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Ruling on Celebrating Non Muslim Festivities

Two festivities of the People of the Book are looming these days, i.e. Christmas and the New Year. We have become used to those festivities being celebrated in companies, organizations, societies, etc. We are also used to some Muslims participating, joining, and attending these events of falsehood, behaving in a way not befitting those who belong to this magnificent religion. It is for this reason that we want to write these words as a reminder for this Ummah.

Nothing should be done at all. This means that we, as Muslim, should not do anything we do not usually do on such days. It should be just another day with nothing special about it, as if they (People of the Book) are not celebrating. In this way Muslimeen make themselves different.

Allah has indicated to us the hostility of the infidels in many verses, including: "Verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies" [4: 101]. Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'alaa also called them the party of Satan and Satan's allies, etc.

Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said: 'You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e. inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a zab (a kind of lizard) you would follow them.' We said, 'O Allah's Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?' He said, 'Whom else?'
(Saheeh Bukhari Kitab-ul-I'itisaam Part: 3 Page: 937)

Joining the People of the Book in their festivities is more, or at least as forbidden, as joining idolaters other than the People of the Book. No one should argue that it is only the idolaters who are meant and that the People of the Book have common grounds with Muslims that are not applicable to others.

Celebrating the Christmas, Persian festivities such as Neyrouz, Jewish festivities and festivities of others as well, all come under the same ruling. Since we should not imitate them in festivities, the people who apparently are in this Ummah and who do this must be forbidden from doing so, let alone approve and support them. We should not answer invitations from them if they invite us specifically on such occasions. If someone holds an unusual celebration that coincides with one of the People of the Book's festivities we do not have to answer the invitation although otherwise a Muslim should answer an invitation from a fellow Muslim as in the prophet's tradition.  

The detailed evidence from the Book of Allah includes Allah's description of the believers, whom He calls "Worshippers of the Most Gracious", saying: "And those who do not witness falsehood and if they pass by ''Laghw'' (evil play or evil talk) they pass by it with dignity". [25: 72]. This ayat is very clear and explains the dislike of Allah as regards to such festivities. 

The Tradition contains numerous ahaadith including; Anas (Radi Allah u Anho) said: Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) arrived to Al-Madinah when its citizens had two days as festivities (The Arabs had two days of festivities in pre-Islamic time). Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "What are those two days?" They said: "We used to celebrate them in pre-Islamic time." He said: "Allah has offered you two better alternative days, Day of Al-Adha and Day of Fitr".
[Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Nasai, Sanad: Saheeh].

The implication of this hadeeth is that Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) did not approve of those two pre-Islamic festivities and did not allow them to be celebrated and insisted on alternative festivities.

The second hadeeth by Thabit Ibn Al-Dhahalah (Radi Allah u Anho) said: A man during the time of Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) made a vow to Allah to slaughter camels at "Bawatah". The prophet asked: Was there an idol of the pre-Islamic idols? He said: No. The prophet said: Was there any of their festivities? He said: No. The prophet (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said: Then carry out your vow. There should be no vows implying disobedience to Allah nor in what one has no power to do."
[Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim].  

Thus it is clear that the implication in this hadeeth is that slaughtering in a place of their festivities or idols is an act of disobedience to Allah.

Our beloved prophet Muhammad (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) issued a stern warning:

"Whoever imitates a nation is one of them!"
(Reported by Ahmed, Abu Dawood Kitab ul Libaas Part: 3 Page: 241,Sanad: Saheeh, Buloogh ul Amaani Part: 6 Page: 121)

The prophet Muhammad (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said:

The Final Hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit (inch by inch).
(Saheeh Bukhari Kitab ul I'itisaam Part: 3 Page: 937).

   
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