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Warning Against the Fitnah of Takfeer


By the Muhadith, Allama, Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albaani

Translated By Abbas Abu Yahya.

fitnah of takfir mioSo what is the methodology? What is the path?

No doubt that the correct path, which is an exemplary path, is what the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – used to constantly talk about and remind his companions about in every khutbah:

And the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammed – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam .”

So it is upon all the Muslims without exception and specifically those who busy themselves with the return of Islaamic rule, that they begin from where the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – began. We have labeled this in two concise words:

Purification and Education

Because we know the firmly established reality, which is being neglected or more accurately purposely neglected, by those extremists who do not have anything except that they proclaim Takfeer of the rulers, and then nothing else!!

And they continue to proclaim Takfeer of the rulers then nothing stems from them, or about them, except discord and strife!!

The calamities in these past few years which have been by the hands of these people, beginning from the discord (fitnah) of the Haraam of Makkah to the dissension in Egypt and the killing of Sadaat. Finally, in Syria and now in Egypt and Algeria- a sight that everyone can see; the shedding of the blood of many of the innocent Muslims because of these fitn, tribulations, and the occurrence of many trials and calamities.

All of this because they opposed many of the texts from the Book and the Sunnah and the most important of which is:

{ Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah you have a good example to follow, for him who hopes in the meeting with Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allaah much. }

If we really want to establish the rule of Allaah on the earth – in reality not just in a claim – then do we start with making Takfeer of the rulers while it is not possible for us to confront them – let alone fighting them – or do we start – with the obligation – the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – started with?

There is no doubt that the answer is:

{Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah you have a good example to follow……..}

But what did the Messenger of Allaah – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam -begin with?

It is known – with certainty – to anyone who has smelt the fragrance of knowledge that he began with the Daw’ah between individuals whom he thought were ready to accept the truth. Then whoever was ready to respond to him, from the individuals of the noble Companions responded to him – as it is well known in the prophetic biography. Then the punishment and the severity befell these Muslims in Makkah. After that came the command for the first migration and the second until Allaah Azza wa Jal consolidated Islaam in al-Madeena al-Munnawara. From there began the skirmishes and the opposition. Also, the fighting between the Muslims and the kuffaar on one side and the Jews from the other.……etc.

Therefore it is necessary for us to begin by teaching the people the true Islaam; like the Messenger – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – had begun. Now we cannot just confine ourselves to teaching alone, because things have entered into Islaam which are not from it, and has no association with Islaam, from the bida’ and innovations which were the reason for the clear downfall of the lofty status of Islaam.

Because of this it is obligatory upon those inviting to Islaam to begin with purification of Islaam from what has entered into it.

The first principle – “Purification”

The second principle – “Education”

The education that is associated with this purification is the education of the young active Muslims on this pure Islaam.

If we study the reality of the Islaamic groups which have existed, for nearly a generation, and their ideas and the practice of these ideas. We would find that many of them have not benefited themselves, nor have they benefited others with anything that can be remembered! Despite their outcry and noise, that they want an Islaamic government!! Which was a reason of spilling blood of the innocent with this baseless argument!! Without them having realised anything from it.

We continue to hear from their beliefs which are opposed to the Book and Sunnah and actions which are negated by the Book and Sunnah, let alone them trying, again and again with futile attempts which oppose the Sharia’.

Finally I say: there is a statement which one of the propagators of Islaam said, which I used to hope that his followers would adhere to it and fulfill it, which is: ‘Establish the Islaamic state in your heart it will be established for you on the earth.’

Because If a Muslim corrects his Aqeedah built upon the Book and Sunnah, then there is no doubt that from this he will correct his worship, correct his behavior and his manners etc.

But, with regret, these fine words have not been acted upon by these people, they persist with an outcry to establish the Islaamic state but without any benefit! and it is said about them – and I swear by Allaah to this – what the poet said is true:

You hope for success and you do not follow its path, Indeed a ship does not sail on dry land.

Perhaps in this what I have mentioned is persuasive enough for every just person, and a termination for every oppressor.

We seek Allaah’s help.

Advice from Shaykh Uthaymeen to those Who Shave their Beards


Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen

Returning to the truth is a virtue. There is no doubt that if we were to give a person a choice between two paths; the path of the Majoos (fire worshippers) or the path of the Prophets, which would he choose? Every believer would choose the path of the Prophets. The Prophets-at the head of them is the seal of them, Muhammad ﷺ-would all let their beards grow, while the Majoos would shave the beard; so choose whichever of the two paths you wish.

Due to this, we do not see that anyone has an excuse, after the truth has been clarified to him, to abandon the truth. The Prophet ﷺ said:

 “Be different from the Majoos; be different from the polytheists. Let the beards grow fully and trim the mustaches.”

This was the way of the people from aforetime. We did not used to know of anyone who shaved their beards. Rather, it has been said that some of the oppressive rulers would punish an individual by shaving his beard. He would make it to be a punishment! The scholars, may Allaah have mercy upon them, textualized within the books of At-Ta’zeer (punishments) that it is not permissible to punish by shaving the beard. (This is) from that which indicates that some of the oppressive rulers deemed it to be permissible. So how about now? A person blows his wealth on shaving it. He loses out on the most important thing; he loses out on following the Messenger ﷺ and compliance with his command.

We hope for this brother of ours, whom you all respect; we ask Allaah to bless him with guidance, and that he grows his beard in compliance with the command of the Prophet ﷺ and in keeping with his Sunnah.

The Path is One : Shaykh ’Abdul-Maalik Ramadaanee al-Jazaa‘iree


straight-path-islamAnd this is because the path that takes one to Allaah is one, and it is what He sent His Messengers and revealed His Books with, and nothing can take one to Allaah, except this one path.  And even if the people were to come from every path, and they entered through every door, then all of these paths would be obstructed for them and all of those doors would be closed for them, except this one path; since it is the one that takes one to Allaah.

Know – may Allaah have mercy upon you – that the path which will guarantee the bounty of Islaam for you is one, not numerous paths; because Allaah has written success for one party (hizb) only. So He said,

These are the Party of Allaah. Indeed the Party of Allaah is successful. [Sooratul-Mujaadilah 58:22]

And He has written victory for this party alone, so He said,

And whosoever takes Allaah, His Messenger and the Believers as protectors, then verily the Party of Allaah is successful. [Sooratul-Maa‘idah 5:56 ]

So regardless of how much you search in the Book of Allaah and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), you will not find anything permitting splitting the Ummah up into jamaa’aat (groups), and splitting it up into ahzaab (parties) and blocs, except that it is blameworthy. Allaah the Exalted said,

And do not be from amongst the disbelievers, those who split up their Religion and became sects; every party being pleased with what is with it. [Sooratur-Room 30:31-32]

And how could our Lord the Mighty and Majestic affirm division for the Ummah after He had safeguarded it with His Rope and freed His Prophet from it when it became like that; and after He had threatened it by saying,

Verily those who split up their Religion and become sects, you have nothing to do with them in the very least. Verily their affair is only with Allaah, they shall be informed of what they used to do. [Sooratul-An’aam 6:159]

From Mu’aawiyah Ibn Abee Sufyaan who said, ‘Verily the Messenger of Allaah stood amongst us and said, ‘Verily before you, the People of the Book split up into seventy-two sects, and verily this Religion shall split up into seventy three sects. Seventy-two of them will be in the Fire and one will be in Paradise , and it is the Jamaa’ah.” [2] So al-Ameer as-Sam’aanee said – rahimahullaah – said, “Mentioning the number (in the hadeeth) does not fully describe those who are destroyed, it only expounds upon the wide range of misguided paths and their offshoots, in comparison to the one true path. That is what the Scholars of Tafseer (explanation of the Qur‘aan) have mentioned in regards to the statements of Allaah,

And do not follow the other paths, since they will separate you from His Paths. [Sooratul-An’aam 6:53]

So He gathered together all of the prohibited paths along with their followers in order to explain the abundancy of the paths to misguidance and their wide range, and he lacked He singled out the path to guidance and the truth and its lack of plurality.” [3] From Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) drew a line for us, then he said, ‘This is the Path of Allaah,’ then he drew lines branching off from its right and its left. Then he said, ‘These are (other) paths, and upon each one of them is a devil calling to them.’ Then he recited,

And verily this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths, since they will separate you from His Path. [Sooratul-An’aam 6:153]’ [4]

So this hadeeth proves through its text that the path is one. Ibnul-Qayyim (d.751H) said, “And this is because the path that takes one to Allaah is one, and it is what He sent His Messengers and revealed His Books with, and nothing can take one to Allaah, except this one path. And even if the people were to come from every path, and they entered through every door, then all of these paths would be obstructed for them and all of those doors would be closed for them, except this one path; since it is the one that takes one to Allaah.” [5] I say however, that the one who is unstable upon it will encounter doubt and feebleness. And the one who deviates only deviates to the sect due to numbers and fears being alone and hastily proceeds to the destination and cowers away from the long trip. Ibnul-Qayyim said, “Whoever makes the path long, his walk will become weak.” [6] And Allaah is the One from Whom aid is sought.

KNOWING THE PATH:

From the speech of Ibnul-Qayyim, the path is first explained and the intended meaning of path here, is the second pillar from the pillars of Tawheed. So after the testification that there is no deity worthy of worship besides Allaah, comes the testification that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. And this is also the second pillar from the pillars of action and acceptance. Therefore, an action is not accepted – as is known – except by the fulfillment of two conditions:

[1] Making the Religion sincerely for Allaah

[2] Placing the Messenger of Allaah as an example to be followed

And I will not focus upon the derivation of this great principle right now, because the goal of this section is to explain the Prophetic path about which, it is not possible to reach Allaah. So, ‘ignorance of the path and its signs and the intended goal, necessitates much toil for little benefit.’[7] So it should be clear that this path is one. It does not exceed the advices of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) by callers to the Path of Allaah, being as numerous as the souls of the human beings and other them, from that which is known to falsified by the Religion of Allaah which came to unite its people, not to divide them. Indeed Allaah the Exalted said,

And hold onto the Rope of Allaah altogether and do not be divided. And remember the bounty of Allaah upon you when you were enemies. So He united your hearts, so you became brothers through His Blessing. [Soorah Aali-’Imraan 3:103]

Indeed this trustworthy rope which has gathered the Muslims together has been explained as being the Book of Allaah. Ibn Mas’ood (rahimahullaah) said, “This path is inhabited, the devils occupy it calling out, ‘O servant of Allaah, come on! This is the Path,’ in order to discourage them from the Path of Allaah. [8] So they hold firmly to the Path of Allaah, so the Path of Allaah is the Book of Allaah.” So there are two benefits found in this narration:

Firstly, that the path is one, and the devils only surround it for the purpose of dividing the people away from it. So they do not find a better way to divide them, than calling them to increasing the number of the path! So whoever wishes to misguide the people by claiming that the truth is not contained entirely in one path, then he is surely a devil. Indeed Allaah the Exalted said,

So what is after the truth except falsehood? [Soorah Yoonus 10:32]

Secondly, the Path of Allaah – which it is obligatory upon all of the Muslims to hold onto – is explained as the Book of Allaah. And this does not contradict the statement of Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu), “The Straight Path is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) left us upon.” [9] And that is because the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) left them upon the Book and the Sunnah, as he himself, “I have left you upon that which, if you hold firmly to it, you will never go astray after me; the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah.” [10] This is so, because the Sunnah is like the Book of Allaah in its nature, it is revelation, then it is an explanation of the Book of Allaah. Rather, the best person to explain the Speech of Allaah from His creation is the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), as Allaah the Glorified said,

And We have revealed to you the Remembrance, so that you may explain to the people what has been revealed to them. [Sooratun-Nahl 16: 44]

And ’Aa‘ishah (radiyallaahu ’anhaa) said, “His character was the Qur‘aan.” [11] So due to this, the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) commanded his Ummah to hold firmly to his Sunnah when division creeps into it, so he said, “And whomsoever from amongst you lives, then he shall see much differing. So adhere strictly to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold onto it with your molar teeth and beware of newly invented affairs, since every newly invented affair is an innovation…” [12] Ibn Battah (d.387H) – rahimahullaah – said in explanation of the unity of the word of the Salaf upon one creed, “So the first generation did not cease to be upon this, their hearts were united as well as their madhaahib; the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of al-Mustafaa was their guide. They did not act upon opinions, nor did they rush towards desires. So the people will not cease to remain upon that and the hearts will be safeguarded and protected by their master, and the souls will remain protected from their desires, along with their concern being focused.” [13] So he – may Allaah bestow mercy upon him – has spoken truthfully, since the Religion of Allaah is one, not variant. Allaah the Glorified said,

And if it was from other than Allaah, you would have seen in it much differing. [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:82]

So this is the path which we call the people to, it is the clearest, fully explained, most sufficient and most complete of paths. So from al-’Irbaad Ibn Saariyah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Indeed I have left you upon a clear white path, its night is like its day. No one deviates from it after me, except that he is destroyed.” [14] So when a person changes or alters it with something that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions did not do, then this only brings about splitting into various paths. Rather, it leads to the valley of destruction, and this is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) called, ‘the misguided innovation.’ So due to this, the Salaf were extreme in their opposition to the one who increases something into the Religion, or the one who intrudes upon it with his opinion. ’Umar Ibnul-Khattaab (radiyallaahu ’anhu) said, “Beware of sitting with the people of opinion, since they are the enemies of the Sunnah. They retain the Sunnah in order to memorize it, and they forget [And in a narration, “…and it slips away from them…”] the ahaadeeth that they have memorized. So they are asked about that which they do not know, and they are shy to say, ‘We do not know.’ So they give rulings by their opinions, so they go astray and they lead many others astray. So they go astray from the Straight Path. Verily Allaah did not take your Prophet until the Revelation had left no room for opinion. If the opinion took precedence over the Sunnah, then wiping over the bottom of the socks would take precedence over the tops.” [15] That is because the Religion is built upon following (ittibaa’), not invention and opinion in most cases; because the intellect alone cannot guide one to most of the affairs of the Religion, especially since the intellects contrast in their perceptions and realizations, and the opinion has already been mentioned.” [16]

And Ibn Mas’ood said, “Follow and do not innovate, for indeed you have been sufficed with. Hold onto the old affair.” [17] And ’Abdullaah Ibn ’Umar (radiyallaahu ’anhu) said, “Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” [18] So as long as I am mentioning the effects of innovation in cutting off the way to the Straight Path for the seeker, then verily I must mention the narration of Ibn ’Abbaas concerning that. It shows the vast knowledge of the Companions. So from ’Uthmaan Ibn Haadir who said, ‘I entered upon Ibn ’Abbaas, so I said, ‘Will you advise me?’ So he said, ‘Yes! Adhere strictly to the fear of Allaah and steadfastness and the narration. Follow and do not innovate.” [19] So reflect upon this, he gathered two affairs in it, they are:

[i] The taqwaa (fear, reverence) of Allaah, and it means ikhlaas (sincerity) here, because it is attached to ittibaa’ (following).

[ii] And al-ittibaa’ which refers tot he Straight Path, as has preceded.

Then he warned him against that which opposes that, which is innovation. So this is how the Speech of the Salaf used to be; collective in meaning, yet concise. Indeed the Salafus-Saalih were extremely harsh in pushing forth the statements of men in order to shove aside the rulings of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), regardless of whatever high status or nobility these men may have. There is no problem in having good manners with the people of knowledge and loving them and giving precedence to them over others and being doubtful of a person who places his own opinion along with theirs in a matter of great importance. However, this is one thing, and giving precedence to the text from the two forms of Revelation is another thing. ’Urwah said to Ibn ’Abbaas, “Woe to you! Do you misguide the people? You have permitted ’Umrah in the first ten days (of Muharram), yet there is no ’Umrah in them!” So he said, “O ’Urwah! Verily Abaa Bakr and ’Umar do not say that, yet they are more knowledgeable and better in following the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) than you.” So he said, “From there you have come! We come with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and you come with Abee Bakr and ’Umar?!” [And in a narration, “Woe to you! Are the two of them to be related from, according to you, or what is found in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) for his Companions and his Ummah?!”] And in a narration, “I see that they will be destroyed. I say, ‘The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,’ and it is said, ‘Aboo Bakr and ’Umar forbade.” [20]

Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Hasan (d.1258H) – rahimahullaah – said after quoting this narration, “And in the speech of Ibn ’Abbaas is that which proves that taqleed (blind-following) towards an imaam is not to be done by the one whom the proof has reached. So it is obligatory to oppose him severely due to his opposition to the proof.” [21] He also said, “Indeed it has become a general necessity with this evil, especially from the one who ascribes himself to knowledge, that they have set up obstacles to obstruct taking from the Book and the Sunnah and they have prevented the following of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) along with the exaltation of his command and prohibition. So from that is their statement, ‘The Book and the Sunnah cannot be used as a proof, except by the mujtahid (one who is qualified extract rulings from the Revelation), and ijtihaad has already been closed off.’ And they say, ‘This is a case in which the one whom you are making taqleed of is more knowledgeable than you about hadeeth and its abrogater and abrogated.’

