Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Does this Christian New Year celebration harm Indian (Muslim) tradition?

Have you ever wondered about the issue of celebrating or partaking in Non-Muslim holidays, festivals and celebrations? What is the Islamic ruling regarding this? Is it permissible, is it disliked, is it impermissible? Is there a difference of opinion on this matter?

Does this Christian New Year celebration harm Indian (Muslim) tradition?

 Insha’Allah, in this short article, I hope that all of these (and related) questions will be clearly answered. Greeting the Kuffaar on non Islamic holidays and other similar holidays of theirs is Haraam by Ittifaaq (consensus of the scholars), as Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn al-Qayyim said in Ahkaam Ahl adh-Dhimmah: Congratulating the Kuffaar on the rituals that belong to them is prohibited by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals by saying
‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on…” 

 “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” 

This hadeeth was authenticated by a great deal of scholars including Abu Dawood, Ibn Hibbaan, Ibn Hajar, Az-Zarqaani, Adh-Dhahabi, Al-Haythami, Al-‘Iraaqi, As-Sakhaawi, As-San’aani, Muhammad Jaarullaah As-Sa’di, Ahmad Shaakir, Ibn Baaz, Al-Albaani, Ibn `Uthaymeen, and others.

 Ibn Taymiyyah, in his beautiful and monumental book Iqtidaa’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalafatu Ashaab’il-Jaheem (In Pursuit of the Straight Path by Contradicting the People of the Hellfire), said:
 “Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to mislead the weak.”

In determining the non-Muslim celebrations that can be attended by Muslims, several main criteria should serve as guidelines so as not to contradict the teachings of Islam. The criteria are as follows:

 1.The event is not accompanied by ceremonies that are against the Islamic faith (aqidah). The meaning of “against the Islamic faith (aqidah)” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will lead to tarnishing the faith (aqidah) of Muslims.

 2. The event is not accompanied by acts against the Islamic law. The meaning of “against the Islamic law” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will contradict the Islamic teachings practised by the Muslim community.

3.The event is not accompanied by “acts that contradict with moral and cultural development of Muslim society” in this country. The meaning of “acts that contradict with moral and cultural development of Muslim society” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will contradict the values and norms of the Muslim society of this country which adheres to the Islamic teachings based on Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah.

4. The event is not accompanied by acts that can “stir the sensitivity of Muslim community”. The meaning of “stir the sensitivity of Muslim community” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will offend the feelings of Muslims about their beliefs and practices.

5. Universally observed festival by non Muslims without dispute as to the worthiness of the occasion.

So, just to differ from them, to show that we’re different, to indicate that he, in no way, is taking part in their Eid, he would fast on Saturdays and Sundays. It is as if to send a clear message: “I’m not partaking in the Eid of Non-Muslims. I want to differ from them. I love to differ from their practice (of relaxing, enjoying, partying) on these two days.” So, even though it’s permissible to relax on Saturdays and Sundays, he decided to exert himself and fast on these two days just for this particular purpose. Therefore, one can just imagine what our Prophet would’ve said if he were alive today and were asked about Christmas or Thanksgiving! Now, ask yourselves this: Are you imitating the Prophet more in your life, or are you abandoning his Sunnah?

Forget about whether it’s obligatory or recommended. This isn’t a Fiqh issue. It’s an issue of: Do you really love the Prophet Muhammad such that you will strive to imitate him in every aspect of your life? Or are you imitating the Kuffaar more in your life? Do you imitate their traditions more than the traditions of your Prophet? Who do you wish to be resurrected amongst? You will be with those whom you love.

New year is just a calendar and not a religious festival. We use many things which were invented by Westerns (Christians) like cars, phones computer etc. and so on, even our Law is also British (copy-past) law. So what's the problem with the calendar? In my view, we have to accept good things and avoid bad things , that's all. However, Islam doesn't allow unnecessary expenditure in the name of celebration either new year or any !  So, celebrating new year with limited expenditure may not be a Kuffar (non Islamic).

Editor's Note: This article is written on the data, those are collected by Main Uddin who is a pioneer professional blogger from North East India and regular columnist for various news media houses.

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