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Aqeedah and Fiqh

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Celebrating Thanksgiving Day

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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 salat, 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 Makkah 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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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

149 Comments

149 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Megan

    November 22, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      David Kearns

      November 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      This issue is address in the last two paragraphs of the last page of the article in the Fatwa by By Sheikh `Abd Allāh b. Bayyih.

    • Avatar

      Tariq ibn Ali

      November 25, 2014 at 5:19 AM

      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

      • Avatar

        Danish

        November 26, 2015 at 8:37 PM

        Ma Sha Allah, may Allah strengthen you more and bring forth more people like you to strengthen our faith from so called Muslims living in Muslim countries

      • Avatar

        Abdullah

        November 23, 2016 at 12:30 PM

        Thank you brother. I was baffled as well, how the sentiments are brought in this article as if someone is preventing to see one’s grandparents or sit down and eat with the family. That’s so corny.
        Allah commands justice, love and respect and being a Muslim we definitely respect that. But for a day like Thanksgiving which many of the minority and indigenous communities are already denouncing as it’s a day of celebration of the ruling class to celebrate the usurping of Native’s lands.

        No way, is this what MuslimMatters stand for?

      • Avatar

        Haaziq Abdul Aleem

        November 25, 2016 at 7:51 AM

        This is false and bid’ah firstly we would go about the origin of the holiday Thanksgivings and it is a dark past and history which pertains to murder slavery and theft. Therefore why would a Muslim partake in such celebration. Secondly Thanksgiving had nothing to do with thanking god at all so your information is way off track and you’re basically misleading the ummah into deception. Last but certainly not least we as Muslim do not follow the ways or traditions of non Muslim customs. I don’t need Thursday in November to eat with family & friends how stupid of an excuse is that. Would non Muslim people fast during the month of Ramadhaan? No. So why would I indulge in their traditions when these same people reject mine. This imaam should be exploited for this article and false teachings he is giving the people & you who partake in such celebration, need to wake up learn your deen and stop following behind the kufaar. That’s what you’re doing. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said::”whoever imitates a people then he is one of them”

        Wake up people and stop being so naive Islam doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Islamic countries so why would we do it Jumu’ah however is the 2 Eids are…Ramadhaan yes. Those are our celebrations thanksgiving is Not!!!

        May Allaah guide you and increase your knowledge.

    • Avatar

      Mustafa

      November 23, 2016 at 10:24 AM

      A Warning Against Thanksgiving!!!

      https://www.spreaker.com/episode/5595181
      *Mustafa Abu Aqeel Allen*

    • Avatar

      Haaziq Abdul Aleem

      November 25, 2016 at 7:22 AM

      This is false and bid’ah firstly we would go about the origin of the holiday Thanksgivings and it is a dark past and history which pertains to murder slavery and theft. Therefore why would a Muslim partake in such celebration. Secondly Thanksgiving had nothing to do with thanking god at all so your information is way off track and you’re basically misleading the ummah into deception.

      May Allaah guide you and increase your knowledge.

  2. Avatar

    Imane

    November 22, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    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

    • Avatar

      Sam

      November 23, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      See, that’s the problem of your new believe Islam, anyone with a beard can get a Fatwa, after a wile you’ll found another fatwa from someone else telling you that it is forbidden and he’ll find something else from Quran or sierra to prove it.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      November 23, 2016 at 12:38 PM

      Be very careful dear brother/sister to change your course of action because of an article. DO think Allah prevented you from being loving, caring and respectful towards your family members?
      Do your due diligence of studying about what this Day stands for.

      Trump was right. There are a lot of improvements since he won. Every year we thanked the native Americans in Thanksgiving by just eating Turkey. Not this year.
      This year some will be thanking them by showering them with cold water, rubber bullets and actual bullets while the entire nation celebrates that by eating turkey.
      #wakeup #standupforeachother #defendtheweak #minoritiesunite

      • Avatar

        Merika

        November 24, 2016 at 9:32 AM

        Wow. Our country is good enough for you to live in it and be protected by it, make a great life and prosperity from it but yet you seek to denounce it and it’s core traditions? Why can’t you just call Thanksgiving for what 99% of America really utilize the day for which is having family over for a get together and a nice dinner? I suppose next you will be trying to find some old irrelevant hidden meaning to the birthday party.

  3. Avatar

    Durel

    November 22, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Melanie

      November 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      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.

      • Avatar

        Kailahna

        November 25, 2013 at 7:14 AM

        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.

        • Avatar

          Amina

          November 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

          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.

        • Avatar

          jesse collins

          November 27, 2013 at 3:17 PM

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

        • Avatar

          Rosa

          November 27, 2013 at 10:12 PM

          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.

        • Avatar

          Zayyan

          November 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

          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.

        • Avatar

          Sarah

          November 29, 2013 at 1:09 AM

          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!

        • Avatar

          NOOR KAZIM

          December 1, 2013 at 2:53 AM

          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.

      • Avatar

        James

        November 24, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        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.

    • Avatar

      David

      November 1, 2015 at 9:25 PM

      Get your facts Straight. The Pilgrims and Indians had a feast together. The Pilgrims taught the Indians skills and the Indians
      taught the Pilgrims skills also.

    • Avatar

      Ryan

      November 25, 2015 at 11:27 PM

      Interesting you think the origin of thanksgiving.

      Im sure youre aware of the origins of eid ul fitr? A pagan holiday where devotees made fasting and concluded the ceremony bu praising allah the moon god. Funny how muslims are all too quick to forget their own pagan origins.

      • Avatar

        Burak

        November 26, 2015 at 8:17 AM

        What are you talking about? Allah means God in arabic. It is the same God of christians and jews. Don’t speak without knowledge please. Also eid ul fitr is actually something that was before muslims. Oh but you did not know this did you? Before Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, there were other prophets of God who fasted. Like Jesus peace be upon him. If you call that pagan your really stupid.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      November 23, 2016 at 12:40 PM

      Thank you. Subhan Allah, MuslimMatters need to stop acting like white people

  4. Avatar

    Amy

    November 22, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    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.

  5. Avatar

    Mirza Yawar Baig

    November 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Umm Madiha

      November 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      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

      November 26, 2013 at 11:24 PM

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

    • Avatar

      D

      November 28, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Wow – Muslim is against killing innocent people? What was 9/11 if not an unjustified massacre of innocent people? The truth is every religion, and every culture interprets what they choose to interpret from their teachings, and no religion or culture is void of ruthless predators that use their interpretation to warp minds while twisting their beliefs into a hangman’s noose in order to fulfill their own wicked desires. I have Muslim relatives. They were at my house earlier today celebrating life and family – not ‘Thanksgiving’. We lost a very dear family member quite suddenly and unexpectedly in February of this year. It shook all of us to the core. We used today to start spending more time together. As we grew older, started our own families, and began relationships with extended families, the family unit we knew as children grew apart. We saw less and less of one another because our obligations to our own families and the pressures of life and careers had increased. After the loss of Rebekah, we were jolted to the realization that though we have started branches of our own family tree, we should not sit solely on that branch, but continue to grow from the root and expand. In other words, we needed to make an effort to share time as one huge family – not just with the branch we created. We used today as a stepping stone to reunite and remember, to love one another, and to be grateful for every precious moment we have left. We reminisced about previous family gatherings and our loved ones that were no longer of this earth. We told our children stories of when we were young and spent every holiday together. I looked around my home today and felt complete – more complete because everyone in the room was a crucial part of who I am and where I come from. Everyone here was someone I love and would gladly sacrifice for to insure their safety and happiness. The world is divided and harsh enough. I won’t allow my family to be. I’m thankful my Muslim relatives dd not view our gathering today as a malicious celebration of cruelty and hate. I am thankful they chose to view it as an opportunity to take a break from the rigors of today’s society and spend it with loved ones celebrating our families and respectiving the loved ones we have lost and miss so much. Enough is enough – we are all flesh and blood, and in my home, regardless of your religion or beliefs, we are all family.

      Many blessings to you all – I hope all of the holidays you celebrate are as special as the day I spent with my loved ones today.

      • Avatar

        Inqiyaad

        November 30, 2013 at 9:11 AM

        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?

      • Avatar

        Mary

        December 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        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

      • Avatar

        Dina

        January 24, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        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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      Ryan

      November 25, 2015 at 11:31 PM

      Killing innocents and grabbing their land

      Uhm how do you think islam came to indian subcontinent? Youre joking right?

