Celebrations and Ruling on participataing of non-Muslim Religious

The correct view is that it is not permissible to single out the days of their festivals for fasting, because their festivals are occasions which they venerate, and fasting on these days and not others coincides with them in their veneration.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Our companions said: it is makrooh to single out the day of Nawrooz and the day of Mahrajaan to fast, because these are two days which are venerated by the kuffaarm so fasting only on these days and not on others is agreeing with them in their veneration of those days. This is like the case of Saturday, so by analogy this ruling applies to every festival of the kuffaar and every day which they venerate.” (al-Mughni, 4/924; see also al-Iqtidaa’, 2/975).

This ruling applies in cases where one singles out that day to fast because it is their festival. But if it happens to coincide with a vow or a voluntary fast, without intending to fast because it is their festival, then there is nothing wrong with that.” (See Haashiyat Ibn Qaasim ‘ala al-Rawd al-Murabba’, 3/064). The guideline in being different from them with regard to their festivals is that one should not innovate anything at all; one should treat the days of their festivals as being like any other day. (See al-Iqtidaa’, 2/815). So one should not take the day off work, or rejoice on that occasion, of single that day out for fasting, expressing grief, etc.

Shaykh al-Islam mentioned something which may be taken as guidelines with regard to the matter of imitation. He said: “tashabbuh (imitation) includes those who do something because they do it, which is rare; and those who follow others inwhat they do for some purpose of his own even though the action is originally taken from those others. As for the one who does something that happens to be done by others as well, but neither of them took it from the other, it is open to debate as to whether this is is imitation or not. But the person who does this may be rebuked so that there will be no excuse for imitation, and because this will reinforce the idea of differing from them.” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/242).

On the basis of what Shaykh al-Islam has said, actions that happen to coincide with what they do may be divided into two types:

Imitation of them, which is where the person who imitates them wants to be like them ,for whatever reason. This is haraam.

Resembling them, which is when a person is not deliberately aiming to be like them. In this case it should be pointed out to him, then if he stops, all well and good; otherwise he is guilty of the kind of imitation that is haraam. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw me wearing two garments that had been dyed with safflower. He said, ‘This is the clothing of the kuffaar, do not wear them.’” According to another rport: “He said, ‘Did you mother tell you to wear this?’ I said, ‘Should I wash them?’ He said, ‘No, burn them.’” (The two reports were narrated by Muslim in al-Libaas wa’l-Zeenah, 2077)

Al-Qurtubi said: “This indicates that the reason he told him not to wear them was that by wearing them he was imitating the kuffaar.” (book title?? 5/399).

It seems from the hadeeth that ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not realize that he was imitating the dress of the kuffaar, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) still told him off for that and explained the ruling of sharee’ah on this matter.

If something originated with the kuffaar, And it is done by them and by others, then this is not imitation, but Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it should be stopped so as to leave no room for excuses and so as to protect the Muslims from falling into imitation of the kuffaar, and because this serves the purpose of differing from them.

The munaafiqoon and the festivals of the kuffaar  
1. The socialist Baath party in one of the Arab countries tried to abolish Udhiyah (sacrifices for ‘Eid al-Adhaa) on the grounds of famine and drought. Their supporters put up a huge banner on which was written: “For the sake of the hungry and the poor and the naked, donate the value of the sheep for udhiyah.” (See al-Istijaabah magazine, vol. 4, Rabee’ al-Thaani 1406 AH).

Eid al-Adhaa came and went, and the Muslims in that country offered their sacrifices. Then when Christmas and New Year approached, preparaions began to celebrate them. When Christmas and New year came, they were official holidays in that country, and there were lavish parties and promiscuous soirees. Foremost among the people celebrating were the leaders of the scoialist Baath party whose joy at the Christian festivals made them forget the needs of the poor, hungry and naked, whose plight they only remembered at the time of the Muslims’ Eids!

