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Contemporary Fiqh Issues Winter 2011

Contemporary Fiqh Issues — Holidays, Celebrations and Imitation

Recommended Textbooks:
Instructor is unaware of any text that covers this material completely in English. However, Muhammad Jibaly does have a book covering the celebrations of Eids and holidays in Islam.
There is also an English translation of Nasir al-Umar’s work, Whoever Imitates a People is One of Them. Both of those works are unavailable to me at the present time and therefore I cannot give you any more details about them.

Grading: Final Exam 100% (March 1, one week before last week of class—however it is possible that for this class there will not be an exam)

When: Tuesdays 8:20-9:20 January 4, 2011 to March 8, 2011

Basic Outline of the Class
The Concept and Ruling of Tashabbuh (Imitation, Emulation)
Holidays and Celebrations of the non-Muslims

2011-01-04 Class Notes

We will dedicate this quarter to one concept that is the concept of imitation i.e. tashabbuh.

Sheikh wanted to ask a question to determine what our current views on tashabbuh is to determine whether we change our opinion or keep it the same after the duration of the class.

“Is it the case that imitation / emulation (which is negative sense like imitating disbeliever not positive like imitating Prophet) is permissible in general unless there is evidence to show otherwise, or is it the case that imitation is not permissible in general unless there is proof to show otherwise.”

Class poll on this question
Permissible unless shown otherwise: 4 (on-site)
Prohibited unless shown otherwise:  7 (on-site)

What is the view that you get to hear from the norm in US in Khutbahs? Usually the former.

In these current times of globalization, one of the things that is being globalized is culture.

Example: In Germany, they build Christmas cities for items related to Christmas. But recently they built a Christmas city in Beijing. So with media and internet, practices and customs can be spread quite easily nowadays.

So some of the authors that have written on the subject of tashabbuh, the risk and extent of imitation is greater than at any other time in history. But this is pretty hard to prove. E.g. just going back 100 years, before the Islamic revival started, there was much imitation of the kuffar.

In the 1960’s for example in Kuwait, it was very common for native Arab women to wear miniskirts (as opposed to foreigners). There were strong movements against hijab. So this Islamic revival has rejected much of the imitation that was in the Muslim world.

There is no question, however, that now is a time in there is a great deal of imitation as we have lot of interaction between kuffar are more avenues for imitation.

The avenues of influence are stronger than they used to be.

Books on Imitating Kuffar by early Muslim Scholars
One of the most extensive books written on imitating the kuffar is written by Muhammad Al-Ghazi al-Shafi’ died 1061 Hijri (محمد الغازي الشافعي) still in manuscript form but is a very large book (7 volumes).  In this book, he talks about the kinds of improper imitation that existed in his time.  This work is specifically dedicated to imitation.  

Even before his time, Ibn Taymiyyah died 728 Hijri has an entire work in which he discusses all the aspects of how those who are following the straight path are supposed to be different than the people who are of the Hellfire (اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم).  In this work, he highlights many examples of the kinds of imitation that existed during his time.

Question: Did this 1950-1960's imitating influence the tafsir of the Qur'an and Ahadith also?
Some Muslims viewed the West and Europe as advanced civilizations.  These were colonialists, etc.  Others saw how negative colonialism was on the native population and this also influenced their views.

It is very rare for Muslim scholars to rise above their environment and speak from a purely unbiased position.  It is a matter of human nature.

Western societies demand assimilation
Now a days in Europe there is  strong movement especially in France and German i.e. German Muslims has to be more German and France muslims has to be more Francophiles ( then the French themselves. In Europe (particularly France and Germany) that insists that they have some European qualities if they wish to remain there. E.g. French girl who had been in France since she was 1 year old, but at 18 was told she was not “French” enough.

Similarly, even here in the USA, there are people like Representative Peter King (from New York) that want to hold McCarthy-style congressional hearings.

So really we need to understand the parameters of the Shari’ah with respect to imitation.What can we do and we are not supposed to do, In what realms is Shari’ah manifesting itself? There are some areas where they are manifesting that are much more dangerous than the obvious forms of imitation.

If we conclude that imitation is a bad thing, we will discuss aspects of the Shari’ah that would help to protect against these issues.

We will talk about some of the ways in the shari’ah that should protect Muslims to fall in pray with imitating then non believers. Lot of people think imitation as something external. Internally there is lot of imitation and lots of belief and ideology and thoughts that is spread around Muslim world that Muslims have developed and adopted from disbeliever which have come straight from disbeliever and this is imitation of the disbeliever and more dangerous.

Examples of imitation that are subtle: external imitation is obvious, but it is also true that there are internal means of imitation, ideas, thoughts, etc and these can be far more dangerous.

What exactly are they demanding of the Muslims in Europe?
Speaking a language is good and when we settle in a foreign culture, Islamically as matter of showing respect to the people there is no problem with it. But they test you culturally for example good German breakfast, etc. Culturally biased examination of the Muslims.

Most the countries are secular, but they have a state denominated church which they recognize as the religion of the people  and they expect people to recognize and understand the christian culture.
What are the limits of public religious displays in the US? ACLU demands there should be none. Conservatives have different expectations.

Early immigrants to France were not highly skilled labour, they were not aware of political power. But now they have Muslims who grew up in the society and they are aware of their rights and they are demanding their rights. Their rights are guaranteed by the EU.

Even here in the US, the law allows you to take time off for Jumuah prayers. But even here people are not allowed to take time to attend Jumuah. If it was Christian or Jewish rituals, then it would have been very easy to attend from work.

Especially for children, it is hard to prevent children to fall into imitation. Example: Sheikh has Hindu Keralans for neighbours and they had Christmas decorations. But the reason is that as a child the mother of the family attended a Christian school, and because of the Santa Claus idea of giving gifts to the good girls. But because she was Hindu not Christian and didn’t get a present, the other girls thought she was a bad girl, so she wanted to make sure her kids did not go through the same things.

This topic of imitation comes up in families all the times across the USA. And that’s without talking about the internal aspects.

There is a sheikh who was living in a very conservative Muslim country, sending his children to a local private Muslim school attended by Muslims, but at Christmas time, there was still a big Christmas party and only he and another sheikh refused to attend.

We will start discussing what are the text of Quran and Sunnah related to the issue with Imitation

Verses from Quran discussing imitation
What verse would you quote?  
Classroom discussion, sheikh is soliciting answers from the students

1. Jews and Christians would not approve of you unless you follow their religion ….
And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance." If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper. Surah Al Baqarah 120

Why do you say this verse deals with imitation?

2. Surah Fatiha
غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

Muslims are not supposed to emulate and follow the ways of the kufar. Allah swt has asked us to ask for guidance and to not follow the path of the dwalleen (lost) and magdube alaihim (those who have angered Allah swt). We know from the hadith that Allah swt is referring to the Jews and Christians. The people who are lost is such a pitiful description of the Christians, they are not making an attempt to follow the right path.

This is a sign that muslims are seeking a path that is distinct and different from other people.

3. Surah Kafiroon
Does that fit here?
What is the meaning of la a’budu ma ta’budoon? It means that disbelievers worship all kinds of things. They could for example worship intellect, or fame or whatever else. So does it fit as a sign of us having a distinct form? Probably.

4. Surah Al-Jaathiyah

“wa laa tattabi’ ahwaa allatheena laa yu’minoon” --
Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know. Indeed, they will never avail you against Allah at all. And indeed, the wrongdoers are allies of one another; but Allah is the protector of the righteous. Surah Al Jathiya V18-19

In different places in Quran we see this command which is basically talking to Muslims to follow what is been revealed to them and not to follow others. When we astray from shariah and following them then we are following their ahwa

5. Surah Maa’idah verse 51- Concept of walaa and baraa.
O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. Surah al Maeda V51
Allah swt says that don’t take jews and christians as awliya.

What are some to the aspects of walaa?
Al Walaa implies love, attachment, emulation, association and togetherness. It includes all of these association. Al-Walaa wal Barra is one of the most emphasized matter in Quran.

Al Baraa indicates dislike, separation, detachment and disdain.  

It does not make any sense whatever for a Muslim to want to imitate al-maghdoobi alayhim nor al-daaleen. Clearly in this verse when Allah mentions that these people are disliked, then clearly it also indicates that we should not imitate them.

Nobody imitates somebody that they absolutely hate or detest. There has to be some positive feeling in the heart for the person you are imitating. And here we are talking about imitating for the sake of imitating.

Q&A Session
Q: What about emulating out of fear?
A: Even if you profess word of kufr out of fear, insha-allah you will be forgiven. There is also a question about fear. Fear for loss of job is not the same as fear for the loss of life and then there is different levels of permissibility of emulation. So you cannot do haraam activities because of fear of loosing your job.
If you are leaving in Spanish Inquisition, then you can imitate out of fear. Fear can be of different levels.

Next time we will discuss hadith of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

2011-01-11 Class Notes

We will discuss some of the texts related to the concept of imitation. The principles related to it will also be discussed.

One of the things about some of the texts that there is many times a prohibition to be like many people and they are tied to certain actions. So for example Allah swt says: wala takunu kalladheena tafarraqoo. [Will put in later.] We are going to discuss them in detail later.

Today we will discuss the hadith.  However here is a reminder of one verses from Surah al Maeda verse 51 which we discussed last time.

Discussion of the concept of Awliyya
Awliyya is translated as friends. What does friend mean in English?  It’s one step up from acquaintance.  
Does it mean closeness, attachment? The concept of awliyya captures the concept of love, emulation, this is a very important concept and we find it many places in the Qur’an. When we discuss aqeedah we will include it inshAllah.

Friends is too weak translation. Protectors is also used. Don’t take them as intimate. They are friends of one another. Then Allah says whoever turns to them is from them. So we have atuwwalla which means to join them and be like them. Imitation will be apart of that. So when a Muslim turns his back on the principle of Islam, being with the Islam and puts his loyalty and attachment with the disbelievers. if someone does that amongst the Muslims then he is among them. This is talking about the Jews and Christians. This verse in the Qur’an captures the idea of being like them, following their ways. this portion is also similar to the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

Hadith #1 - Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them
Man tashabbaha bi qaumin fahuwa minhum (من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم)
Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.

