// Muslim scholars send rare Christmas greetings
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« on: Dec 25, 2007 06:11 AM »


Muslim scholars send rare Christmas greetings

http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/12/24/10177262.html


Paris: Leading Muslim scholars have addressed warm Christmas greetings to Christians around the world, a message notable both for what it said and the fact that it was sent at all.

The greetings, sent by a group of 138 Sunni, Shiite, Sufi and other scholars who recently proposed a dialogue with Christian leaders, called for peace on earth and thanked church leaders who have responded positively to their invitation.

The message, as the dialogue proposal made in October, was unprecedented because there has not been until now such a large group of Islamic scholars that could draft a common letter.

While individual Muslim clerics have exchanged holiday greetings with Christians in the past, nothing on this scale has been possible before.

Social lesson

"Al Salaamu Aleikum, Peace be upon you, Pax Vobiscum," the greetings letter began in Arabic, English and Latin.

The text is available on the group's website www.acommonword.com

It noted that Christmas came just after the Haj to Makkah and the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid Al Adha) recalling how the Prophet Ebrahim almost sacrificed his son. "God's refusal to let Ebrahim sacrifice his son ... is to this day a divine warrant and a most powerful social lesson for all followers of the Ebrahamic faiths, to ever do their utmost to save, uphold and treasure every human life and especially the lives of every single child," it said.

"May the coming year be one in which the sanctity and dignity of human life is upheld by all," it added.

 "May it be a year of humble repentance before God and mutual forgiveness within and between communities."

The conciliatory tone echoed that of the October appeal, which said Muslims and Christians should hold a serious dialogue on the basis of their shared commandments to love God and love one's neighbour.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 25, 2007 11:45 AM »

:wsalam:

wow that's really interesting. most muslims refuse to even acknowledge christmas yet we expect others to recognize our holidays? good job on the part of whoever started that. good dawah too  shaykh
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 27, 2007 09:46 PM »

 peace be upon you


All praise be to Allah.


It is not permissible to congratulate non-Muslims on their innovated holidays.  The reason for this is that it is encouragement of their misguidance.  Would you want to help someone to go astray?

Rather, as believers we should engage in dialogue with the non-Muslims regarding issues and beliefs that we share, that are alhamdulillah many.  For example, we can talk about Allah, the Lord of Abraham, and the life of Jesus and Mary, may Allah have mercy on them.  We can talk about the afterlife, and the purpose of our lives in this world, to do good, kindness to neighbors, animals, the environment.

There are many things that we can talk about in our religious dialogue.  The Common Word letter sent by the Muslims is a good program to reach out to non-Muslims, but we should not go beyond the bounds of what is allowed by the Shariah.


May Allah guide the believers to follow the way of our pious predecessors.


And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 28, 2007 05:27 AM »

It is not permissible to congratulate non-Muslims on their innovated holidays. 

The letter said "greetings on christmas" not "congratulations". Note that 138 scholars also signed it. If it was not worded correctly or wrong I think one of the scholars might have objected to it. Sometimes muslims like to be overly sensitive and misconstrue everything done in the name of dawah thinking 'oh they're being kafirs cuz that's just what the kafirs do', but it is because they look at everything with a very narrow "bidah on the brain" viewpoint.

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« Reply #4 on: Dec 28, 2007 08:59 PM »

 salaam


All praise be to Allah.



The ruling that it is not permissible to congratulate non-Muslims on their innovated holidays is well known amongst the classical Ulema, since one who does so, intentionally or not, is approving of kufr and misguidance.   This is not my opinion, it is the ruling of the great Ulema.


The great and noble 'alim Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah 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 Allaah."


He said this in his book: Ahkaam ahl adhimma.


If any modern scholar says otherwise he is going against the consensus of the previous generations (Ijma').  They should abandon their sectarian views and follow the consensus of the Ulema.


It is important that we all follow the laws of Islam (shariah) and not our own opinions and theories and thinking.  If one follows his own desires this will surely lead him astray.


We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our selves.


And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 02, 2008 08:02 PM »

Asalamualaikum wa rahmatallah,


I hope you are well Smiley  This is a potentially misleading article, as the Common Word website actually states that the letter was released over 4 months ago.  It makes no mention of Christmas greetings.  The Ulema who signed it were endorsing a proposal for interfaith dialogue, not Christmas greetings.

