Ruling on Muslims’ following the Kafir (disbelievers) in their Special occasions, propagating and celebrating them – Alifta

Statement from the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ concerning the ruling on celebrating the Gregorian Year 2000 and related issues

All praise be to Allah, Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets.

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The questioners have asked about the ruling on dedicating attention to the Gregorian millennium, celebrating it, and other issues relating to the event. It is sufficient for us to quote just two of the posed questions:

The first question says, “Nowadays we see the programs that the mass media is broadcasting about the celebrations and preparations held for the arrival of the Year 2000, and the beginning of the third millennium. The Kafirs (disbelievers) from among the Jews, Christians, and others, are very happy about it and pin their hopes on this event. My question, Your Eminence, is that some Muslims have become interested in it and are considering it a happy occasion to get married or do business on. Others are advertising this event in their shops or companies, and doing other things that offend Muslims. What is the Shari‘ah (Islamic law) ruling on celebrating this event and exchanging verbal congratulations and cards on it? May Allah reward you with the best for the efforts you exert for Islam and Muslims!”

The second question says, “The Jews and the Christians are preparing to celebrate the arrival of the Year 2000 according to their calendar, in an extraordinary way to promote their plans and beliefs in the world, particularly in Muslim countries. Some Muslims have been influenced by this propaganda and have also started preparing for it and many of them are announcing sales on this occasion. We fear that this may affect the Muslims’ ‘Aqidah (creed) in relation to their loyalties to non-Muslims. We hope you will explain the ruling on Muslims’ following the Kafir (disbelievers) in their special occasions, propagating and celebrating them, and the ruling on giving workers the day off in some organizations and companies to mark this occasion?

Does doing any of these or similar things, or approving them, have any effect on a Muslim’s ‘Aqidah?”

Having studied the questions, the committee answered as follows:

Islam and the guidance to the Straight Path are the greatest blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His Servants. It is through His Mercy that Allah (Exalted be He) obligates His Believing Servants to ask Him for guidance during Salah (Prayer). They ask Him to guide them to and keep them on the Straight Path. Allah (Glorified be He) describes this Straight Path as being the path of those on whom He has bestowed His Grace from among the Prophets, the Siddiqin (the followers of the prophets who were first to believe in them, such as Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq), the martyrs, and the righteous, and not the path of those who have gone astray from the Jews, Christians, and other Kafirs (disbelievers) and Mushrikin (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship).

Once this is learned, it is obligatory on a Muslim to realize the greatness of Allah’s Blessing upon them. They should give thanks to Allah (Glorified be He) in words, deeds, and beliefs. They should guard this blessing, protect it, and adopt the means necessary to keep from loss.

An insightful look into Allah’s Din (Religion) in today’s world, in which the truth and falsehood have become mixed and confused for many people, will clearly see the efforts the enemies of Islam are exerting to destroy its realities, extinguish its light, distance Muslims from it, and sever all their connections with it by any possible means. Not only that, but they are also attempting to distort its image and bring accusations and forge lies against it, to avert people from the Way of Allah,and from Iman (Faith) in what Allah revealed to His Messenger, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (peace be upon him).

Allah (Exalted be He) confirms this by saying (what means): Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Allâh’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them.

And: A party of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish to lead you astray. But they shall not lead astray anyone except themselves, and they perceive not.

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: O you who believe! If you obey those who disbelieve, they will send you back on your heels, and you will turn back (from Faith) as losers.

And: Say: “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you stop those who have believed, from the Path of Allâh, seeking to make it seem crooked, while you (yourselves) are witnesses [to Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as a Messenger of Allâh and Islâm (Allâh’s religion, i.e. to worship none but Him Alone)]? And Allâh is not unaware of what you do.

There as also many other Ayahs (Qur’anic verses) to this effect.

Nevertheless, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has made a promise to protect His Religion and Book, as He says: Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). All praise is to Allah! Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has informed that a group of his Ummah (nation based on one creed) will continue on the Truth, triumphant, and they will not be harmed by those who forsake or oppose them until the Day of Judgment. All praise is to Allah! We ask Allah (Exalted be He), Who is the Ever-Near and the Responsive, to make us and our Muslim brothers among this group. Indeed, He is the Most Generous Bestower.