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      November 23, 2016 at 12:42 PM

      JazakAllahKhayr Shaykh Mirza.

      I feel despised from MuslimMatters how they’re trying to whitelash this. Sad.

  6. Avatar

    The Salafi Feminist

    November 22, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    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

      November 28, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      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

        November 30, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        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.

    • Avatar

      M_01

      May 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM

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

      By simply stating the fact that the hadith is weak at best and fabricated at worst (a position shared by many well known islamic sholars such as sheik abdullah bin baaz r.a. and sheikh ramadan al bouti r.a.), since Muslims have MORE THAN TWO islamic celebrations (eid al fitr, eid al adha, ashura celebration in miharram by fasting, mawlid-in-nabi, etc.) as well as several cultural holidays (I.e. norooz, Independence Day etc.)

      “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.”

      the true origins of thanksgiving 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 how you’re being ignorant by claiming 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 and find out about the true origins of this holiday instead of spouting some false and uncertified claims that denigrates the spirit of thanksgiving.

      “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.”

      And by that logic if you invite some of your non-muslim friends over for eid al adha feast and they refuse to eat your slaughtered meat because they’re vegetarians or don’t eat halal meat (ie Sikhs), or if a non-muslim is invited to an Iftar dinner and they bring over food and they decide to eat before the adhan in front of others that’s are fasting, since he doesn’t believe in ramadhan or fasting, are those not considered Hikmah (wisdom) if they are civil and polite, or aren’t they being rude harsh and callous for offending your beliefs by refusing your slaughtered meat meant to symbolize Ibrahim as’s sacrifice to Allah, or eating among Muslims who are resisting the urges to eat and drink to purify themselves. When rasool saw was invited to dine among his non-muslim enemies he wouldn’t refuse To eat their food because its haram. He’d dine among them celebrate with them and consume what they offered him unless it was clearly haram. In the case of thanksgiving if turkey is not halal just eat the vegetarian foods, and always avoid pork, alcohol and prohibited foods I.e. haram meat etc. but don’t try to avoid thanksgiving altogether and abandon your family and loved ones just because they celebrate thanksgiving.

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    Waqar

    November 22, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    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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    AbuAbdillah

    November 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

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

  9. Avatar

    Hassan

    November 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Unnecessarily long article.

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    The Salafi Feminist

    November 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    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

      May 26, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      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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    Yasmeen

    November 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Dina

      January 24, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      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.

    • Avatar

      M_01

      May 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      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

  12. Avatar

    maverick007

    November 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Ojibwa Muslim

      November 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM

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

  13. Avatar

    Majid Khan

    November 22, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    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.

  14. Avatar

    Siraaj

    November 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    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

  15. Avatar

    Siraaj

    November 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    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

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      November 22, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      *Comment deleted by Comments Team – please try not to make personal remarks*

    • Avatar

      Iyare

      November 23, 2013 at 4:19 AM

      He said food for thought!!

  16. Avatar

    O H

    November 22, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    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.

  17. Avatar

    Imam Luqman

    November 23, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    If you talk to 100 Americans who are familiar with Thanksgiving, they will tell you that it is not a religious holiday, but it is a day where for some, religious sentiment is amplified. There is no one single action, which a person must do, in order for them to have observed the day in some way. People do whatever they want to on that day. The problem with the fatwas that prohibit Thanksgiving, is that Thanksgiving Day means a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. Americans who were born and raised here, understand that unmistakably.
    None of the fatwas regarding the prohibition of Thanksgiving makes it clear, what exactly is prohibited on that day. Eating with family, eating Turkey, taking a day off from work? Because all of the above are part of Thanksgiving Day. What about watching football? Football is a big part of Thanksgiving Day; The Oakland Raiders are playing the Green Bay Packers, and the Steelers, are playing the Ravens. When the announcers announce the game, they will call it the Thanksgiving Day Game, so is this haraam? Is the game itself haraam? Is watching it haraam? What about the parade? What about discounts at the stores? What about sleeping in and taking a long weekend? Because that’s part of Thanksgiving Day too.
    Another question is; If Allah wills, Thanksgiving Day will arrive, and there are 6,000,000 Muslims living in the United States, some of them will be hungry and be inclined to eat that on that day, and because it is a day when many people take off from work, and a long weekend for many. Some of them will visit their families on that day, and eat with them. So would they be committing haraam if they eat? Or if they eat with their family, or if they cook turkey? What about chicken? Should they not eat on Thanksgiving? What if a Muslim happens to eat a meal by his or herself, and happen to thank Allah or be generally more thankful on Thanksgiving Day, since everywhere they turn, people are talking about thanking God, are they committing haraam? What if all the reminders of being grateful causes the Muslim to think more about the bounties of their Lord upon them, would they have committed an infraction? Should they fast on that day? If they fast in observance of Thanksgiving Day, then it is not accepted because fasting is only for Allah.
    I was born and raised as a Muslim in the United States and I do not know of a single Muslim, who only thanks Allah on Thanksgiving Day, or only praises Him on that day. And I do not know of a single Muslim who left their religion, or stopped practicing Islam, because of Thanksgiving Day.
    The truth of the matter is, Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. However, there are religious people who observe the day, and they are free to do that. Another question; how should the Muslim react, when an American Christian makes a reference to God’s mercy, His providence, and His benevolence, as in the case of George Bush? “We acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come from the Almighty God”. Or 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”. Or Abraham Lincoln; “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”. Are these blasphemous words? Should a Muslim be incensed and insulted at such words? Should we be outraged, as some might suggest”? Perhaps to some Muslims, these are sinful words, and sinful actions, enough to condemn anyone who happens to Thank Allah, or praise Him on that day. If so, that is unfortunate.
    Even, (incredulously so) if you think that these are blasphemous words, these voices do not speak for all Americans. America is an independent republic of free thinking people. We are not a tribal nation. 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. Their religious sentiments might be amplified on Thanksgiving Day, and for many it is not. The problem with rendering Thanksgiving and anything associated with it, as haraam, is obvious.
    A short note about Sheikh Abdullah ibn Bayyah; he actually took the time to come to the United States, and spend considerable time with the indigenous people of our Country, to teach, to gain an informed opinion, and to get better understanding of the people, their culture and their practice of religion. May Allah preserve him. Be that as it may, the larger issue of moral hegemony will not go away, and the voices of reason, will not be silenced. Wal Allahul Musta’aan. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

    • Avatar

      The Salafi Feminist

      November 23, 2013 at 7:47 AM

      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.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      November 23, 2013 at 9:02 AM

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

      • Avatar

        Abu Ameerah

        December 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Yet he cannot still speak one coherent sentence in English.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      November 23, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      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)

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      November 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      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

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      November 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      “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.

      • Avatar

        tasneem

        December 1, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        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

        • Avatar

          Inqiyaad

          December 1, 2013 at 3:28 PM

          @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.”

          • Avatar

            Mahmud

            December 5, 2013 at 1:21 AM

            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!

          • Avatar

            Dina

            January 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

            I know that the scriptures also ban music but it just had to be done
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_qKmTLbEPc

        • Avatar

          Mahmud

          December 5, 2013 at 1:18 AM

          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.

  18. Avatar

    Iyare

    November 23, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    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.

