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11/4/2013

ILLUME
ACADEMY

FESTIVALS & CELEBRATIONS-IN


THE LIGHT OF ISLAAM

Compiled by | Imtiaz Ahmed

Festivals- an Islamic Perspective


Definition
According to English dictionary, festival means, A day or period of time set aside for feasting
and celebration
In Arabic, id (or festival) is a day on which people gather (to celebrate). Its plural is ayaad.
Opinon 1: According to some opinions, it derives from aada, which means returned, because
people return to it periodically.
Opinon 2: According to other opinions, it derives from aadah, which means custom or
habit, because its celebration is a custom or habit among the people.
Obviously, these two meanings are related.
Ibnul Araabee said: It is called Eid because it returns every year with renewed happiness.
[See Lisaan ul-Arab under the root-word Awd.]
Thus, it is customary for people to celebrate festivals with joy and jubiliation. For Muslims, Eids
are recurring days designated by Allaah. During them, Allaah renews His favours and
distributes His blessings to His worshippers.
Festivals, as well as the manner of celebrating them, are distinctive features for nations and
communities.



34. and for Every nation we have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the
Name of Allh over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. and Your Ilh (God) is
one Ilh (God Allh), so You must submit to Him alone (in Islm). and (O Muhammad ) give
glad tidings to the Mukhbitin [those who obey Allh with humility and are humble from
among the true believers of Islmic Monotheism],
Al-Quraan 22:34
Ibn Abbas said that a mansak in this ayah means a Eid as narrated in Tafseer Ibn Kathir. This is
because the rites of sacrifice have always been associated with festivals in human cultures. This
ayah indicates that Allaah is the one who assigned the festivals of various nations- which they
later changed after the corruption of their religions.

The Two Eids are from Allaah


The Islamic festivals are part of Allaahs complete guidance.
Anas (r.a) reported that when the Prophet ()migrated to al-Madinah, he found that its people
played on two days [According to some scholars, these were two old Persian holidays: Nayrooz
and Mihrajaan]. He() asked, What are these two days? They told him that they were festivals
that they celebrated during Jaahiliyyah. So he told them:
Indeed Allaah has substituted them for you with two better days: the Day of Adhaa
(sacrifice) and the Day of Fitr (breaking the fast). [Saheeh, Abu Dawood, an-NasaaI, and
others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani (Sahih-ul Jaami nos 4381, 4460)]
Eid-ul-Adhaa
The major rites of hajj are completed with the final tawaaf. Eid ul Adhaa marks this, and is
highlighted by offering sacrifices and sharing meat with the relatives and the needy.
Eid-ul-Fitr
Eid ul Fitr on the other hand, marks the completion of the fast of Ramadhaan and is highlighted by
giving charity food to the needy.
These two days are legislated by Allaah and are His choice for the believers. During them Allaah
forgives those who performed hajj and who fasted, and sheds His mercy on the believers at large.
Therefore, they are far better than any other festivals devised by people.

The Islamic Concept of Celebrating


Islaam teaches us how to celebrate the Eids. On these days, Muslims would take a bath and wear
their best clothes. Fasting not permitted on the Eid days . Yet, the major part of the celebration is
not eating or drinking rather, it is the prayer that brings the Muslims together to remember
Allaahs favors and celebrate His glory and greatness.
The Eids and their celebration in Islaam carry a distinctive meaning and spirit. They are very
different from the celebrations in other nations and cultures.
For other nations, a holiday is a chance to immense in worldly pleasures and indulge in
prohibited acts, such as excessive alcohol drinking and fornication. To the contrary, a Muslim
views the Eid as an occasion for increasing in good deeds. To him, each eid marks the conclusion
of a major act of worship, and reflects his determination to continue in obedience and submission
to Allaah.
During times of joy and happiness, a Muslim does not forget his Lords might and watchfulness.
Rather, his actions continue to be controlled by this remembrance and awareness.

Therefore, the Eid is not an occasion to take vacation from the Islamic responsibilities and
commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is not fun for the sake of fun.
Rather, it is controlled and directed rejoicing that is of ultimate and definite benefit.

Caveat
1. The general principle in Islaam regarding the things of this world is that everything is
halal unless proven haraam. Regarding acts of worship, it is the opposite; everything is
bidah and haraam unless proven to be permissible.
Based on this principle, one must bear in mind that a form of celebration/entertainment
can be declared prohibited only if there is substantial evidence from Quraan and Sunnah.
There are many proofs from which this principle has been deduced, including the
following explicit hadeeth: The Prophet () said: The lawful is that which Allaah has
made lawful for you, and the prohibited is that which is prohibited in His Book; that
concerning which He is silent, He has permitted as a mercy to you. [Saheeh alBukhaaree, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi]
2. Anything that distracts a person from his or herreligious duties is haraam. Using this
principle, playing soccer is considered halal, but if it leads a person to miss the prayers,
dress in an unsuitable manner or use of offensive language, it becomes haraam for that
individual.


The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you, until You visit the
graves (i.e. till You die).
Al-Quraan 102:1-2
Ibn Qayyim points out that Allaah uses the word divert and not busy because it is
possible for a person to be busy with the world but still remember Allaah. however,
when the permissible things of this world become a distraction from Allaah, they
become Haraam, and this verse applies to such situation. [al-Fawaaid (Egypt: Umm alQura Al-Mansura, 2004)]

Islamic view on Entertainment


The Islamic concept of entertainment is that it is natural human desire which can be fulfilled
within the boundaries of Allaah, but it is not the sole goal or purpose of a Muslim in and of itself.
A few differences between our understanding of entertainment and that of the West:
Firstly, for Muslims, entertainment is not a goal in itself; it is a blessing from Allaah to be
enjoyed.
Secondly, entertainment in Islaam has limits set by Allaah, which must be firmly adhered to.

These factors distinguish between practicing Muslim and the average Westerner. Both entertain
themselves, yet a Muslim earns numerous rewards for obeying Allaah, while a westerner incurs
the wrath of Allaah by forgetting Him and crossing the limits of permissible entertainment. The
difference is vast because it involves the purpose of existence itself.
Some general proofs for the permissibility of entertaining oneself and enjoying all that is
allowed:
1. There is a principle in Islaam that states that following the religion is easy. Scholars of
Islaam have agreed that the general principle is that everything is permissible unless
proven otherwise. Hence, the burden of proof actually falls on those who say
entertainment is prohibited. The following verses prove this principle:


Allh intends for You ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you..

Al-Quraan 2:185


has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty
Al-Quraan 22:78
The following hadeeth also proves this principle:
The Prophet () said: Religion is very easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion
will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but aim to be near
perfection and receive the good things that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by
worshipping in the mornings and the nights. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree]
In fact, Imaam Bukhaaree named a chapter in his Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, The chapter of the
religion being easy. It contains more evidence to prove this point.
2. Islaam condemns those who prohibit the good things of this world without any proof.



