Today's scholars, are faced with a task, that scholars of previous times, did not have to reckon with; before the age of globalization, scholars would render religious edicts (fataawa), about their own people, and their own cultural affairs, and their own countries and lifestyle, about which they were uniquely familiar.  Today, scholars face, and sometimes simply take upon themselves, the colossal assignment of electronically rendering religious edicts, about people, places, and cultures, sometimes thousands of miles away, where they have not lived, do not have an intimate working knowledge of, and are woefully unfamiliar with.

Fatwas, that apply to well-known, and necessary matters of worship, aqeeda, theology, and religious practices, can be applied globally, across all nations and people. With regard to such issues, all Muslims are the same, and they all have the same obligations, and responsibilities. For example, in issues of salah, fasting, inheritance, and the like, all Muslims must adhere to the same ah'kaam. However, Muslim, in matters that has to do with tradition, and cultural norms, and regional circumstances, Muslim scholars should refrain from making rulings which prohibit the cultural practices people in faraway lands.

It is not common, and virtually unheard of, for scholars of Egypt to render fatwas against the people of Syria for what they do in their country, or for the scholars of Saudi Arabia to render fatwas against the People of Bahrain for what they do in their country, or for the scholars of Lebanon, or Algeria, to render fatwas against the Muslims of Sudan, for what they do in their country.

Were they to do that, people would be insulted and take hyperbolic umbrage over it. There is a certain respect, and acknowledgement of scholars, to respect the boundaries, intelligence, and independence of Muslim peoples in other countries, to understand their own condition, and to handle their own affairs accordingly. This gentleman's understanding and respect, should also extend to Muslims, and Muslim converts living in America.

Muslim Americans have lived on this continent, since the 1600's, long before this country even became a republic. They have endured under slavery, torture, illiteracy, and being bought and sold like cattle, and still managed to hold on to their faith. So to think that American Muslims of today, do not know how to maintain or practice their faith in the midst of a country like the United States of America, is untenable, and untenable is a soft word because it's more like, ludicrous. It would be unthinkable for an American Muslim scholar or imam to render a ruling about practices in another country, and be taken seriously.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and his learned companions, knew how to navigate their way through their society in a way as to avoid what was prohibited upon them. This is true for most Muslims, once they know what is prohibited upon them according to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah. If we can accept, as the majority of scholars do, that the companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were able to navigate through Arab society using the guidance of the Qurʾān and the Sunnah, then how can we not accept the possibility that American Muslims could do the same, without outside help? The reason the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) migrated from Mecca to Madinah, was not because they were unable to conduct their affairs morally and comprehensively in an un-Islamic society; the reason he made the Hijra, was because the Muslims were under persecution. It is a historical fact that the first Hijrah was because of persecution, and the same went for the second Hijrah. This is why the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) “said the best of you in jaahiliyyah are the best of you in Islam if they understand (the religion)”. In order for people to understand the religion, the focus has to be upon the primary texts of the Qurʾān and the Sunnah; not the secondary opinions, that are inconsistent with the original intentions (maqaasid) of Islam.

Thus, it is our view that scholars, who are not intimately informed about people's daily lives, and exchanges with their environments, cannot and should not, attempt to micro-manage people's interactive navigation through life, as they pursue the religious ideals and values for which God holds them accountable.

During the last four or five decades, millions of Americans have converted to Islam, and their families and extended families were not Muslim. People have used Thanksgiving Day for a day of strengthening family ties, keeping in touch with their relatives whom normally, they would not have the opportunity to visit because of work obligations and distance. And in the overwhelming majority of cases, the non-Muslim families because of love and attachment to the Muslim, accommodates them in every possible way.

It would be grossly irresponsible to say that Thanksgiving, or any observance of it, is prohibited. Because to do so, is to say that people gathering to eat, to be amongst their family and loved ones, and to express their thanks to God, is an abomination, and something that angers God. To render the holiday and all of the practices haraam would say that it is evil, an abomination, and something that God hates.

“Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no authority hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not”.[1]

Thus, when a convert to Islam is now told that eating with his family, visiting his grandma, and keeping ties with his family is a shameful, hateful thing to God, is sends a dangerous psychological message, that is antithetical to our faith. To say that doing these things are permissible on other days but not permissible on the day that it is easiest to accomplish keeping ties, goes directly against the standards of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in fulfilling godly obligations. Which was to prefer ease. “This religion is easy. No one becomes harsh and strict in the religion without it overwhelming him”.[2] It is easy for scholars from abroad to prohibit something when they have no direct experience upon the matter. This is why we seek to clarify the whole issue of Thanksgiving so that people will be upon clarity بينة.

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About The Author

Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento CA, Shaykh Luqman graduated from the language and usool ud-deen program at Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan and received his ijaazah in Hafs Quran recitation from the Quranic village of Wad al-Faadni in the Jazeerah Province of Sudan. Shaykh Luqman also studied at Umm Al-Quraa University in Saudi Arabia and at the Haram al-Makki. While in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in addition to the teachers at Um al-Qura, the Imam studied with Sheikh Suleiman al-Hazmi, Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq who was his sheikh of tafseer al-Quran, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazaali. Shaykh Luqman learned usool al-hadith from Sheikh Muhammad bin Humayad a classic era Az’harian trained in the Ottoman period. Imam Luqman also took lessons from the late African American Shaykh; Muhammad Ghulaam Al-Haarith, one of the first indigenous American Muslims to attend Azhar University. Other Shuyookh of Imam Abu Laith Luqman: Sheikh Abdul-Karim MuhammadAhmad , Tajweed, Fiqh, Aqeeda, Hadeeth Umm Luqman – Aqeedah, Fiqh, Adab, Seerah Sheikha Fareedah Umm Hannaan,-Aqeedah, Fiqh al-Mu’aamalaat Sheikha Aminah Abdullah-Aqeedah, Seerah Sheikh Ameer Saab-Aqeedah, Usool al-Eemaan Sheikh Sulaimaan Abdul-Haadee-Language, Modern Urban logic and Expression, Sheikh Muhammad As’lam-Fiqh Sheikh Abdullah bin Baaz-Aqeedah Sheikh Muhammad Ghulaam al-Haarith-arabic Language, Seerah, usool al-Fiqh Sheikh Zainul Aabideen al-Costi- Fiqh, Usool al-Fiqh, Usool al-Hadith, Qiraa’tul Hafs Sheikh Daf’ Allah Hajj Yusuf-Arabic Grammar, al-matan al-Ajroomiyyah Sheikh Muhammad Hadeeya al-Umdurmaani-Fiqh, Tafseer, Usool al-hadith, Aqeedah Sheikh Muhammad Taqlaawi- Aqeeah, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Humayd, Hadith Sheikh Sayyid Saabiq- Tafseer, Fiqh Sheikh Ridda Mu’tee-Aqeedah Sheikh Sulaimaan al-Hazmi- Hadeeth Sheikh Muhammad Mutaphah Bilaal-Hadeeth, Sahih Muslim Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Fad’Allah-Usool al-Fiqh, Sheikh Abdullah Ali al-Mekki, Aqeedah

130 Responses

  1. Megan

    Nice article masha’Allah.

    The only qualm I had with it were the examples of all the cultural celebrations Muslim celebrate in Muslim countries.

    The voice in my head jumps in to say “but they are all committing something wrong because it’s not the two Eids.” – so using that as an example would be wrong – according to the years I spent listening to all the speeches that almost everything people do is haram…..

    Would love clarification of this point, though it’s much more minor as the Imam offered many beneficial points – especially that foreign fatwas simply fail to grasp life in America and the meanings of traditions here.

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    • Tariq ibn Ali

      I thank Allah that I was taught enough to know where I take my knowledge from, an anyone that tries to convince me to celebrate other than the two Eids I will definitely not take from them. I was raised in the US and my family is majority Christian. I was once a Christian and I have no problem doing Dawah with my family and those who I come in contact with about Muslims and what those who follow the Haqq were instructed to follow. Be careful of those who attempt to convince you of changing an alter what Rasoululah (pbuh) established, because what he gave is complete. Don’t allow any of these folks who throw their credentials around to convince you that they have the right to direct you to something that the Prophet (pbuh) did not establish.
      I would rather live like the great companion of the Prophet (pbuh) Abu Dahr as the Prophet pbuh said ” He will live alone, die alone and be resurrected alone, then to allow some one who has been affected and infected by this non Muslim society to convince, me to accept the culture of non Muslims as my way an my culture, and I will not debate it because I am satisfied internally of the stance that I have. May Allah forgive those who use their position and love that the people have for them for misguiding them. The Prophet pbuh said there will come a time that Imams would be standing on the Membar leading themselves and the people to Hellfire. Thank you for your timely explanation on your ruling regarding celebrating Thanksgiving, I will spend that day giving thanks that I don’t have to take anything from you. NO THANKS BRO, I’M GOOD

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  2. Imane

    Very good article, I wish I read something like this when I reverted 18 years ago! It would have save me lots of argumentation with my family. From now on I will change my attitude towards them regarding similar issues. They will be happy with my Islam InchAllah . JAK

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    • Sam

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Durel

    Because of the true origins of thanksgiving, being the European settlers feast day for the savage conquering and massacre of Native Americans ( ironically because of the mixing of them and African explorers that settled there before columbus, some of which were Muslim): i think it would be respectful to Allah and them that you at least make a dua for them with your family( the ones that care to do so) and pay respects to them for their lives lost and declare the intentions of using the time given as a means to spend the time together as a family as Allah loves and to protect us in this society where the truthful, pious, and poor are often ridiculed and oppressed.

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    • Melanie

      No one can deny that the settlers massacred the Native peoples but I do not think this is connected to Thanksgiving. Actually a large number of Americans have Native Americans in their family tree.
      While we should remember all the people our ancestors victimized to found this country, we cannot change the past.Allah will take care of those who hurt others.

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      • Kailahna

        As a both a Native American and a Muslim woman let me tell you that the massacres ARE very much connected to Thanksgiving. Do you know where Thanksgiving truly originated? Here is something you’ll never find in an American textbook. Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen – once.

        The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags. This was where the treaty was signed.

        But as word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boat load. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized land, capturing strong young Natives for slaves and killing the rest. But the Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought.

        In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival, which is our Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.

        Cheered by their “victory”, the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with a many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.

        Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.

        The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.

        This story doesn’t have quite the same fuzzy feelings associated with it as the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast. But we need to learn the true history so it won’t ever be repeated. So on Thanksgiving, when you gather with your loved ones to thank God for all your blessings, think about those people who only wanted to live their lives and raise their families. They also took time out to say “thank you” to Creator for all their blessings.

        I celebrate Thanksgiving. I celebrate it as a day to be thankful that there are those of us left to remember. I celebrate to honor the memory of my fallen brothers and sisters. And I celebrate for what was our original purpose: to give thanks to God for all that we have and are. It may be true that many Americans have Native blood. But being Native is not blood. It is what is in your heart.

