(By Shaykh Feiz Muhammad)
Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever imitates a people, is one of them.”
Imitating The Kufaar: By Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq
Allah has taught us a certain dua in surah al-Fatihah which we read not once but so many times each day.
Sura al-Fatihah is known as the key to the Qur'an, the opening book of the Qur'an, the opening chapter of the Qur'an, the essence of the Qur'an, the mother of the Qur'an, the core of the Qur'an, the seven great, oft-repeated verses of the Qur'an. It is undoubtedly the most famous sura (chapter) of the Qur'an. And we recite it not once but so many times each day, both in salah (daily prayers) as well as out of salah.
Towards the end (of sura al-Fatihah), Allah tells us to make a dua of him, to ask him for something, and that dua is: "Oh Allah, guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favoured, not the path of those upon whom your wrath descended, your anger descended, and nor the path of those who went astray."
Now we make this dua every single day. We are constantly praying to Allah to show us the way of those whom he favoured. And who are those? The people whom Allah favoured are the prophets, the extremely honest, upright and trustworthy people, the martyrs and the pious. So when we pray to Allah we are asking that Allah shows us the way of these people and enables us to follow in their footsteps.
We should be making the dua and we do. But how profoundly, how deeply, how much from within, with how much attention and devotion do we actually make this dua to Allah: oh Allah, guide us to the straight path...and not the path of two groups of people Allah describes at the end of sura al-Fatihah: "Do not guide us to the path of those upon whom Your anger and wrath descended, namely the jews, and nor the path of those who went astray, namely the christians."
And we pray to Allah: "Do not allow us to follow in the footsteps of these Yahood (Jews) and Nasara (Christians), of anyone upon whom your anger descended or anyone who went astray from your path."
And we make this dua but with how much attention, with how much sincerity and devotion? Well, we should only look at ourselves because strangely, ironically, our own choices, our own actions, our own behaviour, belie our dua.
We make a dua to Allah in each salah: "Oh Allah, do not allow us to follow in the footsteps of these Yahoud and the Nasara and the kuffar (unbelievers)"
and straight after dua, straight after salah, we return to our everyday lives..., we make this dua and we go home and celebrate Christmas. We make this dua in salah and we go back to our workplace and live like the Yahoud, the Nasara and the kuffar. We make this dua in salah and we go home and indulge and engage in all the activities of the Yahoud and the Nasara, many of which are haraam (forbidden).
We go, and of our own conscious choice we decide to, we to live, act, work, behave, enjoy and play just like the kuffaar. Not only that, eat, drink, dress just like the kuffaar. In fact, whilst we are making this dua we are living like the kuffar; whilst we are making this dua we are dressed like the kuffar. Now, I will be speaking of the dangers of imitating the kuffar, in general.
Allah azza wa jal has instructed us in the Qur'an in many verses not to be in alliance with the kuffaar. That general warning is enough. Allah forbids that I should even come close to committing that sin. We have to show a willingness to distance ourselves from the path of the kuffar and adopt the path of the pious and the believers. It's a mockery of Allah's religion.
So, how do we follow the kuffar, how do we imitate the disbelievers? In so many different ways, and all the way from the individual to the leaders, from small communities to whole Muslim countries, from one family to Muslim governments. We all imitate the kuffar in so many different and so many haraam ways.
Allah has warned us in the Qur'an, do not befriend the kuffaar, do not align yourselves with the kuffaar.
The verses are so many and so numerous I can't recite every one of them. In one verse Allah says: "Oh believers, do not take the Yahood and the Nasara, the Jews and the Christians, as awliya."
Now the word awliya is the plural of wali. The word wali means many different things. It means friend, it means guardian, it means protector, it means master, it means ally and many other things.
So when Allah azza wa jal says do not take the Yahood and Nasara as awliya, it doesn't just mean do not take them as friends. Do not take them as your guardians, your protectors, your allies, your friends, your masters. In no way should there be this alliance with the kuffar. Allah says they are allies, they are the awliya, of one another. And whoever makes them a friend, then that person is of them. Allah does not guide those who are sinful.
