Imitation

Since 2008-07-01

Today, most of the Muslims' lives have become dyed with the same color of the western civilization and lifestyles in the way of thinking, visions, beliefs, education, teaching, culture, policy, governing systems, economy and in all other different means of life.

Currently, we observe that the matter of imitation reached its worst peak. In fact, the extent of imitating the non-Muslim West becomes very disgraceful for many Muslims liked to imitate them in every vice and bad customs.

They imitate them in scorning the noble manners, values and religion…!

They imitate them in greed, selfishness, deception, cheat, cunning and betrayals..!

They imitate them in instability, wearing obscene clothing, displaying beauty want only, immorality, displaying effeminate manners..!

Moreover, there will be inevitable humiliation and degradation because of the blind imitation of them politically, economically, culturally, and intellectually.

Unfortunately, they (imitators) turned a blind eye to all what is beneficial, positive and useful of their production in different means of life, sciences, experiments, and inventions that Allah The Almighty made permissible.


At-Tashabuh (Assimilation):

Imaam Muhammad Al-Ghuzee Ash-Shaf'i, may Allah have mercy upon him, defined it as absorbing and adopting the characteristics and manners of another group. It is done deliberately and intentionally.


Taqleed (imitation):

It is to copy the speech, actions, beliefs or behaviors of someone else without any proof, contemplation, reasonable consideration or careful thinking.


Imitation From a religious Perspective

Imitation is to follow someone else in a religious ruling without making any legal reasoning and discretion about such ruling and without any proof. In that point, imitation will not be dispraised. Rather, it is desirable for everyone who does not have the qualifications of legal reasoning and discretion in the rulings of religion, to follow one of the Mujtahid scholars as Allah The Almighty says:
{So ask of those who know the Scripture [learned men of the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], if you know not.} [An-Nahl 16: 43]

{فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ} النحل: 43


Transliteration: faisaloo ahla alththikri in kuntum la taAAlamoona

That means: if the lay person follows one of the Mujtahid scholars, then it will be a kind of imitation.

However, imitation will be dispraised and unfavorable for the one who has the qualifications of legal reasoning or discretion in the rulings of religion. And whoever imitates another one in misguidance, religious innovation or adheres to a specific opinion and enforce people to adopt will be surely rejected.


Blind Imitation

It is exactly the kind of imitation that the Muslims adopted without reasonable consideration, careful thinking or taking care from imitating non-Muslims, treading the same path of them and following them in the different means of life, manners and behaviors, forms of production, beliefs, visions, way of thinking, philosophy, policy, economy, literature, arts, culture, systems and legislations. They absorbed their lifestyle without taking account of the principles of the Islamic creed, the rulings of religion, or the noble moral standards, and without adhering to the honorable Islamic teachings.


Imitation is a Character Flaw

1. Imitation is in fact a negative attribute found only in those who have weak personality and thus it is a character flaw.

2. Imitation implies the meaning of absorption, defeat, blind following, apathy, adopting, blind obedience without any careful thinking or considerable consideration of what can be beneficial or harmful and without differentiation between what can agree or contradict with the rulings of religion.


Wisdom behind Forbidding Imitation

Actually, forbidding imitation in the Islamic Shari'ah has many interests and benefits. We know some of them while many other still cannot be realized. Generally, the serious repercussions of imitation are undeniable and known by all people. As for Imitating non-Muslims, it has many harmful effects that are witnessed by reality, experiments, and historical investigation of the history of nations, peoples, civilizations and the Islamic nation in particular.


Proofs that Prohibit Imitation

First: Proofs of the Noble Quran

Actually, forbidding imitating non-Muslims is mentioned in many verses and in different styles. Amongst them are:

1. Explaining that imitation is a general danger to the interests and entity of the Islamic nation: Allah The Almighty Says:
{O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.} [Al-'Imraan 3: 118]

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لاَ يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالاً وَدُّواْ مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاء مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ} آل عمران: 118


Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amano la tattakhitho bitanatan min donikum la ya`loonakum khabalan waddoo ma 'anittum qad badatialbaghdao min afwahihim wama tukhfee sudooruhum akbar.