If someone likes to be like them then they are one of them. Even if this person is in a different part of the world. Whoever imitates a people then he is one of them. This hadith we will come back to us many times. The question of imitation. We will come back to this hadith later.

Ahmed al Siddiq al Ghumari commentary on the above hadith:
Ahmed al Siddiq al Ghumari has a small book on imitation. “An istinfar al ghazwa tashabbu bi kuffar”. It is summary of ibn Taymiyyah’s book.

He says: “The scholars of Islam and the Imams of Islam said that differing from disbelievers from their affairs, their appearance, their demeanor or their customs is one of the bases of what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم brought.”

Shaykh says: people seem to forget. There are two aspects of shariah that Allah has emphasized, like two halves of a picture. One is the idea of not imitating the kuffar. The other is differing from the kuffar.

Some people say they are not dressing like them, etc. but that is one half of the picture. The other half is to differ and be distinct from them. This is one of the things we will talk about. Some people think it is to imitate them in specific to them, like the priest’s robes etc. You could avoid all of those things and yet at the same time you will look like the non Muslims with nothing distinguishing you from the non Muslims.

Ahmed al Siddiq al Ghumari says: “The shariah has made this point clear to a point that the one who is like them will be raised on the Day of Judgement with them like them. The shariah has warned us about it and has forbidden even being with accord with them, even without intending to do so. And other things that a person may share with them, even if unintentionally”.

This is because differing from them is the benefits of the religion and it is a source of destruction if we follow them. Ibn taymiyyah proves it in 40 pages. Simply being in accord with them is a cause of destruction. Ibn Taymiyah discusses this as a commentary on the above hadith.

Hadith #2 - Whoever is pleased with the actions of the people then he is a partner in their actions

من رضي عمل قوم فهو منهم

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said: [...]   Whoever adds to the masses of the people is one of them, “whoever is pleased with the actions of a people then he is a partner in their actions”.

This hadith is recorded by Abu ya3la and ad Daylami. A number of chains of narration probably raise this to the level of hasan ligharihi.

When we look at the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and we look at the other hadith we see two important categories. One category describes certain people we should avoid imitating and then we have another set of hadith in which he is describing that this is an act of such and such so don't be like them by resembling them.

The shaykh concludes, you will see that the Muslim ummah and the individual he is following the straight path and as such he is going to be distinct from all of the other people. We have one straight path. We have other paths. The Muslim should not be interested in following other paths. His concern should be to stay away from that path and those on that path. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us about these paths. Even in the preliminary stages following the path.

Unfortunately, it is the often case that Muslims sometimes have a tendency to admire the ways of others and begin to imitate the ways of others. We will get into the principles. Starting with the texts the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us about it and the actions. The actions that he warned us about are not just the acts of worship like the way they pray. there are many things that are not just mundane things.

The groups that the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us to avoid following the ways of:
1. Disbelievers (in general)
2. Following the way of jahiliyyah
3. The way of Magians
4. The Romans and the Persians
5. Mushrikeen
6. Jews and Christians.

Anyone left out? You are left with the conclusion, we are supposed be “shuahada ala an nas.”

We are supposed to show the beauty of Islam and the truth of it. We can show them that we look up to them. This is the result the consequence of following the way of the disbelievers that it sheds a bad light on Islam. Once they do something i.e. fashion etc. then everyone is doing it. We are missing the izzah (the honor) of being a Muslim.

Before 9/11 the feeling that we are of haqq, that we are happy to have the haqq you didn't find this among Muslims. Thus they fell into a lot of these groups the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us about. If we go to the texts, the point behind this is to follow our way and avoid following other ways. we should have izzah in us that this is the best way. Instead of giving up our way, we should show others our way.

Hadith #3 - We will follow them in the hole of the lizard

لتتبعن سنن من قبلكم شبرا بشبر، وذراعا بذراع، حتى لو سلكوا جحر ضب لسلكتموه

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has warned us for example, He has told us that in this ummah there is going to be the disease to follow the non Muslims. The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said we will follow the footsteps of the people before us until if they go to the hole of a lizard we will follow them step by step.

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is describing the magnitude of how far Muslims will go to is shown in this hadith. The shaykh says that the fashion and the fad many times the Muslims are imitating the leading fashions of the West. The hadith is very clear. We tend to go overboard in our imitation. You cannot simply go into the hole of lizard. There has to be some attempt on our part and an effort. We are going out of our way to follow their way. this is the meaning that is being given.

When the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked do you mean the jews and christians, the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said who else?

This hadith is stated as khabr. A statement of fact. Its implication is def prohibition. this is a stronger way of showing prohibition. we have to do our best to stay away from it. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also warned us about imitating acts of the people of jahiliyya

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.” [33:33]

What is meant by jahiliyya?
It is a way of life built on not knowing about the shariah or the way of Islam. Jahl means ignorance. It is referring to the fact that they did not know about the deen of Allah and the shariah of Allah. Even though they are described as jahiliyya the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has warned us of reviving the ways of jahiliyya. and he also warned us that we don’t give up the ways of the jahiliya

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said the most hated people to Allah are three, one of the categories is the one who desires that the practices of jahiliyya remain in Islam.

we find many things. There are lots of things in their ways, customs,practices that the Muslim who has noor, the light the ilm the clear guidance is the exact anti thesis of jahiliyya so the Muslims should never want to revive the ways of jahlilyya as they were ignorant of Allah (swt). Those who try to revive the ways of jahilyya for example in Egypt there are some people who are trying to revive the way of Pharaoh. this was a way of life that was jahiliyya. It ijust shows us that we have guidance yet still amongst us people who are looking outside. even the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told us that the aspects will exist among us

Hadith #4 - Aspects of jahiliyah that my ummah will not abandon

أربع في أمتي من أمر الجاهلية لا يتركوهن: الفخر بالأحساب، والطعن في الأنساب، والاستسقاء بالنجوم والنياحة

The prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم there are four things of jahiliyyah that my ummah will not abandon
1. Boasting about ones high rank (...)
2. Slandering ancestors (Racism)
3. Seeking rain via the stars (used to think that stars will bring rain! la hawla wala quwwata illa billah, thinking that stars will bring the rain, basically putting trust in other than Allah)
4. Wailing over the dead
These are aspects that will still exist and not given up.

Actually a Muslim individual could have some aspects of jahlilya in him. For example Abu Dhar said an unkind word (a racist word) upon which the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, you are an individual who has some jahiliya (ignorance) in him.

So Muslim can have this aspect within themselves. Every Muslim should make an effort to overcome this latent attributes that are present within themselves. Jahiliya is the antithesis of the clear guidance. This is talking about people who don’t know anything about the guidance of Islam.

Nowadays contemporary society even societies that profess full secularism even if you say you believe in God, just saying that even if you have some level of belief that does not free you of living your life independent of God. For example most US citizens know some part of the Ten Commandments. However once you become an adult you are free to express yourself.

Could we consider some Muslim societies now a days as jahili societies?
Answer: if you say these societies are jahili societies then are they disbelievers?  They do have some Islam. Why did the shaykh ask this question?

The ones who revive the concept of jahili understanding that there is such a thing as jahili. This is traced back to Maududi, Syed Qutb and Muhammad Qutb but this was taken to an extreme and distorted by some groups in Egypt and made all the Muslim societies as kuffar and people living in the society as Kaafirs (the takfeer and hijra groups). We have to careful of the way what we mean by it.

Two types of Jahiliyya
There are two types of jahiliya, jahiliyya mutlaqa (جاهلية مطلقة) the society is pre islamic society and jahili al muqayyadah (جاهلية مقيدة) where in some aspects of jahliya in them. Having some qualities of jahili does not make the whole society kafir. For example the hadith that we discussed about abu Dhar uttering a racist remark.

The society of jahiliyyah mutlaqa will not exist in the Muslim lands because the truth will prevail. So the other lands can have it which is not a Muslim land where they are not aware of the guidance of Allah.

Hadith #5 - Imitating the kuffar in their clothing
One time Abdullah ibn ‘Amr as was wearing two garments which were dyed a certain color. But there is no sign that the shaykh found that the garment he was wearing had any kind religious significance to it. Nor is there any sign in the hadith that Abdullah bin ‘Amr necessarily knew what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was going to tell him. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him, this is from the clothing of the disbelievers so don’t wear it.

Commentary of Ahmed Shakir on above hadith
Ahmed Shakir lived in early 20th century in Egypt. He says that this hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr indicates that the Muslims are not allowed to imitate the kuffar in their clothing in their outward appearance. None of the people of knowledge ever differed on this issue until modern times came. Muslims bowed their heads and became subservient to them and imitated the disbeliever in everything in their outward clothing, their customs and many other things to the extent that even those who are attached to knowledge also imitating them in dressing to the point that it has become an insignificant issue even in his behaviour, clothing etc. to the point that the Islamic ummah the only signs distinguishing them from the  kuf is the salat, the fasting and the hajj. The only thing that would tell us they are Muslims just by looking at this. He was writing at a time when the revival of Islam was taking place.

After the British display of burning of the hijab in Uzbekistan etc. It was no unusual for men and women to dress like the non Muslims. Muslim men wearing moustaches and shaving their beards. If you went to the Turky of kamal ataturk western, shah of iran time all was westernized. Ahmed Shakir knew best. Syria and Lebanon was looking just like the French. If you go to the places 90% Muslims the only things that made them distinct was besides the architecture was just the salat and the hajj and the Islam. and nothing else would make you recognize that you are in Muslim land and the people around you are Muslims.

Since the revival in recent times things are much better. more men and women have gone back to the Islam in their dressing and there manner. There is more of a sign you are around Muslims. It can get to that point. If you look at the Muslim communities in the west if you see a Muslim indian/pakistani guy you say salam to him or not? chances are that he is not Muslim. As nothing in the appearance, clothing identifies him as a muslim until the time of siyam or salath comes in where you recognise them as muslim.That’s the only thing you are gonna go on. Until if you saw him praying etc. you would see his Muslim. even in the beard you cannot use that as a sign.