32. Say (O Muhammad ): "Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allh,
which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibt [all kinds of Hall (lawful) things] of
food?" say: "They are, In the life of This world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for
them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them)." Thus we
explain the Ayt (Islmic laws) In detail for people who have knowledge.
33. Say (O Muhammad ): "(But) the things that My Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawhish
(great evil sins, Every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or
secretly, sins (of All kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allh
for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allh of which You have no
knowledge."
Al-Quraan 7:32-33

3. The Prophet () did not disapprove when his companions enjoyed themselves with
permissible activities.
Narrated Aisha:
Allaah's Apostle () came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs
of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the
Aus, before Islam). The Prophet () lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then
Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, "Musical instruments of Satan near the
Prophet () ?" Allaah's Apostle () turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them."
When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left. It was
the day of 'Id, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I
requested the Prophet () or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied
in the affirmative. Then the Prophet () made me stand behind him and my cheek was
touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! O Bani Arfida," till I got tired. The
Prophet () asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the
affirmative and he told me to leave. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Volume 2, Book 15, Number 70]
From this hadeeth, it is clear that the Prophet () saw nothing wrong with his companions
entertaining themselves with innocent songs accompanied by a hand -drum, or by playing.
He disapproved of Abu Bakr censuring them and instead allowed them to continue.
Aishah () reported that once Abyssinians came as a delegation to the Prophet ( ).
During a Eid day, they played inside the masjid with their spears. When Umar ( ) saw
them, he started throwing pebbles at them to make them leave, but the Prophet () told
him, leave them alone, O Umar.The Prophet () then told them, you are secure, O

sons of Arfidah (this is the name Arabs used to give to the Abyssinians). The Prophet ()
stood at the door leading from Aishahs room into the masjid and invited her to watch
them, saying, O Aishah, do you wish to watch them? Aishah agreed, and the Prophet ()
told her, Come watch. So she stood behind him and watched their games while the
Prophet () used his over-garment to cover her. He encouraged them, saying Go ahead,
O sons of Arfidah.
The Prophet () waited patiently for Aishah () to satisfy her curiosity, shifting his
feet, and asking her, Are you satisfied? when she finally told him that she was, he said,
Go then.[Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Saheeh Muslim and others]
And he () concluded: Let the Jews understand that there is facility in our religion.
Indeed, I have sent with the pure and forgiving religion. [ Ibn Hajar indicated that this
part of the hadeeth was recorded by Abu as Siraaj with an authentic isnaad (Fath al-Bari
2:573)]
This hadeeth proves many important lessons, and we only mention a few of them in the
following:

It is permissible for men to play games during eid- provided that they dress
properly and act decently.
It is permissible for people to watch men play games. A woman watching men play
should do so innocently, directing her attention toward their actions and toward
their physical attributes.
It is permissible to use the masjid for games and sports exercises, but this should be
outside prayer times so as to avoid disturbing the peoples worship, and should not
become a dominant feature that would override the masjids true purpose.
It is recommended for the husband to seek innocent ent ertainment for his wife and
other household members- especially on eid.
Islaam is a religion of facility. It has place for both seriousness and fun. It does not
make things more difficult than what they should be, nor does it call to
overburdening people with rigid rules without reason.

A misunderstood Hadeeth
The Prophet () said: Any act of entertainment done by a believer is void (batil) except three:
playing with ones family, training a horse and practicing shooting. [a reliable hadeeth
recorded by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi]
This narration is often misquoted to prove that all forms of entertainment and leisure, except
three, are void. In this regard, one should note,
1. That scholars have differed over the authenticity of this hadeeth.
2. This is a gross misinterpretation: there is nothing in the wording of the hadeeth that says
that everything else is haraam.. it simply states that everything else is baatil (void/useless),
which means one is not rewarded for entertaining except with the one of the three
mentioned types, or if one indulges in any other form of permissible entertainment while
remembering Allaah. Allaah knows the best.

Games between what is lawful and what is prohibited


Games fall into two categories:
The first category is games which help in jihaad for the sake of Allaah, whether that is physical
jihaad (fighting) or verbal jihaad (i.e., knowledge), such as swimming, shooting, horse-riding,
and games which involve developing ones abilities and Islamic knowledge, etc. These games are
mustahabb and the one who engages in them will be rewarded so long as his intention is good and
he seeks to support the religion thereby. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: Shoot, O Bani Adnaan, for your father was an archer. Shooting or archery includes
by analogy all similar actions.
The second category is games which do not help in jihaad. These are of two types.
1.

Games which are specifically forbidden in the texts, such as playing with dice as
mentioned in the question. These games should be avoided by the Muslim.
2. Games which are neither enjoined nor forbidden in the texts. These are of two kinds:
The first kind is games which include something that is haraam, such as games that involve
statues or images of living beings, or which are accompanied by music, or games which lead to
arguments and conflicts among people and result in their saying or doing something bad. These
come under the prohibition because of the haraam consequences to which they lead or because
they are a means to something that is haraam. If something is the means that usually leads to
something that is haraam, then we should refrain from it.
The second type is games which do not involve anything haraam, and which usually do not lead
to it, like most of the games we see of football (soccer), volleyball and table-tennis etc. These are
permissible, subject to the following restrictions:
1 They should be free of gambling, i.e., betting between the players.
2 They should not form an obstacle to the obligatory remembrance of Allaah, or to prayer, or to
any obligatory act of worship, such as honouring ones parents.
3 They should not take up a lot of the players time, let alone taking up all of his time or causing
him to be known among the people for that, or becoming his job, because then there is the fear
that the aayah (interpretation of the meaning) Who took their religion as an amusement and play,
and the life of the world deceived them. So this Day We shall forget them [al-Araaf 7:51] may become
applicable to him.
The last condition does not have a set limit, but should be referred to what is customary among
the Muslims; whatever they regard as excessive is not allowed. A person should set a limit for the
time spent playing and for the time spent in serious pursuits; if (the time devoted to playing) is
half or one-third or one-quarter, then this is too much.
And Allaah knows best.

[Shaykh Khaalid al-Maajid (Faculty Member, College of Shareeah, Imaam Muhammad ibn
Saood Islamic University)..]

Other Pastimes
On eid, Islaam permits playing games and other forms of entertainment that do not conflict with
Islamic teachings.
Playing and watching Games
Our Mother Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) narrated: It was the Day of Eid, and the
Abyssinians were playing with shields and spears: so either I requested the Prophet () or he
asked me: Would you like to see the display? I replied in the affirmative.
Then the Prophet () let me stand behind him and my cheek was on his cheek and he was
saying: "Carry on! O Bani Arfida (a name given to the Abyssinians) ,"till I got tired. The
Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked me: "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the
affirmative and he told me to leave. (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim in the Chapter of the Tow
Festivals (Eidayn) and the words are those of Al-Bukhaari).

Proposed Eid Pastinmes for the Youth


Sports and games: sports are useful activities that can be done by males and females during the
eid and at other times, the following precautions should be taken

There should be segregation between the males and females


It should not be possible for the females to be observed by males while they play
Both males and females should wear attire that enables them to play comfortably and
that, at the same time, fulfils the Islamic dress regulations.

Amusement and outdoor activities: Islaam permits going to amusement and entertaintment
facilities, especially if this entails educational values or other benefits. But care should be taken to
avoid places that have violations to Islaam, such as music, drinking, mixing, or improper
dressing and behaviour. With these guidelines, the following are some examples of what can be
permissible:

Pony, camel, or elephant rides


Boat rides
Amusement rides
Going to farms, zoos, museums, science fairs, etc.,
Holding picnics in parks
Camping and hiking

Funny and entertaining shows: People like to watch a show that presents lessons or morals in a
funny or witty way. For example, a short play may be performed to highlight the difference
between a child who is good to his parents and another child who mistreats them.

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This is permissible during (and outside) the eid, provided that the show does not include any
violations to Islaam. For example:

It should not include lying- such as plays where actors take on the personalities of some
historic figures
It should not include backbiting or slandering-whether openly or subtly- of known
individuals from the present or past.
It should not include obscure trickery, such as slight of hand tricks- especially if they are
called magical tricks- unless the tricks are later explained to the audience.
It should not involve changing Allaahs creation- such as a clown changing his facial
features and wearing an artificial nose, or children painting their faces.
It should not involve imitation of the opposite sex, such as men acting or dressing like
women, and vice versa
It should not involve imitation of animals or devils.

Knowledge based activities: The eid get-togethers can be utilized for conducting activities that
test peoples Islamic background, encouraging them to seek more knowledge. The following are
some examples:

Competition in Quraan, Hadeeth, and general Islamic knowledge


Reading and discussing stories of the Prophets, the Sahaabah, or other righteous Muslims
Sharing personal stories that represent Islamic moral values.
Discussing methods and experiences in presenting Islaam to the non-Muslims.

