I advise you, as well as myself, to fear Allah in times of prosperity and misfortune, in secret and in public: "O mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous." (Al Baqarah: 21).
O people! When a person meditates upon the histories of past nations and populations, he will be instantly amazed at the revolutions and transformations they went through. For instance, there was a pioneering nation (i.e., the Muslim nation) which led the world for many centuries but then, it faltered and lost its leading role; it fell in the midst of blind imitation and followed the paths of other nations in terms of manners and beliefs. Once it was at the acme of development and reached the highest level of power and glory, but it later fell to the lowest point and was afflicted with misery. It died after it had been living, deteriorated after it was once flourishing and withered after it was blossoming. It was the nation that discovered the sources of knowledge and developed the Islamic civilization and sciences, which the West later obtained significantly, without having to exert the least of efforts. Thus it seems as if the gates towards progress had been shut off for the Muslims as they turned into artificial consumers of the Western civilization. They even began to adopt certain features of it, which were originally theirs but had been stolen away from them.
O Muslims! When a Muslim blindly imitates the West, he turns into a loyal supporter of their beliefs and customs; he is like one who tries to reform something but spoils it while he is unaware. He is just like a defeated follower, like a baby who bites and severs his mother's breast while it is in his mouth. Such a person does not know that blind copying of the West involves hidden hazards and that our rights, honour and dignity are violated by such imitation and imbecilic pride.
O Muslims! The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "You will imitate the nations before you very closely to the extent that if they went into a lizard's hole, you would enter it as well"? his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, inquired: "(Do you mean) the Jews and Christians, O Messenger of Allah?"? He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: "Who else?"? (Bukhari & Muslim). The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said: "The Day of Judgment will not come until my Nation closely imitates the nations before them."? It was asked: "Like the Persians and Romans, Messenger of Allah?"? He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: "Who are the nations (I could mean) except those?"? (Bukhari).
O servants of Allah! The Prophet sallallaahu "alayhi wa sallam used to prohibit imitating other nations. It is worth mentioning that these traditions do not indicate that the entire Muslim nation will commit this sin as he sallallaahu "alayhi wa sallam also foretold that a group of his nation will continue to stick to the Straight Path until the Day of Judgment.
The Muslims constitute the most guided and well-mannered nation in this life; and on the Day of Judgment Allah will make them witnesses over all other nations as He says that which means: "And thus We have made you a median [i.e., just] community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you" (Al-Baqarah: 143). Indeed, this is a very prestigious position. How is it, then, that Muslims imitate others in their customs, traditions and feasts? The Prophet sallallaahu "alayhi wa sallam even forbade the Muslims from acquiring religious information from the People of the Book; once, "Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, was reading some parts of one of the scriptures of the People of the Book to the Prophet sallallaahu "alayhi wa sallam, so he got angry and said: "I have conveyed to you a clear religion. Do not ask them (the People of the Book) about anything, for they may tell you the truth while you belie them or they may lie and you might believe them. I swear by Him in Whose Hands is my soul, if Moosaa was alive, he would not have any choice but to follow me."? (Ahmad & Ibn Abi Shaybah).
Allaah made human beings and all other creatures accustomed to interacting with their similar counterparts. When the degree of similarity increases, such interaction and hence imitation in morals and characteristics becomes more complete, until it is hardly possible to distinguish between them. Accordingly, human beings are affected by each other and acquire each other's traits through cohabitation and imitation. It is also known that if a human being stays in the company of a certain type of animal, he would pick up some of its features; that is why, for example, those who tend camels are known for their pride and arrogance, while shepherds are known to be humble and calm, whereas those who raise both camels and mules acquire some of the bad attributes of both. Similarly, a domestic animal acquires some human characteristics, such as the ability to live with others.
Furthermore, when a person puts on the clothes usually worn by scholars, he may feel himself as somehow closer to them, because similarity and imitation in outward appearance leads to resemblance in inward characteristics such as personal characteristics and morals, as is witnessed in reality and is confirmed by Islaamic jurisprudence and common sense. In the old times, it was said: "˜Birds of a feather flock together"; this is a realistic proverb which conforms to the manner in which Allaah has formed His creation. The Prophet sallallaahu "˜alayhi wa sallam spoke the truth when he said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." (Ahmad & Abu Dawood)
If we embrace the means to be powerful, stick to deep-rooted principles such as strong will, piety, courage and Islaamic zeal and adhere to our distinctive code of life which indicates that we are religious and ethical people, what harm would we get from it? Are these not the true Islaamic morals? Are there any other solid foundations for progress besides them? Allaah says that which means: "[And say, "Ours is] the religion of Allaah. And who is better than Allaah in [ordaining] religion? And we are worshippers of Him"? (Al-Baqarah: 138) and also: "[Say], "Then is it other than Allaah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book [i.e., the Qur"aan] explained in detail?" (Al-An"aam: 114)
However, if we are to adopt foreign customs and traditions alien to our religion, from the West, we should remember that Islaam is Islaam and polytheism is polytheism, and that they live in one hemisphere and we live in another. We were the masters before we assumed these Western traditions that ruined the free Muslim nation, its men and especially its women, who have rushed after the unknown in a breathless attempt to imitate the West. They are amazed by the eye-catching products of its industries and have followed its disgraceful women to the extent that their clothes became almost the same as those of Western models.
O Muslims! The restrictions imposed by our religion on the human being are not meant to torture or deprive him from the pleasures of this life. Rather, their aim is to elevate him from mere animalism to complete humanity. Thus, a Muslim will become capable of overcoming subservience and dependence, and his faith and piety will overpower animalistic lusts.
Whenever a society ignores such restrictions or belittles them, it jeopardizes and opens itself to serious problems and positions itself on the brink of destruction, as Allaah says that which means: "And whoever transgresses the limits of Allaah, it is those who are the wrongdoers [i.e., the unjust]"? (Al-Baqarah: 229) and also: "And who is more astray than one who follows his desire without guidance from Allaah? Indeed, Allaah does not guide the wrongdoing people." (Al-Qasas: 50).