Muslims: Keep Yourself Distinct from Other Religions

All praise is for Allāh Ta’ālā, for the bounty of Islām.

Islam covers every aspect of our lives, and we are pleased with the way taught to us in the Noble Qur’ān and Blessed Sunnah. Islam is enriching and brings peace of mind as a person develops in it. The Noble Qur’ān and Blessed Ahādīth teach us to hold firmly to its teachings and propagate them too. As Muslims, we have everything set out in an easy-to-follow pattern, from morning to evening, birth to death.

We hope that the reports presented below will aid every Muslim in understanding that his or her path is unique and there is no need at all to look to kuffar for anything. May Allāh Ta’ālā keep us steadfast upon Islām and bless us with the peace of mind and contentment of heart it bears. Āmīn

RELATED: The Meaning of ‘Perfection of Religion’ in the Quran

NOTE: The below narrations are meant to be read in light of the importance of maintaining distinction from the ways of non-Muslims. This is a larger point about how as believers we should orient ourselves — internally and externally — vis-a-vis the kuffar. The narrations should not be read in isolation in terms of specific fiqh rulings. Consult qualified fiqh scholars for any specific questions.

  1. Sayyidunā Ibn ‘Umar radiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever imitates a nation, then he is from amongst them.”[1]
  2. Sayyidunā Ibn Mas’ūd radiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever increases the number of a nation, then he is from amongst them. Whoever is pleased with the action of a group of people, then he is a partner in their action.”[2]
  3. Sayyidunā ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb radiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “Do not learn the vernacular of the foreigners and do not enter the temples of the polytheists on the days of the holidays, for (Allāh’s) anger descends upon them.”[3]
  4. Sayyidunā ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Amr radiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “Whoever stays in the lands of the foreigners and celebrates their New Year’s Day (referring to the festivals of the disbelievers) and behaves like them until he dies, he shall be resurrected with them on the Day of Resurrection.”[4]

Note: The Noble Qur’ān and Blessed Sunnah, as well as the consensus of the Ummah indicate that Muslims must adopt their own unique way and refrain completely from imitating the non-Muslims in every aspect of life. Imitating the non-Muslims outwardly leads to imitating them in thought, habits and, we seek the protection of Allah, even in beliefs.

All the reports detailed in this article clearly show the dislike that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam had for the ways of the disbelievers. It follows that all Muslims must realize that the ways of Islam are the best and there is no need to turn and incline to un-Islāmic mannerisms and modes of thought.

