Q & A
Q. You mentioned our olders [sic.] has put us off Islam by forcing there culter [sic.] and we are creating our own culture which is affecting the masses. How can we stop this?
We must first remember that some (if not most) cultural aspects of our communities (whether Asian, African, Middle Eastern, etc) often have an acceptable Islamic origin but that they are taken out of the boundaries such that they become excessive and even in some cases unwarranted. As an example, it is not principally prohibited to have large weddings as is common in the Asian sub-continent culture where 100s of people are invited for the walima (feast). This is not in and of itself prohibited but it does become so if there is excessive wastefulness or unacceptable extravagance or huge amounts of borrowings for the cost that one is unable to pay back or is paid back through a high interest bearing loan.
We must also remember that just because something or some cultural practice or custom did not originate in the Arabian Peninsuladuring the Prophet’s time does not automatically indicate a prohibition (tahrim). The scholars of Islam have discussed a legal concept known as `urf (‘custom’) and have given criteria which, if fulfilled, a practice/custom/norm is acceptable under theShari`ah in general. Indeed, some practices are linked directly to prohibited religious practices (e.g. that of the Hindus or Buddhists) and hence rejected but in general it is that perfectly permissible and harmless practices (in origin) are taken out of proportion by Muslims, e.g. a bride has to wear red and no other otherwise she is not a ‘real bride’ (a bride can wear red, white or black) or that a hummer limousine has to be hired otherwise the wedding is somehow ‘lame’ (one can hire a limousine so long as there is no alcohol and boys and girls do not sit together).
Indeed, certain practices were considered by the elder generations as ‘Islamic’ in the sense of beating children if they made mistakes (especially in the Madrasas by a Moulvi Saab) or shunning modern technology (e.g. gadgets, internet, etc) and due to better education about what Islam and its practices are, these are slowly eroding away. And this is exactly what is needed – better education and learning about what Islam really is and not through some cultural concepts and practices of a few regions of Muslim countries.
If your question is about what can we do to stop the long-term infiltration of non-Islamic cultural practices, or incorrectly applied Islamically acceptable practices, or indeed prevent the wide spread misunderstanding of Islamic rulings and concepts in our countries, then it can only be achieved through a machinery and apparatus that will help protect, revive and maintain Islamic norms, practices and ideals in society and this is the state. Individuals cannot by themselves preserve the Shari`ah in its totality and entirety. The Shari’ah has to be implemented through the state and the state will take up the task of protecting and upholding the Islamic culture. Insha’allah!
And Allah alone knows best.