  19. Avatar

    Imam Luqman

    November 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    It is okay to be adverse to Thanksgiving, and all of the commercialism, and fanfare surrounding it, on many grounds. However, when you say that something is haraam, there is a certain legal, and argumentative threshold, that must be applied, because you are presumably speaking on behalf of God. If something is haraam, it means that it is a sin, and if it is a sin, this means that it angers God, and that people are subject to punishment over it. Allah Himself is very specific about what He forbids people from doing. When someone declares something to be haraam, they are by default, tasked with the burden of proof, and with the burden of specificity.
    Saying that this or that day is haraam is dangerous territory. There is nothing in the Book of Allah, or anywhere in the ahaadeeth of the Prophet ﷺ where Allah or his Messenger ﷺ, has prohibited a particular day. Since the very first day, all of the Days of the year, and all of the days that have come and gone, since the beginning of time, have belonged to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala. However, actions that are done on any particular day can be considered prohibited as in the case of Ramadan. Eating during the daylight hours is prohibited for the person who is not exempt by sacred law, from fasting. As for saying that this day or that day is haraam; that is impossible. People are only accountable for what they do; not for what exists. Nor are they responsible for what others do.
    Only actions can be rendered haraam for people. It is people’s deeds which they have to be accounted for, not things, and certainly not days. For example, pigs themselves are not prohibited. However, it is prohibited for a Muslim to eat pig, unless there is a dispensation (رخصة) because of special circumstance. Another example is a dead animal. Dead animals themselves are not haraam; animals die every day. It is only the eating of dead animals not slaughtered properly, which is haraam, except in the case of fish. If we accept that a scholar can say that a particular day is haraam, we would be entering upon the absolutely implausible.
    With respect to Thanksgiving Day, the day itself cannot be rendered haraam by any Islamic reasoning or deduction. However, activities that one engages in during that day, or any other day, can be considered haraam, in which case, one must be very specific because people engage in a myriad of activities on Thanksgiving Day, just like any other day. Thus, is someone wants to haraam Thanksgiving Day, that is impossible, by any method of Islamic jurisprudence. But if they want to make haraam a particular action on that day, they must be specific, and define the action, and then there must be conclusive evidence. Otherwise people will be in error on the subject, as we can see. There are scores of different activities that people do on Thanksgiving Day. You can’t simply say that the whole day is haraam and that anything anyone does during the day is prohibited.
    This is why it remains that, in the realm of Islamic law, the basis of actions rests upon presumed permissibility اباحة, and with respect to people’s cultural habits عادات, Muslim jurists have consistently maintained that they are permissible as long as there is no direct contradiction to our religious cannons. {See Mawsoo’a al-Qawaa’id al-Fiqhiyyah, by Dr. Muhammad Siddiqi Ahmad, vol.6, p. 335 – موسوعة القواعد الفقهية} This is a well-known principle of Usool.
    As for people picking the fatwa that is easier for them, that is their right, and that is the Sunna. In the hadith of Aisha, she said; “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ has a choice between two matters, he would choose the easiest, unless it is sinful (act)” [Bukhaari].With respect to intentions, the Prophet ﷺ said, “verily deeds are reckoned by the intention”. The United States is an industrialized country with a five-day work week. Thanksgiving Day happens to be a national holiday. People tend to take advantage of the national day-off to visit their families, eat, shop at the discounted store, watch football, and so on. People don’t going around saying: “I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving Day by watching football, or I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving Day by visiting my granny”. On the contrary, people say, “It’s Thanksgiving Day and I’m going to visit my granny”, or “It’s Thanksgiving Day: and I’m going to take advantage of the sale at the WalMart, or Kmart, or the mall”. People don’t get up in the morning and say: “yaay! Its Thanksgiving!” They get up and say: “Yaay! I don’t have to go to work”. This is what the majority of people do in America on Thanksgiving Day. Some do more, some do less. Some people commemorate Thanksgiving Day by debating about it, as is going on this thread. If it were not for Thanksgiving Day, we would not be having this exchange.
    This whole conversation, will cease after the day has come and gone, and will be exhumed and revisited a year from now. As for the scholars, there is no consensus of scholars living in the United States that Thanksgiving Day is haraam. A relatively small few have declared it so, without any specifics. However, most Muslim scholars living in the Unites States, have long since realized the implausibility of declaring an entire day, and anything associated with that day as prohibited, or as a sin. So my question is, since as you say, the Day and any celebration, or commemoration of it, is prohibited. What exactly are people prohibited from doing?

    • Avatar

      The Salafi Feminist

      November 23, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      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.

      • Avatar

        Inqiyaad

        November 24, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        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.

  20. Avatar

    Imam Luqman

    November 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    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.

    • Avatar

      O H

      November 23, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      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.

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

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  23. Avatar

    The Hungry Muslim

    November 23, 2013 at 8:02 PM

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

    chicken>turkey

  24. Avatar

    Siraaj

    November 23, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    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

    • Avatar

      O H

      November 23, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      “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…

    • Avatar

      Inqiyaad

      November 24, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      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.

    • Avatar

      Amina

      November 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      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

  25. Avatar

    melanie

    November 23, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    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.

    • Avatar

      O H

      November 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      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!

  26. Avatar

    Ali

    November 24, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      November 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

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

  27. Avatar

    Shakir

    November 24, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Enjoyed the article.

    Reference #9 should be Quran 24:61 though, not Quran 34:61.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. “Remember Me, I will remember you. Give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful towards Me.” (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:152)

  28. Avatar

    Abu Abdur-Rahman

    November 24, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    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.

  29. Avatar

    O H

    November 25, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    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!

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      November 26, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      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

  30. Pingback: An interesting perspective on Thanksgiving | ***Dave Does the Blog

  31. Avatar

    Yasmeen

    November 25, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Tonho

      November 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      Yasmen, you are awesome.
      I am a christian and invite you for thanksgiving :).

      People put way too much intent on books that were written many centuries ago…Intentionally, I share my jihad spirit in this traditional festive time for the good of humanity, that includes Muslims.

      A lot of people need to loosen up if they want to be seen as normal people. We all live together in the same planet, why mine needs to be better than yours??? I respect you if you think different, but more so if you have a peaceful spirit.

      Shalom

      • Avatar

        Inqiyaad

        November 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        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

  32. Avatar

    Aloo

    November 26, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    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!

    • Avatar

      Inqiyaad

      November 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM

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

    • Avatar

      saba

      December 2, 2013 at 3:37 AM

      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.

  33. Avatar

    Imam Luqman

    November 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    The world is learning from us, in more ways than one would think. They are learning that is you disagree with a Muslim, you are subject to attack, labeled a heretic, and they may even declare your blood halal, Muslim or not. There are currently no people on earth, who fight and kill each other, and are more embroiled in violent religious sectarianism in the name of God, more than the Muslim people. They can also learn from us how to apply critical thinking selectively. 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. What gets me also, is how a Muslim can come to the United States for an advanced degree at one of our universities, apply for citizenship, swears an oath of allegiance to our government and constitution, buys a house in the suburbs courtesy of our interest based banking system, shops at Walmart, installs cable television to watch American movies on his big screen T.V., and then goes on the internet, invented by the United States military, and decry that the rest of us are imitating the kuffaar/infidels when we visit grandma’s house on Thanksgiving Day.

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      November 26, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      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?

  34. Avatar

    Imam Luqman

    November 26, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Don’t fret, because the world is learning from us, in more ways than one would think. They are learning that we have a voracious appetite for attacking each other. They are learning that is you disagree with a Muslim, you are subject to attack, labeled a heretic, and they may even declare your blood halal, Muslim or not. There are currently no people on earth, who fight and kill each other, and are more embroiled in violent religious sectarianism in the name of God, more than the Muslim people. They can also learn from us how to apply critical thinking selectively. 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. What gets me also, is how a Muslim can come to the United States for an advanced degree at one of our universities, apply for citizenship, swears an oath of allegiance to our government and constitution, buys a house in the suburbs courtesy of our interest based banking system, shops at Walmart, installs cable television to watch American movies on his big screen T.V., and then goes on the internet, invented by the United States military, and decry that the rest of us are imitating the kuffaar/infidels when we visit grandma’s house on Thanksgiving Day.

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      November 26, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      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

      • Avatar

        Waqar

        November 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        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.

        • Avatar

          The Salafi Feminist

          November 27, 2013 at 6:00 PM

          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.

        • Avatar

          Inqiyaad

          November 27, 2013 at 7:19 PM

          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.

          • Avatar

            Waqar

            November 29, 2013 at 2:35 PM

            I see your point.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      November 26, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      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.

    • Avatar

      Abu Milk Sheikh

      November 27, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      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.

  35. Pingback: The Islamic Ruling Regarding Celebrating Thanks...

  36. Avatar

    Abed Islam

    November 26, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    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.

  37. Avatar

    Abu Mujaddid

    November 26, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    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.

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      November 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      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.

  38. Avatar

    The Salafi Feminist

    November 27, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Here are a couple very well written articles on the issue of Thanksgiving from an American historical perspective:

    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15331/teaching-and-not-teaching-thanksgiving

    http://www.popularresistance.org/genocide-and-the-thanksgiving-myth/

    • Avatar

      Waqar

      November 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      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.

