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Differentiating between tradition and Islam
:
The Muslim Community worldwide must hold firm to the values of Islam
regardless of tradition
.

The Reality on the Ground!

Differentiating between tradition and Islam

Muslim youth growing up in the West face many problems which some associate with Islam, but have nothing to do with it and everything to do with backward traditions that totally contradict the Quran and Sunnah.

Many have grown up being smacked unnecessarily by their parents at home and by the ‘Maulana’ at the mosque. Some have been forced to marry from amongst their relatives or tribe. Not knowing whether this comes from Islam or from tradition. Technology and anything modern is seen as anti-Islamic and the image of a good Muslim is portrayed as someone who denies the world and sits in the mosque all day.

Incorrectly associating things to Islam leads to distorting it completely, to the extent that people turn away from Islam thinking it is something that it isn’t. Therefore it is vital for us to separate between tradition and Islam clearly.


‘Beats’ at the Mosque

A common reality that many face whilst growing up is going to the ‘Madrassah’ routinely every day for two hours in the evening. Often instead of being a productive two hours where minds are filled with clear understanding and powerful culture of Islam, for many it is something that they dread – two hours of memorization and being beaten for a variety of reasons, ranging from making a mistake to talking to friends.

In later years friends often even laugh about their painful days at the ‘Madrassah’ and compare the various methods of punishment the ‘Maulana’ would inflict, the most famous being the ‘Murgee’ or ‘chicken’ position.

It’s common practice for the people who teach children in the Madrassah’s not to be acquainted with the reality of children growing up in the West and the issues they face and not to be fluent in the English language. Many are employed merely as a convenience rather than due to their ability to build Islamic personalities.

This reality completely contradicts Islam and originates from backward traditions and ignorance. Islam does not allow the excessive beating of children like some receive in the mosques today. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) never beat his children or his grandchildren. He was known to be the one who would love his children and grandchildren, in fact he was so soft to his two grandchildren Hasan (ra) and Hussain (ra) that they would play on his back whilst he was doing Sajda (prostration) for Salah (prayer) and he would not tell them off.

The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said

“honour your children and bring them up well. Verily, your children are a gift for you.” [Ibn Majah]

Islam is about loving each other, not breeding hatred. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

“A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.” [Bukhari]

Islam recognises the importance of education of children. Ibn Majah narrated that the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Teach your children and teach them properly”. Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Act upon the obedience to Allah and avoid the prohibitions of Allah, and order your children to abide by the commandments of Allah and to avoid the prohibitions of Allah, and by that you protect yourself and them from the Hellfire.” [Ibn Jurayr]

The purpose of education is to form the Islamic personality in thought and behaviour. This cannot be achieved by merely forcing people to memorize. Rather it requires building an understanding of the basics of Islam and how to live life according to it. People cannot be changed by the stick but only by truly being convinced of the Islamic concepts.

The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) did not make the mosques a place where you did not want to go. In his time the Mosques were the center of learning, not beating. The doors of the mosque were open to youth to sit and discuss rather than being closed properties controlled by mafia like committee’s as we find today.


Forced marriages

‘When are you going to get married?’ ‘Are you going to get married from back home?’, these are questions that many have been asked at some time or another. Some parents and families are still force their children to marry from their relatives or tribe.

Many times the person has been reserved since before they can remember. Unfortunately some marriages are based on this philosophy, ‘You’re single, their single, you have a British passport and they don’t’. When it is argued to one’s parents that they don’t want to marry someone they don’t know at all, they automatically assume that you want a ‘Love marriage’ and the barrage of arguments begins.

‘Love marriage? You want a love marriage? Have you heard of so and so who did a love marriage and now they are divorced!?’ and the examples never end. You are offered two options, either you marry who they say, or you have a love marriage which will be domed to failure.

Neither of these two options is necessarily Islamic. We do not marry somebody because they are relatives and they need residency in the West. At the same time we do not ‘date’ then get married like the Kuffar.

Islam is different. Marriage is about finding a partner your compatible with and can find tranquility in. This person might be from ‘back home’ or they might not be. The correct way to find out is to inquire about their personality is like in a Halal way.

You can ask friends and family to find out about them, send your relatives to visit their family, and speak to them face to face in the presence of a Mahram (un-marriable relative of the women, e.g. brother, nephew, uncle, etc). These are some ways you find out about people before marriage. Islam does not at all allow boyfriend-girlfriend relationships even if the purpose is marriage. Unfortunately, sometimes people resort to this because a Halal option has not been presented to them.


Islam describes marriage as a source
of love and comfort

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” [TMQ 30:21]

Marriage is not only about making you happy, or your parents happy. Marriage is a responsibility and a chance to gain tranquility with a partner.

Ibn Masud narrates that the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

‘Oh you youngsters. Whoever amongst you who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him more to lower his gaze, and guard his modesty [i.e. private parts from unlawful sex]. And whoever is not able to marry he should fast, because it will be protection for him.’

Marriage is a contract in Islam and no contract is valid, if it is forced. Abdullah bin Burayda (ra) narrates on the authority of his father that a young girl came to the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) and said, 'my father married me off to his nephew in order to raise his lowly status.’ So the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) gave her the right to nullify the marriage. She replied, ‘I accept what my father has done, but I wanted to inform the [other] women that fathers do not have any authority to give their daughters in marriage against their wishes.’

Marriage is based on consent from both the women and the man. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) explained to us that we are allowed to seek certain things in marriage and informed us that the best quality to look for is the Islamic personality.

