What is Islamic and what is not Islamic?
It is only sad, I can say, that despite knowledge explosion and awareness of Islam through Friday speeches, books, videos, lectures, websites etc. many Muslims are still unaware of what constitutes something to be Islamic.
How to look at a particular thing and then conclude whether it is Islamic or un-Islamic or simply Muslim?
This post will clarify some misconceptions and make things clear, Inshaa’Allah.
Merriam Webster gives the following definition for the suffix ‘ic’:
1. having the character or form of
2. a. of or relating to
b. related to, derived from, or containing
3. in the manner of, like that of, characteristic of
4. associated or dealing with
5. characterized by, affected with
So when you say Islamic, it means something related to Islam, connected to Islam, characteristic of Islam or characterized by Islam’s beliefs or teachings.
Sometimes we see people in mosques arguing about dress.
When you are at a mosque wearing a shirt and if it is tucked in or a T-shirt or a suit with neck-tie, sometimes some kurta-clad Muslim stares at you and tells you: why are you not wearing an Islamic dress? Some ‘free’ advice is thrown at you: Next time, please don’t come to mosque in this ‘western style!’
Hello, come on. What is happening with we Muslims?
Is wearing shirt not Islamic? Who told you that everything western is anti-Islamic? Or do you have any proof that only kurta-pyjama is Islamic?
What constitutes Islamic and what not? Some people are hopelessly ignorant about it!
Any dress that fulfills the Islamic etiquette of dressing has to be Islamic! It is as simple as it is.
* Awrah: Covering the parts of the body that must be covered: navel to knees in case of men. Everything except the hands and face in case of women.
* Modest clothing: The dress must not be see-through. It must not be tight-fitting.
* Beauty: In order to look good, clothes must be neat and tidy.
When wearing a T-shirt and a track pant fulfills the above criteria, what is the problem in wearing that?
Some teachers and even parents segregate education and knowledge: Islamic knowledge and non-Islamic knowledge. Or Religious knowledge and ‘worldly knowledge’! Deeni Taleem and Dunyawi Taleem!! Religious education and secular education!
Learning to read Qur’an is Islamic. Learning Mathematics or science is not Islamic!! Muddled arguments, anyway!
During a discussion on Islamic education, someone reacted to me saying: What, Physical Education?! Astaghfirullah, it’s about games and sports, and how can that be Islamic?!!
Our brothers are masters in shooting fatwas!! You don’t know where to go and hit your head at such annoying and disgusting attitude!
Did the Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam ever compartmentalize knowledge? No, right?
Did the Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam not encourage archery in Masjid Nabawi? Did he ever prohibit his companions from acquiring wrestling skills in his masjid?
He used to supplicate: O Allah! I seek from You beneficial knowledge.
O Allah! I seek refuge in You from a knowledge that is of no use.
The matter is simple: Any purposeful education that brings benefit to the society will be Islamic. Whether it is conquering space or learning to write A B C or Alif Baa Taa.
What the Qur’an tells us to do, is Islamic. What the Qur’an tells us to refrain from, is Islamic. What the Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam did is Islamic.
If you assume or invent something and call it Islamic, you are either ignorant of Islamic teachings or having a biased approach to problems and situations. To be precise, you have not dyed yourself with the Dye of Allah!
Also, there is a need to understand and differentiate between Islamic culture and Muslim culture. Some examples will suffice, Inshaa’Allah.
* During marriages in Asia, for example, Muslims spend huge amount of money and adopt so many ceremonies that are not sanctioned in Islam but has creeped into Muslim society through alien culture and influence.
Now, if some Muslim follows the traditions and customs of his village during his marriage, it will be said that he has adopted Muslim culture. You cannot call it as Islamic culture.
* Offering salah, that is, Praying without a skull cap (called Toopi in Urdu) is acceptable to Islam. If somebody insists on praying with the skull cap on, then he is only going by the societal culture, not Islamic culture.
* A country that adopts all the injunctions of Qur’an and Shariah in legislation only can be called as Islamic country. Just by Muslim population or going by the Muslim name that you have kept for your country, you cannot call it as an Islamic country. It is just a Muslim country, that’s it. Most of the Muslim countries say that their constitution abides by the Shariah, but then they are choosy in applying certain Islamic laws and ignore certain Islamic laws. How can you call such a country as Islamic?
May Allah give us the Tawfeeq and the Hidayah to understand things in a better way. Aameen.
Jazakallaahu Khayra for reading this post.
Sal-lal-laahu ‘Ala Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam.