Sunday, 13 December 2009

Everything about celebrations in Islam!

Celebrations In Islaam
Impermissible Acts of Celebration

Impermissible Acts Of Celebration - Introduction click here

To many people, celebrating `Eeds is a non-religious matter. They believe that one has the choice to participate in celebrating any Eed, for any nation, religion, or culture, as long as that does not involve engaging in haraam (prohibited) actions.
Based on this view, many Muslims often engage in various celebrations, and participate in the holidays of other peoples and religions.
True Muslims approach the celebration of `Eeds with correct understanding and conception1. They avoid major violations associated with these occasions:
  1. They avoid participating in any celebration or festivity that is not legislated by Allaah (SWT).

  2. They avoid celebrating the `Eeds in a way similar to that of the kuffaar2 or the faasiqs (corrupt) who overstep Allaah's boundaries when they rejoice. They indulge in various acts of disobedience, such as the mingling of men and women, wearing improper clothing, dancing and listening to music, committing adultery, drinking alcohol, etc.

  3. They avoid performing unjustified practices and bid`ahs done by the ignorant Muslims during these days, such as visiting graveyards, or spending the night preceding the `Eed in extended worship.

Completing That Which Had Been Completed? click here

The completeness of Islaam1 obviously means that it cannot be completed further. Believing otherwise would imply one or more of the following dangerous conclusions:
  1. That Allaah (SWT) was not truthful in declaring this completeness.

  2. That Allaah (SWT) has forgotten or missed some details needed to complete the Deen.

  3. That Muhammad saws has neglected or forgotten to convey some matters needed to complete the Deen.

This explains why Islaam warns strongly against introducing bid`ahs into the Deen. Imaam Maalik (r) said:
"Whoever innovates in Islaam what he believes to be a good bid`ah would be claiming that Muhammad saws has betrayed the trust (of delivering the full Message)..."

He then recited aayah 5:3 from al-Maa`idah2.
Differing from the Non-Muslims click here

Some Muslims naively think that Islaam allows them to resemble the non-Muslims and act in complete harmony with them. They seem to be extremely reluctant to exhibit a distinctive identity by proclaiming Islaam openly. They emphasize that what matters is what is in the heart, regardless of outward appearance or actions. This section will, in shaa'a 'Llaah, discuss these and related matters.
Commands From The Qur'aan And Sunnah
A Muslim is commanded to associate with his fellow believers and adhere to their way; Allaah (SWT) says:

If anyone contends with the Messenger after the Guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell: What an evil abode!1

A Muslim is further commanded to be distinctively different from the non-believers. For example, the Messenger saws said:
Be different from the Jews and the Christians.2

Be different from the disbelievers3

Whoever imitates a people is one of them.4

Importance Of Differing From The Non-Muslims
Why is it important to be different from the disbelievers? For the following reasons:
  1. The Muslims are blessed with the BEST guidance. The Guidance from the Lord of lords, from Allaah (SWT). This gives the Muslims a true dignity and pride to which no one else has a claim. Allaah (SWT) says:

    Honor belongs to Allaah, to the Messenger, and to the Believers.5

  2. The disbelievers are misguided, and their ways are based on deviant views concerning their societies, the universe, and their very existence. Their actions frequently reflect those deviant views. Why, then, would one wish to imitate them? Yet, very sadly, some Muslims do that - they imitate them in their most unintelligible acts! The Messenger saws says:
    You will follow the ways of those nations who preceded you very closely; even if they entered a lizard's hole you would follow them into it.6

  3. An important rule of fiqh states that, "External resemblance results in real resemblance of the hearts." Resembling the disbelievers is Satan's first step in leading the Muslims to behave and believe like them.

