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Christianity Introducing Islam Islam

Ruling on Celebrating Christmas and Congratulating Them

Since the pagan festival of Christmas, celebrated by the Trinitarian polytheists, is fast approaching on the 25th of December, we would like on this occasion present a fatwa (Islamic ruling) for the Muslims with regard to celebrating their festival or even congratulating them.

It should be noted that the Christians believe that Jesus(P) is literally God, hence to participate or even greet them on the occasion of this festival is to implicitly agree with their doctrine. Therefore Muslims should be aware of the boundaries with regard to Christmas and how one should approach it.

Question:

Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah was asked:

    What is the ruling regarding wishing “Merry Christmas” to them [the Christians]? What about giving them an answer when they wish us with the same? Is it permissible to go to the places of festive occasions or parties which celebrate this occasion? Is someone considered to have sinned when he does something related to the above without intending to do so [his real reason] yet he did it only to show respect to his friends, or out of shame, or other reasons? Is it possible to do so in these circumstances?

Answer:

Praise be to God.

To wish the non-Muslims with Merry Christmas or any of their religious festivals is haraam (forbidden), by consensus of the ulama (ijma’), as Ibn al-Qayyim, may God have mercy on him, said:

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.

Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of God.”1

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. But the Muslim should not accept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because God does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you disbelieve, then verily, God is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. . .”2

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…”3

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 God. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islam, with which God sent Muhammad (P) to the whole of mankind.

God says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”4

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations.

Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet(P) said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak.”5

Whoever does anything of this sort is a sinner, whether he does it out of politeness or to be friendly, or because he is too shy to refuse, or for whatever other reason, because this is hypocrisy in Islam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion.

God is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent.

Taken from Majmu Fatwa Fadllah al-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen, Vol. III, pp. 44-46, no.403
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Ruling on Celebrating Christmas and Congratulating Them," in Bismika Allahuma, December 18, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/christianity/muslims-celebrating-christmas-ruling/
  1. Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah []
  2. Qur’an, 39:7 []
  3. Qur’an, 5:3 []
  4. Qur’an, 3:85 []
  5. Ibn Taymiyyah, Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem []
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Introducing Islam

The Pillars of Islam

Chapter 2: The Pillars of Islam

The Pillars of Islam are the cornerstones on which Islam is built. There are five pillars of Islam. This is mentioned in a hadith on the authority of Aboo `Abd ir-Rahmaan `Abdullaah, the son of `Umar ibn al-Khattab(R), who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah say: Islaam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, establishing the salaah (prayer), paying the zakaah (obligatory charity), making the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadaan.” [related by al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

1 – The Shahadah (the declaration of faith) that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad(P) is His slave and Messenger, requires solid belief in the heart, in it. This belief must also be confirmed by the tongue. It is called Shahadah to show that when a believer believes in it, his belief is as solid as if he is an eyewitness. This Shahadah is one cornerstone, although it contains many aspects that must be taken as belief. This declaration of faith (comprised of two testimonies as is apparent), is considered one cornerstone, either because it contains testifying that Muhammad(P) is only a conveyer of the Message from God and His slave and Messenger, thus completing the testimony that God is One. Or because these two testimonies together are the reason behind the acceptance of deeds by God. Deeds are neither valid nor accepted unless they are done with sincerity for the sake of God alone, and this is called “ikhlaas” and through following the way of the Messenger of God. Realizing the essence of this testimony, that there is no deity worthy of worship except God, is a result of ikhlaas (sincerity) to God. Realizing the true essence of testifying that Muhammad(P) is His slave and Messenger, comes as a result of following the Messenger of Allah.

This magnificent testimony leads to many sweet results. It frees the hearts and souls from being enslaved to the creation and from following other than the Messenger.

2 – Establishing the Prayers means to worship God by directing all praying to Him. One must preserve the prayers by establishing them on time and in the best manner, as taught by the Prophet.

