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From an early age, it can be observed how much imitating has an effect on children. The child hears it's mother tongue being spoken in the home and then realises that certain words spoken by the child makes the parents respond in different ways. This imitation is good as it enables the young sibling to interact with fellow humans. A child being brought up in an islamic environment, in a muslim home will also learn to live like a good muslim if it imitates the good actions it sees its parents doing. The boy will see his father dressed in the Sunnah clothing of the holy Prophet saw23X22.gif for example with the trousers above the ankles and a turban on his head. The parent will purchase clothing of that sort so that the boy adopts this style. The little girl will see her mother wearing clothes that do not reveal her bodily assets, she will also notice that her mother wears the hijaab whenever the need arises to go outdoors and when certain male persons are present. Five times salah will be performed and therefore the boy will become habitual of going to the mosque to perform salaah with a congregation whilst the girl will punctually perform it at home. the will adopt the method of greeting each other in an islamic manner by use of the words "assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah". They will learn to restrain from food and water during the holy month of Ramadan in their attempts to imitate their elders this will slowly train their bodies to last the month by fasting. They will learn Islamic knowledge, therefore being able to differentiate between right and wrong, according to shareeah, between halaal and haraam etc. They will learn their obligations towards their Lord and how to recognize Him and worship Him resulting in growing up to be good muslims, acting in accordance to the commands of Allah, through his book the Holy Quraan, and imitating the footsteps of the Holy prophet Muhammad saw23X22.gif.                                                                                                        



So why is it that this doesn't seem to be the case anymore? Why is it that Muslims are growing up to live like non-muslims? Why is it that we are sailing away from an islamic way of life, adopting the lifestyle of modernity?


It is because of wrong imitation. Imitating the right things leads to a successful life on the earth and in the afterlife whilst imitation of the wrong things leads one right off the yellow brick road! Take the example of a child in nursery where from such an early age, he is taught to eat with the wrong hand by holding a fork in the left hand which is against the teachings of  Islam. The love stories that are shown on T.V. are acted out in the playgrounds of the mixed schools causing intermingling of the opposite sexes. The picking of boyfriends and girlfriends and the acts that follow eventually  lead to unlawful intercourse. Nowadays T.V. programmes and cartoons express negative ideas, such as disobedience, disrespect towards parents and not following the law, cartoons which we call "harmless"  have also lead children into battering each other to death.                                                                                                               



The word  imitate means to 'take as model', 'to mimic/copy'. It also means 'to take example of'


Commentary of Hadeeth

The aforementioned hadeeth "Whoever imitates a group, then he is from amongst them" has been derived from two famous books of ahadeeth 'Mishkaat' and 'Abu Dawood' and is narrated by Hadhrat Ibn Umar (R.A). Whoever imitates a group (be they disbelievers or transgressors or even pious people), in acts of good or bad they will be regarded from amongst according to the sin or reward. By imitation here it is meant imitation in general, for example manners, clothing, figure and appearance, lifestyle etc. are included. That is why for those people who follow the trends of today and for example wear skin tight clothing, items of clothing which are unnecessarily torn in areas as part of its design, men who wear gold and silk, shave their beards or do not keep it according to the Sunnah and make fancy designs out of it, this hadeeth warns them of the severe punishment they are to expect if the they were to be raised with the disbelievers due to their acts of resemblance. Taking a look at the teachings and acts of the Holy Prophet saw23X22.gif and of the Companions shows that even in matters that were optional and matters that were given preference to by Islam, the Holy Prophet saw23X22.gif told us to refrain resembling them. Take for example the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram when it is preferable to keep fast. Due to the Jews also keeping fast on that same date, the Holy Prophet saw23X22.gif ordered the Muslims to keep an extra day of fast, either on the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th  if they had decided to keep fast on that day so as to not imitate the Jews. This just goes to show that even on small matters resemblance of the non-muslims is unacceptable. This message can also be seen in another hadeeth of the Holy Prophet saw23X22.gif in which he orders us to oppose the polytheist by lengthening our beards and clipping our moustaches. This again is so that imitation of the wrong is not involved.                                                                       



The imitation of different haircuts that we see being worn by our muslim youth is an indication towards how less interest they have in the way the shareeah has prescribed us to cut our hair. According to shareeah , hair should either be kept long and worn back i.e. until the hair from the tip of the forehead reaches midway to the earlobes, which is the minimum length, or up to the shoulders which is the maximum length. This sunnah style of hair is referred to as a 'zulfaa'. Male muslims can keep hair like this or they should cut the hair an even length all over.