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      • Amina

        Thank u so much Kailahna for your beautiful and much insightful response. This what I was thinking exactly when there are some who consider a day of thanksgiving as a mere form of gathering to thank God and be with those u love. In Islam we are told to think with our minds in a critical manner. Not to simply take things as they are or what the majority would like for them to be. The holiday of thanksgiving is due directly to what the sis had written obove. It has its roots to the oppression and massacre of a people which were deemed inferior, and then a land was conquered and so we should give thanks to the people which were brutalized bc of it? I differ with this article greatly bc we can simply take any holiday or observance in the world and interpret it to coincide with our beliefs and practices as muslims. But as critical thinkers and as muslims we don’t do so bc we do do things in the name of Allah swt and with accordance to the teachings of muhammed saws. If I were to celebrate the mere notion of thanksgiving I’d do it on any other day, why specifically the designated day on November? In fact, as muslims we already have this practice and it’s the day of jumaa…we do it every week I do not see why we should succumb to the traditions or practices of others in order to ‘integrate’. That’s assimilation if u ask me, muslims are distinct and that’s a beautiful thing. Why not keep it that way, let the world learn from us not the other way around.

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      • jesse collins

        wow every man woman and child of all races should know this.

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      • Rosa

        I am also very familiar with the true origins of Thanksgiving celebrations. It is truly sad that this horrific chapter in American history is missing from school textbooks. We should all give thanks to our creator on a daily basis and strive to keep family connections healthy and strong for as long as we can.

        Thank you Kailahna for addressing such a powerful story and thank you Amina for a beautiful response… Peace and Blessings.

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      • Zayyan

        Assalamualaikum. Thank you for this story. I was sure that the first Thanksgiving couldn’t have been so peaceful. As a Muslimah, i will share this story with my friends and family. It is a shame that most Americans don’t know what really happened.

        Peace and Blessings be to you and your family.

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      • Sarah

        I found out about the reality of American history when I went to college. But up until I graduated High school none of this was told to us. The reality of Thanksgiving and treatment to the Native Americans, and so many more historical secrets… the text book series we used was The Heath Anthology of American Literature. It has volumes A, B, C, D, and E, and includes real actual testimonies and diary entries, etc, of accounts in history from ~1400’s. It’s good to know the facts!

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      • NOOR KAZIM

        A very informative article about the true significance of thanks giving day. In Islam theres no special day for thanks giving to God. After every good event we thank God by saying alhamdu lillah several times a day; not once a year. You can visit your parents on any holidays but your intentions should be only visiting your parents and dear ones not for taking part in the traditional thanks giving coz its not an islamic tradition.

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      • James

        Thanksgiving has been “sanitized” to avoid recognizing the history of the holiday. It was first intended to be thankful for slaughtering the Pequot people and getting rid of them. This is not the version taught in American schools.

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  4. Amy

    As-salaamu alaykum

    This was a nice and timely article, may Allah reward the author. I wish I had read this view many years ago, it might have spared me some hardship with my family. The notes about how Thanksgiving is a way to maintain ties really struck me, echoing my own experience. Some thoughtful editing may improve readability and add polish. But voices like the one in this article remind me why I love being Muslim.

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  5. Mirza Yawar Baig

    It is not true that Fuqaha didn’t give Fatawa about matters outside their countries. When Imam Malik was in Madina, there was a famous saying in the Muslim world, ‘How can I give a Fatwa when Malik is in Madina?’ So also Imam Abu Hanifa and his students would give Fatawa on any matter that was brought before them on the principle that they were ruling based on the information given to them. Where Fuqaha felt the need for in-depth knowledge they sought that information or consulted experts which is the principle to this day. So to say that only local Ulama have an exclusive right to give Fatawa is neither prescribed in religion nor is it borne out historically.

    This fatwa of course takes no cognizance of the fact that Thanksgiving Day is the celebration of genocide of the Native Americans, which everyone accepts today. Everyone who knows history, that is. There is a strong opinion against celebrating Columbus Day for the same reason. To make a strong case about how local Ulama know their societies better and so ‘outsiders’ should shut up – then to call Thanksgiving Day a day when families get together is to demonstrate a total lack of knowledge of history and all its implications.

    Nobody in their right senses would be against families gathering to strengthen family ties. But Thanksgiving Day has nothing to do with that. It is celebration of something that Islam is against, killing innocent people and grabbing their land. So gather by all means on any of the other 364 days of the year. But to gather on that particular day is to celebrate murder. It is as simple as that. Wallaho Aalam.

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    • Umm Madiha

      Jazakallah khairun Br. Mirza for reminding the author of this article about our Islamic duties and the disgusting history behind Thanksgiving.

      I am a revert to Islam, so understand some of the complications that arise when you refuse invitations to Easter/Christmas/Thanksgiving dinners. However, when I explained to my family the reason why I and my family could not attend, they were okay with it alhumdilillah. That being said, my husband (who is a born Muslim)and I take the time out several times a year to invite my family for dinner, to participate in Eid festivities if they wish, go on other outings like the zoo,etc and take them up on offers to have dinner with them at other times during the year. Therefore, severing family ties is a ridiculous accusation the author makes by refusing one dinner throughout the year.
      Allah swt has clearly stated in the Quran that there are only two festivals that Muslims can celebrate. When you do things that are pleasing to Allah swt, even though they may seem difficult at the time, Allah swt will make things easy for you in the long run.

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    • Abu Milk Sheikh

      Jazakallahu khairan for the clarification Sheikh Mirza. May Allah have mercy on you and your family.

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    • D

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Inqiyaad

        Hi D,
        It is beautiful that you could get together with your family. Since your intention is just to use the time-off from work to get together, will it be alright for you if your Muslim relative could not make it on Thursday for dinner and sit around the table to thank God on that day? If they said, “forget dinner, lets just go for a walk, a picnic, or some random activity and reminisce.”, would it be ok? If they said that they could come in on Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, would you and other family members be able to accommodate? Would you be able to accommodate their request to avoid being religious about particular menu choices?

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      • Mary

        Dear D,
        It truly is wonderful that you had the opportunity to spend time with your family on Thanksgiving. There is so much blessing in that for everyone!
        I need a clarification, however, on how you started your response. Why did you mention September 11, 2001? At this point I would hope that you would recognize that the terrorist attacks of that day were perpetrated by those with perverse views of Islam and that Muslims, as followers of the Prophets bringing the message of God to humankind, do not expose those views and in fact are part of the outcry against them. I hope that the actions of your Muslim relatives show this clearly in that they actively participate in family reunions no matter what religion each individual follows. We must not forget the horrors of 9/11, but we must also not misattribute those terrible actions to Muslims, those seeking to submit to God, the Peace, the Ever-Living, the All-Seeing, and the All-Knowing.
        Thank you for your comment, again, as the perspective of a relative of a Muslim. It is good to hear all perspectives.
        Peace,
        Mary

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      • Dina

        Haha but seriously, killing people is wrong, eating turkey…not so much, why can’t we all just calm down and celebrate whatever we feel is pleasing to god. Of course the massacre of native americans is deplorable, as are recent massacres of other innocent peoples in events such as 9/11 but there comes a time where the past is the past and the only solution is to see the evils of days gone by and to try to avoid making similar blunders

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  6. The Salafi Feminist

    How do you reconcile the explicit hadith that the Muslims have only two annual celebrations, with something like Thanksgiving… which is an annual celebration?

    Not to mention that Thanksgiving Day itself is, as others have noted, is rooted in a pretty brutal history that continues to contribute towards discrimination against the First Nations people.

    Also, why do people assume that by saying that celebrating Thanksgiving is haraam, we’re automatically telling people to be rude, harsh, and callous to their parents and family members? There is something called hikmah – wisdom – which means that one can be perfectly civil and polite, visit their family for dinner or whatever, and NOT celebrate the concept/ day.

    Count me amongst the skeptical… the rationale behind this ruling is, alas, quite weak. It plays upon the assumption that anyone who considers Thankgiving Day (or Christmas, or Halloween, or any of the many annual celebrations used to “strengthen family ties” – or should we say, buy into consumerist-driven folly) will treat their family horribly unless they celebrate with their families on THIS specific day, in a specific manner.

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    • D

      In America, the only time people typically have time off of work is during these holidays. Not all Americans necessarily celebrate on these days to specifically celebrate the designated holiday. Many times, it is the only free time we have to actually travel the distances it requires to spend time with one another. The constant judgments and criticisms based on assumptions is what continues to destroy and divide the human race – not religion or culture. We are all very quick to pass judgement on others based upon our own perceptions, which are rarely based in fact and more often based solely on assumption, but neglect to take the time to understand the full truth. Because of this, we forget we are all one race – the human race. We all have families that we love and would like to spend more time with. Perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to pass judgment on those that use the few days they are allowed off of work to actually spend time with the people they love. They aren’t necessarily celebrating or condoning the historical story that established the holiday. Many times in today’s hectic world, the ‘holidays’ are simply a catalyst allowing us to hold true to our family ties and remain connected.

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      • Inqiyaad

        Hi D,
        Please allow me to respond on behalf of the sister. She has already pointed out below, a few days before your comment, that ‘niyyah’ (intention) is a key differentiator. Of course, one will have to match assertions about ones intentions with actions that show that one is not stuck to mundane rituals. If anyone insists on doing particular things religiously, especially thanking God (only on one day or little more on that one day) or feasting then it betrays ones intentions.

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    • M_01

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  7. Waqar

    Great article, thanks for sharing. Really helps to read such a clear, practical description of the holiday. I agree that Thanksgiving is part of American culture, and is a means to strengthen family ties. We should not try to make this religion difficult and prohibit things that are not prohibited by Allah and our Prophet (S).

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  8. AbuAbdillah

    What a jaw-dropping article… He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.

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  9. The Salafi Feminist

    I feel as though several issues have been conflated here.

    1) There is no mention of the hadith which has long been used as a general prohibition against any annual festivities outside of the 2 ‘Eids.

    “Anas (r.a.a) said: Rasulullah (s.a.w) arrived to Al-Madinah when its citizens had two days as festivities (The Arabs had two days of festivities in pre-Islamic time). The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “What are those two days?” They said: “We used to celebrate them in pre-Islamic time.” He said: “Allah has offered you two better alternative days, viz, Day of Al-Adha and Day of Fitr”. [Abu Dawood].

    2) There is no mention of the issue of niyyah. The assumption is made that in order to enjoy silat ar-rahim, one MUST celebrate Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Halloween, or whatever). As opposed to emphasizing that one can visit their families on this day with the intention of enjoining family ties, because logistically this happens to be a time of year when family can gather… as opposed to niyyah of celebrating Thanksgiving!

    3) The assumption is made that not celebrating Thanksgiving (or anything else) is bad manners or leads to bad manners or whatever it is. Why not discuss how Islam enjoins husn al-khuluq even to nonMuslim family members? That not celebrating Thanksgiving can be done in a loving, gentle manner? That one can hold firm to their principles and ethics WITHOUT being obnoxious and rude?

    It seems here that what REALLY needs to be discussed and emphasized is the importance of good manners… not making Thanksgiving halaal.

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    • M_01

      1) many great scholars of our time such as sheikh Abdullah bin baaz (r.a) have stated that the Hadith is weak at best and at worst a fabrication. This is proven by the fact that the rasool (saw) recommended the Muslims to celebrate Muharram like the Jews by fasting, and the rasool (saw) himself celebrated his own birthday (mawlid) by feeding the poor alongside his companions (ie sahabas like uthman r.a.)

