On Poppies and Imitating Non-Muslims…

By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Photo: ROOFUL ALI/ALIWAY.CO.UK

Photo: ROOFUL ALI/ALIWAY.CO.UK

Apparently, according to some guy called Abu Baraa, wearing poppies is imitating “non-muslims” like Jews and Christians.

“There has even been a campaign recently pushing Muslims to wear ‘poppy hijabs’ and similar clothing. This is worrying not only because of the dangers of imitating non-muslims in their, religious clothes, commemorations, their annual days and religious practices, but also because it highlights the lack of awareness among the new generations about the history of these practices.” (http://www.abubaraa.co.uk/)

Well what about prayer caps, long shirts, turbans, headscarves etc.? When Muslims first started wearing these in the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, were they not imitating Jews, Christians and other “non-muslims”, or doesn’t that count?

What can I say? Other than it highlights the lack of awareness among the new generations about the history of these practices!

The argument about imitating non-muslims is a common one among Salafi/Wahabi, Islamist, and wahabised Muslims… I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve encountered it. One of those things I’ve always questioned and resisted since the outset, as it just didn’t sound right or make any logical sense.

What after all are the points of reference, when the points of reference, like articles of “Sunnah clothing” are the same as those that were worn by others? Never mind the use of modern inventions like cars, airplanes, computers, the internet, training shoes, Facebook etc. How is using any of these not imitating “non-muslims”, when in many cases they were invented and developed mainly by Jews, Christians, and Atheists, among others…

The whole concept is completely absurd, yet many vulnerable people are still taken in, and made to believe they are living sinful lives if they do anything similar to a “non muslim”… Even many non-wahabised Muslims are often very attached to their “Muslim clothing”. Ask why, and you’ll probably find “not imitating non-muslims” plays a role in that…

Seems to me the whole point of this argument is to cause Muslims to self-ostracise themselves from their communities. Hence, causing them increased disillusionment, and making them even more vulnerable to the insidious propaganda of extremists.

If Muslims of the past had this mentality, there would have been no Ibn Sina (Avicenna), no Ibn Al Haytham (Alhazan), no Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and so many other luminaries, who’ve benefitted both Islamic Civilisation and Western Civilisation in ways unmeasured. Put simply, we would still be in the Middle Ages!

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