THE SUNNA IN THE CONTEXT OF WESTERN SOCIETY

Muslims in Western societies live in a culture which is `alien’ in its spirit. To live in this type of culture is your own choice and your own decision. In many instances, you have no other option for the West is your home. Unfortunately, the same can be said for people living in Muslim countries since Western culture is slowly weaving its way and replacing genuine Islamic culture in these countries also.

To survive and prosper in western society requires great courage to stand up for your beliefs and ideals. You need to have a clear appreciation of the true nature of Islamic culture. The true spirit of Islamic culture lies in an understanding that the ‘real’ realities of life are all beyond the perception of physical senses. The beginning of Sura al-Baqara states that its guidance is for: Those who believe in al-ghayb [what lies beyond the perception of physical senses). [al-Baqara 2:4]

So all that is ‘real’-Allah, His Angels, Prophethood, the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell – are all beyond any measure of physical testing. They all lie beyond human capability to see them, to smell them, to measure them, or to find their real situation.
Western culture as it exists and as it has spread now throughout the world, in this ‘global village’, has perpetuated the view that, only that which can be materially measured or found out is ‘real’. Whatever cannot be measured has no value. Therefore, both Islamic and western cultures are diametrically opposed.

Once you have chosen to live in a ‘Western type’ society, the only source of light for you is the Messenger of Allah. He was also faced with an almost similar situation. As he came down from the cave of Hira, after his experience of receiving the light of Divine guidance, be re-entered a culture and society which were quite ‘alien’ to his Message. His Message began by linking the whole of life to the name of Allah. That was the starting point. All knowledge, all culture, all civilisation and all human action must be centred on one pivot and that is the name of Allah. This was a totally strange Message for the society in which he had to operate. So, we need to look at the Prophet’s Sunna in the context of operating in an `alien’ society and see how we can practise a genuine Islamic culture.

[Quoted from In the early hours, khurram Murrad]

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