'Men without beards cause indecent thoughts in other men'
Clean-shaven men, the cleric suggested, "cannot be distinguished from women" and can therefore cause "indecent thoughts," Murat Bayaral said on private religious station Fatih Medreseleri, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“Men should grow beards. One of the two body parts that separate men from women is the beard," Bayaral said.
"For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard. Because nowadays women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts,” he added.
The comments sparked a flurry of opinions across social media with many describing the logic as “absurd”.
But this is not the first time a Muslim cleric has come under fire for controversial comments.
In November, an Egyptian cleric caused uproar after highlighting an interpretation of the work of an Islamic jurist suggesting men can have sex with their "illegitimate" daughters.
A video of cleric Mazen al-Sersawi, who is also a lecturer at Egypt's al-Azhar Islamic institution began circulating of him claiming that it is Islamically permissible for men to marry their "illegitimate" daughters.
According to this logic, if a man impregnates a woman who is not his wife, the child is not technically the man's child because it was born as a result of adultery.
"So if girl is born out of out of wedlock, the man can marry her according to these interpretations? What is this?" al-Sersawi said. "It therefore means that a man is able to have sex with his 'illegitimate' daughter.”
The video was originally recorded in 2012, but had recently resurfaced online, leaving many angry at the ruling.
In September, another Egyptian cleric caused shockwaves on social media after he said it is Islamically permissable to marry off new-born girls.