Context for the Hadith: Whoever Imitates a People Is of Them

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked if wearing clothes that are not traditionally Muslim in itself puts one beyond the pale.



Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

May Allah reward you for your great answer service. I was wondering if there is a specific historical context for the hadith: “Whoever resembles a people is one of them”? Is it a literal, self-constrained, all encompassing statement, or is it part of a longer hadith? Also, if you live in Canada and dress like everyone in Canada why is that bad? What are the Islamic limits that prevent racism and the forming of ethnic ghettos? Is saying Merry Christmas or sending your kids out to Halloween going to make you a kafir as they tell us in Khutbahs locally?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Mimicking non-Muslims or the morally corrupt is only sinful when:

  1. It is done out of veneration and esteem for their non-Islamic beliefs or practices.
  2. It is in something bad in itself.
  3. It is in something religiously idiosyncratic to them.

So, if for example you have a certain haircut or wear certain clothes because you like them, not because you want to be identified with a certain group of non-Muslims or morally corrupt people, then it is fine.

However, if you just feel like dressing like a Buddhist monk, or just feel like taking off your hijab in front of men, then regardless of your intention, you are doing something wrong, either because it is something obviously specific to that non-Muslim group, or because it is forbidden or offensive in itself.

Please also see Clothes of the People of the Land.

I pray this helps.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.