So the likes of these statements, whose goal is to leave off following the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), who does not speak form his own desire, and to place reliance upon one who could be mistaken. And other than him from the Scholars may oppose him and prohibit his statement with proof. So there is no scholar, except that he has some knowledge, but not all of it. So it is obligatory upon everyone under obligation, that if the proof reaches him from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). So the (correct) understanding is that he must act upon it, even though he will be opposing whoever he will be opposing, as Allaah the Exalted said,

Follow that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and do not follow protectors other than Him; yet you remember little. [Sooratul-A’raaf 7:3]

And He said,

Is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book, which is recited to them? Verily in it is a mercy and a reminder for a people who believe. [Sooratul-’Ankaboot 29:51]

Indeed an ijmaa’ (consensus) has already been mentioned concerning that, and it has been explained that the muqallid (blind-follower) is not from the people of knowledge. Indeed a consensus has already been mentioned concerning that by Aboo ’Umar Ibn ’Abdul-Barr and other than him.” [22]

Footnotes:

[1] Taken from Sittu Durar min Usool Ahlil-Athar (p. 51-61) of ’Abdul-Maalik Ramadaanee

[2] Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/102), Aboo Daawood (no. 4597), ad-Daarimee (2/241), at-Tabaraanee (9/376, 884-885) and al-Haakim (1/28). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Silsilatul-Ahaadeethus-Saheehah (no. 203).

[3] Hadeeth Iftiraaqul-Ummah ilaa Nayyif wa Sab’een Firqah (p. 67-68)

[4] Saheeh: Related by an-Nisaa‘ee (no. 184) and Ahmad (1/435) and this wording is by him. It is also related by ad-Daarimee (1/67-68) and at-Tabaree in Jaami’ul-Bayaan (8/65).

[5] at-Tafseerul-Qayyim (p. 14-15)

[6] al-Fawaa‘id (p. 90)

[7] al-Fawaa‘id (p. 223)

[8] Saheeh: Related by Aboo ’Ubayd in Fadaa‘ilul-Qur‘aan (p. 75), ad-Daarimee (2/433), as-Sunnah (no. 22) of Ibn Nasr, Fadaa‘ilul-Qur‘aan (p. 74) of Ibn Darees, and Ibn Jareer in his Tafseer (no. 7566), at-Tabaraanee (9/9031), ash-Sharee’ah (no. 16) of al-Aajurree, al-Ibaanah (no. 135) of Ibn Battah.

[9] Saheeh: Related by at-Tabaraanee (10/10454), al-Bayhaqee in ash-Shu’ab (4/1487). And the likes of it has been related by Ibn Jareer in his Tafseer (8/88-89).

[10] Hasan: Related by Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (no. 69), Ibnul-Waddaah in al-Bida’ (no. 76), al-Haakim (1/93), and al-Albaanee declared it authentic in his notes to al-Mishkaat (no. 186).

[11] Related by Muslim (no. 746) and Ahmad (6/91, 163)

[12] Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 4607) and at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676)

[13] al-Ibaanah (1/237) of Ibn Battah al-’Akbaree

[14] Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/126), Ibn Maajah (no. 5, 43), as-Sunnah (no. 48-49) of Ibn Abee ’Aasim and al-Haakim (1/96). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Dhilaalul-Jannah fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (1/27).

[15] Related by Ibn Zamneen in Usoolus-Sunnah (no. 8) and al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usoolul-I’tiqaad (no. 201), al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (p. 476-480), Jaami’ Bayaanul-’Ilm wa Fadlihi (no. 2001, 2003-2005), Ibn Hazm in al-Ihkaam (6/42-43), and al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal (no. 213) and Qiwaamus-Sunnah (1/205).

[16] For a detailed explanation of this, refer to I’laamul-Muwaqqi’een (1/63)

[17] Saheeh: Related by Wakee’ in az-Zuhd (no. 315), ’Abdur-Razzaaq (no. 20456), Aboo Khaythamah in al-’Ilm (no. 54), Ahmad in az-Zuhd (p. 62), ad-Daarimee (1/69), Ibnul-Waddaah in al-Bida’ (no. 60), Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (no. 78, 85), at-Tabaraanee (9/8770, 8845), Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah (no. 168-169), al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usoolul-I’tiqaad (no. 104-108), al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal (no. 387-388), al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (1/43). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Kitaabul-’Ilm of Abee Khaythamah.

[18] Saheeh: Related by Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (no. 82), al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usoolul-I’tiqaad (no. 126) and al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal (no. 191).

[19] Related by ad-Daarimee (1/53), Ibn Waddaah in al-Bida’ (no. 61), Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (no. 83), Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah (no. 200-206), and al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (1/83).

[20] Hasan: Related by Ishaaq Ibn Raahwayh, as is found in al-Matlabul-’Aaliyah (no. 1306), Ibn Abee Shaybah (4/103) and by at-Tabaraanee (24/92) by way of him. And it is related by Ahmad (1/252, 323, 337) and by at-Tabaraanee also in al-Awsat (1/42) and by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (no. 379-380) and by Ibn ’Abdul-Barr in is Jaami’ (no. 2378-2381). It was authenticated by Ibn Hajar in al-Matlab, and it was declared hasan by al-Haythamee in al-Majma’ (3/234) and by Ibn Muflih in al-Aadaabush-Shar’iyyah (2/66).

[21] Fathul-Majeed Sharh Kitaabut-Tawheed (p. 338)

[22] Fathul-Majeed (p. 339-340)

Narratives in the Sunnah


blue_fields_by_luizalazar-d613y9jPraise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger the trustworthy, his family, companions and those who followed them in good faith until the Day of Judgment. In what is to follow…

The incident related to causes and consequences makes the hearing yearn for it. When interspersed by instances of lessons to be learned from the News of those of past times, the eagerness to know about them becomes among the strongest factors in the entrenchment of the morale behind it in the psyche. The etiquette surrounding the narrative has today become a peculiar art amongst the arts of language and literature. Among its most significant depictions, the narrative in the book and the Tradition (of the prophet).

The meaning of narratives:

The narrative is following one’s trail. It is said: I tracked his trail, i.e: I followed it, and the term “narrative” is an infinitive. The Almighty said: ((So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).)) [Al-Kahf: 64]. He said on the tongue of the mother of Moses: ((And she said to his sister: “Follow him”:)) [Al Qasas:11], ie, follow his trail to see who will take him.

A narrative is also: the News followed. The Almighty said: ((This is the true account)) [Al-Imran: 62], and said: ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].

The narrative: The command, the report, the matter of importance, and the circumstance.

The narratives of the Sunnah: Its reporting about the conditions of the past nations, past prophecies and incidents which occurred. The Sunnah has included many of the facts of the past, conditions of people, their news and what happened to them, and narrated about them a talking picture on how they were.

Types of narratives in the Sunnah:

The narratives in the Sunnah come in types, including:

First type: Narratives about the Prophets, by mentioning something from what has happened to them of incidents; the story of Ibrahim with his wife and his son Ismail in their coming to Makkah, and Moses with Al-Khidhr and others.

Second type: narratives relating to bygone incidents, past news, the story of the people of the cave, the man who killed ninety-nine souls, and the one who used to excuse the well to do and relieve the one in hardship and the like.

Benefits of narratives:

The narratives have many benefits, including the following:

1 – Believing the prophets, reviving their memory and showing their virtues, as in the story of Abraham in building the Kaaba.

2 – It is a kind of literature, to which the hearing listens and the lessons behind them are deeply established in the persona ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].

3 – To urge on doing good deeds and encourage for it by mentioning its immediate and postponed fruits, as in the story of the people of the cave.

4 – To strongly discourage bad actions, showing their bad consequences, as in the story of the three people, including the bald man and the leper.

Narratives in the Sunnah, a fact and not fiction:

We firmly believe that Mohammed, peace be upon him, is sincere in his Prophethood, sincere in his call and sincere in his words, since what he utters is from inspiration, as the Almighty says: ((Nor does he say of (his own) Desire, it is no less than inspiration sent down to him)) [AnNajm: 3 – 4].

And therefore the facts found in the narratives are fact not fiction, rather the narratives in the authentic Sunnah is among the most authoritative sources, and is stated therein is in complete agreement with reality.

The impact of narratives in education and discipline:

There is no doubt that the coherent and precise story touches the hearing passionately, penetrates the human soul with ease and facility, while taught and instructional lessons generate boredom. Young people are only able to follow them up and grasp their elements with difficulty, and for a short while. Therefore, the narrative style makes more sense and is more beneficial.

The common trend in souls is that they tend to listen to tales and stories, which remain longer in memory. Therefore educators should make use of them in the areas of teaching and education.

In the Prophetic narratives fertile material to help educators succeed in their mission, and provide them with disciplinary provisions, from the conducts of the Prophets and news the past ones. The instructor can elucidate the prophetic narratives in the style that suits the intellectual level of the learners at every stage of education.

Due to the importance of narratives in the Sunnah of the Prophet, we have chosen an adequate part of it from the books of Sunnah, according to the following process:

1 – Limitation to those (Statements) where the chain of narration has been authenticated, for there is sufficiency and wealth in them.

2 – Referencing the Statements from the books of Sunnah in use.

3 – Vocabulary of unfamiliar terms within the body of the Statement, with an overall explication of the Statement when in need to do so.

4- A mention of the most important benefits derived from the story.

5 – Return to the main sources, from the annotations of the Sunnah, Ghareeb Statements and language books, with reference to that in the footnote.

We ask Almighty Allah to benefit through it, He is the most Generous, Oft-Giving, and all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

 

Source: AlSunnah.net

Non-Muslim Religious Celebrations and Ruling on participating (Christmas,New Year etc.)


The conflict between truth and falsehood is ongoing and will last as long as this world remains. The fact that some groups among the Ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) are following the people of falsehood such as the Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, idol-worshippers and others, whilst a group is remaining steadfast to the truth despite the pressures, is all part of the decreed system of the universe. But this does not mean that we should give in and follow the ways of those who are astray, because the one who told us that this would inevitably happen also warned us against following this path, and he commanded us to adhere firmly to Islam no matter how many people deviate from it and no matter how strong they become. He told us that the blessed one is the one who adheres steadfastly to the truth no matter what the distractions, at a time when the one who does righteous deeds will earn the reward of fifty men whose deeds are like those of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) – as was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani (may Allaah be pleased with him).

Among the Ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) there will be people who deviated from the truth and went towards falsehood, changing and altering things. Their punishment will be that they will be kept away from the Hawd (Cistern) whilst those who adhered to the Straight Path will come and drink from it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“I will precede you to the Cistern, and men from among you will be brought to me, and when I stretch forth my hand to them, they will be pulled away. I will say, ‘O Lord! My followers!’ and it will be said: ‘You do not know what they innovated after you were gone.’”

According to another report: “I will say: ‘May he be doomed, the one who changed (the religion) after I was gone.’”

One of the most obvious manifestations of this altering of Islam and disdainfully treating the religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the way in which people follow the enemies of Allaah – may He be exalted – in everything, major or minor, in the name of development, progress and civilization, under the banners of peaceful coexistence, human brotherhood, new world order, globalization and other dazzling but deceitful slogans. The caring Muslim can spot this dangerous problem among the majority of Muslims, except for those on whom Allaah has mercy, to such an extent that they even follow them in their religious rituals and in their most unique traditions and customs, such as the festivals which are part of their belief systems. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way” [al-Maa’idah 5:48]

“For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow” [al-Hajj 22:67] – which means, a festival which is for them alone.

Many Muslims have been led astray by the dazzling attractions of the enemies of Allaah, especially the Christians with their major festivals such as the celebration of the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon him) – i.e., Christmas – and the Christian New Year. They attend Christian parties on these occasions in their (Christians’) countries, and some of them have brought these things back to Muslim countries – we seek refuge with Allaah. A great disaster is the huge preparations which are being made on an international scale and at the level of the major Christian countries to celebrate the end of the second millenium and the beginning of the third millenium since the birth of the Messiah, son of Maryam (peace be upon him). If the world is teeming with Christian celebrations during a regular New Year, how will it be at the end of a Christian century (the twentieth century) and the end of a millenium (the second millenium)? It is a major event for which the Christians are preparing in a manner appropriate to its huge significance.

This Christian event will not be like a usual New Year’s Eve celebration taking only in the Christian countries and in their focal point, the Vatican. Preparations are afoot to make the focal point of the celebrations in Bethlehem, the place where the Messiah – peace be upon him – was born. The political and religious leaders of the Christians will go there – evangelicals and moderates alike, and even the secularists, to celebrate this millenium of which the world press is talking more and more as it approaches day by day. It is expected that more than three million people will be present in Bethlehem, led by the Pope John Paul II. Some of the neighbouring Muslim countries are also taking part in this global event, on the grounds that some of the symbols or major events of the Christian festival took place in their land – namely the baptism of the Messiah (peace be upon him), when he was baptized by John the Baptist (Yahyaa, peace be upon him) in the River Jordan. Indeed, many Muslims will also take part in these celebrations on the basis that they are an international event which concerns all the inhabitants of the earth. These people do not know that celebrating this millenium is a celebration of a Christian religious festival (the birth of the Messiah, i.e. Christmas, and the Christian New Year), and that taking part in it involves taking part in the rituals of their religion, and that rejoicing in it means rejoicing in the symbols of Kufr when they are made manifest and they prevail. This poses a great danger to the ‘aqeedah (belief) of the Muslim, because “Whoever imitates a people is one of them” as was reported in a saheeh hadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). So how about one who actually joins in with them in the rituals of their religion?! This obliges us to discuss the rulings on the festivals of the kuffaar, how the Muslim should deal with them and how they should differ from them – which is one of the basic principles of this pure religion of ours. Moreover, we need to know some details about their festivals and rituals so that we can avoid them and warn others about them.

Why do we need to know about the festivals of the kuffaar?

One of the things that the scholars agreed on is that the Muslim does not need to concern himself with the ways of the kuffaar, or their rituals and customs (unless he wants to call them to Islam), except when their customs and rituals are becoming widespread ignorant Muslims, whether deliberately or unintentionally. In such cases Muslims need to know about them so that they can avoid them. In recent times this has become more of an issue for the following reasons:

More mixing with the kuffaar, because Muslims go to their countries to study, take vacations, do business or for other reasons. Those who go there witness some of their rituals and they may like them, so they follow them. This is especially the case with those who are suffering from an inferiority complex and who look at the kuffaar with strong admiration which robs them of the power to resist, corrupts their hearts and weakens their commitment to religion. In addition to this, many westernized, educated people regard the kuffaar as advanced, progressive and civilized even in their most mundane customs and habits. Or else this comes about through the open celebration of these festivals in Muslim countries by some groups and non-Muslim minorities, so some ignorant Muslims are influenced by this.

The matter is made more serious by the media which can transmit everything with sound and living pictures from the farthest corners of the earth. No doubt the media of the kuffar is stronger and more capable of transmitting their rituals to the Muslims than the other way round. Many satellite channels broadcast the rituals of other religions’ festivals – especially Christian festivals. The matter becomes more serious when the secular systems in some Muslim countries have adopted the celebrations of the kaafirs and some of the people of bid’ah and the Arabic satellite channels broadcast this to the world, so some Muslims are deceived by the fact that this is coming from a Muslim country.

Throughout their history, the Muslims have suffered from the problem of being influenced by the rituals of others through mixing with them. This prompted the imaams (scholars) of Islam to warn the Muslim masses against imitating others in their festivals and rituals. Among these scholars are Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah, his student al-‘Allaamah Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi and al-Haafiz ibn Katheer. They lived at the same time, when there was a lot of mixing between Muslims and others, especially Christians, and ignorant Muslims were influenced by their (Christians’) religious rituals, especially their festivals. So these scholars spoke a great deal about these things throughout their books, and some of them devoted books to the particular topic, such as Ibn Taymiyah (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem li Mukhaalafat Ashaab al-Jaheem) and al-Dhahabi (Tashbeeh al-Khasees bi Ahl al-Khamees), and others.

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke at length about their festivals and what they do on those occasions, and he described the extent to which the ignorant Muslims were influenced by this. He described their various festivals and the rituals and customs that were involved – which Muslims do not ordinarily need to know about, but now it is necessary because many Muslims are following the People of the Book in those rituals.

Shaykh al-Islam described their festivals and discussed them in the context of warning against them. After speaking in detail about them, he said: “Our aims are not limited just to knowing the details of their falsehood, but it is sufficient for us to know what is munkar (evil) in such a way that we can distinguish between it and that which is mubaah (permissible), ma’roof (good), mustahabb (encouraged) and waajib (obligatory), so that by means of this knowledge we will be able to protect ourselves and avoid it, just as we know (and avoid) other things that are haraam, as we are obliged to do. Whoever does not know about what is munkar, either in general terms or in details, will not be able to avoid it. A general knowledge is sufficient, unlike with waajibaat (duties) [where it is essential to know details – translator].”

He also said:

“I have counted so many things that are munkar in their religion when I noted that some groups of Muslims are influenced by some of them, and many of them do not know that this comes from the Christian religion which is cursed, it and its followers. I do not know all the things that they do, but I have mentioned what I have seen Muslims doing, which is taken from them.”

4. Some of their festivals nowadays revolve around large gatherings, and still bear some of the features of their ancient festivals. Many Muslims take part in these events without realizing that. This is the case with the Olympic Games, whose roots lie in a festival that was celebrated by the Greeks, then the Romans, then the Christians; and with the “Mahrajaans” (“festivals”) which are organized to promote trade, culture etc., even though the Mahrajaan was originally a Persian festival. Most of those who organize these gatherings and call them “Mahrajaan” are unaware of this.

Knowing evil is a means of avoiding it and keeping away from it. Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The people used to ask the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about good things, but I used to ask him about bad things, fearing that I may fall into them.” It is a great problem that Muslims fall into observing some of the rituals of the disbelievers without realizing that this is part of their rituals and unique customs, which we have been commanded to avoid because it is an abomination and misguidance.