Classes Of Imitation
One of the best books on the subject of imitating the kuffaar is Ibn Taymiyyah's great book, "Iqtidaa us-Siraat il-Mustaqeem". He (r) demonstrates that imitating the disbelievers is prohibited in itself, even if one does not do it intentionally; furthermore, doing it intentionally may reach the level of kufr (disbelief).
In order to better understand its dangers, imitation of the non-Muslims is divided below into five classes, some more serious than others.
  1. If a practice is done by the non-Muslims for religious reasons and involves shirk, then it is absolutely prohibited, and anyone who does it is a mushrik 1 in practice. Ex.,
    • wearing a cross,
    • displaying an idol (appreciably),
    • worshiping in the non-Muslim religious services,
    • praying to a grave.
    "In practice" here means that, regardless of whether the person commits such an act ignorantly or intentionally, which only Allaah (SWT) knows about, he is considered to be practicing shirk, and is treated accordingly.

  2. If a practice is done by the non-Muslims for religious reasons, but does not involve obvious shirk (at least to the one practicing it), then it is absolutely prohibited, and doing it constitutes a major sin. Ex.,
    • wearing the attire of clergymen, priests, etc.,
    • displaying a Christmas tree,
    • celebrating a non-Islaamic holiday.

  3. If a practice is initiated and done by the non-Muslims (though imitated by ignorant and weak-hearted Muslims), for non-religious reasons, and is not a practice of the religious and knowledgeable Muslims, then it is also prohibited; anyone doing it will be liable to the warnings in the Sunnah for those who imitate the disbelievers. Ex.,
    • not to grow beards and trim moustaches,
    • not to dye the white hair,
    • to isolate the wife because of her menses,
    • to wear the Western hat, Tuxedos, or neckties,
    • to wear wedding bands,
    • to intently wear white for weddings or black for funerals,
    • to walk dogs,
    • to eat steak with a fork in the left hand,
    • to watch sports games or soap operas, etc.

  4. If a practice is done mostly, but not exclusively, by the non-Muslims, for non-religious reasons, then it is permissible; however, the person who avoids it with the intention of obeying the above commands of the Prophet saws will be rewarded. Ex.,
    • wearing pants for men,
    • wearing the watch on the left hand.

  5. If a practice is a shared practice among different nations and cultures, not being specific to any one in particular, then it is totally mubaah (open or permissible). Ex.,
    • riding cars,
    • eating with spoons.
    Thus, we are not calling the Muslims to denounce the scientific and technological advancements because the kuffaar are currently pioneering in them. Islaam requires the Muslims to learn these forms of knowledge, and to benefit the Muslim Ummah with them.
Differing from the Non-Muslims in Celebrations click here

The `Eeds are purely religious occasions for the Muslims1. Furthermore, `Eeds are distinctive features for every nation. Allaah (SWT) says:

To every people we have appointed rites (of sacrifice) that they must observe.2

As discussed above, the Muslims have been warned by Allaah (SWT) and His Messenger saws against following or imitating the non-Muslims in things that are characteristic of their religions or beliefs. This is more emphasized in the case of their `Eeds or holidays, which always hold religious or ideological non-Islaamic meanings, and on which the kuffaar indulge in many evil practices. Differing from them on such occasions includes the following:
Avoiding Their Days
The Muslims should completely avoid the kuffaar's celebrations. This includes places where they perform their holiday practices, and indulging with them in such practices, such as:
  • Christmas and New Year parties,
  • Halloween trick-or-treat,
  • Thanksgiving celebration and dinner,
  • Fourth of July fireworks,
  • First of April lies,
  • birthday parties, anniversaries, etc.

Avoiding Their Ways On Their Days
The Muslims should avoid copying the kuffaar's practices on such occasions, such as:
  • setting up Christmas trees in the Muslims' houses or offices,
  • inviting friends to a Turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day,
  • purchasing or wearing Halloween costumes,
  • holding birthday or anniversary parties for family members, etc.

