tradition and Islam:
Muslim Community worldwide
must hold firm to the values of
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.”
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.”
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
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
‘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
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
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.
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
‘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
‘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 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
‘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
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
"He is not one of us who
calls for Asabiyyah, (tribalism, nationalism) or who
fights for 'Asabiyyah or who dies for 'Asabiyyah."
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)
“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
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.
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
Source: Khilafah Magazine May 2003
Abdul-Hamid Jassat & Dilpazier Aslam
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