Whenever someone brings up the topic of the need to separate the practices of centuries-old Muslim communities from Islam, I can’t help but wonder why brand new cultural practices are given a pass.
Is it the culture obsessed with taking selfies and material consumption that needs to go, or the culture of disciplining the self and abstaining from the luxuries of this world that it replaced?
Is it the culture that idolizes entertainers and sportsmen that scoffs at the lives of the exemplary pious predecessors (assuming they knew anything about them), or the one that it replaced?
Is it the culture that places the desires of the individual above the interests of family and community?
Is it the culture that views personal inclinations and preferences as sufficient to abrogate verses of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, such as the conditions for marriage and other parts of the Sacred Law?
Is it the culture that considers romantic love a prerequisite to marriage, or the culture that considers it one of its fruits?
Is it the culture that rejects turbans & robes as non-Islamic Arab culture while wearing whatever happens to be fashionable in the west?
Is it the culture that embraces St Valentine’s day under the name of “Eid al-Hubb”, Halloween under the name “Fall Festival”, Christmas under the name “Winter Festival”, and national holidays to celebrate their leader & state – all while avoiding the mosque as much as possible; or is it the culture that holds gathering to praise Allah and send salutations to His Messenger, to read His Book, and to study His religion?
Is it the culture that demands the right to imposes itself on Islam and reshape it in its own image, or the culture that reshaped itself to fit Islam and to be shaped by it over centuries?
Because, really, I think the folks calling for separating culture from Islam are really demanding that we remove Islamic practices from Muslims.