Avoiding Congratulating Them
The Muslims should avoid congratulating the kuffaar on their occasions. For, how could one bring oneself to congratulate them or wish them well because of their disobedience to Allaah (SWT)? One must refrain from expressions such as: happy Thanksgiving, happy birthday, happy New Year, etc. The only possible happiness is in true Eemaan!
In this regard, Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen said:
"Congratulating the kuffaar with Christmas or other religious holidays is unanimously prohibited. Ibn ul-Qayyim (r) reported this in his book, 'Ahkaamu Ahlith-Thummah'. He said:
'Offering congratulations to the kuffar for rites pertaining to kufr is something unanimously prohibited. Examples of this is to say to them, 'Blessed holidays', 'Happy holidays', and the likes. The one who says this, if he is not to be considered a kaafir, is at least committing a great prohibition. His action is equivalent to congratulating them for prostrating themselves to the cross; it is a sin more serious and more hated by Allaah (SWT) than to drink alcohol, kill a human soul, practice adultery, or commit other sins in which those who disregard the Deen indulge themselves - without realizing the ugliness of what they do. Thus, anyone who congratulates a person for a sin, a bid`ah, or an act of disbelief, would expose himself to Allaah's abhorrence and wrath.'
Congratulating the kuffaar with their religious holidays is thus prohibited, as Ibn ul-Qayyim notes, because it indicates an approval and acceptance of their rites of kufr. Even if a person does not accept this kufr for himself, he is still prohibited to accept any of the rites of kufr or congratulate others for them. The reason for this is that Allaah (SWT) does not accept that, as He says:

This day I have perfected your religion for you, have completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion.3
Congratulating them on these occasions is equally prohibited, whether or not they were colleagues at work.
Furthermore, if they congratulated us on their holidays, we may not respond to that (by congratulating them back), because these holidays are not our holidays, and are not permitted by Allaah (SWT). They were either innovated by them, or were previously legislated (by Allaah) but were later abrogated by the Islaamic religion with which Allaah (SWT) sent Muhammad saws to all people; and He (SWT) says:

He who seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will not be accepted from him; and he is among the losers in the Hereafter.4
Also, it is prohibited for a Muslim to answer their invitation on such occasions. This is worse than to congratulate them on them, because it involves associating with them in the celebrations.
And it is prohibited for the Muslims to imitate the kuffaar on these occasions by holding parties, exchanging gifts, distributing sweets or food, taking vacation, and so on. The Messenger saws said:
He who imitates a people is one of them.
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in 'Iqtidaa' us-Siraat il-Mustaqeem':
'Resembling them in some of their holidays brings into their hearts assurance that their falsehoods are acceptable, and would sometimes lead them to take advantage of the situation and oppress the weak.'
Whoever does any of this would be sinning, regardless of whether he did it out of flattery, kindness, shyness, or other reasons. This action involves compromising Allaah's Deen, and provides a means of strengthening the spirit of the disbelievers and their pride for their religion.5"

Avoiding Their Ways In The Islaamic Celebrations
The Muslims should avoid to celebrate the Islaamic `Eeds in a way that copies the ways of the kuffaar, such as:
  • mingling between men and women, and shaking each others' hands,
  • indulging in drinking, dancing, and other forms of sinning,
  • improper clothing, etc.

Avoiding To Innovate New Days
Muslims should avoid initiating or encouraging innovated occasions or `Eeds in imitation to those of the kuffaar, such as
  • the day of the Earth,
  • the day of US Muslims, etc.
Bid`ahs Related to `Eeds click here

It has been shown above that the `Eeds should be preserved as purely Islaamic occasions and practices. They should not be defaced by innovation and other unjustified practices. The warnings concerning bid`ahs and sinning apply to them.
Additional `Eeds?
Celebrating so called "Islaamic occasions" other than the three days prescribed by Allaah is a rejected bid`ah in Islaam; it consists of introducing new rites and worships that only Allaah (SWT) has the right to do. This applies to occasions like "the Prophet's Birthday", "the Hijree New Year's day", "the Middle of Sha`baan", etc.
Visiting The Graves
Some people seem to entertain a feeling of guilt toward their deceased ones during the Eed. They attempt to do things that, they think, will benefit the dead on these specific days. All of this has no support or evidence from the Sunnah of the Prophet saws. The following are a few examples:
  • Making specific visits to graveyards on `Eed days.
  • Distributing food and sweets at graveyards.
  • Sitting eating, and talking, on graves.
  • Placing flowers or palm leaves on graves.
  • Reading portions of the Qur'aan over graves.