Acts of benevolence: The extra time that may be available during eid days can be put into good
use by performing acts of benevolence, such as the following:

Making drives to collect donations for needy Muslims


Teaching younger children basic but important Islamic knowledge
Visiting other Muslims for Allaahs sake
Locating needy and helpless people and trying to console them or offer them help
Offering dawah (explaining Islaam) to ignorant Muslims and to non-Muslims

Innovated Festivals & Celebrations


Importance of Adhering to the Sunnah
1. Allaahs Revelation Consists of the Quraan and the Sunnah
Allaah sent down His guidance to us through His Messenger Muhammad (). This guidance
consisted of the Quraan and Sunnah. The Quraan contains Allaahs exact words as delivered by
the angel Jibreel () to the Prophet ().
The Sunnah contains Allaahs instructions and guidance that He revealed or inspired to His
Messenger ()-which the Messenger () then conveyed to us with his own words and actions.

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2. He it is who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad Sal-Allaahu
'alayhe Wa Sallam) from among themselves, reciting to them his verses, purifying them
(from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book (this Qur'n,
Islmic laws and Islmic jurisprudence) and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah: legal ways,
orders, acts of worship, etc. of Prophet Muhammad Sal-Allaahu 'alayhe Wa Sallam).
and Verily, they had been before In mainfest error;
Al-Quraan 62:2
In this aayah, the Book is the Quraan, and the Wisdom is the Sunnah [for e.g., Tafseer ibn
Kathir 2:151]
All the Prophets sayings and instructions are part of what Allaah revealed to him, as Allaah says


3. 2. Your companion (Muhammad Sal-Allaahu 'alayhe Wa Sallam) has neither gone
astray nor has erred.
4. 3. nor does He speak of (his own) desire.
5. 4. it is Only an Inspiration that is inspired.
-Al-Quraan 53: 2-4
And the Prophet () declares that his Sunnah is part of what Allaah revealed to him. AlMiqdaam Bin Madi Yakrib narrated that the Prophet() said:
Indeed, I have been given the Book and, with it, that which is similar to it (the Sunnah).
[Saheeh, Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others]
Because of this, Allaah indicates that obeying His Messenger() is equivalent to obeying Him:


6. 80. He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allh, but He who
turns away, Then we have not sent You (O Muhammad ) as a watcher over them.
-Al-Quraan 4:80

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2. The Prophet is The Best Example


Part of the prophets () Sunnah is the way he acted and behaved. Allaah set him as an example
for us to follow- so that no one can claim that Islaam is a theoretical religion that is impossible to
implement. Allaah says:


7. 21. indeed In the Messenger of Allh (Muhammad Sal-Allaahu 'alayhe Wa Sallam) You
have a good example to follow for Him who hopes In (the Meeting with) Allh and the
Last Day and remembers Allh much.
-Al-Quraan 33:21

3. Guidance is Only by Adhering to Allaahs Revelation


In the earlier aayah of Soorat-ul-Jumuah (62:2), Allaah expresses His great favour of purifying us
and saving us from misguidance, and that He did this through His revelation that consists of the
Quraan and Sunnah. There can be no guidance without adherence to this revelation.
Jabir bin Abdullaah reported that the Prophet () used to say in the beginning of his speeches
Indeed, the best speech is Allaahs Book and the best guidance is Muhammads guidance. The
worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of
misguidance leading to the Fire.
[Saheeh Muslim and others. The last statement in recorded only by an-Nasaai]
4. Obligation of Submitting to the Sunnah
Allaah requires that we make the Sunnah the ultimate judge in all of our disputes, and to submit
to it without the slightest opposition. Allaah says:



65. but no, by Your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make You (O Muhammad ) judge
In All disputes between them, and find In themselves no resistance against Your decisions,
and Accept (them) with full submission.
Al-Quraan 4:65

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And Allaah commands:



59. O You who believe! obey Allh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of You
(Muslims) who are In authority. (and) if You differ In anything amongst yourselves, refer it to
Allh and his Messenger (), if You believe In Allh and In the Last Day. that is better and more
suitable for final determination.
Al-Quraan 4:59
And Allaah declares



36. it is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allh and his Messenger have decreed a
matter that they should have any option In their decision. and whoever disobeys Allh and his
Messenger, He has indeed strayed In a plain error.
Al-Quraan 33:36

5. The Sunnah is the Only Way for Solving Our Problems


We saw in the above aayaat of Soorat un-Nisaa (4:59;65) that the Sunnah should have the final say
in regard to our differences and disputes.
Al- Irbaad Bin Sariyah reported that one day after the Prophet () had led his companions in
prayer, he turned to face them and admonished them with a passionate admonishment, causing
their eyes to shed tears and their hearts to tremble. One man said, O Allaahs Messenger, this
sounds like a farewell admonishment, so what do you instruct us to do (after you)? The
Messenger () said:
I command you to maintain taqwa (fear and reverence) of Allaah, and to listen (to your ruler)
and obey (him)-even if he was an Abyssinian slave. Indeed, those of you who will outlive me
will witness great dissension. So, adhere to my Sunnah, and the sunnah of the rightly guided
successors after me; hold fast to it and bite upon it with your molar teeth. And beware of newly

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innovated matters (in the religion), because very innovated matter is bidah (prohibited
innovation), and every bidah is an act of misguidance.
[saheeh, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi]

6. The Guidance of the Sahaabah is Part of the Sunnah


Allaah chose the sahaabah for the company of His final Messenger (), and they learnt Islaam
first-hand from this great teacher. Because of this, their understanding and implementation of
Islaam (in brief: their sunnah) is superior to that of later generations. Allaah praises both their
belief and practice of Islaam. He says:



137. so if they believe In the like of that which You believe, Then they are rightly guided, but if
they turn away, Then they are Only In opposition. so Allh will suffice You against them. and
He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.
Al-Quraan 2:137
And Allaah warns against following other than the sahaabahs path:



115. and whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the Right Path
has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. we shall keep Him
In the Path He has chosen, and burn Him In Hell - what an evil destination.
Al-Quraan 4:115
And Allaah expresses that He is pleased with the sahaabah

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100. and the first to embrace Islm of the Muhjirn (those who migrated from Makkah to AlMadinah) and the Ansr (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the
Muhjirn) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allh is well-pleased with
them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which
rivers flow (Paradise), to Dwell therein forever. that is the Supreme success.
Al-Quraan 9:100

Negative Innovations or Bidahs


Even though an innovation can be good, in matters of religion it is always bad.
1. Linguistic meaning of Bidah
Linguistically, bidah is an original thing that is done according to no previous pattern.
In this meaning, Allaah says:



8. Say (O Muhammad Sal-Allaahu 'alayhe Wa Sallam):"I am not a new thing among the
Messengers (of Allh) (i.e. I am not the first Messenger) nor do I know what will be
done with Me or with you. I Only follow that which is revealed to Me, and I am but a
plain warner."
Al-Quraan 46:9
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: According to
shareeah, the definition is Worshipping Allaah in ways that Allaah has not prescribed. If
you wish you may say, Worshipping Allaah in ways that are not those of the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his rightly guided successors (al-khulafaa alraashidoon).
The first definition is taken from the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):


Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which
Allaah has not ordained?
[al-Shooraa 42:21]
The second definition is taken from the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him), who said:

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I urge you to adhere to my way (Sunnah) and the way of the rightly-guided successors (alkhulafa al-raashidoon) who come after me. Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your eyeteeth
[i.e., cling firmly to it], and beware of newly-invented matters.
So everyone who worships Allaah in a manner that Allaah has not prescribed or in a manner that
is not in accordance with the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or
his rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa al-raashidoon), is an innovator, whether that innovated
worship has to do with the names and attributes of Allaah, or to do with His rulings and laws.
With regard to ordinary matters of habit and custom, these are not called bidah (innovation) in
Islam, even though they may be described as such in linguistic terms. But they are not
innovations in the religious sense, and these are not the things that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) was warning us against.
And there is no such thing in Islam as bidah hasanah (good innovation).
(Majmoo Fataawa Ibn Uthaymeen, vol. 2, p. 291)

