In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [ وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا لِّتَڪُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ شَهِيدً۬اۗ – Thus We have made you [true Muslims real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of – Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat [just and the best] nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you]. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Verse 143]
Allaah [The Exalted] also said:
وَرَحۡمَتِى وَسِعَتۡ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ فَسَأَكۡتُبُہَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤۡتُونَ ٱلزَّڪَوٰةَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِىَّ ٱلۡأُمِّىَّ ٱلَّذِى يَجِدُونَهُ ۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِى ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡہَٮٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنڪَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَـٰٓٮِٕثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَـٰلَ ٱلَّتِى كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُ ۥۤۙ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ
My Mercy embraces all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who are the pious, and give Zakat; and those who believe in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs and revelations, etc.); those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut, xviii, 15) and the Injeel (Gospel) (John xiv, 16) , he – commands them for Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allah’s Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’an) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Verses 156-157]
Shaikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – after quoting the above Aayaat of the Qur’an – stated: This is why those amongst the Muslims who deviate towards the doubts of the Jews and Christians are commanded to abandon such deviation and follow the straight path – the path which Allaah bestowed on the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and righteous, and not the path of those who have earned Allaah’s Anger, such as those Jews who disbelieved in the Messiah after having knowledge, and those who went astray such as those Christians who deviated from the path of the Messiah, exaggerated his status by worshipping him and worshipped Allaah based on ignorance. And similar to them is the one who (ascribes to Islaam), but he exceeds the limits in avoiding impure things and thus declares impure that which has not been declared impure by Allaah and His Messenger; makes unlawful that which Allaah and His Messenger have not made unlawful, captured by the whispers of shaytaan and forbids the good things which Allaah made lawful for the Muslims, such as the one who holds the opinion that if impurity is removed and there is nothing remaining of it, the place it was found is still impure if the impurity was not removed by that which has been prescribed as a condition for its removal, such as water or other than it; or he holds that good water and other good liquids that have not been affected by something filthy is unlawful merely due to the reason that they have come into contact with some filth. [Footnote a]
And even worst is the affair of those who excommunicate Muslims who oppose them, as is the view of many of ahlul bidah amongst the Raafidha (Shiites), the Khawaarij and other than them; so if others eat from their utensils, they declare it impure. [Footnote b]
As for that which many people do (without any sound proof from the texts of the Sharee’ah), such as one who commands a menstruating woman to change or wash the first clothing she wore whilst she was on her menses, or forbids a person who is in a state of Janaabah from eating or drinking until he takes a shower (or bath), these opinions are often that of those who resemble the Jews who strayed; rather they resemble the Samaritans. [Footnote c]
As for those who resemble the Christians, it is for example the affair of the one who has a good suspicion regarding that which is impure, such as those who are in toilets- places of the devils and impurity – and defiled with urine- neither performs ablution nor takes a bath, nor makes Ghuls after being in a state of Janaabah; neither performs the paryer nor prays in a state of ablution, whilst knowing that it is known by necessity in the religion that the five daily prayers are obligated on every person and that one has to perform ablution if he is a state of Hadath and should make Ghuls when in a state of Janaabah, and cannot perform Tayammum when he is able to make ablution. (1)
Footnote a: Water is pure and nothing can make it impure except if an impurity is added which changes its smell, taste or colour: Purification and the types of water- By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah:
Water is pure and nothing can make it impure except if an impurity is added which changes its smell, taste or colour: Purification and the types of water.
Seawater, river water and lake water are pure and purifying, and their creatures are lawful to catch and eat: Purification and the types of water.
Footnote b: Misguidance of The Raafidha and Khawaawij:
The Khawarij Past and Present: ISIS Daesh in Iraq & Syria: Ibn Kathir (died 774 AH): If The Khawarij Ever Gained Strength in Iraq and Syria, There Would Be Mass Killing
Footnote c: Some of The Most Well-Known Sects Amongst The Jews Who Either Deviated From The Sound Teachings of Their Prophets or Disbelieved In The Final Messenger Muhammad:
* Al-Fareesiyyoon (Pharisees) or hard-liners: “They were also called Rabbis, erudite scholars, brothers for the sake of God, and they are monastic mystics. They believe in resurrection, in the angels and in the Afterlife. They also believe that the Torah is not the only holy book that is depended upon, but rather there are oral narratives that were later written and called the Talmud”.