  39. Avatar

    Abdul Qureshi

    November 27, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Halal holiday or not, I don’t care. Just give me some of that tasty turkey !!! Thanksgiving day is a day to celebrate turkey and heavy eating,, watch football, and prepare for black Friday.

    • Avatar

      Inqiyaad

      November 27, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      “…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

    • Avatar

      O H

      November 27, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      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!

  40. Pingback: A Muslim Thanksgiving? | The Muslim Voice

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  42. Avatar

    Ameenah

    November 28, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    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.

  43. Avatar

    Ameenah

    November 28, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Also why Is the title the “Islamic Ruling”? as if this is the consensus of the scholars……

    • Avatar

      O H

      November 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM

      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.

  44. Avatar

    alexandria batiste

    November 29, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    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!

  45. Avatar

    Knitter Scribe (@renaissanceeast)

    November 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    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).

  46. Avatar

    Ali

    November 30, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    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

    • Avatar

      Inqiyaad

      November 30, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      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.

      • Avatar

        Mahmud

        November 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        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.

        • Avatar

          Inqiyaad

          December 7, 2013 at 1:26 PM

          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.

          • Avatar

            Mahmud

            December 7, 2013 at 3:20 PM

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

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      November 30, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      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

  47. Avatar

    Khadija

    December 1, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    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.

  48. Avatar

    al-ahmed

    December 1, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    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).

  49. Avatar

    Abu Aadam

    December 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    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

  50. Avatar

    Umm Solomon

    December 2, 2013 at 9:37 PM

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

    • Avatar

      O H

      December 2, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      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.

  51. Avatar

    Christina

    December 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Asalaamu alaykum! I really enjoyed this article, it was very informative masha Allah. I hope you don’t mind I linked my blog to it: http://usamuslimconvert.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/427/

  52. Avatar

    Khubz

    December 7, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    “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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  57. Avatar

    Anis Motiwala

    November 25, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    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.

  58. Avatar

    Abu Abdillah

    November 25, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    “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.

  59. Avatar

    sara

    September 18, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: “Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah.”

  60. Pingback: Comment on The Islamic Ruling Regarding Celebrating Thanksgiving Day by sara | Souqhub | Blog

  61. Avatar

    Moataz

    November 26, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    Bismillah,

    Family gathering is ok any time of the year, but any decoration, festive acts or special food is forbidden. Muslim must not imitate non-muslims regardless of his good intention. Muslim is prohibited from prayer during sunrise and sunset just to differ from those who prostrate to it.
    Muslim celebrate only two days throughout the year, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
    To claim that old scholars “and connote the prophet and his companions” just didn’t know about the age of globalization is very bad from you, it is no different from those who claim Islam is reactionary and suitable to modern life.

    Allah is the only God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. the clear narrations of prophet stating that muslim has only 2 festivals and should differ himself from non-muslims are for my grandfather, me and the last Muslim before Yawm Al-Qiyama.

    So celebrating thanksgiving, Christmas, …. or even Prophet’s birthday for Muslims is HARAM.

  62. Avatar

    Hassan

    November 28, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    Salaam everbody,

    With respect to celebrating Thanksgiving and other NATIONAL-HOLIDAYS, a good friend of mine made the following statement which I fully concur with:

    “It is to be noted that there is absolutely nothing wrong with coming together and participating in wholesome festivities/celebrations within social groups and upholding traditions which don’t impinge on our Islamic values.”

  63. Avatar

    Regina

    May 15, 2017 at 11:28 PM

    And the main explanations for the rulings usually center around ‘Well it’s wrong because the kaffir do it.’ So any non religious celebration or day ends up being haram for no good reason. No matter how harmless it is. Then it turns into accusations of bid’ah and following one’s nafs.

  64. Avatar

    Krkr

    November 2, 2017 at 3:44 AM

    Thanksgiving is for the Christians Catholics etc. , thus the whole deal was giving thanks to their “god-jesus” I as a Christian before opened my eyes and am a Muslim revert, Alhamdulilah, to me Jesus (pbuh) is not God but a prophet.

  65. Avatar

    Cherie manrique

    November 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM

    This article is complete baloney. It has a Hadith that has nothing about the actual matter at hand (celebrating pagan holidays) and no Quran to back up his claims.
    Such a shame to see Muslim matters give him a platform for misguidance

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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Should I Pray Taraweeh Or Make Up Prayers?

Danish Qasim

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Every Ramadan I’m asked by Muslims whether they should pray Taraweeh or make up missed prayers. They have the guilt of missed prayers but the desire to pray Taraweeh. They do not want to miss out on the special Taraweeh prayer but know that they have to make up obligatory prayers.

I find Muslims bogged down by not only the number of prayers to make up but by the fact that they have to make up prayers that they missed, sometimes too many to count. They emotionally want to move past the memory of missing prayers. While one should not dwell on the sin of missed prayer, at the same time, they should also realize that the prayers remain a debt that needs to be addressed.

Many of us feel a shame associated with past sins. This connection is a sign of true repentance. Shame due to sins, however, becomes problematic when it serves as an impediment for our religious progress. When the guilt reaches this level, one should seek refuge in Allah from Shaytaan and ignore all negative thoughts.

We, as Muslims, should believe that Allah has forgiven our sins, including missed prayers. Forgiveness is done through our repentance. Therefore, we should see makeup prayers as an opportunity to draw closer to Allah, rather than a punishment. Allah tells us in a Hadith Qudsi that

“My servant does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than what I have ordained upon him. He continues to draw near to me with nafl (non-obligatory) actions until I love him” (Bukhari).

Each time we perform a make-up prayer, we are doing what Allah loves us to do the most- an obligatory action. We are drawing nearer to Allah and should feel grateful for being able to do so.

In the Hanafi school of thought, one can pray makeup prayers as non-emphasized sunnahs, which include the prayer of greeting the mosque[1] and Tahajjud prayer. Many Muslims feel more spiritual praying these types of nafl prayers, and they will take their time to pray with the presence of heart. However, when they pray makeup prayers, they rush, praying quickly to get past it as soon as possible. The dreadful feeling of makeup prayers is due to a negative association for the initial neglect, but we must see makeup prayers as not only more critical than nafl prayers, but as something that can be done as nafl prayers.

Taraweeh is an emphasized Sunnah[2] and for Hanafis that means one does not neglect taraweeh[3] due to previously missed prayers[4]. One should have a regiment of making up prayers, such as praying one makeup of Zuhur after praying Zuhur for the day and manage that along with Taraweeh.

For Malikis[5] and Shafis[6] however, one is not supposed to pray Taraweeh if he has prayers to make up. For those following this view, I would advise them to still go to the masjid if that is their habit during the Taraweeh time and pray those due prayers in a space outside of the congregation so they can still enjoy the Ramadan atmosphere in the masjid. Also, it’s worth noting that in the Shafi school, one can have the intention of a makeup prayer even if the imam is praying a different prayer[7]. Hence, twenty rakah of Taraweeh in units of two can be prayed by a follower as ten makeup prayers for Fajr.

Ramadan is a great time to form positive habits. If you do not already have a routine of making up missed prayers, establish one this Ramadan. Make your routine something that you can be consistent with throughout the year, not just when you have the Ramadan energy. We are advised in a hadith to only take on the amount of good actions that we are able to bear because the best actions are those in which we can be persistent, even if they are minor (Ibn Majah 4240).

Lastly, as Ramadan is here, I urge everyone to remember that praying Isha in congregation is more important than praying Taraweeh in congregation. Taraweeh is more alluring due to its uniqueness, and you will see latecomers quickly praying Isha so they can join the Taraweeh prayer. Each prayer is worship, but the priorities of worship are based on its status. Obligatory prayer is more important than a non-obligatory prayer, although every prayer is important. We must prioritize what God prioritizes.