      3) not accepting invitations of thanksgiving from American non-Muslims or avoiding/ignoring/ridiculing/condemning the American holiday while being a muslim in America is firstly unamerican, secondly not according to Islam which requires mutual respect and coexistence, and thirdly disrespectful and rude. It would be no different than if a non-muslim went to Egypt, adopted the Egyptian life and became a citizen (hypothetically), and then decided to eat a pulled pork burger in any random street or restaurant (or any public gathering) during the fasting month of ramadan, just because his religion (or lack thereof) doesn’t require that he avoids pork, and doesn’t require that he avoid eating during Ramadan since he’s not muslim. That would be disrespectful, intolerant of others views/creeds and simply plain wrong, we must respect others otherwise no one will respect Muslims or Islam. Remember the golden rule brother “do unto others and you would have them do unto you” – this is a teaching of Islam.

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  10. Yasmeen

    Wow.

    So basically the argument is: gathering with family, feeding others, and being thankful are all encouraged in Islam, therefore, since all of these things take place on Thanksgiving, how can it not be okay to celebrate? Completely ignoring the fact that as Muslims we are told our only two Eid’s are Eid al Fitr and Eid al Udha, in addition to ignoring the origins of Thanksgiving to begin with. Using this logic, since gathering with family, giving them gifts is encouraged in Islam, and, well, we love Isa (as) too, Christmas is not haram either! I mean, these days Christmas is just about decorating trees, candy canes, and getting gifts not many people associate it with religion, it’s become a part of American culture.

    The main argument seemed to be that we are ordered to strengthen familial ties and since that happens on Thanksgiving it’s not haram. What wasn’t mentioned was that it’s all about your intention. Many people have a long weekend during this time, so if they need to travel to visit their family, that’s the time to do it. That’s completely different than going over and bringing a dish of candied yams and participating in “I’m thankful for…” with everyone else.

    I do agree with the authors point about how not everything American is haram. It seems that everything “western” is imitation of the kuffar. As if everyone in the west is a kafir. I remember someone saying that wearing pants is haram for women because its either imitating men’s clothing or clothing of the kuffar buuuut shalwars that are worn by desis are fine because their muslims so its not imitation of the kuffar. Or having hairstyles that are prevalent in the west is haram because it’s imitation of the kuffar. I think rulings like this are insensitive to our convert brothers and sisters who are constantly being told they have to change everything. I think it forgets that Islam wasn’t just sent to Arabs or Indians or Africans or Pakistanis. So I do think that “imitation of the kuffar” is often overused but I also believe the author of this article took it to the opposite extreme.

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    • Dina

      I completely agree with your first paragraph buddy, yay for candy canes and yay for the birth of jesus…wasn’t he a prophet to? Not to mention an awesome person, I see nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of an awesome person, even if people of other faiths celebrate this event too.

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    • M_01

      The fact that the rasool saw requested we celebrate Muharram by fasting and his mawlid proves that you are either wrong or are lying. These days there are not just the two eids celebrated by Muslims but also the Muharram and mawlid which are the sunnahs of the prophet, so you completely ignored that fact. Secondly you actually forgot about the true origins of thanksgiving, which is based on being thankful to god for the harvest season, the other unfortunate side stories (i.e. massacre of natives etc.) are merely coincidences or events perpetrated by extremists in the past, doesn’t mean that we can stroke a wide brush on thanksgiving, that wouldn’t be different from Americans who claimed that muslim origins of eid al fitr are to celebrate the events of September 11 terrorist attacks, it sounds stupid but many dumb ignorant Americans are saying that, see http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-08-14-eid13_ST_N.htm?csp=34news. Just like some ignorant brothers and sisters claim that thanksgiving originated with the British puritans/settlers massacring natives, when in fact it started a century before in Europe during the reformation, other historians claim even farther back in time to the harvest seasons of the northern winter countries. If non-Muslims claimed that one of the two eids originated from mahmud ghazi massacring Hindus and destroying temples in present day Pakistan/India, or from Turks invading Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and massacring the Byzantine Christian population and destroying Christian culture/heritage of the city in 1453 (astagfirullah) how would you feel? I bet you’d feel that it is irrelevant to the true origins of the two eids (ie celebrating end of fasting, remembering Ibrahim as who almost sacrificed his eldest son Ishmael as bit didn’t etc). Similarly many of those celebrating thanksgiving believe that it didn’t originate from the massacre Of the natives but that those massacres and killings are an unfortunate side effect and irrelevant event to the true nature of thanksgiving. You should research the origins of this holiday to find the truth and not just believe someone’s claims because they are a muslim brother or sister.

      Jazakhallah khair

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  11. maverick007

    salams. I don’t understand why people are trying to link Thanksgiving Day (USA) to the wrongful deaths of Native Americans – that’s not what the earliest recorded Thanksgiving Day ever stood for, nor is the current modern day holiday associated with such tragedies.

    Elsewhere, such as in Canada, the Thanksgiving Day is held for the same general reasons as Americans – to give thanks to God for His blessings.

    As the article says, it is a cultural nuance, and not religious. Islam never forbade local cultural expression, as long as it doesn’t go against Islamic principles. And I don’t see how the spirit of Thanksgiving Day goes against Islamic principle, at all. Keep it within Islamic guidelines by staying away from gluttony & excess, no sign of alcohol anywhere, etc., and NOT reserving this day *only* for giving such thanks, and you’ll be just fine.

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    • Ojibwa Muslim

      I agree and I am not only Muslim, but a citizen of a Native American tribe.

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  12. Majid Khan

    As salamu alaikum

    Having lived over 50 years in America, I suffered from the fatwas of those muftis who are sitting thousands of miles away and have no idea about the life in America. And recently, what’s is the worse, is that these muftis are invading North America with their narrow-mindedness acquired and engraved in their minds from the cultural and social upbringing from the countries they grew up.

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  13. Siraaj

    Unfortunately, the whole premise of this article is false – there are scholars living within the United States who take the opposite opinion on this matter:

    http://www.amjaonline.org/fatwa-76988/info

    That is a fatwa from Shaykh Salah as-Sawy and there exist others who have taken this opinion who live within the United States and are very aware of the history of this holiday.

    As someone who has grown up within the United States and Canada, and with both a Muslim side as well as a nonMuslim side, I have been taught from school, from home, and wherever I turned this was a religious holiday, that Thanks was being given to God, that’s why it’s called “Thanksgiving”.

    Secondly, there have been many thanksgiving celebrations; however, the one we’re talking about today is the one declared by Abraham Lincoln – let’s see what he said in his Thanksgiving proclamation:

    It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

    Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

    In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.”

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69998

    I hope the “Heavenly Father” to whom we are all being told to offer “penitent and fervent prayers and supplications” is clear enough.

    Finally, let’s review some thanksgiving proclamations made by the last few presidents:

    Bill Clinton

    From the beginnings of our Nation, we have sought to recognize the providence and mercy of God with words and acts of gratitude, indeed with effort and energy toward helping others wherever need occurred. In the colorful days and weeks when the autumn of the year brings ripe and fruitful harvest across our land, Americans give thanks for many blessings. It is a time of bounty and generosity, a time to come together in peace.

    This is the true spirit of Thanksgiving: acknowledging God’s graciousness, and in response, reaching out in service to others. This spirit was apparent in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621, when Pilgrim immigrants sat down with Native Americans and celebrated their common harvest.

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Proclamation_6625

    George Bush Jr:

    All across America, we gather this week with the people we love, to give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. We are grateful for our freedom, grateful for our families and friends, and grateful for the many gifts of America.

    On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come from the Almighty God. Almost four centuries ago, the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to thank God after suffering through a brutal winter.

    Barack Obama:

    As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/16/presidential-proclamation-thanksgiving-day-2011

    This argument that everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, therefore it’s secular is poor – everyone now celebrates Christmas as well and Christians are justifiably upset that it’s turning into a secularized winter gift festival, but it is nonetheless a Christian holiday.

    You can also read about Thomas Jefferson refusing to offer a thanksgiving proclamation because it violated, in his opinion, the wall of separation between Church and State:

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-11-29/news/0911280034_1_thanksgiving-day-national-day-thanksgiving-history

    Siraaj

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  14. Siraaj

    Btw, one of the strangest ironies in this post – after writing against scholars passing fatwas from overseas, the final page is a fatwa from Sh Abdullah ibn Bayyah, who I believe, if memory serves correctly, is a scholar from overseas.

    This intellectual inconsistency appears quite commonly among a number of students of ‘ilm who put this idea forward. I don’t doubt the usefulness of the rule itself in principle, but fatwas don’t happen in a vacuum and I wonder why it is that the same people who quote this rule only do so when it’s against scholars from overseas they don’t like, or whose fatwas they don’t like, but see no problem quoting their own favorite overseas scholars from thousands of miles away on the very issues these people should not be quoted on according to the rules of the proposed methodology.

    Furthermore, does it not strike you as odd that Shaykh Abdullah, by the very act of passing a fatwa from overseas, completely negates the entirety of your post that scholars from overseas should not pass fatwas on lands they are not from or living in?

    Food for thought ;)

    Siraaj

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  15. O H

    Unfortunately the tide of modernism and modernists coming up with their ‘aql/intellect to form judgements on the deen is not very helpful. They sometimes give preference to the aql over naql (evidences, narrations etc). This has many manifestations and guises. They may abuse the concept of maslaha (greater good) in many cases as well to appease those outside the deen to make the religion more ‘palatable’ to the outsiders Wal’eathubillaah! Honour is from Islam and whoever seeks honour in other than Islam he will be humiliated.

    Just some general thoughts. With regards to specific rulings on thanksgiving the fatwa posted by brother Siraaj is useful.

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  16. Imam Luqman

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • The Salafi Feminist

      As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh,

      JazaakAllahu khayran for taking the time to leave a comment.

      However, you’ve only addressed one particular perspective, that is, the issue of it being a ‘religious’ holiday. My initial concerns still stand; that you have made no mention of niyyah and the hadith of the 2 ‘Eids (which according to many scholars, applies to ‘secular’ as well as religious holidays, so long as they are annually occurring celebrations).

      With regards to your quotation of Abdullah ibn Bayyah because he “took the time… to gain an informed opinion,” are you then implying that there are *no* other scholars from overseas who have *ever* done this? Despite the fact that there are many who have, indeed, spent a great deal of time visiting Western countries, spending time with the people, etc. (In fact, I think Shaykh Abu Is’haaq al-Huwayni actually studied in a German university – not American/ North American, certainly, but he’s just one example of an “Eastern” shaykh who isn’t as clueless and ignorant of non-Eastern cultures/ societies as we think.)

      Will we now start picking and choosing which overseas shaykhs are enlightened enough about our culture/ society for us to accept fatawah from? Will only those from a particular school of thought or methodology count, to the exclusion of others? Will only lenient fatawah be accepted as “understanding” of our context, while all others rejected because they don’t know anything about us?

      None of this is meant to be rude and disrespectful, rather, these are some very valid concerns that arise at the issue of fatawah like these and the general subject of “American Islam” vs. Islam in the rest of the world.