Also, they mention that the signatories are from various "sects and denominations".  It is not always the case that all the various sects follow what is correct.  An example is what many Shia' practice, called temporary marriage.

According to the Ulema, temporary marraige was abrogated in the Year of Tabuk.


So it is always a good rule of thumb to follow the advice of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:

"We don't judge the truth by men, but we judge men by the truth."



May Allah guide us to follow the guidance explained by the Ulema and not excercise our own judgement.


-Shaykh Abdurahman



I'm sorry I also forgot to mention this reference:



Question:
Is it permissible for me to say to non-Muslims “And the same to you” when they wish me a Happy New Year or say Best Wishes?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

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. The Muslim should be proud of his religion and its rulings, and he should be keen to call others and convey to them the religion of Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on greeting the kuffaar on the occasion of Christmas and how we should respond when they greet us on this occasion. Is it permissible to go to the parties that they hold on this occasion?

Is a person sinning if he does any of the things mentioned without intending to, and he only does it to be nice, or because of or shyness or embarrassment or other reasons? Is it permissible to imitate them in that?

He replied:

Greeting the kuffaar on the occasion of Christmas or any of their other religious holidays is haraam according to scholarly consensus, as was stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in his book Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, where he says:

"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 Allaah." End quote.

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 Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

"If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah 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.  .
[al-Zumar 39:7]

". . .

 This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion . .

[al-Maa’idah 5:3]

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 Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers."

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]


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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem: "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

End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/44.

And Allaah knows best.


Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 03, 2008 06:37 AM »


I'm sorry some of you feel the way you do.
Personally I found this to be wonderful, my heart was so
joyous when I read about this.
I felt the scholars were really putting forth a hand in peace.
Maybe if was can look at our similarities instead of our differences there may
be hope after all.
I was most pleased by this and thankful to Allah for it.

 purplehijabisis
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 03, 2008 08:28 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

Apologies if there was any confusion on the original article.

The following is the text as presented on the website:



A Muslim Message of Thanks and of Christmas and New Year Greetings, December 2007

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

May God bless Muhammad and his kin and bless Abraham and his kin

Al-Salaamu Aleikum; Peace be upon you; Pax Vobiscum

Peace be upon Jesus Christ who says: Peace is upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am resurrected (Chapter of Mary; the Holy Qur’an; 19:34).

During these joyful holidays we write to you, our Christian neighbors all over the world, to express our thanks for the beautiful and gracious responses that we Muslims have been receiving from the very first day we issued our invitation to come together to ‘A Common Word’ based on ‘Love of God and Love of Neighbor’ (see www.acommonword.com for the document and the responses).

We thank you and wish you all a joyous and peaceful Christmas Holiday Season commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, may peace be upon him.

We Muslims bear witness that: There is no god but God, without associate, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, and that Jesus is His Servant, His Messenger, His Word cast to Mary, and a Spirit from Him …. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Ahadith al-Anbiya’).

We pray, during these blessed days, which have coincided with the Muslim feast of the Hajj or Pilgrimage, which commemorates the faith of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), that the New Year may bring healing and peace to our suffering world. God’s refusal to let Abraham (peace be upon him) sacrifice his son—granting him instead a ram—is to this day a Divine warrant and a most powerful social lesson for all the followers of the Abrahamic faiths, to ever do their utmost to save, uphold and treasure every single human life and especially the life of every single child. Indeed, it is worthy of note that this year Muslim scholars issued a historic declaration affirming the sanctity of human life—of every human life—as an essential and foundational teaching in Islam upon which all Muslim scholars are in unanimous agreement (see details at www.duaatalislam.com).

May the coming year be one in which the sanctity and dignity of human life is upheld by all. May it be a year of humble repentance before God, and mutual forgiveness within and between communities.

Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.




Obviously the signatories of the letter above must have their own evidence allowing them to make such a statement.

It would be nice to hear the other side so us lay people could understand the arguments on both sides of this issue.

In the meantime Allah knows best.


Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 05, 2008 03:20 PM »

Interesting this came up as we were discussing this issue:

Drops From the Objectives of Shari’ah: al’Allamah Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Offering Holiday Greetings to Others

AlQaradawi’s opinion:
Doha: Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars) considered it permissible to congratulate Christians and other People of the Book during their Holidays. He has also proposed to replace the term “Ahl Aldhimma” (dhimmis) with “Citizens”. This occurred in responses to questions during the past few days regarding the permissibility of greeting and congratulating Christians during Christmas (i.e. wishing them a Merry Christmas).

“I consider it permissible especially if they are your relatives, neighbors, colleagues and classmates (a significant relationship exists)”. “It is permissible as long as they are not hostile towards us”.

Dr. Al-Qaradawi mentioned that considering the current global context was what led him to differ with the great Scholar of Islam Ibn Taymiyya, who considered it impermissible to greet and congratulate Christians and others during their holidays.

60:8]. This is the foundational statement regarding this issue.

Furthermore, Dr. Al-Qaradawi proposed to replace the term “Ahl Aldhimma” (dhimmi: a legal term used to refer to Christians) with “Fellow Citizens”. Supporting his proposal he said: “Our Jurists have all said: ‘Ahl-Aldhimma are part and parcel of Dar al-Islam’. this statement means that they are fellow citizens, so why don’t we forsake the term that harms them and use one that doesn’t?”. “Omar ibn Al-Khattab (rAa) did what was even greater than just forsaking a term. He foresaked the term “jizya” that was mentioned in the Quran when the tribe of Bani Taghlib came to him and said: ‘We are a proud people and cannot tolerate the term jizya. Take from us what you wish but call it sadaka (charity).’ Omar hesitated at the beginning but consulted with his companions who said, ‘they are a powerful and influential people, if we leave them they will join with the Romans and will cause greater harm to us’. Following their opinion, Omar accepted their proposal.”

“What matters is the subject and the content, not the jargon and terms. We need to revisit many issues related to non-Muslims and Women. We need to put emphasis on the “Fiqh of Facilitation” and the “Fiqh of Gradualism” so that we could accommodate our changing context.

Dr. Al-Qaradawi concluded by saying, “Many of our Scholars live in their books and do not live in their reality, they have no understanding of their surrounding reality because they have not read the “Book of Life”, but only read the books of their predecessors. For that reason their fatwas appear as if they have just come out of a grave!”

Ibn al-Qayyim’s opinion:
(Note: Dr. Al-Qaradawi referred to Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion. Ibn al-Qayyim is Ibn Taymiyya’s famous student. It is most likely that the former’s opinion is a rearticulation of the latter’s.)

Ibn al-Qayyim said: “As for greeting and congratulating them on their rituals of kufr, it has unanimously been deemed impermissible. Under this goes greeting them during their holidays or fasts by saying “Happy Holiday” etc. Whoever does this is committing an impermissible action, that’s if he didn’t actually fall into kufr. Its as if you are congratulating them for prostrating to a cross. It’s actually a greater sin than congratulating them on drinking alcohol or murdering or committing adultery. Unfortunately, many people fall into this mistake, not knowing the severity of their action. For whoever congratulates a person for a sin or an innovation or an act of kufr is susceptible to Allah’s Anger. In fact, some of our scholars used to avoid congratulating tyrants or incompetent judges for their positions, in order to avoid Allah’s punishment.


http://www.suhaibwebb.com/blog/2008/01/03/drops-from-the-objectives-of-shariah-alallamah-yusuf-al-qaradawi-on-offering-holiday-greetings-to-others/
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 05, 2008 11:45 PM »

Asalamualaikum wa rahmatallah,

A few comments:


1.) Islamic Law indicates that we must follow revelation and give it precedence over ‘aql, and Islamic adab requires that we build on the ijtihaad of those before us. As Sayyidna Ali stated, “If the religion was by opinion, we would have wiped the bottom of our Khufs, not the top!”

Dr. Al-Qaradawi concluded by saying, “Many of our Scholars live in their books and do not live in their reality, they have no understanding of their surrounding reality because they have not read the “Book of Life”, but only read the books of their predecessors. For that reason their fatwas appear as if they have just come out of a grave!”