[1]  “ويسن تحية ) رب ( المسجد ، وهي ركعتان ، وأداء الفرض ) أو غيره ، وكذا دخوله بنية فرض أو اقتداء ( ينوب عنها ) بلا نية)”
(رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

[2]  (التراويح سنة  مؤكدة لمواظبة الخلفاء الراشدين  للرجال والنساء إجماعا ” ( رد المحتار على الدر المختار

[3] (والسنة نوعان : سنة الهدي ، وتركها يوجب إساءة وكراهية…”  (رد المحتار على الدر المختار”

[4] وأما النفل فقال في المضمرات : الاشتغال بقضاء الفوائت أولى وأهم من النوافل إلا سنن…”
المفروضة وصلاة الضحى وصلاة التسبيح والصلاة التي رويت فيها الأخبار . ا هـ . ط أي كتحية المسجد ، والأربع قبل العصر والست بعد المغرب” (رد المحتار على الدر المختار،باب قضاء الفوائت)

[5]   (ولا يتنفل من عليه القضاء، ولا يصلي الضحى، ولا قيام رمضان…”  (لأخضري”

[6]   “وَإِنْ كَانَتْ فَاتَتْ بِغَيْرِ عُذْرٍ لَمْ يَجُزْ لَهُ فِعْلُ شَيْءٍ مِنْ النَّوَافِلِ قَبْلَ قَضَائِهَا”
(الفتاوى الكبرى الفقهية على مذهب الإمام الشافعي ,فتاوى ابن حجر الهيتمي)

[7]

تنبيه : تصح قدوة المؤدي بالقاضي ، والمفترض بالمتنفل ، وفي الظهر بالعصر ، وكذلك القاضي بالمؤدي ، والمتنفل بالمفترض ، وفي العصر بالظهر ؛ نظراً لاتفاق الفعل في الصلاتين وإن تخالفت النية ، والانفراد هنا أفضل ؛ خروجاً من الخلاف ، وعلى أن الخلاف في هذا الاقتداء ضعيف جداً فلم يقتض تفويت فضيلة الجماعة ، وإن كان الانفراد أفضل . ( تحفة المحتاج مع حاشية الشر واني ۲ / ۳۳۲ – ۳۳۳ )

وذكر في ( إعانة الطالبين ۲ / ۷ ) : وإن لم تتفق مقضيتها شخصاً . . فهي خلاف الأولى ولا تكره

. وذكر في « البجيرمي على المنهج ۱ / ۳۳۳ ) : قوله ( ويصح الاقتداء لمؤد بقاض ومفترض بمتنفل . . . ) : أي ويحصل له فضل الجماعة في جميع هذه الصور على ما اعتمده الرملي .

————————————————————

– قول متن المنهاج ( وتصح قدوة المؤدي بالقاضي ، والمفترض بالمتنفل . . . ) قضية كلام المصنف – أي النووي – كالشارح الرملي أن هذا مما لا خلاف فيه ، وعبارة الزيادي وابن حجر : ( والانفراد هنا أفضل ؛ خروجاً من الخلاف( فيحتمل أنه خلاف لبعض الأئمة وأنه خلاف مذهبي لم يذكره المصنف ، لكن قول ابن حجر بعد على أن الخلاف في هذا الاقتداء ضعيف جداً . . ظاهر في أن الخلاف مذهبي . ( الشبراملسي ) . ( حاشية الشرواني ۲ / ۳۳۲ )

وهذا لا يجوز في المذهب  الحنفي  “…يشترط أن يكون حال الإمام أقوى من حال المؤتم أو مساويا”  (رد المحتار على الدر المختار(

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Shedding Light on the Moonsighting, Isha / Fajr times, and Long Fasts

Shaykh Abdullah Hasan and Shaykh Naveed Idrees discuss the many issues that crop up pre-Ramadan, seeking harmony amid confusion.

Sh. Abdullah Hasan

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The aim of this discussion paper is to place the annual debate on moonsighting and fasting in its jurisprudential context, namely, that it is an area where the application of the sacred texts are open to different but valid interpretations ( ijtihadat). The sincere efforts of scholars on all sides to arrive at what they believe is the strongest opinion must be acknowledged and respected. This discussion paper does not seek to promote any particular viewpoint, but merely to illustrate the breadth of acceptable opinion.

It is also important to recognise that difference of opinion in these matters relates to the furu’ (derivative law) and not the core definitively established aspects of Religion. As individuals and groups, we should not allow differences of opinion on peripheral matters to undermine the cohesion of our families and communities. When strongly held views in Fiqh lead to dissension, discord and division, then we should give greater weighting to community cohesion and seek to avoid the negative impact on the lives of the Muslim community. There are definitively established texts that regard unity and community cohesion as wajib (an obligation). In addition, the principle of muwafaqa ahl-al-bilad (conforming with the local community) should be followed, irrespective of one’s belief in the correctness or otherwise of the dominant ijtihad in one’s locality.

Preliminaries[1]

  1. Islamic Law and the Natural World

It is part of the sacred beauty of Islam – the religion of natural disposition (din al-fitra) – that throughout our lives, our daily worship interpenetrates the rhythms of nature: the rising and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the turning of the seasons, and the elemental forces of fire, air, earth and water. The external world is a manifestation of the attributes of the Creator; everything within it a sign of Allah perceived by the senses (ayatullah al-manzur).

We are not merely urged to turn our gazes to the created world as an act of sacred contemplation; but rather are compelled to do so, in order to consecrate acts of worship to the Lord who transcends that same creation. The times of obligatory prayer can only be known through observation of sunlight and shadow; the obligatory and optional fasts through the phases of the moon. The length of those fasts are determined by the order of the seasons; purification for prayer is attained through water or earth.

Considering this, it is clear that far from there being animosity between ‘fiqh’ and ‘fact,’ they are mutually dependent. Science is nothing but the systematization of the same kind of observations as determine the times of prayer and fasting, and their extrapolation on the basis of sound, verifiable principles. Therefore the opinions of experts in fields such as astronomy have always been taken into consideration when issuing fatwa. An example might be the expert medical opinion which has always played a central role in applying various dispensations regarding purification, prayer, fasting and hajj.  Given this fact of our scripture and our history, the idea that both legal and scientific experts can and should work collaboratively to determine the onset of true dawn is both right and proper. At the same time, one should be cognisant of where priority lies when the opinions of these experts appear mutually contradictory.

  1. The Imperative to Follow Qualified Scholarship

Allah describes the Quran as ‘a comprehensive explanation of all things (tibyan li-kulli shay).’ However, a central pillar of its revealed guidance has been the commanding of recourse to those eminently qualified to guide others as to the true interpretation – or interpretations – of the Divine scripture. First without equal among these guides is, of course, our beloved Master Muhammad (endless peace and blessing upon him and his family); the imperative to obey him is one of the most oft-repeated commands found in the Quran. Thereafter, believers are commanded to follow those steeped in understanding of the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah – known variously as: ‘possessors of living hearts (ulu al-albab),’ ‘those deeply rooted in knowledge (al-mustanbitin fi al-ilm)’, and ‘the people of the Remembrance (ahl al-dhikr).’

The central Quranic verse on this subject is, ‘if you know not, ask the people of the Remembrance.’[2] Its clear implication is that, when matters are unclear or uncertain, the primary responsibility of the Muslim is to have the critical self-honesty to acknowledge his or her own lack of understanding. Thereafter, it behoves one to have the humility to consult those who do have true expertise in the field of religion, whom the Holy Prophet (s) termed ‘inheritors of Prophetic knowledge[3] – the scholars of Sunni Islam. These are the authorised representatives of the four orthodox schools of law – the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali madhabs.

These four knowledge traditions, though they concur on most major articles of law, will often differ in its various derivative aspects, providing different answers to the same question. This is sometimes a matter of consternation for the lay Muslim – for how can the truth be multiple? And if the truth is indeed one, how can one determine which school has grasped it? The doctrine of Sunni Islam clarifies that, although the truth is indeed one, attaining unto that truth is not always obligatory.

To explain further: if the lay Muslim has obeyed Allah by asking the people of knowledge about an obscure or difficult matter, then he or she has fulfilled God’s right over them. Similarly, if those scholars have obeyed Allah by exercising all their learning and expertise to sincerely comprehend Allah’s command, they have fulfilled God’s right over them. In both cases, they will be rewarded and brought near to Allah, even if their conclusions are wrong. This is clear from the hadith, ‘if the verifying scholar is correct, he (or she) receives two rewards; if incorrect, they receive one.’[4]

On the contrary, if a lay Muslim seeks to bypass the Prophetic inheritors and determine the truth for himself – despite having none of the pre-requisite knowledge, qualities or skills – they will have disobeyed Allah and deserve His censure – even if they stumble across the right answer! This is similarly based on the hadith, ‘whoever interprets the Quran on based on [unqualified] opinion should prepare to take their seat in Hell.’[5]

It is clear, then, that the responsibility of the individual Muslim begins and ends with seeking qualified scholars to advise them on the derivative rulings of sacred law, such as the issue of when precisely the fast begins and fajr can be prayed. Thereafter, it is the responsibility of the ulamah to exert all their efforts to determine the answer to this question with as much precision as possible.