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    • Hassan

      Brother Siraaj quoted fatwa from Sh Salah-as-Sawi who been living in west (US) for quite a long, just FYI

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      • Abu Ameerah

        Yet he cannot still speak one coherent sentence in English.

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    • Hassan

      Quite non-intellectual arguments to support your claim. Someone can stretch it to eating eggs on Easter day and eating candy on Halloween day.

      Any common-sense muslim knows that we go about living our normal lives in days we do not celebrate. I am not sure why you assume that common muslims do not know that. The issue is niyyah, and action of singling the day out for such.

      (FYI, I am not sure yet about thanksgiving being religious holiday or not, so it is not that I have made up mind on it, but your arguments and phrasing of arguments are quite non-academic and condescending)

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    • Siraaj

      Salaam alaykum Imam Luqman,

      Appreciate the time you took to write your response. As evidenced by those of us who had the benefit to grow up all our lives in North America and celebrated thanksgiving, we’re not in agreement with what you claim we all “understand unmistakably”. I certainly do not claim that every single person celebrating thanksgiving does so for religious reasons in the same way the Muslims, hindus, and atheists who celebrate and give gifts during Christmas don’t celebrate it for the religious connotations, just the gift giving and being in the holiday spirit.

      I also don’t hold the idea that Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Hindus, Agnostics, and others who celebrate Christmas do so in the same manner. There are themes in Christmas (trees, gifts, the specific day) as there are in thanksgiving (turkey, family dinner gathering, etc), but just because these are not requirements or not done in the exact way in each home, or are not done with the intent of worshipping one religion’s version of God does not immediately disqualify this being a religious ‘Eid.

      You asked many questions about the particulars of what is and isn’t allowed on this day, but there is no point in my answering this question because:

      1. You’ve already determined that people who hold your view are the “voices of reason and will not be silenced” (which is strange because I’ve been one of the people who has been part of building up MM and been for providing dissenting opinions from my own so we can have polite and reasoned discussions). This implies you’re not open to the idea that this is a legitimate disagreement.

      2. If I were to answer the question based on my own thoughts, reasoning, and education from other teachers, I would be told I’m overstepping my boundary as a layman, that I should go memorize Qur’an, learn tajweed, know my place, keep quiet, etc because nothing de-legitimizes a logically constructed constructive critique like unrelated ad hominems about authority to speak.

      As such, I can point out facts, and I can point out resources. In the fatwa of Shaykh Salah as-Sawy, he already mentions some of the particulars. If you want more details, you should ask him directly, and maybe even make your case to him and see if you can change his view. On AMJA’s site, btw, there is not one opinion. Sh Waleed Basyouni takes your opinion as does one of my teachers (not on AMJA) Sh Isam Rajab of Arees Institute. Sh Main al-Qudah, also on AMJA, believes it’s not allowed to celebrate.

      As for your question, “Did thanksgiving ever make someone lose their faith?” I celebrated Christmas in my home growing up (christian father, muslim mother) and even received Christmas presents on Christmas day, and in public school sang christmas carols with the rest of the students daily during Christmas season throughout elementary school and even offered up the Lord’s prayer everyday (“Our father, who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”) right after singing the national anthem until secular advocates made this practice stop. To this day, I can still sing “O come all ye faithful” in french. It didn’t cause me to lose my faith, and I don’t know any other Muslims who lost their faith giving out Christmas presents or dressing as ghouls for Hallowe’een, so go right on ahead on and celebrate Christmas and Hallowe’en because my experience is all that matters in this anyway, right?

      All kidding aside, that’s not the point. The point is it’s another faith, and we don’t partake in the celebrations of other religions. The focal point of disagreement is not whether people will leave the faith if they do this, but is this a religious celebration?

      The people who say it is not have the difficult task of differentiating thanksgiving from christmas and hallowe’en because if I take out thanksgiving, I can substitute christmas and hallowe’en. What’s wrong with giving co-workers a secret santa present, or kids dressing up like Iron man instead of a ghost on Hallowe’en? Is eating candies haraam, or watching basketball on Christmas since these also happen on the American Christmas day?

      Nonetheless, if people celebrate Thanksgiving following a group of scholars they trust, I respect their decision because they are laymen and if they cannot reason the evidences, then they just follow. And likewise, for the people that follow the opposite opinion based on what their scholars have said, that should be respected and not denigrated as there are legitimate scholarly opinions both ways – I’m sure you’re aware this is not the first time in our history scholars have come to diametrically opposite views in the course of our history on an issue, contemporary or classic.

      You mentioned on page 4 or 5 of your post something about celebrating the mawlid, and it is again patently false that all or most muslims celebrate it. Many of us do not, and this has been the case since the beginning of our faith. It became a practice far removed from the earlier generations and Shaykh Abdullah b. Bayyah gave a beautiful fatwa regarding it – he acknowledged that there is legitimate scholarly disagreement for and against the practice, that it is something new, summarized the point of contention, and asked that both parties refrain from denigrating one another since major scholars opined both ways on the matter. That’s a fatwa I respect for its intellectual consistency and its clear manners. It respects the principle of respecting scholarly disagreement by accepting both and not portraying the people who oppose his opinion in a negative light.

      Finally, Muslims are not the only ones who consider it a Christian religious holiday. Americans of the past, including Thomas Jefferson, protested because it is a religious holiday. Many of the original 13 colonies did not want to celebrate it because of this. Today, there are atheists challenging this holiday because it is religious holiday and they believe it violates separation of church and state. Thanksgiving is a holiday mandated across the land by the President of the United States. Even if he represents himself and others like him, it doesn’t change that this is a Christian religious holiday in the same way if the Pope or the Church of England have some declaration about Christmas and Muslims celebrate it.

      Siraaj

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    • Mahmud

      “The fact of the matter is that there are many Christians in the United States, many of them who actually believe in God and who believe it or not, believe in the Oneness of God.”

      They are still kuffar unless they enter Islam and die as Muslims. Islam is the only way to salvation. I fire some people reading this may get the wrong impression that it’s allowed for a Muslim to believe others will enter Paradise which is itself kufr. Please word your sentences more carefully next time. Thank you.

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      • tasneem

        Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- ANY who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.2:62….hmmmm maybe I’m overlooking the part that says you have to convert to Islam first

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      • Inqiyaad

        @Tasneem,

        Sure, you have overlooked a lot. For example,

        Surah An-Nisa, ayaat 150-152

        Verily, those who disbelieve in Allâh and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allâh and His Messengers (by believing in Allâh and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between. (150)
        They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment. (151)
        And those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards, and Allâh is Ever Oft¬Forgiving, Most Merciful. (152)

        All Jews and Christians have been foretold repeatedly about the coming of the final Prophet (i.e Muhammad sal Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), in their own divine books. Not just informed but ordered to obey him, follow him, and support him. By rejecting the final Prophet, they have rejected their own books and therefore, are not true Jews or Christians (Nazarenes). If they were to follow the Prophet then their reward would have been doubled.

        Any classical book of Tafseer discusses the verse you cited in detail. But, I am guessing you would be interested in something that is an easier read. Dr. Lawrence Brown discusses the nuances regarding this matter in his books ‘MisGod’ed’ and ‘God’ed’. If you want to take this study further you can study the Classical Tafaseer and references cited by Dr. Brown.

        I must also tell you that in the verse you cited, “those who believe”, is not restricted to Qur’an. Although, if one really claims to believe in the Qur’an, he/she has no option, but to believe in Muhammad sal Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

        Also, the part translated as “those who follow the Jewish (scriptures) is to be simply translated as “Jews”, just like Christians and Sabians. A better translation would be that in Sahih International,

        “Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.”

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      • Mahmud

        JazzakAllahu khair Inqiyaad, I too, like Tasneem was under this false belief due to ignorance! We must work to eradicate these false beliefs which are blatant kufr unless one is ignorant!

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      • Dina

        I know that the scriptures also ban music but it just had to be done

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      • Mahmud

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Tasneem that ayah is right over here. http://quran.com/3/85

        And please note, that no Muslim can consider another religion acceptable with Allah. To do so is kufr itself and expels one from the fold of Islam. As for that ayah you provided, you missed the part about entering Islam because you

        1) Don’t know what an-Nabi(S) said about that very ayah himself.
        2) Took that ayah out of context and didn’t look at all the other ayat in the Quran which confirm that Jews and Christians are disbelievers and fuel for Jahannam.

        Here is the explanation of 2:62. Please do know, if you want to stay a Muslim, you really are going to have to accept this explanation. It’s the equivalent of me telling a Qadiani, you need to reject your dajjal and only accept an-Nabi(S) as the final Messenger.
        Andrew Booso from Suhaib Webb:
        The first verse that causes confusion to one unfamiliar with orthodoxy is Qur’an 2:62, whose confusion is eliminated by the following translation from Saheeh International through the use of ungainly, yet necessary, comments in square brackets:

        Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

        The relevant exegesis of this verse from the Tafsir (exegesis, or interpretation) of Tabari, on the authority of Suddi and Mujahid (the student of Ibn ‘Abbas, may God be well pleased with him and his father), establishes the orthodox position from the earliest period of Muslim history:

        The Suddi Hadith

        Suddi relates the lengthy story of Salman the Persian’s coming to Islam, telling of his conversion first to Christianity from Zoroastrianism after meeting a Christian monk, and how he travelled to one sage after the next, serving each until their death, until the last one told him that a prophet was about to appear, saying: “I do not think that I shall live to see him, but you are a young man, and are likely to live to see him. He will come forth in the land of the Arabs.” The account continues to when at last Salman meets the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) in Medina, and:

        while he was talking with him, Salman remembered his former companions, and told the Prophet ﷺ how they had been, saying, “They used to fast, pray, and believe in you, and they testified that you would be sent as a prophet.” When Salman had finished praising them, the Prophet ﷺ told him, “Salman, they are of the denizens of hell.” And that distressed Salman greatly, for he had said to him, “Had they met you they would have believed and followed you.” So Allah revealed this verse: “‘Surely those who believe, those of Jewry, the Christians, and the Sabaeans—whoever has faith in Allah and the Last Day . . .” (Tabari, 1.323).

        To all those who thumbed me down-if you are disbelievers, it’s understandable. If you are Muslims, it’s saddening because if you continue to hold these beliefs while enough proof came to you otherwise, you have literally exited Islam by complete ijma of the Ulema and the fuqaha. Neither an-Nabi(S), nor the Sahaba nor the rest of the Salaf and the Muslims since held the extremely modern kufr that non-Muslims who hear of Islam and do not enter it can make it to Paradise.

        Perhaps MM can make an article about this! I would love to contribute. Unfortunately, in America this belief has become widespread-no worries, truth destroys batil. Batil is bound to perish. But lets be part of extinguishing that batil.

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  17. Iyare

    I am a Muslim, but was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness household. Even they as Christians see this as a religiously inspired form of worship that should be avoided:

    ” Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Formally Celebrate Thanksgiving Day?
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    There are many wholesome occasions that Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate such as marriage anniversaries and weddings which are referred to favorably in the Scriptures. But why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses formally observe the national holiday of Thanksgiving?

