Oct 27, 2011

Celebrating Religious Festivals Of Non-Muslims - Fatwa & Guidelines

The Related Fatwa

* Islam QA *

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Sheikh Ahmad Deedat

 

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Fatwa
Can Muslims Celebrate Christmas ?

Author
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
References
islamonline

Question:

Scholars of Islam, As-Salamu `alaykum wa Rahmatu Allahi wa Barakatuh.
During the Christmas season, Christians all over the country illuminate
their houses with lights, put up Christmas trees, and exchange gifts. TV
is full of jingle bells and all the stores are decorated for Christmas.
All this is very tempting to small children; children love putting up
lights and decorating for holidays.

Some Muslim families also put up Christmas trees and lights to keep
their children happy. They argue that Christmas is, after all, Prophet
Jesus' birthday and there is no harm in celebrating Christmas as long as
children are happy.

When our children started talking a few years back they started asking
why we do not put up lights and trees during Christmas. I explained to
them that we are Muslims and we don’t celebrate Christmas; we celebrate
`Eids. To keep our children happy and to get them excited about `Eid, we
started putting up lights (green and white) around the house and
decorating inside the house during Ramadan until after `Eidul-Fitr and
during `Eidul-Adha. We exchange gifts with our Muslims friends on both
`Eids. Alhamdulillah, our children now wait for `Eid, not for Christmas.

What is the Islamic position on these issues? Can we celebrate
Christmas? Is it OK to put up lights during Ramadan and `Eid?

Answer:

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon
His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, we are really impressed by your question, which
shows how concerned you are about the affairs of your fellow Muslims and
your interest to abide by the Shari`ah in all details of your life. May
Allah help us all lead a righteous life based on Islam!

Before answering your question, it is very important to note that Islam
is a complete way of life and it suffices Muslims. At the same time, we
should be interactive and proactive. We should not forget our role in
the society. We should be a good example to others. Islam urges us to be
kind with all people without any kind of discrimination due to
differences in faith or race.

Muslims have their own identity. In order to keep this identity, Muslim
scholars said that Muslims must not celebrate Christmas or holidays of
non-Muslims. By participation in Christmas, it is possible that slowly
one may lose his or her consciousness of this basic point of difference
between Islam and Christianity. Muslims must be very careful in this
matter. The greatest danger is for our next generation, who may slowly
lose their Islamic faith in tawhid and may start believing in Jesus as
"more than a prophet and servant of Allah".

We should tell our children that we are Muslims and this is not our
holiday. This is the holiday of our Christian neighbors and friends. We
may give greetings to our Christian friends and neighbors on their
holiday, but we should not make it our own holiday.

In response to the question you posed, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former
President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Every people have
their `Eid…" Some celebrations are of a religious nature, and some
others are social and cultural. Some celebrations are based on beliefs
and practices that are contrary to Islamic teachings, and some
celebrations are not of that nature.

Some people claim that Christmas is now a secular holiday and it is very
much an American national holiday rather than a religious holiday. But
it is wrong to assume that because this holiday is national, it has
ceased to be Christian. It is true that this holiday is very popular and
it is extremely commercialized; nevertheless it is basically a religious
holiday. Its very name and all its symbolism is Christian through and
through.

Christians celebrate at Christmas what they believe to be the "day of
the birth of God's Son" or what they call "God Incarnate". Thus it is
not only a celebration of another religion, it is also a celebration
that is based on a belief that is totally against the teachings of
Islam. From the Islamic point of view, the belief in the "Son of God" or
"God in the flesh" is a blasphemy and kufr (denial of God's Oneness). By
participation in Christmas, it is possible that slowly one may lose his
or her consciousness of this basic point of difference.

Muslims must be very careful in this matter. The greatest danger is for
our next generation, who may slowly lose their Islamic faith in tawhid
and may start believing in Jesus as "more than a prophet and servant of
Allah".

The argument that “Christmas is, after all, Prophet Jesus' birthday and
so there is no harm in celebrating Christmas” is neither logical nor
Islamic. Why should Muslims celebrate Jesus' birthday? Why not the
birthdays of the other 24 prophets and messengers who are mentioned in
the Qur'an by name? For us Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
him) is the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah, not Jesus.

Christians believe that Jesus was the last one and they say that "after
God spoke through many prophets … in these last days he spoke to us
through his son whom he made to inherit every thing" (New Testament,
Hebrews 1:1). Thus they celebrate his coming, but for us Muslims,
Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Allah appointed him for all
people and for all times to come.