Specific Acts Of Worship
Some ignorant people exert in worship more than usual on the night preceding the `Eeds or Jumu`ah . They base their action on a fabricated hadeeth encouraging that. In fact, the Prophet saws prohibited specifying the night preceding Friday with special acts of worship.

Sinning on `Eeds click here

There are many sins and acts of disobedience practiced by some Muslims more frequently during the `Eed days than at other times of the year. To them, the `Eed is an occasion to give up some of the Islaamic principles. They are usually encouraged to do so by the state of joy that they experience during the `Eeds. In the rest of this section, a few of these acts of disobedience are highlighted.
Mingling Of Sexes
One of the frequently practiced acts of disobedience is for men and women who are not mahrams1 to mingle and do things prohibited in Islaam, such as2:
  • Touching and shaking hands.
  • Men and woman chatting, laughing, and sometimes flirting with each other.
  • Men and women looking intently at each other.

Playing Music And Drinking Alcohol
It is very common for people to play music and listen to it during the `Eed. They often associate this with drinking, or with national or belly dancing, all in the name of Islaam! All of this is prohibited by consensus among the early scholars including the Four Imaams. The Prophet saws said:
There will be among my Ummah those who would indulge in hir3, wearing silk4, Khamr5, and musical instruments. Some of those people would camp beside a mountain. A poor shepherd tending their animals would come to them in the evening asking for a need of his. They would say, "Come back tomorrow." So Allaah would destroy (most of) them during the night, bringing the mountain down over them, and would transform others to apes and pigs until the day of Resurrection.6

Muslims are supposed to dress up for the Eed. In doing so, however, both men and women commit many violations of Islaam, among which are the following:
  • Women exposing their heads and other parts of their bodies.
  • Women wearing perfumes, makeup, decorated and alluring clothing, and some national costumes (Sari for example) that contradict Islaamic teachings.
  • Men wearing natural silk or gold.
  • Men wearing tight pants and Western attire.
  • Men shaving their beards.

People often spend extravagantly during the Eed. They waste money on things that are useless and of no benefit for the Muslims. Allaah (SWT) says:

Do not waste your wealth senselessly. Those who spend wastefully are the brothers of the devils; and the Devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.7
And Allaah's Messenger saws said:
A son of Aadam will not depart from his position (of reckoning) before his Lord on the day of Resurrection until he is questioned about four things:
  • His lifetime - how did he pass it,
  • his body - how did he utilize it,
  • his wealth - where did he earn it, and how did he spend it,
  • and his knowledge - what did he do with it.8

Neglecting The Poor And Needy
In addition to the extravagance discussed above, many well-to-do people neglect the poor during the Eed. Sometimes, they would treat them in an arrogant and despising manner. Even when they give them zakaat ul-fitr or a portion of the sacrifice, they do that in a haughty way, impressing on them the great favor they are rendering to them. This defeats the purpose of these `Eed offerings, and contradicts the Islaamic teachings concerning brotherhood among the Muslims.
Neglecting The Jamaa`Ah Prayers Without An Excuse
After praying the `Eed prayer in the masjid or musallaa, some people avoid the masjid for the rest of the day! Unless they have an acceptable excuse, they would be committing a sin by that. As emphasized earlier the `Eed is an occasion to increase in obedience and good deeds - not a chance to run away from Islaamic obligations.

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