Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I was interested in finding out if decorating a house to a ‘western’ appearance is classed as imitating the disbelievers? For example if I saw a floral wallpaper in a non-Muslims house and thought it looked nice and only for that reason used it in my house or bought a chair from a western shop, would that be haram?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, purchasing the same furniture or decor as non-Muslims is absolutely permissible; and doing so is categorically not an impermissible form of imitation (tashabbuh).
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever imitates a people is from them.” [Abu Dawud]
The central, determining principle (dabit) of imitation is that it needs to be (a) something that is a clearly distinguishing sign of non-Muslims or the corrupt, (b) undertaken with a clear intention to imitate, and (c) unrelated to matters which are of universal benefit such as the usage of chairs and the like. Thus, imitation isn’t applicable in all, or even most, matters.
[Ibn ‘Abidin, Minhat al-Khaliq ‘ala al-Bahr al-Ra’iq (2.11), quoting al-Dhakhira]
Please also see this reader.
And Allah Most High knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.