Stupid Fatwah of The New Year


*Note – this article below is filled with  a very narrow minded and selective use and interpretation of theology, Islamic law, and scholarly rulings to deduce such simplistic, over-reaching and reductive conclusions.  I wish the author below would have also included these verses:
  • And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit. [Qur’an 29:46]
  • And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in God and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the Verses of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, God is Swift in account. ‘(3:199)’
  • Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve . [Qur’an 2:62]
  • Say (O Muhammad ): “O people of the Scripture : Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God. [Qur’an 3:64]
  • O mankind!
    We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female
    And made you into nations and tribes
    That ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).
    Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.
    And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). [Qur’an 49:13]

…And onward we go to the Stupid Fatwah of The New Year below  [This was an actual article sent out to many people]*
Some rulings on Christmas & New year

1. Joining in Christmas and other celebrations :

It is not permissible to join in the kaafir festivals for the following reasons:

Firstly: because this entails imitating or resembling them, and “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). This is a serious warning. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-‘Aas said: Whoever lives in the land of the mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawrooz (New Year) and their Mahrajaan (festivals), and imitates them until he dies, he will be a loser on the Day of Resurrection.

Secondly: taking part in their festivals is a kind of befriending them and showing love for them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them… “[al-Maa’idah 5:51]

“O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them” [al-Mumtahanah 60:1]

Thirdly: festivals are the matter of religion and beliefs, not the matter of worldly customs, as is indicated by the hadeeth: “Every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid.” Their Eid or festival reflects their corrupt beliefs of Kufr and Shirk.

Read more here: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/1130

2. Congratulating on Christmas :

Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: “Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on.

Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself.

So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.

Read more: http://islamqa.com/en/ref/947

3. Attending the celebrations of Christian festivals :

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: it is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the mushrikeen, according to the consensus of the scholars whose words carry weight.

The fuqaha’ who follow the four schools of thought have stated this clearly in their books… Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab that he said: “Do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them.”

And ‘Umar also said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.” Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a jayyid isnaad from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that he said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their new year and festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/723-724).

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/11427

4. Giving gifts on Christmas :

It is not permitted as it involves celebrating this festival, which is something that is haraam according to sharee’ah, including offering gifts on this festival.

Secondly, it involves imitating the kaafirs in these customs on the day of their celebration of that innovated festival.

“And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass it by with dignity” [al-Furqaan 25:72 – interpretation of the  meaning].

The scholars interpreted this aayah was referring to the festivals of the mushrikeen. It is not permissible to give any of them cards for their festivals, or to sell them cards or any of the other things they need for their festivals such as lights, trees or food – including turkey, candy canes, etc.

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/1130

5. Eating or accepting food/gifts that the people of the Book prepare for their festivals :

It is not permissible for the Muslim to eat foods that the Jews, Christians and mushrikoon make for their festivals. It is not permissible either for a Muslim to accept such things that are given to them on the occasion of their festivals, because that implies honouring them and cooperating with them in manifesting their symbols and propagating their innovations and sharing their happiness on the days of their festivals. That may also lead to taking their festivals as festivals for us too, or to exchanging invitations to meals or to give gifts on one another’s festivals at the very least. (Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 22/398)

Read more here:  http://islamqa.com/en/ref/12666

It is permissible for a Muslim to accept gifts from the kuffaar or to give them gifts, especially if they are relatives.

With regard to gifts given on their festivals, it is not permissible to give or accept them, because that is venerating their festivals and expressing approval of them and helping them in their kufr.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If someone gives a gift to the Muslims on these festivals and that is contrary to his habit at all other times apart from this festival, then his gift is not to be accepted, especially if the gift is something that is used to imitate them, such as giving candles and the like at Christmas. (Iqtida’ Siraat al-Mustaqeem, p. 227)

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/82860

5. Greeting or returning the greeting on New year :

It is not permissible to greet or congratulate the kuffaar on the occasion of Christmas, New Year or any of their other holidays, and it is not permissible to respond to them when they greet us on those occasions, because they are not festivals that are prescribed in our religion, and returning their greeting is an affirmation and approval of them.

