Dr. Hüseyin BÜYÜKÖZER
In these days when Israel, with the support of the world’s infidels, martyred 20,000 Muslims in Gaza, left thousands wounded and disabled, and made thousands of houses uninhabitable, it is very important for us, as Muslims, to remember these evil celebrations.
Non-Muslims like Christmas etc. Celebrating religious or special days. The clear ruling in the books of fiqh is that anything done “for the purpose of paying homage” on non-Muslim holidays (giving or receiving gifts, congratulating, etc.) is blasphemy.
Hazrat Imam-i Rabbani also says the following in this context: “To respect [the festival days of the Hindus, the Newroz days of the fire worshipers, and the Christmas nights and other Easters of the Christians] and to follow their customs at those times is polytheism. It causes blasphemy. On the holidays of the infidels, ignorant Muslims do what the infidels do and think that these days are Muslim holidays and, like the infidels, they send gifts to each other. They decorate their belongings and tables just like the unbelievers do. They distinguish those nights from other nights. “These are all polytheism and infidelity.” (Maktubat- Rabbani 3/41)
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya definitely says that it is haram: “It is unanimously haram to celebrate the rituals specific to the unbelievers. For example, when a Muslim person says “happy birthday” or “congratulations” on Eid and fast days. This – even though it is safe from blasphemy – is from muharremat. This is like congratulating them on prostrating to the cross. In fact, this is one of the biggest sins in the sight of Allah and includes drinking alcohol, killing a person, committing adultery, etc. Things should be hated and hated more than celebrated. Many of those who do not know the value of religion and do not attach much importance to it fall into this situation and do not know how ugly their actions are. As a result, whoever congratulates a servant for a sin, an innovation, or a blasphemy will undoubtedly be subject to the wrath and anger of Allah.”
In order to sum up the statements of the ulema, if we interpret the word of Ibn Qayyim, which expresses the lightest judgment on this issue, as “unless it is done with the intention of paying homage”, celebrating the religious holidays of the infidels is forbidden and is in the same position as congratulating them on their prostration to the cross. Because in this action, there is acknowledging the slogan-ritual of blasphemy they committed and consenting to it – even though he does not consent to that blasphemy for his own sake. However, it is forbidden for a Muslim to agree with the slogans of blasphemy and to congratulate someone else for this reason. Because Allah Almighty says:
If you disbelieve, then ˹know that˺ Allah is truly not in need of you, nor does He approve of disbelief from His servants. But if you become grateful ˹through faith˺, He will appreciate that from you. No soul burdened with sin will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you of what you used to do. He certainly knows best what is ˹hidden˺ in the heart. (Surah Az-Zumar – 7)
Join the celebration
On the other hand, if the unbelievers congratulate us Muslims on this occasion, they will not be accepted. Because this is neither our holiday nor something that pleases Allah. As a matter of fact, Allah (swt) says in the Surah Ali Imran: Whoever seeks a way other than Islam,1 it will never be accepted from them, and in the Hereafter they will be among the losers. (Surah Ali ‘Imran – 85)
Therefore, it is forbidden for a Muslim to respond to their New Year greetings and say “yours too”. Because this response means participating in their Christmas, being a partner. And this participation expresses a kind of love towards them, which is prohibited by Allah (swt) in the Surah al-Mumtahina:
O believers! Do not take My enemies and yours as trusted allies, showing them affection even though they deny what has come to you of the truth. They drove the Messenger and yourselves out ˹of Mecca˺, simply for your belief in Allah, your Lord. If you ˹truly˺ emigrated1 to struggle in My cause and seek My pleasure, ˹then do not take them as allies,˺ disclosing secrets ˹of the believers˺ to the pagans out of affection for them, when I know best whatever you conceal and whatever you reveal. And whoever of you does this has truly strayed from the Right Way. (Surah Al-Mumtahanah – 1)
To commit an act specific to infidels
Likewise, a Muslim’s attempt to imitate the unbelievers on the occasion of such holidays is to give and receive gifts; distribute sweets and food; It is also haram to exhibit any kind of behavior, such as taking a vacation from the workplace. As a matter of fact, our Prophet (pbuh)
“Whoever tries to imitate a people is one of them”, another hadith says:
“You will follow the ways of those before you, inch by inch, inch by inch. Even if they enter through a goat’s hole, you too will enter,” he said, and the Companions said, “(What is meant by those before us) Jews and Christians, O Messenger of Allah?” “If not them, then who?” and strictly prohibited imitating the infidels.
Taking action to help celebrate
It is also not permissible for a Muslim to assist or assist non-believers in performing their religious holidays, ceremonies and celebrations in any way. The materials, tools and equipment they used in their celebrations; turkey, eggs, peanuts, snacks, etc., food types; clothes, pine trees etc. This includes selling, gifting or renting any equipment to be used in the execution of these works and making them available to them. In all of these, it is possible to assist/induce a sin that is religiously forbidden and haram. And this is not permissible, just like selling grapes or grape juice to unbelievers knowing that it will make them drink. As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty said the following in the Surah Al-Maidah:
O believers! Do not violate Allah’s rituals ˹of pilgrimage˺, the sacred months, the sacrificial animals, the ˹offerings decorated with˺ garlands, nor those ˹pilgrims˺ on their way to the Sacred House seeking their Lord’s bounty and pleasure. When pilgrimage has ended, you are allowed to hunt. Do not let the hatred of a people who once barred you from the Sacred Mosque provoke you to transgress. Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness, and do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And be mindful of Allah. Surely Allah is severe in punishment. (Surah Al-Ma’idah – 2)
As a result, we can say that if a Muslim who does any of these things or helps them do them, “if he intends to pay homage to those days – we seek refuge in Allah – he falls into disbelief”, as stated in the books of scholars such as Ibn Abidin. If there is no intention of reverence, then it is forbidden and sinful. The situation is the same whether he did it out of kindness or affection, or whether he did it out of embarrassment. Because; As it is understood from the hadith mentioned above, imitating the unbelievers is prohibited in our religion.
Congratulating such holidays and participating in them in any way is a form of charity and love, which is prohibited by the relevant verses.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve and Christmas is a kind of holiday and is an issue with a religious and doctrinal dimension. As a matter of fact, our Prophet (pbuh) said: “Every community has a holiday. “This is our holiday,” he said, adding that every society has its own holiday and we Muslims have a different holiday.
A Muslim who celebrates this act is a hypocrite in the religion of Allah, and his actions bear the sign of hypocrisy. However, a true Muslim is obliged to exalt the religion of Allah under any circumstances and to present it as a value above all else at every stage of his life.
For a Muslim to be an intermediary in these celebrations is to help in something that is forbidden, which is prohibited by the relevant verse and as the last word, Allah (swt) said: “Fear Allah; because Allah’s punishment is very severe.”