Sikhs are a people who believe this idea that they are distinct. The one guy in army who is sikh who put his khanjar (knife). this is missing from muslims. If you see sikh you can recognize the sikh. Sometimes the non muslims mistake them for who they are.

Dress code for Muslims: there should be something that distinguishes Muslims from the non Muslims. If nothing more then just a kufi. Or the turban. no one is gonna object to that. Nothing. SubahNAllah! May Allah swt guide them, ameen!

Hadith #6 - We should differ from the mushrikeen
So the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us of following the ways of the kuffar.

Another hadith of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم We should differ form the mushrikeen let the beard flow and shorten the moustache to differ form the mushrikeen

daaltau of the main reasons behind growing the beard and shortening the moustache is the  idea of differing from the mushrikeen. when we talk about the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم we will see over and over agian where the emapsise is nto just given in imitation but also difefreing from mushrikeen.

We should not like the al a3raab (the Bedouins). Why do you think that we should not be like a3raab? The majority were . The bedouins at that time had qualities. One of the qualities they had they were not people of knowledge. They were not known for books, and they were known to be very harsh. And these two qualities put together usually didnt lead to good things. We have some warning because of this.

Among the things we are not supposed to imitate is shaytan,  the followers of different ways.

Allah tells us  

“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”  [2:208]

You have hadith like don’t eat or drink with your left hand for verily shaytaan eats and drinks with the left hand.

Then if you go on the statements of sahaba like Abu Bakr and Umar we see very clear sign that the Muslim is not supposed to be following any of these people based on the teaching from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلمNot only imitating them but also to differ from them.

This is kind of the category of the people. We will talk about the specific actions of them. All of the realms of life, not just ibadah.

If have a significant number of warnings about a particular issue from the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم  then it is an indication of the significance of the issue. If we went through all of these hadith and evidences it would take up the whole quarter! Sheikh mentioned that a PhD thesis which is over 500 pages long on this topic.

The idea of imitation should not be something insignificant in your mind. You have so many text from Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم … that it cannot be something that you take it lightly. The more text you have indicates the importance. Or else why would prophet  would tell us over and over again regarding this subject.

Why is it such an important issue? We will discuss it later.

Q: The way we grow our beards has to be a specific way?
That is now been established as the way of the muslims. the jews and other people grow a beard. If at some point the disbelievers imitate us then this does not change our way. In islamic state there will be limits as to how much the non muslims can imitate the muslims, like umar ibn al khattab did.

2011-01-25 Class Notes

Last time we spent sometime we spent time on those people we are not supposed to imitate. Variety of groups we are not supposed to imitate and emulate you get the picture that there is some uniqueness that go with the Muslims.

Then we will talk about specific acts that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told us about avoiding to imitate. When we look at the large number of categories eventually we will end up with the notion of the asl. We already discussed that imitation is permissible unless otherwise

Shaykh is conveying a point by narrating some incidents from his life.

Story #1
One time when shaykh long after he became muslims. Shaykh was in Davis his brother was in San Francisco. The shaykh took the greyhound to visit his brother when he was a muslim for 2-3 years. Someone walks by in the bus station and he says salam and he responds. His brother looks at him and says how do you know each other? His brother could not understand it. How do you know each other? How do you think the shaykh was able to recognize him as a muslim?

Here is one way to recognize a muslim. He was with his wife. His wife was wearing hijab. That hijab is a sign of islam. What we find is that in our current state that it is very difficult to identify a muslim but a muslim sister is easy to identify. If we distinguish ourself from the kuffar then we cannot get into the society and advance.

If you look at the sisters, they are identified immediately as muslims. They are active in society and they are accepted as part of their religion. In the case of sisters we have it because hijab is wajib. Hijab is identifier. They have been living with this identifier. They have not suffered becasue of this anymore then brown skin. Our problem amongs the men really considers his issue much. Even our shuyookh don’t set the example, then its difficult.

Story #2
Shaykh attended this conference. Its not like open to the public. Its 25 shuyookh or duat and it was a very closed conference. they are well known and respected. Shaykh goes to the first morning to breakfast buffet. Then the shaykh sees a man by the food and he is wearing a tshirt and tight jeans and he starts eating some of the shaykhs food. The shaykh thinks to himself what is he doing. The shaykh gets a plate and start. He had a beard. All of a sudden he says to the shaykh you must be jamal zarabozo. The shaykh was surprised and said yes. The shaykh thought he must be someone who helps. And then he says i am shaykh such and such.

Our shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo was just shocked. Forget even about the differing from kuffar but at least even among the other shuyookh showing respect. Then the shaykh got a lecture from the same shaykh on imitation of the kuffar. The reality is completely different. Even the mindset of some of our shyuookh is not there. Actually the shaykh can give more examples. The mindset is not there even among the shuyookh. For this kind of thing to be dealt will be a long uphill battle.

One last prelimiary discourse:  Do not imitate the fasiqun
If muslims, were going to go imitate other people you would hope e.g. they come to a US society. And they end up imitating something from the people here whether permissible or not you would hope they would take the most intelligent contribution these people have. you would hope. They would not take from the worst of the community. One of the categories of the people we are not supposed to emulate is which is mentioned by many of the ulama is that we are not supposed to imitate the fasiqeen or the fussaq.

Who are the fasiqeen? Fisq is something that people go to over the limits. they are probably doing major sins in the public as well they are the fasiqeen.

Allah swt says in verse 59:19 about the fasiqun
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
And be not like those who forgot Allah , so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
(Sahih International)

Two aspects of fasiqun
When the scholars talk about this category they say there are two aspects to his.

One aspect is fasiq and action he does that makes him a fasiq. Like he drinks alochol. It goes without saying that, we should not imitate or emulate the fasiqeen when drinking alcohol. Thats a given. What they mean is that certain qualities, certain dress etc. then you should not appear in that nature. because when you come out then you are opening the door for people to think you are like those fasiqeen. We have to be careful.

One would hope when muslims look to another community, and fall into an imitation one would hope they take the best. When you look at our youth and you look at our industries, they are just taking some of the lowest non respected members of this community. Like for example hip hop and rap music. If you are familiar culture and the basic ideas and concepts that his sub culture is promoting. You will see it stands for things alien to Islam. Whether you talk about crime. There was a point in time in which a hip hop artist got arrested his street credit increased. They are about drugs, sex and portraying these things. Even non muslim women are upset about it and its going to rub off on the children. Where the woman is called something bad then they are going to keep using these words and it will seep into the actions of the followers.

By the way generally the music industry is filled with fisq. It is not just the hip hop artists. There is right now a TV show called American Idol shows the influence of the culture. On this show, the most recent one that they had, just to give you an example, it is part of the rock culture, Thats not what it is portraying. So they have one of their judges from a lead singer Steven Tyler. He is 62 years old. and so they have some contestants who are 15 16 years and he is making passes at them. His actions are not condemned and they it adds interest to the music business. Most of the music buisness is not as blatant as the hip hop scene. There are some socially conscious that are sober. TI, lil wayne etc. Everybody knows the bad ones and that is what they are promoting.

Within this culture there is a prison culture because the vast majority of African American males end up in prison. They have a very small percentage. The US does not have a justice system, what we have is a legal system (profound mashaAllah). Justice is not the goal of this system. By that what it means is if you can know the loopholes you can play around the legal systems and you can get around it. The vast majority that are arrested are the black people and the white people are the ones that are let go for similar crimes.

This is the culture that many of our youth are following. Even if a hip hop is brought to the masjid then this is giving a bad image to islam. Why would he be part of that scene, look at how our kids are dressing. The pants hanging on. Muslim kids. Where is that coming from? In prison they are not allowed to wear belts. This comes from prison. Worse is when they hang it down. This means that person is available. Its bad enough we have imitation. We have imitation from people who the society does not even follow. Till now the message is not mainstream. This is all part of what is going on among us. That we have to be aware of. This generation that is here right now this is what they are doing. It will take a lot of effort. The leaders have to wake up and work on this.

There is a difference between integration and assimilation. assimilation means you lose your distinctiveness. Most of politically correct people will not call for assimilation. they will call for integration. what is the role of the Muslims in a secular, liberal society will talk about later.

Vital signs. hip hop.
How many of you have heard top christian performers. There is a book of Hollywood who developed Hollywood. Second group that is influential is the gay community. They have a big big influence. Does not mean there is something positive coming out of it. You learn to live with that. If you went to see a movie about Malcolm X and you see actor kiss a woman that is not related to him on the screen, you learn to ignore it, Its out of your mind. Even if the thing as a whole. Khmar might have some manafe. That is not what the whole thing is all about. Its an art and they are expressing and they are saying all of this useless stuff.

Completely disassociating from the society. In general the whole society is like this. You don't have to go and listen to this. you can be aware of these things but you don't have to go and listen to this stuff.

Sending children to a Muslim school they will be isolated. they are gonna feel maladjusted. not integrated because they are not doing all these things. The shaykh’s point is that they are maladjusted then this means something else that we must do. Even the muslim societies they are even worse. It much worse in non muslim schools but what do we do in a muslim school.

You have to understand the shariah position and you have to take it seriously.

We are lacking and it has come to from the top down.  

So the parent has to be intelligent. And he has to see how the approach of parenting is taken by the child. When you were growing up the society was not open. There are many muslim kids who would take them. We are for freedom and progressiveness. Dont say my mold worked and it will work for my children. The mother side might not like what you are doing.

Another question: talking about parents what bout those people who have a position  of authority, what should be there role. They are probably one against how many? They are against 7. 1 voice against 7. 6 people see this as a problem. We have bad influences on our children. what could they do? Expel them? You could imagine what kind of fitnah this would cause. how many students would the people end up with? So a big school needs a lot of children. What practical steps they could do?

2011-03-22 Class Notes

Continue our discussion about imitation of kufar. Last time we discussed the different categories of people that we are not supposed to imitate. The conclusion of that discussion is that a Muslim is not supposed to imitate non-Muslims.

We have the complete and perfect teachings from Allah swt and guidance from Allah swt and a perfect example with prophet. We have to convey and show the message to others. If we as an ummah show to the rest of the people that we are looking up to them for guidance and how we should lead our lives, then we are presenting a very bad example to them.