    There are several reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not formally observe the national holiday of Thanksgiving or many other national holidays. In fact, when it comes to the observance of certain events, there is only one occasion that Jesus actually commanded his followers to observe. He required his followers to memorialize his death. (Luke 22:19, 20) Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses only formally celebrate the one event that Jesus commanded his followers. The memorial of his death (1 Cor.11:23- 26). For more, see: The Lord’s Evening Meal—An Observance That Honors God (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).

    Jehovah’s Witnesses and Thanksgiving

    To help understand Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position regarding the national holiday of Thanksgiving, this article will consider the following three aspects:

    1.) How Christians are to be thankful every day – not letting political governments setting aside one day out of the year for us.

    2.) Thanksgiving and its Questionable Associations

    3.) Thanksgiving, Patriotism and Christian Neutrality

    Be Thankful Every Day

    Do true Christians need to set one day aside for Thanksgiving? Should the political governments tell us what day we should give thanks?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses give thanks every day and allow no one to tell them on which day they can thank God.

    Also consider that genuine thanks should be accompanied by a deep desire to demonstrate gratitude in action. In contrast, how many observers of the national Thanksgiving holiday actually offer thanks to God? Are not their thoughts more on feasting and having a merry time than on the many gifts God has given? Can it be said that thanksgiving is offered to God by indulging in an extra-big meal? Thanksgiving to God does not come from the stomach but from the mind. It is verbally expressed. “I will praise the name of God with song, and I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30) “In everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.”—Phil. 4:6.

    Thanksgiving and Questionable Associations

    It is relatively easy to discover that holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Halloween have been directly adopted from pagan celebrations. (For more, see the Holidays category.) But what about Thanksgiving?

    Note what the publication Holidays Around the World, by Joseph Gaer says about Thanksgiving:

    “Thanksgiving for the annual harvest is one of the oldest holidays known to mankind … ‘The Romans celebrated their Thanksgiving early in October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia. ‘The Christians took over the Roman holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the Roman customs and rituals for this day were observed … ”

    Also note the following:

    “Throughout the world harvest has always been the occasion for many queer customs which all have their origin in the animistic belief in the corn [grain]-spirit or corn [grain]-mother. This personification of the crops has left its impress upon the harvest customs of modern Europe. …. Throughout the world, as Sir J. G. Frazer shows, the semi-worship of the last sheaf is or has been the great feature of the harvest-home. Among harvest customs none is more interesting than harvest cries; the Devonshire reapers go through a ceremony which in its main features is a counterpart of pagan worship.” – pp. 231-232, Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 11, 14th edition.

    “The Pilgrims, who in 1621 observed our initial Thanksgiving holiday, were not a people especially enthusiastic about the celebration of festivals. In fact these austere and religious settlers of America would have been dismayed had they known of the long and popular history of harvest festivals, of which their Thanksgiving was only the latest. …. The harvest festival, with its attendant rites, seems to have spread out from … Egypt and Syria and Mesopotamia. The first or the last sheaf of wheat was offered to the `Great Mother’ …. Astarte [equivalent to Ishtar and Eastre] was the Earth Mother of the ancient Semites; to the Phrygians she was Semele; under the name of Demeter she was worshiped by the Greeks at the famous Eleusinian Mysteries…” – pp. 271-272, Celebrations – The Complete Book of American Holidays, Robert J. Myers, Doubleday & Co., 1972. For more, see: THANKSGIVING – Does It Have Any Known Pagan Religious Association?.

    It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are “Holy Days” and are a part of “worship” by their very name. So if pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use today, they are not merely unacceptable – – – they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even “touch” them. (2 Cor. 6:17) Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.” – Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.

    Thanksgiving, Patriotism and Christian Neutrality

    It was not until 1789 that the first national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by George Washington. And, even after that precedent, this practice was not carried on by succeeding presidents. In addition to Presidents Jackson and Taylor, it is claimed that Thomas Jefferson refused to issue Thanksgiving proclamations, condemning it during his two terms. In a letter to the Rev. Mr. Miller, he gave his reasons for refusing:

    “I consider the Government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution of the United States from meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…. But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe, a day of fasting and praying. That is, I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from…. Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”

    Finally, it was Sarah J. Hale that influenced President Abraham Lincoln to issue his Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863 in which Lincoln established a yearly national festival, which ensuing presidents have honored.

    Many governors opposed the idea because they felt that it was an example of state interference with religion. Actually, in time the celebration itself became more political.

    For example, Mrs. Hale and her supporters intended it to be both a day of patriotism and religion. She wrote in one article: “Then in every quarter of the globe our nationality would be recognized . . . every American . . . would thrill his soul with the purest feelings of patriotism and the deepest emotions of thankfulness for his religious enjoyments.” That this idea was held by others is noted in The American Book of Days: “It has frequently been the custom for clergymen to preach political sermons on Thanksgiving Day. In the early years of the nineteenth century their sermons were extremely partisan.”

    So with all of the above in mind, what should be the attitude of Christians regarding patriotic ceremonies? Notice how the early Christians regarded patriotic or state ceremonies:

    “First-century Christianity had no temples, built no altars, used no crucifixes, and sponsored no garbed and betitled ecclesiastics. Early Christians celebrated no state holidays…”—The Rise of Christianity, by E. Barnes, 1947, p. 333.

    Concerning this, notice what the book On the Road to Civilization—A World History says of the early Christians:

    “Christians refused to share certain duties of Roman citizens. The Christians . . . felt it a violation of their faith to enter military service. They would not hold political office. They would not worship the emperor.” When the Jewish high court “positively ordered” the disciples to stop preaching, they answered: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:27-29)

    It is a fact of ancient and modern-day history that in every nation and under all circumstances true Christians have endeavored to maintain complete neutrality concerning factions of the world. (Luke 4:8; John 17:15, 16; John 18:36)

    Jehovah’s Witnesses do not try to prevent others from taking part in patriotic ceremonies, for that is up to each individual as to whom or what he will serve, worship, or pledge his allegiance, but Jehovah’s Witnesses wish to remain neutral toward all national flags, symbols, or emblems and their patriotic ceremonies. For more, see: Christian Neutrality (Jehovah’s Witnesses United) and “Religious Persecution – Why?” (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).”

    No I believe the Jehovah’s Witnesses to be upon falsehood but even they see there are serious problems with Thanksgiving.

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  18. Imam Luqman

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    • The Salafi Feminist

      I find your argument that “days are not prohibited” to be rather strange. The issue is not making a “day” prohibited per se, but rather the prohibition of celebrating an annual festival – something which has a clear evidence for it, which I have mentioned, and which you have still not responded to.

      As far as I am aware, the issue of ‘urf in usool al-fiqh encompasses celebrations… and there is a great deal of evidence for this amongst the scholars. The default being, according to the hadith that I quoted in my last comment, that the observance of annual celebrations (note that there is no difference necessarily between whether it is religious in origin or not), is not allowed. RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not ask the people what the origins of the holiday was, what they did to take part in it, etc… he merely stated that for the Muslims, Allah replaced all days of annual celebrations with the two ‘Eids.

      You have also disregarded the issue of niyyah, which plays a huge role in the issue of Thanksgiving and other holidays.
      One can visit their family, have dinner, and so on with the intentional that *logistically* this is possible to do on X day… as opposed to having the niyyah to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

      Isn’t it so much easier (and more cautious Islamically) to emphasize this point rather than having to issue a fatwah which makes something haraam when, classically, an annual celebrations are considered *not* to be permissible? The issue of making the haraam permissible is just as serious as making the permissible haraam, and carries equal weight and burden of proof.

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      • Inqiyaad

        As salaamu ‘alaikum,

        Indeed, good points sister. I agree that these haven’t been addressed in the response.

        Although, I just wanted to point out the following to you and brother Luqman. When something is done annually, and it involves thanking God on only that one-day, or a little more than other days, it has all the hallmarks of a ritual. Rituals are acts of worship. The default with regards to acts of worship is that, “all acts of worship are haram except those for which affirmative evidence is available.”

        Of course, we do not need a fatwa to tell us whether or not we can wake up on that day. However, we do need a fatwa to tell us what actions of these people on that day are considered acts of worship or rituals and hence need to be avoided, because the default, as I pointed out earlier, is to avoid them. Since religious fervor is amplified on this day, it is very easy for us to pick out the religious aspects of this annual ritual, just like Sheikh Salah-as-Saawi did in his fatwa. And, he did not take 6 pages to do that.

        Why don’t you start at Sheikh Salah-as-Saawi’s fatwa and see if you agree or disagree and tell us your reasons for your agreement or disagreement? It will save us a lot of debating, toward which you seem to have a particular distaste. Indeed, you have conveyed your distaste very well by writing a 6-page article about this issue.

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  19. Zubair Ahmed

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  20. Imam Luqman

    Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh, I appreciated your last comment Siraj, except that you infer misconstrued meanings and conclusions from my words, when I am generally very specific in what I say, and in my conclusions. The crux of my argument is that when scholars set out to make things prohibited, they need to be specific, and they need to be conclusive in their proofs. American Muslim converts have been arguing back and forth with each other for decades, over things that scholars have declared to be haraam, that are not mentioned in the Book or in the Sunna.

    Friendships, and bonds of brotherhood have broken up over these issues. Even living in America is considered haraam to some scholars. Were it not for the rule of law in this country, people would be killing each other over these matters. The whole modality of the rush to render anything that is considered Western to be haraam has overtaken the thought process of many Muslims in the Unites States. It is like a cancer. I suggest that you thoroughly read my article once more, I covered the issues of Christmas, Halloween and Easter, which are all holidays that require specific actions in order for you to have observed them. Thanksgiving is much broader. Too broad in my opinion to say that it is haraam.

    I don’t believe in making personal attacks upon people, especially on the internet where actions are multiplied. I still maintain however, that if people intend on making things haraam that are not mentioned in our scripture, they need to be specific, and provide sufficient proof. Otherwise they do a disservice to the umma, to our religion, and to the high standards of Islamic scholarship.

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    • O H

      I am sure the scholars who have stipulated things to be halal and haram have taken into consideration all the principles,conditions and proofs necessary to deem a certain thing as halal and haram and not out of guesswork and assumption. They all have presented different evidences for their view and Insha Allaah we as layman have to choose between the differing opinions to see which evidences seem stronger. Unfortunately many things in your article, as has been pointed out by a few brothers and sisters , include mass generalisations and assumptions which don’t reflect the reality on the ground but has been presented in a manner as the final truth. It may instead be true till a certain extent and may apply in some but NOT all cases as mentioned in the above posts. For us to deem something as halal in relation to strong evidences opposing it requires much more stronger basis and evidences than the ones presented. Hence most of people who have read the points laid out are not convinced by your arguments but are instead convinced by the opposing school of thought regarding its prohibition. May Allaah reward you for your ijtihad and enable myself first, and us all to discuss the deen sincerely for His sake, not to win points.