Rewards for establishing the prayers include tranquility and happiness that are felt in the heart. Prayer strengthens and enlivens belief in God and inspires man to higher morality. Prayer also leads one to abandoning evil deeds and behavior.

3 – Paying Zakat is worshipping God by paying the amount of charity obligated on the ones who have enough money or possessions that require paying Zakat. Zakaat is a proportionately fixed contribution collected from the surplus wealth and earnings of the Muslim. It is spent on the poor and needy in particular, and the welfare and infrastructure of the society in general. The payment of zakaat purifies one’s income and wealth and helps to establish economic balance and social justice in the society. Paying the required zakat also leads to cleansing the heart from the evil of misery.

4 – Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is worshipping God by fasting during the days of this month by abstaining from eating or drinking from dawn to sunset, and curbing evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity, and devotion. It develops patience, unselfishness, social conscience, and willpower to bear hardship. Fasting trains the souls to abandon what is preferred and desired, seeking the pleasure of God.

5 – Hajj is the pilgrimage to the Kaa’ba in Makkah at least once in a lifetime, provided one has the means to undertake the journey. Hajj trains the souls to spend time and physical effort, seeking to obey God. This is why the Hajj is considered a type of jihad(struggle).

These fruits of performing the pillars of Islam, along with many others we did not mention, make the Muslim nation pure and clean. They lead the nation to preserving the religion of Truth and dealing with the creation in the best manners of justice and truthfulness. All other acts of the religion depend on how well these pillars are preserved. The Ummah (Muslim nation) can reach success as long as its members preserve the religion. This Ummah will not reach the desired success as long as the religion is not fully respected and preserved.

Whoever wants to be certain of the above mentioned facts, let him read the following Ayat(verses):

“And if the people of the towns had believed and had piety, certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (of evil deeds). Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment by night while they were asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment in the forenoon while they play? Did they then feel secure against the plot of All? None feels secure form the plot of All?except the people who are lost.” (Qur’an 7:96-99)

Let him also read the history of previous nations, which gives valuable lessons for whoever is in possession of a mind that comprehends and is rightly guided. This history is a light for those whose hearts are not blocked from the truth. All our dependence is upon God.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Pillars of Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, September 14, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/introducing-islam/pillars-islam/
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Introducing Islam

The Religion of Islam

Chapter 1: The Religion of Islam

Islam is the religion that God sent to Muhammad(P) and made it the final and most complete religion for His slaves. Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, purity, acceptance and commitment. As a religion, Islam calls for complete acceptance of and submission to the teachings and guidance of God.

A Muslim is one who freely and willingly accepts the supreme power of God and strives to organize his life in total accord with the teachings of God. He also works for building social institutions which reflect the guidance of God. “Mohamedanism” is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very spirit since the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a messenger of God, and not a divine being worshipped by Muslims.

Muslims use the Arabic word “Allah for the English word “God.” The understanding of Deity in Islam differs from some of the connotations in the English word “God.” For the convenience of English-speaking readers, the word “God” is used in this article except when the word “All?” is in the quotations from the Qur’? The misguided claims of Dr. Robert Morey, who says in his book The Islamic Invasion that “All?quot; is the name of the moongod can be easily disproved when one opens the Arabic Bible and notice that the equivalent word for “God” in the corresponding English translation is the word “All?quot;.

Islam is not a new religion or ever claim itself to be as such. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which God revealed to all His previous messengers.

“Say: ‘We believe in Allah and that which was revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.'” (Qur’? 3:83)

The message which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form. God perfected, in this religion, the bounties that He bestowed on His slaves, and accepts only Islam from them. God said,

“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of All? and the Seal of the Prophets.” [33:40]

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion.” [5:3]

“Truly, the religion in the Sight of God is Islam.” [3:19]

and:

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [3:85].

God obligated all mankind to follow Islam, as

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of All? to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is none who has the right to be worshipped but He; It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in All?and His Messenger (Muhammad), the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in All?and His Words (this Quran, the Torah and the Gospel), and follow him so that you may be guided.'” (Qur’an:158).