I do agree that our little children are deeply affected with the
festivities and glitter of this holiday. We should try to take them to
some Islamic camps and conferences at this time and give them some other
alternate programs and activities.

But Muslim families should not have Christmas trees in their homes, nor
should they put up lights inside or outside their homes at this time. We
should tell our children that we are Muslims and this is not our
holiday. This is the holiday of our Christian neighbors and friends. We
may give greetings to our Christian friends and neighbors on their
holiday, but we should not make it our own holiday.

I am pleased to know that you celebrate Ramadan and `Eids with lights
and decoration of your home and exchange gifts with your children. This
is very thoughtful, indeed. It is good to decorate our homes and masjids
during Ramadan and for `Eids.

It is mentioned in one of the Hadiths that even the heaven is especially
decorated during the month of Ramadan. Allah Almighty closes the gates
of Hell and opens the gates of Paradise during the month of Ramadan. We
Muslims should give special attention to our own Islamic holidays. In
this way our children will be attracted to our own celebrations rather
than looking at others.

Unfortunately, there are some Muslims who do not pay any attention to
Ramadan and `Eid. Some of them do not even come to `Eid prayers and even
if they come, they do not take their day off from work. Thus their
children have no idea about Islamic holidays or they think that Islam is
a religion without any festivals and celebrations.

Explaining the reasons why Muslims don’t celebrate and believe in
Christmas, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at
the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Christmas was a pagan custom which was adopted into Christianity; it has
nothing to do with reverence and love of Jesus, the mighty Messenger of
Allah that we Muslims hold in the highest regard and respect. If Jesus
were to come today, whether or not he would identify himself with those
who celebrate Christmas is a question one should ask seriously.

If we are celebrating the great teachings of Jesus or other prophets, we
must do so everyday. To do so means to practice love, mercy, justice and
compassion and to be actively engaged in doing the will of God.

(Source: muslims.ca)Allah Almighty knows best

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Sheikh Yusuf Estes

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Guidelines 

For Muslims Celebrating Religious Festivals Of Non-Muslims

The 68th muzakarah of the National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs on April 12, 2005  discussed the Guidelines For Muslims Celebrating Religious Festivals Of Non-Muslims. The muzakarah has decided that:
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. 
For example:
  1. to include religious symbols such as the cross, installing lights, candles, Christmas tree and so forth;
  2. to sing religious songs;
  3. to put any religious markings on the forehead, or other markings onto parts of the body;
  4. to deliver speech or gestures in the form of a praise to the non-Muslim religion;
  5. to bow or conduct acts of honour to the religious ceremony of non-Muslims.
  1. 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.
For example:
  1. Wearing red costumes like Santa Claus or other garments that reflect religion;
  2. Serving intoxicating food or beverages and the likes;
  3. Having sounds or ornaments like church bells, Christmas tree, temple or breaking of coconuts;
  4. Having ceremonies with elements of gaming, worship, cult, superstitions and the likes.
  1. 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.
For example:
  1. Mixing freely without any limit or manners;
  2. Wearing conspicuous clothing;
  3. Singing songs that contain lyrics of obscenity and worship;
  4. Organising programmes such as beauty pageants, cock fighting and such.
  1. 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.
For Example:
  1. Speeches or songs in the form of non-Muslim religious propaganda;
  2. Speeches that insult the Muslims;
  3. Speeches that insult Islam;
  4. Presentations with the aim to ridicule the religious belief of Muslims.
  1. The organisers and the public are asked to get the views of religious authorities before organising or attending celebrations of non-Muslims.


Hukum ucap selamat perayaan agama lain
Fatwa translated in Bahasa Melayu

HUKUM MENGUCAPKAN SELAMAT HARI NATAL KEPADA NON-MUSLIM &
HUKUM MENCETAK KAD HARI RAYA KRISMAS

Nama Mufti yang menjawab : الشيخ الدكتور مصطفى الزرقا _ رحمه الله.ـ (Syeikh Dr. Mustafa Zarqa)
Soalan : Diharap dapat memberi penjalasan hukum syara’terhadap perkara-perkara berikut :

1) Ucapan Selamat Hari Natal/Krismas dan Selamat Tahun Baru
2) Mencetak Kad Hari Krismas, Kad Selamat Tahun Baru dan Kad Harijadi peribadi
3) Perniagaan menjual kad-kad yang disebutkan tadi


جزاكم الله عنا الخير الجزيل     
    الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله
Mengucapkan tahniah/selamat hari raya Krismas kepada kenalan Kristian yang merayakan hari Kelahiran Al-Masih – عليه الصّلاة والسلام – pada pendapat saya termasuk dalam bab kesopanan (mujamalah) dan keelokan dalam pergaulan. Sesungguhnya Islam tidak melarang kita daripada berbuat baik seumpama ini terhadap mereka lebih-lebih lagi Isa Al-Masih itu dalam akidah Islam kita, beliau adalah salah seorang rasul Allah, termasuk dalam golongan Ulul-’Azmi. Beliau juga dimuliakan dalam Islam, akan tetapi mereka (kaum Kristian) berlebih-lebihan dalam mengagungkan mereka dan beriktikad bahawa Isa itu adalah tuhan, Maha Tinggi Allah daripada apa yang mereka perkatakan.