* As-Saddaaqiyyoon (Sadducees): “It was a name given to them because they were known to be deniers, so their enemies called them sedducees, because they denied the resurrection, the recompense, the paradise, the fire, the existence of the angels, the awaited Messiah. They believed that the reward for good deeds is a blessing and only something good in this life, and that evil deeds brings about crises and troubles for its doer”.
*As-Saamirah: “They were a people who lived in the mountains of Jerusalem. They entered Judaism but they were not from the children of Israel. They affirmed the Prophethood of Moosaa, Haaroon and Yu’sha bin Noon [peace be upon them], but not the Prophethood of those after them. Their Qiblah was towards a mountain between Jerusalem and Nablus called Grezim. Their language is not the Hebrew language of the Jews, but rather a language close to it. This sect splintered into many groups which have different rulings and laws. They acknowledge the hereafter, reward and punishment in the hereafter, and some of their groups claim that the reward and punishment is only limited in this world”.
*Al-Muta’assibah (or Fanatical Partisans): “They were a group whose thought was close to that of the Pharisees, but they were very aggressive and believed in assassinating anyone who disagreed with them. They were also called Saffaakoon [Those Eager to Commit Murder], and they committed pillage, plunder, and transgressed against everyone who accepts submission to others besides them. Hostility occurred between them and the Pharisees because the Pharisees submitted to the Romans. Some of the researchers consider them to be from the political or nationalistic sects, even though their movement started within a religious framework, but great was their crimes which they committed from one place to another”.
*Al-Qurraa’oon (The Reciters): “They were a small group of Jews and were given this name because they were reciters of the Torah. They appeared after the decline of the Pharisees. They only recognized the Old Testament, and they neither submit to the Talmud nor acknowledge it because they believe that they have freedom to explain the Torah and rectify the mistakes that occurred in some of its explanations”.
*Al-Katabatu- (The Writers or Scribes): “This name was given to a group of Jews whose profession was to write the law for those who request it, and their job, besides writing and transcribing, was to preach, in order to obtain money from copying the law and preaching. And they have titles such as “Al-Hukamaa- Wise Men”. They established schools for education and the goal behind that was to gather money”.
*As-Saba’iyyah: “They were the followers of Abdullah bin Saba, who entered Islam to (attempt) destroying it from within. He was the one who provoked the people against Uthmaan Bin Affaan [may Allaah be pleased with him] until he was murdered. He fabricated ahadeeth and he was the pioneer of political strife in Islam”. [Al-Faslu Fil Milal Wal-Ahwaa Wan-Nihal. 1/177-179 By Ibn Hazm. Publisher: Daar Al-Jeel 1405AH]
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you- hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered a lizard’s hole, you will also enter it.’’ We [i.e. the Sahaabah] said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! Is it the Yahood and Nasaaraa?’ He said, ‘Who else?'” [Al-Bukhaari’ Number 1397]
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said, “The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] informed us that some of the people in his Ummah will do what the previous nations did [i.e. misguidance] in religion, customs and the ways in which they govern their affairs. Indeed, Shirk occurred in the nations of the past and likewise it has occurred in this Ummah. Indeed, what the Prophet told us has occurred, because here [i.e. various places in the Muslim lands] are the graves being worshipped besides Allaah with various types of worship. And the Prophet informed us that the end of time will not come until a group of his Ummah attach themselves to the Mushrikoon and until groups from his Ummah worship idols. [Abu Dawud 4252] [An Excerpt from Muhaadaraat Fil Aqeedah Wad-Da’wah’ pages 23-24. slightly paraphrased]
Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The most hated people to Allaah are three: a person who deviates from right conduct [i.e. an evil doer] in the Haram [sanctuaries of Makkah and Medeenah]; a person who seeks that the traditions of the pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance should remain in Islam and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right”.
Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadee Al-Mad’khalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “These three deeds are from the major sins. The first major sin is Al-Ilhaad Fil Haram [i.e. deviating from right conduct in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah]. Ilhaad means to deviate from the truth [and enter into] falsehood, and supporting falsehood in order to obliterate the truth. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] censured the Mulhideen Fil Haram [i.e. those who deviate from right conduction in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], saying: [وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ – And whoever intends evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. fall into Shirk and abandon Islamic Monotheism), We shall make him taste a painful torment]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 25]
Allaah promised them [a severe punishment] due to the mere fact they intend evil actions therein [i.e. in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], then how about perpetrating such deed! Indeed that would be a more severe sin, a more frightening state and a more severe punishment. This is a proof regarding the virtue of the sanctuaries of the Haram- that it is a sacred land chosen by Allaah and He made it a place where virtuous acts of worship are performed, [such as] the Hajj which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Allaah gave this place virtues that cannot be enumerated, such as the increased reward attached to good deeds [performed in Makkah and Madeenah] and gave this land virtue over all other lands of the earth.