Now, how does the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) apply the meaning of that verse? Forget aligning the Muslims with the kuffar, forget befriending them, forget taking them as masters and partners and companions and close confidants and associates and guardians and protectors...the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) instructed the noble Sahaba (radiallahu anhum) to distance themselves and fear this alignment with the kuffar in every way. Even to the manner of dressing.
When he was in Makkah, the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) would consciously oppose the mushrikeen (the idolaters) as much as possible, including the way in which he combed his hair. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) would comb his hair in such a way that he would not part the hair from the middle...because this was the way the mushrikeen would do it. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) would see a Sahabi wearing a certain kind of clothing. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) would say, remove this for this is the way of the kuffar, remove this because this is the clothing of the kuffar. Of course, some clothing everybody shares. Muslims wear it, non-Muslims wear it. But if any particular dress becomes a distinguishing feature of the non-Muslims, then the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) forbade the Muslims from wearing that.
So the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) applied the meaning of the verses - do not follow in the footsteps of the kuffaar - in the most extreme way, not just in religion, not just in worship.
This is one mistake that people make. They believe that when we have been instructed not to follow the kuffar it's only restricted to religion, ie do not worship Allah like the Yahood and Nasara. And only in religious matters oppose the Yahoud and Nasara. But that's not correct. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) understood this in a much wider way: not only do not follow the Yahood and Nasara in your worship but in every other way. Even in halal (permissible) things.
Now, Muslims are beginning to reverse protocols in everything: dress, appearance, manner of eating and drinking, so much so that some Muslims go to the extent, just like the kuffar, who, when they eat, use the fork with their left hand and cut with their right hand. Muslims will do the same. We are in a ver dangerous position here. We live amongst the kuffaar, we work with them, we associate with them, we mix with them. And we begin to pick up their habits. We are influenced by them. And anyone who thinks that they can work with the kuffar, associate with them, mix with them, stand and sit with them, move amongst them and not be affected, is in denial and is a liar to himself.
There is a deep, hidden desire in us to be like them, for we are in awe of their language, we are in awe of their fashions, we are in awe of their trends and their culture. We wish to be like them. That's why we have to be extremely careful, here in this country. We are so easily influenced that we imitate them in so many things.
And deep down there's this feeling that glory, honour, respect, all these things lie in their cluture, in their traditions. And not just the individual, but all the way to Muslim governments.
If you look at the Muslim countries, with, until recently, one or two notable exceptions, virtually every government of Muslim countries is pursuing the course of the kuffaar, imitating them in every way, blindly following them and aping the West, so much so that Muslims believe that culture is the culture of the kuffar, literature is the literature of the kuffar, achievements are the achievements of the kuffar. Respect and honour will be won, glory will be won and earned, not in anything except in aping and imitating the kuffar.
Build skyscrapers and we will bring honour to our country. Build infrastructure like the kuffar and we will bring honour to our country. It's become so ridiculous that in Muslim countries where there is poverty, where Muslims in some areas are living in squalor, they build ice-skating rinks in the desert. To impress who? Huge football stadiums. There's a city, the population of the city is 100,000 and right next to the city there's a football stadium with a capacity of 300,000. They have to actually pay people to go and attend. We believe (honour) is in sport, is in football, ice-skating rinks.
In some of these Muslim countries, that claim to rule by Islam, they have built opera houses at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds. For what and for who? Muslims, Arabs, going to the opera to listen to a Frenchman singing in Italian? That's the level to which we have stooped in imitating the kuffar.
Many Muslims don't keep beards. Why? It's a sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam). The clear majority of the ulama (Islamic scholars) of all the schools of fiqh (jurisprudence) have declared it obligatory. In a clear hadith, the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) says: "Oppose the pagans, oppose the mushrikeen."
They would shave their beards or shorten them. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "Lengthen your beards and clip and trim your moustaches."
He clearly instructed the believers to do that.
Today, the culture of Coke and the Big Mac, the culture of the Americans, the culture of the Europeans, these cultures are dominant and they are all pervasive. We stand in awe of their culture and we are imitating them in everything. Not just in food, dress, mannerisms. Even in speech. This culture, this evil influence, this imitation of the kuffaar, has not escaped even the holiest cities of Islam. It's a ghastly sight.
