Following local customs – That is the Sunnah
27 Aug 2011 08:20 GMT
Some people in my country say that we should try to live and dress like the people at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and not adhere to our social customs that were not in existence during the time of the Companions. They often cite the customs and traditions that we have relating to marriage festivities and family get-togethers as things we should abandon, even though those customs contain nothing sinful. They argue that we should abandon all the customs and traditions of our society that are not found in the example of our Pious Predecessors. Is this attitude correct?

Answered by

Sheikh `Umar al-Muqbil, professor at al-Imâm University

The default ruling in Islamic Law regarding the customs and traditions of society is that they are lawful and permissible – as long as they do not in any way contradict the teachings of Islam established by the sacred texts.

Keep in mind that we are talking here about societal customs, not matters of worship and devotion.

Respecting customs is indeed the Sunnah regarding customs. We are supposed to respect the norms and traditions of the society in which we live or in which we find ourselves, as long as those norms and traditions do not violate Islamic teachings.

A society’s norms of dress provide us with an excellent example. We are not supposed to dress in a manner that people regard as strange in order to dress like the people of Arabia at the time of the Companions. Doing something like that goes against the very practice of the Companions.

When Islam spread beyond the borders of Arabia, they never called the people to dress like the inhabitants of the Hijaz region. They left each people to their own manner of dress.

The reason the Companions did not command the people who entered into Islam to change their style of dress is because norms of dress are regulated by custom and culture, and the only requirement is that the norms of dress should comply with the broad dictates of Islamic law – for instance, the dictates of modesty.

The same applies to social customs, like those relating to wedding traditions and wedding receptions. Each society has its own norms and customs about such matters, and these should be respected as long as they do not violate Islamic mores and Islamic teachings.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

-- Al Arabiya Digital