Question of imitation has many important ramifications, amongst them is the question of dawah. This question is core to our aqeedah and our identity. If we want to bring this message to others, we have to see what state we have fallen into. There is no question we are looking at others on how to dress, to portray that you are respectable, you dress in a modern western attire, it is sign of a civilized person. What message do we give when we dress in the traditional Islamic dress?

Many people do not realize the great importance of tashabuh. It is a very important concept.

One of the categories that we did not mention last time, was that of animals. We cannot sit like a dog, peck like a crow, etc. There are many hadith that describe that we are not supposed to imitate animals.

When we discuss what is natural, we say that this is what the animals do and hence it must be natural. Animals are a totally different creatures. The Sheikh is alluding to something that is cited in the modern world about how animals behave and that it is natural. (Ed: He did not discuss it, but I think here he is alluding to sexual behaviour of animals)

We do not follow the example of the animals and this is shown in many hadith of the prophet.

If someone cites the example of crow setting the example for Qabeel, this is an exception. There are are many examples where we are strictly forbidden to imitate the animals.

Ibn Hajr found 30 examples of things the Prophet (SAWS) prohibited us from doing because some other group did them. Another book mentions 23 cases. Naasir Al-Aql -- man tashabbaha bi qawmin fahuwa minhum. (ناصر العقل - من تشبّه بقوم فهو منهم)

Realm of imitation is quite comprehensive, it is not just related to ibadah. The realm of acts that we are not supposed to imitate are not just ibadah, but also cultural acts.

Case Scenario: How to interact with women who are menstruating?
Arabs used to look up to the Jews in Madinah. Many of the customs of the Jews were adopted by the Muslims. Jews used to seclude women who were menstruating, this was due to some misunderstanding of their texts, she would retire to  her own separate place/room during the time of menstruation.

Allah swt revealed in Surah 2:22 that you could do everything with them except sexual intercourse. Which was very different from what the Jews used to do, they would not have any contact at all with menstruating women.

Interestingly the hadith mentions in the report that the Jews said that “the Prophet left no act except he does something different from us.”

There was a time in the early period of revelation, that the prophet used to imitate the Jews, for situations when there was no clear revelation yet. But there came a time when Allah swt asked him not to imitate them. There was clear line of demarcation. He then stopped imitating them whatsoever. He was intentionally not following them. He would try to differ from what the Jews used to do.

The Prophet (SAWS) said: Clean your doorsteps, for verily, the Jews do not clean their doorsteps. In Al-tirmidhi and in al-mu’jam al-awsat by al-tabarani.

Which category do these things fall into? It’s not really ibaadaat, or fiqh, it is in every aspect.

The Prophet (SAWS) said differ from the Mushrikeen, shorten the moustache and let the beard grown.

He also said: Shorten the moustache and let the beard grow and be different from the Magians.

Based on these hadith, Ibn Taymiyyah states this is a principle of shariah. He says that if someone wants to follow the straight path, then he should avoid following the kufar in all types of matters.

Scholars do not simply understand that you do not just distinguish on individual aspects, but the illa or the legal principle, is that you are trying to distinguish in a general principle. It is a goal of Shariah. And it leads to defining the uniqueness of Muslims.

Hijab is one of the signs of Muslim women and the beard and the trimming of the mustache is one of the outward signs of Muslim men. That is the reason why some scholars were harsh to Muslims who did not follow these outward signs of a Muslim. They use derogatory terms they use for Muslims who do not grow a beard.

Footnote about beard
Another thing about the beard. In the Arabic language, there are some linguists/lexicologists, they define the beard they only include the hair that is grown on the chin. Two comments: this is a minority opinion amongst the lexicologists, and extremely minor amongst the scholars. It is part of our understanding of fiqh that we can not simply take the text of the Qur’an and Hadith and take that definition. Amongst Arabic speakers, you can find many unique or unusual meanings. For example, we do not have anyone amongst the Sahabah anyone who claimed that the beard was just the goatee. The linguistic meaning is not necessarily the fiqhi meaning.

Imitation in the matter of the call to prayer
Another example of not following has to do with the call to prayer.
People came up with different ideas, e.g. blowing a horn and ringing a bell. The Prophet (SAWS) rejected these two is very clear: the reason was that these were specifically to the ways Jews (blowing the horn) and Christians (ringing the bell) did things. And he did not have to elaborate further on it. And then the revelation for Adhan is described in the hadith.

Prohibited times of prayer
This is another example related to imitation. What are some of the reasons why we are prohibited from praying at the time of sunrise and sunset?
Hadith describes that shaytan rises between the two horns and the disbelievers used to worship at the time of sunrise and sunset.

Ibn Taymiyah brought up the point in his book iqtidaa ihdina as-siraat al mustaqeem (اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم), is there any Muslim who will have pray at that time with the intention of following the kufar.

He says intention at that time is irrelevant. This act is prohibited. It is not a matter of intention, you do not ask him what was his intention. You assume that a Muslim would not do that and this proves that intention is not a motivating factor in imitation. You simply do not do the act because it is prohibited.

People are mislead into believing that since they do not intend to follow the disbelievers, then their act of imitation is okay.

Another example of garment and not to imitate the Jews in how they used to loosely wrap the garment during prayers. Prophet said do not imitate the Jews.

Prophet said that the Jews and Christians break their fast much later at night and not at sunset. He prohibited us in not delaying the breaking of the fast. Unfortunately the Shia delay breaking the fast.

Assabiayah (عصبيّة)
Tribalism or Nationalism is a concept now accepted by most Muslims. Muslims from country X will say that I do not like Muslims from country Y. This has become a part of our culture.

Prophet has said that Assabiayah is part of jahilyaah and which we are supposed to abandon.

Prophet said do not extol me, like the Christians extol the son of Maryam, say I am the servant of Allah and his slave.

Prophet Isa has a very elevated status and he has many unique characteristics, but if you raise it above it, then you are imitating the Christians.

We have one group of people (such as Sufis) who have raised the status of the prophet above his proper status. They give some status that is not found in the Quran and the Sunnah. So they are doing exactly what the prophet warned us about.

For example, one of the early leading figures of Sufism, Al Hallaj, He is very famous for his statement, I am truth. He said that the prophet is an external light that existed before creation and all of the prophets and saints got this light from the prophet. This is a common belief among the Sufis. This is beyond what is mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

Ibn Arabi, another extreme Sufi, mentions that the Prophet is a manifestation of Allah. (Arabic term here .....) If you are familiar with his works then this statement should not be shocking.

Then there is the other extreme, that there is nothing special about the prophet.

Hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas
Abdullah ibn Amr said that the prophet saw me wearing clothes dyed of a specific coloring and he said that this is the dress of the kufar and therefore do not wear it.  

He did not ask him what was his intention in wearing the dress. He simply said that do not imitate the kufar.

2011-03-29 Class Notes

So far we have covered a number of verses that warn us about imitating the previous people. We also touched upon different hadith. We also see that Muslims are not supposed to imitate others.

There are a large number of ayat that touch upon not just ibaadaat but also other acts where Prophet (saw) said this is imitation explicitly and we are not supposed to imitate others.

Conditions where imitation is permissible:
We will study the conditions for permissibility of imitating others. There are certain principles and we will study them to determine when we are allowed to imitate others.

Two dissertations on the topic of imitation where they go into detail about the matters of Tashabbuh. Both are in Arabic.

Mukhalafat al kuffar fi al sunnah alnabawiyyah (مخالفة الكفار في السنة النبويّة), the author is Ali ibn Ibrahim Ujayn (علي ابن ابراهيم عجين).  
Available here:

As Sunan wal aathaar fee al-nahy an tashabuh fil kuffaar (السنن والآثار في النهي عن التشبّه بالكفار), the author is Suhail Hassan Abdulghaffar( سهيل حسن عبد الغفّار).

This makes things clear that we have our own method and practices which we need to follow and not to imitate the kuffar in general.

We have just touched the tip of the iceberg, If we want to go thorough all the text then we will have to spend the rest of the quarter going through all of the examples in those books.

There is a book in Urdu but shaikh has not read it obviously.

If Allah or Prophet forbade something there is some point, reason and benefit as Allah and prophet don't forbid if there  is no reason. So thus there is benefit for the Muslims in avoiding imitating kuffar.
Seriousness or the ramnifications of imitating the kufar
We will begin by going back to important Hadeeth and understand the principles. Hadeeth is “Whoever imitates a people, then he is one of them.”

If you look t the meaning this very strong hadeeth and we need to take the meaning seriously. Where it says if you imitate then you will be one of home i.e. you will resurrected on the day of judgment as one of them.

Sometimes in the shariah, based on other evidence, we can say what is stated in the text is not the full meaning of it. However even if that is the case, the way something is stated in the shariah. The frankness of the wording is strong warning for us.

We can say that exactly what is stated in this text may not be completely what it means ie. not all the full meaning is and we have ti understand all the contain. Although even that is the case, the frankness and the strength of this should give very strong message to us.

As bin Taymiyyah asid "If you look at this hadeeth what the meaning is that if you imitate the kufar in any way and you should consider as one of them. And we know form other principle that generality is not true. However, this strongly worded statement should have an effect on us and we need to consider the words chosen by the prophet, he could have phrased it differently but he did not..

Just to take an example to distinguish between the two. Some people do not believe in revelation and we imitate them in that point we are getting into two errors.

1) Imitation
2) Doing something which is haram as act.

For example of the celebration of Mawlid of Prophet (SAWS) this act in itself is the act of imitation of Christians where they celebrate the birth of Esa. But this is not an act which will take some one outside the fold of Islam. There the sin and how we are going to be with them is that we will be them without the act. There are two  things:

1) Doing something which is not allowed in shariah
2) Doing the act of imitation.

If you imitate people who do not believe in the revelations, then you are committing two sins, we are imitating people who do not believe in the revelations and we are committing kufar by not believing in the revelations.

If you imitate them with something kufur that will take us outside the fold of Islam.
Obviosly many times when people think of imitation of kuffar. They think about imitation of kuffar just on the outward aspect like dress appearance, obviously this fall under general category and Prophet (SA) specified in many hadeeth.