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of God said, what translated means, “By Whom the soul of Muhammed is in His Hand! No member of this nation, no Jew or Christian, hears of me and does not believe in what I was sent with, but he will be of the people of the Fire.” [Sahih Muslim].

Believing in the Messenger means believing in what was revealed to him, coupled with acceptance and submission; without them the belief is not sufficient. This is why Abu Talib, the Prophet’s(P) uncle, was not a believer in the Messenger, although he believed in what he was sent with and confirmed that Islam was the best religion (but without acceptance or adherence to Islam).

Islam contains all of what brings benefit which was also contained in previous religions. Islam, however, is suitable for implementation anytime, anywhere and by any nation. God said:

“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and dominant over it.” (Qur’an 5:48)

The meaning of “suitable for implementation at anytime, anywhere and by any nation,” is that Islam only brings benefit to mankind, whenever and wherever it is implemented. Islam is not under the control, and thus is not to be altered by, any nation living at any given time at any given place, as some people would want it to be.

Islam is the religion of truth. It is the religion that God guaranteed aid and dominance for whoever firmly adheres by it. He said:

“It is He who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the disbelievers hate it.” [9:33]

and:

“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous, good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, which He has chosen for them (Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (the believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the rebellious (disobedient to All?.” [24:55].

Islam contains belief and Law. It is a complete religion, both in its belief and in its Law. It demands from its followers the following:

  • Believing in Tauhiyd (Oneness) of God and disbelieving in Shirk (polytheism).
  • Being truthful and not lying.
  • Being just, that is to deal comparable things with equality, and abandoning injustice.
  • Being honest and abandoning treachery.
  • Preserving one’s promises and contracts and not breaking them.
  • Being dutifully good to one’s parents and not cutting ties of kinship.
  • Keeping relations with relatives and not cutting them.
  • Being good with neighbors and not harming them.

In general, Islam orders Muslims to have the best possible conduct and forbids all bad behavior. It requires Muslims to enjoin every righteous deed and avoid every evil deed. God said:

“Verily, God enjoins justice, Al-Ih’san (excellence in religion), giving (help) to kith and kin, and forbids all evil (deeds), Al-Munkar (all that is prohibited) and injustice. He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (Qur’an 16:90].

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Religion of Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, September 14, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/introducing-islam/basic-beliefs/
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Introducing Islam

The Pillars of Islamic Belief

Chapter 3: The Pillars of Islamic Belief

Islam, as we had earlier explained before, consists of belief and Laws. We have previously mentioned some pillars of the Laws. These pillars are the basis of Islamic Law. As for the Islamic ‘Aqeedah (creed), its pillars are: Believing in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and the good or bad that Qadar (predestination) brings.

These pillars are mentioned in the Book of God and the Sunnah of His Messenger. God said, when translated means:

“Righteousness is not that you (only) turn your faces towards the East and (or) the West (in prayers); but righteousness is (the quality) of the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets.” (Qur’an 2:177)

and with regards to Qadar:

“Verily, We have created all things with Qadar. And Our Commandment is but one, as the twinkling of an eye.” (Qur’an 54:49)

In the Sunnah, the Messenger of God(P) said, in answer to Gabriel when he asked him about Iman (belief), “Iman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Qadar and what it brings of good or bad.” [Sahih Muslim]

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Introducing Islam Islam

The Islamic Prayer and Its Importance in the Muslim Religious Consciousness

Prayer (salat) is the first duty imposed by God Almighty upon mankind after that of the belief in tawhid and constitutes a pillar of the Islamic faith.1 The position of prayer is very important and unparalleled by any act of other worship. Like the pole of a tent without which it cannot stand straight, Islam cannot stand without prayers. Prayers are also an act whereby it will be accounted for on the Day of Judgment, of which the Prophet(P) said:

