How does the religion of Islam view the maintenance of the national values and customs in religious communities?

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How does the religion of Islam view the maintenance of the national values and customs in religious communities?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In a community, there are material and spiritual issues and customs that form in the course of time and that are accepted by the community. They are the working styles and attitudes that are transferred from the past and exist in various areas of life. Therefore, not all thoughts and customs transferred from the past are bad or good on their own. Some customs and traditions lead the community to degeneration and inertia while others are beneficial for the continuation of social life and harmony.  

In the previous centuries, customs and traditions were of great importance because it was difficult to impose legal rules appropriate for the structure of the economic life man leads; so, the main source of the rules that arranged and regulated people's lives was customs and traditions. Therefore, communities accepted certain customs and practiced them.     

Customs and traditions take place with a basic and important thing. That is, they form in accordance with the desires, structures and values of the community; they change as the structure of the community changes. Besides, customs and traditions compensate the mistakes made by the law in some cases. In that case, people refer to customs and traditions as a source of law regarding the issues that the law does not mention.  

Urf (customs, manners) is accepted as a source of decree in the second degree in Islamic law. Urf includes customs, manners and traditions. Customs are the deeds that are repeatedly done by individuals and groups. Customs are the verbal and actual practices of a tribe or group. (Faruk an-Nabhan, İslâm Anayasa ve İdare Hukukunun Genel Esasları, Trnsl by. Servet Armağan, İstanbul 1980, p. 241-339).

Islamic scholars define customs and traditions as"things that are agreed by the common sense and that are repeated by the people." In addition, it is necessary to be careful about the following related to customs and traditions: "They should be legally and mentally acceptable and should not be disliked by the common sense." (Yusuf Kerimoğlu, Kelimeler Kavramlar, İstanbul 1983, p. 139).

Islam allowed some customs and traditions that were widely accepted and precedent to exist in the periods when it settled; thus, customs, traditions and common practices formed one of the important sources of the Islamic law. (Osman Öztürk, Osmanlı Hukuk Tarihinde Mecelle, İstanbul 1973, p. 7).

In the Western literature, tradition is defined as social heritage that changed the least slowly among the values and institutions and that formed a bond between the former communities and the existing ones. Some sociologists say that revolutions eliminate traditions but it is observed that some traditions survive even the harshest revolutions. (H. Ziya Ülken, Sosyoloji Sözlüğü, İstanbul 1969, p. 115).

When Islam emerged, it categorized the customs that existed in Arabia at that time. It rejected some of them totally, improved some of them and accepted others.  

Every country has its own national values and traditions. It is approved by Islam to exclude the ones that are contrary to Islam and to continue the values and customs that are not contrary to the principles of the religion of Islam.

Questions on Islam

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