The most dangerous form of imitation occurs when we imitate others in matters of aqeedah and this is where we fall into kufr as a result of our imitation of the disbelievers. One would hope that in matters of belief, it would seem that this is the least likely area for us to imitate the non-believers. At least our belief we should take from Quran and Sunnah.

Ibn Taymiyah wrote after a passage that  "he said that this makes it clear that the roots of the deen of Allah and the law of Allah and the appearance of kufr and disobedience to Allah and the root of this is imitation of the disbelievers"  This is a pretty strong statement. But if you study the extent of the imitation of the disbelievers and the extent to which it even touches upon our aqeedah.

But there are core aspects of our aqeedah and in every single one of them there has been imitation of the non-Muslims and imitation of kuffar. That imitation is not a minor thing, not limited to a few people in the Ummah. If you go back through our history, you will see how imitating the kuffar and taking ideas from the kuffar and accepting the views of the kuffar and putting their views of the kuffar above what the Qur’an is teaching and showing and teaching of Prophet (Sa) and what the sahabah followed,

Influence of foreign philosophies or imitation of kufar in the matters of aqeedah

[Ed: This is a very strong statement by the shaikh about scholarly writing about aqeedah.]
If you go back and try to understand the true aqeedah, it is now difficult to disentangle the pure Islamic aqeedah from that which imitates non-Muslims.

Tying it to the topic we studied in tafseer of Quran and the problems of tafseer by Al Raazi and the inclusion of greek and hindu philosophy to study aqeedah.

Foreign thoughts and methodologies entered into the aqeedah of the Muslims, this can be based on good or bad intention but the matter of fact is the it becomes the case of Imitation. The fact of the matter is that the aqeedah issues became a matter of imitation. Early on, around 132H, this is where daar Al-Hikmah (not sure if it was Al-Ma’moon or Haroon Al-Rasheed). The purpose and goal of this Daar al Hikmah was to translate ancient texts from Greece and India. Some of this work were beneficial. Under the title of philosophy at that time were all the other scientists.

The main translators in Darul Hikmah, almost all the people doing the translation were non-Muslims. There are even narrations that when the Khalifah asked for people to do this work, some of the Christians of Baghdad met together and discussed whether to take part in this project or not and they decided to take part in it. They said that this type of knowledge never enters a people except that it destroys the deen. When they translated it into Arabic, the Muslims began to speak in the same terms as the Greek philosophers, and started to introduce aspects of Greek concept into Islamic realm.

Imitation of kufar while studying the existence or attributes of Allah swt
Language is very much related to the thought process, and the Greek language (carrying with it the thought process), was carried into the Muslim lands.The thought process of Quran which has come in to us is different from the Greek though process. Part of it was to also identify the nature of Allah (SWT).
Al-Suyooti in his book called Wajib he has a quote from Abu Hanifah about people who introduced Greek terms like accidents, and Abu Hanifah said “These are the words of Greek philosophers. You should follow the reports that have come down and you should follow the way of the early generations. Stay away from every innovation for it is bid’a”

False beliefs of the Greek Philosopher and its influence on Muslim Philosophers
One of the things about Greek philosophers did not believe in messengers being sent to humanity. And these even entered into Islam. For example Abu Hayyan mentions that when many of these philosophers hear about the Prophets, they frequently dismiss it.

So at that time you have the Muslim philosophers. Some of them have beliefs that are clear kufr. E.g. Ibn Sina says that Allah (SWT) did not create this existence (because creation would constitute a change in the existence of Allah and they did not believe that it was possible).

Ulemaa al Kalaam (علماء الكلام)
These new generation became known as ‘ulemaa al-kalaam. They took the principles of logic (perhaps out of good intention dates back to Aristotle). They proved the beliefs of Allah (SWT)’s existence using those principles of logic.

Philosophers adopted all of the strange beliefs of the Greek philosophers and we can see Muslim philosophers using the same lines of argument.

There did come a time in which the principles of logic related this word and we are taking this rule on this world and try to impose on Allah. We as human being cannot speak about Allah and his attributes as this is Ilmul ghaib, What we know about Allah is what we has been reveled by Allah. We have no right to speak about Allah (SWT) and philosophize about it, except what has been revealed to us by the Quran and the Sunnah.

These principles influenced by foreign principles became the part of Iman. This led them to reject many of the attributes of Allah (SWT) the sifaat al-fi’liyyah (الصفات الفعليّة) for example descending in the last part of the night, Allah swt loving people who obey his commands. They end up drawing the a very dry picture of Allah (SWT).This could get to the level of kufar, even if it does not reach that level, it reduces their Iman, your relationship with Allah swt will be weakened because of the imitation of the kufar.

It gets to a level that your conception about Allah is not proper that has come down to us from Allah and prophet we are going to have weak man and our  relationship with Allah. All of this is based on the imitation of Kufar and taking them as the ultimate truth even above Quran and Sunnah. This is what happened in the history of the Muslim ummah, in the Asharis and Maturidis.

The masses are ignorant and are not aware of it. They are closer to Allah swt than some of the scholars who fell into this trap.

But the reality is that majority of the institutions and uremia who existed today they belong to this madhabs and they weakness to man and that is directly reeled to Imitaion from Kufar as they are not getting from direct Quran and sunnah as they take the belief based on Logic and greek philosophy. This can effect your relationship with Allah and may effect when you meet Allah. This is completely result of imitaion of Kufar.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of current scholars are Ash’ari or Maturidi. This is why they have weaknesses and mistakes in Iman. This can affect your entire life and your actions. This is completely the result of the imitation of the kuffar.

You can actually trace as done by some uremia??? did like case of Ta3weel, idea of ta3weel and kind of reinterpretation they make you can trace to specific to christian scholars in the past  e.g. Philo of Alexandri, St Augustine, etc. Some of the early people like Ja’d b. Dirham many times their teachers were Christian and Jews many time and they relied upon the books of Christians and Jews. If you look at Muslim around us now a days there as eoms basic aspects of belief that have entered into Islam and spread among Muslims after coming from non-Muslims.

Influence (or Imitation) of Modernist beliefs
Looking around the Muslims today have entered into Islam after directly coming from the disbelievers.

E.g. many “modernists” in the Muslim community. It is not an Islamic belief. They did not have the courage to come up with their own definition. The roots of modernism are completely in Europe and has nothing to do with Islam or Qur’an. But has to do with the history of Christianity and Europe. When they recognized the fact that the books that they have were not the true revelation from Allah (SWT), and there were issues with their books -- internal and external inconsistencies, this led to a revolution and these books, since they are human-tainted, they can not be meant for all of humankind until the day of judgement. Except if we understand them in a general sense and change their teachings to match modern times.

Only way this books will be in consistent in modern times is to change the contents of the books based on the current times and what is valid in modern times. They are essentially saying that these books are not suitable for modern times, and we should decide that. For example, recent discussions about death sentence for apostasy, they say nobody believes it anymore. They don’t believe in it because of their attitude is justified, given the issues with the Bible. Thus you have to treat in certain ways.

Sh says “If I were a Christian I would be a modernist” because the justifications are correct for Christianity, but none of them are valid for Islam. Because of the justification within Christianity and Europe as non of them  valid in Islam frame work as Quran and words of Prophet is preservers and they are qualified to guide us till the Day of Judgement.

In addition to the fact that Musa and Eesa were not meant to be final.

But the modernists, they say “times have changed, these things are no longer final.” You essentially reject parts of the Qur’an and Sunnah ,they might explain in creation way but in reality they are rejecting some of the aspects, and it is an incredibly dangerous path and some of them might be committing Kufr. Why? Because it is imitation of the kuffar. Not just dress, but in matters of belief.

This is a very, very dangerous imitation, we have to be careful about not imitating others in the matters of belief in Allah swt.

Another example: how many Muslims today are secularists? Also a foreign concept. Developed in Europe because of issues with Catholic church -- nothing new to the Catholic church. Many popes died of syphilis. This is well documented in their history books.   

In the case of Europe, the church dominated every aspect of life. Holy roman empire virtually dominated every aspect of life ie. all the laws. If this domination was based on guidance of Allah this is would have been some thing different. But here the church and pope laid down the law and no one can question them and no one can go to bible as  in idles we can go to the Quran and correct the view. This is not possible in the Christian. The concept of papal infallibility -- the Pope is infallible. So when they dominated every aspect of life. That is what forced the sane people to say “It’s not working with the church. Then we’ll need a civil government.”

How many Muslims also believe that you can’t apply the Quran & Sunnah and don’t believe that he is entitled to be the Lord of all creation, there is no the law as they do not believe that Allah is Haakim and he is Ilaah and Rabb.

Many Muslims believe in the secular beliefs, this has entered in the Muslim world and become acceptable and spread among the belief. This is because of accepting what they said  imitating the kuffar in our thoughts and our beliefs not only in our outward . These are extremely important points for us.

Many Muslims believe in human rights, democracy, without any idea or understanding of these concepts and its relationship to aqeedah. How many Muslims believe in human rights and democracy and they don't even realized what is democracy and what is human right and where this concept from. They don't have idea what you need to believe and where to draw the line. This again concept from the kuffar without thinking where this concept from as shield be done by all Muslim. They have spread like wild fire, without understanding where the concepts came from. If it came purely from the kuffar, the first thing to ask, whether these thoughts are consistent or inconsistent with our beliefs.

We take these concepts and let them enter into our minds, and imitate the kuffar. We as Muslims should ask about these concept, How is this consistency and inconsistency with our belief . This is question to be asked every time bad if even they ask they take this concept and they look good and then we accept it and thus it because another aspect of imitation of Kuffar.

Now go back to the statement of ibn Taymiyyah, the foundation or deen of Allah swt is lost due to imitating the kuffar. This was written 700 years ago, before the advent of modernism, democracy, human rights, secularism, nationalism before all of those concepts were introduced.The point he made is now stronger and clear. When these concept spreads then some aspects of the belief in Allah is lost like Allah being Hakim is lost. So all the part of the deen are slowly chipped and lost slowly. They have been lost because we are simply imitating the  kufar as we are taking their ideas and principle also in the aspect of Aqeedah and we are following them. Once we understand his concept imitation is very dangerous.