There are so many calls made by the strong voices of hypocrisy who want to cut the Ummah off from its roots, destroy its identity and assimilate it into the methodology of the kuffaar, and want people to follow them step by step, under the banners of humanity, globalization, universalism, openness towards others and receptiveness towards other cultures. This makes it essential for us to know about the others’ (the kaafirs’) misguidance and deviation so that we can expose it and point out the faults that lie beneath the attractive exterior that covers these abhorrent ideas,

“so that those who were to be destroyed (for their rejecting the Faith) might be destroyed after a clear evidence, and those who were to live (i.e. believers) might live after a clear evidence” [al-An’aam 8:42 – interpretation of the meaning] – and so that proof may be demonstrated to the followers of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that they will not be cheated or deceived.

Festivals of the Pharaohs

Among the Pharaonic festivals is the festival of Shimm al-Naseem (lit. “smelling the breeze”), which involves venerating some days as a good omen or drawing nigh to the gods who were worshipped instead of Allaah – may He be exalted. Shaykh Mahfooz – during his own time – mentioned some of the shameful and immoral practices that would make one’s hair stand on end, whereby farms and open spaces were filled with groups of immoral people of bad conduct, and groups of young and old, men and women, went to the orchards and rivers to commit zinaa (fornication, adultery) and to drink intoxicating substances, thinking that on that day all evil actions were permissible for them.

Among the superstitions connected to this festival was the placing of onions beneath the head of a sleeping person, or hanging them in doorways, claiming that this would take away laziness and sloth. This event is counted as one of the Pharaonic festivals, and it was said that it was invented by the Copts; there is nothing to suggest that it did not belong to both of them, and that it was not passed down from the Pharaohs to the Copts. Many Egyptians – especially the Copts – still celebrate this festival, and many Muslims join in with them. In recent years a number of secular writers have called for it to be made an official holiday, in order to revive the Pharaonic legacy, at the time when they describe the rituals of Islam as being backward, reactionary and uncivilized!

The festivals of the Greeks

The months of the Greek year were many, and were named after the festivals. The costs of these festivals were financed by the rich among them. Most of their festivals were connected to the rituals of their pagan religion which was based on polytheism. They had so many festivals which were aimed at reducing the tedium of daily life, and it reached the extent that no month was free of one or more festivals, except for one month which was called Mamkitrion.

Their festivals were characterized by obscenity, promiscuity, drunkenness and giving free rein to their animalistic desires, so that they did whatever they wanted, as is reflected in many of their misguided myths, such as their claim that they summoned the souls of the dead, then they sent them back or expelled them again after the festival was over. The most important of their festivals included the following:

The festival of the Olympiad, or the Olympic feast. This was held in Elis every four years. It was first officially recognized in 776 BCE. The Olympiad was one of their most important festivals and seasonal gatherings. From that far-off date, these games were historically called the Olympiad. It has nationalistic features and aims, so much so that it was said that the Greeks used to boast about their Olympic victories more than their conquests on the battlefield. This was the greatest festival of the Greeks at that time.

These games are still held and supported by the Christian nations under the same ancient name and with the inherited rituals such as lighting the Olympic flame in Athens and bringing it to the country where the Games are being held, and so on. Unfortunately many Muslim countries also take part in these games and boast about doing so. Many of them do not know that their origin lies in the festivals of the kuffaar and the sacred days of their pagan religion. We seek refuge with Allaah from deviation, misguidance and blind following.

The Greeks also had other major festivals such as the festivals of the Hellenic league, the Ionic league and others.

The festivals of the Romans

One of the nations which had the most festivals was the Romans. They had more than one hundred holy days in the year, days which they regarded as festivals, including the first day of each month. Some festivals were devoted to the sanctification of the dead and the souls of the underworld, and on many of their festivals celebrations were held to placate the dead and appease their anger – or so they claimed.

As it is known, the Roman Empire prevailed after the Greeks, so they inherited many of the Greek rituals, customs and festivals.

Among the most famous Roman festivals:

The festival of love, which they celebrated on February 14 each year, as an expression of what they believed, in their pagan religion, to be divine love. This festival was invented more than 1700 years ago, at the time when paganism was still prevalent among the Romans. Whilst their state was still idolatrous, they executed Saint Valentine, who had converted to Christianity after having been a pagan. When the Romans converted to Christianity, they made the day of his execution an occasion to celebrate the martyrs of love. This festival is still celebrated in America and Europe, to declare feelings of friendship and to renew the covenant of love between spouses and lovers. This festival now has great social and economic significance.

It seems that another practice stemmed from the concept of this feast, which is the anniversary celebrated by spouses or friends who love one another, where the couple celebrate the anniversary of their marriage each year, to confirm the love between them. This custom has passed to the Muslims because of their mixing (with the non-Muslims), so that couples celebrate the night of their marriage in a special way in many Muslim countries, imitating the kuffaar. Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa Billaa il-‘Aliy il-‘Azeem (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah, the Exalted and Almighty).

The festivals of the Jews

The (Jewish) New Year, which is called the festival of Heesha [Rosh Hashanah]. This is the first day of Tishreen al-Awwal. They claim that it is the day on which the sacrifice Ishaaq (peace be upon him) was ransomed. This is according to their mistaken belief – in fact the one who was to be sacrificed was Ismaa’eel, not Ishaaq. This festival has a similar status to that of ‘Eid al-Adhaa for Muslims.

The festival of Sumaria or Yom Kippur, which for them is a day of forgiveness.

The feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) on the fifteenth of Tishreen. On this day they stay in the shade of the branches of trees. It is also called the Festival of the Fast of the Virgin Mary.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is the Passover, on the fifteenth of Nisan. This commemorates the flight of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt in the thirteenth century BCE. This story is told in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Exodus. The festival lasts for eight days in occupied Palestine, and the Reform Jews celebrate it in their own countries for seven days. During this festival they have a celebration called the Seder, where they read the story of the flight of the Children of Israel in a book called the Haggadah and they eat unleavened bread, as a reminder that when the Children of Israel fled, they ate this kind of bread, because they did not have time to make leavened bread. The Jews still eat unleavened bread during this festival to this day.

The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Shavuot). They claim that this is the day on which Allaah – may He be exalted – spoke to Moosa (peace be upon him).
The Day of Atonement, in the tenth month of the Jewish year, when a person goes into seclusion for nine days to worship and fast, This is called the days of repentance.

The new moon. They used to celebrate the birth of each new moon, when they used to blow trumpets in Jerusalem and light fires in celebration.

The Jubilee, which is described in the Book of Leviticus.

They also have other festivals, among which the most well known are: the festival of victory, or Purim, and the festival of Hanukkah, which is also known as the festival of blessing.

The festivals of the Christians

The festival of the resurrection, which is called Easter. This is the most important annual Christian festival, which is preceded by the long fast (Lent) which lasts for forty days before Easter Sunday. This festival commemorates the return of the Messiah (peace be upon him) or his resurrection after his crucifixion, two days after his death – according to their claims. It marks the end of many different kinds of rituals, which include:

The onset of the long fast of Lent, which lasts for forty days before Easter Sunday. They start fasting on a Wednesday known as Ash Wednesday, where ash is placed on the foreheads of those present and they repeat the words, “From dust we came and to dust we shall return.”

Fifty days after Easter Sunday, they end with the Feast of Pentecost or Whitsuntide.

The Week of Sorrows (or Holy Week), which is the last week of the fasting period of Lent, which refers to the events that led up to the death and resurrection of Jesus (peace be upon him) – as they claim.

Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Easter. This is a commemoration of the triumphal entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem.

Maundy Thursday, which is a commemoration of the Last Supper of the Messiah, and his arrest and imprisonment.

Good Friday (“the Friday of Grief”), which is the Friday before Easter, which refers to the death of Jesus on the cross – or so they claim.

Easter Saturday (the “Saturday of Light”), which comes before Easter and refers to the death of the Messiah. It is a day of watching and waiting for the resurrection of the Messiah on Easter Sunday. The Easter festivities conclude with the Thursday of Ascension, when the story of the Messiah’s ascension into heaven is recited in all the churches. They have different kinds of celebrations and festivals, according to the different denominations in different Christian countries. The Thursday and Friday before Easter are known as the Great Thursday and the Great Friday, as was mentioned by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is the Thursday (al-Khamees) referred to in the book of al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi (may Allaah have mercy on him): Tashbeeh al-Khasees bi Ahl al-Khamees. This Thursday is the last day of their fast, and is also known as the Thursday of the Table or the Feast of the Table. It is mentioned in Soorat al-Maa’idah where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“‘Eesaa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Allaah, our Lord! Send us from the heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us — for the first and the last of us — a festival and a sign from You…” [al-Maa’idah 5:114]

They also do many strange things during these festivals, as was mentioned by many historians, such as gathering the leaves of trees, soaking them, then washing with the water, or putting kohl on their eyes. The Copts of Egypt used to bathe in the Nile on certain days, claiming that this was healing. Easter is the day when they break their long fast. They claim that on this day, the Messiah (peace be upon him) was resurrected three days after the crucifixion, and Adam was saved from Hell, and other myths. Shams al-Deen al-Dimashqi al-Dhahabi mentioned that the people of Hama would stop working for six days on this occasion, and they would dye eggs and make ka’k [a kind of biscuit], and other kinds of corrupt deeds and mixing that they engaged in at that time. He said that the Muslims used to join in that as well, and that they outnumbered the Christians. We seek refuge with Allaah.

Ibn al-Haaj mentioned that they openly committed immoral actions and engaged in gambling, but no one denounced them for doing so. This is probably what prompted Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) to denounce what he saw of Muslims imitating Christians in their festivals and rituals, for he mentioned a great deal of this in his excellent book al-Iqtidaa’ . Al-Dhahabi also wrote a book on this topic, as mentioned above.

Until the present, all the Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the moon become full in spring, in the period between March 22 and April 25. The Eastern Orthodox Christians observe it later than the other Christians. Its rituals, fasts and days occupy an entire season in the Christian year.

2. The festival of the birth of the Messiah (may peace be upon him). The Europeans call this Christmas, and it is on December 25 for the majority of Christians. For the Copts it is the day which corresponds to the twenty-ninth of Keehak (the fourth month of the Coptic year). This celebration is ancient and was mentioned in the books of the historians. Al-Maqreezi said: The time of Christmas came whilst we were in Cairo, and it is a major event in all the regions of Egypt, when they sell candles in the shape of flowers, which they call lanterns.

For Christians, this festival is an annual reminder of the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon him). They have many rituals and acts of worship at this time, when they go to the church and hold special prayers and services. The story of the birth of the Messiah is mentioned in their Gospels – Luke and Matthew. It was first celebrated in 336 CE. The festival is influenced by pagan rituals, when the Romans used to celebrate the god of light and the god of the harvest. When Christianity became the official religion of the Romans, Christmas became the most important festival in Europe. Saint Nicholas became a symbol of gift-giving at this festival in the European countries, then Father Christmas (Santa Claus) took the place of Saint Nicholas as a symbol of the giving of gifts, especially to children (1). Many Muslims in different countries have been influenced by these rituals and customs, and the giving of gifts by Santa Claus has become well known in many Muslim-owned stores and shops. How many houses have these gifts entered, and how many Muslim children know about Santa Claus and his gifts! Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa Billaa il-‘Aliy il-‘Azeem (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah, the Exalted and Almighty).

The Christians have many rituals on this day. The Christians of Palestine and neighbouring regions gather on the night of this festival in Bethlehem, the city where the Messiah (peace be upon him) was born, to attend Midnight Mass. Among their other rituals, they celebrate the nearest Sunday to the date of November 30, which is the feast day of Saint Andrew. This is the first day of Advent – the advent of the Messiah (peace be upon him). The festival reaches its peak when they stay up for Midnight Mass, when the churches are decorated and the people sing Christmas carols. The Christmas season ends on January 6. Some of them burn part of the trunk of the Christmas tree, then they keep the part that is not burned, believing that this burning will bring them good luck. This belief is widespread in Britain, France and the Scandinavian countries.

The feast of the Epiphany (ghattaas), which is on January 19. For the Copts it is on the eleventh of Toobah. The origin of this festival, according to them, is that Yahyaa ibn Zakariya (peace be upon them both), whom they know as John the Baptist, baptized the Messiah son of Maryam (peace be upon him) in the River Jordan, and when he was washed, the Holy Spirit came upon him. Because of this, the Christians dip their children in water on this day, and all of them immerse themselves in the water. Al-Mas’oodi mentioned that this day – during his time – was a major event in Egypt, attended by thousands of Christians and Muslims, who would bathe in the Nile, believing that this offered protection from sickness and was a healing. This is what is celebrated by the Orthodox churches, but the Catholic and Protestant churches have a different concept of this festival, whereby they commemorate the “adoration of the Magi”, where the three men who came from the east venerated the infant Jesus.

The origin of the word ghattaas (baptism) is Greek, meaning “emerging.” It is a religious term, referring to the emergence of an invisible being. It was mentioned in the Tawraat that Allaah – may He be exalted – appeared to Moosa (peace be upon him) in the form of a burning bush – exalted be Allaah far above what they say.

The Christian New Year celebration: this has become a major celebration in these times, which is celebrated by Christian countries and by some Muslim countries. TV broadcasts of these celebrations are transmitted live to all parts of the world, they appear on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and they occupy a large part of the news broadcasts on satellite channels. It is noticeable that many Muslims in whose countries these Christian celebrations are not held travel to Christian countries to attend them and enjoy the forbidden things that are involved in them, unaware of the sin committed by indulging in the rituals of those who disbelieve.

The Christians have many false beliefs and myths about New Year’s Eve (December 31), as is the case with all their festivals. We hear of these beliefs from the makers of modern civilization and those who are described as civilized, those whom the hypocrites among our people want to follow in even the smallest detail, even in their myths, so that we can be assured of a position in the ranks of those who are advanced and civilized and earn the approval of those who have blond hair and blue eyes!

Among their beliefs (with regard to New Year’s Eve) is that the one who drinks the last glass of wine from the bottle after midnight will have good luck, and if he is single, he will be the first one among his friends who are present to get married. It is regarded as bad luck for a person to enter the house at New Year without bringing a gift; sweeping out the dirt at New Year means that one is also sweeping away good luck; washing clothes and dishes on this day will bring bad luck; they try to keep the fire burning all night on New Year’s Eve so that it will bring good luck… and other such myths and superstitions.

They also have other festivals, some of which are ancient and others have been invented recently. Some of them were taken from the Greeks and Romans who came before them, and others were part their religion but have now vanished. Some of these festivals are of major significance to them, and others are of limited importance, being confined to a few churches or denominations.

Each denomination and church has festivals which are unique to them, and are not celebrated by other denominations. The Protestants do not believe in the festivals of the other churches, but they do agree on the major festivals such as Easter, Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany, even though they differ as to the rituals and practices involved, or some of the reasons and details, or the time and place.

Festivals of the Persians

1. The festival of Nawrooz. The word ‘Nawrooz’ means new. The festival lasts for six days, when at the time of Chosroes they used to fulfil the needs of other people in the first five days, and the sixth day was devoted to themselves and the people to whom they were closest. This day was called the great Nawrooz, and was the most important of their festivals. The book Ashaab al-Awaa’il mentioned that the first one to celebrate Nawrooz was Jamsheed the king, in whose time Hood (peace be upon him) was sent, after the religion had been changed. When the king Jamsheed renewed the religion and established justice, the day on which he had ascended the throne was named Nawrooz. When he reached the age of seven hundred years, and he had never gotten ill or suffered a headache, he became an oppressive tyrant. He made an image of himself and sent it to the provinces for it to be venerated, and the masses worshipped it and made idols in its image. Al-Dahhaak al-‘Alwaani, one of the Amaaliqah (Amalekites) attacked him in the Yemen and killed him, as is stated in the books of history. Some of the Persians claim that Nawrooz is the day when Allaah created light. Nawrooz is considered to be the festival marking the Persian solar New Year. It coincides with the twenty first of March in the Gregorian calendar. The masses used to light fires on this night and sprinkle water in the morning.

Nawrooz is also celebrated by the Baha’is, coming at the end of their fast which lasts for 19 days, on March 21. (3). Nawrooz is also the first day of the year for the Copts, who call it Shimm al-Naseem. For them it lasts for six days, starting on the sixth of June. We have already discussed Shimm al-Naseem under the heading of Pharaonic festivals above. It is possible that the Copts took it from the Pharaonic legacy, since they were all in Egypt.

2. The festival of Mahrajaan. The word Mahrajaan is composed of two words: mahar, meaning loyalty, and jaan meaning authority or power. So the word means, the authority of loyalty. The origin of this festival was the celebration of the victory of Afridoon over al-Dahhaak al-‘Alwaani, who killed Jamsheed, the king who has started Nawrooz. It was also said that it was a celebration of the onset of cooler weather in the fall. It is possible that it originally started for the reason mentioned above, but as that coincided with the onset of cooler weather in the fall, so they continued to celebrate that. It is celebrated on the twenty-sixth of the Syriac month of Tishreen al-Awwal. Like Nawrooz, it lasts for six days, the sixth of which is the Great Mahrajaan. On this occasion and on Nawrooz they used to exchange gifts of musk, amber, Indian ‘ood [a kind of perfume or incense], saffron and camphor. (5). The first person to make this exchange of gifts official in Islamic times was al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi, and this continued until it was abolished by the rightly-guided Khaleefah ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez (may Allaah have mercy on him).

One of the greatest problems that the Muslims are suffering from is the use of the word Mahrajaan (festival) to describe many social, cultural and economic gatherings, celebrations and events. The word is even used to describe da’wah events. So people speak of mahrahjaan al-thaqaafah (cultural festival), Mahrajaan al-tasawwuq (marketing festival), Mahrajaan al-kutub (book festival), mahrahjaan al-da’wah (da’wah festival) and so on, as we see in advertisements and hear in many phrases which use this idolatrous term. Mahrajaan is the name of the festival of the fire worshippers.