Evils of Bidahs
There are countless evils that emanate from bidahs or are associated with them.
1. Loss of Guidance and Purification: as bidah replaces some of Allaahs superior
instructions with inferior ones, it clearly results in a loss of guidance and purification for
those who practice it.
Allaah says:


and who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allh?
Al-Quraan 28:50

2. Rejecting the Perfection of Islaam: A person who knowingly practices a bidah would be,
in effect, rejecting that our Deen is complete and perfect. Why else would he want to
supplement that which is already complete?
Imaam Maalik said: If a person innovates in Islaam what he believes to be a good bidah, he would be
claiming that Muhammad () betrayed the trust (of delivering the complete message), because Allaah says:
This day I have perfected your religion for you, have completed My favour upon you , and have
chosen for you Islaam as your religion. Al-Quraan 5:3. Thus , anything that was not then part of
the Deen cannot be today. [Recorded by ash-Shaatibee, al-Itisaam 1:62]

17

Since the completeness of Islaam means that it cannot be completed any further, believing
otherwise would imply one or more of the following dangerous conclusions, each of which
amounts to kufr.
a. Allaah was not truthful in declaring this completeness
b. Allaah forgot or missed some details needed to complete the Deen.
c. Muhammad () neglected or forgot to convey some matters that were needed to complete
the Deen.
3. Opposing the Messenger: Allaah sent His Messenger () to guide us to what is best for
us in both of our lives. A person who knowingly practices a bidah would be opposing the
Messengers status of leadership and guidance.
A man once asked Imaam Maalik, Where should I start my ihram? Maalik replied, At-ThulHulayfah- where Allaahs Messenger () started his. The man said, But I would like to start it from the
Masjid, next to the (Prophets) grave. Maalik said, I Do not do this, lest a fitnah (tribulation) befalls
you. The man exclaimed, What fitnah is that? I would only be adding a few miles. The Imaam
replied:
What fitnah could be greater than assuming that you can attain a virtue of which Allaahs Messenger ()
fell short? Indeed, I heard Allaahs saying: let those who oppose his (i.e. the Messengers) command
beware lest a fitnah or a painful punishment strike them. (al-Quraan 24:63) [Recorded by alKhateeb al-Baghdadi (al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih 1:148), Abu Nuaym (al-Hilyah 6:326) and others.
Verified authentic by Badr al-Badr (Muftaah ul-Jannah no. 204)]

4. Declaring other legislators besides Allaah: Allaah is the sole Legislator in Islaam- either
directly in His Book, or via the Sunnah of His Messenger (). A person who knowingly
initiates or practices a bidah would be, in effect, declaring himself or his teachers
legislators alongside Allaah.
Allaah says:


21. or have they partners with Allh (false gods), who have instituted for them a Religion
which Allh has not allowed.
Al-Quraan 42:21

5. Allaah rejects all Bidahs: Regardless of how hard a person exerts in his bidah, Allaah
would not accept it from him. Aisha (r.a.) reported that the Prophet () said:

18

Whoever innovates in this affair (i.e. Deen) of ours that which does not belong to it, it is
rejected from him. [Saheeh Bukhaaree & Saheeh Muslim]
In another narration from Aishah (r.a.), the Prophet () said: Whoever does a deed that does not
conform with our affair (i.e. Deen), it is rejected from him.[Saheeh Muslim , Ahmad]

6. Losing the Prophets approval: a person who introduces bidahs knowingly would exhibit
a dislike for some parts of the Sunnah, which means that he is not a true follower of the
Prophet ().
Anas reported that a few young men once asked the Prophets wives about Prophets () manner
of worship. The answer they received made them think that he () did too little, and that he did
not need to exert much because all of his previous and later sins were already forgiven. So one of
them pledged, I will stay up in prayer every night without sleeping.another one said, I will fast
every single day. A third one said, I will will abstain from women and never marry. Another one
said, I will never sleep on a mattress. And another one said, I will never eat meat.
When Prophet () heard of this, he gathered the Muslims and gave a speech in which he () said:
Indeed, by Allaah, I fear Allaah and revere Him better than any of you; yet, I fast (some days)
and break my fast (on others), I pray (part of the night) and sleep (the other part), and I marry
women. So, anyone who dislikes my Sunnah is not (a follower) of me.[Saheeh al-Bukhaaree &
Saheeh Muslim]
7. Belittling the Prophet () and his Companions: Two important items of belief in Islaam
are that:
The Prophet () is the best person of this Ummah- indeed, of humanity.
The sahaabah are the best of this Ummah after the Prophet ()
This superiority of the Prophet () and his companions means that, compared to all those who
succeeded them:

They were more aware and knowledgeable about the Deen


They had a better realization of the need to implement the Deen
They had a greater inclination to do good deeds
Therefore, any act of worship not adopted by them is impermissible

Bidahs Relating to Festivals and Celebrations


A true Muslim would approach festivals and celebrations with a correct understanding and
conception. He would strive to avoid violations associated these occasions.
Violations relating to celebrations are of three main types:
1. Committing sins and acts of disobedience in the name of celebrating the festivals.
2. Imitating the non-Muslims in some of their festivals and celebration practices.

19

3. Introducing innovated festivals and celebrations.

Festivals are Religious Occassions


Eids are religious occasions ordained by Allaah. He ordained their dates, as well as the method
of celebrating them. Therefore, celebrating Eids is an act of worship subject to the Sunnah verses
bidah regulations.
Adding an Eid to those legislated by Allaah is a bidah, and
adding a religious practice in celebrating eids to what is legislated by Allaah is a bidah.

Examples of Bidah in Celebrations


There are many bidahs related to celebrations, few examples are:
Excessive worship: Some igonorant people perform excessive worship on the eves and days of
eids and Jumuah. This may be based on fabricated hadeeths. As for the authentic Sunnah, it
contains no proof that the Prophet () or his companions performed extra worship on these
nights.
Visiting the graves: Some people are keen to visit the graves of their deceased on eids and
Jumuah. Neither this nor the following rituals associated with it have evidence from the
authentic Sunnah:

Distributing food and sweets at the graveyards


Sitting, eating, and talking around the graves
Placing flowers and palm or myrtle leaves on the graves
Placing candles on the graves
Reading portions of the Quraan over graves

Bidahs related to the Eid prayer and Khutbah:

Giving the eid khutbah before the prayer


Calling to the eid prayer with adhaan or other announcements
Preceding the eid prayer with voluntary prayers
Starting the eid khutbah with takbeer.

Examples of Innovated Festivals

Prophet ()s birthday


o The most famous of the Muslims innovated festivals.
o In Arabic, it is called Mawlid and Meelaad, both which means birth
o It is unanimously accepted that the Mawlid was not celebrated by the Prophet, his
companions, or any of their followers in the first three generation of Islaam.
o It was started by Faatimis- an extreme Shiah sect who ruled Egypt for about two
hundred years (362-567 H)

