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 Ruling on celebrating Christmas

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PostSubject: Ruling on celebrating Christmas   Ruling on celebrating Christmas EmptyWed Jan 19, 2011 9:59 pm

Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said[1] the following in his commentary on the aayah (interpretation of the meaning),
“And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]

As regards
the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical
desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious
benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in
pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending
them.

This aaayah itself praises and
commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of
urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of
falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals
because they are called al-zoor (falsehood).

It indicates that it is haraam
to do this for many reasons, because Allaah has called it al-zoor.
Allaah condemns the one who speaks falsehood [al-zoor] even if no-one
else is harmed by it, as in the aayah forbidding dhihaar [a form of
divorce in which the man says to his wife “You are to me like the back
of my mother”], where He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie [zooran]…” [al-Mujaadilah 58:2].
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… So shun the abomination of idols, and shun lying speech (false statements) [al-zoor].” [al-Hajj 22:30].
So the one who does al-zoor is condemned in this fashion.
In the Sunnah: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came [to Madeenah] and they had
two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said, “What are these two days?”
They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the
Jaahiliyyah.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].” (Reported by Abu Dawood).

This indicates clearly that the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) definitely forbade
his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar, and he strove to
wipe them out by all possible means. The fact that the religion of the
People of the Book is tolerated does not mean that their festivals are
approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as the rest of
their kufr and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to great lengths to command his
ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah
(permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like
them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in
all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of Hell,
the less likely you are to do the acts of the people of Hell.

The first of them is: The hadeeth “Every people has its festival, and this is our festival” implies exclusivity, that every people has its own festival, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“For every [nation] there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers)…” [al-Baqarah 2:148]
…and
“…To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” [al-Maa’idah 5:48].
This implies that each nation has its own ways. The laam in li-kulli
[“for every”, “to each”] implies exclusivity. So if the Jews have a
festival and the Christians have a festival, it is just for them, and we
should not have any part in it, just as we do not share their qiblah
(direction of prayer) or their laws.

The second of them is: one of
the conditions set out by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased
with him) and agreed upon by the Sahaabah and by all the Fuqahaa’ after
them is: that those of the People of the Book who have agreed to live
under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimmah) should not celebrate their festivals
openly in Daar al-Islam (lands under Islamic rule). If the Muslims have
agreed to prevent them from celebrating openly, how could it be right
for the Muslims to celebrate them? If a Muslim celebrates them, is that
not worse than if a kaafir does so openly?

The only reason that we forbade
them to celebrate their festivals openly is because of the corruption
involved in them, because of the sin or symbols of sin. In either case,
the Muslim is forbidden from sin or the symbols of sin. Even if there
was no evil involved apart from the kaafir feeling encouraged to
celebrate openly because of the Muslim’s actions, how can a Muslim do
that? The evil involved (in their festivals) will be explained below, in
shaa Allaah.

Al-Bayhaqi reported with a
saheeh isnaad in Baab Karaahiyat al-Dukhool ‘ala Ahl al-Dhimmah fi
Kanaa’isihim wa’l-Tashabbuh Bihim Yawmi Nawroozihim wa Maharjaanihim
(Chapter on the Abhorrence of Entering the Churches of Ahl al-Dhimmah on
the Occasion of their New Year and Other Celebrations): From Sufyaan
al-Thawri from Thawr ibn Yazeed from ‘Ata’ ibn Deenaar who said: ‘Umar
said: “Do not learn the language of the non-Arabs, do not enter upon the
mushrikeen in their churches on their feast-days, for the wrath (of
Allaah) is descending upon them.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.”
It was reported with a saheeh
isnaad from Abu Usaamah: ‘Awn told us from Abu’l-Mugheerah from
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and
celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until
he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of
Resurrection.”

‘Umar forbade learning their
languages, and even entering their churches on the day of their
festival, so how about doing some of the things they do on those days,
or doing things that are a part of their religion? Is not going along
with their actions worse than learning their language? Is not doing some
of the things they do on their festival worse than just entering upon
them? If divine wrath is descending upon them on the day of their
festival because of what they do, then is not the one who does what they
do, or a part of it, also exposed to the same punishment? Do not the
words “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals” mean that we
should not meet them or join them on those days? So how about the one
who actually celebrates their festivals?

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr clearly
stated: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their
New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that
state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

This implies that the one who
joins in with them in all of these matters is a kaafir, or that doing
this is one of the major sins (kabaa’ir) that will doom one to Hell; the
former meaning is what is apparent from the wording.

He mentioned – and Allaah knows
best – the one who lives in their land, because at the time of
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr and the other Sahaabah, they used to forbid open
celebration of kaafir festivals in the Muslim lands, and none of the
Muslims imitated them in their festivals; that was possible only when
living in the lands of the kaafirs.

‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased
with him) refused to even acknowledge the name of their festivals which
were exclusively theirs, so how about actually celebrating them?

Ahmad mentioned the meaning of
the reports narrated from ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with
them) on this topic, and his companions discussed the matter of
festivals.

Imaam Abu’l-Hasan al-Aamidi
said: the one who is known as Ibn al-Baghdaadi said in his book ‘Umdat
al-Haadir wa Kifaayat al-Musaafir: “It is not permitted to attend the
festivals of the Christians and Jews. Ahmad stated this in the report of
Muhannaa, and his evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the
meaning):

‘And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…’ [al-Furqaan 25:72].
He said: (This is)
al-Sha’aaneen and their festivals. He said: The Muslims are to be
prevented from entering upon them in their synagogues and churches.”


[1]Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, p. 183
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