Hence using this idolatrous Persian term to describe Muslim gatherings is clearly one of the things that are prohibited. We must avoid doing this and tell others not to use this word. There are sufficient permissible expressions that we do not need to use this word, for the Arabic language is the richest of all languages in words and meanings.

Definition of imitation.

Imitation (tashabbuh in Arabic) means resembling. If we say that someone imitates someone else, we means that he looks like him and acts like him. Likening a things to something else (tashbeeh) means saying that it is like it. The word tashabbuh has many counterparts in Arabic which carry meanings such as being like, imitating, looking like, following, agreeing with, taking as an example, copying, etc. They all have shades of meaning of their own, but they also overlap with the meaning of tashabbuh. In terms of the terminology of Fiqh, al-Ghuzzi al-Shaafa’i defined tashabbuh as describing a person’s attempt to be like the one whom he is imitating, in appearance, characteristics, wqualities and attributes. It implies making an effort to achieve this and deliberately taking action for that purpose.

The ruling on imitating the kuffaar

One of the most important basic principles of our religion is that of al-walaa’ wa’l-baraa’, loyalty (walaa’) to Islam and its people, and diavowal (baraa’) of kufr and its people. One of the essential features of this disavowal of kufr and it’s people is that the Muslim should be distinct from the people of kufr, and he should feel proud of his religion and of being a Muslim, no matter how strong and advanced and civilized the kuffaar may be, and no matter how weak and backward and divided the Muslims may be. It is not permissible under any circumstances to take the strength of the kuffaar and the weakness of the Muslims as an excuse for imitating and resembling them, as some hypocrites and defeatist Muslims claim. The texts which forbid imitating the kuffaar do not make any distinction between whether Muslims are strong or weak, because the Muslim can be distinct in his religion and be proud of being Muslim even when he is in a weak position.

Allaah calls us to be proud of Islam, and considers this to be the best of speech and the best kind of pride, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” [Fussilat 41:33]

Because it is so important for the Muslim to be distinguished from the kaafir, the Muslim is commanded to pray to Allaah at least seventeen times each day to help him to avoid the path of the kaafireen and to guide him to the Straight Path:

“Guide us to the Straight Way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray” [al-Faatihah 1:6-7 – interpretation of the meaning].

There are very many texts in the Qur’aan and Sunnah which forbid us to imitate them, and which clearly state that they are misguided; whoever imitates them, imitates them in their misguidance. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings);

“Then We have put you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) on a (plain) way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islâmic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islâmic Monotheism and its laws), and follow not the desires of those who know not.” [al-Jaathiyah 46:18]

“Were you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to follow their (vain) desires after the knowledge which has come to you, then you will not have any Walî (protector) or Wâq (defender) against Allâh” [al-Ra’d 13:37]

“And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them” [Aal- ‘Imraan 3:105]

Allaah calls the believers to remember Him with humility and to recite His Verses, then He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fâsiqûn (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allâh)” [al-Hadeed 57:16]

No doubt imitating them is one of the grestes indications that a person has befriended them and loves them, and this contradicts the idea of diavowal [baraa’] of the kufr and its people. Allaah has forbidden the believers to take them as friends, and He has stated that taking them as friends causes a person to become one of them – Allaah forbid. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliyâ’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliyâ’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliyâ’), then surely, he is one of them” [al-Maa’idah 5:51]

“You (O Muhammad ) will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad ), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people)” [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Imitation generates friendship and love, and regarding them as allies in the inside, just as loving them on the inside generates imitating them on the outside.”

And he also said, commenting on the aayah from Soorat al-Mujaadilah: “Allaah tells us that there is no (true) believer who takes a kaafir as a friend, for whoever takes a kaafir as friend is not a believer. Imitation on the outside implies that a person loves (the one whom he imitates), and so it is forbidden.”

It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Libaas, 1204; Ahmad, 2/05. Shaykh al-Islam classed its isnaad as jayyid in al-Iqtidaa’, 1/042. See also al-Fataawaa, 25/133. Al-Haafiz provided corroborating evidence in al-Fath, with a mursal report whose isnaad is hasan (6/89). Al-Suyooti classed it as hasan, and al-Albaani classed it as saheeh in Jamee’ al-Saheeh, 5206).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “This hadeeth at the very least implies that it is haraam to imitate them, even if it is only in external appearance, and it implies that the one who imitatest hem is a kaafir, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliyâ’), then surely, he is one of them’ [al-Maa’idah 5:51].” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/732).

Al-San’aani said: “If a person imitates the kaafir in his dress, and believes that by doing so he will be like him, then he is a kaafir. If he does not belive this, then there is a difference of opinion among the fuqahaa’ in this case. Some of them say that he is a kaafir, which is the apparent meaning of the hadeeth; others say that he is not a kaafir, but he should be disciplined.” (Subul al-Salaam, 8/842).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “The reason why the religion of Allaah and its rituals is vanishing, and kufr and sin are prevailing, is because of imitation of the kaafireen, just as the means of preserving all good is by following the ways and laws of the Prophets. “ (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/413).

There is much that could be said about imitation of the kuffaar, but what we have said above is sufficient.

The forms of imitating the kuffaar in their festivals

The various sects and groups of the kuffaar have many kinds of festivals, some of them have a religious basis whilst others have been newly invented. Some of their festivals are like customs and events for which they have invented festivals, such as national holidays and the like. Their festivals may be grouped into different categories as follows:

Firstly:

religious festivals by means of which they seek to draw nearer to Allaah, such as the Epiphany, Easter, Passover, Christmas, etc. They ways in which the Muslims imitate them in these festivals are two:

Joining in with them in these festivals, such as when some non-Islamic groups or minorities in Muslim countries celebrate their festivals, and some Muslims join in with them. This happened at the time of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi, and it is what is happening now in many of the Muslim countries. What is even worse than that is what some Muslims do by travelling to the kaafir countries for the express purpose of attending these festivals and joining in the celebrations, whether the motive is to fulfil their physical desires or in response to the invitation of some of the kuffaar – as some Muslims do who live in kaafir countries and are invited to join the celebrations, or some other who have capital to invest or are owners of large companies, so they accept these invitations for the sake of being friendly to the person who invited them, or for a worldly interest such as winning a contract, and so on. All of this is haraam, and there is the fear that it may lead to kufr, because of the hadeeth, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” And the one who does this is aiming to join in some of the rituals of their religion.

Beinging the celebration to the Muslim countries. Those who attend the festivals of the kuffaar in their countries and who like them because they are ignorant and have weak faith and little knowledge, may be prompted to bring some of those festivals and rituals to the Muslim countries, as is happening now in many Muslim countries, where the Gregorian New year is celebrated. This category is worse than the former one for one reason, which is that the people whodo this are not content merely to join the kuffaar in their rituals, but they want to bring them to the Muslim lands as well.

Secondly:

Festivals whose origins lie in the rituals of the kuffaar, and they have now become international customs and celebrations. This is like the Olympic festivals (the Olympiad) in Greece, which nowadays appears to be no more than an international sporting event in which participation takes two forms:

Taking part in the games with their rituals in the kaafir countries, as many of the Muslim states do by sending athletes to participate in the different games.

Bringing these festivals to the Muslim countries, such as some of the Muslim countries asking to host the Olympic Games in their countries.

In both cases, taking part or hosting the games in a Muslim country is haraam, for the following reasons:

The origin of these Olympic Games is one of the pagan festivals of the Greeks, as mentioned above. This was the most important festival for the Greek nation, then it was inherited by the Romans and, in turn, the Christians.

It bears the same name as it was known by when it was a Greek festival.

The fact that it is now no more than a sporting event does not cancel out the fact that it is a pagan festival, because of its origin and name. The evidence (daleel) for that is the hadeeth narrated by Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “At the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man vowed to sacrifice some camels in Bawwaanah. He came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘I have vowed to sacrifice some camels in Bawwaanah.’ The Prophet Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Were there any idols there that were worshipped during the Jaahiliyyah?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Did they hold any of their festivals there?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Then fulfil your vow, for there is no fulfilment of any vow which involves disobeying Allaah, or with regard to something that the son of Adam does not own.’” (Narrated by Abu Dawood in al-Aymaan wa’l-Nudhoor, 3133. According to another report, the one who asked the question was a woman (2133). It was also narrated by al-tabaraani in al-Kabeer (1431). Shaykh al-Islam said: its isnaad is according to the conditions of al-Saheehayn. All of its narrators are thiqaat (trustworthy) and mashhoor (well known), and the chain is intact, with no ‘an’anah (none of the links of the chain are connected with the word ‘an, meaning ‘from’). See al-Iqtidaa’, 1/634. It was classed as saheeh by al-Haafiz in al-Buloogh, 5041).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) paid attention to the origins of things, and the origin of this sporting event is a (pagan) festival.

Shaykh al-Islam said: “This implies that the fact that that spot was the place where their festival was held would have been a reason to forbid him to sacrifice there, as would also have been the case if had been the place of their idols. Otherwise, how else can we interpret the hadeeth, of course it would only have been to venerate the spot which the yvenerated, by holding the festival there os by joining them in there celebrations there, or reviving the symbols of their festival and other things that can only be related to that action in that place or at that time… If merely choosing the place of the festival is forbidden, then how about the festival itself?” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/344)

Our issue concerning the Olympic games does not have to do with the time or the place, but with the event itself and its original name, and the things that are done during the event, such as the lighting of the Olympic torch, which is one of the rituals of the games. There is also the timing of the event, because among the Greeks the games were held every four years, and nowadays too they are held every four years. This is a festival with regard to its origins, its name, the things that are done and the timing, so taking part in these games means taking part in a festival which was pagan and then Christian, and asking to hold these games in a Muslim country means bringing this pagan festival into a Muslim land.

Thirdly:

The days and weeks that have been invented by the kuffaar. These may be divided into two types:

those which have a religious origin and have now become customs connected to some worldly purpose, such as the workers’ festival (May Day) which was invented by those who worshipped trees, then it became a pagan festival of the Romans, then it was adopted by the French who connected it to the church, until socialism came and propagated it, and it became an international and official holiday even in many Muslim countries. Undoubtedly it is haraam to adopt this day as a holiday and let workers take this day off, for the following reasons:

because in its origins and development it is a pagan festival

because it occurs on a fixed day each year, which is May 1.

Because it involves imitating the kuffaar with regard to something that belongs exclusively tot hem.

Even if an event does not have a religious basis, such as World health Day, or days for fighting drugs and eradicating illiteracy, and other invented days and weeks, one of the two following things will still apply:

either it occurs on a fixed day each year and is repeated on the same day each year, like Bank Holidays and other fixed days. There are two things wrong with this:

it is a fixed day which recurs on the same date each year

it entails imitating the kuffaar because this is something that they have invented.

These international days, such as World Health Day and a day for fighting drugs, contain some benefit for humanity as a whole, which the Muslims cannot avoid taking part in because they may miss out on some benefits otherwise; they have nothing to do with religion and only resemble festivals in that they come every year and they are events that are celebrated and taken notice of – so can they be tolerated on these grounds? It seems to me that this matter needs research and ijtihaad to weigh up the pros and cons, because the Muslims are not consulted concerning these days and their opinion carries no weight, on the contrary, these things are forced on the entire world and the Muslins are in a weak and humilated position as is well known.

or it is not a day or week that comes at a fixed time each year, but is moved according to a particular system or needs. This does not have the character of a festival which is repeated at a fixed time, but there remains the problem of imitation, in that it is something that was invented by the kuffaar and them brought to the Muslims. Does this count as the kind of imitation that is haraam? Or is it a kind of imitation that is permissible like other matters having to do with organization, administration, etc., and like the days of annual leave in companies, institutions, etc.? This too needs research and investigation, although initially to seems to me that there is nothing wrong with it, for the following reasons:

It is not fixed on a specific date that is the same each time, so it does not have that festival-like character.

These days are not called festivals, and they do not have the characteristics of festivals, such as celebrations and the like.

The purpose of these days is to organize awareness campaigns, to achieve beneficial goals.

Those who want to stop them would have to stop many events and gatherings that happen from time to time, and I do not think that anyone would advocate this. These events are like family meetings, da’wah meetings, workplace meetings, and so on.

There is nothing in them that would dictate that they be considered haraam, apart from the fact that they originated with the kuffaar and were brought to the Muslims, and the problems they deal with are widespread among the kuffaar and others. So the objection that they belong only to the kuffaar is cancelled by the fact that these things are also widespread among the Muslims.

In conclusion, These festivals are not part of the religion and beliefs of the kuffaar, and they do not form part of their exclusive customs and traditions. There is no veneration or celebration involved, and they are not festivals on set days which are repeated regularly. They resemble other organizations in that they serve a useful purpose.

Fourthly:

Another form of imitation of the kuffaar is turning the Eids of the Muslims into something resembling the festivals of the kuffaar. The Eids of the Muslims are distinguished by the fact that their rituals point to the expression of gratitude to Allaah, may He be exalted, and glorifying, praising and worshipping Him, whilst expressing joy for the blessings of Allaah, and not using these blessings for sinful purposes. This is in contrast to the festivals of the kuffaar, which are distinguished by the veneration of their false rituals and idols which they worship instead of Allaah, whikst indulging in their fobidden desires. It is most unfortunate that Muslims in many places are imitating the kuffaar in this way, and they have changed their Eid from an occasion of worship and thanksgiving into an occasion on sin and ingratitude for the blessings, by spending the night of Eid listening to musical instruments and singing, indulging in immoral actions, organizing mixed parties and doing other things which they think express the celebration of Eid, following the misguided ways in which the kuffaar spend their festivals engaging in immorality and sin.

Ways in which we must avoid the festivals of the kuffaar

Avoid attending them:

The scholars have agreed that it is haraam to attend the festivals of the kuffaar and to imitate them in their festivals. This is the madhhab of the Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis. (See al-Iqtidaa’, 2/425; Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah by Ibn al-Qayyim, 2/227-527; al-Tashabbuh al-Munhaa ‘anhu fi’l-Fiqh al-Islaami, 533). There is a great deal of evidence (daleel) for this, such as:

All of the evidence which states that it is forbidden to imitate them, some of which has been quoted above.

The concensus of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een that Muslims should not attend their festivals, The evidence of this consensus takes for forms:

The Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians) who lived in the Muslim lands and paid Jizyah were still observing their own festivals, so the motive for some Muslims to imitate them was present. No one among the early generations of Muslims would have refrained from joining them in any part of that, If there had not been something to stop them from doing so, such as it being either makrooh (disliked) or prohibited, many of them would have fallen into that, for if the action and the motive are present and there is nothing to stop them, people will undoubtedly do the thing. Al-muqtada? Therefore we understand that there was something stopping them from doing that, and what was stopping them was the religion of Islam. This is what was stopping them from going along with the kuffaar and this is the point that we are trying to make here. (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/454).

The conditions set out by ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), which the Sahaabah and all the fuqahaa’ after them agreed upon, that the Ahl al-Dhimmah (Jews and Christians living under the protection of Islamic rule in return for paying a poll tax) should not celebrate their festivals openly in the Muslim lands. If the Muslims have agreed that they should not celebrate their festivals openly, then how can it be OK for Muslims to celebrate them? Is it not worse for a Muslim to do this at all than for a kaafir to do it openly? (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/454).

‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Do not learn the language of the Persians, and do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for the Divine warth is descending upon them.” (Musannaf ‘Abd al-razzaaq, 9061; al-Sunan al-Kubra by al-Bayhaqi, 9/432).

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebratest heir Nawrooz and their Mahrajaan, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Sunan al-Kubra, 9/432; classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyah in al-Iqtidaa’, 1/754).

Shaykh al-Islam said: Here we see ‘Umar forbidding people to learn their language and to merely enter their chuch on the festivals, so what about actually doing some of the things they do, or doing some of the rituals of their religion? Is not doing the things they do more serious than speaking the same language? Or is not doing some of the things they do in the festival more serious than merely entering upon them on the occasion of their festival? If the Divine wrath comes upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who joins them in all or part of that also exposed to the same punishment? (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/854)

And he commented on the words of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr – “will be gathered with them” by saying: This implies that this makes him a kaafir by his joining in what they do, or else it means that this is one of the major sins that doom a person to Hell, although the former is more apparent from the wording. (1/954).

Avoiding doing the same things that they do.

Some Muslims may not be able to be present at the festivals of the kuffaar, but they do the same things as they do. This is also a part of the imitation which blameworthy and forbidden. Shaykh al-Islam said: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in any part of the things that are exclusively part of their festivals, whether it be food, dress, bathing, lighting fires or changing their habits with regard to daily living, acts of worship, etc. It is not permissible to give a feast or give gifts or sell items that will help them to do that for that purpose, or to allow children and others to do any of that, whether it is playing, wearing new clothes etc. in conclusion, they should not make that day special by adopting any of their rituals; for the Muslims, the day of the kaafirs’ festival should be like any other day.” Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 52/923).

Al-Dhahabi said: “If the Christians or the Jews have a fstival that is exxclusively theirs, the Muslims should not join them in that, just as they do not join them in their laws or their direction of prayer.” (tashabbuh al-Khasess bi Ahl al-Khmaees, in al-Hikmah magazine, issue $, p. 391). Ibn al-Turkmaani al-Hanafi mentioned some of the things that some Muslims did on the occasion of Christian festivals, such as spending more than usual and taking the family out, then he said: “Some of the Hanafi scholars said: whoever does any of the things mentioned here and does not repent, is a kaafir like them.” One of the companions of Maalik said: “Whoever cuts up a watermelon on the day of Nawrooz, it is as if he sacrificed a pig.” (al-Lam’ fi’l-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492)

Avoiding using the means of transportation that they use to go to their festivals

Maalik said: “It is makrooh to travel with them in the boats which they use to go to their festivals, because the Divine wrath and curse is descending upon them.” (al-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492).