20

o Annually they celebrated 20 innovated festivals, which included the birthdays of


the Prophet (), Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Faatimah, May Allaah be pleased
with them all.
Hijri New Year
o It is bidah to celebrate its anniversary by gatherings in which lectures are given and
supplication are shared
o Designating the first day of the Hijri year as an Islamic festival is a bidah that copies
the non-Muslims New Year.
o Based on fabricated hadeeth, some people add to this a fast on the last day of
departing year and the first day of the new year.
Israa and Miraaj
o Israa means night trip and miraaj means ascension, referring to the Prophets
night trip from Makkah to Jerusalem, followed by his ascension from Jerusalem to
the seventh heaven, after which he returned down to Jerusalem and then to his
home in Makkah- all during one night.
o There are many authentic narrations describing the incidents of Israa and Mihraaj,
in addition to many weak narrations which mix truth with falsehood and reality
with fables.
o The historians differ regarding the year on which the Israa and Mihraaj took place,
but they agree it was one or two years prior to the Prophets hijrah to al-Madeenah.
o They also differ regarding the month which this happened, but none of them
presents the month of Rajab as a visible possibility.
o Ibn Katheer said: the hadeeth indicating that Israa and Mihraaj happened on 27th of
Rajabs eve is unauthentic [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihaayah]
o On the eve of 27th Rajab, people gather to read the story of Israa and Mihraajusually from a booklet that is falsely attributed to Ibn Abbas ().
o Based on fabricated hadeeth, some of them pray an unconventionally long prayer
consisting of twelve rakaat and fast on the following day.
o Therefore, fixing the 27th of Rajab as the night of Israa and Mihraaj is baseless.
Night of Middle of Shabaan
o The scholars differ in regard to the middle of night of Shabaan. Some of them
believe that all hadeeths in its regard are weak, while others believe that there is
one authentic hadeeth.
o "Allaah looks to His creation on the middle night of Sha'ban and forgives all of
His creation, except for the one who ascribes partners to Him and the one who
holds malice against others." [Al-Bazzaar, at-Tirmidhi, and others]
o The hadeeth indicates that this night has a special merit, and only Allaah knows the
reason, the hadeeth, however, does not call to performing any special acts of
worship during this night or the following day.
o Therefore, peoples celebration of 15th of Shabaan by gathering together for a long
prayer in which Soorat-al-Ikhlaas is recited one thousand times, by fasting the
following day, etc., - these are innovated acts of worship that are rejected in Islaam.

21

Un-Islamic Festivals & Celebrations


Now we will discuss other ways in which Muslims divert from Allaahs Sharin regard to
festivals and celebrations-namely, by following the dictates of the non-Muslims.
Differing from the Non-Muslims
1. Islaam is the complete and final Religion
Islaam contains the complete and perfect guidance for humanity. Anyone who seeks guidance
from other religions or dogmas is indeed a loser.


85. and whoever seeks a Religion other than Islm, it will never be accepted of him, and In the
Hereafter He will be one of the losers.
Al-Quraan 3:85

2. Adhering to the path of the believers


A Muslim is commanded to associate with the righteous believers and adhere to their way.



115. and whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the Right Path has
been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. we shall keep Him In the
Path He has chosen, and burn Him In Hell - what an evil destination.
Al-Quraan 4:115
Adhering to the way of the believers helps a Muslim maintain a distinctive Islamic personality
and avoid dissolving in the beliefs and customs of un-Islamic cultures.

3. Avoiding the path of the losers


A Muslim should ask Allaah to guide him toward the path of the blessed believers and away
from the path of the misguided non-believers. In soorat al-fatiha, Allaah instructs us to ask Him

22



6. Guide us to the Straight Way

7. the Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned
Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).
Al-Quraan 1:6-7
In explanation to this, Adiyy bin Haatim reported that the Prophet () said: the condemnedare the Jews, and the misguided-are the Christians [Saheeh, at-trmidhi, Ibn Hibbaan.
Authenticated by Shaykh Albani]
It is important to note, therefore, that despite the non-Muslims current superiority in many
worldly matters, they do not posses what can lead humanity to true happiness and success.
4. Differing from the Non-Muslims is a Religious Requirement
The Prophet () commanded:
Differ from the People of the Scripture; differ from the Jews; differ from the pagans; etc.,
[Saheeh Bukhaaree & Saheeh Muslim]
The Prophet () issued these commands in regard to various practical issues, such as sparing the
beard, trimming the mustache, dying the white hair, keeping the wifes company during her
menses, eating a pre-dawn meal (suhoor) before fasting, cleaning the houses and courtyards, and
so on
5. A Person belongs with those whom he imitates
The worst form of imitation of the non-Muslims is in practices that involve Shirk or are based on
their deviant religious beliefs.
A Muslim who is bent on imitating the non-Muslims in many of their practices will end up
imitating them even in religious matters. This may lead him to become, effectively, one of them.
Ibn Umar reported that Allaahs Messenger () said: Whoever imitates a people is one of
them. [Saheeh, Abu Dawood]
Al-Munaawi and al-Alqami said: i.e., dressing as they dress, following their way of life in clothes
and some of the things they do.
Al-Qaari said: i.e., whoever imitates the kuffaar, such as in how one dresses, etc., or imitates the
evil and immoral people, or the Sufis or the righteous, is one of the people whom he imitates,
whether they are good or bad.

23

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem: Imaam Ahmad and others quoted
this hadeeth as evidence. This hadeeth at the very least implies that it is haraam to imitate them,
as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
... And if any amongst you takes them [Jews and Christians] as Awliyaa [friends, helpers]), then surely,
he is one of them[al-Maaidah 5:51]
This is similar to the view of Abd-Allaah ibn Amr who said: Whoever settles in the land of the
mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawroz (new year) and Mahrajaan (festival) and imitates them
until he dies will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.
This may be interpreted as referring to absolute imitation which implies kufr and as meaning
that imitation in part is therefore haraam; or it may be interpreted as meaning that he is one of
them to the extent that he imitates them, whether it is in ideas of kufr, sin or partaking in a ritual.
It was narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
forbade imitating the non-Arabs and said, Whoever imitates a people is one of them. This was
also mentioned by al-Qaadi Abu Yalaa. This was quoted by more than one of the scholars to
show that it is makrooh to imitate forms of dress of the non-Muslims which are not known
among the Muslims.
See Awn al-Mabood Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood.
An important rule of fiqh states that, outwardly resemblance leads to harmony of the hearts.
Resembling the non-Muslims in actions is Satans first step iin leading the Muslims to believe like
them.
5. Muslims do not gain dignity by imitating non-Muslims
Muslims are blessed with the BEST guidance. The Guidancee from the Lord of the lords-Allaah.
this gives them true dignity and honor that no other people can claim.
Allaah says:

but honour, power and Glory belong to Allaah, his Messenger (Muhammad Sal-Allaahu
'alayhe Wa Sallam), and to the believers,
Al-Quraan 63:8
Therefore, a Muslim is required to have a distinctive Islamic identity that makes him stand out
honourably among followers of other religions.
6. Some Muslims are bound to imitate the non-Muslims
Many Muslims are deeply engrossed in imitating them at all levels. The Messenger of Allaah ()
foretold this, as Aboo Said al-Khudree reported from him:

24

You will follow the ways of those who preceded you, a span for a span, and a cubit for a
cubit. Even if they enter into a lizards hole, you will surely enter it.
The Prophet () was asked, Do you mean the Jews and Christians ? He () replied, Who else
are the (previous) people?. [Saheeh Bukhaaree & Saheeh Muslims]

Imitating the kuffaar falls into two categories:


1. Imitation that is haraam and
2. Imitation that is permitted:
The first type is imitation that is haraam: this means knowingly doing things that are unique
characteristics of the religion of the kuffaar and that have not been referred to in our religion.
This is haraam and it may be a major sin; in some cases a person may even become a kaafir by
doing that, according to the evidence, whether a person does that because he agrees with the
kuffaar, or because of his whims and desires, or because of some specious arguments which
make him feel that doing it will being him benefit in this world and the next. If it is asked, is the
one who does that out of ignorance a sinner, such as one who celebrates Christmas? The answer
is that the one who is ignorant is not a sinner because he was unaware, but he has to be told, and
if he persists he becomes a sinner.
The second type is imitation that is permissible. This means doing something which is not
originally taken from the kuffaar, but the kuffaar do it too. This does not involve a prohibition on
resembling them, but one may miss out on the benefits of differing from them.

