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Ruling on Imitation of Disbelievers

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Dr. Naasir al-'Aql

We recall the authentic report from the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, "Whoever imitates a people he is one of them." And also, "You will follow the tradition of those people who came before you exactly..." [this portion is in the two saheehs] And he confirmed, when asked whether he meant the Jews and the Christians, by saying "who else?" [Ahmad, Aboo Dawood, hasan hadeeth, authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Jaami` us-Sagheer, #6025]

The rulings on imitation cannot be dicated in detail because each case has its own barriers set by the texts, based upon a principle of the shar` which is accepted by the people of knowledge, and the understanding of the religion.

But there are some universal rulings, concerning a group of general categories of imitation which are not specified:

1. The type of imitation of the kuffaar which constitutes shirk and kufr. Like imitation in creed, imitation of the Jews and the Christians or the Zoroastrians in matters that affect Tawheed, and creed. Like ta`teel: it is the negation of a name of Allaah ta`alaa, and an attribute of His, and limitation in them, like the belief that Allaah ta`aala is limited inside one of His creatures and that He unites with His creation. As well as glorifying certain Prophets and righteous people, and worshipping them, and calling upon other than Allaah. As well as legislating with a legal system other than the Shar`iah, all of these are either shirk or kufr.

2. Some imitation is disobedience and sin, like copying the kuffaar in some of their manners, like eating with the left hand, and drinking with it, and wearing gold, and adorning oneself with it by the men, and shaving beards, and the women resembling the men, and the men resembling the women, etc.

3. Some of it is makrooh in which its ruling is that it is between the lawful and the unlawful.

And one question remains: "Is there anything which the kuffaar do that is lawful?"

I say, the allowable is that which is not characteristic of them in their matters of life. That means it is from the Muslim characteristics. This permissible action (imitation of it) must not be harmful to the Muslims, nor contribute to the interest of the kuffaar. One of the permissible actions (actions in which imitation is permissible) is the positive materialistic production which does not harm the Muslims. Also material science which does not affect religion and morals, these kinds of actions are permissible. Additionally, sometimes the Muslims must benefit from the worldly sciences of the kuffaar. And what we mean here by worldly, is that the science does not affect our belief or the principles of Sharee`ah or cause the Muslims to fall into subjugation and belittlement. This is what is meant under the section of worldly.

Courtesy Of: Islaam.com

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