A growing discussion is now taking place within conservative muslim circles on whether a person living in West, should do cultural appropriation; i.e. leave the Prophetic Sunnah of dress, habits, appearance etc to his personal space, confine it to his house and not display it in public life. A call not entirely different to reformation laws passed during the Henry VIII’ s rule over England in the 1530s when the idea of the separation of state and church gathered momentum. “Scholars” like Nahiem Ajmal screen name “Mufti Abu Layth” is one of a number of miniature Martin Luther’s of this age; Martin Luther was a German professor of theology from the 15th century, created the original concept of the two kingdoms, which is the basis for the separation of church and the state. This increasingly dominating inferiority complex of the white-man needing to be appeased at all times has also pushed some in the Sufi schools of practice to suggest this approach should be adopted. In other words, become a doormat so nothing will seem as “offensive” to a host nation or culture where they can walk over your traditions, beliefs, culture; say, do and act as they please against you and you should not feel humiliated, dishonoured or subjugated.
In a recent occurence, a muslim healing expert was invited in Ramadan during the last 10 days spiritual retreat known as the Itikhaf to deliver a talk on a topic but dramatically took his chance at the podium to rally against those who may wilfully wish to dress in the Sunnah and proudly claim their right to follow their tradition. Claiming it creates and cements the idea of a Muslim being a foreigner, the “other” and someone who cannot coexist. That, it makes Muslims look like extremists (the new buzzword) or ready to do some damage at any moment. The argument of those of the doormat or “house negro” mentality, (for want of a better word), is the only way to fit into modern society and be able to interact and present Islam in a positive light is when one must make sure he is “seen” as normal and there is nothing extra ordinary about him/her. I.E dress, live, sleep and even die (essentially) like your non muslim counter part, only then will the he be willing to look you in the eye and feel comfortable. A bigoted man or woman will never want to hear what you have to say no matter how you may appear in traditional clothes, “western clothes” or no clothes at all (chuckle). What stops him from listening to you will not be how you appear to him but what you hold dear to you, your beliefs and ideals.
The biggest disservice a man can do to Islam is to take the position on the minbar or podium and discourage others from living a wholesome true life, like the Prophets and friends of Allah. By effectively saying we must be like the common non-Muslims in appearance and reject our traditions and culture in order to adopt another tradition in its place. Whether people follow the sunnah in their own lives or not is besides the point but to take the position on the minbar (traditionally the spot of the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam) and spew out this garbage is unhinged. In more conservative groups the call for rejecting traditional conservative image of Islam is more subtle and not apparent as such. It is one where people will be encouraged to believe if you are born here (I.e the west) then this is your culture, your tradition. When in fact a Muslim’s tradition must always be that of the Prophetic tradition and culture not of where he is born.
This nonsense of a submissive ‘yes master’ cultural appropriation is not a new phenomenon, it is something the devil brings around every so often and tries again to discredit the Sunnah much to his failure every time. However this time it seems to have found a firm ground in which it is growing as previously this was simply a call made in the echo chambers of liberal muslim circles. When leading so-called traditional scholars like Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah, Dr Sherman Jackson and Suhaib Webb are beginning call for an “American Islam” or making sweeping statements like “Islam is not in the dress or 7th century arabia” it is setting a precedent for common folk to completely disregard the sunnah and alienate it from their lives.
For instance we are already seeing this occur in our masajids and muslim events where hardly anyone from among the next generation of muslims (even among some older generation of muslims) have little or no adab when going to masjid; this has become a norm. Traditionally our elders sought to dress appropriately when going to offer Salah, cover their heads with a hat or turban in loose flowing clothing, a jubbah or the-like; this is fast becoming a distant memory something that is beginning spill into other parts of a Muslim’s life e.g marriage
Wearing the jubbah and loose clothes to resemble the Prophetic way of dress is to be greatly encouraged as this is our tradition and culture, something we should all be proud of. People who follow sub cultures like the homosexual community or Goths do so fervently and unapologetically, they are not ashamed or think I will be looked at dismissively as an outcast, rejected and loathed. Why do muslim apologetics seem to want to be a doormat for everything and anything?