“The first thing of the slave to be reckoned on the Day of Judgment will be his prayer. If it is good, the rest of his deeds will be (accounted as) good, and if it is rotten, the rest of his deeds will be rotten.” 2

The Purpose of Prayer

Prayer in Islam is considered to be the foundation of the religion. Any Muslim who fails to do his prayers and have no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and heinous sin. This offense is so grave because it is not only against God, which is bad enough, but also against the very nature of man to adore and love God. Hence to neglect prayer is to oppress the good qualities in human nature and unjustifiably deny it the right to adore and love Him, the right to aspire and ascend, the right to excel in goodness and achieve noble aims. Praying to the Creator on a daily basis is the best way to cultivate in mankind a sound personality and to actualize his aspiration. It should be borne in mind that God does not need a man’s prayer because He is free of all needs. Here man is the center of gravity and his common interest is the main concern.3

The Effectiveness of Prayer

In salat, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of God. The Islamic prayer is hence is not only a superficial act of worship as noted in other religions, but it is also a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, and all these elements are combined. The benefits that man can derive from the Islamic prayer are immeasurable and the blessings beyond his imagination.4

The effectiveness of the Islamic prayer (salat) is:

    – It strengthens the belief in the existence and goodness of God and transmits this belief into the innermost recesses of man?s heart.
    – It enlivens this belief and makes it constructive in the practical course of life.
    – It helps man to realize his natural and instinctive aspirations to greatness and high morality, to excellence and virtuous growth.
    – It purifies the heart and develops the mind, cultivates the conscience and comforts the soul.

Hence it is clear that the Islamic prayer, encompassing the above, fosters the good and decent elements in man, and suppresses the evil and indecent inclinations.

Breakdown of the Islamic Prayer

Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is sane, mature and – in the case of women – free from menstruation and confinement due to childbirth. Requirements of prayer includes the performing of ablution (wudu’), the purification of the whole body, clothes and the ground used for observing the Islamic prayer, dressing properly and having the intention and facing the kiblah (the direction of the Ka`abah at Makkah).

The following is a summarized breakdown of both the obligatory and optional prayers in the Muslim daily life:

Obligatory prayers: Five daily prayers, the Friday’s noon congregation prayer and the funeral prayer. Times of obligatory prayers:

1. Early morning: After dawn and before sunrise.
2. Noon: After the sun begins to decline from its zenith until it is about midway on its course to set.

3. Mid-afternoon: After the expiration of the noon prayer time until sunset.

4. Sunset: Immediately after sunset until the red glow in the western horizon disappears.

5. Evening: After the expiration of the sunset prayer until dawn.

Highly recommended prayer: Those accompanying the obligatory prayer and the two great festival prayers.

Optional prayer: Voluntary prayer during the day and night.

  1. Bukhari, hadith #61; Muslim, hadith #13 []
  2. Narrated in Tabarani. []
  3. Toshihiko Izutso, God and Man in the Qur’an, Islamic Book Trust, 2002 []
  4. Sayyid Abu Al-‘Ala Maududi, Islam: Its Meaning and Message, in M. Tariq Quraishi (ed.), American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1984 []
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Introducing Islam Islam Op-Ed

Eid Mubarak! On Occasion of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

eid_mubarak.jpg

On occasion of Eid al-Adha, we would like to wish all our readers Eid Mubarak! Certainly the occasion which commemorates the sacrifice of Abraham (P) and his son Ishmael (P) is a more benign and noble tradition as compared to the “blood sacrifice” [the pagan imagery] of a half-naked man-god who died humiliatingly swinging from a Roman cross. May Allah give victory to our Deen and wipe out that Trinitarian religion in the foreseeable future, insha’allah.

What is Eid al-Adha?

At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). In 2006, Eid al-Adha will begin on approximately December 31st, and will last for three days.

What does Eid al-Adha commemorate?

During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. The Qur’an describes Abraham as follows:

“Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous.” (Qur’an 16:120-121)

One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others, that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations:

“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)

The symbolism is in the attitude — a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.

What else do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday?

On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.