Another form of imitation is the type of dress we wear. Here, the question arises regarding "What clothes should be worn according to shareeah"? Shareeah says that anything which is worn to cover up the satr (prescribed areas of concealment for men and women) is permissible. (For men this is from the navel to beneath the knees and for women it is her whole body except the face and hands). This means a man could wear a 3 piece suit but it depends on the intention of the person. If he wears it with the intention to cover his satr, then it is deemed permissible but if it were worn to integrate amongst the people then that is imitation. Likewise, a person can wear jeans if he wears it with the intention to cover himself but four example if he bought a pair specifically that was torn near the knee as part of its design whereas he had the choice to buy a pair that was just plain, then that would be imitation. This means that we can wear shirts and jeans etc. so long as we have the correct intention, but why is it that we see so many scholars and religious people wearing the turban and the  long dress.


The salvation of Firawns Jester.

A famous Islamic Scholar, Mullah Ali Qari writes in his book named Mirqaat,  which is the commentary to Mishkaat, about a person who got saved from the army and people of Firawn that drowned during the time of the Prophet Musa (A.S). (This incident is also mentioned in the side commentary of Abu Dawood.) This person was the Jester of Firawn and he was retained so he could mock the Prophet Musa (A.S). The Jester used to follow Prophet Musa (A.S) around and ridicule him and make jokes out of what he did. The time came when Firawn and his army were chasing Prophet Musa (A.S) and his people until they got to the edge of the river Nile. There, Prophet Musa (A.S) hit the water with his stick and 12 dry paths opened up through which he and his people got to the other side. Firawn and his army followed and the Jester was also on the scene with his king. No sooner did the enemy reach the middle of the paths, that the high walls of water that were formed whilst creating these paths collapsed in on the disbelievers and drowned them all. It was later seen that the Jester of Firawn had survived the drowning and so the Prophet Musa (A.S) made supplication towards Allah (S.W.T) saying "Oh Allah, out of all the people that harmed me, that caused me distress, this Jester hurt me the most. He used to mock me in front of the people when I preached and he used to ridicule me. He used to copy my words, copy my speeches, imitate my actions and wear the same clothes as me so that he could make a fool out of me in front of the people. I hated him the most and you let him live? Allah the Almighty replied "The Lover (Allah) does not punish that person who looks (by means of clothing, beard etc.) like the loved one (His Prophet)". This displays to us how much imitating can have an effect on a persons life. The mockery of the Prophet Musa (A.S) that was done by the Jester, by his dressing up like him and his mimicking him, led to his salvation from Allah's punishment and only because he imitated the Prophet.



Think of the all the good effects that can happen to our afterlife if we imitate the Holy Prophet of Allah and take Muhammad saw23X22.gif as an example and make him our rolemodel. He saw23X22.gif was the best of creation and the perfect example of how to lead our lives. There is a hadeeth of the Prophet saw23X22.gif that "a person will be with whom he loves the most". People tend to copy their idols and those they hold high in their eyes, therefore by copying the clothing that the prophet saw23X22.gif wore or that which has a close resemblance, this is a manner in which we can show our love for the prophet saw23X22.gif and be with him on the day of judgement. Like the Prophet saw23X22.gif said "whoever imitates a group he is from them" meaning that whoever imitates a group will be raised with them on the day of judgement. If we imitate the Prophet saw23X22.gif, the on the Day of Resurrection we will be raised with him and he will intercede on behalf of us to Allah. inter-islam

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