“‘ibadah is obedience to Allah by acting upon what He commands, and abandoning what He forbids; and this is the reality and essence of Islam. And the meaning of Islam is: istislam (submission and surrender) to Allah – the Most High – along with the utmost compliance, humility, and submissiveness”. (ibn Katheer)
Culture is a complex whole including beliefs, knowledge, rituals, morals, customs, and other habits and capabilities of people. Thus, we can say that Islam has a culture- and it entails monotheism in worship, and marriage, and eating with your right hand…etc.
Custom is a traditional way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a place, time or society.
The culture of Islam is one of servitude and worship of one Allah Almighty sincerely…
“Worship revolves around fifteen principles. Whosoever completes them has completed the stages of ‘ubudiyyah (servitude to Allah). The explanation of this is that ‘ibadah is divided between the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. And that for each one of these three come five types of rulings, covering all actions: wajib (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended), haram (prohibited), makruh (disliked), and mubah (permissible).”
Established Principles in Usool alFiqh (Jurisprudence methodology) related to the topic
From the outset the commands of Allah Almighty encompass everyone – unless an exception is proven by evidence .
الأصل في الشريعة العموم
From the outset- the laws of our shariah are active and not dormant
الأصل في الشريعة الوقوع
الأصل في الشريعة اللزوم
From the outset the laws of the shariah are not abrogated – unless proven to be so by evidence.
الأصل في العبادة الحظر
From the outset worship is forbidden unless sanctioned by evidence.
الأصل في المعاملات والعادات الحل
From the outset all matters other than worship are permissible unless proven otherwise by evidence
أن الشريعة جاءت لجلب المصالح وتكثيرها، وتقليل المفاسد ومنعها…
The Shariah arrived to eradicate harm and make abundant benefit
الأصل أن الشريعة للناس جميعا
From the outset the shariah is for all of mankind and not specific to the Arabs- for example…
ألله قد خلق الناس شعوبا وقبائل
Mankind are people of varying backgrounds and tribes
ولا عمل بالعُرف والعادة إلا في المسائل التي لا نص فيها
The cultural (non-religious) norms of a people are binding in developing Islamic rulings, if the shariah implores norms as a defining source.
Based on this- we find that Islam has a proactive legislative nature and not a destructive one. It did not come to destroy entire customs and norms and character in play- but rather came to tweak matters and perfect the best of character…
“Accept from people what comes naturally for them; command what is good by custom; and turn away from the ignorant without responding in kind” (Qur’an 7:199).
خذ العفو وأمر بالعرف وأعرض عن الجاهلين
The Messenger (PBUH) said:
That I have not been sent except to perfect the best of characters
( إن الله تعالى فرض فرائض فلا تضيّعوها ، وحدّ حدودا فلا تعتدوها ، وحرّم أشياء فلا تنتهكوها ، وسكت عن أشياء – رحمة لكم غير نسيان – فلا تبحثوا عنها )
Abu Tha’laba reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has made duties obligatory, so do not neglect them. He has set limits, so do not transgress them. He has made some things sacred, so do no violate them. He has remained silent upon matters as mercy for you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not search them out.”
Source: Sunan al-Dāraquṭnī 4316
The Messenger (PBUH) respected other cultures
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) entered upon her and there were two girls with her during the days of Mina beating the daff, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was covering himself with his garment. Abu Bakr rebuked them, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) uncovered his face and said, “Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr, for these are the days of Eid.” That was during the days of Mina.
Another example of this is the Prophet’s accommodation of Arabian subcultural norms was his practice of propagating the Qur’an in the seven principal dialectical variations (aḥruf) of Arabic.
The End of the talk entailed examples of when cultures contradict Islam and a connection to the principles above.