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  21. The Islamic Ruling Regarding Celebrating Thanksgiving Day | Reinventing Yourself

    […] The Islamic Ruling Regarding Celebrating Thanksgiving Day Extremely excellent post, I wish I read through something like this when I reverted 18 years in the past! It would have conserve me tons of argumentation with my loved ones. From now on I will change my mindset in the direction of them with regards to related issues. They will be satisfied with my Islam&nbsp… Study much more on MuslimMatters […]

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  22. The Hungry Muslim

    Ya jamah. I don’t know if its halal or haram. But I eat dinner with my family everyday. Bismillah.

    chicken>turkey

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  23. Siraaj

    Salaam alaykum Imam Luqman,

    On page 5 of your post, you’ve written the following:

    “Muslims are not allowed to engage in any activity that promotes or glorifies kufr, shirk, disobedience to Allāh and His Messenger, or that makes a mockery of our noble religion. We don’t do Christmas, Easter, or Halloween, since all of these celebrate, commemorate, or invite to disbelief, or glorifies evil, as in the case of Halloween.”

    That’s the essence of why others don’t follow the view that Thanksgiving is permissible – because no matter all the nice things we can say about Thanksgiving, in the end it is a Christian holiday, both in the US and Canada, and as such is kufr. Otherwise we can say for Christmas it’s the celebration of the birth of another Prophet, we’ll just sub in our non-son-of-God Prophet for their son of God the way we substitute out their holy father in heaven for Allah in Thanksgiving.

    If you think this reasoning doesn’t work for Hallowe’en, consider that there are scholars who have begun opening the door for Hallowe’en based on the same reasons you’ve offered. Years ago on Imam Suhaib’s site when he posted his fatwa, I offered this concern and one of the students of knowledge said that will never happen because this just clear evil and yadda yadda, but the door is opening now for Hallowe’en even as we speak.

    The reasoning follows like so:

    1. The origin of the holiday was some type of kufr.
    2. The holiday has changed, and we base our ruling on what it is, not what it was.
    3. Therefore, since the way this holiday is celebrated differs from its origin, and by whom (basically everyone), we can celebrate it now.

    I think our real problem is not these holidays – our real problem is that we are unable to disagree without being disagreeable. The salafis are stereotyped with this problem, but it exists aplenty among the sufis, azharis, deobandis, and others. The immigrant community has brought it’s version of Islam with a mix of culture and Islam together, and we are also doing the same in return with a chip on our shoulders about their anti-americanism.

    It’s a vicious cycle that has to be broken – rather than convincing one another of the correctness of our opinions, I think it’s more important to engender respect for differing opinions. The way forward on this is not by denigrating or minimizing another opinion or group of scholars – it’s by demonstrating via the evidences the manner in which one conclusion was arrived at, acknowledging the other side, and then allowing people to peaceably move forward with their own opinion without feeling as though by following another opinion they are intolerant anti-american bigots.

    Siraaj

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    • O H

      “The salafis are stereotyped with this problem, but it exists aplenty among the sufis, azharis, deobandis, and others.”

      Some big generalisations there. Not all these groups are homogenous and have small sub divisions and differing line of thought. Infact some of the shuyookh and scholars mentioned here may fall under some of these branches and they are well known for their tolerance. I know you are aware of that but just saying…

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    • Inqiyaad

      As salaamu ‘alaikum,

      Brother Siraaj, jazakAllahu khairan for articulating so very well your thoughts about this issue, which a lot of us share with you.

      One issue is often overlooked in these discussions about Islam and culture. The starting premise of these discussions is that culture should be considered before issuing a ruling. However, I feel that a lot of these proposals end up making the point that some cultures should be preferred over others.

      I say this because we put down ‘immigrant’ culture by pointing out its contradictions with Islam. However, when it comes to ‘indigenous’ culture, if that is one unified entity, we assume that everything is wholesome and that somehow the Islamic rulings should conform to this culture.

      I asked this question on the other article posted by brother Luqman, and I ask it here again. What aspect of American culture is constant? Hasn’t it been in a constant flux? Culture in the last 60-70 years has evolved from woman laity wearing habits and long dresses to Miley Cyrus, from rejection of homosexuality to advocacy for it, …Can we not, similarly, adopt aspects of immigrant culture that do not contradict Islam?

      Isn’t the rejection of immigrant culture by ‘American’ Muslims based on American culture of xenophobia and American exceptionalism? This is how I look at it, just like the wider society has rejected and continues to reject immigrants; the Muslim population rejects immigrants within their sub-population.

      Except that a lot of these immigrants are their own parents or family members.

      The point being, HOMEBOY culture can be as toxic and corrupting to Islam as BACK-HOME culture and this has to be addressed.

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    • Amina

      Well said! JazakAllah khayr.
      I do not understand why this type of thing is even discussed. Why are we so worried about seeming ‘normal’ and fitting in

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  24. melanie

    If you think it is haraam just do not participate. If not enjoy your turkey!! This much discussion about such a superficial matter it a waste of time.

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    • O H

      Some people may disagree with you and regard it as extremely important-an issue of Aqeedah and Walaa wal Baraa. Its much more than eating Turkey!

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  25. Ali

    I find some Muslims throwing around their claim (not just in this page) that all festivals/holidays/celebrations except for the 2 Eids are Haram claiming that the Hadith/Quran says that. I do not think there is any verse in the Quran on this, and even the ahadith on this matter mention the 2 Eid being made for Muslims, but do they mention anything else to be “Haram”?
    i ask because there is this mentality among some to call anything they are not comfortable with to be Haram; be it voting or birthdays or playing football.

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    • Mahmud

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Bidah we were forbidden from, and Allah aza wa jal has already defined our Eids.

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  26. Shakir

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  27. Abu Abdur-Rahman

    Allahu akbar! So happy to read the majority of these comments. Seeing that headline on this website got me worried. Alhamdulillah I was wrong!

    Alhamdulillah, whoever says there isn’t khair in this ummah is very wrong.

    EDIT: Please remain respectful of our guest author.

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  28. O H

    Seem some pointless posts have been allowed through the filter and some of mine have not been posted. Surely my posts were not as bad as the one by regarding black magic which got 15 dislikes!

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    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Akhi

      Apologies. Filters are not humans and subject to the limitations of machines. The moderator is human and subject to the limitations of humans. I believe the offending black magic comment (which is actually spam) is no longer there and your comments are cleared.

      If something went awry do let me know.

      -Aly
      CommentsTeam Lead

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  29. Yasmeen

    Salaam alaikum

    One thing I don’t understand is why the fact that a day cannot be haram keeps being propagated. Claiming that celebrating Thanksgiving isn’t permissible isn’t the same as saying everything that takes place on the fourth Thursday of November is haram.

    Sleeping in can’t be counted as celebrating Thanksgiving because I’m sure that’s done on any other day off as well. People who watch football on Thanksgiving do so any other time a team they like is playing. If you eat turkey 3 times a week normally and one of those times happen to fall on Thanksgiving then that’s not celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s all about your intention. Like someone else mentioned, if you consider these celebrating Thanksgiving then eating candy on October 31st means you’re celebrating Halloween.

    There are ways to celebrate Thanksgiving traditionally and whether you celebrate it in that manner or not, you’re still celebrating it. Again, it’s all about intention. If make it a point to make a huge dinner with turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, then obviously that’s celebrating it in the traditional sense. If you don’t shower all year and on Thanksgiving you have a nice, long Thanksgiving shower, then that’s celebrating it nontraditionally. I’m sure anyone can see the difference between this and taking your daily shower. Celebrating Thanksgiving isn’t as hard to recognize as the author has made it seem. Any holiday can be like this, whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    I respect opinions which are different than mine, it’s just that the arguments being used here for the other opinion don’t seem very logical to me. These same arguments can be used to say that celebrating Christmas is okay.

    I just want to remind my brothers and sisters to leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt. And I know that’s easier for some to apply in certain situations and harder to apply in others. But whether you do it or not, it’s always better to recognize it as something to work on.

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    • Tonho

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      • Inqiyaad

        And O my people, how is it that I invite you to salvation while you invite me to the Fire?
        You invite me to disbelieve in Allah and associate with Him that of which I have no knowledge, and I invite you to the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver.
        Assuredly, that to which you invite me has no [response to a] supplication in this world or in the Hereafter; and indeed, our return is to Allah , and indeed, the transgressors will be companions of the Fire.
        And you will remember what I [now] say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah . Indeed, Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.”

        Al-Quran, Chapter 40, verse 41-44

        Tonha, the above is the description of a conversation ‘one’ man, who did not succumb to peer pressure, had with the so-called trendsetters, ‘normal’ people of his nation. People succumb to peer pressure to feel accepted, in other words trying to be what other people call normal. The day is not far away when the bullies and the people who succumb will be having the following discussion. You can listen to it here,

        http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran
        Go to chapter 40, verses 47 onwards

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  30. Aloo

    The day I see Muslims speak out this passionately against the killings of innocent people by Muslims, will be the day I stop celebrating Thanksgiving. Until then, happy Turkey Day ya’ll!

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    • Inqiyaad

      Meanwhile, City beat Spurs 6-0 and Trott is going back home. Therefore, I propose, you should stop Turkey day celebrations.

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    • saba

      Hehe….I agree. Thanksgiving is a non-issue for me (don’t live in America). But it is strange to see how aggressive and worked up people are getting over this, and some of the comments, in part, constitute really unpleasant personal attacks on the author of the article. Shiekh Luqman, I don’t agree every point you’ve made, but please don’t be disheartened by the needlessly aggressive and and somewhat nasty comments you’ve been subjected to. It’s to be expected. I would also love to see Muslims speak out so passionately against the killings of innocent people (non-muslim and muslim) by Muslims.

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  31. Imam Luqman

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    • Mahmud

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      “Let me get this straight; it is okay for Muslims to sell liquor and alcohol all across America, but it’s not okay to eat or visit your families on Thanksgiving Day.”

      Who told you that?

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  32. Imam Luqman

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    • Siraaj

      Salaam alaykum Imam Luqman,

      I think what is inherently underlying your comment is the idea that today’s Muslims are a foreign entity which selectively takes advantage of certain parts of the American experience while condemning other parts with methodological inconsistency.

      My own perspective is that the American experience is what you make of it. There is no universal right or wrong way to be an American. You can be a pro-life Conservative or a pro-choice Progressive. You can be pro-war or anti-war. You can be pro-gun rights, and you can be against them. You can take a number of hot button issues and fall more left on some issues and right on others (aka an independent).

      In fact, as an American, I can be an anal-retentive patriot or an apathetic don’t-give-a-damn-riot. The type of choices I make as an American, what I care about or don’t care about, is not anyone’s business but my own so long as I stay within the law.

      The point being, taking a position against Thanksgiving because of my religious freedoms IS American. Not liking something, not practicing it, and even advocating against it for my own reasons (be it because I believe it’s against my faith, because I believe it’s celebrating a massacre, or because a person believes in principle it removes the wall of separation between Church and State) IS American.

      So before we get even close to labels such as “UnAmerican” or talking points like “if you don’t like it, then leave”, realize that disagreement and opinions are all part and parcel of the American experience and to deny that would be a serious contradiction.

