himself, his patients, his family and his colleagues safe. Being clean shaven ensures face masks fit correctly. Well done Shumel.’
The post has been liked more than 1,100 times, with many praising his efforts and acknowledging the sacrifice he had to make in order to protect others. While one person wrote: ‘Well done Shumel, I don’t know you personally but I know how much this is a sacrifice from within your faith,’ another simply said: ‘A fantastic paramedic.’
Another person wrote:
Definitely not an easy decision, May Allah give you strength to fulfil your current duty and make you to grow back again.
Mr Rahman ended his post by urging everybody to do their own part in this trying time, writing: ‘You can save lives by staying home and protecting the NHS, letting us get on with our job.’
While Shumel has made a considerable sacrifice, it should be noted that shaving beards off is not a necessity for NHS staff, and a health worker’s individual position – nurse, paramedic, A&E doctor etc. – will determine the level of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for each person.
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CreditsShumel Everest Rahman/Facebook
Shumel Everest Rahman/Facebook