  1. Purity: Sayyidunā Anas Ibn Mālik radiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “When the Jewish women would get their menses, they would not eat with the men and not even sleep with them in the house. When the Sahābah radiyallāhu ‘anhum asked, then verses about menses were revealed. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said, “Everything is permitted besides intercourse.” News of this reached the Jews. They said, “This man does not want to leave any matter of ours, except that he wants to oppose us.”[5]
  2. Adhān: When Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam went to Madīnah Munawwarah, the Muslims discussed how to call the people for Salāh. Some opined that a fire should be used, others said that a bell could be used. However, other Sahābah radiyallāhu ‘anhum disagreed on the basis of these methods being the ways of Jews, Christians and other faiths. Finally, the Adhān was inspired to some of the Sahābah radiyallāhu ‘anhum.[6]
  3. Qiblah: When Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam migrated to Madīnah Munawwarah, he faced Bayt-ul-Muqaddas in the beginning. This pleased the Jews. Then he was commanded by Allāh Ta’ālā to change to the direction of the Ka’bah.[7]
  4. Day of Worship: The special day of worship for the Christians is Sunday and Saturday is for the Jews. The Muslims were given Jumu’ah, i.e., Friday, in opposition to the other faith groups.[8]
  5. Salāh: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “My Ummah will remain firm upon religion as long as they do not fall into three practices; i. they do not delay Maghrib, waiting for the darkness, imitating the Jews. ii. they do not delay Fajr until the stars have disappeared, imitating the Christians. iii. They do not hand over the Janāzah to its family members, i.e., they do not assist in the burial.”
  6. Janāzah: When following a Janāzah, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not sit until it was placed into the grave. Once a Rabbi mentioned to him, “O Muhammad, we do the same.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam then sat down and said, “Oppose them.”[9]
  7. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam prohibited us from making the graves of the Ambiyā’ into a direction of worship, since the Jews and Christians had done so.[10]
  8. Fasting: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The difference between our fast and the fast of the Ahl-ul-Kitāb is the partaking of Suhūr.”[11]
  9. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Fast on the day of ‘āshūrā’, and oppose the Jews. Fast one day before or one day after as well.”[12]
  10. Hajj: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam delivered a sermon at ‘Arafah and said, “The polytheists and idol-worshippers leave from here before the sun sets, when the sun is on the mountain tops like turbans on the heads of the people. Our way is to oppose their way. They leave from Muzdalifah when the sun rises on the mountain tops like the turbans on the heads of the people. Our way is to oppose their way.”[13]
  11. Recitation of the Noble Qur’ān: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Recite the Qur’ān in the Arab style and tone, i.e., correctly with simplicity, and refrain from the style and tone of the Ahl-ul-Kitāb and the sinners.”[14]
  12. Warfare: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam followed the army towards Khaybar whilst holding a bow. He passed by a man carrying a Persian bow. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Throw it down, because it is accursed and accursed is the one who carries it. Hold firm onto the spear and Arabian bow. By them, Allāh Ta’ālā will grant honour to your religion and grant conquests.”[15]
  13. Slaughter of Animals: Rāfi’ Ibn Khadīj radiyallāhu ‘anhu said to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “We will be facing the enemy tomorrow and we have no knives (for slaughtering). He said, “If you slaughter the animal with anything that causes its blood to flow out, and if Allāh’s name is mentioned on slaughtering it, then eat of it, unless the slaughtering instrument is a tooth or nail. I shall tell you why. As for the tooth, it is a bone, and as for the nail, it is the knife of the Ethiopians.”[16]
  14. Eating: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Do not eat meat using a knife, for it is the practice of non-Muslims, but bite it, it is more beneficial and wholesome.”[17]
  15. Marriage: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Marry, so that my Ummah can be the largest on the Day of Judgement, and do not be like the Christian monks.”[18]
  16. Clothing: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Abstain from the clothing of the monks. Whoever becomes a monk or imitate them is not of me.”[19]
  17. Hairstyle: Hajjāj Ibn Hassān radiyallāhu ‘anhu reports, “We went to meet Sayyidunā Anas radiyallāhu ‘anhu. My sister, Mughīrah, told me that at that time, I was a small boy and I had two plaits on my head. Sayyidunā Anas radiyallāhu ‘anhu passed his hand over my head, made du’ā’ of blessings for me and said, “Cut off these plaits because this is the style of the Jews.”[20]
  18. Beard & Moustache: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Oppose the polytheists. Trim the moustache and lengthen the beard.”[21]
  19. Dye: Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The Jews and Christians do not use dye. Therefore, oppose them.”[22]
  20. Calendar: When Sayyidunā ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb radiyallāhu ‘anhu decided to establish a calendar, he decided to make one based on the Hijrah. Someone proposed that the calendar should be started at the birth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he was opposed to the idea because it resembled the Christian calendar.[23]

Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla


  1. Sunan Abū Dāwūd
  2. Musnad Abū Ya’la
  3. As-Sunan Al-Kubra (Bayhaqī), Musannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah
  4. As-Sunan Al-Kubra (Bayhaqī)
  5. Muslim, Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd
  6. Bukhārī, Muslim
  7. Bukhārī, Muslim
  8. Bukhārī, Muslim
  9. Abū Dāwūd, Tirmidhī
  10. Bukharī
  11. Muslim
  12. Ibn Khuzaymah
  13. Mustadrak Hākim
  14. Shu’ab-ul-Īmān
  15. Al-Ahādīth Al-Mukhtārah
  16. Bukhārī
  17. Abū Dāwūd
  18. As-Sunan Al-Kubra (Bayhaqī)
  19. Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat
  20. Abū Dāwūd
  21. Bukhārī
  22. Bukhārī, Muslim
  23. Sīrat Al-Mustafā
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You should clarify that when you say “Muslims should not copy the cuffar” you mean only in terms of religious beliefs, rituals and some socio-cultural things. Otherwise someone could arbitrarily claim that anything and everything is haram just because “the cuffar do it”, for example “the cuffar use modern technology including cars computers so therefore it’s haram for Muslims like you to use these modern technology”.

Or someone could say “the cuffar breathe oxygen, eat food more than 1 meal a day, and get married and have children, and go to school and work, and practice agriculture and build houses, so therefore Muslims who do these things are imitating the infidels”.

You quoted the example of using the Arabian bow instead of Persian bow, so someone today could condemn the self-proclaimed G-had groups like Таlly-ban for “copying the cuffar” by using cuffar-made soviet Ak47 and American M16 and Humvee to fight their G-had war instead of using the Sunnah weapons like sword spear and bow-arrow and horses to fight their G-had wars.

And it is worth noting that the general advice of avoiding “copying the cuffar” can be highly arbitrary and subjective since the the definition of “customs and habits of the cuffar” is not consistent for everyone and can change over time and from place to place. Defining what exactly “copying the cuffar” means is very complex and arbitrary subjective, it is not as simple or black and white as how you make it seem. For example there are some Islamic scholars today who declare that it is haram for Muslims to wear suits like Zakir Naik, or play any and all sports because it is “imitating the infidels”.