We are taking them and blindly following them. This shows that imitating the kuffar is very dangerous. We have to be aware of the concepts

We have to be very aware what we do wan deb aware of concepts we belief and we have to believe in aspiration and general practise of our deen. And we have to believe in what the concept is and where it is coming from. Our belief are rooted in reality is rooted in the ways and thought of kuffar and principle and doctrines of philosophy that has crept into Islam, And there can be cases that you can take it out of the veld f islam. If you believe in moderns and secularism the it is pure kufar. You are seeing that if Allah law is not valid any more and we have to lay down our laws. Regardless if this interred into Islam innocently or non innocently that doesn't amateur.

We have to be aware of what we are doing and the purpose of our lives and what we believe in and where it comes from? Are they from Allah (SWT) and the Prophet (SAWS) or in the ways of the people? If it is the latter, then it is very dangerous. It can even take us outside of the fold of Islam. If you believe in Secularism and Modernism completely, then it is pure kufr (i.e. that we don’t have to pay any heed to the laws of Islam in the Quran & Sunnah). Like the aspect of materialism where we think that this world is everything then this has come from the kufar giving it names of modern science.

Concepts like Feminism, Multicultural-society, pluralism, liberalism do have reminisce of the imitation

2011-04-05 Class Notes

Questions for Shaikh
1. “how to bring about a paradigm shift, from ...isms to the world view of the Deen?”  

2. We have already seen that intention is not a determining factor for imitation, ie you can imitate somebody without the intention of imitating them. Most of us in the 21st century have received our education in Western institutions, so we are not aware of even the most basic concepts of God, Religion as understood by the prophet and the sahaba. So my question is about influence v/s imitation. Is there a difference in these concepts? We are deeply influenced by ideas and isms from the West, would you consider this to be an influence or imitation?
A: as alluded last time, in matters of aqeedah and we’re influenced by kufr there are not excused. Regardless of how it come about, we should reject it.

We have to be careful of the path that we are following and whether the path that we are following is consistent with the shariah or not. These should be in the mind of the individual who has taqwa.

Ideas that come from non-Muslims now are distant from revelation, but many still have belief in God and religion. Abiding by the revelation, they don't believe in it and do not follow in it, maybe due to the quality of the revelation that is with them.

Good intention from shariah means you are doing it to please Allah swt, whereas in the western concept, you are doing it to please other human beings, does not have ill will towards others.

If they are not basing their life on guidance from Allah swt, then it is not surprising that they come up with theories or systems or ideas that are not in agreement in with what Allah swt has revealed to us.

There will be something in their concepts that is in disagreement with the revelation of Allah swt, shariah, or aqeedah.

There might be some good in it.

Our following of the kufar and imitation of the kufar, is not restricted to ..... but also to practical aspects of kufr. What we talked about last week is related to our belief towards Allah, i.e. how we believe and what we believe in Allah like He is Al-Haakim i.e. ultimate authority. Thus if there are concept which is kufr and if we follow these ideology then it is kufr. Some time our imitation of kuffar even if the action of kufr is not restricted o ideology but also the practical aspects of shirk, we have imitated kuffar like making dua to someone other than Allah. We have hadeeth from …"Dua is essence of worship"

We even went so far as to imitate the kuffar with respect to saints: we imitated the Roman Catholic Church in this regard -- this is clearly shirk. So it has made it even into practical matters. Similarly for the actions of the graves. All of these practices are from the disbelievers before us. The fact that the Prophet (SAWS) warned us didn’t stop it from happening to Muslims.

So these forms of imitation can be labeled clearly as kufr and these forms of imitation can take someone out of Islam.

The question of imitation of the kuffar goes beyond the clear aspects, that may look like they are insignificant but they can also take on aspects of kufr. For example, a Muslim might imitate an non-Muslim in they way they dress. In general, this is not going to be kufr. But if there is something in the individual’s heart, for example, if he believes that the non-Muslim’s way of life is better than the Islamic way of life, then this is clear kufr.

That individual may not consider it kufr, but in reality it is kufr. To believe there is some guidance better than the Prophet’s, some better information than that in the Qur’an and revealed by Allah, all of these are kufr. So when it is attached to this kind of matter in the heart, this can reach the level of kufr.

Depending on why and how we imitate them, we may be joined with them on the Day of Judgement. And that is something that every Muslim has to think about. But that is not all.

There are other things that are not kufr, but they are nonetheless serious. One of the most important is how you appear in public. What is the big issue about appearing like someone else in public? One time Ibn Taymiyah, he said that there is ijma’ amongst the Muslim scholars that we have to retain an outward distinction for himself from the disbelievers. If it reaches the levels of ijma’ then there is some hikmah behind it.

Some of the wisdom behind it include:

Observation #1: The disbelievers are a kind of fitnah for the believers.
Because as the Prophet (SAWS) said: “This dunya is like a prison for the believers.” In this world, we restrict ourselves. There are some things that are fun -- e.g. music -- most of it is about women and love and sex, but the believer gives up on them. To look at the other people that are “free” for whom in a sense everything is Halal, this is a fitnah. Allah (SWT) has described in the Qur’an: if it were not that mankind would become an ummah of kufr, he would make for them roofs of silver and more. A believer should realize that he should not be like a non-believer.

وَلَوْلَا أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً لَّجَعَلْنَا لِمَن يَكْفُرُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ لِبُيُوتِهِمْ سُقُفًا مِّن فِضَّةٍ وَمَعَارِجَ عَلَيْهَا يَظْهَرُونَ [٤٣:٣٣]

And if it were not that the people would become one community [of disbelievers], We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Most Merciful - for their houses - ceilings and stairways of silver upon which to mount (43:33)

Allah is teaching us that we do not want to be like the kuffar. It takes a strong will for an individual to get to this point.

What is prohibited is harmful in this life as well as the hereafter.

This takes some imaan and some maturity to stay the course of ihdinaas siraatul mustaqeem. In the Muslim world today, the strong movement is driven by the youth. Most of the leaders are not young in most organization.

In general, the fact is that the youth don’t have mature qualities. And they want liberty and freedom. They look at the non-Muslims and want to enjoy their lives like the young Muslims. If the strong understanding that they do not want to be like the kuffar, then it will stop the desire to want to be like the kuffar.

One of the benefits of not appearing like the kuffar, what about in your hearts not wanting to being like them. what about our children and teaching them our values (Islamic).

When the child realizes that he is distinct from others, this will be one of the key ways of protecting that child from looking to the ways of the kuffar, and looking to the  so-called freedoms they have.

Thus the dis-believer’s freedom is a kind of fitnah for us. This is a point that Ibn Taymiyah emphasized in his book “Kitab iqitida al-sirat al mustaqeem mukhalafat ashab al-jahim”. When you appear like another people, it brings about a closeness with that person and engender some kind of closeness.

Sh mentions a story about one time when he went into a motorcycle hangout when going for some food once. He knew Instantly that he did not fit in there, we realized there was a difference between us and them. There was no other source except the difference in clothing. As a consequence, there was no feeling of any kind of mutual bond. That is the kind of distance that the Muslim should feel to the non-Muslim.

There is a bond that develops simply because of appearing the same way as someone else. This is even the case for someone who simply has similar physical characteristics. For example, if someone from the subcontinent is lost in Germany, he would look for someone who looks like him, someone for whom there is some kind of bond. It’s a natural thing, but it’s related to the fact that the outward appearance has an effect on the mind.

Once you feel a bond with someone, then you may be influenced by them. Furthermore, you may accept them and their way of life. You look like them, you’re all together. And you accept them and how they are. You think “Perhaps God will take them into Jannah.” There has to be some kind of separation. It is not easy for that separation just to be in the mind. It has to have a physical separation. Doesn’t mean you can’t get along, or work together, or have some good interaction. But they will recognize that you are different and want to remain different.

If you start acting like them and look like them, they will not respect that difference between you and them.

Especially in the Muslim world. If you go to the Muslim world in Eid, you still see people wearing the “traditional” clothing. When Muslim countries started adopting Westernized clothing, you find that the individual if he is saying to himself that Islam is better, but outwardly showing a different sign, he has to reconcile what he believes in his mind with what he is doing outwardly.

There’s going to come a point where he will have to rationalize his behavior. This is called cognitive dissonance. If you think Islam is better, then you’re not going to be dressing in this way. Now it is common, but when it first started, there was definitely a time in which in which this outward appearance will affect the mind. Some of the ways to rationalize it are: their way is as good/better than ours, or what is on the outside doesn’t really matter. But whichever one it is, most likely it is not good for the individual’s deen. The outward appearance is not a minor thing/insignificant thing.

We have to be distinct not only in belief, but also in every aspect of our lives. It can not work. Either you are not being true to yourself, or you’re not being true on the outside. Thus if you think of any cult or what the army does is that they change how you look on the outside, e.g. a uniform. They are showing you that this is what you are now. You can change the behaviour then the belief will follow.

Humans are not good at being schizophrenic -- that is why you change the clothing. Even if they were not completely convinced, this will affect their mindset so their belief will follow. If you change the outward behavior then the belief will follow.

Another danger for this closeness as many of our ulema said "Outward appearance engineers some kind of closeness with non believer"
If you bring that discussion now, the acceptance of the way of the disbelievers means that as a Muslim you can become accustomed to things that you should never accept. An example from the media: What the media does here in the USA, is that they have a tendency to push the envelope about the norms. They bring it slowly. Example: it was on a sitcom (Roseanne) that they showed two women kissing. This was a shock and covered on the news and on the talk shows. It was something that people couldn’t believe. Less than 20 years ago. Now it is commonplace. Even kids’ shows they show intra-gender kissing. First time, it was a shock, and over time slowly it became more and more normal. Now if someone says something it’s like “we’ve been showing this for 20 years!” There is no feeling of gheerah or honour, I don’t want it near me. These things now are accepted. When the Muslims become close to the disbelievers, they start accepting these social practices.

Similarly when Muslim becomes close to non believer and loose the barrier and they start accepting their kufr and there social practise. May be first time they said not to consume the alcohol but overtime they accept and they might even serve alcohol to them in the gathering.