Imitating or resembling the People of the Book (Jews and Christians)


and others with regard to worldly matters is permissible only when
the following conditions are met:
1 That should not be any of their traditions or rituals by which they are distinguished.
2 That should not be part of their religion. A matter can be proven to be part of their religion
though a trustworthy source, such as an aayah of the Quraan or a hadeeth of His Messenger, or
via well-established reports, such as the prostration of greeting which was permitted to the
previous nations.
3 That should not be anything in Islam which refers specifically to that matter. If there is a
specific reference in Islam, either approving or disapproving of it, then we must follow what our
religion says about it.
4 This resemblance should not lead to going against any of the commands of shareeah.
5 That should not involve celebrating any of their festivals.
6 The resemblance should be only according to what is needed, and no more.
See al-Sunan wal-Athaar fil-Nahy an al-Tashabbuh bil-Kuffaar by Suhayl Hasan, p. 58-59

25

Ruling regarding a Practice by the non-Muslims


Important
Questions
Is it part of
their religion?
Does it
involve
obvious shirk?
Is it
characteristic
of the nonMuslims?
Islaamic
ruling for
imitating the
non-Muslims
in this practice

Type 1

Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Prohibited:
Act of Shirk

Prohibited :
Major Sin

Prohibited:
Sin

May be
Allowable

X= Irrelevant or Not Applicable


However, not all imitation is prohibited. In the above chart, we divide the imitation of nonMuslims into four types and provide the ruling of each type.
Type 1
A Muslim who indulges in Type 1 would be committing an act of shirk. Doing this knowingly
and intentionally may take him out of the fold of Islaam- unless he sincerely and immediately
repents to Allaah.
Examples: wearing cross, glorifying idol, joining in an un-Islaamic worship, praying to a
grave, making jokes about Allaah, belittling one of the prophets etc.,
Type 2
A Muslim indulges in Type 2 would be committing a major sin that may reach the level of shirk.
This also mandates true and immediate repentance to Allaah.
Examples: wearing a clergymen attire, setting up a Christmas tree, celebrating un-Islaamic
holidays, etc.,
Type3
A Muslim indulges in Type 3 would be committing a sin. This sin may be minor, but may also be
major- if the imitation is done with glorification of un-Islamic practices or belittling Islamic
teachings.

26

Examples: shaving the beard, wearing a western hat or tuxedo, wearing a wedding band,
wearing black as a sign of mourning, observing a minute of silence, etc.,
Type4
Type4 covers secular acts that are widely done by the non-Muslims, and may have possibly been
started by them, but have subsequently acquired a global nature, so that both Muslims and nonMuslims now do them without any differentiation.
Examples: men wearing western pants, men and women wearing European perfumes, using
furniture or kitchen items developed by the non-Muslims, etc.,
Acts of this type are permissible as long as they do not involve violations to Islaam. For example,
a Muslim may wear Western pants when they are commonly worn in his country. But he may
not wear pants that are too tight or too long, or are designed to resemble the clothing of rock
stars and other corrupt celebrities.
Type4 also includes scientific and technological achievements, such as cars, computers,
telephones, televisions etc.,

Examples of Un-Islamic Festivals

Birthdays and other anniversaries


Halloween
Thanksgiving
Mothers and Fathers Day
Valentines Day
Christmas
New Year
Hindu Festivals:
o Diwali
o Dasera
3.
o Holi
o Ganesh-Chaturthi 5.
o Ram-Navami
6.
o Naga-Panchami
o Krishna Janmashthami (Dahi-Handi)
o Gudhi-Padhava
o Hanuman Jayanti
o Vat-Savitri
o Makar-Sankranti
o Maha-Shiv-ratri etc

27

Ruling on celebrating non-Muslim holidays and congratulating them


A Muslim should be thankful to Allaah for His great blessings upon him. He Who Guided him to
the right path. So he should keep on supplicating Allaah to make him steadfast on this path
which is the path of blessed people and to keeping him away from the path of those who deserve
His Anger and of those who went astray.
The non Muslims spare no efforts to draw the Muslims away from the straight path and to cut
their relation with their true religion. Allaah says (what means): {Many of the people of the Scripture
(Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of
envy from their ownselves, even, after the truth (that Muhammad () is Allaah's Messenger) has become
manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allaah brings His Command. Verily, Allaah is Able to
do all things.} [Quraan 2:109]
We the Muslims are proud of our religion that was revealed to us by Allaah and are thankful that
Allaah has chosen us for his religion. Allaah says (what means): { This day, I have perfected your
religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
} [Quraan 5:3]
It is not permitted for Muslims to participate in the festivals of non Muslims because it is a kind
of cooperation in the disobedience of Allaah. Allaah says (what means): {Help you one another in
Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and
transgression.} [Quraan 5:2]. The Prophet said: "Whoever imitates a nation is but one of
them." [Abu Daawood]
Celebrating festivals such as Christmas Day, Halloween, Valentine Day, etc. comes under the
falsehood that should be avoided. Allaah says (what means): {And those who do not bear
witness to falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with
dignity.} [Quraan 25:72]. Many scholars of Qur'an like Ibn Seereen and Mujaahid
"falsehood" as the festivals of unbelievers.

interpret

Anas () reported: "The Prophet () came to Madeenah while they had two days they celebrated. The
Prophet () asked, "What are these two days?" They said, 'These are two days we used to celebrate in our
pre Islamic era. The Prophet () said: "Allaah has replaced them with two better days: 'Eed Al-Adh-Haa
and 'Eed Al- Fitr."
A person came to the Prophet () and said: "I have taken a vow to sacrifice a camel at
Buwaanah. The Prophet () asked: Did the place contain any idol worshipped in Jaahiliyyah (preIslamic times)? They (the people) said: No. He asked: Was any pre-Islamic festival observed there?
They replied: No. The Prophet () said: Fulfil your vow, for a vow to do an act of disobedience to
Allaah must not be fulfilled, neither must one do something over which a human being has no control."
No doubt celebrating such feasts is actually imitating disbelievers. Abdullaah Ibn Amr Ibn al'Aas () said: Whoever celebrates the Persian New Year's Day or their carnival and imitates them till
his death he will be resurrected with them on the Day Judgment.
Therefore, a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate such festivals nor is he allowed to
congratulate non Muslims for their feasts because congratulating them for their feasts is

28

synonymous of accepting their wrongdoing and disbelief in Allaah. It is also accepting their rites
and rituals, which are nothing but disbelief.
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim
reported the consensus of all scholars that congratulate non Muslims
for their religious occasions is forbidden. He said: As for congratulating the unbelievers for their
rituals, it is forbidden according to the agreement of all scholars like congratulating them for their feasts
and fast by expressing good wishes: happy feast or enjoy your feast etc. If the Muslim who says this does
not become a disbeliever himself, he, at least, commits a sin as this is the same as congratulating him (a non
Muslim) for his belief in the Trinity, which is a greater sin and much more disliked by Almighty Allaah
than congratulating him for drinking alcohol or killing a soul or committing fornication or adulteryetc.
Therefore, no Muslim is allowed to participate in the festival celebration of non Muslims or greet
them on this occasion. Know that partially participating in such occasions is enough to involve
one in sin even if one does not intend to participate wholly in the celebration.
Finally, if they congratulate us for our feasts, we do not congratulate them for their feast as we
are on the right path and they are in error. Allaah says (what means): {And whoever seeks a religion
other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers} [Quraan
2:85].
As regards your statement that it is rude not to congratulate them, then the answer is that if a
Muslim behaves in a good manner with them throughout his stay with them, they would
certainly have known that he is not rude and he is not a person of a bad character even if he does
not congratulate them on the day of their celebration. Indeed, being rude is when one disobeys
Allaah. It is an obligation on a Muslim to fear Allaah and endeavour in calling the non Muslims
to Islam but not be kind to them at the expense of his religion and creed. It should also be noted
that pleasing Allaah comes in priority over pleasing His creation, and that whoever pleases
people by ensuing the wrath of Allaah, Allaah will be angry with him and He will make people
be angry with him.

Accepting a gift from a kaafir on the day of his festival


The basic principle is that it is permissible to accept gifts from kaafirs, so as to soften their hearts
and make Islam attractive to them, as the Prophet() accepted gifts from some of the kaafirs, such
as the gift of al-Muqawqis etc.
Al-Bukhaari gave a chapter in his Saheeh the title of: Accepting gifts from the mushrikeen. He
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said,
narrating from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): Ibraaheem (peace be
upon him) migrated with Saarah and entered a city in which there was a king or a tyrant, and
he said: Give her Haajar (as a gift).
And the Prophet () was given as a gift a (roast) sheep in which there was poison.
Abu Humayd said: The king of Aylah gave the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) a white mule and a cloak, and wrote to him. And he mentioned the story of the Jewish
woman and her gift of a poisoned sheep to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him).