I don’t see why the respected Doctor had to insult the intelligence of the Ulema that disagree with his opinions by saying “they do not live in their reality, they have no understanding of their surrounding reality.” Does he say this because they judge by the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah, not by their own opinions?

This is an argument often heard by others who insult the book of Allah, saying that, for example, inheritance and hudood do not apply in our time. At the very least, he seems to be mocking the opinion of Ibn al Qayyim. He may not be, but that is how it appears.

Christians (and even Jews) lived peacefully with Muslims in Damascus during the time of Ibn al-Qiyyam, so it is unlikely that Ibn-al Qiyyam had no experience with Christians and Jews. Furthermore, Muslims have intermarried with Christians since the earliest of times, would Ibn-al Qayyim have been unaware of these close relations, and the effect of not giving Christmas tidings on family relations?

If Dr. Qaradawi refutes the previous Ulema with legal proofs, that is fair game, but saying “you are out of touch with reality” is not the language of Islamic Jurists, and I have never seen that used as a daleel in a book of Fiqh. If he says there is “Daroora”, this has been specified by the Fuqaha as “harm to life or limb”. Does anyone know, does Dr. Qaradawi broaden this definition of “Daroora” in any of his books?

2.)  There is a principal in Fiqh that says: Being pleased (ridaa) with Kufr is Kufr. He did not address this issue in his fatwa.

I don’t see his refutation of the position and proofs of the Imam Ibn Qiyyam at all in what was posted, aside from saying it is out of touch with reality. My understanding is that Judicial rulings (fataawa) are not based on the Maqaasid or the Qawaaid Fiqhiyyah, which he referred to. They must be based on the Four agreed upon sources of Law (Quran, Sunnah, Ijmaa’, or Qiyaas). Is he using a type of Istihsaan?


3.)  Ibn al-Qiyyam mentioned there is consensus on this issue, ie. that it is something haraam.  This means that it is not permissable for a later scholar to come along and refute the previous consensus of the Ulema.  The basis for consensus being absolute as a form of Law is the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him:

"My Ummah will not form consensus on a mistake (or a misguidance, in another narration)"


Ibn al-Qayyim said: “As for greeting and congratulating them on their rituals of kufr, it has unanimously been deemed impermissible. Under this goes greeting them during their holidays or fasts by saying “Happy Holiday” etc. Whoever does this is committing an impermissible action, that’s if he didn’t actually fall into kufr.



Furthermore, I have heard of and know of many Muslims that celebrate Christmas.  I caught a bunch of Muslim boys selling Santa Hats down the street from me (in Damascus).  One brother I know put a Chirstmas tree in his store, when we asked him why he did that, he said "Its only a tree!."  So you can see the danger if we Muslims start celebrating Christmas by hanging banners saying "Merry Christmas!" in on our homes, stores, and in our communities.


4.)  Doctor Qaradawi has also issued other fatawas, such as the permissability of purchasing a house on mortgage, even if Islamic financing is available, the permissablity of shaking hands with women (if there is no desire), the staying of a believing wife with her kaafir (ex)-husband, that have been refuted by the majority of the Ulema, including Dr. Ramadan Booti, Shaykh Munajjid, and others. 



5.)  I have learned a great deal from the Doctor, and appreciate his efforts.  But I just thought I would share these points and benefit from your replies. Please forgive me for anything, especially those of you who are devoted followers of Dr. Qaradawi! 




May Allah accept our efforts and bring us together on the truth.




And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 06, 2008 05:05 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

Interesting views on both sides here.

There seems to be a differentiation in what’s been posted above between those non Muslims who are deliberately antagonistic to Islam and who celebrate Christmas as a religious festival as compared to those who have no antagonism and who simply partake in the festival with no religious undertones.

Given the differences the scholars have over this issue, we won’t be reaching any conclusions here but this topic is a good example of how one should try and understand at least both sides of an issue before deciding on a particular course.

As our Imam in the UK always use to say to us, if a particular party has an evidence [legitimate evidence that is] for following a particular way, then let them practice on it even though you may have other evidences and disagree.

Ultimately Allah swt will decide on who was correct or, in fact, if both of you were correct.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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