Showing respect for customs and traditions

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Man is born without any experience and then is influenced by the customs and traditions from those around him. In this way, customs and traditions are conveyed from one generation to the next.

Customs and traditions appear in the actions and works practiced by individuals that is oft-repeated and represents a daily or cyclic program for their life.

Customs are actions that are a norm for people to do and are repeated on many different occasions. Traditions involve a new generation copying the methods of the previous generation and imitating it in different affairs.

Emergence and Development of Customs and Traditions:

It is difficult to determine the emergence, development and expansion of customs and traditions because they are parts of the social activity of individuals in any random sector of society. They do not appear all of a sudden. On the contrary, it takes years until they become well-established and even many more years until they change or evolve.

Customs and traditions often emerge to serve a social function benefiting all or some individuals in the society. It becomes a social pattern that helps strengthen social relations among the individuals of a community. This leads to a collective agreement upon certain behaviors to be practiced in the community.

Customs and traditions act as a chain whose links are conveyed from one generation to the next. This conveyance may be accompanied by some changes through omissions or additions, being positive or negative, in accordance with the conditions and values of every generation. Moreover, the social function of the customs or traditions may fade or even expire as a result of the change of social conditions. But they survive due to psychological pressure on the individuals who repeat them and feel that they grant them safety and reassurance and guarantee their consistency against any new changes.

Women have an important and effective role in spreading customs and traditions and conveying them from one generation to the next. This stems from the theory of their great role in disciplining and maintaining (the family). For this reason, she bears the greatest responsibility for adjusting them in accordance with the right Islamic method. In confirmation of that Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

{And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.} [Quran 6:153]

{It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.} [Quran 33:36]

The Relationship of the Islamic method with Customs and Traditions:

With the spread of Islam to many countries that each have their own different customs and traditions, the Islamic method takes three forms in relation with them:

The first is to support the customs that encourage virtuous principles and high values and enhancing them according to the eternal Shari‘ah principles. Among these are the neighbor's right, generously hosting the guest, helping the poor, relieving the needy and assisting the stranger.

The second is to straighten the customs which have two aspects: one good and the other bad, by placing emphasis on the good, forbidding the bad and reforming it according to the Noble Shari’ah.

The third is to resist the straying and misleading customs and traditions, which oppose its values and principles, and may lead to gaps in society, disorder of values, the spread of corruption and vice and the loss of security and tranquility. An example of this is the practice of girls being buried alive. The Arabs (during the pre-Islamic days) regarded having a girl as a source of pessimism and an object of contempt. Then the Quran disapproved of this hideous custom and protected the girl from this criminal act. He The Almighty Says (what means): {And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.} [Quran 16:58-59]

And, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "He, who has a female (daughter) and he does not bury her alive, disgrace her nor give preference to his male child over her, Allah will Admit him into Paradise." [Abu Dawood]

Before Islam, the young girl would also suffer from being coerced into marriage regardless of her will and consent. Thereupon, Islam glorified her in this respect when the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "No previously married woman should be given in marriage without her consent and no virgin should be given in marriage without her permission." [Muslim] Before Islam, the young girl also suffered being deprived of any inheritance. But Islam assigned to her a right in the inheritance of her father. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much - an obligatory share.} [Quran 4:7]

Bad Customs:

These days, many bad customs have become widespread among the general population and it is even more widely spread among women. Among these customs is the intention of seeking to draw closer to Allah The Almighty using the dead and Awliyaa' (Pious people who are close to Allah The Almighty) as a medium. Wailing and screaming upon the death (of a loved one). Similar bad customs include visiting psychics and fortune tellers and following their errors, attachment to amulets, talismans and charms assuming they bring good and avert evil. Also, Mushaharah or Kabsah, which is the belief that if a man with a shaved head carrying meat, red dates, eggplants or similar items enters upon a confined woman, he would cause the milk to cease to flow (from her breast) or delay her pregnancy. And, these are examples of bad customs that do not please Allah The Almighty and His Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) like putting on toupees, visiting coiffeurs, lengthening finger and toe nails, using dyes and colors to adorn them, lagging behind the latest fashions of clothing (gothic and other styles that stick out from the norm), and so on.

The Duty of the Muslim:

To avoid the potential harms of these matters and prevent corruption due to them, it is the duty of the Muslim to abandon every custom and tradition that violates even a single principle of the religious fundamental principles. He must pause to reflect upon all customs and traditions and weigh them using the balance of the genuine Islamic method and adjust whatever does not agree with it or comply with its rules. If there is a custom or tradition that violates one's creed and opposes one's religion, he should throw it far away without hesitation, bashfulness or regret. He should flee from bad customs and evil traditions and rush toward the secure shadows of Islam entertaining no fear of critics for the Sake of Allah. His pattern should follow that of the righteous believers in the ages of Islam who responded to the call of truth and sacrificed what was valuable to them in support of it.

Fabricating History:

Some historians fabricated this eternal image of the great men and leaders of this Ummah. They presented the Muslim caliphs in a light of men whose main concern was only food and drink, to the extent that it is attributed to Mu‘awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) that he would eat very compulsively. This is something unimaginable even from cattle, let alone from a revered Companion who learnt in the school of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) that a man should not eat and drink in excess. They also represent to us such a caliph as Haroon Ar-Rasheed, as a man who loved women and drank alcoholic drinks, and so on. All this is attributed to a man who, in his age, witnessed many conquests, was himself a Mujahid (one who strives with his wealth and life in the Path of Allah, The Almighty), a devout worshipper of Allah, pious and righteous.

It is obvious from the biographies of such personalities that what has been said about them are no more than invented lies whose initiatory purpose is to distort the image of Islam through the character assassination of its caliphs. As a result, they attempt to claim that their customs and traditions appear to be in opposition to the innate human common sense so that the Ummah would criticize its symbols and celebratory figures. Afterwards, they would have nothing worthy of mentioning for themselves in the history of mankind. Resentful criminal historians distorted not only the image of men, but the believing women as well. During the pre-Islamic days, they would let their head covers hang down from behind their heads, uncovering their breasts, necks and collars.

With the emergence of Islam and its spreading light, Allah The Almighty Says, addressing the women by way of disciplining (what means): {and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests.} [Quran 24:31]. Upon which, the men turned to their wives to recite to them what had been revealed by Allah The Almighty in order to guide them and there was no woman but that she caught hold of her sheet (of wool) and covered her head (and face) with trust and belief in the clear Verses revealed by Allah The Almighty. In the morning, they performed the morning prayer behind the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) with their heads covered and motionless, as if there were crows perched on their heads. [Abu Dawood and Ibn Abi Hatim]. But the people represented their behavior as retardation and not in harmony with the advanced time. Rather, they had their women come out half-dressed as if they were nude, in order that the dissolute wolves (amongst men) would quench their craving by the unlawful glance, and whatever consequent traces of her body he may recall.

Inherited customs and traditions are among the affairs that are the most detrimental upon the religion of Allah The Almighty because they are habitual, the soul inclines to them, the people agree with them and it is difficult to abandon them. From this point of view, it is incumbent upon the Muslim to discard anything that opposes the Islamic Sharee‘ah and play an effective role in changing and virtuously protecting his community in order that its customs and traditions would be compatible with the Sharee’ah of Allah The Almighty. Men and women are equal in this respect, perchance the children would rise as a strong generation, carrying the torch of Islam, and enlightening the way for all people.
 

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