2. Warning against them and not to be deceived by their bad characteristics and misleading desires, Allah The Almighty Says:
{O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong¬doers and unjust).} [Al-Ma`idah 5: 51]

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ} المائدة: 51


Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amano laa tattakhithoo alyahooda wannasara awliyaa` ba'duhum awliy`ao ba'din waman yatawallahum minkum fa-innahu minhum inna Allaha laa yahdee alqawma aththalimeen.

3. Explaining their envy, deception and wishing evil for Muslims, Allah The Almighty Says:
{Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even, after the truth (that Muhammad Peace be upon him is Allah's Messenger) has become manifest unto them.} [Al-Baqarah 2: 109]

{وَدَّ كَثِيرٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَوْ يَرُدُّونَكُم مِّن بَعْدِ إِيمَانِكُمْ كُفَّاراً حَسَداً مِّنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الْحَقُّ} البقرة: 109


Transliteration: Wadda katheerun min ahli alkitabi law yaruddoonakum min ba'di eemanikum kuffaran hasadan min 'indi anfusihim min ba'di ma tabayyana lahumu alhaqqu fa'foo wasfahoo hatta ya`tiya Allahu bi-amrihi inna Allaha 'ala kulli shay-in qadeer.


Second: Proofs of the Sunnah

1. It was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullaah Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Whoever imitates a group people is one of them." [Reported by Ibn Hibaan, Authentic]

«من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم» رواه ابن حبان، صحيح


2. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too." We said: "O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said: "Who else?" [Reported by Al-Bukhari, Authentic]

«لتتبعن سنن من كان قبلكم شبرًا بشبر، وذراعًا بذراع، حتى لو دخلوا جحر ضب تبعتموهم قلنا يا رسول الله: اليهود والنصارى؟ قال: فمن» رواه البخاري، صحيح


3. It was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullaah ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Differentiate yourself from the Mushrikeen (polytheists, disbelievers): trim the moustache and let the beard grow." [Reported by Muslim, Authentic]

«خالفوا المشركين احفوا الشوارب وأوفوا اللحى» رواه مسلم، صحيح


This Hadith has clear-cut evidence and a direct command to be different from non-Muslims. It, furthermore, indicates that it is Haram (forbidden) to tread the same path of them.


Reason behind such Blind Imitation

1- Ignorance of the reality of Islam.
2- Not adhering to the teachings of the Islamic education.
3- Mass media.
4- Great amounts of leisure time.
5- Weakness of the belief of Al-Walaa` Wal-Baraa` (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity).
6- Many are impressed by the material development and progress, ignoring the reality of the western civilization.


Solutions

1- Inventing some modern methods that can protect us from such violent attack that aims to undermine our basic tenets of faiths. The most important tool is the mass media in which the development of the intellectual presentation styles should be observed.

2- Establishing a complete defensive strategy that should be carried out by all; houses, schools, educational authorities, institutions of Da'wah and guidance as well as the security organizations.

3- Raising up and educating children according to the noble Islamic teachings from the beginning of their tender ages. This will give them immunity against such mottos so that they may not accept them. In fact, this entails the crucial role of families, educational curricula, knowledge and schools.

4- Scholars and thinkers of the Islamic nation should play their crucial role towards their societies and nation. They, moreover, should pay much attention to inviting people to the religion of Allah The Almighty and lead and guide such invitation in conformity with the way of the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, and the righteous Salaf (forefathers) of that nation.

5- Activating the noble message of Masjid, reviving its primary role as a place for disseminating the religious knowledge for all Muslims in simple styles that befit the mainstream of the modern age. Such things should be done under a sound educational and scientific supervision.

6- Clarifying the reality of such imitation and that the bad effects of imitation affects not only the outer appearance but beliefs and heart as well.