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ has seen and heard about the huge preparations and great interest shown by the Jews, the Christians, and those so-called Muslims who are influenced by them to mark the end of the year and welcome the new millennium according to the Gregorian calendar, and the committee cannot but provide advice and clarification for all Muslims on the facts of this occasion and give the ruling of the sanctified Shari‘ah on it, so Muslims will be enlightened about their Din and beware of the deviations of those who earned Allah’s Anger and those who went astray.

To continue:

First: The Jews and the Christians have attached events, sufferings, and pinned hopes on the arrival of this millennium, which they are certain – or almost certain – that they shall come to pass, as they are the outcome of their researches and studies, as they claim. They have also attached some of their creedal issues to this millennium, which they claim to have been mentioned in their distorted books. It is obligatory on Muslims not to pay attention to this or believe it; instead they should be content with the Book of their Lord (Exalted be He) and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him), and any theory or opinion contrary to these is just an illusion.

Second: This and other similar occasions are never devoid of mixing the truth with falsehood, and inviting to Kufr (disbelief), Dalalah (deviation from what is right), licentiousness, atheism, and the emergence of Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect).Among these invitations are the calls to unify the religions, equate Islam with false creeds and sects, ask for the blessing of the Cross, and practice the Jewish and Christian rites. This is in addition to the words and deeds that either imply that the distorted abrogated Christian and Jewish creeds can lead to Allah, or express approval of some of their beliefs which contradict the Din of Islam or constitute Kufr (disbelief) in Allah, His Messenger, and Islam, by the Ijma‘ (consensus) of the Muslim Ummah. Moreover, this occasion is one of the means of alienating Muslims from their Din.

Third: The Qur’an, Sunnah, and authentic Athar (narrations from the Companions) give detailed evidence on the prohibition of imitating the disbelievers in what is particular to them. This includes imitating them in their ‘Eids or celebrating them. ‘Eid (festival) is a generic term which (in the context of these reports) includes every day or occasion which is repeated and is venerated by the Kafirs, or any place in which the Kafirs hold religious gatherings, or any action which they do in these places or at these times – all of that is part of their ‘Eids or festivals. The prohibition applies not only to their festivals, but to any times or places which they venerate that have no basis in the Din of Islam; and all the invented acts that they do at them are prohibited also. The days preceding and following their festivals are also covered by this prohibition, as pointed out by Shaykh Al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him).

One of the Ayahs (Qur’anic verses) which specifically forbid imitating Non-Muslims in their festivals is Allah’s Saying: And those who do not bear witness to falsehood This is stated as one of the characteristics of Allah’s Believing Servants. A group of the Salaf (righteous predecessors), including: Ibn Sirin, Mujahid, and Al-Rabi‘ ibn Anas, interpreted the word “Al-Zur (falsehood)” as referring to the festivals of the Kafirs. It was authentically reported that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to Al-Madinah, they had two days on which they would celebrate. He (peace be upon him) asked, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to celebrate on these two days during the Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance).’ The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has given you two days instead of these that are better than them: the Day of Al-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice) and the Day of Al-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast).” (Reported by Al-ImamAhmad, Abu Dawud, and Al-Nasa’y, through Sahih [authentic] Sanad [chain of narrators])

It was authentically narrated by Thabit ibn Al-Dahhak (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, A man vowed to sacrifice some camels in Buwanah (a hill beyond Yanbu`) during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). So, he came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, ‘I have vowed to sacrifice some camels in Buwanah.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, “Were there any idols of the Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance) there that were worshipped?” They said, ‘No.’ He (peace be upon him) asked, ‘Were any of their festivals held there?’ They said, ‘No.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Fulfill your vow, for there is no fulfillment of a vow which involves disobedience to Allah, or with regard to a thing the son of Adam does not own.’” (Reported by Abu Dawud through a Sahih Sanad)

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Do not enter to the Mushrikin (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) in their churches on the day of their festivals, for Wrath descends upon them.” He (may Allah be pleased with him) also said, “Keep away from the enemies of Allah on their festivals.