So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.

If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allaah. (Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/44)

http://islamqa.com/en/ref/69811/

And Allaah knows best.

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17 thoughts on “Stupid Fatwah of The New Year

  1. As Salaamu Alaykum,

    Contrary to being a stupid narrow-minded interpretation of Islamic law, components of this Fatwah are actually well-grounded and have been historically followed by millions of Muslims for quite sometime. It is well settled that respect for Christian and Jewish holidays, in the context of Islam’s over-all message of religious tolerance, may not permit gift-giving, or the exchange of select holiday salutations.

    As a member of a religiously diverse household, I politely communicate to my family that I cannot wish them a Merry Christmas or give gifts because the foundation of their holiday is offensive to my beliefs. My love and tolerance toward my non-Muslim family has always trumped our diverging views on Christmas, each and every year. God protects those who speak the truth, inshAllah.

    I am sorry that the envious and spineless Christmas-Tree wanting Muslims cannot accept the simple reality that Christmas is a pagan holiday which is not to be practiced, condoned, or supported in any way possible.

    Fear God.

  2. You may very well be right as regards the fiqh at issue, TA. But let’s not be coy here: there is no ‘polite’ way to tell people you think their beliefs are BS and they’re going to hell, much less people you claim to love.

  3. You should rename this to the most ignorant comment on a rulings that are in fact supported by multiple scholars in different schools of thought.

    reading a couple of books does not make you a scholar Waj.

  4. One of the most fundamental rules of fiqh is that everything is permissible except that which is explicitly prohibited (except in matters of ‘ibadah, where the reverse is true). Thus, to say that wishing non-Muslims a “merry Christmas” or giving them gifts is unequivocally haram, one would need to provide clear evidence from Qur’an and/or sunnah for this. There is no evidence in Qur’an or sunnah that explicitly states saying “Merry Christmas” or giving gifts to non-Muslims at Christmas time is haram (or even addresses the topic specifically), so I think we should be very careful about labeling something as haram, not to mention that those that do so are “envious and spineless Christmas-Tree wanting Muslims”, as only Allah knows what is in people’s hearts.

    To argue against “befriending [non-Muslims] and showing love to them” seems somewhat dubious. The fact that Muslim men are permitted to marry Jewish and Christian women, a relationship Allah describes in the Qur’an as “engendering love and tenderness” between the two parties (30:21) would suggest otherwise. Muahmmad SAW himself married a Christian, Maria.

    Also, the fact that Allah SWT says elsewhere in the Qur’an that:
    “Allah does not forbid you to be kind (birr) and equitable) to those who had neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact God loves the equitable. (60:8) God only forbids you to make friends (wali) those who fought you on account of your faith and drove you out of your homes and backed up others in your expulsion. Those who will take them for friends are indeed the wrongdoers.” (60: 9)

    Interestingly, the word used here for “kindness” is “birr”, the very same word Allah uses elsewhere in the Quran to talk about the way a Muslim should treat his or her parents. And we know that this is not just a relationship of polite indifference or respect held at arm’s length, but one of the highest regard and honour. It is also, of course, significant to see the way the Allah specifically spells out exactly who it is of the non-Muslims that Muslims should not take as their close friends and protectors (wali), and thus negating the idea of it being a blanket prohibition against taking non-Muslims as friends. When Muhammad SAW was escaping Mecca and making his hijra to Medina, it was a non-Muslim guide, a polytheist called Abdullah bin Uraiqit, he trusted to get him there. He was completely vulnerable to the man; he literally trusted him with his life.

