“There is no compulsion in religion.” [Ch. 02; V. 2َ 56ُ
ْ“And say, the truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." [Ch. 18; V. 29]
In the light of the above, a Muslim is required to abstain from following, admonishing and degrading other faiths and other ways of life. However, a Muslim should respectfully distance himself/herself from even the very basics of every-day-life of other faiths, e.g. their: manner of eating; drinking mannerisms; words and ways of greeting; responding to the call of nature; mode of dressing; financial dealings; their acts of worship; and other controversial actions as well.
The “name” of a person has a great influence and a very strong impact on an individual’s lifestyle. In a similar manner the practice of following the actions of other faiths, also has a serious bearing on the lifestyle of a Muslim. Many a Mu’min (believer) does not readily accept that specific garments and the general dress code has any significant influence on a person. It is a proven fact that imitating a dress code, gradually … but significantly … alters the well-grounded faith and belief of an individual. Whether the transformations /changes are taking place consciously or unconsciously, they leave serious, deep and life-altering imprints on the individual.
The effects of imitating someone else’s way of life, doesn’t necessarily show on the external self immediately, but over a longer period. The deeper effects of the imitation slowly begin to “colour” the person’s mind and heart. Then the internal self soon succumbs (gives in) … and … people notice: - “Wow, this person has changed!”
Once the changes are ingrained into the deeper recesses of the heart, to remove un-Islamic traits and behaviours becomes a daunting task. It is thus easy to understand that unnecessary and overly intimate (cosy) dealings, friendships, socialisation, meetings, etc. with non-Muslims can prove to be dangerous. if overdone, one’s Imaan is at stake!
That’s the reason why our Nabi Muhammad ﷺ cautioned us to oppose the way of the non-Muslims in both, worship and lifestyle. An example of emulation in worship is: - Jews do not wear Khuffain (leather socks) when praying; (Abu Dawood)
Muslims should sometimes wear Khuffain (leather socks) when performing Salaah … (though Salaah without the Khuffain is acceptable); Nabi (عليه السلام) requested Muslims to fast for two days in Muharram, i.e. 9th & 10th or 10th & 11th; Jews fast for one day only, i.e. the 10th.
Consequently, Nabi Muhammad ﷺ, on the authority of Hadhrat Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه warned: ْWhoever Resembles (imitates) a People is One of Them. (Abu Dawood)
In its widest sense, this Hadeeth implies that anyone who imitates the un-Islamic ways of the disbelievers, is one of them. This clearly indicates the severity and displeasure of following the ways of other faiths.
Darul Ihsan Centre