Ruling on imitating the kuffaar, and the meaning of the phrase, “What the Muslims think is good is good before Allah”
What is the Islamic ruling on the issue of imitating the kuffaar in their customs and dealings? What are the guidelines concerning that in Islamic sharee'ah? Is every imitation of the actions of the kuffaar regarded as a haraam kind of imitation, knowing that there are many things that the kaafirs do that are not haraam and are not condemned by sharee'ah, where the one who does them does not do them merely to imitate the kuffaar, but because he thinks those things are good, as Ibn Mas'ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "What the Muslims think is good is good before Allah"?
Please advise us, may Allah honour you, and please give me a detailed answer and explain to me the guidelines on this matter.
Firstly: I apologize for asking such a question, and so that there will be no room for doubt about my intention I will say that I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and I am completely content with Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as my Prophet.
I am asking about the Sunnah, because there are many reports of a single hadith. For example, we may find in Saheeh al-Bukhaari a hadith that appears in a form different than that in which it appears in Saheeh Muslim. Why isn't the Sunnah like the Holy Qur'aan? What is the difference between the Sunnah and the Holy Qur'aan? Is the Sunnah part of the Wahy that was revealed to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or is it just his words and deeds? Is it one of the characteristics of Prophethood or what?
I read the words: "The scholars are unanimously agreed that fatwas may change according to time, place, local custom and situation so it is essential to take new developments into account". But I am not convinced of this. Is this view correct? I hope that you can answer with evidence from shareeطah and the Sunnah. May Allah reward you with good.