    The idea that somehow it is impermissible to acknowledge, let alone celebrate non-religious holidays, such as New Year’s day is one that has been addressed by modern-day, classically trained scholars such as Shakykh Abdullah bin Bayyah:
    “With regards to the statement [of the Prophet may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] that “Allah [The Exalted] has given you better than those (feasts): Eid al-Adha (Sacrificing) and the ‘Eid al-Fitr”, then “those feasts” were those with strict religious over tones: one a Christian holiday and the other a pagan one. In addition, the Prophet [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] mentioned that the Islamic holidays were two: ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha. But it is not understood from this that he [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] forbade people from gathering and celebrating [other non-religious occasions]. Even if a person considered [such gatherings] disliked there is no need for him to bother others by making things difficult that were not prohibited by the Qur’an, the Sunna, the consensus [of the scholars] and where no agreement was reached within the schools of Islamic law.

    This is because ease in matters [such as these where there is no prohibition and the origin is that of permissibility] is a must, and those statements that create hardship and burden [related to such matters], that are not based on explicit texts [that prohibit them], are weak. Thus, there is nothing that prohibits us from facilitating such matters for the people and giving them some breathing room because ease and facilitation are from the foundations of Islam: Allah says, “And He did not make any hardship for you in religion.” [Surah al-Hajj 78] and “Allah wants to lighten your burdens.” [Surah al-Nisa V. 28] and “Verily, with hardship there is ease. Verily with hardship there is ease.” [Surah al-Sharh V. 5-6]. The Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Facilitate [things] and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings, and do not cause others to flee.” In closing, we reiterate that the foundation of Islam is ease and the independent interpretation of the legal sources [ijtihad of scholars] is respected but is not [equal to] texts from the Shari’ah [Qur’an and Sunna].”

    The idea that we should be offended by the beliefs of non-Muslims seems spurious to me. Firstly, Allah only ever refers to Christians and Jews in the Qur’an as “Ahl al kitab”, not as “kafirs” and the derogatory tone used by some Muslims when addressing people as “kafirs” is disappointing and disrepctful. The Prophet SAW welcomed an envoy of about 60 Christains from Najran into his masjid in the years 8-10 AH. He allowed them not only to eat and sleep in the masjid, but when the time came for their Christain worship, he SAW allowed them to perform it in his masjid, facing towards the east. The Prophet SAW even said to his companions, “Leave them (to perform prayer).”Thus, the idea that non-Muslim’s (especially that of Ahl al Kitab) beliefs are so abhorrent to us that we cannot even bare to hear the word “Christmas” seems to run counter to the behaviour of the Prophet SAW. If saying “Merry Christmas” is the moral equivalent of congratulating them on murdering someone, what of letting them perform their Christian prayers in the prophet’s SAW own masjid?

    Other scholars have taken a different, and I would argue, more enlightened approach, on the issue of wishing others “Merry Christmas”, when they say:
    “Indeed the permissibility of congratulating non-Muslims on their festive days becomes more of an obligation if they offer their greetings on Islamic festive occasions, as we are commanded to return good treatment with similar treatment, and to return the greeting with a better one or at least with the same greeting. Allah Almighty says: “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or at least return it equally…” (An-Nisa’ 4: 86)

    A Muslim must never be less charitable or pleasant or indeed of lesser manners than any other, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated in the hadith: “The most perfect believers in terms of their iman are those who possess the most beautiful manners.” (Reported by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darmi, and Abu Dawud), and he (peace and blessings be upon him) also stated: “Verily I have been but sent to perfect the most noble of manners.” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Al-Bazzar in Kashful Astar) “ (from islamicity.org)

    Saying “Merry Christmas” is no more a case of “imitating the kufaar” than protecting the sanctity of a church (an obligation on Muslims in case you were unaware, as the promise Muhammad SAW made to the monastery of St Catherine states:

    “This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
    Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
    Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).)

    Ultimately, I don’t see why Muslims seem to feel so threatened by the religious practices of others, especially when there is nothing in Qur’an or Sunnah to suggest that. Surely we can wish people of another faith (especially ones that are exonerated in the Quran as being from previous revelation) without feeling that we have embraced their traditions for ourselves? Are we so insecure that we feel any minute, respectful acknowledgment of the traditions of others will inevitably lead to the corruption and destruction of our own traditions and practices? Can we not see the important distinction between respectfully acknowledging the practices of others and actively adopting them for ourselves? As the Kiswahili proverb states, “It is not necessary to blow out the other person’s lantern to let your shine”.

