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Can someone tell me which scholars are of the view that

  • imitating the kuffar is kufr

And which scholars are of the view that

  • imitating the kuffar is not kufr
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1 Answer 1

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Imitation of Kuffar/Denier is impermissible

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

The one who imitates a people will be counted among them. (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Libaas, 3512. Al-Albaani said in Saheeh Abi Dawood, (it is) hasan saheeh. No. 3401).

And somewhat from [5:51]:

O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for intimate friends. They are friends to each other. Whoever takes them as intimate friends is one of them. Surely, Allah does not take the unjust people to the right path.

Hence the one that Imitates the Kuffar makes them one of Kuffar

Reasons for this to be Impermissible :

  1. If a Muslim imitates the disbelievers, it indicates that he prefers the way the disbeliever looks to the way he himself looks, and this may be an implicit objection to the law and will of Allah, may He be exalted.

  2. Imitating someone else is indicative of a sense of inferiority and psychological defeatism, but Islam does not accept for the Muslims to declare such defeat, even if it is real. Therefore people of mature thinking in any nation or community object to their people imitating their enemies; rather they are keen to make them distinct on the basis of their heritage, customs and dress, even if they think that the enemy has better heritage, customs and dress than what they have. That is only because they understand the psychological and social impact – and even the political impact – of outwardly imitating the enemy.

  3. Imitating others in outward appearance implies love and loyalty towards them, because a person does not imitate anyone except those whom he loves. But the Muslims are commanded to disavow the disbelievers of all types. Allah, may He be exalted, says :

    “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliya (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:28].

    And the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

    “The strongest bonds of faith are loyalty for the sake of Allah, enmity for the sake of Allah, love for the sake of Allah and hate for the sake of Allah.” Narrated by at-Tabaraani and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah (998).

  4. Outward imitation of the disbelievers leads to something that is more serious, which is imitation of them in one’s heart and adopting their beliefs, or regarding their views and ideology as sound. There is a clear connection between outward appearance and what is in the heart, and the one affects the other.

    Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Iqtida’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/548):

    Imitating others and being like them in outward appearance and behaviour leads to imitating them and being like them in one’s heart and mind, by way of gradual, hidden influence. We have seen that the Jews and Christians who mix with the Muslims are milder in terms of disbelief than others, just as we have seen that Muslims who mix a great deal with the Jews and Christians are weaker in terms of faith than others. End quote.

    Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

    Because imitation in outward appearance may lead to being influenced with regard to thought and beliefs, as is indicated by Islamic teachings, common sense and real life. Therefore Islamic teaching disallows imitating disbelievers, animals, devils, women and Bedouin.

These are some of the reasons for the Islamic prohibition on Muslims imitating the kaffir. The Muslim has to comply with the rulings of Allah, may He be exalted, and believe that Allah, may He be exalted, will never command him to do anything but that which is wise, in his best interests, and will lead to his happiness in this world and the hereafter.

Different Levels of Imitation

Impermissible Imitation

  1. Imitating the kuffaar in their religious beliefs is haraam and amounts to kufr, e.g. for a Muslim to subscribe to the belief that Isa (Alaihi salaam) was crucified on the cross.

  2. Imitating those signs or symbols that identify with kufr is haraam and amounts to kufr, such as wearing a cross.

  3. Imitating the kuffaar in their religious ceremonies, celebrations or festivals is haraam, e.g. for a Muslim to celebrate Diwali, Christmas, New year, Easter etc.

  4. Imitating the kuffaar in their religious attire is makrooh-e-tahreemi, e.g. for a Muslim to wear an attire that is exclusive to a religious cult (e.g. wearing a saari in our country).

  5. Imitating the kuffaar in their culture and lifestyle is also impermissible, e.g. imitating them in their tight-fitting and revealing clothing, women wearing men’s clothing and vice versa, men wearing ear-rings, celebrating birthdays, tattooing, women and men freely intermingling, etc.

Permissible Imitation

Wearing such clothes that are not exclusive to the kuffaar, but are instead used by all and sundry e.g. wearing jackets, socks, men wearing formal clothes and women wearing unrevealing dresses is permissible and does not amount to imitating the kuffaar.Similarly carrying out those actions or using those items which are not exclusive to the kuffaar ; instead they are commonly used by all, e.g. driving cars, eating and drinking in cups and plates, etc. does not amount to imitating the kuffaar. However one should refrain from drinking in wine tumblers as this is exclusive to the kuffaar.