Abu Hurraria reported that the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

‘A woman is married for four things, her wealth, lineage, beauty and Islamic character (Deen). So gain success with the one who possesses a good character (deen).’


Nationalism & Tribalism

Nationalism and tribalism is another part of backward tradition which some people associate to Islam. In some communities we have several mosques often separated on tribal or ethnic grounds such as Pathan, Gujarati, Pakistani, Jat, Gajar, Bengali and so on.

Amongst some each community is stereotyped and joked about. They don’t allow anyone from their family to even consider another Muslim from other than their own nationality or tribe.

This is not from Islam. The clearest and simplest example to give is the example of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam). He was from the tribe of Quraish, who were thought of as an upper class tribe. However he himself gave his cousin Zaynab bin Jahsha (ra) who was also from the exalted people of the Quraish, to Zayd bin Haritha (ra) who used to be a slave.

Abu Hatim al-Muzani report that the Messenger of Allah said,

‘When someone whose character and morals are agreeable to you approaches you for marriage give your daughter to him in marriage. If you do not then there will be tribulation and immense corruption in the earth.’ They said ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, even if he has some deficiency?’. He said, ‘when someone comes whose character and morals are agreeable to you approaches you for marriage give your daughter to him in marriage.’ He said this three times.

So the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) told us what matters is character not colour, morals not tribe. What tribe they are from does not matter at all. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,

"He is not one of us who calls for Asabiyyah, (tribalism, nationalism) or who fights for 'Asabiyyah or who dies for 'Asabiyyah." [Abu Dawud]

And in another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) referring to tribalism said:

"Leave it, it is rotten." [Muslim and Bukhari]

The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“The Believers in their mutual love, are like one body, if his eye becomes sore then the whole (body) feels pain, and if his head is in pain then his whole (body) feels the pain”, meaning that the Muslims, whether we are Pakistani, Bengali, White, Pink or Purple, are one Ummah and we cannot be separated from each other. No tribal ties should ever break our unity.


Islam and Technology

Modern technology and Islam are sometimes seen as two opposites. Being Islamic is wrongly thought to mean that we can’t drive good cars, live in nice houses and use computers. What does Islam have to do with In-vitro fertilisation, the dynamics of nuclear technology, cloning and Star Trek style military technology?

Islam is not a religion like that of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and the like, who don’t have any solutions for the various problems of life. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala) has given us rules for all the problems that we face whether in the 21st century or in the future, as He (Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala) is the all knowing and the Quran is for all time until the day of Judgement. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala) says,

“And we have sent down the book as an explanation for everything, a guidance, a mercy and glad tidings for those who submitted themselves to Islam.” [TMQ 16:89]

Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala) allowed for us to use various types of technology as long as it is in a Halal way.

"He it is Who created for you all that is on earth." (Al-Baqarah 2:29)

This includes cars, mobile phones, the internet, satellites, missiles and DVD’s. The Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) utilized the various technologies at his time, he even used the style of digging a trench which taken from Persians, in the Battle of the Ditch, otherwise known as Ahzab. Technology can be used for Halal or Haram, it is not the thing which is Haram it is what you do with it. As an example, the Internet and DVD’s can be used for Haram such as promoting indecency or can be used in a Halal way to promote Islam.

Islam demands that we are leaders in science; we will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically. This is why we find that in Islamic history the Muslims were the most advanced in the fields of science including optometry, biology and mathematics.

During the time of Khaleefah Haroon Al-Rashid [169-194 AH] the Islamic State developed mobile clinics and hospitals and many schools of pharmacy and chemists were established. In 318 AH [931CE] Baghdad alone had 860 registered physicians.

Zakariya Razi is a great name in mediaeval chemical science. Born in 850 A.D, he is known as one of the greatest physicians of all times. He wrote Kitab al Asrar a chemistry book dealing with the preparation of chemical substances and their application.

Abu Yusuf Ibn Ishaq, known as al-Kindi was born in Kufa in the middle of the 9th Century. He is one of the greatest scholars of physics. Over and above this, he was an astrologer, alchemist and optician. He wrote more than 265 books, of these fifteen are on meteorology, several on specific weight, on tides, on optics and on reflection of light. He wrote several books on iron and steel.

Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn al-Baytar, was the greatest botanist and pharmacist of Spain. He traveled the world in search of plants and herbs, from Spain to Syria. He wrote books described more than 1,400 medical drugs and compared them with the records of more than 150 ancient and Arabian authors.

Abu’l ‘Ali al-Husayn b. ‘Abd Allah b. Sina, called Avicenna in the West, was one of the greatest scientists in history. At the age of 21 he wrote a twenty volume book on science called Kitab al-hasil wa’l-mahsul dealing with all sciences, he wrote Kitab al-majmu‘ on mathematics.


True Islam

We should never confuse tradition and Islam. It is Islam that we must follow, not traditions that contradict it and often emanate from Hinduism and other religions. We should never assume that something is Islamic because it is commonly practiced. We should always question and find out – where practices come from, are they based on evidence from the Quran and Sunnah?

Islam is an ideology which demands creative thinkers. People who are sharp, intelligent and quick on their feet. Most of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) companions were young, they were all intelligent, brave and committed. They rejected the corrupt traditions of their forefathers and carried Islam with frankness, courage, strength and thought. Let us take them as our role models.

 

Source: Khilafah Magazine May 2003 Edition
Abdul-Hamid Jassat & Dilpazier Aslam

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Khilafah II

This sequal will dominate world politics for all mankind, forever.



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