Another example nowadays there are many cuffar men such as Amish and many African Americans like LeBron James who have sunnah beards and trim the mustache. Does that mean that Muslims now should shave beards to oppose the cuffar? That then leads to the dilemma that you haven’t thought of because of your habit of generalising or stereotyping all cuffar with one brush: the cuffar are so diverse that no matter what you do to Distinguish yourself as a Muslim from one group of cuffar, there is always be another group of cuffar somewhere who will do whatever you end up doing.

This is definitely the case for any kind of hairstyle or beard style since the cuffar are diverse and have every kind of style possible. The same also applies with eating style, if you eat by hand from the floor to oppose western cuffar then bear in mind there are non-Muslims elsewhere such as Indians or Africans who eat like that with hand from floor. So it is impossibly to Distinguish Muslims from cuffar 100% all the time in everything.

I’m not disagreeing with your overall message but I think you could have explained it better, including by mentioning that Muslims should make their own distinct unique Muslim CULTURE as far as possible.


The key word which is missing from this world is CULTURE and STYLE. All nations have cultural similarities such as living in houses, wearing clothes, getting married, eating meals and so on so Muslims doing those things doesn’t count as “copying the cuffar”, however CULTURE and STYLE is also something which varies between nations and helps different nations and societies Distinguish themselves from others.

Also, It is also interesting that there is some quote here advising Muslims to avoid living in the “land of the foreigners” and avoid learning the “vernacular of the foreigners” while Muslim skeptic (or at least Daniel Haqiqatjou) is living in America and doing all his public operations in English. I’m not condemning that, actually the likes of Haqiqatjou should carry on staying in America to be a counterweight against the negative influence of the ultra-liberal cultural fitna there infecting the Muslim community there in America.


typo correction, in the first sentence a above I meant “the key word which is missing from this ARTICLE”


It is easy for us modern Muslims to follow our own unique Islamic ways and avoid “copying the cuffar” regarding religious ritual things (Ibaadah worship acts) like Azan or praying and fasting at a certain time in a certain way, since Non-Muslims generally don’t do those things. However, regarding societal and cultural things the general Islamic-inspired idea of “don’t do it the cuffar way” is something that should be considered in context.

Because what was appropriate for the Muslims in the era and place of Resoolullah PBUH and Sohaba may not necessarily always have to apply for us modern Muslims;, for example his advice to use Arabian bow instead of Persian bow, and his advice for Muslims to trim mustache lengthen beard (nowadays a practice of many cuffar), combing hair in one way, and eating in a certain way that non-Muslims of his era didn’t do.

I guess Those kinds of advice for societal or cultural practices (which are not Ibaadah religious rituals) were more appropriate for Resoolullah’s time and place more than for us now. If you want to, then go ahead and do those things nowadays, but beware that no matter what you do, as a modern-era Muslim you will NEVER be able to 100% escape or avoid “imitating the cuffar” in 100% of everything regarding societal/cultural practices.


baz dude as far as i know we are not allowed to be like non Muslims in anyway

like not wearing my cloths in a way that others who look at me think i am a jew

“a man who acts like a people is one of them”

u know who said that ?


You claim that “it is not allowed to be like nonMuslims in any way” and yet here you are already “being like nonMuslims” in hundreds of different ways; eating food, drinking water juice and milk, breathing oxygen and nitrogen, sleeping at night, wearing clothes, getting married, having children, going to work for salary, studying in schools or colleges, travelling abroad with passport, using nonMuslims technology such as cars and computers, speaking Non-Muslim languages like English instead of sunnah of being Arabic-only monoglot, and many more, in addition to supporting G-hadic wars with nonMuslims weapons like rifles instead of the Sunnah weapons of sword shield spear bow, arrow, horse and camel.

As I said above, this idea of “don’t imitate the infidels” is a general guideline which many Oulemaa arbitrarily and subjectively interpret in many different diverse ways contradicting each other.

For example consider the following things ; cracking fireworks to celebrate, wearing suit and tie instead of long white robes and turban, sitting at a table on a chair instead of cross-legged on the floor, eating with knife fork spoon instead of only with hands, playing any kind of sports and games including all the ball games like football and board games like chess, wedding rings, placing flowers on graves, and even the simple act of clapping. And Mowleed. And a few more things.

For all these things, there are some mullahs and clerics who make fatwas declaring these things haram because they are allegedly “imitating the infidels” or تشبه بالكفار, while other mullahs/clerics/Oulemaa declare that they are not haram by using the argument of “things which are commonly done by both Muslims and nonMuslims are not haram”.

These examples prove how the idea mentioned in this article of “don’t be like nonMuslims” is so arbitrary and subjective that it can be interpreted in any way for almost anything. The only way which we can truly differentiate ourselves from NonMuslims with no chance of imitating them is in religious worship rituals like praying and fasting in a particular way, Azaan, umrah/Hajj and Quran reciting, since nonMuslims never do these things. But everything else could be done by either Muslims or nonMuslims so you will never escape “imitating” them in some way or another.