29

Secondly:
It is permissible for a Muslim to give gifts to kaafirs and mushriks, with the aim of softening their
hearts towards Islam, especially if they are relatives or neighbours.
Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) gave a hullah (suit) to his mushrik brother in Makkah, as
was narrated by al-Bukhaari (2619).
But it is not permissible to give a kaafir a gift on the day of one of his festivals, because that is
regarded as approving of or participating in celebration of the false festival.
If the gift is something that will help in celebrating the festival, such as food, candles and the like,
then it is even more haraam, and some of the scholars are of the view that this is kufr.
Al-Zaylai said in Tabyeen al-Haqaaiq (6/228): Giving gifts on the occasion of Nayrooz and
Mahrjaan [two non-Islamic Persian festivals] is not permissible, i.e., giving gifts on these two
days is haraam, and is in fact kufr.
Abu Hafs and Kabeer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If a man were to worship Allaah
for fifty years, then on the day of Nayrooz he were to give an egg as a gift to one of the
mushrikeen, intending thereby to venerate that day, he would have committed kufr and his good
deeds would be cancelled out. The author of al-Jaami al-Asghar said: If he gives a gift to another
Muslim on the day of Nayrooz, not intending thereby to venerate that day, but it is the habit of
some people to give gifts on that day, then this is not regarded as kufr. But he should not do it on
that particular day; he should do it before or after, so that he will not be imitating those people.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Whoever imitates a
people is one of them.
It says in al-Jaami al-Asghar: A man bought something on the day of Nayrooz which he did not
buy before that. If he intended thereby to venerate that day as the mushrikoon venerate it, then
he has committed kufr, but if he wanted to eat or drink or enjoy himself, then he has not
committed kufr. End quote.
It says in al-Taaj wal-Ikleel (a Maaliki book 4/319): Ibn al-Qaasim regarded it as makrooh to give
a gift to a Christian on the occasion of his festival, or to give palm leaves to a Jew on his festivals.
End quote.
It says in al-Iqnaa, which is a Hanbali book: It is haraam to attend the festivals of the Jews and
Christians and to sell them things or give them gifts on the occasion of their festivals.
Moreover it is not permissible for a Muslim to give a gift to another Muslim because of this
festival, as stated above when quoting the Hanafi view. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said: Whoever gives a gift to the Muslims during these festivals unlike what
he usually usually at other times, his gift should not be accepted, especially if the gift is something that
helps in imitating them, such as giving candles etc at Christmas, or giving eggs, milk and lambs on
Maundy Thursday which comes at the end of their fast (i.e., the end of Lent). Similarly, no gift should be

30

given to a Muslim at the time of these festivals because of the festival, especially if it is something that helps
in imitating them, as we have mentioned. End quote from Iqtida al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/227).
Thirdly:
With regard to accepting a gift from a kaafir on the day of his festival, there is nothing wrong
with that, and that is not regarded as participating in it or approving of it, rather it should be
accepted as an act of kindness, with the aim of softening his heart and calling him to Islam.
Allaah has permitted kindness and fair treatment towards the kaafir who is not fighting the
Muslims, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of
religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity[alMumtahanah 60:8]
But kindness and fair treatment does not mean friendship and love, because it is not permitted to
take a kaafir as a friend or love him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship
with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or
their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and
strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to
Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allaah is pleased with them, and
they with Him. They are the party of Allaah. Verily, it is the party of Allaah that will be the successful
[al-Mujaadilah 58:22]
O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends,
showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth [alMumtahanah 60:1]
O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those
outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to
corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what
their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses) if
you understand [Aal Imraan 3:118]
And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors
other than Allaah, nor you would then be helped [Hood 12:113]
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa (friends, protectors, helpers), they
are but Awliyaa of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa), then surely, he is one of
them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and
unjust)[al-Maaidah 5:51]
and there is other evidence which indicates that it is haraam to take a kaafir as a friend or love
him.

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Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: As for accepting a gift from
them on the day of their festival, we have quoted above that Ali ibn Abi Taalib was brought a gift on the
occasion of Nayrooz and he accepted it.
Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that a woman asked Aaishah: We have some wet nurses from among the
Magians, and they have a festival on which they bring us gifts. She said: As for what is slaughtered for that
day, do not eat it, but eat from their vegetables.
It was narrated from Abu Barzah that he had some Magian neighbours who used to bring him
gifts on the occasion of Nayrooz and Mahrjaan, and he used to say to his family: Whatever is of
fruits, eat it, and whatever is otherwise, reject it.
All of this indicates that the festival does not make it forbidden to accept their gifts, rather the
ruling is the same whether it is their festival or not, because that does not involve helping them
with the symbols of their kufr.
Then he pointed out that meat slaughtered by a kitaabi (Jew or Christian) is halaal except that
which is slaughtered for their festivals, which it is not permissible to eat. He said (may Allaah
have mercy on him): It is only permissible to eat of the food of the people of the Book, during
their festivals that which has not been slaughtered for the festival, whether it is bought or
received as a gift. As for meat slaughtered by the Magians, the ruling on that is well known, and
it is haraam according to all. As for that which is slaughtered by the people of the Book for their
festivals and that which they slaughter as an act of worship to draw close to anything other than
Allaah, as the Muslims offer sacrifices as an act of worship to draw closer to Allaah, namely as
that which they sacrifice to the Messiah, two views have been narrated from Ahmad concerning
that, the most well known of which in his texts is that it is not permissible to eat it even if the
name of something other than Allaah has not been mentioned over it. The prohibition on that
was narrated from Aaishah and Abd-Allaah ibn Umar End quote from Iqtida al-Siraat alMustaqeem (1/251).
Conclusion: It is permissible for you to accept the gift from your Christian neighbour on the day
of their festival, subject to the following conditions:
1 This gift should not be meat that has been slaughtered for the festival.
2 It should not be something that may be used to help in imitating them on the day of their
festival, such as candles, eggs, palm leaves etc.
3 You should explain to your children the belief in al-wala wal-bara (loyalty and friendship
vs. disavowal and enmity), lest a love of this festival or a fondness for the giver be instilled in
their hearts.
4 The gift should be accepted with the aim of softening her heart and calling her to Islam, not
with friendship and love.
If the gift is something that it is not permissible to accept, then the refusal to accept it should be
accompanied by an explanation of why it is being refused, such as saying, We only refused your

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gift because it is meat that was slaughtered for the festival, and it is not permissible for us to eat
it, or these things are only accepted by those who are taking part in the celebrations, and we do
not celebrate this festival, because it is not part of our religion, and it involves beliefs that we do
not believe in and so on, which is a starting point for calling them to Islam and explaining the
danger of the kufr that they follow.
The Muslim should be proud of his religion and apply its rulings, and he should not give them
up out of shyness or to impress anyone, for Allaah is more deserving of us feeling shy before
Him.

Principles and guidelines for Muslims relations with non-Muslims


1-

Islam is the religion of mercy and justice.