He who imitates others is not of us. Allah azza wa jal has given us everything in this religion. He has exchanged everything, for other things. When the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) came to Medinah he inquired of them, which were the days of celebration. The Arabs would celebrate the Persian New Year, the Arabs would celebrate other, various days. The Prophet forbade them. Allah has done away with all days of celebration and given us just two days of Eid. These are the celebrations of Islam. There is no third Eid for the Muslims, no third celebration: nationality day, independence day, anyone's birthday, father's day, mother's day, nothing. There is no New Year as well. Categorically, the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) forbade the celebration of the New Year.
Who do we really love? Whose ways do we love? Do we love the way of the messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum) or do we love the way of the kuffar? If we are presented with two choices, which choice do we adopt? Of course, it's very easy to say I love someone. The Jews and the Christians claimed that "We love Allah". Not only that. They said that "Allah loves us". The Jews and the Christians have said: "We are the children of Allah and we are his beloved." This claim was so offensive to Allah that Allah didn't say: "No, no, no. Allah doesn't love you. You're wrong." Allah said: "Say to them, Messenger of Allah, that if Allah loves you, why does he punish you for your sins?" Allah told the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam): "Say to them that if you truly love Allah, prove that love. And how will the proof be shown? Follow me, for I am Allah's messenger. If you truly love Allah then prove that love by following me. Proof of love is in obedience." Many Muslims here, we originally come from the Indian sub-continent. Some people will say: "No, no, not me. I was born here, british born and bred." You see, even that mentality is a love of the ways and places of the kuffaar. "I wasn't born back home, in some village in India, Bangladesh or Pakistan or Africa. No way. Not me. I was born at the Queen Elizabeth hospital here. Born here, bred here, proud to be british." You see, that mentality...we look down on another part of the world and we feel proud. Deeds are what make a man honourable, not his place of birth.
The Indian sub-continent was colonised by the British. And they washed away everything: our culture, our history, our identity, even worked at destroying our languages. When the kuffar realised that Muslims could only be swayed if their whole identity and culture were changed and transformed, they imposed European culture on Muslims. Muslims began abandoning their language and speaking English because for them that was culture and that was progress. That's how ashamed and embarrassed we are of our history and identity. That's how much we were in awe. And that mentality continues today. We have inherited that legacy of being in awe of the culture and the mannerisms and the language of the kuffar.
The jews and the christians will never be content with you or pleased with you until you follow their way, ie completely, in everything. Only then will they be content with you. Short of that, they will never be content with you. You may build ice rinks in the desert, you may build football stadiums, you may hold sports events, you may hold trade shows in your countries, you may pump oil for them and continue to do so at giveaway prices, you may build skyscrapers to impress them, you may try to impress them by imitating their culture, by building opera houses in the desert for Arabs, but at the end of it their tabloids will still turn around and call you ragheads.
Muslims may try to impress them as much as we wish. We will buy their fashion items and their trinkets, but they will still turn around and call us names, abus us: backward, medieval, terrorist.
Undoubtedly many Muslims, only two days ago, were making resolutions on New Year's Eve, celebrating, watching the fireworks, enjoying themselves, maybe even at parties. There's no harm in that, that's what people say. Many of us celebrated Christmas over a week ago. Muslims celebrating Christmas! It's amazing.
We think that it's innocent. It's not innocent. The Christmas Eve masses held in their churches. What do they do? They take bread and they take wine in a very formal, customary way. The priest does it and feeds everybody. And what do they believe when they take the bread? They believe they are eating the flesh of Prophet Isa (alayhisallam). When they drink the wine, they believe they are consuming the blood of Isa (alayhisallam), ie the flesh and the blood of his sacrifice. Of course, it's all mumbo-jumbo, we will never understand it, but it's what they do.
And what do they say? Our Father, the Holy Ghost, God, the Holy Trinity. Who are they addressing, who are they speaking of? They are speaking of Isa (alayhisallam). Allah says, they have claimed that (the Lord of Mercy) has taken a son for himself. Verily, you have brought forth a great enormity, the heavens are about to split assunder, and the earth is about to split open, and the mountains are about to fall flat, because of the gravity and the enormity of what they have said, that Allah has taken a son for himself. It's not an innocent pastime, festival or activity. It's very serious.