It is also reported that `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As (may Allah be pleased with them both) said, “Anyone who settles in the land of the non-Muslims and celebrates their Nayruz (New Year’s Day) and their Mahrajaan (two non-Islamic Persian festivals), and keeps imitating them until they die in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

Fourth: Muslims are prohibited from observing the festivals of the Kafirs for many reasons, some of which are:

1. Imitating them in some of their festivals will give them delight and complacency in their falsehoods.

2. Imitation and similarity in external matters will inevitably leads one to imitating them and behaving like them in internal matters such as their corrupt beliefs, and being slowly and subtly won over to their way of thinking.

3. One of the gravest ensuing corruptions is that imitating the Kafirs in external matters generates a kind of love, friendship and loyalties that are incompatible with Iman (Faith), as Allah (Exalted be He) says:

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. Verily, Allâh guides not those people who are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).

He (Glorified be He) also says:

You (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم)

Fifth: Based on the above, it is not permissible for a Muslim who believes in Allah as their Lord, Islam as their religion, and Muhammad as their Prophet to celebrate any festival that has no basis in the Din of Islam, and that includes the so-called new millennium. Neither are they permitted to attend such festivals or take part in them, or to help others do so in any way whatsoever, because this is sin and transgression of the limits set by Allah. Allah (Exalted be He) says: …but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment.

Sixth: It is not permissible for a Muslim to cooperate, in any way, with the Kafirs with regard to their festivals – including the new millennium under discussion – by publicizing and announcing them, or propagating them by any means, whether through the mass media, or by setting up digital clocks and notice boards, manufacturing clothing and memorabilia, printing cards or school notebooks, announcing sales, offering prizes, organizing sport events, or producing special slogans or logos.

Seventh: It is not permissible for Muslims to consider the festivals of the Kafirs – including the millennium – to be happy occasions or blessed times for taking the day off work, getting married, starting a business or beginning new projects, etc. It is not permissible to believe that these days are more special than other days; because these are just like any other days.This is a corrupt belief that does not change the reality of these days in the slightest. Such beliefs are nothing but sin upon sin. We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound.

Eighth: It is not permissible for a Muslim to congratulate the Kafirs on their festivals, as this implies a kind of approval of their false beliefs and makes them happy.

Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful to him) said:

“As for offering congratulations on the special ritualistic occasions of Kufr (disbelief), this is agreed to be Haram (prohibited), such as congratulating them (the Kafirs) for their festivals and fasts by saying, ‘Happy or blessed festival to you’ and the like. Even if the one who says so escapes committing Kufr, it is still Haram. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the Cross; in fact it is even more sinful in the Sight of Allah and more hateful than congratulating someone for drinking Khamr (intoxicants), killing a soul, or committing adultery, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their Din fall into this error; they do not realize the abhorrence of their action. Anyone who congratulate a person for committing an act of disobedience, Bid‘ah (innovation in religion) or Kufr exposes themselves to the Hate and Wrath of Allah.”

Ninth: It honors the Muslims to abide by the Hijri (lunar) calendar which is based on the date of Hijrah (migration) of their Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Madinah, upon which the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) consensually agreed, and they dated events according to it without celebrating it. Muslims have followed in their footsteps and passed on this heritage for fourteen centuries to our present day. Therefore, it is not permissible for a Muslim to abandon the Hijri calendar and adopt the calendar of any other nation on earth, such as the Gregorian. This means exchanging that which is better for that which is worse.

We, therefore, advise all Muslims to have Taqwa (fear/wariness of offending Allah) and to act in obedience to Allah, keep away from sins, and to exhort one another to persevere in this and be patient.

Let every believer be true to their soul and strive to save it from the Wrath of Allah and His Curse in this world and the Hereafter by actualizing their knowledge and Iman. They should take Allah as their Guide, Helper, Lawgiver, and Protector, for He is the Best Protector and the Best Helper. Indeed, sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper.

Let them also repeat the Du‘a’ (supplication) of the Prophet (peace be upon him):

O Allah! Lord of Jibril, Mika’il, and Israfil, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, You will judge between Your servants concerning that over which they used to differ. Guide me to the truth of that wherein they differed, by Your leave, for You guide whomsoever You will to the Straight Path.”

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Member Member Member Chairman
Bakr Abu Zayd Salih Al-Fawzan `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah Al Al-Shaykh

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