7- Affirming the issue of enmity between Awliaa` Ar-Rahmaan (worshipers of the Most Gracious) and Awliaa Ash-Shaytaan (followers of Satan). This enmity started from the age of Adam, may Allah exalt his status, and will persist to the Day of Resurrection. Consequently, the two parties will never be gathered together. The first party aims to inviting people to worshiping Allah The Almighty while the other invites people to worship and obey At-Taghoot (i.e. every object that is worshipped instead of Allah The Almighty) and fighting Muslims to hinder them from following their religion. Allah The Almighty Says:
{And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islâmic Monotheism) if they can.} [Al-Baqarah 2: 217]

{وَلاَ يَزَالُونَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ حَتَّىَ يَرُدُّوكُمْ عَن دِينِكُمْ إِنِ اسْتَطَاعُواْ} البقرة: 217


Transliteration: Wala yazaloona yuqatiloonakum hatta yaruddookum 'an deenikum ini istata'u.

8- Instilling and enhancing hope in the souls that the Help of Allah The Almighty is near. It was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullaah Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "You will fight the Jews and you will prevail over them, so that a rock will say, 'O Muslim! there is a Jew, come and kill him!" [Reported by Muslim, Authentic]

«لتقاتلن اليهود، فلنقتلنهم حتى يقول الحجر: يا مسلم! هذا يهودي، فتعال فاقتله» رواه مسلم، صحيح


And in another narration with the same chain of transmission, the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "There is a Jew behind me." [Reported by Muslim, Authentic]

«هذا يهودي ورائي» رواه مسلم، صحيح


Surely, the believer has a strong belief that Allah The Almighty will defend His religion and raise His word high. Surely, a guided group of such nation will continue guiding by truth and by it establishes justice. Moreover, there will still be a group of that nation which will continue victoriously adhering to the truth; those who let them down or differ from them do not harm them and they will keep adhering to this path until the decree of Allah reaches them.

The path is clear and truth is obvious. The supporters of right of scholars and callers should only have sincere intentions and spare no efforts in supporting such cause. The real man who has the praised independence is the Muslim who adheres firmly to the teachings of his religion, has full trust in it, and feels proud because of it.


Those whom we are forbidden to Imitate

1- Shaytan (Satan): It was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "No one among you should eat with his left hand, or drink with it, for the Shaytan eats with his left hand and drinks with it." [Reported by Muslim; Authentic]

«لا يأكلن أحد منكم بشماله، ولا يشربن بها، فإن الشيطان يأكل بشماله، ويشرب بها» رواه مسلم، صحيح


Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, explained that the reason behind prohibiting eating and drinking with the left hand is that the accursed Satan, eat and drink with his left hand. So we come to know that a person should intentionally avoid doing actions that resemble the actions of the accursed Satan because of that prohibition. Narrations prohibit such imitation is actually ample."

2- All non-Muslim people: It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too." We said: "O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said: "Who else?" [Reported by Al-Bukhari, Authentic]

«لتتبعن سنن من كان قبلكم شبرًا بشبر، وذراعًا بذراع، حتى لو دخلوا جحر ضب تبعتموهم قلنا يا رسول الله: اليهود والنصارى؟ قال: فمن» رواه البخاري، صحيح


3- Followers of Innovations: It was narrated that Abu Qilabah, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Do not sit with those who follow their whims for I cannot be sure that they will not tempt you into misguidance or confuse you about what you have known of religion."

4- Al-Fusaaq (corrupt people): Imaam Al-Qurtubi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "If Ahl Al-Fisq (corrupt people) have a specific and unique clothes (that distinguish them), then others will be prohibited to wear such clothes because the one who does not know them may think that they are from such deviated group and thus think ill of them, and then he will be sinful and they (the imitators) will be sinful for they made him to think ill of them."

5- Men imitating women and women imitating men: It is one of the Major sins. It was narrated that 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, said: The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, cursed effeminate men (those who assume the manners of women) and those women who assume the manners of men, and he said, "Turn them out of your houses.", The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, turned out such-and-such man, and Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, turned out such-and-such man. [Reported by Al-Bukhari, Authentic]

«لعن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم المخنثين من الرجال، والمترجلات من النساء، وقال: أخرجوهم من بيوتكم. وأخرج فلانا، وأخرج عمر فلانا» رواه البخاري، صحيح


In another narration, 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, reported that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Allah has cursed those women who imitate men and those men who imitate women." [Reported by Muhammad Jar-Allah As-Si'eedi, Authentic]

«لعن الله المتشبهات من النساء بالرجال والمتشبهين من الرجال بالنساء» محمد جار الله الصعدي، صحيح


Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "At-Tabaari, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, this indicates that it is not permissible for men to imitate women either in clothing or adornments that are exclusive for them (women)."