2- Muslims are commanded to call non-Muslims to Islam with wisdom and beautiful
preaching and by debating in a manner that is better. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):



And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way)
that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with
His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong [al-Ankaboot 29:46]
3- Allaah does not accept any religion other than Islam. Allaah says (interpretation of the
meaning):


And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the
Hereafter he will be one of the losers
[Aal Imraan 3:85]
4- The Muslims should give the kaafirs the opportunity to hear the words of Allaah. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):

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And if anyone of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of
Allaah) seeks your protection then grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allaah
(the Quraan) and then escort him to where he can be secure
[al-Tawbah 9:6]
5- The Muslims should differentiate between different kinds of kaafirs in their dealings with
them. They should make peace with those who make peace, and wage war against those who
wage war, and wage jihad against those who stand in the way of spreading the message of Islam
and causing it to prevail of earth.
6- With regard to matters of love and hate in the heart, the Muslims attitude towards nonMuslims is based on the latters attitude towards Allaah. If they worship Allaah and do not
associate anything in worship with Him, then they love them. If they associate others in worship
with Him, or disbelieve in Him, or worship others alongside Him, or are hostile towards His
religion and hate the truth, then it is obligatory to hate them in our hearts.
7- Hating them in our hearts does not mean that we should oppress or mistreat them under
any circumstances, because Allaah said to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him), describing what his attitude should be towards the People of the Book:


and I am commanded to do justice among you. Allaah is our Lord and your Lord. For us our
deeds and for you your deeds
[al-Shoora 42:15 interpretation of the meaning]
even though he is a Muslim and they are following Judaism or Christianity.
8- The Muslims believe that it is not permissible, under any circumstances whatsoever, for a
Muslim to mistreat a non-Muslim who is not hostile towards Islam; so the Muslim should not
commit aggression against him, or frighten him, or terrorize him, or steal his wealth, or embezzle
him, or deprive him of his rights, or deny him his trust, or deny him his wages, or withhold from
him the price of his goods when buying from him or withhold the profits of a partnership if he is
in a business partnership with him.
9- The Muslims believe that it is obligatory upon the Muslims to honour treaties or agreements
made with a non-Muslim party. If a Muslim has agreed to their conditions when seeking
permission to enter their country (i.e., a visa) and has promised to adhere to that, then it is not
permissible for him to commit mischief in their land, to betray anyone, to steal, to kill or to do
any destructive action, and so on.
10-The Muslims believe that in the case of non-Muslims who wage war against them and drive
them out of their homes, or help others to do so, it is permissible for Muslims to shed the blood of
these non-Muslims and confiscate their wealth.

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11-The Muslims believe that it is permissible for a Muslim to treat kindly those non-Muslims
who are not hostile, whether by offering financial help, feeding the hungry, giving them loans if
needed or interceding with regard to permissible matters, or speaking kindly to them or
returning their greetings, and so on. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):



Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on
account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with
equity
[al-Mumtahanah 60:8]
12-There is no reason why Muslims should not cooperate with non-Muslims with regard to
establishing truth and combating falsehood, to support the oppressed and ward off danger from
mankind, such as cooperating to fight pollution or to protect the environment, or to combat
epidemic diseases and so on.
13-The Muslims believe that there are differences between Muslims and non-Muslims in specific
rulings such as diyah (blood money), inheritance, marriage, guardianship in marriage, entering
Makkah etc., as is explained in the books of Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence). This is based on the
commands of Allaah and His Messenger Muhammad(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him). We cannot regard as equal one who believes in Allaah alone with no partner or associate
and one who disbelieves in Allaah or one who disbelieves in Allaah and joins others in worship
with Him, or who turns away from the true religion.
14-Muslims are commanded to call people to Allaah in all the Muslim countries and other lands.
They must convey the true religion of Allaah to the world and build mosques in all parts of the
world, and send daaiyahs (callers) to non-Muslim countries and invite their leaders to enter the
religion of Allaah.
15-The Muslims believe that other people who are following other religions are not following any
true religion, so the Muslims do not allow others to send missionaries to build churches in
Muslim countries. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):


Is then he who is a believer like him who is a Faasiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allaah)?
Not equal are they
[al-Sajdah 32:18]

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Whoever thinks that Islam is equal to other religions is making a serious mistake. But the Muslim
scholars have opened the door to debate with non-Muslims and allow the opportunity to discuss
with and listen to non-Muslims and explain the truth to them.
Finally, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):



Say (O Muhammad): O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is
just between us and you, that we worship none but Allaah (Alone), and that we associate no
partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allaah. Then, if they
turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims
[Aal Imraan 3:64]


And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better
for them
[Aal Imraan 3:110].

Rules Related to Befriending Non-Muslims

We should differentiate between good treatment of non-Muslims and befriending them.

We should differentiate between establishing a relationship with a non-Muslim for the


purpose of dawah (i.e. teaching him and inviting him to Islam) and befriending him for
no valid Islamic purpose.

We should differentiate between establishing a relationship with a non-Muslim for trading


and/or education reasons and befriending him, as friendship would mean deeper feeling
of affection and fondness, comradeship, and being influenced by him.

Duties of a Muslim towards a non-Muslim


The duty of the Muslim towards a non-Muslim includes a number of things:
Firstly:
Dawah or calling him to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. He should call him to Allah and
explain to him the reality of Islam when possible, with regard to whatever issues he has
knowledge about, because this is the greatest kindness that he can give to his fellow-citizens and

36

to those whom he meets of Jews, Christians and others who may be mushrikeen (polytheists),
because the Prophet () said: The one who guides others to goodness will have a reward like
that of the one who does it. And he () said to Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), when he
sent him to Khaybar and instructed him to call the Jews to Islam: By Allah, if Allah were to
guide one man through you, that would be better for you than having red camels (the best
kind). And he () said: Whoever calls others to right guidance will have a reward like that of
those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.
So calling him (the non-Muslim) to Islam, conveying Islam to him and being sincere towards him
in that are among the best means of drawing close to Allah.
Secondly:
He should not wrong him, with regard to his physical wellbeing, his wealth or his honour. If he
is a dhimmi (non-Muslim living under Muslim rule), mustaman (one who is granted security in a
Muslim land) or muaahid (one with whose country the Muslims have a peace deal), then he
should give him his due rights, and not transgress against his wealth by stealing, betraying or
deceiving, and he should not harm him physically by striking or killing him, because the fact that
he is a muaahid or dhimmi, or mustaman, means that he is protected by shareeah.
Thirdly:
There is no reason why we should not interact with him, buying, selling, renting, hiring and so
on. It is narrated in saheeh reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) bought from kuffaar who were idol worshippers, and he bought from the Jews, and
these are interactions. When he ( ) died, his shield was being held in pledge by a Jew for some
food he had bought for his family (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
Fourthly:
With regard to greeting, the Muslim should not initiate the greeting, but he may return it,
because the Prophet () said: Do not initiate the greeting of salaam with the Jews or
Christians. And he () said: If the people of the Book greet you with salaam (by saying alsalaamu alaykum), say Wa alaykum. So the Muslim should not initiate the greeting to a
kaafir, but if the kaafir initiates it, and the Jew or Christians etc. greets you with salaam, then you
should say wa alaykum, as the Prophet () said.
These are some of the rights between a Muslim and a kaafir.
Another right is being a good neighbour. So if he is a neighbour, be kind to him and do not
annoy him; give charity to him if he is poor, give him gifts, give him beneficial advice, because
these are things that will attract him to Islam and to become Muslim; and because the neighbour
has rights.
The Messenger () said: Jibreel kept urging me to be kind to my neighbour until I thought
that he would make him my heir. Saheeh - agreed upon. If the neighbour is a kaafir, he still has

37

the rights of a neighbour; if he is both a relative and a kaafir, then he has two rights: the rights of
a neighbour and the rights of a relative.
One of the rights of the neighbour is that you should give him charity, but not zakaah, if he is
poor, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly
and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes.
Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity [al-Mumtahanah 60:8]. According to the saheeh
hadeeth narrated from Asma bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), her mother, who
was a mushrik, entered upon her during the truce between the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) and the people of Makkah, seeking help. Asma asked the Prophet () for
permission - should she uphold ties of kinship with her? The Prophet () said: Uphold ties of
kinship with her.
But with regard to celebrating their festivals, the Muslim should not take part in celebrating their
festivals, but there is nothing wrong with offering them condolences if a loved one dies, such as
saying May Allah compensate you in your loss and other kind words. But he should not say
May Allah forgive him or May Allah have mercy on him if the deceased was a kaafir, and he
should not pray for the deceased if he was a kaafir. But he may pray for the one who is alive to be
guided and to be compensated and so on. End quote.
Shaykh Abd al-Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him).
Fataawa Noor ala al-Darb, 1/289-291.

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