Many of the sins in Muslim countries: gambling houses, drinking houses especially arranged for non believers due to business reason etc come from imitation of the Kuffar..

If it is in our minds, then it will also permeate our outwards behaviour. One of them will be a liar -- either your outside appearance or your heart.

Q: What about drinking alcohol in Muslim states? Didn’t Umar allow that?
A: Yes he did, but this was in their private places -- not in public places like hotels. Islam respects their right to do as they wish in private.

Q:Influence v/s imitation where we are taught something in our school ?
A: If someone was influenced before they realized that they were wrong, then Allah (SWT) can forgive anyone, and when people talk about Ahlul-Bid’ah they distinguish between someone who makes bid’as and a follower. For example, if someone is raised in a Shi’a, then Allah (SWT) may look at the wrong beliefs that the person has, but the person should strive to make their lives as clean and as correct as possible.

Q: What do we do about working with people who do things Islamically unacceptable?
A: Such a person should be especially cautious and more aware of his surroundings that should eventually make him stronger in his deen. The fact that these people are around him, this should make him more thankful to Allah that He has guided him to the straight path and appreciate that he has guided him.

2011-04-12 Class Notes

From now to the end, we will discuss the imitation of the kufar when we say tashabuh.

Here are some of the questions that we will discuss:
We will define what is kufar?
Are there some acts of imitation that are haraam, that are makrooh and some that are permissible?
What are some of the driving factors that lead Muslims to imitate the kufar?

We will discuss the most egregious situations and then move to less egregious situations.

Imitating the kufar could be kufr.

If someone imitates kufar in aspects of the deen. And someone does it to be like them, to be admired by them. Included in it would be their holidays. For example, Christmas and Easter.

Christmas is the celebration of Isa’, more specifically it is hailed as the birth of their lord, and this is the kufr that they have fallen into.

Why would someone want to follow a religious practice other than their own?
There is something wrong with the heart, if you accept the practices of their deen, even if it is related to shirk. There are situations where some Muslims are celebrating Christmas, even though there are no Christians in their town. They do it, because he wants to be one with them. When you get to this stage, it is kufr and it can take you out of Islam. Even if it was not your intention to imitate them.

If you do certain things, it is a sign of the disease of the heart and it takes you to kufr.

Another example is making fun of the deen of Islam, and making fun or ridiculing the prophet.

Footnote: Joking about religion or god is prevalent in the culture today. Allah swt warns in Surah Taubah about the people who do this, Allah swt says if you ask them, they will say that they were just having fun, and Allah swt responds is it Allah or his signs or his messengers that you are making fun of, then ....

And if you ask them, they will surely say, "We were only conversing and playing." Say, "Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?"

Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief. If We pardon one faction of you - We will punish another faction because they were criminals.  At-Tawbah  65-66

This is a sign that your deen does not have the priority in your heart.

Suppose someone dresses like the pope or the priest. This shows that he does not consider the separation of Islam from kufr. This is kufr even though he may claim that it is not my intention.

Your actions demonstrate what is in your heart. Some scholars claim this is sufficient to take you to kufr.

Hadith: Prophet asked sahaba not to dress in manner similar to the kufar (see it referenced earlier). Prophet told him not to dress like them, but he did not ask him to make taubah.

This case is not the same as the dress of the priest.

It is not just religious practices, but even mundane customs of the people of disbelief and he is doing it intentionally, out of love for them or sign that he respects them more than the Muslims, whom he looks down upon as backwards. If he is doing it out of this intention, then majority of Hanafi scholars, shafiee scholars say that this will take a person out of the fold of Islam.

Here the act is driven by intention, but the act is mundane.

An act of kufar or blasphemous act does not automatically make someone a kafir. He might do it out of ignorance, out of taweel to some text.  Acts of kufar does not make a person a kafir.

If your actions are demonstrating kufar in your heart, then the scholars are harsh and stringent with your actions, they do not question your intention.

Many times following them is simply haraam and not kufr.

Imitating them in wordly things that are not specifc to their deen. Actions that do not involve shirk. If actions are done without intention, or without putting them on a higher pedestal or higher ranking in your heart, then this action is haraam and not kufr.

Actions that are makrooh and not haraam

Practices that are established in our deen and their deen. For example, fasting the day of Ashurah, we know it is sunnah to fast that day and the Jews also fast on that day. The prophet instructed us to fast on the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram to avoid imitating them. Simply fasting on the 10th of Muharram is makrooh.

Question: There is principle in usool al fiqh, that the law of people before us is hujjah and sharia for us. Doesn’t this contradict what we just said. How do we reconcile this?

Answer: This principle is not agreed upon principle. Not everyone agrees that shariah of the people before us is shariah for us. Only practices that we can affirm.

Sometimes in the true stories of the prophet there are laws about which the Quran and Sunnah is silent about, in these matters we are following them. Because we believe that the prophets are revealing the truth.

If we have some practice from Quran and Sunnah, and if they start imitating us, then it should not keep us from doing those acts.

Question: What about the hadith of the prophet that we should follow the sunan of the people before us? You will follow the practices of the people before you, hand by hand, foot by foot, and if they enter a lizard hole, you will enter it too. The sahaba asked is that the jews and christians, and the prophet said who else?

How do we reconcile this?

Prophet is predicting what is going to happen in the future. And some people make fiqh conclusions from it. He is just revealing what will happen.  We have hadith that says the music and khamar will be made permissible, here it is clear that this is something of negative connotation. We cannot derive fiqh rulings from it.

Prophet described that woman will travel from Hadramout to Sana without fearing anything other than the safety of her goats. Here the prophet is just describing the future and you cannot make fiqh rulings from it. Some say that you could say that women can travel without mahar.

Another question that was raised 100 years ago and is still being asked today

Mohamed Rashid Rida, settled in Egypt, he leaned towards one way and another. He has a collection of fatawa and he was asked a question that people are still asking today. The question he was asked was the Westerners (British and Americans) were accepting Islam and they are still retaining their dress (pants), is their Islam still valid.

He responds that there is no Islamic dress sanctioned, he continues that if we ask them to change their dress, then you are placing an hardship on them.

How do you answer his fatawa? Is he correct?

Statement: He says that there was never any time when the Muslims were obliged to wear. Is this statement true?

During the time of Umar ibn Khattab, as the Muslims were spreading. In the Hijaz there was no clear distinction between the dress of the kufar and the Muslims, but the prophet laid out certain principles about the cloth and hair.

As Muslims spread to distant lands, and the distinction in clothes became more distinct. Umar ibn Khattab made an agreement with Christian and Jews of Jerusalem to enforce that their clothes should not imitate the clothes of the muslims, in order to be able to differentiate between them and Muslims.

Umar ibn Khattab is most respected individual in Islam. Shaikh is narrating an incident about how some Muslims discount that rulings of Umar ibn Khattab is not hujjah. Some cherry pick and say it is hujjah and then question whether it is hujjah.

There is no specific dress for Muslims. However it does not mean that Muslim is not prohibited from imitating the kufar.

As long as the dress meets certain requirements, and as long as we agree that the dress is now considered to be the dress of the Muslims, then it is permissible.

Someone might imitate disbeliever and not realize that it is an act of imitation. In this case, he is not sinful. Remember Prophet admonished Abdullah ibn Amr to not wear the dress but he did not condemn him, If he had insisted to wear the dress, then it would be a different matter.

What if something comes from the kufar and is now widespread?
We will discuss it in the next class.

2011-04-19 Class Notes

Prophet has expressly prohibited for us to pray at the times which could lead to the imitation of the kufar and Jews.

Allah swt says, believers do not say raina, which was very similar to the insult to the prophet as used by the Jews, instead we should say turn towards us, listen to us.

The word itself is nothing wrong with it but since it could be confused with the word used by the Jews, Allah swt forbid us from saying that word when addressing the prophet.

Imitation to the Kuffar are only specific to them both for their deen or their customs.
Once you recognize by their action that this is non-muslims. Their acts are not allowed to be imitated.

If a muslim does those actions and somebody sees him perform those actions, then they might think this person is a non-believer. It was not related just to the deen, it could be a mundane action related to their customs.

Celebrating New Years Eve was only celebrated by the non-Muslims. It was known as a non-Muslim festival. Now it has spread to the muslim world and so has Mother’s day, Valentine’s day. All of these celebrations were of the non-muslims and their culture.

The first principle is that if something is done and is identified with the non-muslims then we have to avoid it.

Muslim scholars have emphasized that any kind of holidays or celebrations which are known to be the practices of the non-muslim people have to be avoided. They have crept into the muslim land. Many recognize that these celebrations are outside the scope of Muslim celebrations.

Hadith: A person had taken an oath to slaughter an animal at a certain place. Prophet asked him, was there any idol worshipped at that place, was there any Eid of the Jahiliyah at that place. The person said no to both of the questions and explained it to the prophet. And then the prophet said to the person to go ahead and fulfill your oath.

Second Principle:
If something is no longer are a ...... feature of the non muslim, then it becomes permissible to do. This is for the mundane actions and not related to the deen.

If the action is no longer identified as the act of the non-muslim and it is not related to the deen, then you can do the act.

So this means, the action is related to the urf and the identification of the act with non-Muslims. These things can change.

There is a hadith that describes the head gear worn by the Jews during the time of dajjal.

Ibn .. was asked how come we are wearing the head gear now, that will become the custom of the Jew. He said that right now it is not identified as something done by the Jews, so it is halal now and it can become haraam later and vice versa. This can be very confusing.

Review of fatawa of scholars on this aspect and then shaikh will mention his thoughts on the issue.

Question of wearing pants for brothers.
Some ulema have pointed out that western pants, tight pants have another issue which has nothing to do with imitation. It has to cover the aura properly, and you have to wear something that covers you aura properly. This is not the point we are discussing now.

Salaveer are under garments and are loosely tied and they are covered by something else. Relatively tight western slacks came to Egypt in late 19th century. If somebody wore it they then they were considered to be kufar.

Ibn Uthaymeen ابن عثيمين said that anybody who imitates kufar then he is of them, but if both of them are doing it, then it no longer is imitation, it is common place among all of them and it is not imitation.

