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Islam Forbids Imitating the Unbelievers

Islam places great emphasis on the dignity of the faith in the face of other people, especially those from other religions. It has been said that God Almighty has entrusted the believer with his own affairs, but He has not entrusted him so that he might disgrace himself! One of the distinctive moments in the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) occurred when the funeral procession of a Jewish man passed by and he (S.A.W.) was sitting along its path. He did not want the casket to pass over his head and so he stood. Isn’t this lesson sufficient to show the importance of dignity?
One of the distinguishing features of life in this era is the interaction of different civilizations and cultures because of the improvements in the means of communication and media these days. The danger of this -- and what a pity it is – is that the culture of the politically, economically, and militarily dominant nation takes control of culture of the dominated nation, even if the dominant culture is the picture of misguidance and corruption. The souls of the masses are taken in by the forms of power and advancement of the other culture, especially if these forms are in line their inclinations and desires.
We should not get confused between amazement for knowledge and invention and amazement for those who are gifted with those things. The technological advancement we see in the West is the result of the creative power that Almighty God placed in the heads of His creatures and the raw materials, which He placed in nature and submitted to the Children of Adam. If it were not for this power and these resources, we would not see any form of civilization on the face of the earth at all! We should consider that both of these blessings are gifts of the All-Wise God, and our amazement should be reserved for the One who created the causes of human advancement, not just for the external results.
There is a difference between the skills of the limbs, which are applied in developing natural resources, and the values, which are applied in uncovering the inner truth of the human soul, which God created in a state of natural purity. Let us consider the example of someone in a lab performing the most complicated scientific experiment, who would later participate in the ugliest deeds the ugliness of which even he could not deny. Therefore, we have to work persistently on both sides – building up the earth and building up our souls. Otherwise, the builder would be nothing more than an occupier, a destroyer.
The believer has to keep a distance from those who do not share his beliefs. Internal inclination towards them and acceptance of their words and actions will cause us to overlook the ugliness of their misdeeds. We can see that some of those who mix with corrupt societies to the point that they are absorbed with them lose the ability to distinguish between good and evil. It even reaches the point that they think evil is good. Shouldn’t we reflect on the word of the Almighty: {You won’t find a people who believe in God and the Day of Judgment who have affection for those who oppose God and His Prophet}.
Many religious laws forbid imitating the unbelievers in their appearances and fashions and adopting their symbols and values. The one who imitates a people will be resurrected with them. Those who live amongst the unbelievers should place great significance on this fact because losing one’s identity is the prologue to developing contempt for the sacred law, the very distinguishing line between the human and the beast.
We should not overestimate the unbelievers’ commitment to their various systems. Their commitment stems from their belief that these systems will give them benefits and advantages, and not because of their commitment to the principles of law and morality. The proof of this is that if they see the benefit in breaking the system even in the most repugnant way, they will do it. This is what explains their contempt for the rights of other people in other countries. Our respected scholars do not allow breaking laws no matter what country we are in. This prohibition is based on our religious and humanitarian duty and not on whatever benefits we may get.
Celebrating symbols, which are not connected to the sacred law and may even oppose it is one of the things that could cause divine anger to descend on the human being. So what is the point in elevating personalities or celebrating days that are connected to the societies of the unbelievers?! Look at Valentine’s Day, the so-called “day of love”, which has become an opportunity for many people to participate in forbidden lusts and sensuous acts. In reality, every day is a “day of love” for the believer, the kind of love that God intended. As for this lustful and senseless love, there is no day for that in the life of the believer.
Those who travel to the countries of the unbelievers endanger their faith by moving to non-Muslim lands, whether they like it or not. This is true especially when their emigration exposes them to corruption of their beliefs and participating in forbidden deeds, even if their families are the ones who are endangered. Children in these countries are at the mercy of the corrupt environment, which surrounds them, from inside the household or outside. If it is necessary to stay in these countries for some time, the believer must make the intention to return to a faith-based environment the first chance he gets. Meanwhile he must take precautions for his children to prevent himself from seeing an entire generation raised up on the Day of Judgment who are far removed from the foundation and law of religion, those of his own progeny who have grown up in these countries. He himself would carry the sins of all of them. Could there be any regret greater than that?!

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