6- Animals: It was narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Be straight in the prostrations and none of you should rest his forearms on the ground (in the prostration) like a dog" [Reported by Al-Bukhari, Authentic]

«اعتدلوا في السجود، ولا يبسط أحدكم ذراعيه انبساط الكلب» البخاري، صحيح


In another narration, 'Abdur-Rahman Ibn Shible, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, forbade from three things in prayer: pecking like a crow, spreading one's forearms like a carnivore, or always praying in the same place like a camel keeping to its own territory" [Al-Albani, Good]

«أن رسول الله نهى عن ثلاث: عن نقرة الغراب، وافتراش السبع، وأن يوطّن الرجل المقام للصلاة كما يوطّن البعير» الألباني، حسن


Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "Imitating animals in the actions that are deemed disliked in religion, is dispraised and prohibited i.e. imitating their sounds, actions and so such as barking like dog, or braying like donkeys and the like.


Ruling on imitating non-Muslims

Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "The actions of the enemies of Allah and our enemies, the kuffar (infidels), fall into three categories:

1- Acts of worship
2- Customs
3- Manufacturing and work

With regard to the acts of worship, it is well known that it is not permissible for any Muslim to imitate them in their acts of worship. Whoever imitates them in their acts of worship puts himself at great risk and that may lead to him becoming a Kafir who is beyond the folds of Islam.

With regard to customs such as dress etc., it is Haram (prohibited) to imitate them because it was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Whoever imitates a group of people is one of them." [Reported by Ibn Hibaan, Authentic]

«من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم» رواه ابن حبان، صحيح


With regard to manufacturing and professions: in the case of those which serve a general interest, there is nothing wrong with us learning from what they do and benefitting from it. This does not come under the heading of imitating them, rather it is a kind of sharing in beneficial actions and the one who does that is not regarded as imitating them.


Ruling on imitation

First: The type of imitation of non-Muslims which constitutes Shirk (polytheism) or Kuffr (disbelief), such as imitating them in their beliefs, imitating them is some of their acts of worship, or imitating the Jews, Christians and Magi in the matters that can nullify the principles of our Tawheed (monotheism) and creed Like Ta'teel; it is the negation of a Name or attribute of Allah The Almighty, atheism, the belief that Allah The Almighty is limited inside one of His creatures and that He unites with His creation. As well as exaggeration about the Prophets and righteous, devoting worship and seeking help from others than Allah The Almighty, and implementing the man-made rulings and systems. All of such things are either Shirk or Kuffr

Second: Some imitation is disobedience and sin, such as imitating non-Muslims in some of their customs and habits like eating and drinking with the left hand, wearing gold rings, adornment with gold for men, shaving beards, women imitating men and men imitating women, and the like.

Third: There is another kind of imitation that is Makrooh (disliked). It is what varies between being Mubaah (permissible) or being Haram (prohibited). This may happen if the ruling is not clear i.e. that the ruling of some behaviors, customs and worldly matters may vary between being permissible or being prohibited. Such matters will be considered Makrooh (disliked) in order not to include Muslims under the heading of imitation.

Fourth: Another kind of imitation is Mubaah (permissible); It is which is not an exclusive characteristic of them of the worldly life matters. That is to say it does not distinguish them from the righteous Muslims. It must not cause serious harm to the Muslims, nor contribute to the interest of the non-Muslims and cause the Muslims to fall into subjugation and belittlement or the like. One of the permissible actions (i.e. actions in which imitation is permissible) is the positive materialistic production and positive worldly sciences (i.e. that are not related to religion).

We ask Allah The Almighty with His Sublime Names and Attributes to include us among those who adhere firmly to His Noble Book and the Sunnah of his Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, and to make us die on Islam, Certainly, He is All-Hearer and the Answerer.

May prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household, and his companions.


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