It should, of course, be noted that the terms ‘lay Muslim’ and ‘scholar’ are not absolute divisions; a learned 21st century Muslim, university-educated in physics and astronomy, is not the same as an illiterate peasant farmer in a 15th Century Turkish village. In legal terms, there is a difference between an educated non-specialist (‘aami thaqafi) and an ignorant non-specialist (‘aami jahil). The difference between them, however, lies in the nature of the questions they might ask, rather than their ability to answer them in correspondence with the sophisticated legal principles of the religion.

  1. Respecting Valid Differences of Opinion

The preceding indicates that one sometimes finds a range of opinions on a particular matter of law. There would not merely be a difference of opinion between schools, but sometimes within schools as well. Classically, these discussions would be conducted in closed classes, private debates or by correspondence between the scholars concerned. Crucially, the debates were between people who – by and large – understood the ethics of debate and disagreement. Their longstanding and sometimes fiercely contested arguments would nonetheless be characterised by civility and mutual respect.

The nature of the modern world – especially the near-total eradication of private space – has entailed these debates spilling over into the ever-expanding public domain. Increasingly, they have been witnessed by the Muslim laity who do not understand the ethics of disagreement, and erroneously assume that differences of opinion must entail antagonism. Imam Ghazali stated that, ‘debating over religion is disliked for scholars and forbidden for the laity.’[6]

A fundamental principle of our religion is that, on matters genuinely differed-upon, there can be no mutual condemnation (la inkar fi masa’il mukhtalaf fihi).[7] This has been elucidated by many scholars from the earliest generations up until present day, and accounts for the harmonious co-existence of different schools of law who worship, trade and conduct their family lives in different ways. The fact that a Hanafi might pray Dhuhr when a Shafii is praying Asr brings about no acrimony or dissension.

This does not entail a free-for-all in the domain of legal opinion; it has been further expounded by our scholarly tradition that genuine difference of opinion (alikhtilaf) is based on opinions that are derived through sound methodology from authenticated narrations. As the ulamah state, ‘if you transmit a position, let it be an authenticated one; if you make a claim, prove your point.’[8] It thus excludes aberrant, unfounded opinions or roundly rejected interpretations from the ambit of this toleration.

Overview of the specific issues that are a source of difference of opinion

There are 3 key issues that are matter of difference of opinion amongst scholars and different groups:

  1. Determining the start and end of Ramadan
  2. Determining the start and end time of Isha and start time of Fajr/Suhur in periods of persistent twilight during the summer months
  3. How to deal with the issue of long fasts during the summer period?

A Summary of the Context of these Issues

  • Scripture provides broad indicators to establish prayer and fasting times linked to the Sun and moon that are generally reliable in hot climates where the skies are clear and day & night are of moderate length
  • These indicators are not defined in a scientific manner e.g. based on precise minutes or degrees, but rely upon general observations that any ordinary person could make as part of their daily life
  • Over the last 100 years sizable communities of Muslims have established themselves in the Northern Hemisphere above 48.5 degrees latitude
  • The climate in the these regions makes it difficult to observe the Sun and Moon consistently. There are days when there is persistent twilight which means Isha and Fajr/Suhur times are difficult to establish, and there are extreme variations in the length of night and day, especially in Summer and Winter periods
  • The growth in the use of artificial lighting, industrialisation of society, and progress in the means of communication over the last 150 years has meant that work and leisure patterns were no longer linked to sunrise and sunset; instead, clocks became the means of telling the time and regulating daily life. In practice, the shari’ah indicators no longer directly play an active part in daily life.
  • Although there are texts in the Qur’an and Sunnah on these matters (see below), their application in Northern Regions above 48.5* latitude is not clear-cut and requires scholarly interpretation. This is the source of difference of opinion on these matters.
  • Scholars have attempted to convert astronomical signs which were meant to be broad into scientific and precise formulas, relying on scientific definitions, e.g. 18* as definition of disappearance of twilight and start of night/true dawn
  • Scholars continue to debate the strength and weaknesses of each opinion and whether they accurately reflect the shari’ah indicators. All opinions are supported by strong direct or indirect proofs and evidences, and are backed by references to the works of eminent scholars

An Overview of the Different Positions

Issue 1: Moonsighting

A variety of methods have been suggested in classical and modern scholarship to determine the beginning of the new month, especially Ramadan, Shawwal and Dhul Hijja. They are all based on some interpretation of what the hadith ‘fast when you see it and cease the fast when you see it’ actually means – who are ‘you’ and what does ‘seeing’ mean?

 

Position Notes Issues
Local sighting Only sighting by a local populace validates the new month, else 30 days are completed. The classical strong position of the Shafii and Maliki schools. ‘You’ means ‘the local community’ What does ‘local’ mean in the context of the modern ease of communication over vast distances, and why? On what legal basis should one restrict ‘local’ to a city, country or region?
Global sighting A valid sighting anywhere in the world is applicable to everywhere in the world. The classical strong position of the Hanafi school and some Malikis. ‘You’ means ‘the Muslims in general’ Practically, this would entail that a sighting of the moon in California at 6pm would be retrospectively valid for Muslims in Indonesia, for whom it would be 2pm the next day, so this is impractical despite the ease of communication
‘Horizonal’ sighting A valid sighting anywhere to the east, north or south is applicable for everyone to the west. A strong variant of the Shafii position and the Hanafi school Avoids the logistical difficulties of the first two options, but introduces an arbitrary restriction for which there is no textual basis. Effectively assumes the possibility of sighting the moon to the west if it has been actually sighted in the east.
Calculation If it is determined (by agreed criteria) that it is possible to sight the crescent, that possibility is deemed an actual sighting.   A strong position in the Shafii school, and held by others as well. ‘See’ means ‘potentially see’ – based on the variant hadith of Bukhari: ‘if it is obscured, then calculate’ Potential sighting criteria need to be agreed. Deviates from the literal sense of the central hadith and rejected by a number of schools. However, enables future planning of calendars and so determination of important dates in advance.[9]
Following Saudi Arabia Effectively the proposal that the Saudi decision should be binding on all Muslims. Possible to adopt as any country may choose to follow the ruling of Qadi outside its jurisdiction. ‘See’ means only the Saudis. Not a classical position despite being possible in the Middle East. Significant concerns about the validity of sightings done there, given the calculation basis of the rest of the year’s calendar (Umm al-Qura). Major Saudi scholars reject the position.

Issue 2 – Determining Suhur and Isha time during persistent twilight

Both the fajr prayer and the fast commence at al-subh al-sadiq (true dawn) by consensus, which Allah describes as being when ‘the white thread (of the sky) has become clearly distinct to you from the black thread (of the horizon) at the time of fajr’. Any fajr prayer performed before this, or fast commenced after, is definitively invalid. What precisely constitutes al-subh al-sadiq, however, is not definitive, because dawn is not a binary event: the intensity and spread of light on the horizon changes incrementally over time, making the precise determination of phenomenon open to interpretation. Equally, isha time commences by consensus at the disappearance of twilight (ghuyub al-shafaq), but there is similarly a difference of opinion about what this constitutes and how to determine it. There are thus a variety of opinions on what precise observable phenomena constitute these two critical periods.