2. One of them wrote in his weekly column, under the title of “Tolerance” (see ‘Ukaaz newspaper, 28/8/1418, 5/9/1418, 12/9/1418 AH) words that indicate the sickness in his heart and the weakness of his religion. The tolerance to which he referred was with regard to the Christian festivals of Christmas and New year. Among the things that this pseudo-faqeeh said was: “This human brotherhood includes all of mankind, and there is no division and enmity except when there is fighting and when the Muslims are opposed by another group – then there will be fighting, enmity and legitimate self-defence, despite the fact that some extremists and terrorist groups are trying to extinguish this light by spreading interpretations and ideas whiich encourage hatred and boycotting the world. So they make noise of occasions which are celebrated by the entire world and consider congratulating others to be a deviation from Islam. But in fact, I tell you, these occasions spread love, not hatred, and bring people together, not divide them.” The author went on, in his compliant and defeatist series on tolerance, which went on for three issues, to cover the Christians festivals for which his heart overflowed with love. In his second article, he said: “Its origin is kindness, i.e., tolerance and justice. As for enmity, it is directed towards those who have declared hostility against us. The matter of difference of religion is something which will be up to the justice and mercy of Allaah on the Day of Judgement.
Definition of imitation. 
Imitation (tashabbuh in Arabic) means resembling. If we say that someone imitates someone else, we means that he looks like him and acts like him. Likening a things to something else (tashbeeh) means saying that it is like it. The word tashabbuh has many counterparts in Arabic which carry meanings such as being like, imitating, looking like, following, agreeing with, taking as an example, copying, etc. They all have shades of meaning of their own, but they also overlap with the meaning of tashabbuh. In terms of the terminology of Fiqh, al-Ghuzzi al-Shaafa’i defined tashabbuh as describing a person’s attempt to be like the one whom he is imitating, in appearance, characteristics, wqualities and attributes. It implies making an effort to achieve this and deliberately taking action for that purpose.

The ruling on imitating the kuffaar  
One of the most important basic principles of our religion is that of al-walaa’ wa’l-baraa’, loyalty (walaa’) to Islam and its people, and diavowal (baraa’) of kufr and its people. One of the essential features of this disavowal of kufr and it’s people is that the Muslim should be distinct from the people of kufr, and he should feel proud of his religion and of being a Muslim, no matter how strong and advanced and civilized the kuffaar may be, and no matter how weak and backward and divided the Muslims may be. It is not permissible under any circumstances to take the strength of the kuffaar and the weakness of the Muslims as an excuse for imitating and resembling them, as some hypocrites and defeatist Muslims claim. The texts which forbid imitating the kuffaar do not make any distinction between whether Muslims are strong or weak, because the Muslim can be distinct in his religion and be proud of being Muslim even when he is in a weak position.

Allaah calls us to be proud of Islam, and considers this to be the best of speech and the best kind of pride, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” [Fussilat 41:33]

Because it is so important for the Muslim to be distinguished from the kaafir, the Muslim is commanded to pray to Allaah at least seventeen times each day to help him to avoid the path of the kaafireen and to guide him to the Straight Path:

“Guide us to the Straight Way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray” [al-Faatihah 1:6-7 – interpretation of the meaning].

There are very many texts in the Qur’aan and Sunnah which forbid us to imitate them, and which clearly state that they are misguided; whoever imitates them, imitates them in their misguidance. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings);

“Then We have put you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) on a (plain) way of (Our) commandment [like the one which We commanded Our Messengers before you (i.e. legal ways and laws of the Islâmic Monotheism)]. So follow you that (Islâmic Monotheism and its laws), and follow not the desires of those who know not.” [al-Jaathiyah 46:18]

“Were you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to follow their (vain) desires after the knowledge which has come to you, then you will not have any Walî (protector) or Wâq (defender) against Allâh” [al-Ra’d 13:37]

“And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them” [Aal- ‘Imraan 3:105]

Allaah calls the believers to remember Him with humility and to recite His Verses, then He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fâsiqûn (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allâh)” [al-Hadeed 57:16]