Views Of Scholars

IMPERMISSIBLE

The view of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr who said:

“Whoever settles in the land of the mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawroz (new year) and Mahrajaan (festival) and imitates them until he dies will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

This may be interpreted as referring to absolute imitation which implies kufr and as meaning that imitation in part is therefore haraam; or it may be interpreted as meaning that he is one of them to the extent that he imitates them, whether it is in ideas of kufr, sin or partaking in a ritual.

This was quoted by more than one of the scholars to show that it is makrooh to imitate forms of dress of the non-Muslims which are not known among the Muslims.


Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“Do not enter to the Mushrikin (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) in their churches on the day of their festivals, for Wrath descends upon them.” He (may Allah be pleased with him) also said, “Keep away from the enemies of Allah on their festivals.”

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade imitating the non-Arabs and said,

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

This was also mentioned by al-Qaadi Abu Ya’laa.

Al-Munaawi and al-‘Alqami said:

i.e., dressing as they dress, following their way of life in clothes and some of the things they do.

Al-Qaari said:

i.e., whoever imitates the kuffaar, such as in how one dresses, etc., or imitates the evil and immoral people, or the Sufis or the righteous, is one of the people whom he imitates, whether they are good or bad.

Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem:

Imaam Ahmad and others quoted this hadeeth as evidence. This hadeeth at the very least implies that it is haraam to imitate them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“... And if any amongst you takes them [Jews and Christians] as Awliyaa’ [friends, helpers]), then surely, he is one of them…”[al-Maa’idah 5:51]


Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“As for offering congratulations on the special ritualistic occasions of Kufr (disbelief), this is agreed to be Haram (prohibited), such as congratulating them (the Kafirs) for their festivals and fasts by saying, ‘Happy or blessed festival to you’ and the like. Even if the one who says so escapes committing Kufr, it is still Haram. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the Cross; in fact it is even more sinful in the Sight of Allah and more hateful than congratulating someone for drinking Khamr (intoxicants), killing a soul, or committing adultery, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their Din fall into this error; they do not realize the abhorrence of their action. Anyone who congratulate a person for committing an act of disobedience, Bid‘ah (innovation in religion) or Kufr exposes themselves to the Hate and Wrath of Allah.”

The Standing Committee was asked to issue a fatwa concerning the type of imitation of the kuffaar that is forbidden. They replied:

What is meant by the type of imitation of the kuffaar that is forbidden is imitating them with regard to those things that are unique to them, such as customs and beliefs and acts of worship that they have innovated in religion, such as imitating them by shaving off the beard… and the festivals that they have adopted; and exaggerating about the righteous by seeking their help, circumambulating their graves, offering sacrifices to them; ringing bells; wearing crosses around one’s neck or hanging them up in houses or having a cross tattooed on one's hand…

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said:

The things in which the kuffaar are imitated include acts of worship, such as imitating them in matters of shirk, such as building (structures) over graves, building shrines and exaggerating about them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May the curse of Allaah be upon the Jews and the Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” Al-Bukhaari, 425; Muslim, 531. And he told us that when a righteous man among them died, they would build a place of worship over his grave, and install images therein, and that they were the most evil of mankind. Al-Bukhaari, 417; Muslim, 528. Nowadays there are instances of major shirk because of exaggeration concerning graves, as is well known to scholars and ordinary folk alike. The cause of that is imitation of the Jews and Christians.

Another example is their imitation of the festivals of shirk and bid’ah, such as birthday celebrations, whether it is the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or the birthdays of presidents and kings. Or these festivals of bid’ah and shirk may be named after days or weeks, such as a country’s national day or independence day, or Mother’s Day, or hygiene week, and other days or weeks that are celebrated. All of these have come to the Muslims from the kuffaar, for Islam has only two festivals: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Anything else is bid’ah and an imitation of the kuffaar.

From a khutbah entitled al-Hathth ‘ala Mukhaalafat al-Kuffaar (Exhortation to be distinct from the kuffaar)


PERMISSIBLE

Islamweb.net says in Fatwa No: 372652:

The prohibition of imitating the disbelievers (non-Muslims) in their festivals, looks, and clothing is not judged as Kufr that takes a person out of the fold of Islam. A person does not become a Kaafir (non-Muslim) unless he does something because of loving the non-Muslims and having affection for them.

(I could not find much saying it is permissble, may be of the clear hadith indication )


References:

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  • @Ishshwh I think a reasonable person would only imitate those they love, cares and influences from, so the argument that you can imitate without loving is rather stupid.
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 16:58
  • @Ishshwh Give my answer another read, you will see where there is exception in some imitation.
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:49
  • Kufr is Haram @Ishshwh
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:50
  • @Ishshwh I did quote them in my answer, and I also stated that I couldn't find many scholars that say it permitted to imitate kufar because of the clear Hadith indication.
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:55

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