Far northern latitudes, however, additionally experience persistent twilight, where the sun does not sink sufficiently low beneath the horizon during summer, and twilight can persist through the night until morning. This entails that the normal signs indicating the onset of isha, fajr, and the fast are absent. Classical jurists have discussed this intermittently over 800 years, focussing almost entirely on isha rather than fajr, and reaching no consensus on how to deal with this issue. In modern times, a number of suggestions have thus been propounded, given how many people are now affected by this issue. A summary of these options, most of which revolve around determining a time (taqdir) for isha and fajr, follows:

Position Notes Issues
Perform isha after midnight Assumes that there was a very brief isha time that has been missed, so it is performed effectively in fajr time Fajr therefore begins just after midnight, leading to a very long fast (up to 21-22 hours).   There also clearly is no isha time that has been missed
Taqdir according to the nearest place/time where isha enters The classical Shafii position, adopted by Malikis, Hanbalis and some Hanafis Entails a very brief isha period between 0100-0130 if adopted strictly, as well as a very long fast.
Taqdir by fixing a duration A modern solution (including Umm al-Qura) of creating an isha by adding 90 mins to sunset and subtracting 90 mins from sunrise Creates a reasonable isha and fajr time, but has no basis in observation, astronomy or Islamic law. Also entails a jump between a very early fajr/late isha to the 90 min taqdir
Taqdir by an average of the normal durations The so-called ‘1/7th of the night position’ – formed by looking at the average ration of maghrib : isha through the year A variant of the original Shafii position that avoids the hardship of the nearest place/time position but also has some basis in the observations through the year and scholarly precedent
Combine maghrib and Isha This is the position of the Islamic Fiqh Council, European Council for Fatwa & Research. This of course should not be done in perpetuity. A means of avoiding hardship, but why should it not be applied also to a very late but validly entering isha? If it should, when does it become hard? Also does not answer the question of when fajr begins
Isha is not obligatory A position debated in the classical Hanafi school, because its signs do not enter Rejected by the virtual consensus of modern scholarship, as would entail no performance of isha for months.

Issue 3 – Dealing with a Very Long Fast

The length of the fast varies much more widely in northern latitudes than in any of the classical Muslim lands, with the significant exception of the lands of Bulghar, which are now in Kazakhstan. In summer, the fasts can reach to 18-21 hours, depending on how far north one is and what position to determine fajr one adopts. As such, very little attention is paid to the length of the fast in summer months in northern latitudes in classical works, likely because a textually-specified dispensation for hardship already exists. The default is that the fast remains obligatory no matter how long it is, though the time of al-subh al-sadiq can be determined by taqdir. Should keeping the fast prove too onerous, it should be broken and made up on easier days. This has been the default practice of the Bulghars for hundreds of years, as well as the Muslim populations of the west for the last 40 years or so.

However, a number of renowned Egyptian scholars in the 19th-20th centuries proposed that fast durations should be artificially set in far northern countries in the same way that prayer times were determined there by taqdir. It was proposed that the length be set by either the length of that day’s fast in Makka or another mid-latitude country. Their rationale was three-fold: an extension of the taqdir of prayer times in the absence of their signs (in this case the onset of dawn), the relieving of excessive and harmful difficulty from people in having to keep such long fasts, and retaining the sanctity of Ramadan – as it would be inconceivable to simply not fast during a summer Ramadan. Scripture relating to the timings of the fast needed to be understood in the context of the geographical realities of mid-latitude countries, and to not exempt those outside this range would be to misunderstand the underlying purpose of sacred law related to the fast.

The position has been critiqued from a number of perspectives: the explicit delineation of fasting times by scripture, the fact that – though the onset of the fast can be estimated by taqdir – sunset does in fact occur and should be adhered to, the existence of a scripturally-mandated dispensation for difficult fasts, and the crucial factor that there is neither medical or experiential evidence that fasting 18-21 hours daily is significantly harmful to health or functioning in most cases. Given this, the position of these late Azhari scholars should be considered anomalous (shadh) and in contradiction to that of the overwhelming majority of both classical and modern scholars, and therefore not followed. If people are genuinely struggling and fasting causes harm then the legal dispensation is present in the shari’ah to break the fast. Individuals should consult reliable and authoritative scholars in their locality.

General Counsel to the Muslims

We would strongly counsel the lay Muslim to remember and act upon the following principles in their daily practice:

  1. It is a communal obligation (fard kifaya) to accurately determine the prayer times and the start and end times of the fast, as well as the commencement of Islamic months. If some members of the community have fulfilled the responsibility, it is lifted from the remainder.[10]
  2. Furthermore, such determinations are a matter of public order (min al-umur al-intizamiyya) – that is, they are not meant to be carried out by just anyone. Rather, in the traditional Muslim world, fulfilling this particular duty would be the role of a government department or authorized working group. For those living as minorities in non-Muslim lands, the responsibility devolves onto the community as a whole, who in turn appoint figures of authority, such as the ulamah and educated mosque committees, to fulfil the task on their behalf. In either case, it is imperative to act in consultation with those qualified for the task (ashab al-ahliyya) – in this case, legal and scientific experts.
  3. By the grace of Allah, this fard kifaya has already been performed by a number of scholars over the decades in the UK. Their differing results are likely a function of the sighting difficulties and differing legal positions noted earlier on.
  4. Most importantly, it should be noted that senior, qualified scholars have given fatwa on the differing positions. In accordance with the well-known legal principle, in the absence of a judge (qadi) to rule decisively or a clear preponderance of opinion in a school, the lay Muslim may follow any of the positions agreed by their scholars without fear of their prayers or fasts being invalid. By doing so, they have fulfilled their personal responsibility to Allah.
  5. At the same time, we urge those given responsibility by the community to come together, clearly review the evidence – scriptural, legal, astronomical and observational – and agree upon a way forward for all their communities that brings unity (muwafaqa) despite any ethnic, legal or minor doctrinal differences that may exist in our diverse community.
  6. Finally, it is imperative that we avoid sowing doubt in people’s minds about the validity of their fasts and prayers. This is a matter of genuine scholarly debate and ongoing discussion – there is much work that still needs to be done. We would therefore urge everybody to remember that there should be no condemnation about matters genuinely differed upon in the religion.[11]

May Allah provision our minds with clear understanding, our bodies with willing and joyful submission, and our hearts with a unity that comes from love and mutual respect, despite our differences.

‘Oh Allah, let us see the truth as true and follow it, and let us see falsehood as false, and avoid it.’

Appendix 1: Central Source Texts for Moonsighting, Prayer Times and Fasting

As a starting point, ijtihad (independent juristic reasoning) is only permissible in the absence of a clear and unequivocal text (Nass) whose authenticity is established (qat’i al-dalalah, qat’i- al wurud). In the context of these issues, the sacred texts establish clear positions in general terms, but are open to multiple interpretations when applied in different contexts. For ease, only basic referencing will be used – for further discussion, please refer to specialist works on the topics.

Texts relevant to Key Issue 1 (determining the start and end of Ramadan – moonsighting)

“They ask you concerning the crescent moons, say they are measurements of time for people and for the pilgrimage” (2:189).

Abu Huraira narrated: The Prophet (s) said, “Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast, complete thirty days of Sha’ban.”

(Sahih Bukhari, book 30, hadith 19).

Do not fast until you see the crescent-moon, and do not break the fast until you have seen the crescent moon, but if conditions are overcast for you then calculate it (f’aqdiruhu).”

[Bukhari, Muslim, Muwatta]

What is definitively established from the above texts (qat’i al dalala) is that the start and end of Ramadan should be established based on the sighting of the moon.   These texts, however, are not definitive on the issue of what should be done if visibility is impaired, or whether some form of local sighting (ikhtilaf al matal’i) is sufficient, or can a sighting anywhere (ittihad al-matal’i) in the world be relied upon, or whether calculations can be relied on if atmospheric conditions do not permit sighting of the moon.   There are multiple interpretations within the parameters of these texts that are possible, and this has been an area of discussion and debate amongst scholars both past and present. Similarly, scholars have differed over the nature of seeing e.g actual physical sighting, scientific data only as ru’ya can mean to know, or actual physical sighting with use of scientific data to support or negate (Ithbat wa Nafiy). Completing 30 days in regions such as the UK over a number of months will lead to some months eventually being 25 or 26 days, and the lunar year would become more than 355 days!

Texts relevant to Key Issue 2 (determining suhur and prayer times during periods of persistent twilight)

‘And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to You distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), Then complete Your Saum (fast) till the nightfall.’ (2:187)

The above text is definitive in establishing the start of the Fast (imsak) where these astronomical signs are observable. However, in regions above 48.5 degrees latitude the phenomenon of persistent twilight means that the distinguishing signs are no longer observable. In these regions, this is an area where ijtihad is permitted, as the text is not clear on what approach should be taken in the absence of these signs. Scholars have resorted to various methods of estimating the start time of suhur (subh Sadiq) by trying to find an equivalence based on solar degrees of depression ranging from 12-18 degrees ( see Appendix). However, it is important to note that there is no direct text that links the astronomical signs with any particular degree. These correspondences are based on the ijithad of scholars. Similarly, there is no (definitive and unequivocal) text that supports the options for taqdir (calculation of a time): nearest day, nearest city, one seventh of the night, Umm al Qura time (1hour 20/30 mins), Half night (nisf-ul-layl). The legal basis of all these is the intellectual efforts of scholars since the 4th Century Hijri.