      Moving past that, as a Muslim living in America, the mistakes of muslims abroad, the mistakes of muslims domestically, and my own mistakes as a Muslim have nothing to do with the fundamental question – can we celebrate another’s religious holiday? As with Christmas, if the answer is no with Thanksgiving, then we’d better put on our creative thinking hats on, make use of that good old American ingenuity, and find other ways to meet with our families and keep in touch.

      The problem with celebrating thanksgiving has nothing to do with it being an American holiday – it has to do with it being a religious holiday, or rather, the question as to whether it’s a religious holiday.

      Let’s not make this into something it’s not.

      Siraaj

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      • Waqar

        I do not think Imam Luqman was saying it is un-American to not celebrate Thanksgiving. Rather, he was saying that it is not haraam to celebrate Thanksgiving, since it is not a religious holiday, and therefore, not an Eid. His point also was that celebrating Thanksgiving is not more an immitatoin of the kuffar than is going on the internet, attending American schools, dressing like the kuffar, etc., so it is hypocristy to condemn one and not the other.

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      • The Salafi Feminist

        Unfortunately, Imam Luqman’s comments have been almost purely emotional (and full of inconsistencies and conflations) rather than based on logic, as brother Siraaj has pointed out repeatedly.

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      • Inqiyaad

        Waqar,

        When that list is preceded by “What gets me also, is how a Muslim can come to the United States”, then the implication is quite obvious. Siraaj is challenging the above premise, which brother Luqmaan is using to make further arguments. This premise is no different from that adopted by bigots who, at the slightest hint of disagreement with their narrative of what is American, will tell you to go back to where you came from despite the fact that you were born here. Siraaj is simply stating that disagreement is not necessarily rooted in one’s origin and does not necessarily indicate one’s patriotism or lack of it.

        Not to mention that he assumes, incorrectly, that people who have challenged his proposals vis a vis Thanksgiving celebrations have indulged in infractions like selling alcohol, procured a loan on riba, installed cable television to watch movies etc. At the very least, he is suggesting that they have not opposed these evils. More importantly, these are issues that are not being discussed on this post.

        Instead of objectively addressing the issue, brother Luqman has employed superfluous rhetoric and invectives, while being evasive about focal issues, both in the main article and his follow-up comments.

        P.S: Siraaj’s views regarding riba-based loans are here on MM for brother Luqman to read. If I am not wrong, Siraaj is even opposed to buying a home because he argues that it is bad management of finances.

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    • Hassan

      Jazak-Allah khyran for taking time out to write a valuable article. I think it should be fine to agree to disagree. Some scholars deem it halal to celebrate thanksgiving, some do not. Your point is taken.

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    • Abu Milk Sheikh

      Abul Layth, these are all straw-men and red herrings.

      Who has declared you a heretic for saying Thanksgiving Day is halal? Who has made your blood halal?

      How does it follow that since some Muslims commit sins, committing another sin in celebrating Thanksgiving is permissible? Each issue is ruled on according to its reality.

      It seems that you are being too sensitive. You have issued a fatwa, based on your own ijtihad, that contradicts the fatawa of many senior scholars and students of knowledge. Some people believe that your ijtihad is erroneous and that you are mistaken in issuing this fatwa. They have disagreed with your ijtihad on religious grounds, given that several senior scholars and students of knowledge have a different understanding of the issue.

      Others have disagreed with you due to the logical fallacies present in your fatwa, several of which have already been pointed out.

      Finally, Sheikh Bin Bayyah’s fatwa is on the topic of celebrating National Day (I’m assuming he was asked about the Saudi National Day) even though he mentions some general principles in it. For you to extrapolate this to imply that he permits the celebration of Thanksgiving is putting words in his mouth that he did not say. Explain to him the reality (the reality, not the mis-characterization that you have presented to us today) of Thanksgiving and see if he permits it then.

      This is aside from the fact that you are appealing to the authority of a foreign scholar when your article argues against the very same thing. To claim that Sheikh Bin Bayyah is the only one that knows the manaat and that others do not is conjecture on your part and frankly, intellectually dishonest.

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  33. Abed Islam

    I personally know Muslims that say one *must* have a turkey dinner *on the very night of Thanksgiving*. Going by the emphasized points of this article if we say there is nothing to make acute celebration of this day haraam, then how does one avoid or guide the people who have made a specific form of celebrating a specific non-‘id holiday every year as if it is fard upon them and their family? Something about that doesn’t sit right at all.

    Just as the latest comments of Imam Luqman mention we do all these other things without raising any flags yet Thanksgiving is as if all of the sudden an issue… it could also be said there are amongst us those who do not tend to what Allah swt *loves*, what He made obligatory upon us, yet they will all of the sudden observe Thanksgiving religiously in many senses of the term.

    I do not know if I’m the odd person out knowing families like this. Would be nice if this was addressed. Sure a fatwa wouldn’t do anything for them, but that a people could end up in that position as a result of *advocating* Thanksgiving? Things aren’t adding up for me.

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  34. Abu Mujaddid

    Another so-called ambassador of Islam trying to jump on the fatwa bandwagon. To declare celebrating on this specific day and ignoring the origin of how this day led up is just pure ignorance. Some credit would be given had this fatwa maker even bother to mention about the genocide which led to this day. Yet, there is no mention of it at all. Either he is ignorant or intentionally leaving out the genocide.

    A similarity can be drawn to Israel. The Zionists celebrate “Yom Ha’atzmaut Day”, where the families celebrate the independence of Israel(or shall we say the occupation of Palestine) by holding picnic and BBQ known as ‘mangal’. It’s all good hearted you know. It brings families in Israel together. So if an Arab Israeli Muslim were to also do mangal on Yom Ha’atzmaut Day, it would be good as well since it’s just having good ol time, forgetting the genocide and the occupation of the land of Palestine.

    Thank you Uncle Tom Imam for showing us how to live our lives using bogus fatwas.

    May Allah s.w.t. keep us conscious with taqwa. Without taqwa, we lose the fear of speaking on behalf of Allah and His messenger without knowledge.

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    • Mahmud

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      I get the taqwa part, but let us not forget it’s component, akhlaq. An-Nabi(S) had more taqwa than us and he was also “ala khuluqin athim”-upon a constantly tremendous character.

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    • Waqar

      The second article you cite does mention the first thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachussets, as being a myth, then goes on to state numerous questionable things as “fact.” Where are the citations of the article? If the author is making claims that are debunking previously widely held events, then he should provide proof of such claims, and without such proof, his claims cannot be taken seriously.

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  35. Abdul Qureshi

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Inqiyaad

      “…and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, and who follows his own desire and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.
      Surah Kahf, Aayah 28

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    • O H

      Assalamalaykum brother Abdullah . As a fellow Muslim that statement realy scares me-tell me you were joking. Infact joking in this case is also unacceptable!

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  36. American Muslim Revert

    […] It feels weird to thank You on Thanksgiving. It feels weird to sum up my gratitude to You for everything you have blessed me with in my life on this one day out of the year. […]

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  37. Ameenah

    I do believe that rulings should be given with the Quran and Sunnah as a proof…. I am not sure who this Imam is but i think he needs to do a little more research on topics such as this before giving rulings. almost every qualified scholar that I have heard of has said that join in the celebrations and created holidays of the non believers is not allowed not matter where they may live.

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    • O H

      I am worried to see such fatawa appear on a site such as MM viewed by thousands of Muslims globally as the ignorant masses may be misled. They may not ask the righteous scholars who know and do the required investigation into this matter and simply take this fatawa. What’s worse is people dismissing the importance of this matter and saying ‘it’s just about eating Turkey’ & having a good time etc ignoring the fact that it’s very much an issue of Islamic creed and belief (Aqeedah) and Al Walaa wal Baraa.

      Note: Al-walaa means loyalty and al-baraa means disownment. In the context of Islam al-walaa is loyalty to Allah and whatever He is pleased with as well as friendship and closeness to the believers, whereas al-baraa is freeing oneself from that which is displeasing to Allah and disowning the disbelievers.

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  38. alexandria batiste

    I also wanted to say that it is a good thing we follow Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad Salalahu alehi wa salaam instead of a shaykh.

    Quran and Sunnah 1st!

    Nothing needs to be added to it!
    Allah and His ruling through the Nabi (saaw) is sufficient!

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  39. Knitter Scribe (@renaissanceeast)

    Actually, the interaction between the settlers and the natives at Plymouth got tacked onto Thanksgiving as an afterthought. The settlers (and I don’t call them Pilgrims for a reason, but that’s another story) gave thanks not through rituals of gluttony, but by fasting and praying. They did have feasts, but for other reasons. There’s no reliable record tying a feast to late November, a date which was picked and changed to maximize Christmas shopping opportunities. The reason that Thanksgiving exists is that a Victorian ladies’ magazine editor got her bonnet in a bunch over young men and women leaving the home to go to factories and offices and pushed for a holiday that would bring them home with recipes and hostessing ideas conveniently featured in her magazine. So yes, eating loads of specially prepared foods with your family before you go shopping is the reason for Thanksgiving, but you had the myth of the settlers and natives brought into it to justify the whole thing back when the horrid human rights abuses involved in such weren’t considered such a big problem. That narrative has about as much to do with Thanksgiving as the festivities on December 25 (or January 6th) have to do with the birth of Isa (AS).

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  40. Ali

    It is interesting to see the holier than thou arguments. While Imam Luqman may have used a few straw men, fact is such straw men exist as reality among Muslims not just in the US but in all countries; namely people who ignore Islamic rulings when it in their interest (like avoiding usury, not being racist, being kind to servants, praying all prayers properly), and yet seemingly to compensate get over aggressive on issues like Thanksgiving, halal food, taking pictures and birthdays.

    The Thanksgiving issue should not apply to almost any immigrant Muslim in the US; just like Easter, they are unlikely to face social pressure to celebrate it in any meaningful way. But consider a revert Muslim, who can attend Thanksgiving dinner with his family members of a different religion.

    It can be one of the very few ways in which he can show them that he has not cut off from them completely and is still their family member. Of course one can lecture that in the path of Islam there is no room to compromise and he should avoid such dinners regardless of how much further alienation with his family it may cause and that “the Ummah is now his family and not his NonMuslim family members”; but I do not think Islam has been made so harsh for Muslims, particularly reverts.

    Let us try to be a bit less sanctimonious, the title may wrongly project “the” Islamic ruling on Thanksgiving, so if it bothers you, consider it as a liberal opinion on Thanksgiving in Islam and try to understand that Islam does not mean always choosing the harshest/strictest opinions and considering any other opinion to be the path to hell

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    • Inqiyaad

      Ali,
      A correct description of the things you listed would be ‘a red herring’. These red herrings are being used to set up the straw man (noun• a sham argument set up to be defeated). The straw man argument being, if some (or many) Muslims do not have a problem with such horrendous things, other Muslims who might not be indulging in or condoning these ‘red herrings’, should also shut up and not point out the reasons as to why Thanksgiving is not allowed. If we allow this to happen then we will not be left with any recognizable aspect of our religion, because the thief will always be able to point at a rapist and a rapist will be able to point at a murderer to justify his/her actions.

      A lot of people have repeatedly pointed out, many of them converts themselves, that Thanksgiving is not one of a very few ways to establish family ties. Plenty of other ways exist.

