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**The Effect of Mixing Local Culture with Islam**

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    **The Effect of Mixing Local Culture with Islam**

    The Effect of Mixing Local Culture with Islam

    Muhammed (saw) stated in the opening words of the first written constitution of the Islamic State, “This Ummah is one Ummah, distinguished from all other.” The distinguishing factor which the Prophet (saaw) was referring to was the Islamic Aqeedah, which created among its adherents a unified outlook and culture. The Islamic bond that resulted from this unified outlook abolished all the cultural and ancestral ties of the various people, and Muslims who came from different backgrounds and a variety of cultural norms, values and beliefs, abandoned these norms and values and surrendered to the Islamic doctrine. Because of the clear understanding the Muslims had towards the Islamic Aqeedah and the strong connection they had as a result of this understanding, the Muslims referred to the Islamic ideology as the source of their culture and norms and to the Ahkam Shar’iyah as the sole source of solutions, always confident that everything had an Islamic solution and only the Islamic solution was correct and valid. Thus, the relationship between Islam and local culture was clear in the minds of the Muslims. They understood that Islam was their reference, the Islamic culture was their culture, and the traditional norms and local cultures that they carried with them was no longer their standard of conduct.

    When the understanding of the Islamic Aqeedah declined, the Muslims began to lose their confidence in Islam, which resulted in a weakening of the Islamic Aqeedah as well as doubt among the Muslims towards Islam’s ability to address the life affairs and to solve human problems in an effective and progressive manner. This weakening eventually led to the Muslim Ummah detaching Islam as a reference in the life affairs and reducing Islam to an abstract collection of rituals that addressed only the spiritual affairs of the human being.

    By removing Islam from their life affairs, they created a political vacuum and a cultural vacuum. Because it is the nature of every vacuum to be filled, the political vacuum was filled by the Capitalist system, which the Kuffar imposed upon the Muslims through force and deception. Within this context, one noticed many shades of governments that emerged in the Muslim world, all of which had the common theme of being Secular. As for the cultural vacuum, the Muslims adopted their culture from two sources. The first was the Western culture which was rooted in Greek philosophy and was imposed upon the Muslims through the educational systems that were implanted by the Western colonial powers. The second source were the various local cultures that already existed in each locality. As a result of Islam’s absence in the life affairs, the local cultures and traditional customs, which were muted under the rule of Islam, became more pronounced in Islam’s absence and began to assume a role in shaping the outlook of Muslims. Thus, instead of having a unified culture which gave them a unified outlook and behavior, the outlook and behavior of the Muslims assumed a tribal and regional flavor as Muslims once again began to re-associate themselves with the cultures, norms, and values of their respective national and tribal origins.

    Complicating the situation even more is the fact that the Muslims never truly abandoned Islam, while at the same time they adopted for themselves local culture. As a result, the Muslims unknowingly began to fuse the two elements together, and what emerged was a lethal cocktail of Islam mixed with local culture and tradition. This combination caused tremendous confusion among the Muslims, and it created a negative image among Muslims as well as non-Muslims in the ability of Islam to address the life affairs.
    Today, Islam has been deeply intertwined with local culture, to the extent that Islam and local culture have become virtually inseparable. As one Muslim Woman once said, she was brought up to believe that “culture is my religion and religion is my culture.” Muslims today have great difficulty in differentiating between Islam and local culture. The end result is that Islam is viewed as synonymous with backwardness and superstition, and is incapable of addressing human problems in a relevant manner. This view that Islam is nothing but a collection of cultural taboos undermines the confidence of the Muslims towards Islam and further alienates the Muslims from their ideology as a practical solution to humanity’s problems.

    "Only for Allah and to gain His pleasure"