Sesiapa yang keliru, dengan mengatakan sambutan hari kelahiran Isa ini adalah perayaan mereka (spt Aidilfitri dan aidil Adha), maka ia adalah haram, kerana ianya mempunyai kaitan dengan aqidah Kristian tentang ketuhanan Isa. Orang yang beriktiqad macam ini adalah salah. Mujamalah ini tidak ada kaitan dengan perincian aqidah mereka terhadap Nabi Isa dan sikap keterlaluan mereka dalam aqidah mereka.

Diriwayatkan bahawa Nabi Muhammad -  صلّى الله عليه وسلم – tatkala baginda صلّى الله عليه وسلم bersama-sama sahabat, lalu satu jenazah Yahudi, baginda صلّى الله عليه وسلم lantas berdiri. Berdiri Rasulullah صلّى الله عليه وسلم itu adalah penjelasan tentang betapa hebat dan agungnya kematian itu, tidak ada kaitan dengan aqidah jenazah tersebut (yakni bukan kerana hendak menghormati aqidah jenazah tersebut)

Orang-orang Islam dituntut menzahirkan kebaikan dan kesederhanaan Islam kepada non-muslim, tidak boleh seorang pemimpin Islam paksa rakyatnya yang non-muslim atau ahli zimminya supaya memeluk Islam. bahkan, hendaklah bertasamuh (toleransi) dengan mereka dan biarkan mereka dengan agama mereka.

Tambahan lagi,  orang Islam di serata alam sekarang ini dalam keadaan lemah, berbanding bangsa-bangsa lain, negara-negara besar membuat konspirasi ke atas negara muslim dan menuduh mereka sebagai pengganas …..tugas utama muslim sekarang ialah membersihkan gambaran negara mereka yang telah diletakkan oleh negara Barat.

Lebih-lebih lagi, pada hari raya ‘Idul Fitri dan ‘Idul Adha, mereka sering dikunjungi oleh sahabat-handai yang beragama Kristian bagi meraikan dan mengucapkan selamat hari raya. Jika pada hari raya mereka (Kristian), orang-orang Islam tidak pula menziarahi mereka, maka mungkin menjadi tanggapan bahawa benarlah apa yang dituduh ke atas Islam selama ini, dan juga orang-orang Islam tidak bersedia untuk bercampur dan bergaul dengan mereka.

Hukum yang disebut tentang hari raya kelahiran Isa (Krismas), adalah sama juga dengan hukum perayaan menyambut tahun baru kerana ianya tiada kaitan dengan aqidah. Ia sekadar permulaan sejarah (tarikh) sahaja. Para sahabat, tatkala sayyedina Omar – رضي الله عنه  – mengumpulkan mereka untuk berbincang bagi menentukan peristiwa manakah yang patut diambil bagi menetapkan permulaan tahun hijrah, mereka mengetepikan pendapat-pendapat yang bergantung kepada tarikh-tarikh Rom atau tarikh Yahudi. Jika sekiranya peraka ini haram, sudah tentu mereka tidak mencadangkannya sedari awal lagi.

Apabila kita telah mengetahui hukum syara’ tentang mengucapkan tahniah (mengucapkan selamat hari raya), maka secara tidak langsung kita juga tahu hukum mencetak dan meniagakan kad-kad tersebut (kad hari raya Krismas sebagai contoh, atau kad selamat tahun baru). Kerana, selagimana ianya daripada jalan yang harus, maka ia menjadi harus.

Perlu diberi perhatian bahawa, mengucapkan   Selamat hari Krismas kepada  kawan-kawan non-muslim atas alasan menjaga persahabatan dan perhubungan (bukan atas dasar aqidah) adalah harus, tetapi merayakan Tahun Baru dengan pengisian-pengisian mungkar di dalamnya, itu adalah haram.

Ini yang jelas bagi saya
والله سبحانه أعلم  (Allah S.W.T. saja yang lebih mengetahui)

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