Ibn al-Qaasim was asked about travelling in the boats which the Christians ride in to attend their festivals. He regarded that as makrooh, fearing the descent of Divine wrath upon them for the shirk which they agreed upon. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/625).

Not giving them gifts or helping them to celebrate their festvials by either selling or buying.

Abu Hafs al-Hanafi said: “Whoever gives an egg to a kaafir out of respect for that day has disbelieved in Allaah, may He be exalted.” (Fath al-Baari li Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani, 2/315).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Ibn al-Qaasim regarded it as makrooh for a Muslim to give a Christian anything on the occasion of his festival to congratulate him. He saw that as respecting their festival and helping them in their kufr. Do you not see that it is not permissible for the Muslims to sell anything to the Christians that helps them to celebrate their festival? No meat, no food, no dress. They should not loan their riding-beasts to them or help them in any way with their festival, because that is like honouring their shirk and helping them with their kufr. The authorities should prevent Muslims from doing this. This is the view of Maalik and others, and I do not know of any dissenting opinion on this point.” (2/625-725)

Ibn al-Turkmaani said: “The Muslim is sinning if he sits with them or helps them to slaughter animals or cook food, or he lends them a riding-beast to take them to their celebrations or festivals.” (al-Lama’ fi’l-Hawaadith, 1/492)

Not helping the Muslim who wants to imitate them in their festivals to do so

Shaykh al-Islam said: “Just as we should not imitate them in their festivals, so too we should not help the Muslim who wants to imitate them to do so. It is forbidden to so this. If a person issues an invitation on the occasion of their festivals that he would not ordinarily do, his invitation should not be accepted. If a Muslim gives a gift on this occasion that he would not ordinarily give at any other time, his gift should not be accepted, especially if it is something that would help a person to imitate them, as we have already stated. A Muslim should not sell anything that could help Muslims to imitate them in their celebrations, such as food, clothing and so on, because be doing so he is helping them in sin. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/915-025).

Not congratulating them on the occasion of their festivals
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “As for congratulating them for the symbols of kufr that belong exclusively to them, this is haraam according to scholarly consensus, such as congratulating them for their festivals and fasts, and saying, ‘A blessed festival to you’ and the like. Even though the person who says this might not become a kaafir by saying this, it is still forbidden, and it is the same as congratulating them for prostrating to the cross. Indeed, it is an even greater sin with Allaah and is more hated by Him than congratulating them for drinking wine, killing people and committing adultery, and so on. Many of those who do not care about religion do this, and do not realize how abhorrent their actions are. Whoever congratulates a person for his sin, bid’ah (innovation) or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah. The pious scholars used to avoid congratulating the tyrants when they were appointed to official positions, or congratulating the ignorant when they were appointed as Qaadis, teachers or Muftis, because they sought to avoid the wrath and anger of Allaah .” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/144-244).

Congratulating the kuffaar on the occasion of their religious festivals is haraam as Ibn al-Qayyim stated, because this implies approval of their rituals and beliefs of kufr. Even if a person does not accept this kufr for himself, it is still haraam for a Muslim to approve of the rituals of kufr for someone else or to congratulate someone else for them, because Allaah does not approve of this. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you; He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you” [al-Zumar 39:7]

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

Congratulating them for that is haraam, whether they are taking part with them in that or not. If they congratulate us on the occasion of their festival, we should not respond, because it is not our festival and because these are festivals with which Allaah is not pleased, because they are either innovated in their religions, or they are prescribed, but they (their religions) have been abrogated by the religion of islam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to all of mankind. And Allaah says concerning islam (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85].

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept an invitation on these occasions, because this is worse than merely congraulating them, since it involves joining in with them. Anyone who does any of these things is a sinner whether he does it just to be friendly, or because he likes them, or because he is too shy to do otherwise, or for any other reason, because it is a kind of hypocrisy in the religion of Allaah and is a way of making the kuffaar feel stronger and making tem proud of their religion. (Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa rasaa’il Fadeelat al-Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen, compiled by Fahd al-Salmaan, 3/45-46)

Question: What if a Muslim wants to celebrate like they do, but he does it a few days before or after their festival so that he is not imitating them?

This is a kind of imitation and to is haraam, because the prohibition of a thing , and the prohibition of celebrating their festivals also covers the days before and after the festival itself, when they do things that have to do with it. The prohibition also covers the places in which they do things that have to do with their festivals or … . The ruling on these things is the same as the ruling on the festival itself. These things should not be done, even if some people avoid doing any of thse things on the days of their festival such as the Thursday (what is referred to here is Maundy Thursday or the Day of Ascension, which is one of the rituals of Easter for the Christians, who call it the Great Thursday) or Christmas, but they tell their families, I will do this for you next week or next month, and their motive is the fact that the kaafirs’ festival is happening, otherwise they would not have done it at all. This is also one of the things meant by imitation. (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 2/315).

Avoiding using their words and religious terminology
If it is forbidden to learn their languages unnecessarily for fear of resembling them, then using the names they give to their festivals and rituals is even more forbidden. This is like using the word “mahrajaan” (festival) to describe any large gathering, because this is the name of a religious festival of the Persians.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) was given a gift for Nawrooz and he said, What is this?” They said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, this is the day of Nawrooz.” He said, “Then make every day Fayrooz!” Abu Usaamah said: “He, may Allaah be pleased with him, did not even want to say ‘Nawrooz.’” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubraa, 9/532).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “ ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not even want to say the same name as they gave to their own festival, so how abut doing the same things?” (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 1/954).

We have already stated that this is not an Arabic term; the Arabic language is rich enough not to need such words, and has better words that can be used.

The ruling on accepting gifts on their festivals:

We have already stated above that it is not permissive to give gifts on their festivals because this is helping them in their falsehood. It is also not permissible to accept a gift from a Muslim who is imitating them, because by accepting it one is helping him to imitate them and this implies that one approves of what he is doing and that one is not rebuking him for doing this haraam action.

With regard to accepting a gift from a kaafir if he gives something to a Muslim at the time of the kaafir’s festival, this is like being given a gift at other times, because it does not involve helping them in their kufr. There is some difference of opinion with regard to this matter, based on whether one should accept a gift from a kaafir who is at war with the Muslims as opposed to a kaafir who is living under the protection of Islamic rule.

It should also be noted that their gifts may be of two types:

1. Gifts other than meat that has been slaughtered for the occasion of their festival – such as sweets, fruits and so on. There is a difference of opinion based on the question of accepting gifts from the kaafirs in general. It seems that it is permissible because it was reported that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) accepted their gifts, and it was reported that a woman asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “We have some birds [?][ from the Magians wgich they had during their festival and they gave them to us.” She said, “If they were slaughtered for that occasion, do not eat them, but eat from their trees [i.e. fruits etc.].” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in Kitaab al-At’imah in his Musannaf, 5/521, no. 16342. In al-Iqtidaa’ it says ‘We have some wet-nurses.’ The editor of al-Iqtidaa’ said: perhaps what is meant by this is relatives through radaa’ah (breastfeeding)).

Abu Barzah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that he had Magian tenants [?] who used to give him gifts on Nawrooz and mahrajaan, and he used totell his family: ‘If it is, eat it, but if it is anything else, reject it.’ (ibid., no. 26346).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “All of this indicates that refusing to accept their gifts has no effect on their festival. The ruling on accepting their gifts at the time of their festival and at other times is the same, because this does not entail helping them in the rituals of their kufr.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/455-555).

2. Or their gift may be of meat that was slaughtered for the occasion of their festival. This should not be eaten, because of the reports of ‘Aaishah and Abu Barzah narrated above, and because it has been slaughtered according to the rituals of kufr.

Singling out the festivals of the kuffaar for fasting so as to be different from them

The scholars differed with regard to this:

It was said that it is not makrooh to fast on their festivals for the purpose of being different from them. This view is da’eef (weak).

The correct view is that it is not permissible to single out the days of their festivals for fasting, because their festivals are occasions which they venerate, and fasting on these days and not others coincides with them in their veneration.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Our companions said: it is makrooh to single out the day of Nawrooz and the day of Mahrajaan to fast, because these are two days which are venerated by the kuffaarm so fasting only on these days and not on others is agreeing with them in their veneration of those days. This is like the case of Saturday, so by analogy this ruling applies to every festival of the kuffaar and every day which they venerate.” (al-Mughni, 4/924; see also al-Iqtidaa’, 2/975).

This ruling applies in cases where one singles out that day to fast because it is their festival. But if it happens to coincide with a vow or a voluntary fast, without intending to fast because it is their festival, then there is nothing wrong with that.” (See Haashiyat Ibn Qaasim ‘ala al-Rawd al-Murabba’, 3/064). The guideline in being different from them with regard to their festivals is that one should not innovate anything at all; one should treat the days of their festivals as being like any other day. (See al-Iqtidaa’, 2/815). So one should not take the day off work, or rejoice on that occasion, of single that day out for fasting, expressing grief, etc.

Shaykh al-Islam mentioned something which may be taken as guidelines with regard to the matter of imitation. He said: “tashabbuh (imitation) includes those who do something because they do it, which is rare; and those who follow others inwhat they do for some purpose of his own even though the action is originally taken from those others. As for the one who does something that happens to be done by others as well, but neither of them took it from the other, it is open to debate as to whether this is is imitation or not. But the person who does this may be rebuked so that there will be no excuse for imitation, and because this will reinforce the idea of differing from them.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/242).

On the basis of what Shaykh al-Islam has said, actions that happen to coincide with what they do may be divided into two types:

Imitation of them, which is where the person who imitates them wants to be like them ,for whatever reason. This is haraam.

Resembling them, which is when a person is not deliberately aiming to be like them. In this case it should be pointed out to him, then if he stops, all well and good; otherwise he is guilty of the kind of imitation that is haraam. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw me wearing two garments that had been dyed with safflower. He said, ‘This is the clothing of the kuffaar, do not wear them.’” According to another rport: “He said, ‘Did you mother tell you to wear this?’ I said, ‘Should I wash them?’ He said, ‘No, burn them.’” (The two reports were narrated by Muslim in al-Libaas wa’l-Zeenah, 2077)

Al-Qurtubi said: “This indicates that the reason he told him not to wear them was that by wearing them he was imitating the kuffaar.” (book title?? 5/399).

It seems from the hadeeth that ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not realize that he was imitating the dress of the kuffaar, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) still told him off for that and explained the ruling of sharee’ah on this matter.

If something originated with the kuffaar, And it is done by them and by others, then this is not imitation, but Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it should be stopped so as to leave no room for excuses and so as to protect the Muslims from falling into imitation of the kuffaar, and because this serves the purpose of differing from them.

The munaafiqoon and the festivals of the kuffaar

1. The socialist Baath party in one of the Arab countries tried to abolish Udhiyah (sacrifices for ‘Eid al-Adhaa) on the grounds of famine and drought. Their supporters put up a huge banner on which was written: “For the sake of the hungry and the poor and the naked, donate the value of the sheep for udhiyah.” (See al-Istijaabah magazine, vol. 4, Rabee’ al-Thaani 1406 AH).

Eid al-Adhaa came and went, and the Muslims in that country offered their sacrifices. Then when Christmas and New Year approached, preparaions began to celebrate them. When Christmas and New year came, they were official holidays in that country, and there were lavish parties and promiscuous soirees. Foremost among the people celebrating were the leaders of the scoialist Baath party whose joy at the Christian festivals made them forget the needs of the poor, hungry and naked, whose plight they only remembered at the time of the Muslims’ Eids!

2. One of them wrote in his weekly column, under the title of “Tolerance” (see ‘Ukaaz newspaper, 28/8/1418, 5/9/1418, 12/9/1418 AH) words that indicate the sickness in his heart and the weakness of his religion. The tolerance to which he referred was with regard to the Christian festivals of Christmas and New year. Among the things that this pseudo-faqeeh said was: “This human brotherhood includes all of mankind, and there is no division and enmity except when there is fighting and when the Muslims are opposed by another group – then there will be fighting, enmity and legitimate self-defence, despite the fact that some extremists and terrorist groups are trying to extinguish this light by spreading interpretations and ideas whiich encourage hatred and boycotting the world. So they make noise of occasions which are celebrated by the entire world and consider congratulating others to be a deviation from Islam. But in fact, I tell you, these occasions spread love, not hatred, and bring people together, not divide them.” The author went on, in his compliant and defeatist series on tolerance, which went on for three issues, to cover the Christians festivals for which his heart overflowed with love. In his second article, he said: “Its origin is kindness, i.e., tolerance and justice. As for enmity, it is directed towards those who have declared hostility against us. The matter of difference of religion is something which will be up to the justice and mercy of Allaah on the Day of Judgement.

Definition of imitation.
Imitation (tashabbuh in Arabic) means resembling. If we say that someone imitates someone else, we means that he looks like him and acts like him. Likening a things to something else (tashbeeh) means saying that it is like it. The word tashabbuh has many counterparts in Arabic which carry meanings such as being like, imitating, looking like, following, agreeing with, taking as an example, copying, etc. They all have shades of meaning of their own, but they also overlap with the meaning of tashabbuh. In terms of the terminology of Fiqh, al-Ghuzzi al-Shaafa’i defined tashabbuh as describing a person’s attempt to be like the one whom he is imitating, in appearance, characteristics, wqualities and attributes. It implies making an effort to achieve this and deliberately taking action for that purpose.

The ruling on imitating the kuffaar

One of the most important basic principles of our religion is that of al-walaa’ wa’l-baraa’, loyalty (walaa’) to Islam and its people, and diavowal (baraa’) of kufr and its people. One of the essential features of this disavowal of kufr and it’s people is that the Muslim should be distinct from the people of kufr, and he should feel proud of his religion and of being a Muslim, no matter how strong and advanced and civilized the kuffaar may be, and no matter how weak and backward and divided the Muslims may be. It is not permissible under any circumstances to take the strength of the kuffaar and the weakness of the Muslims as an excuse for imitating and resembling them, as some hypocrites and defeatist Muslims claim. The texts which forbid imitating the kuffaar do not make any distinction between whether Muslims are strong or weak, because the Muslim can be distinct in his religion and be proud of being Muslim even when he is in a weak position.

Allaah calls us to be proud of Islam, and considers this to be the best of speech and the best kind of pride, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” [Fussilat 41:33]

Because it is so important for the Muslim to be distinguished from the kaafir, the Muslim is commanded to pray to Allaah at least seventeen times each day to help him to avoid the path of the kaafireen and to guide him to the Straight Path:

“Guide us to the Straight Way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray” [al-Faatihah 1:6-7 – interpretation of the meaning].

There are very many texts in the Qur’aan and Sunnah which forbid us to imitate them, and which clearly state that they are misguided; whoever imitates them, imitates them in their misguidance. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings);

“Then We have put you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) on a (plain) way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islâmic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islâmic Monotheism and its laws), and follow not the desires of those who know not.” [al-Jaathiyah 46:18]

“Were you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to follow their (vain) desires after the knowledge which has come to you, then you will not have any Walî (protector) or Wâq (defender) against Allâh” [al-Ra’d 13:37]

“And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them” [Aal- ‘Imraan 3:105]

Allaah calls the believers to remember Him with humility and to recite His Verses, then He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fâsiqûn (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allâh)” [al-Hadeed 57:16]

No doubt imitating them is one of the grestes indications that a person has befriended them and loves them, and this contradicts the idea of diavowal [baraa’] of the kufr and its people. Allaah has forbidden the believers to take them as friends, and He has stated that taking them as friends causes a person to become one of them – Allaah forbid. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliyâ’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliyâ’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliyâ’), then surely, he is one of them” [al-Maa’idah 5:51]

“You (O Muhammad ) will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad ), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people)” [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Imitation generates friendship and love, and regarding them as allies in the inside, just as loving them on the inside generates imitating them on the outside.”

And he also said, commenting on the aayah from Soorat al-Mujaadilah: “Allaah tells us that there is no (true) believer who takes a kaafir as a friend, for whoever takes a kaafir as friend is not a believer. Imitation on the outside implies that a person loves (the one whom he imitates), and so it is forbidden.”

It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Libaas, 1204; Ahmad, 2/05. Shaykh al-Islam classed its isnaad as jayyid in al-Iqtidaa’, 1/042. See also al-Fataawaa, 25/133. Al-Haafiz provided corroborating evidence in al-Fath, with a mursal report whose isnaad is hasan (6/89). Al-Suyooti classed it as hasan, and al-Albaani classed it as saheeh in Jamee’ al-Saheeh, 5206).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “This hadeeth at the very least implies that it is haraam to imitate them, even if it is only in external appearance, and it implies that the one who imitatest hem is a kaafir, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliyâ’), then surely, he is one of them’ [al-Maa’idah 5:51].” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/732).

Al-San’aani said: “If a person imitates the kaafir in his dress, and believes that by doing so he will be like him, then he is a kaafir. If he does not belive this, then there is a difference of opinion among the fuqahaa’ in this case. Some of them say that he is a kaafir, which is the apparent meaning of the hadeeth; others say that he is not a kaafir, but he should be disciplined.” (Subul al-Salaam, 8/842).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “The reason why the religion of Allaah and its rituals is vanishing, and kufr and sin are prevailing, is because of imitation of the kaafireen, just as the means of preserving all good is by following the ways and laws of the Prophets. “ (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/413).