      If sanctimony is such a bad thing then this article is a perfect example. The problem with the article is not restricted to the opinion itself. Rather, there are problems with logic, evidences provided, and the tone to name a few.

      Please understand that Islam is not just based on opinions of ‘liberal’ or ‘orthodox’ people. Rather, the opinions should be backed up with evidences from Quran and Sunnah. If both opinions are backed with equally convincing evidences then there is scope for choice. Not when the evidences provided can be challenged so easily, as seen from the comments above.

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      • Mahmud

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Inqiyaad, I love you brother. Thank you for taking the time and effort to stamp what we both consider unrighteous out. I really appreciate it-you say what I love to read! I made dua you don’t waste excessive time on commenting though.

        I disagree with respecting this fatwa. I cannot respect something I clearly see as other than correct. However, we can show due courtesy and humility to other Muslims-this is part of our deen.

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      • Inqiyaad

        Wa ‘alaikum as Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
        I love you for the sake of Allah. May Allah accept from us and guide us all to His way. JazakAllahu khairan for your Du’a and advice. May Allah give you even better that what you asked for me.

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      • Mahmud

        Ameen, may the one for whose sake you love me, love you as well. Ameen to all your duas, and for you and me.

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    • Siraaj

      Salaam alaykum Ali,

      I agree with you that Thanksgiving is a pressure situation for many converts. One equivalent pressure situation for many born Muslims would be weddings – even among the more religious and observant, it’s not uncommon to find pressure from family to conform to cultural nonsense, like dressing up the bride and putting her center stage for everyone to check out.

      Having said that, since I have both a Muslim and nonMuslim side to my family, and since my wife is also a caucasion american convert, although I am a born Muslim, I do have experience with this ;) Our family knows our position, and that’s that. What matters is how we deal with them the rest of the year, by keeping in touch, by being kind and helpful, and so on.

      Of course, they may not be true for everyone, I acknowledge that the level of acceptance will vary – what I’m putting forward is whatever you’re doing for Christmas, do it for Thanksgiving as well. If it’s too difficult to avoid family get togethers during Christmas, you would admit some level of wrongdoing and ask Allah (swt) to forgive you and then move on. If you’re telling your family you avoid religious holidays on Christmas, and then you do it, then do it for thanksgiving if it’s religious for you as well, or it’s a religious event.

      In the end, it’s a matter of ikhtilaf among the religious authorities in our community and if people believe the opinion that it is nonreligious and can therefore be celebrated, that’s not my business or anyone else’s.

      But if someone, besides making a case for their opinion, makes unsubstantiated claims such as claiming the other opinion only comes from scholars overseas who don’t understand America, or that all Americans consider Thanksgiving nonreligious and purely secular, that’s something else entirely different. This stops being a discussion of understanding the principles and evidences used to arrive at a conclusion and turns into a politicized discussion of “immigrants” vs “indigenous”. And while I agree the immigrant community has made many missteps (and continue to do so) in their treatment of converts, it has no place in this discussion.

      As someone who wants to simply understand the principles in this discussion, I would like to have known the following:

      1. What are examples of non-religious festivals / holidays allowed by the Companions as the Muslim empire spread to different regions of the world under their watch?

      2. What are examples of rulings from scholars of the past supporting this position? What are examples of contrary opinions?

      3. What makes a holiday religious, and what makes it non-religious? What are the criterion?

      For example, it has been briefly stated that Christmas has a specific set of rituals for it to be celebrated properly – would that mean if I gave gifts in the office and never put up a christmas tree that I wasn’t partaking in the holiday? what if I put up a tree and didn’t attend church? What are the rituals?

      Had these questions been addressed, I think I would have had much less to say on this post, even if I may have disagreed with the final outcome, I could at least respect the principles by which the author came to his conclusion.

      Finally, as mentioned by Inqiyaad earlier, if someone wishes to throw a purity test at me, they’re welcome to do so, but that doesn’t negate a bad argument. If I took riba loans or sold alcohol, that doesn’t justify someone else’s argument that, “this isn’t that bad”. This is the equivalent of when people say, “She and I are just hanging out, it’s not like I’m a murderer or something.” There’s always something worse, that doesn’t change that something else is also wrong, though the degree may be less.

      Siraaj

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  41. Khadija

    This is really an eye-opener and it clarified a lot for me. May Allah reward you for addressing this issue honestly. This clarification has opened my mind to not look at normal cultural celebrations with repulsion if they have nothing to do with any religious practice. I am really really grateful for this article.

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  42. al-ahmed

    Can we see you justification for claiming that Halloween is haram?

    From my understanding, it is derived from ancient Celtic Pagan beliefs, Halloween that is (not Thanksgiving). It’s difficult to even relate the two holidays since they are so different (Hallow’s Days which was celebrated by the Celtics and Halloween which is supposedly Hallow’s Eve).

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  43. Abu Aadam

    This opinion really contradicts some of the fundamental principles of our religion. It contains the same tactics that are used time and again to support opinions that are outside the realm of the mainstream Islam (people of the Sunnah). Differentiating between a religious holiday and non-religious is absolutely non-sense. Rather, the differentiation is limited to Islamic holidays and non-Islamic holidays. Our elders who hold and promote opinions like these really will have a burden on the Day of Judgement. By Allah we need to fear Allah

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  44. Umm Solomon

    Why doesn’t the scholar of this website Yasir Qadhi comment on this?

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    • O H

      The first part of the question is fine, the second part if the question is NOT fine. Have Husn Dhann (good assumption) of him and other fellow Muslims.

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  45. Khubz

    “These were pagan religious holidays tied in with their idols” – In reference to the people of madeenah celebrating the two days instead of Eid.

    Actually, if one looked into this further the scholars of hadeeth had a different opinion on this. “The interpreters of the Hadeeth stated that they celebrated these two days only because the weather was moderate at the times they celebrated them and not for any religious purpose. Yet, Islam abrogated them.” – http://www.islamweb.net

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  46. A Halal Meat Home | Amy's Rules

    […] or someone else does, then it means I might get to try making a turkey myself this Thanksgiving. (Is Thanksgiving halal?) Normally I’ve spent the day with my family in North Carolina, but this year I won’t […]

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  47. Anis Motiwala

    There is a difference between becoming an Arab and becoming a Muslim. This article supports the multinational character of Islam while the politicized environment hugely supported by oil money aims at making Islam and Arab synonymous. So draw your own conclusion.

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  48. Abu Abdillah

    “It would be grossly irresponsible to say that Thanksgiving, or any observance of it, is prohibited. Because to do so, is to say that people gathering to eat, to be amongst their family and loved ones, and to express their thanks to God, is an abomination, and something that angers God. To render the holiday and all of the practices haraam would say that it is evil, an abomination, and something that God hates.”

    His is a gross distortion. What is known as the basis of any ruling of prohibition is the established principle of Muslims not taking other than Al-Adha and Al-Fitrah as ‘Eids. Also, what about sitting at the table of those who will be asking for the blessing of Jesus or the “Heavenly Father” upon those present and sharing in that as they say ‘amen’? He totally obfuscates the fact that while there may be many for whom Thanksgiving is ‘neutral’ and do not consider it religious, there are many who make a point not to leave out their religious beliefs from the celebration in that they certainly recognize the blessings bestowed upon them by the Creator. It was begun by staunch Christians according to their own lore and made an official holiday here in the US by good ‘ol Abe Lincoln. People may or may not commit shirk in their celebration, however are the other issues such as not taking ‘eids other than the two, imitation of the non-believers of no consideration? As the rest of the family raises their wine or champagne glasses to toast at dinner or their beers during the big game, perhaps the prohibition of sitting at a table where alcohol is served is to be overlooked and not adhered to because of the overriding issue of keeping family ties?

    “Thus, when a convert to Islam is now told that eating with his family, visiting his grandma, and keeping ties with his family is a shameful, hateful thing to God, is sends a dangerous psychological message, that is antithetical to our faith. To say that doing these things are permissible on other days but not permissible on the day that it is easiest to accomplish keeping ties, goes directly against the standards of our Prophet fulfilling godly obligations.

    So does that mean to sit with the family on Thanksgiving is okay for the convert but not okay for the one who is born and raised a Muslim? Does it apply to a Muslim who is married to a Christian? Meaning, if a male who is born and raised as a Muslim marries a Christian or Jewish wife it would be okay for him to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or Rosh Hashana or whatever with her and participate in gatherings in which shirk is practiced because it is convenient and easy?

    Also brother Luqman seems to be implying that to attend Thanksgiving is an obligation because keeping ties with the family is an obligation and attending Thanksgiving is a chief and convenient means of keeping ties.

    Really don’t get me wrong. I do NOT think that this issue or difference is among the most important of issues. However, what about the damage in the psychological message being sent by him against Muslims for adhering strictly to their own religious practices in the face of pressure not to and in an environment that tells them anything Islamic is evil? Is there not in that a level of antithesis to eemaan or respect, as is his condemnation of the position of scholars as “grossly irresponsible”?

    “So to think that American Muslims of today, do not know how to maintain or practice their faith in the midst of a country like the United States of America, is untenable, and untenable is a soft word because it’s more like, ludicrous. It would be unthinkable for an American Muslim scholar or imam to render a ruling about practices in another country, and be taken seriously.”

    So now any imam or American Muslim scholar who disagrees with him is a joke not to be taken seriously. Who I ask is doing something antithetical to the principles of the deen here by invalidating a position that has a basis in sharia? Also, he needs to recognize that scholars have always traveled to learn from one another and to ask rulings. Where they once took months or even years in travel or send correspondence, they can now teleconference if necessary. Also, scholars, no matter what land they may live in, still applied a consistent methodology to derive rulings wherever the location. They have often commented on rulings given in countries about people other than their own!

    The principle or basis of the ruling in relation to Thanksgiving here would be the same as that applied by a scholar for any similar celebration that may arise. Therefore the author’s statement, “it is not common, and virtually unheard of, for scholars of Egypt to render fatwas against the people of Syria for what they do in their country, or for the scholars of Saudi Arabia to render fatwas against the People of Bahrain for what they do in their country, or for the scholars of Lebanon, or Algeria, to render fatwas against the Muslims of Sudan, for what they do in their country” is neither true nor accurate and a blatant misrepresentation.

    For one, this particular ruling in question is not against any PEOPLE but against a PRACTICE. I have sat in the presence and in the offices of the Muftis and organizations for Islamic rulings in several Islamic countries (namely in Al-Azhar in Egypt and Darul-Iftaa in Saudi Arabia) and heard and seen scholars (including the head Mufti and vice Mufti) answer questions from Muslims from all over the world. It is hard to imagine that the author of that article does not know that considering his claim to have studied in Omdurman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    Finally, if scholars did or do not seek rulings from those outside their lands, it may also stem from the lack of a need to do so being themselves true scholars or in a place or situation where Islamic ‘ilm is widespread and accessible. While there may be those who possess ‘ilm in the US or other western countries, the institutions and mechanisms for getting or giving reliable fataawa are far from established or consistent as those in some Muslim countries. Indeed, look at how we in the US seek fataawa from websites like Muslimmatters.org and any other place until we find that which suits us.

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