    Wa Allahu ‘alim.

    • ahmad, with all due respect you are caught up in the shams of satan, as the profs were all laid down properly and trust me your interpretation of the verses stated by Allah and surely supported by the words of Rasul and the stars that can after the Rasul like Umar[ra] maybe i might be wrong based on your views but a religious view will contradict all your interpretations as rejections of faith leaving a harsh un-wanted deem of saying rejection of Qur,aan untimately leaves you to kufr, also displeasing sahaba is displeasing Rasul and displeasing Rasul is displeasing Allah trust me Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets[as] therefore a logical societal concept by non-scholars are left only to approval by scholars who have the authority of the Rasul once it corresponds with the final actions and rulings of the Rasul and Qur’aan. thanking you for an informed loving acceptance as we all think is right is sorry to be said as rejected by the Lord of the worlds our creator so who should we follow? its just rhetorical.

  5. There are really two ways to dispute this. You could go back look for hadith collected and codified during a time of muslim rule and question the valid use of such traditions; Or you could ask yourself “Who the hell would want a practicing muslim in their neighborhood? It’s obligatory to be a jerk-off.”

    It should be noted that Ayatollah Sistani, the marja i taqlid with the most following in the twelver Shi’i sect, enjoins cooperative conduct whether in 1)friendships and neighborly relations, 2) civic duties even in a western democracy, and 3) in denying the legitimacy of revenge attacks on sunni suicide bombers that killed thousands of the community he leads. Skill, thoughtfulness, and affection can do more for a community and its proseletyzing aims than segregation and contempt.

  6. Ok – I know I’m going to be flamed for this (being a new Muslim and all), but Waj has my complete support on this. I will also say that my wife and several other Muslims in my area completely agree with Waj.

    For a religion that is supposed to be timeless, as well as one that is tolerant of others, it seems the views being expressed here are extremely narrow minded. I personally witnessed the changing of views of Muslims in the eyes of some Christians when my family participated in some activities over the holidays. No we didn’t praise the prophet Jesus (pbuh) nor did we sing any gospels or go to mass, but us being there and enjoying family time opened the eyes of my non-muslim friends letting them know that we are not the psycho underwear bombers the media portrays us to be.

    Our tolerance and respect for “the people of the book” need to be what is reported on, not how some Muslims hate everything western. This Fatwah’s only purpose is to continue to drive a wedge between us and the rest of the world. There is room to celebrate with family and friends without sacrificing our beliefs. Is it not true that “It is He Who knows what is open in speech and what you hide (in your hearts).” – Surah Al-Anbiyaa 21:110

    Praise Allah for this time with the family and friends – Praise Allah for the new year and the hope that seems to come with it. Praise Allah for allowing us to know who the true God is. When I think of Christmas, it’s a way to spend time with my Christian friends and family, but I praise Allah, not Jesus (phuh).

    When one says “Merry Christmas” to a Christian, it shows respect for that person and their religion. In turn, they respect me by saying “Eid Mubarak” after Ramada-an, or not bringing pork to a function that I attend, or even just the fact that they don’t fear me just because I am Muslim.

    I guess what I’m saying is that this Fatwah and the comments following seem like a whole lot of hate and I know that is not what my religion is about. There has to be a way to live in harmony with the rest of the world and not either look like terrorists or snobs.

  7. There is actually more logic and EVIDENCE for the so-called “stupid fatwa” than any of the irrelevant and out of context comments cited to allegedly contradict it.

  8. Re: “I politely communicate to my family that I cannot wish them a Merry Christmas or give gifts because the foundation of their holiday is offensive to my beliefs.”

    Offensive? Do you know how many people will find that close-minded and antithetical to the pluralistic society we live in?