There is much that could be said about imitation of the kuffaar, but what we have said above is sufficient.

The forms of imitating the kuffaar in their festivals

The various sects and groups of the kuffaar have many kinds of festivals, some of them have a religious basis whilst others have been newly invented. Some of their festivals are like customs and events for which they have invented festivals, such as national holidays and the like. Their festivals may be grouped into different categories as follows:

Firstly:

religious festivals by means of which they seek to draw nearer to Allaah, such as the Epiphany, Easter, Passover, Christmas, etc. They ways in which the Muslims imitate them in these festivals are two:

Joining in with them in these festivals, such as when some non-Islamic groups or minorities in Muslim countries celebrate their festivals, and some Muslims join in with them. This happened at the time of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi, and it is what is happening now in many of the Muslim countries. What is even worse than that is what some Muslims do by travelling to the kaafir countries for the express purpose of attending these festivals and joining in the celebrations, whether the motive is to fulfil their physical desires or in response to the invitation of some of the kuffaar – as some Muslims do who live in kaafir countries and are invited to join the celebrations, or some other who have capital to invest or are owners of large companies, so they accept these invitations for the sake of being friendly to the person who invited them, or for a worldly interest such as winning a contract, and so on. All of this is haraam, and there is the fear that it may lead to kufr, because of the hadeeth, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” And the one who does this is aiming to join in some of the rituals of their religion.

Beinging the celebration to the Muslim countries. Those who attend the festivals of the kuffaar in their countries and who like them because they are ignorant and have weak faith and little knowledge, may be prompted to bring some of those festivals and rituals to the Muslim countries, as is happening now in many Muslim countries, where the Gregorian New year is celebrated. This category is worse than the former one for one reason, which is that the people whodo this are not content merely to join the kuffaar in their rituals, but they want to bring them to the Muslim lands as well.

Secondly:

Festivals whose origins lie in the rituals of the kuffaar, and they have now become international customs and celebrations. This is like the Olympic festivals (the Olympiad) in Greece, which nowadays appears to be no more than an international sporting event in which participation takes two forms:

Taking part in the games with their rituals in the kaafir countries, as many of the Muslim states do by sending athletes to participate in the different games.

Bringing these festivals to the Muslim countries, such as some of the Muslim countries asking to host the Olympic Games in their countries.

In both cases, taking part or hosting the games in a Muslim country is haraam, for the following reasons:

The origin of these Olympic Games is one of the pagan festivals of the Greeks, as mentioned above. This was the most important festival for the Greek nation, then it was inherited by the Romans and, in turn, the Christians.

It bears the same name as it was known by when it was a Greek festival.

The fact that it is now no more than a sporting event does not cancel out the fact that it is a pagan festival, because of its origin and name. The evidence (daleel) for that is the hadeeth narrated by Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “At the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man vowed to sacrifice some camels in Bawwaanah. He came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘I have vowed to sacrifice some camels in Bawwaanah.’ The Prophet Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Were there any idols there that were worshipped during the Jaahiliyyah?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Did they hold any of their festivals there?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Then fulfil your vow, for there is no fulfilment of any vow which involves disobeying Allaah, or with regard to something that the son of Adam does not own.’” (Narrated by Abu Dawood in al-Aymaan wa’l-Nudhoor, 3133. According to another report, the one who asked the question was a woman (2133). It was also narrated by al-tabaraani in al-Kabeer (1431). Shaykh al-Islam said: its isnaad is according to the conditions of al-Saheehayn. All of its narrators are thiqaat (trustworthy) and mashhoor (well known), and the chain is intact, with no ‘an’anah (none of the links of the chain are connected with the word ‘an, meaning ‘from’). See al-Iqtidaa’, 1/634. It was classed as saheeh by al-Haafiz in al-Buloogh, 5041).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) paid attention to the origins of things, and the origin of this sporting event is a (pagan) festival.

Shaykh al-Islam said: “This implies that the fact that that spot was the place where their festival was held would have been a reason to forbid him to sacrifice there, as would also have been the case if had been the place of their idols. Otherwise, how else can we interpret the hadeeth, of course it would only have been to venerate the spot which the yvenerated, by holding the festival there os by joining them in there celebrations there, or reviving the symbols of their festival and other things that can only be related to that action in that place or at that time… If merely choosing the place of the festival is forbidden, then how about the festival itself?” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/344)

Our issue concerning the Olympic games does not have to do with the time or the place, but with the event itself and its original name, and the things that are done during the event, such as the lighting of the Olympic torch, which is one of the rituals of the games. There is also the timing of the event, because among the Greeks the games were held every four years, and nowadays too they are held every four years. This is a festival with regard to its origins, its name, the things that are done and the timing, so taking part in these games means taking part in a festival which was pagan and then Christian, and asking to hold these games in a Muslim country means bringing this pagan festival into a Muslim land.

Thirdly:

The days and weeks that have been invented by the kuffaar. These may be divided into two types:

those which have a religious origin and have now become customs connected to some worldly purpose, such as the workers’ festival (May Day) which was invented by those who worshipped trees, then it became a pagan festival of the Romans, then it was adopted by the French who connected it to the church, until socialism came and propagated it, and it became an international and official holiday even in many Muslim countries. Undoubtedly it is haraam to adopt this day as a holiday and let workers take this day off, for the following reasons:

because in its origins and development it is a pagan festival

because it occurs on a fixed day each year, which is May 1.

Because it involves imitating the kuffaar with regard to something that belongs exclusively tot hem.

Even if an event does not have a religious basis, such as World health Day, or days for fighting drugs and eradicating illiteracy, and other invented days and weeks, one of the two following things will still apply:

either it occurs on a fixed day each year and is repeated on the same day each year, like Bank Holidays and other fixed days. There are two things wrong with this:

it is a fixed day which recurs on the same date each year

it entails imitating the kuffaar because this is something that they have invented.

These international days, such as World Health Day and a day for fighting drugs, contain some benefit for humanity as a whole, which the Muslims cannot avoid taking part in because they may miss out on some benefits otherwise; they have nothing to do with religion and only resemble festivals in that they come every year and they are events that are celebrated and taken notice of – so can they be tolerated on these grounds? It seems to me that this matter needs research and ijtihaad to weigh up the pros and cons, because the Muslims are not consulted concerning these days and their opinion carries no weight, on the contrary, these things are forced on the entire world and the Muslins are in a weak and humilated position as is well known.

or it is not a day or week that comes at a fixed time each year, but is moved according to a particular system or needs. This does not have the character of a festival which is repeated at a fixed time, but there remains the problem of imitation, in that it is something that was invented by the kuffaar and them brought to the Muslims. Does this count as the kind of imitation that is haraam? Or is it a kind of imitation that is permissible like other matters having to do with organization, administration, etc., and like the days of annual leave in companies, institutions, etc.? This too needs research and investigation, although initially to seems to me that there is nothing wrong with it, for the following reasons:

It is not fixed on a specific date that is the same each time, so it does not have that festival-like character.

These days are not called festivals, and they do not have the characteristics of festivals, such as celebrations and the like.

The purpose of these days is to organize awareness campaigns, to achieve beneficial goals.

Those who want to stop them would have to stop many events and gatherings that happen from time to time, and I do not think that anyone would advocate this. These events are like family meetings, da’wah meetings, workplace meetings, and so on.

There is nothing in them that would dictate that they be considered haraam, apart from the fact that they originated with the kuffaar and were brought to the Muslims, and the problems they deal with are widespread among the kuffaar and others. So the objection that they belong only to the kuffaar is cancelled by the fact that these things are also widespread among the Muslims.

In conclusion, These festivals are not part of the religion and beliefs of the kuffaar, and they do not form part of their exclusive customs and traditions. There is no veneration or celebration involved, and they are not festivals on set days which are repeated regularly. They resemble other organizations in that they serve a useful purpose.

Fourthly:

Another form of imitation of the kuffaar is turning the Eids of the Muslims into something resembling the festivals of the kuffaar. The Eids of the Muslims are distinguished by the fact that their rituals point to the expression of gratitude to Allaah, may He be exalted, and glorifying, praising and worshipping Him, whilst expressing joy for the blessings of Allaah, and not using these blessings for sinful purposes. This is in contrast to the festivals of the kuffaar, which are distinguished by the veneration of their false rituals and idols which they worship instead of Allaah, whikst indulging in their fobidden desires. It is most unfortunate that Muslims in many places are imitating the kuffaar in this way, and they have changed their Eid from an occasion of worship and thanksgiving into an occasion on sin and ingratitude for the blessings, by spending the night of Eid listening to musical instruments and singing, indulging in immoral actions, organizing mixed parties and doing other things which they think express the celebration of Eid, following the misguided ways in which the kuffaar spend their festivals engaging in immorality and sin.

Ways in which we must avoid the festivals of the kuffaar

Avoid attending them:

The scholars have agreed that it is haraam to attend the festivals of the kuffaar and to imitate them in their festivals. This is the madhhab of the Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis. (See al-Iqtidaa’, 2/425; Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah by Ibn al-Qayyim, 2/227-527; al-Tashabbuh al-Munhaa ‘anhu fi’l-Fiqh al-Islaami, 533). There is a great deal of evidence (daleel) for this, such as:

All of the evidence which states that it is forbidden to imitate them, some of which has been quoted above.

The concensus of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een that Muslims should not attend their festivals, The evidence of this consensus takes for forms:

The Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians) who lived in the Muslim lands and paid Jizyah were still observing their own festivals, so the motive for some Muslims to imitate them was present. No one among the early generations of Muslims would have refrained from joining them in any part of that, If there had not been something to stop them from doing so, such as it being either makrooh (disliked) or prohibited, many of them would have fallen into that, for if the action and the motive are present and there is nothing to stop them, people will undoubtedly do the thing. Al-muqtada? Therefore we understand that there was something stopping them from doing that, and what was stopping them was the religion of Islam. This is what was stopping them from going along with the kuffaar and this is the point that we are trying to make here. (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/454).

The conditions set out by ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), which the Sahaabah and all the fuqahaa’ after them agreed upon, that the Ahl al-Dhimmah (Jews and Christians living under the protection of Islamic rule in return for paying a poll tax) should not celebrate their festivals openly in the Muslim lands. If the Muslims have agreed that they should not celebrate their festivals openly, then how can it be OK for Muslims to celebrate them? Is it not worse for a Muslim to do this at all than for a kaafir to do it openly? (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/454).

‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Do not learn the language of the Persians, and do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for the Divine warth is descending upon them.” (Musannaf ‘Abd al-razzaaq, 9061; al-Sunan al-Kubra by al-Bayhaqi, 9/432).

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebratest heir Nawrooz and their Mahrajaan, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Sunan al-Kubra, 9/432; classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyah in al-Iqtidaa’, 1/754).

Shaykh al-Islam said: Here we see ‘Umar forbidding people to learn their language and to merely enter their chuch on the festivals, so what about actually doing some of the things they do, or doing some of the rituals of their religion? Is not doing the things they do more serious than speaking the same language? Or is not doing some of the things they do in the festival more serious than merely entering upon them on the occasion of their festival? If the Divine wrath comes upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who joins them in all or part of that also exposed to the same punishment? (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/854)

And he commented on the words of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr – “will be gathered with them” by saying: This implies that this makes him a kaafir by his joining in what they do, or else it means that this is one of the major sins that doom a person to Hell, although the former is more apparent from the wording. (1/954).

Avoiding doing the same things that they do.

Some Muslims may not be able to be present at the festivals of the kuffaar, but they do the same things as they do. This is also a part of the imitation which blameworthy and forbidden. Shaykh al-Islam said: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in any part of the things that are exclusively part of their festivals, whether it be food, dress, bathing, lighting fires or changing their habits with regard to daily living, acts of worship, etc. It is not permissible to give a feast or give gifts or sell items that will help them to do that for that purpose, or to allow children and others to do any of that, whether it is playing, wearing new clothes etc. in conclusion, they should not make that day special by adopting any of their rituals; for the Muslims, the day of the kaafirs’ festival should be like any other day.” Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 52/923).

Al-Dhahabi said: “If the Christians or the Jews have a fstival that is exxclusively theirs, the Muslims should not join them in that, just as they do not join them in their laws or their direction of prayer.” (tashabbuh al-Khasess bi Ahl al-Khmaees, in al-Hikmah magazine, issue $, p. 391). Ibn al-Turkmaani al-Hanafi mentioned some of the things that some Muslims did on the occasion of Christian festivals, such as spending more than usual and taking the family out, then he said: “Some of the Hanafi scholars said: whoever does any of the things mentioned here and does not repent, is a kaafir like them.” One of the companions of Maalik said: “Whoever cuts up a watermelon on the day of Nawrooz, it is as if he sacrificed a pig.” (al-Lam’ fi’l-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492)

Avoiding using the means of transportation that they use to go to their festivals

Maalik said: “It is makrooh to travel with them in the boats which they use to go to their festivals, because the Divine wrath and curse is descending upon them.” (al-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492).

Ibn al-Qaasim was asked about travelling in the boats which the Christians ride in to attend their festivals. He regarded that as makrooh, fearing the descent of Divine wrath upon them for the shirk which they agreed upon. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/625).

Not giving them gifts or helping them to celebrate their festvials by either selling or buying.

Abu Hafs al-Hanafi said: “Whoever gives an egg to a kaafir out of respect for that day has disbelieved in Allaah, may He be exalted.” (Fath al-Baari li Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani, 2/315).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Ibn al-Qaasim regarded it as makrooh for a Muslim to give a Christian anything on the occasion of his festival to congratulate him. He saw that as respecting their festival and helping them in their kufr. Do you not see that it is not permissible for the Muslims to sell anything to the Christians that helps them to celebrate their festival? No meat, no food, no dress. They should not loan their riding-beasts to them or help them in any way with their festival, because that is like honouring their shirk and helping them with their kufr. The authorities should prevent Muslims from doing this. This is the view of Maalik and others, and I do not know of any dissenting opinion on this point.” (2/625-725)

Ibn al-Turkmaani said: “The Muslim is sinning if he sits with them or helps them to slaughter animals or cook food, or he lends them a riding-beast to take them to their celebrations or festivals.” (al-Lama’ fi’l-Hawaadith, 1/492)

Not helping the Muslim who wants to imitate them in their festivals to do so

Shaykh al-Islam said: “Just as we should not imitate them in their festivals, so too we should not help the Muslim who wants to imitate them to do so. It is forbidden to so this. If a person issues an invitation on the occasion of their festivals that he would not ordinarily do, his invitation should not be accepted. If a Muslim gives a gift on this occasion that he would not ordinarily give at any other time, his gift should not be accepted, especially if it is something that would help a person to imitate them, as we have already stated. A Muslim should not sell anything that could help Muslims to imitate them in their celebrations, such as food, clothing and so on, because be doing so he is helping them in sin. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/915-025).

Not congratulating them on the occasion of their festivals
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “As for congratulating them for the symbols of kufr that belong exclusively to them, this is haraam according to scholarly consensus, such as congratulating them for their festivals and fasts, and saying, ‘A blessed festival to you’ and the like. Even though the person who says this might not become a kaafir by saying this, it is still forbidden, and it is the same as congratulating them for prostrating to the cross. Indeed, it is an even greater sin with Allaah and is more hated by Him than congratulating them for drinking wine, killing people and committing adultery, and so on. Many of those who do not care about religion do this, and do not realize how abhorrent their actions are. Whoever congratulates a person for his sin, bid’ah (innovation) or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah. The pious scholars used to avoid congratulating the tyrants when they were appointed to official positions, or congratulating the ignorant when they were appointed as Qaadis, teachers or Muftis, because they sought to avoid the wrath and anger of Allaah .” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/144-244).

Congratulating the kuffaar on the occasion of their religious festivals is haraam as Ibn al-Qayyim stated, because this implies approval of their rituals and beliefs of kufr. Even if a person does not accept this kufr for himself, it is still haraam for a Muslim to approve of the rituals of kufr for someone else or to congratulate someone else for them, because Allaah does not approve of this. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you; He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you” [al-Zumar 39:7]

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

Congratulating them for that is haraam, whether they are taking part with them in that or not. If they congratulate us on the occasion of their festival, we should not respond, because it is not our festival and because these are festivals with which Allaah is not pleased, because they are either innovated in their religions, or they are prescribed, but they (their religions) have been abrogated by the religion of islam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to all of mankind. And Allaah says concerning islam (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85].

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept an invitation on these occasions, because this is worse than merely congraulating them, since it involves joining in with them. Anyone who does any of these things is a sinner whether he does it just to be friendly, or because he likes them, or because he is too shy to do otherwise, or for any other reason, because it is a kind of hypocrisy in the religion of Allaah and is a way of making the kuffaar feel stronger and making tem proud of their religion. (Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa rasaa’il Fadeelat al-Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen, compiled by Fahd al-Salmaan, 3/45-46)

Question: What if a Muslim wants to celebrate like they do, but he does it a few days before or after their festival so that he is not imitating them?

This is a kind of imitation and to is haraam, because the prohibition of a thing , and the prohibition of celebrating their festivals also covers the days before and after the festival itself, when they do things that have to do with it. The prohibition also covers the places in which they do things that have to do with their festivals or … . The ruling on these things is the same as the ruling on the festival itself. These things should not be done, even if some people avoid doing any of thse things on the days of their festival such as the Thursday (what is referred to here is Maundy Thursday or the Day of Ascension, which is one of the rituals of Easter for the Christians, who call it the Great Thursday) or Christmas, but they tell their families, I will do this for you next week or next month, and their motive is the fact that the kaafirs’ festival is happening, otherwise they would not have done it at all. This is also one of the things meant by imitation. (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 2/315).

