Guidelines on Tashabbuh (Unlawful Imitation)

Imitation of non-Muslims or sinful people is not permissible, and is known as tashabbuh (unlawful imitation).

The following fall under tashabbuh:

  1. Imitation in a distinguishing characteristic of non-Muslim group/s or sinful group/s, seeing which in an individual creates a suspicion that he/she belongs with them, is like them or commits the same acts as them. [1]
  2. Imitation in a religious practice/custom of non-Muslims. [2]
  3. Imitation in something done with the intention of copying them, even if it is not religious or exclusive to them. [3]

It does not include something non-religious that is in principle permissible and not regarded as a distinguishing characteristic of theirs (e.g. certain forms of dress, eating certain dishes, dining on chairs and tables, speaking different languages, using certain medications or tools, using certain modes of transport, etc.) when not practised with the intention of copying them. [4]

It should be kept in mind that the example of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is superior in all matters. Even in matters that are not religious – like the manner of dress, sitting, eating, sleeping and so on – it is recommended as far as possible to copy the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) with the intention of being more like him. [5]

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Sins and the Danger of Sū’ al-Khātimah (Death upon Disbelief)

Explaining the importance of obedience, avoidance of sins and repentance for the preservation of īmān, Imām al-Ghazālī writes:

Īmān is not one door but is over seventy doors, the highest of them the testimony that there is no deity but Allāh and the lowest of them removing harm from the road. An example of this is someone saying: “The human being is not one entity, but is over seventy entities, the highest of them is the heart and soul and the lowest of them is removing offensive things from the skin in that one has a trimmed moustache, clipped nails, and skin free of filth, so that he is distinguished from unrestrained beasts soiled in their faeces with offensive forms owing to their lengthy talons and hooves.”

 

This is a fitting example for īmān is like a human being. Losing the testimony of Tawḥīd entails complete negation just like losing the soul. The one who does not have [anything] besides the testimony of Tawḥīd and Risālah is like a person with amputated limbs, gouged-out eyes, missing all external and internal parts besides the essence of the soul. Just as the one whose condition is such is close to dying – the weak and isolated soul, from which the parts that assist and strengthen it have fallen behind, parting from him – similarly, the one who does not have [anything] besides the essence of īmān and falls short in actions comes close to the tree of his īmān being uprooted when strong winds that shake the īmān strike it at the initial arrival and coming of the Angel of Death. Every īmān whose roots are not established within certainty and whose branches are not spread out within actions will not remain firm in [the face of] the torrents of horrors when the head of the Angel of Death appears. Sū’ al-khātimah (an evil end) will be feared for him, unless he is watered with acts of obedience with the succession of days and hours so that [his tree of īmān] becomes firmly-rooted and strong.

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The Danger of Insincerity amongst the ‘Ulamā’

While discussing insincerity in Dīnī activities, Imām al-Ghazālī says:

‘The people most subject to this tribulation are the ‘Ulamā’ since the motive for most in sharing knowledge is the delight of being superior, and the joy of being followed, and the happiness of being praised and glorified, but the Shayṭān deceives them about this, saying: “Your motive is only to spread the Dīn of Allāh, and to defend the Sharī‘ah which the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) established.” You see the sermoniser mentioning the favour to Allāh of his advice to people and his admonition of kings, and he is overjoyed with people’s acceptance of his speech and their attraction to him, while claiming that he is happy because assisting the Dīn has been made easy for him. Yet, if one of his peers who is better than him at sermonising were to appear, and the people turned from him and moved towards him, this would hurt and worry him. Had his motive been Dīn he would have thanked Allāh (Exalted is He) since Allāh (Exalted is He) has sufficed him of this task using another. Thereafter, the Shaytān despite this does not leave him, and says: “You are only worried because the reward has ceased coming to you not because people’s faces have turned away from you to another, because if they received the reminder from your speech you would be rewarded – and your concern for missing out on reward is praiseworthy.” The poor individual (miskīn) does not realise that his submission to the truth and his handing over the task to someone better is greater in reward…’ (Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, Dār al-Minhāj, 9:71)

Are Grandnieces one’s Maḥrams?

Question:

Are the granddaughters (son’s daughter/daughter’s daughter) of a man’s brothers or sisters included amongst his maḥrams?

Answer:

Yes, they are his maḥrams. [1]

[1]

فتحرم بنات الإخوة والأخوات وبنات أولاد الإخوة والأخوات وإن نزلن (رد المحتار، دار عالم الكتب، ج٤ ص٩٩

وكذا الأخوات من أي جهة كن وبنات الأخوات وإن سفلن (فتاوى قاضيخان، دار الكتب العلمية، ج١ ص٣١٦

فأما النسب فهو الرحم المحرم وهم أربعة أصناف…والصنف الثالث: الإخوة والأخوات من أي وجه كانوا: لأب وأم أو لأب أو لأم وأولاد جميعهم وإن بعدوا (النتف فى الفتاوى، مؤسسة الرسالة، ج١ ص٢٥

Happy British Muslims Video

QUESTION

There’s been a recent video released and participated in by many notable British ‘practising’ Muslims termed ‘Happy British Muslims’.

Perhaps the most concerning feature (for some of us at least)  is that a prominent UK scholar is featured in it. He has since gone on record to say,”I’m delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many sceptics. Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness. No one will produce a Sharia argument against jumping for joy!”

Could you please explain if there are any ‘sharia arguments’ that are violated in this video? Continue Reading

Nikah (Marriage) Without Witnesses?

QUESTION

I knew a boy and we decided to do nikka on phone. But there was no imam or witness present. No meher was paid aftee that. We both knew the nikka was not valid since no witness was present. We did recite everything and also asked each other’s approval 3 times.

Recently I have heard, that nikka without witnesses is ACCEPTABLE in some circumstances. None of our parents or anyone was informed of this before. Is the nikka valid? Please help me I no longer talk to this boy. Continue Reading