    Why does it matter if it is theologically offensive to you? The issue is keeping good relations with family and the broader pluralistic society, and according to mainstream scholarship, there is benefit in keeping good relations with people of other faiths who live in the same community as Muslims. Wishing people happiness on a day is just that, hoping they enjoy their holiday, not some kind of condoning or imitation. It’s a show of respect that the other person believes in some different and you are comfortable enough with your faith that you don’t feel threatened by other beliefs. The Prophet stood when a virtuous Jewish man’s casket passed by him and his companions. He did it out of respect for broader principles that are shared among all people in a certain geographic community and society. It didn’t mean he advocated for Muslims to become Jews.

    Why make this harder than it is? My mother is a Palestinian immigrant and my father is non-religious (who was Muslim when he married my mother). When I wish my non-Muslim family Merry Christmas, I am given greater latitude to share with them larger things in life, and this sharing is instrumental in building positive relations and trust, which goes a long way in making Islam less foreign and predatory.

  9. Allah is not so small that he’d require us to belittle others by his command or for his pleasure…
    he is not so small and petty that he’d consider a good wish to another human as shirk…
    he isnt so small and so narrow that all his creation is only colored black and white and that everything must be labeled shirk or belief or bidah…
    Allah and Islam of all things is ‘reasonable’, for those who see the reason. He allows inherently for the gray areas in/of life, in that HE asks for moderation and thoughtful action above the total clarity of the extreme response.

    It is easier to be extreme and dogmatic, harder to be understanding, rational and reasonable. Under both you may be a muslim…but I for one sincerely doubt that God gave us this awesome brain and heart and fellow humanity just to test how unreasonable, irrational, dogmatic and mean spirited we and be…And we actually go so far as to believe that we get Allah’s good pleasure for it!.
    Allah could not have created humans to test how inhuman they could be. Think.

  10. As Salaamu Alykum Ahmad and to All,

    As you know, the only unforgivable sin in Islam is to commit the sin of Association. As is stands, Christmas is the ultimate form of association.

    Family and friends come together to celebrate the birth of God, part of God, or God’s son. Associating anything with God is simply unacceptable and it is perfectly acceptable to abhor this.

    After all, God abhors it. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. (5:73)

    If one is convinced that the Quran is the word of God then how could she partake in festivities which directly conflict with His word? Why would she wish one that she loves a merry or happy time when celebrating Christmas may result in a grievous penalty?

    For those Muslims who truly love all of humanity, they should display unwavering tolerance for people of the book. As you aptly demonstrate, sharing meals, allowing a Christian or Jew to pray in your home or Mosque may in fact be mandatory. However, this unwavering tolerance is not tantamount to affirming the most unforgivable sin.

    You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion. (109:6) provides a clear demarcation between Islam and other religions. Wishing one good tidings on a day that stands for everything repulsive to the One, blurs this demarcation.

    Much of your support comes from opinions and narrations of those who were not confronted with Christianity at its present. As you well know, the trinity and other forms of association, as well as the modern day understanding of Christmas, was largely absent at the time of their writing. Thus to assume that the Prophet, or those around him, would partake in the sin of Association is blasphemous.

    Equally disturbing is your rush to clarify that Christians cannot be deemed unbelievers simply because they are people of the book. There is too much to say about this here but I encourage you to at least refrain from dismissing majoratarian understandings that have existed for more than 1400 years.

    For the brother who converted. It is unecessary to reference the demented terrorist in this forum. There are over 1 billion Muslims, most of whom are peaceful. Do not allow the actions of a terrorist to color your understanding for the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence).

    It took me many years to remove myself from Christmas because its a natural human response love when those close to you feel happy. For many years I exchanged gifts, put up lights, and wished others around me a Merry Christmas because I was pleased to see the contentment around me.

    However, if one truly believes that the Hour is real, the Promise is real, and the Word is real, it should pain him to see his brother and mother committing the unforgivable sin of association. If you love for others what you love for yourself, then removing yourself from Christmas won’t be difficult. God-willing.