Avoiding using their words and religious terminology
If it is forbidden to learn their languages unnecessarily for fear of resembling them, then using the names they give to their festivals and rituals is even more forbidden. This is like using the word “mahrajaan” (festival) to describe any large gathering, because this is the name of a religious festival of the Persians.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) was given a gift for Nawrooz and he said, What is this?” They said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, this is the day of Nawrooz.” He said, “Then make every day Fayrooz!” Abu Usaamah said: “He, may Allaah be pleased with him, did not even want to say ‘Nawrooz.’” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubraa, 9/532).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “ ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not even want to say the same name as they gave to their own festival, so how abut doing the same things?” (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 1/954).

We have already stated that this is not an Arabic term; the Arabic language is rich enough not to need such words, and has better words that can be used.

The ruling on accepting gifts on their festivals:

We have already stated above that it is not permissive to give gifts on their festivals because this is helping them in their falsehood. It is also not permissible to accept a gift from a Muslim who is imitating them, because by accepting it one is helping him to imitate them and this implies that one approves of what he is doing and that one is not rebuking him for doing this haraam action.

With regard to accepting a gift from a kaafir if he gives something to a Muslim at the time of the kaafir’s festival, this is like being given a gift at other times, because it does not involve helping them in their kufr. There is some difference of opinion with regard to this matter, based on whether one should accept a gift from a kaafir who is at war with the Muslims as opposed to a kaafir who is living under the protection of Islamic rule.

It should also be noted that their gifts may be of two types:

1. Gifts other than meat that has been slaughtered for the occasion of their festival – such as sweets, fruits and so on. There is a difference of opinion based on the question of accepting gifts from the kaafirs in general. It seems that it is permissible because it was reported that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) accepted their gifts, and it was reported that a woman asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “We have some birds [?][ from the Magians wgich they had during their festival and they gave them to us.” She said, “If they were slaughtered for that occasion, do not eat them, but eat from their trees [i.e. fruits etc.].” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in Kitaab al-At’imah in his Musannaf, 5/521, no. 16342. In al-Iqtidaa’ it says ‘We have some wet-nurses.’ The editor of al-Iqtidaa’ said: perhaps what is meant by this is relatives through radaa’ah (breastfeeding)).

Abu Barzah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that he had Magian tenants [?] who used to give him gifts on Nawrooz and mahrajaan, and he used totell his family: ‘If it is, eat it, but if it is anything else, reject it.’ (ibid., no. 26346).

Shaykh al-Islam said: “All of this indicates that refusing to accept their gifts has no effect on their festival. The ruling on accepting their gifts at the time of their festival and at other times is the same, because this does not entail helping them in the rituals of their kufr.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/455-555).

2. Or their gift may be of meat that was slaughtered for the occasion of their festival. This should not be eaten, because of the reports of ‘Aaishah and Abu Barzah narrated above, and because it has been slaughtered according to the rituals of kufr.

Singling out the festivals of the kuffaar for fasting so as to be different from them

The scholars differed with regard to this:

It was said that it is not makrooh to fast on their festivals for the purpose of being different from them. This view is da’eef (weak).

The correct view is that it is not permissible to single out the days of their festivals for fasting, because their festivals are occasions which they venerate, and fasting on these days and not others coincides with them in their veneration.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Our companions said: it is makrooh to single out the day of Nawrooz and the day of Mahrajaan to fast, because these are two days which are venerated by the kuffaarm so fasting only on these days and not on others is agreeing with them in their veneration of those days. This is like the case of Saturday, so by analogy this ruling applies to every festival of the kuffaar and every day which they venerate.” (al-Mughni, 4/924; see also al-Iqtidaa’, 2/975).

This ruling applies in cases where one singles out that day to fast because it is their festival. But if it happens to coincide with a vow or a voluntary fast, without intending to fast because it is their festival, then there is nothing wrong with that.” (See Haashiyat Ibn Qaasim ‘ala al-Rawd al-Murabba’, 3/064). The guideline in being different from them with regard to their festivals is that one should not innovate anything at all; one should treat the days of their festivals as being like any other day. (See al-Iqtidaa’, 2/815). So one should not take the day off work, or rejoice on that occasion, of single that day out for fasting, expressing grief, etc.

Shaykh al-Islam mentioned something which may be taken as guidelines with regard to the matter of imitation. He said: “tashabbuh (imitation) includes those who do something because they do it, which is rare; and those who follow others inwhat they do for some purpose of his own even though the action is originally taken from those others. As for the one who does something that happens to be done by others as well, but neither of them took it from the other, it is open to debate as to whether this is is imitation or not. But the person who does this may be rebuked so that there will be no excuse for imitation, and because this will reinforce the idea of differing from them.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/242).

On the basis of what Shaykh al-Islam has said, actions that happen to coincide with what they do may be divided into two types:

Imitation of them, which is where the person who imitates them wants to be like them ,for whatever reason. This is haraam.

Resembling them, which is when a person is not deliberately aiming to be like them. In this case it should be pointed out to him, then if he stops, all well and good; otherwise he is guilty of the kind of imitation that is haraam. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw me wearing two garments that had been dyed with safflower. He said, ‘This is the clothing of the kuffaar, do not wear them.’” According to another rport: “He said, ‘Did you mother tell you to wear this?’ I said, ‘Should I wash them?’ He said, ‘No, burn them.’” (The two reports were narrated by Muslim in al-Libaas wa’l-Zeenah, 2077)

Al-Qurtubi said: “This indicates that the reason he told him not to wear them was that by wearing them he was imitating the kuffaar.” (book title?? 5/399).

It seems from the hadeeth that ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not realize that he was imitating the dress of the kuffaar, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) still told him off for that and explained the ruling of sharee’ah on this matter.

If something originated with the kuffaar, And it is done by them and by others, then this is not imitation, but Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it should be stopped so as to leave no room for excuses and so as to protect the Muslims from falling into imitation of the kuffaar, and because this serves the purpose of differing from them.

The munaafiqoon and the festivals of the kuffaar

1. The socialist Baath party in one of the Arab countries tried to abolish Udhiyah (sacrifices for ‘Eid al-Adhaa) on the grounds of famine and drought. Their supporters put up a huge banner on which was written: “For the sake of the hungry and the poor and the naked, donate the value of the sheep for udhiyah.” (See al-Istijaabah magazine, vol. 4, Rabee’ al-Thaani 1406 AH).

Eid al-Adhaa came and went, and the Muslims in that country offered their sacrifices. Then when Christmas and New Year approached, preparaions began to celebrate them. When Christmas and New year came, they were official holidays in that country, and there were lavish parties and promiscuous soirees. Foremost among the people celebrating were the leaders of the scoialist Baath party whose joy at the Christian festivals made them forget the needs of the poor, hungry and naked, whose plight they only remembered at the time of the Muslims’ Eids!

2. One of them wrote in his weekly column, under the title of “Tolerance” (see ‘Ukaaz newspaper, 28/8/1418, 5/9/1418, 12/9/1418 AH) words that indicate the sickness in his heart and the weakness of his religion. The tolerance to which he referred was with regard to the Christian festivals of Christmas and New year. Among the things that this pseudo-faqeeh said was: “This human brotherhood includes all of mankind, and there is no division and enmity except when there is fighting and when the Muslims are opposed by another group – then there will be fighting, enmity and legitimate self-defence, despite the fact that some extremists and terrorist groups are trying to extinguish this light by spreading interpretations and ideas whiich encourage hatred and boycotting the world. So they make noise of occasions which are celebrated by the entire world and consider congratulating others to be a deviation from Islam. But in fact, I tell you, these occasions spread love, not hatred, and bring people together, not divide them.” The author went on, in his compliant and defeatist series on tolerance, which went on for three issues, to cover the Christians festivals for which his heart overflowed with love. In his second article, he said: “Its origin is kindness, i.e., tolerance and justice. As for enmity, it is directed towards those who have declared hostility against us. The matter of difference of religion is something which will be up to the justice and mercy of Allaah on the Day of Judgement.

Courtesy: islamqa.com

Fasting on Ashoora or Muharram


Praise be to Allaah,

‘Aashooraa’ in History

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1865).

“This is a righteous day” – in a report narrated by Muslim, [the Jews said:] “This is a great day, on which Allaah saved Moosa and his people, and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”

“Moosa fasted on this day” – a report narrated by Muslim adds: “… in thanksgiving to Allaah, so we fast on this day.”

According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari: “… so we fast on this day to venerate it.”

A version narrated by Imaam Ahmad adds: “This is the day on which the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, so Nooh fasted this day in thanksgiving.”

“and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day” – according to another report also narrated by al-Bukhaari: “He said to his Companions: ‘You have more right to Moosa than they do, so fast on that day.”

The practice of fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was known even in the days of Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s mission. It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The people of Jaahiliyyah used to fast on that day…”

Al-Qurtubi said: “Perhaps Quraysh used to fast on that day on the basis of some past law, such as that of Ibraaheem, upon whom be peace.”

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on ‘Aashooraa’ in Makkah, before he migrated to Madeenah. When he migrated to Madeenah, he found the Jews celebrating this day, so he asked them why, and they replied as described in the hadeeth quoted above. He commanded the Muslims to be different from the Jews, who took it as a festival, as was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Moosa (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “The Jews used to take the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of ‘Aashooraa’ was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival. According to another report also narrated by Muslim: the people of Khaybar (the Jews) used to take it as a festival and their women would wear their jewellery and symbols on that day]. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘So you [Muslims] should fast on that day.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). Apparently the motive for commanding the Muslims to fast on this day was the desire to be different from the Jews, so that the Muslims would fast when the Jews did not, because people do not fast on a day of celebration. (Summarized from the words of al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar – may Allaah have mercy on him – in Fath al-Baari Sharh ‘ala Saheeh al-Bukhaari).

Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was a gradual step in the process of introducing fasting as a prescribed obligation in Islam. Fasting appeared in three forms. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah, he told the Muslims to fast on three days of every month and on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, then Allaah made fasting obligatory when He said (interpretation of the meaning): “… observing the fasting is prescribed for you…” [al-Baqarah 2:183] (Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by al-Jassas, part 1).

The obligation was transferred from the fast of ‘Aashooraa’ to the fast of Ramadaan, and this one of the proofs in the field of Usool al-Fiqh that it is possible to abrogate a lighter duty in favour of a heavier duty.

Before the obligation of fasting ‘Aashooraa’ was abrogated, fasting on this day was obligatory, as can be seen from the clear command to observe this fast. Then it was further confirmed later on, then reaffirmed by making it a general command addressed to everybody, and once again by instructing mothers not to breastfeed their infants during this fast. It was reported from Ibn Mas’ood that when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast ‘Aashooraa’ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).

The virtues of fasting ‘Aashooraa’

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and this month, meaning Ramadaan.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1867).

The meaning of his being keen was that he intended to fast on that day in the hope of earning the reward for doing so.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa’, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Reported by Muslim, 1976). This is from the bounty of Allaah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

Which day is ‘Aashooraa’?

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “ ‘Aashooraa’ and Taasoo’aa’ are two elongated names [the vowels are elongated] as is stated in books on the Arabic language. Our companions said: ‘Aashooraa’ is the tenth day of Muharram and Taasoo’aa’ is the ninth day. This is our opinion, and that of the majority of scholars. This is the apparent meaning of the ahaadeeth and is what we understand from the general wording. It is also what is usually understood by scholars of the language.” (al-Majmoo’)

‘Aashooraa’ is an Islamic name that was not known at the time of Jaahiliyyah. (Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, part 2, Sawm Muharram).

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“ ‘Aashooraa’ is the tenth day of Muharram. This is the opinion of Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib and al-Hasan. It was what was reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to fast ‘Aashooraa’, the tenth day of Muharram.’ (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said, a saheeh hasan hadeeth). It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘The ninth,’ and reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast the ninth. (Reported by Muslim). ‘Ataa’ reported that he said, ‘Fast the ninth and the tenth, and do not be like the Jews.’ If this is understood, we can say on this basis that it is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast on the ninth and the tenth, for that reason. This is what Ahmad said, and it is the opinion of Ishaaq.”

It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo’aa’ with ‘Aashooraa’

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on ‘Aashooraa’ and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, in sha Allaah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.” (Reported by Muslim, 1916).

Al-Shaafa’i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: “It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.”

On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of fasting ‘Aashooraa’, the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the best of which is to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.

The reason why it is mustahabb to fast on Taasoo’aa’

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The scholars – our companions and others – mentioned several reasons why it is mustahabb to fast on Taasoo’aa’:

1.the intention behind it is to be different from the Jews, who only venerate the tenth day. This opinion was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas…

2. the intention is to add another day’s fast to ‘Aashooraa’. This is akin to the prohibition on fasting a Friday by itself, as was mentioned by al-Khattaabi and others.

3. To be on the safe side and make sure that one fasts on the tenth, in case there is some error in sighting the crescent moon at the beginning of Muharram and the ninth is in fact the tenth.”

The strongest of these reasons is being different from the People of the Book. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade imitating the People of the Book in many ahaadeeth, for example, his words concerning ‘Aashooraa’: ‘If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth day.’” (al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 6, Sadd al-Dharaa’i’ al-Mufdiyah ila’l-Mahaarim )

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said in his commentary on the hadeeth “If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth day”: “What he meant by fasting on the ninth day was probably not that he would limit himself to that day, but would add it to the tenth, either to be on the safe side or to be different from the Jews and Christians, which is more likely. This is also what we can understand from some of the reports narrated by Muslim.” (Fath, 4/245).

Ruling on fasting only on the day of ‘Aashooraa’

Shaykh al-Islam said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Aashoraa’ is an expiation for a year, and it is not makrooh to fast only that day…” (al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5). In Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, it says: “There is nothing wrong with fasting only on ‘Aashooraa’.” (part 3, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’).

Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ even if it is a Saturday or a Friday

Al-Tahhaawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) allowed us to fast on ‘Aashooraa’ and urged us to do so. He did not say that if it falls on a Saturday we should not fast. This is evidence that all days of the week are included in this. In our view – and Allaah knows best – it could be the case that even if this is true (that it is not allowed to fast on Saturdays), it is so that we do not venerate this day and refrain from food, drink and intercourse, as the Jews do. As for the one who fasts on a Saturday without intending to venerate it, and does not do so because the Jews regard it as blessed, then this is not makrooh…” (Mushkil al-Aathaar, part 2, Baab Sawm Yawm al-Sabt).

The author of al-Minhaaj said: “ ‘It is disliked (makrooh) to fast on a Friday alone…’ But it is no longer makrooh if you add another day to it, as mentioned in the saheeh report to that effect. A person may fast on a Friday if it coincides with his habitual fast, or he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, or he is making up an obligatory fast that he has missed, as was stated in a saheeh report.”

Al-Shaarih said in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj:

“ ‘If it coincides with his habitual fast’ – i.e., such as if he fasts alternate days, and a day that he fasts happens to be a Friday.

‘ if he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, etc.” – this also applies to fasting on days prescribed in sharee’ah, such as ‘Aashooraa’ or ‘Arafaah. (Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, part 3, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’)

Al-Bahooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “It is makrooh to deliberately single out a Saturday for fasting, because of the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Bishr, who reported from his sister: ‘Do not fast on Saturdays except in the case of obligatory fasts’ (reported by Ahmad with a jayyid isnaad and by al-Haakim, who said: according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari), and because it is a day that is venerated by the Jews, so singling it out for fasting means being like them… except when a Friday or Saturday coincides with a day when Muslims habitually fast, such as when it coincides with the day of ‘Arafaah or the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and a person has the habit of fasting on these days, in which case it is not makrooh, because a person’s habit carries some weight.” (Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, part 2, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’).

What should be done if there is confusion about the beginning of the month?

Ahmad said: “If there is confusion about the beginning of the month, one should fast for three days, to be sure of fasting on the ninth and tenth days.” (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, part 3 – al-Siyaam – Siyaam ‘Aashooraa’).

If a person does not know when Muharram began, and he wants to be sure of fasting on the tenth, he should assume that Dhoo’l-Hijjah was thirty days – as is the usual rule – and should fast on the ninth and tenth. Whoever wants to be sure of fasting the ninth as well should fast the eight, ninth and tenth (then if Dhoo’l-Hijjah was twenty-nine days, he can be sure of having fasted Taasoo’aa’ and ‘Aashooraa’).

But given that fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ is mustahabb rather than waajib, people are not commanded to look for the crescent of the new moon of Muharram as they are to do in the case of Ramadaan and Shawwaal.

Fasting ‘Aashooraa’ – for what does it offer expiation?

Imaam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“It expiates for all minor sins, i.e., it brings forgiveness of all sins except major sins.”

Then he said (may Allaah have mercy on him):

“Fasting the day of ‘Arafaah expiates for two years, and the day of ‘Aashooraa’ expiates for one year. If when a person says ‘Aameen’ it coincides with the ‘Aameen’ of the angels, he will be forgiven all his previous sins… Each one of the things that we have mentioned will bring expiation. If there are minor sins for which expiation is needed, expiation for them will be accepted; if there are no minor sins or major sins, good deeds will be added to his account and he will be raised in status… If he had committed major sins but no minor sins, we hope that his major sins will be reduced.” (al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, part 6, Sawm Yawm ‘Arafaah).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Tahaarah, salaah, and fasting in Ramadaan, on the day of ‘Arafaah and on ‘Aashooraa’ expiate for minor sins only.” (al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5).