Saleh al Munajjeed says that imitation of the kufar in something that is particular to them in mundane actions or in their deen is not allowed. But wearing pants are the customary acts of the world and we are allowed to wear them unless there is something specific that is

Lajnat al-Daaimah اللجنة الدائمة (the permanent council)
Ulema of Saudi Arabia say that wearing pants is no longer imitation of the kufar. And also with the tie. But if they wear pants with the intention of imitating the kufar then it is haraam.

Abdul Kareem al-Khudhair say that you should wear muslim garments. If people of certain land wear a dress then it is proper to wear them. If only disbelievers wore them, then it is not permissible. But now it is part of the muslim world, and hence it is permissible. The ones who first did it were clearly doing something haraam because they were imitating the kufar.

Albaani said that the concept of imitation is being taken too lightly. The tie has no purpose to it whatsoever. The only reason that one (muslims) would want to put on a tie is to imitate (impress and follow) the westerners who have come to our land.
The pants has two problems:
1. does not cover the aurah properly
2. the dress of the non-muslims

Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo’s observations
If something has become so prominent among the Muslims, you cannot pass judgement that this person is now dressed as a non-Muslim. However there is still an aspect that the ulema did not touch may be Albaani did.

This dress is still identified as the dress of the western, capitalistic society. If you look at the dress of the Chinese communist during the cultural revolution, they dressed in a certain way to differentiate themselves from the capitalistic society. But when they decided to join the capitalistic society, the forsake their unique dress and took suits, pants and ties. It has symbolism and meaning, even now.

In parts of the Muslim world, you find western dress and traditional Islamic dress. However when the individual dresses in the Western dress and he is doing it because he wants to feel modern and feel superior over the traditional Islamic dress and he wants to impress a strata of the society, if this feeling is in the heart of the individual and if that is the motivating factor, then there is no doubt that he is imitating the kufar.

Saudi made a law that Saudi nationals are not allowed to western dress, they have to wear the Muslim dress and you can identify them clearly. And they are not human walking billboards for Polo, Ralph Lauren or others.

You are turning your back on the muslim world by abandoning the traditional Islamic dress.

If you are living in the western world, and here you might not be making the same statement. You might be just trying to fit in and try to avoid conflict and not stick out.

In Islamic conferences and some masajids, there are some speakers when they give lectures or Friday khutbahs they insist on wearing suits and pants, they avoid wearing the Islamic dress. They are sending a message, even though you may realize it or not, specially in the masjid.

So it is not as simplistic as saying that this dress is now become common in the Muslim world.

This aspect also applies to speech. In North Africa, the French were very brutal and they wanted to put down the Islamic culture.

There was a study done among Tunisian women and they found out that they have tendency to use more French as possible when speaking even when compared to Tunisian men. This is a sign that you have been defeated. Once you give up your language, you have given up your identity. They asked the women why are they speaking so much French as opposed to Arabic. This was her way of showing that she is now modern and she has moved away from the traditional Islamic society which she considers to be backward. There are many wrong things in the traditional Islamic society as it is in many other cultures.

Sometimes they might be doing an act subconsciously but if they are trying to get rid of their Islamic culture then it is a sinful act.

Third Principle: There is no imitation in those aspects in which all religions agree upon.

Honesty, integrity, generosity, mercy are part of every religious community. They are established in our deen as they are in other religions.

One brother in Boulder, who was doing his PhD in orientalism. One of the point he used to make was to come late to every meeting and every class. And the reason for doing it in our muslim culture, being on  time is not part of our culture and therefore being punctual is part of imitation of the kuffar.

Being on time is part of honesty and it is not unique to the western culture. He misunderstood this concept and the Shaikh tried to correct his misunderstanding.

A point that was missed earlier on pants for brothers.
Fad or fashion that is restricted to certain people. These are set by leaders of secular society. Now you are going beyond what is the normal style of pants.

Albaani joked that husband went to the store to buy a dress for his wife and he met somebody who asked him why are you rushing, he replied I have to get back home before the style is no longer in vogue.

Fourth Principle: It is permissible to imitate the disbelievers if there is some necessity or strong need to do so

Case of necessity or strong pressure to do so, things that are normally haraam, become halal due to the law of necessity.

But we have to discuss some points on this principle.

Ibn Taymiyaah wrote a book called Iqtidaa Ihdina As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem (اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم) which describes how the people of jannah are different from the people of hellfire. The whole tenor of the book seems to be against imitation. But one paragraph is used to support imitation. What ibn Taymiyya states is not hujjah. He circumstances is different form ours.

Quote from ibn Taymiyya:
i will find it and put it here, inshaAllah.- Jalaal. (4/19)
please give me one more week. I am still trying to obtain the quote from sheikh. - 4/26/11

During his time, the muslims were in real danger of being harmed.
If you have to compromise your deen, and imitate the kuffar you have to find a different place to live. It is the case if there was possible harm to the individual e.g. living in Serbia during the war, it is obvious that you do not want to look like a muslim.

Would military outfits fall in the category of dress code?
Here it is related to some kind of necessity, e.g. in some kinds of work wear gas mask, they may require shaving of the beard to avoid gaps. For that kind of purpose, it is acceptable.

However in the case of wearing the tie, Albaani asks what is the purpose?

2011-04-26 Class Notes

Q: As Muslims living in the US do you believe we should make it a point to dress in Islamic garb especially in non-pressure situations such as outside of work? Would not doing such be considered blameworthy?

A: Sisters dress differently and look differently compared to the society around them. One of the goals of shariah is to differentiate or distinguish yourself and identify yourself as a Muslim. We are dealing with non-Muslim society who don’t know much about Islam. But other Muslims would know that you are a Muslim. However there is no specific Islamic dress.

In the next session, we will discuss Hijrah, what is Hijrah, when is Hijrah obligatory? And the class after that would be on the role of the people who stay behind and are in the minority.

Question about imitating and differentiating yourself, which we discussed in earlier class.
If non-Muslims dress like Muslims or grow beard like Muslims, then it does not mean that we are imitating them.

Permissible Imitation
We have been discussing some of the qawaid about imitation of the kuffar. The last principle about imitation is the question about permissible imitation. The issue here is that if the practice is related to a dunia related matter with a dunia related matter such as adopting technology or driving cars. We drive cars not in imitation but to travel. These are considered, in general, permissible. There are conditions laid down.

Battle of Khandaq is an example of such an act.
Digging a trench for warfare was not known to the Arabs. The strategy of digging a trench was brought to the attention of the prophet by Salman al Farsi and this was allowed by the prophet.

Ulema have laid down conditions for permissible imitations.
We have to realize that the dominant paradigm of the world we live right now is completely profit driven motive, which influences all of the spheres of our lives. Are these things consistent with the Islamic values and are they going to bring benefit to the Muslim, will it be benefit to just a few at the expense of many, are we harming ourselves by imitating them in permissible things.

Genetically modified seeds led to an increase in yield, but they were beholden to Monsanto to buy the seeds, which was very expensive and drove them to debt.  This led the small farmers to sell their lands to big corporations, which caused tremendous harm to the society. We find many areas in Africa and Asia which are facing food shortage that did not exist before.

2. Television, internet were taken by Muslim societies without discussing their benefits and harms to the society. We have to consider the implications before adopting the technology.

3. Technological dependence on another society or country and the harmful effects of dependency.You should only take it to the level of need.

4. And it should not contradict the basic tenets of the shariah or lead to the contradiction.

Imitation and differentiation, these are two different things. The command to be different is greater than the prohibition to imitation. We should seek to be different. Muslim identity should be unique and different from all the others.

Question from Shaykh to the students

Ulema said that the level of imitation is higher than any other times in the history of Islam. Our generation has fallen into a greater level of imitation of the kufar. Why has this imitation become prevalent?
Answers by the students and discussed by the Shiekh:
1. Colonialism and the history of colonialism is in the history of humanity. The conquered people look up and imitate the conquerors.

2. We have lost true understanding of Islam and this is one of the main reasons for imitation. If someone truly understands it and what are true blessing it is to have the gift of Islam they will not try to look up to others. We will revisit it later.

3. Economic reasons and the feeling of inferiority when looking up to others who are well of then them.

4. The statement that weak nations imitate the strong ones was made by Ibn Khaldun and does not have any basis in the Quran and the Sunnah. But many people are quoting it.

5. If you do not have the purpose to be the servant of Allah and sacrificing for that, it becomes easy to imitate others.

6. Some people have do not think of their deen as something comprehensive and therefore touching all aspects of life. If you separate the ibaadat from the muamalat, that the muamalat is not a raflection of one’s deen,  and therefore it is not too long before one starts imitating the non-believers.

7. Definitely people do have the tendency to look at others and seek to be like them.

8. The topic is not discussed. Nobody wants to talk about it especially in the United States today. Therefore the masses are not made aware of it.

9. There has definitely been a concerted effort by the west to spread their culture and make their way of life supreme for economic reason. The book “Weapons of mass distraction” discusses the effects of the American culture on the rest of the world.

10. Language barrier: any kind of ignorance is going to contribute to this phenomena.

11. The modernist movement even by the muslims is to say that the idea that we have to be different is extremist and has nothing to do with the deen.

12. Sometimes for the 2nd and 3rd generation look at their elders and say that what is being insisted is cultural and therefore rejecting it. There is some truth because some of the culture may be against the shariah and need to be rejected.

Sheikhs’s additions:
13. We are lacking for the most part in the muslim world a concept of muslim authority or Islamic state emphasizing the prohibition of imitating.

14. One of the main things that has not been touched upon is the no feeling of izzah wrt Islam, Allah and the Prophet (SAWS). No feeling of dignity and honor in the fact that he is a muslim and that means being separate and disctinct from everything else. That is driven by having a strong for Allah, the Prophet and this Deen. He would not look at others because he has what he wants. They way of doing that is from the Quran and the sunnah and the way of the prophet. That is the only way, the only path. Islam is the greatest thing and being the abd of Allah is the greatest thing.

These are signs of a diseased ummah. The problem of imitation is a ramification of these diseases. If we cannot cure all of the diseases, we can at least cure some of the diseases.