    Because there is no compulsion in religion, and as Wajj pointed out– people of the book may have their reward with Allah, it is better that you seek this contentment and cherished time with your family on a different day of the calender year. Don’t selfishly pacify your mind and tell yourself everything is o.k, when it may not be.

    For the millionth time, Islam repeatedly enjoins us to show unwavering respect to people of the book. We can marry of them, eat their food, pray in their churches, take them as friends. No harsh words, insults, OR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ANY TREATMENT WHICH MAY BE INFERIOR TO THAT OF THE A MUSLIM. But this does not mean partaking or affirming in the most unforgivable sin.

    God knows best.

  11. “Much of your support comes from opinions and narrations of those who were not confronted with Christianity at its present. As you well know, the trinity and other forms of association, as well as the modern day understanding of Christmas, was largely absent at the time of their writing. Thus to assume that the Prophet, or those around him, would partake in the sin of Association is blasphemous.”

    Sorry, but to say the idea of the trinity was around at the time of the Prophet (SAW), or that he was unaware of any sort of Christian doctrine other than a Unitarian one is simply false. See the verses below.

    These verses were revealed to the Prophet SAW himself and he still showed respect enough to Christians to allow them to hold their Christian worship in his masjid, suggesting, once again, that you don’t have to agree with people’s stance on religion to respect their practices or beliefs.

    “People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary, a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’ – stop, that is better for you – God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust.” (Qur’an 4:171)

    “Those who say, ‘God is the Messiah, son of Mary,’ have defied God. The Messiah himself said, ‘Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.’ If anyone associates others with God, God will forbid him from the Garden, and Hell will be his home. No one will help such evildoers.

    “Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God. If they persist in what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those of them who persist. Why do they not turn to God and ask his forgiveness, when God is most forgiving, most merciful? The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; other messengers had come and gone before him; his mother was a virtuous woman; both ate food. See how clear We make these signs for them; see how deluded they are.” (Qur’an 5:72)

    “When God says, ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people, “Take me and my mother as two gods alongside God”?’ he will say, ‘May You be exalted! I would never say what I had no right to say – if I had said such a thing You would have known it: You know all that is within me, though I do not know what is within You, You alone have full knowledge of things unseen” (Qur’an 5:116)

  12. @ Ahmad Z.

    I think he was referring to the modern form of the Christmas holiday, which had not developed into what it is today during the time of the Prophet (saw).

    Also, his point isn’t about respecting or not respecting Christians. We all can agree that it is important to respect people of the Christian faith. His point is that you can respect Christians without saying “Merry Christmas” or exchanging gifts. Those elements are not necessary to constitute respect of a people and their religion.

    To say that the only way Muslims can respect Christians is to say “Merry Christmas” and play Secret Santa with them is a very strange argument to make, at least to me. The above “Stupid Fatwa” does not breach conditions of mutual respect between the two religions and merely gives rulings on where Muslims cease to partake in the religious and cultural practices of the Christmas holiday.

  13. I dont know about you guys, but last I checked intention counted for something (significant) in Islam. ‘Merry Christmas’ translated/intended as “I hope you have a wonderful time off with the family” is very different from ‘Merry Christmas’ translated/intended as “Greetings on the birth of you Lord/God”!
    How many of us really imply the latter and do we believe that God who knows are innermost thoughts will mistake one for the other?
    Stop quoting fatwas and sunnah’s, use you common sense OR show me some place it says ‘in the quran, sunnah or hadith’ where it says not to use your sense.

