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The Hazards Of The Blind Imitation And Selection With No Reason

Although Islam agrees with logical imitation, i.e., the reference of the ignorant person to the scholar, on which the order of society relies, such as one’s reference to physicians, engineers, tailors, carpenters, and jurisprudents knowledgeable in the science of religion. It however, will not agree with blind imitation, i.e., the reference of the ignorant person to another ignorant one. Islam completely rejects this kind of imitation. Because this act does not, firstly, lead to the right way; and secondly, it exemplifies the axiom which says: a blind person leads the way to another blind person. In Islam, this kind of imitation is rejected. Mawlawi, the Persian poet says: May two hundred curses be leveled at this kind of imitation. The Holy Qur’an, regarding this issue, says:

    "وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ"

"And when it is said to them, follow what Allah has revealed, they say: Nay! We follow what we found our fathers upon. What! And though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right way."4

The Prophet of Islam struggled against all unfavorable habits and unfounded imitations which had fastened man's feet and hands like chains. He tried to break these shackles, freeing man.

    "وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ "

"And removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them"5

The Prophet (S), elsewhere, has also said:

    "كُلُّ مَأثِرَةٍ فِي الجَاهِلِيَةِ تَحتَ قَدَمِي"

"I will trample all the superstitious ideas and remnants of the pre-Islamic pagans."6
Thus, anybody who wishes to find out the truth about religion should find the right methods or at least refrain from accepting the wrong ways. He should not resort to the blind imitation which is by itself a factor for being misled. He should not carry on with his doubts, either.

Notes:

4. Qur’an 2:170.

5. Qur’an 7:157.

6. Ibn Hisham's Sirah, vol.3, p.412. See Islam and Human Rights for the hazards of blind imitation and Islam's struggle against it.

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"