Not relying too much on the reward for fasting

Some people who are deceived rely too much on things like fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ or the day of ‘Arafaah, to the extent that some of them say, “Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ will expiate for the sins of the whole year, and fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah will bring extra rewards.” Ibn al-Qayyim said: ‘This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadaan and praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’, and that they expiate for the sins between one Ramadaan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so long as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it. This is like the one who seeks Allaah’s forgiveness with his tongue (i.e., by words only), and glorifies Allaah by saying “Subhaan Allaah” one hundred times a day, then he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honour, and speaks all day long about things that are not pleasing to Allaah. This person is always thinking about the virtues of his tasbeehaat (saying “Subhaan Allaah”) and tahleelaat (saying “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah”) but he pays no attention to what has been reported concerning those who backbite, tell lies and slander others, or commit other sins of the tongue. They are completely deceived.” (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 31, Ghuroor).

Fasting ‘Aashooraa’ when one still has days to make up from Ramadaan

The fuqahaa’ differed concerning the ruling on observing voluntary fasts before a person has made up days that he or she did not fast in Ramadaan. The Hanafis said that it is permissible to observe voluntary fasts before making up days from Ramadaan, and it is not makrooh to do so, because the missed days do not have to be made up straight away. The Maalikis and Shaafa’is said that it is permissible but is makrooh, because it means that one is delaying something obligatory. Al-Dusooqi said: “It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast when one still has to make up an obligatory fast, such as a fast in fulfilment of a vow, or a missed obligatory fast, or a fast done as an act of expiation (kafaarah), whether the voluntary fast which is being given priority over an obligatory fast is something confirmed in sharee’ah or not, such as ‘Aashooraa’ and the ninth of Dhoo’l-Hijjah, according to the most correct opinion.” The Hanbalis said that it is haraam to observe a voluntary fast before making up any fasts missed in Ramadaan, and that a voluntary fast in such cases does not count, even if there is plenty of time to make up the obligatory fast. So a person must give priority to the obligatory fasts until he has made them up.. (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 28, Sawm al-tatawwu’).

Muslims must hasten to make up any missed fasts after Ramadaan, so that they will be able to fast ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’ without any problem. If a person fasts ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’ with the intention from the night before of making up for a missed fast, this will be good enough to make up what he has missed, for the bounty of Allaah is great.

Bid’ahs common on ‘Aashooraa’

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the things that people do on ‘Aashooraa’, such as wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing happiness and so on. Was any of this reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in a saheeh hadeeth, or not? If nothing to that effect was reported in a saheeh hadeeth, is doing these things bid’ah, or not? Is there any basis for what the other group do, such as grieving and mourning, going without anything to drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their garments?

His reply was:

‘Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that effect has been reported in any saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi’een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da’eef (weak) report; neither in the books of Saheeh, nor in al-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says, “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not get sick in that year,” and so on. They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.” Reporting all of this from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is tantamount to lying.’

Then he [Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him)] discussed in brief the tribulations that had occurred in the early days of this ummah and the killing of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him), and what the various sects had done because of this. Then he said:

‘An ignorant, wrongful group – who were either heretics and hypocrites, or misguided and misled – made a show of allegiance to him and the members of his household, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a day of mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals of jaahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, grieving in the manner of the jaahiliyyah… The Shaytaan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies. Whatever truth there may be in these stories serves no purpose other than the renewal of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came before them… The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by any man, no matter how eloquent he is. Some others – either Naasibis who oppose and have enmity towards al-Husayn and his family or ignorant people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with lies and bid’ah with bid’ah – opposed them by fabricating reports in favour of making the day of ‘Aashooraa’ a day of celebration, by wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one’s children, cooking special dishes and other things that are done on Eids and special occasions. These people took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival like Eid, whereas the others took it as a day of mourning. Both are wrong, and both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (those who take it as a day of mourning) are worse in intention and more ignorant and more plainly wrong… Neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor his successors (the khulafa’ al-raashidoon) did any of these things on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of celebration…

As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one’s family, or buying the year’s supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (ghusl), or shaking hands with one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid’ah and is wrong. None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or the way of the Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa’d, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Oozaa’i, not al-Shaafa’i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahwayh, not any of the imaams and scholars of the Muslims.’(al-Fataawa al-Kubra by Ibn Taymiyah)

Ibn al-Haaj (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned that one of the bid’ahs on ‘Aashooraa’ was deliberately paying zakaat on this day, late or early, or slaughtering a chicken just for this occasion, or – in the case of women – using henna. (al-Madkhal, part 1, Yawm ‘Aashooraa’)

We ask Allaah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, to make us live in Islam and die in a state of faith. May He help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. We ask Him to help us to remember Him and be thankful to Him, to worship Him properly and to accept our good deeds. May He make us of those who are pious and fear Him. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.

Was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) created from light?


Praise be to Allaah.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has been described as being light from the light of Allaah. If what is meant by this is that he himself is from the light of Allaah, then this goes against the Qur’aan, which refers to his being human. If what is meant is that he is light in the sense that he brought the Revelation by which whoever Allah wills of His creation is guided, then this is correct. The committee has issued a fatwa concerning this matter, as follows:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has light which is the light of the message and guidance from Allaah, through which Allaah guides whomsoever He will of His slaves. No doubt the light of the message and of guidance comes from Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

‘It is not given to any human being that Allaah should speak to him unless (it be)by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His Leave. Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.

And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) Roohan (an Inspiration, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’aan) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e., Allaah’s religion of Islamic monotheism), —

The path of Allaah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Verily, all the matters at the end go to Allaah (for decision).” [al-Shura 42:51-53]

This light is not derived from the Seal of the Awliya’ as some heretics claim. The body of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was blood and flesh and bone, and so on. He was created from a father and a mother, and had no existence before he was born. The reports which say that the first thing created by Allaah was the light of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or that Allaah grasped a handful of the light from His Face and that this handful was Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), then He looked at it and it formed drops, and from each of these drops He created a Prophet, or He created all of creation from the light of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – all of these reports and the like are not saheeh, and nothing like this has been narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”

From the fatwa quoted above, it is clear that this is a false belief.

As for the report which says “I am ‘Arab without (the letter) ‘ayn, i.e., Rabb, and I am Ahmad without (the letter) meem, i.e., Ahad” – the attributes of Lordship (ruboobiyah, from Rabb meaning Lord) and Absolute Unity (Ahad meaning One) are attributes that belong uniquely to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. It is not permissible for any one of His creation to be described as “the Lord (Rabb)” or as being One (Ahad) in absolute terms. These are attributes that belong exclusively to Allaah, and are not used to describe the Messengers or any other human beings. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’ (Standing Committee for Academic Research and the Issuing of Fatwas).

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 1/310.

What is the true meaning of shirk and what are its types?


Question:
I often read that “this action is major shirk” and “this is minor shirk”. Could you explain to me the difference between the two?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.
One of the most important obligations is to know the meaning of shirk, its seriousness and its different types, so that our Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allaah) and our Islam may be complete, and our faith may be sound. We say – And Allaah is the Source of strength and true guidance comes from Him:
Know – may Allaah guide you – that the word shirk in Arabic means taking a partner, i.e., regarding someone as the partner of another. It is said [in Arabic]: ashraka baynahuma (he joined them together) when he regarded them as two of equal status; or ashraka fi amrihi ghayrahu (he introduced another into his affair) when he made two people involved in it.
In terms of sharee’ah or Islamic terminology, shirk means ascribing a partner or rival to Allaah in Lordship (ruboobiyyah), worship or in His names and attributes.
A rival is a peer or counterpart. Hence Allaah forbids setting up rivals with Him and he condemns those who take them (rivals) as gods instead of  or besides Allaah in many verses of the Qur’aan. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then do not set up rivals unto Allaah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)”
[al-Baqarah 2:222]

“And they set up rivals to Allaah, to mislead (men) from His path! Say: ‘Enjoy (your brief life)! But certainly, your destination is the (Hell) Fire!’”
[Ibraaheem 14:30]

In the hadeeth it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies claiming that Allaah has a rival, will enter Hell.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4497; Muslim, 92.

The types of shirk:
The texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicate that shirk and the ascribing of rivals to Allaah sometimes puts a person beyond the pale of Islam and sometimes does not. Hence the scholars divided shirk into two types which they call shirk akbar (major shirk) and shirk asghar (minor shirk). There follows a brief description of each type:
1 – Major shirk
This means ascribing to someone other than Allaah something that belongs only to Allaah, such as Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) and the divine names and attributes (al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat).
This kind of shirk may sometimes be outward, such as the shirk of those who worship idols and graves, or the dead or absent.
Or it may sometimes be hidden, such as those who put their trust in other gods besides Allaah, or the shirk and kufr of the hypocrites. For even though  their (hypocrites’) shirk puts them beyond the pale of Islam and means that they will abide  forever in Hell, it is a hidden shirk, because they make an outward display of Islam and conceal their kufr and shirk, so they are inwardly mushriks but not outwardly.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of beliefs:
Such as the belief that there is someone else who creates, gives life and death, reigns or controls the affairs of the universe along with Allaah.
Or the belief that there is someone else who must be obeyed absolutely besides Allaah, so they follow him in regarding as permissible or forbidden whatever he wants, even if that goes against the religion of the Messengers.
Or they may associate others with Allaah in love and veneration, by loving a created being as they love Allaah. This is the kind of shirk that Allaah does not forgive, and it is the shirk of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as rivals (to Allaah). They love them as they love Allaah”
[al-Baqarah 2:165]

Or the belief that there are those who know the Unseen as well as Allaah. This is very common among some of the deviant sects such as the Raafidis (Shi’ah), extreme Sufis, and Baatinis (esoteric sects) in general. The Raafidis believe that their imams have knowledge of the unseen, and the Baatinis and Sufis believe similar things about their awliya’ (“saints”), and so on. It is also shirk to believe that there is someone who bestows mercy in a manner that is befitting only for Allaah, so he shows mercy as Allaah does and forgives sins and overlooks the bad deeds of his worshippers.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of words:
Such as those who make du’aa’ or pray to someone other than Allaah, or seek his help or seek refuge with him with regard to matters over which no one has control except Allaah, whether the person called upon is a Prophet, a wali (“saint”), an angel or a jinn, or some other created being. This is a kind of major shirk which puts one beyond the pale of Islam.
Or such as those who make fun of religion or who liken Allaah to His creation, or say that there is another creator, provider or controller besides Allaah. All of these are major shirk and a grave sin that is not forgiven.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of actions:
Such as one who sacrifices, prays or prostrates to something other than Allaah, or who promulgates laws to replace the rulings of Allaah and makes that the law to which people are obliged to refer for judgement; or one who supports the kaafirs and helps them against the believers, and other acts that go against the basic meaning of faith and put the one who does them beyond the pale of Islam. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
2 – Minor shirk
This includes everything that may lead to major shirk, or which is described in the texts as being shirk, but does not reach the extent of being major shirk.
This is usually of two types:
1 – Being emotionally attached to some means which have no basis and  for which Allaah has not given permission, such as hanging up “hands”, turquoise beads etc on the grounds that they offer protection or that they ward off the evil eye. But Allaah has not made them the means of such protection, either according to sharee’ah or according to the laws of the universe.
[Translator’s note: the “hands” referred to are objects made of metal, pottery etc, usually blue or turquoise in colour, that some people hang up to ward off the evil eye, according to their mistaken belief]
2 – Venerating some people or things in a way that does not go so far as ascribing lordship to them, such as swearing by something other than Allaah, or saying, “Were it not for Allaah and So and so,” etc.
The scholars have stipulated guidelines to distinguish major shirk from minor shirk when shirk is mentioned in the texts of sharee’ah. These guidelines include the following:
(i) – When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) states clearly that this action is minor shirk, such as in al-Musnad (27742) where it is narrated that Mahmoud ibn Labeed said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allaah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 951.
(ii) – When the word shirk is used in the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah in the indefinite form [without the definite article al-]. This usually refers to minor shirk, and there are many examples of this, such as when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Incantations, amulets and love spells are shirk.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3883; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 331.
What is meant by shirk here is minor shirk, not major shirk.
Amulets are things that are hung on children such as turquoise beads and the like, which they claim will protect them from the evil eye.
Love spells are something that they do, claiming that it will make a woman beloved to her husband and a man beloved to his wife.
(iii) – If the Sahaabah understood from the texts of sharee’ah that what was meant by shirk here was minor shirk, not major. Undoubtedly the understanding of the Sahaabah carries weight, because they are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning the religion of Allaah, and the most knowledgeable as to the intent of the Lawgiver. For example, Abu Dawood (3910) narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Tiyarah (superstitious belief in omens) is shirk, tiyarah is shirk,” three times, and there is no one among us but (will have some of that) but Allaah will rid him of it by means of tawakkul (putting his trust in Allaah). The words “there is no one among us…” are the words of Ibn Mas’ood, as was explained by the prominent scholars of hadeeth. This indicates that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) understood that this was minor shirk, because he could not have said, “There is no one among us…” referring to major shirk. Moreover, major shirk cannot be eliminated by means of tawakkul, rather it is essential to repent therefrom.
(iv) – If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) interpreted the words shirk or kufr in a manner which indicates that what is meant is a minor form thereof and not the major form. For example al-Bukhaari (1038) and Muslim (74) narrated from Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani that he said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the morning prayer for us at al-Hudaybiyah following rainfall during the night. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) finished, he turned to face the people and said to them: “Do you know what your Lord has said?” They said: “Allaah and his Messenger know best.” He said: “This morning one of My slaves became a believer in Me and one a disbeliever. As for him who said: ‘We have been given rain by the grace of Allaah and His mercy,’ that one is a believer in Me, a disbeliever in the stars; and as for him who said: ‘We have been given rain by such-and-such a star, that one is a disbeliever in Me, a believer in the stars.’”

The interpretation of the word kufr here is given in another report narrated from Abu Hurayrah who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you not know what your Lord said? ‘I do not send any blessing upon My slaves but a group among them become kaafirs thereby because they refer to the stars and attribute things to the stars. This explains that if a person attributes rainfall to the stars by believing that they caused it to fall – when in fact Allaah has not made the stars a means of causing rainfall – his kufr is a kind of ingratitude for the blessing of Allaah. It is well known that ingratitude for the blessing of Allaah is minor kufr. But if a person believes that the stars are controlling the universe and they are the ones that cause the rain to fall, then this is major shirk.

Minor shirk may sometimes take the form of outward actions, such as wearing talismans, strings, amulets and the like, and other words and deeds. And sometimes it may be hidden, like a little bit of showing off.
It may also take the form of beliefs:
Such as the belief that something may be a cause of bringing benefit or warding off harm, when Allaah has not made it so; or believing that there is barakah (blessing) in a thing, when Allaah has not made it so.
It sometimes takes the form of words:
Such as when they said, “We have been given rain by such and such a star,” without believing that that the stars could independently cause rain to fall; or swearing by something other than Allaah, without believing in venerating the thing sworn by or regarding it as equal with Allaah; or saying, “Whatever Allaah wills and you will,” and so on.
It sometimes takes the form of actions:
Such as hanging up amulets or wearing a talisman or string to dispel or ward off calamity, because everyone who attribute powers to a thing when Allaah has not made it so either according to sharee’ah or according to the laws of the universe, has associated something with Allaah. This also applies to one who touches a thing seeking its barakah (blessing), when Allaah has not created any barakah in it, such as kissing the doors of the mosques, touching their thresholds, seeking healing from their dust, and other such actions.
This is a brief look at the division of shirk into major and minor. We cannot go into great detail in this short answer.
Conclusion:
What the Muslim must do is to avoid shirk in both its minor and major forms. The greatest sin is shirk and transgression against the unique rights of Allaah, which are to be worshipped and obeyed alone, with no partner or associate.
Hence Allaah has decreed that the mushrikeen will abide forever in Hell and has told us that He will not forgive them, and He has forbidden Paradise to them, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allaah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin”
[al-Nisa’ 4:48]

“Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers”
[al-Maa’idah 5:72]

Every wise and religiously-committed person should fear shirk for himself and should turn to his Lord, asking Him to help him avoid shirk, as al-Khaleel [Ibraaheem – peace be upon him] said:
“and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols”
[Ibraaheem 14:35 – interpretation of the meaning]
One of the salaf said: “Who can claim to be safe from this after Ibraaheem?”
So the sincere believer’s fear of shirk should increase as should his desire for his for his Lord to keep him away from it, and he should say the great du’aa’ which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to his companions when he said to them: “Shirk among you will be more subtle than the footsteps of an ant, but I will teach you something which, if you do it, both minor and major shirk will be kept away from you. Say: Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lam wa astaghfiruka lima la a’lam (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from associating anything with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness for that of which I am unaware).”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3731
The above refers to the difference between major and minor shirk, defining each and describing its types.
With regard to the difference between them as far as the ruling is concerned:
Major shirk puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, so the one who does that is judged to be out of Islam and to have apostatized therefrom, so he is a kaafir and an apostate.
Minor shirk does not put a person beyond the pale of Islam, rather it may be done by a Muslim but he still remains in Islam; but the one who does that is in great danger because minor shirk is a major sin. Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “If I were to swear by Allaah falsely, that is better for me than if I were to swear by something other than Him sincerely.” So he regarded swearing by something other than Allaah (which is minor shirk) as being worse than swearing by Allaah falsely, and it is well known that swearing by Allaah falsely is a major sin.
We ask Allaah to make our hearts steadfast in adhering to His religion until we meet Him, and we seek refuge in His Might – may He be glorified – from going astray, for He is the Ever-Living Who never dies, but the jinn and mankind will die. And Allaah knows best and is most wise, and to Him is the final return of all.
Courtesy: Islam Q&A
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