  14. To TA and the other converts who ‘extricated themselves’ from various ‘pagan’ attitudes and sensibilities, the following should be of note:
    1) The multiple layers of irony in the usage of ‘pagan’ is one of those things that should make you go ‘huh’ -while scratching your head. Paganism is a wholly Christian Catholic Church coinage referring to any practice that strayed from doctrine as constructed by the early Christian ‘Fathers,’ including the opinion of other Christian ‘Fathers’ who disagreed with the Head Father In Charge. Initially, the latin root meant something similar to a country bumpkin, but Father Church wanted everyone to toe its line, and paganism was that defining term used to lump everyone. So the natural question that arises here is shouldn’t this concept of paganism by a Muslim be haram since it’s taken from the religious beliefs of the ‘non-Muslim’. How can following their actions be haram but following their beliefs (i.e. adhering to the accepted meaning and conception connoted by the word pagan/paganism) be justified.
    2) Point #1 might be taken as way too flippant and over-the-top, and so for the sake of the argument let’s say our intent for using ‘paganism’ is to translate ‘jahiliyyah’ – and that is how I used to reason the translations. Jahiliyyah/Jaahil, kufr/kafir, shirk/mushrik, Ahl-ul-Kitab, ‘sila-tul rahim’ (maintaining the family ties), and actions regarding them all have specific and distinct fiqh rulings. More to the point, these rulings tended to differ based on the jurist, his era, home, patron, juristic ‘school’ affiliation, and the person seeking the juristic opinion. To adequately apply those quoted juristic opinions that were lumped into the fatwah, one needs to carefully look at one’s situation as a convert Muslim and one’s parents, family, etc., who are not practicing Muslims and their religious affiliations. Are those family members are Ahl-al-Kitab, Mushriks (don’t know who actually fall under this rubric nowadays in America), Kafir, etc., etc. Additionally, are the parents and family members actively at war against the ‘prophetic mission of the day’ – (dunno how to reason this part since the Muslim world don’t operate under a single agenda). The ‘over-the-top’ objection might again be raised, to which a sufficient review of the Quranic usage of these terms as well as the Muslims’ behavior in Mekka and Madinah with each group should be in order. such a review will show that terms such as ‘non-Muslims’ is insufficient to describe the various actors, their beliefs AND actions for or against Muslims, and the Quranic and prophet stance toward these beliefs and actions. That we tend toward simplistic and monolithic generalizations of what was a very multi-layered and nuanced situation may have more to do with contemporary political or personal psychological needs than with the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah.
    3) Another irony is the comment that Waj’s reading of a few books doesn’t make him a scholar. The irony here is that the fatwah itself appears to have been cobbled together from a few books and fatwahs to support a preconceived opinion. Since I’m only here addressing fellow convert Muslims, for this fatwah to be relevant it must contextualize you and who you are when providing a coherent perspective of celebrations/eids. Why is it for example that these fatwas never mention that during the eids, some people used to sing war songs that celebrated wars between the Aws and Khazraj (a Jahili occasion for sure) in the prophetic presence. Why don’t these fatwas weigh the major sin of insulting one’s mother and father, and major obligation of maintaining permanent family ties, against actions in relation to which are minor.

    Finally, a rejection of Christianity, Judaism, Paganism, etc., doesn’t imply a rejection of Christians, Jews, or pagans/country bumpkins, and especially one’s country bumpkin family members. After a decade of doing so myself, and seeing others do the same, I believe – and can see the results – that this bodes ill not only for one’s sense of self and connection to one’s roots, it will do irreparable damage to one’s children, and the yet to be born.

  15. TA, how do you go from saying “Merry Christmas” to committing shirk? You are actually saying a person is committing shirk when he/she had not done anything close to it. That is just mind boggling. Does Islam say that a person is a murderer if he/she says they’ll kill someone… they’ll actually have to commit the murder to be deemed a murderer. So your logic is quite baffling. And also how does that relate to New Years, Hanukah, and Thanksgiving? As Ahmad so rightly put it… the burden of proof in Islamic legal system is to prove the prohibition of the act, not the other way around. Since, there isnt any prohibition dictated in the Quran and Hadith, it is an issue at the very least, Islam is neutral about (it is a muba’ issue). On a side note, Haram and Halal are just two categories- under the umbrella of Halal we have Makruh (Permissible, but recommended to avoid), Muba’ (Neutral), Mandub (Recommended to do) and Fard (Mandatory).

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