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Celebrations in Islaam
  Eid Celebrations - Differing from the Disbelievers
Author: Dr. Muhammad al-Jibaly
Article ID : IBD150001  [22569]  
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Differing from the kuffaar is of different levels or types, some of which are more important than others. They can be broadly classified as follows:

  1. Islaam requires us to be different from non-Muslims in matters which are particular to their beliefs or worships, such as: wearing a cross, attending their religious services, wearing monks' attires, displaying or valuing their idols, etc. Imitating the kuffaar in such matters constitutes a major sin which is most possibly a form of disbelief that leads to permanent abode in the Hell Fire (may Allaah (T) save us).
  2. Islaam requires us to be different from the kuffaar in matters which are representative of them or are characteristic of their identity, even if the religious aspect were not apparant in such matters. Examples of this type of requirements: growing beards and trimming moustaches, dying white hair, not to totally abandon women in their menses, etc.
  3. Matters which can be classified under the above two types should be treated similarly, even if there is no specific text to require such treatment. Examples: wearing the Western hat or wedding bands, carrying pictures of family members, walking dogs, wasting time in watching sports games and soap operas, etc.
  4. As for other matters which are done by the kuffaar but are not specific to them, the above texts inform us that we should still try to be distinctive from them as much as possible.
  5. What is stated above should not be taken to mean, for instance, that we should not learn the sciences or use technology because the kuffaar are currently its leaders. Islaam requires us to learn and benefit from such forms knowledge, and this does not have to do with the subject of being different from the disbelievers.

Holidays Are Part of the Complete Deen

After the above lengthy discussion which, as stated earlier, is meant to provide general guidelines concerning celebrations and other related matters, we come back to apply what we have learnt so far to the subject at hand.

Prophet Muhammad (S) once saw the Ansaar celebrating a certain day. He inquired about that and was informed: This is one of two days that we used to celebrate in Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance) and we continue to do so. He replied: Nay! Allaah has substituted for you two better days: the day of al-Fitr and the day of al-Adhhaa. [Authentic; narrated by Ahmad, an-Nasaaee, and others]

In addition to these two days, the Jumu ah (Friday) is an eid day. The Prophet (S) said: This is a day which Allaah has designated as an eid for Muslims. [Authentic] From this and the previous hadeeth, we conclude that Muslims have only three eid days, a weekly eid every Friday, and two annual eids, al-Fitr and al-Adhhaa.

Also, Islaam instructs us as to how to celebrate our eids. No fasting is allowed on these days (Friday is excepted under certain conditions). On eid days, Muslims take a bath and wear their best clothes. They avoid all forms of sinning which people tend to commit when they are in a state of rejoice. The major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking. Rather, it is a prayer which gathers Muslims together to remember Allaah's bounties and to chant His glory and greatness.

It becomes clear then that Allaah alone has the right:

  1. to prescribe eids and to set their dates, and
  2. to prescribe the manner of celebrating them.

Imitating Non-Muslims in Celebrations

The evidence from the Qur aan and the Sunnah is quite clear in that eids are distinctive features for every nation. Allaah (T) said (what means): To every people we have appointed [its own] rites and ceremonies. [al-Hajj (22) 34/67] And it was shown in the previous section that eids are purely religious occasions for Muslims.


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