The second major sin is committed by the person who wants that the pre-Islamic traditions should remain in Islaam, as if he gives precedence to the pre-Islamic traditions – the evil customs that were followed during that period and the misguided deeds- over the Islamic practices, Eemaan, Ihsaan, their virtue and virtue of the Sunnah. He is guilty of committing a major sin, and this includes giving precedence to Bidah over [the authentic] Sunnah that guides to the straight path.
The third major sin is to seek to shed somebody’s blood without any right – meaning: seeking to shed the blood of a Muslim without right and doing so based on oppression and animosity. Shedding the blood of a Muslim is a great crime, just as the Prophet said, “The extinction of the whole world is less significant to Allaah than killing a Muslim [i.e. unlawfully]”. And he [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] stated regarding the rights of the Ka’bah, “How great you are and how great is your sanctity! But the sanctity of a believer is greater than yours in the sight of Allaah”.
It is not permissible to transgress against the Muslims and the believers – males and females- in the sanctuaries of [Makkah and Madeenah] or in other places due to the great sin and punishment which results from that. [At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 429-430. Slightly paraphrased]
Customs and Cultural Practices
Imaam Ash-Shaatibee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated in Al-Muwaafaqaat that customs are many different types- some are good and others are corrupt. The good customs are those that neither oppose the Sharee’ah texts nor lead to losing an affair deem to be beneficial by the Sharee’ah, nor lead to an affair which the Sharee’ah deems to be corrupt. As for the corrupt customs, they are those that oppose the evidences in the Sharee’ah or some of the principles of the Sharee’ah, such as some of the customary dealings in usury and those deeds deemed to be evil by the Sharee’ah which the people engage in during occasions of happiness (or rejoicing etc). [Al-Muwaafaqaat 2/283]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Hardship is only encountered by the one who abandons the Ma’loofaat and Awaa’id [i.e. those habitual things, deeds, practices, customs etc] for other than the sake of Allaah. As for the one who abandons them truthfully and sincerely from the bottom of his heart- for the sake of Allaah alone- then indeed he does not encounter any difficulty due to abandoning them except in the beginning, in order that he is tested as to whether he is truthful or untruthful in abandoning them? If he exercises a little bit of patience, its [i.e. that abandonment] will alternate into pleasure. Ibn Seereen said that he heard Shurayh swearing by Allaah that “A servant does not abandon anything for the sake of Allaah and finds a loss in that.” And their statement [i.e. the people of knowledge] that ‘whoever abandons something for the Sake of Allaah, Allaah will replace it with what is better.” This is true. This compensation is of different types and the best of that which a person is compensated with is: the desire and yearning to get close to Allaah, seeking after Allaah’s pleasure, love of Allaah, and the heart granted-by way of it- tranquility, strength, enthusiasm, happiness and being pleased with its Lord [The Most High]. [Al-Fawaa’id page 166]
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: It is obligated on every Muslim that he does not depend on custom; rather he presents it to the pure Islamic legislation [to be judged], so whatever the Islamic legislation affirms is permissible and whatever it does not affirm is impermissible. The customs of the people are not proof to determine the lawfulness of anything. All the customs of the people in their countries or tribes must be presented to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] for judgement, so whatever Allaah and His Messenger made permissible is permissible, and whatever they forbid, then it is obligatory to abandon it even if it is the custom of the people. [Majmoo Al-Fataawas 6/510]
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The customs cannot make something that is not legislated (in the divine revelation) as something legislated, because of Allaah’s statement: [وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا – It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back] [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 189], despite the fact that it was something they took as their custom and considered it to be an act of righteousness. Whoever takes something as a custom and believes that it is an act of righteousness, then it should be presented to Allaah’s divine legislation. [Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah 2/299]
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said: Extremism in related to customs is stringent adherence to old customs and not diverting to what is better than them. As for if the customs are equal in benefit [i.e. the ones judged to be permissible by the divine legislation], then a person remaining upon what he is upon would be better than going along with the new (or emerging) customs. [Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 7/7]
To be continued…InShaaAllaah
[Ref 1: An Excerpt From Al-Jawaabus Saheeh Liman Baddala Deen Al-Maseeh. 1/204-207. Slightly paraphrased]