The forbidden imitation of disbelievers

Q 1 and 2: What is the forbidden imitation? Does it refer to actions that are specific to the Kafirs (disbelievers) or to those that are widespread and done by both Muslims and Kafirs, even though they originated in non-Muslim lands, such as wearing suits and pants? If a Muslim of upright character does this, are they considered just a Fasiq (someone openly and flagrantly violating Islamic law), if their uprightness (Part No. 3; Page No. 429) does not also change in imitation? What is the ruling on wearing suits, the way it is done now by most Muslims and Kafirs? Is this imitation of the Kafirs - if in fact it is imitating them - to the level of being Haram (forbidden) or Makruh (disliked)? If pants show the shape of the `Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public), is this an additional Makruh that takes it to the level of being Haram or just disapproved of? Which part of the `Awrah is referred to when talking about it being shown by the pants, is it the private parts, the thighs, or both? If we wear loose trousers to avoid showing the `Awrah - both the private parts and thighs - is this also Makruh? What is the ruling on wearing tight or completely fitted pants that show all the lines of the body?


A: What is meant by the forbidden imitation of Kafirs is resembling them in customs that are exclusively theirs or in what they have innovated in the Din (religion) in terms of beliefs and acts of worship, such as imitating them by shaving the beard, wearing belts; celebrating the festivals and holidays that they have adopted; exceeding the proper bounds in regard to righteous people by seeking their help, circumambulating their graves, slaughtering animals for them; ringing bells; wearing crosses around the neck, putting them up in houses, or having a cross tattooed on the arm to glorify it; and believing in the Christian `Aqidah (creed). The ruling on these imitations differ, as it could be equal to Kufr (disbelief), if it involves imitating them by seeking help from the occupants of graves, seeking blessings from a cross, (Part No. 3; Page No. 430) and taking it as a symbol. It could just be to the level of Haram, if it involves imitating them by shaving the beard and congratulating them on their feasts, although taking this type of imitation lightly could lead to Kufr - and we seek refuge in Allah from that!With regard to wearing pants, suits, and so on, a Fatwa has been issued by the Permanent Committee; its text is as follows: The basic principle regarding clothing is that all types of clothing are permissible, because this is a matter related to customs. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allâh, which He has produced for His slaves, and At-Taiyyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) things] of food?" An exception is made when there is Shar`y (Islamic legal) evidence that something is Haram or Makruh, such as silk for men or clothing that shows the `Awrah, because it is thin and the color of the skin can be seen under it, or because it is tight and in this way shows the shape of the `Awrah, and showing it is not permissible. Similarly, wearing that is worn exclusively by the Kafirs is not permitted for men or for women, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade imitating them. Also, it is not permitted for men to wear women's clothing or women to wear men's clothing, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade men from imitating women and women from imitating men. Wearing what are called shirts and pants is not exclusive to the Kafirs, they are worn by both Muslims and Kafirs in many countries. However, some people do not like to wear such things in some countries, because they are not used to them and it is contrary to their customary dress, even though they are customary among other Muslims. But if a Muslim is in a country where the people are not accustomed to their clothing, it is better for them (Part No. 3; Page No. 431) not to wear it when praying, in public gatherings, or in the street. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

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