As for the timings of prayer, many texts establish these times. For example:

‘Establish regular prayers – at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning are witnessed.’ (15:78)

“The time for the morning prayer lasts as long as the first visible part of the rising sun does not appear and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from the zenith and it is not time for the afternoon prayer and the time for the afternoon prayer is so long as the sun does not become pale and its first visible part does not set, and the time for the evening prayer is that when the sun disappears and (it lasts) till the twilight is no more and the time for the night prayer is up to the midnight.”

(Sahih Muslim)

This and other similar texts are clear that Isha time starts with the disappearance of twilight. The scholars have differed on the meaning of twilight whether it refers to the redness or whiteness after sunset. In addition, these texts are not definitive on the issue of when Isha time starts during periods of persistent twilight. This again is an area where the scholars have exerted their efforts to arrive at a solution.

Texts relevant to key issue 3 (long fasts in summer days)

‘And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to You distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), Then complete Your fast till the nightfall … but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) during later days. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties.’ (2:187)

Allah’s Messenger (s) said, “When night falls from this side and the day vanishes from this side and the sun sets, then the fasting person should break his fast.” (Sahih Bukhari)

The phenomenon of fasts of more than 18 hours is an issue that has arisen in modern times due to the settlement of significant Muslim communities in the Northern Hemisphere. This text is definitive and unequivocal in regions that do not experience persistent twilight. In regions that experience this phenomenon it is impossible to distinguish darkness of night from twilight, therefore 2:189 is not a Nass that can be applied.   The scholars have proposed various solutions to resolve this issue (see appendix 1).

There is a difference of opinion amongst scholars whether the texts that relate to timings of prayer are applicable only where day and night are roughly equal. In regions where there is a significant disparity e.g day length is more than 18 hours, these texts are silent and therefore ijtihad can be relied upon to achieve an outcome that is consistent with the aims of the Shari’ah. This is based on the juristic principle that a hadith scholar, “The [primary] texts pertain to common and normal circumstances and not to what is uncommon.” (Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, in Fath al-Bari (2/62): and “the general texts are construed in reference to what is prevalent and common and not in reference to what is uncommon and unknown. (Ibn ‘Abdin, Rad al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Dur al-Mukhtar (2/123), and “The [prayer] times, which Jibril (pbuh) taught the Prophet [pbuh], and which the Prophet [pbuh] taught his community, are those which the scholars mentioned in their books, and which refer to normal days.” (Sheikh Ibn Taymiyah, Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Misriyyah (1/38). As a result some scholars ( e.g Sh Mustafa Zarqa’) have stated that people living in these regions should fast based on an average day, and have proposed fasting to the length of Makkah or Madinah. العقل والفقه في فهم الحديث النبوي للشيخ الزرقا   ص : 124 طبعة دار

القلم 1996

Ayah 2:185 is a definitive and unequivocal text on creating an exemption from fasting for one who is ill or is travelling. However, it is not clear on the issue of one who is struggling to fast during long summer days. Based on ijtihad some scholars have extended the exemption in 2:185 to include people living in regions that have abnormal length of day, based on analogy (qiyas) with those who are ill, and have advised people to make up (qadaa’) of fasts at another time of the year.

Appendix 2: Key Texts on The principle of Muwafaqa Ahl-al-Bilad (conforming with the local community)

The importance of maintaining community cohesion and not dividing the family or community has been explicitly mentioned in the Quran, and is a core principle of religion.

3:13. the same Religion has He established for you As that which He enjoined on Noah – the which we have sent by inspiration to Thee – and that which we enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast In religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which Thou callest them.

19:94. He [Hârûn (Aaron)] said: “O son of My mother! seize (me) not by My beard, nor by My head! Verily, I feared lest You should say: ‘You have caused a division among the Children of Israel, and You have not respected My word!’ “

In matters relating to communal religious practice that are not based on qat’i texts and that relate to differences of opinion, it is obligatory to maintain unity within a local community than to insist on following one’s opinion. An example of this is the principle of ‘muwafaqa ahl al-bilad’ (conforming with the local community) which seeks to avoid ill feeling, hatred and division in a local community. There are countless examples of the pious predecessors (salaf) giving up their opinion to maintain community cohesion. In the context of Eid and Ramadan, the principle of Muwafaqa states that one should fast with the local community even if it means that you end up fasting one day extra or one day less. Aisha overruled Masruq when he sought to fast out of caution on the day of Sacrifice stating:

‘Sacrifice is on the day that people make the sacrifice, and the end of the fast is when people end the fast’

This is supported by the following hadith:

The fast is the day when you all fast, and the end of the fast is when you all end the fast, and the Eid of sacrifice is when you make the sacrifice.

(Tirmidhi 697 – hasan gharib), Abu Dawud (2324), Ibn Majah (1660)

Commenting on this Hadith Imam Tirmidhi states: ‘some of the people of knowledge have explained this to mean that one should fast and end the fasting with the community (Jama’a) and the majority of the people.’   Similarly, San‘ani comments: ‘in this is evidence that the conformity of a people on can be taken into account when establishing the Day of Eid, and that it is obligatory (wajib) on a solitary witness who has sighted the moon, to conform with the local community.

The scholars are clear that even if the local community makes an error in their ijtihad on the day of Eid or Ramadan, this will not affect the validity of the fasts and Eid even if it later transpires that a mistake was made. For instance Abu Dawud narrated the aforementioned hadith of the Prophet under the chapter heading: ‘if people make an error in sighting the moon’. Finally, the following hadith also has bearing on this matter:

‘If you see differences, then stick with the vast majority…’

It is important to point out that there can never be Eid on one day all over the globe, due to different time zones. However, what is obligatory is that within one family, neighbourhood or city, there should be one Eid. This is in keeping with the core principle of religion which came to bring people together, it is time to revive the Sunnah of the pious predecessors (salaf) and give up our opinions on matters that are from the ‘Furu’ (peripheral) aspects of religion, in order not to fall into the conundrum of creating fitnah and division amongst the believers.

Appendix 3: Parameters within which the Moonsighting and Ramadan Debate should take place

  1. The issue of which method should be used is a matter that relates to the Furu’ (Peripherals) and not the Usul (Core matters) of the Deen established by definitive /texts/ proofs based on al-Dalil al-Qat’i)
  2. This is a matter that relates to Fiqh and not Aqidah
  3. It is not a matter on which takfir of individuals or groups should be made
  4. The Nusus (text) on many of these issues are open to different interpretations
  5. There is no ijma’ (consensus) amongst the scholars on which method to deploy if visibility is impaired, or there is persistent twilight
  6. All parties are sincerely trying to arrive at what they believe is the strongest shar’i (legal) position
  7. People are free to follow any of the sound and valid ijtihads
  8. It is not wajib to follow any of these ijtihads exclusively
  9. It is legally (in fiqh terms) wrong to claim that the fast/Eid of those who follow a different ijtihad is invalidated.
  10. The matter of creating harmony and avoiding discord amongst the community of Believers is established by definitive texts. This is wajib.
  11. Giving up the ijtihad of the group or scholar you follow to avoid discord and division will not invalidate your fast/Eid
  12. In some cases it may be considered wajib to give up the opinion you feel strongly about, if it will cause division within a family or a town/city
  13. The Qur’an and Sunnah are full of examples of prioritising community cohesions and harmony e.g The prophet pbuh ordered a Mosque to be pulled down, as it was dividing the Muslim community, the Prophet Haroon did not enforce his will on the Children of Israel for fear of splitting the community (faraqta bayna bani israeel, Surah Taha)
  14. Disagreements in this area amongst the Muslims, leads to a negative portrayal of Islam, and is damaging from a Dawah perspective
  15. The Maqasid of Eid as a celebration that brings the entire community together is violated by having Eid on different days within the same family, town or city
  16. There is no precedent in Fiqh that justifies Eid being celebrated on different days within the same family, town, city for people who are resident there (Ahadith refer to companions who were travelling and returning to their city)
  17. Having Eid on different days disrupts the education of children, makes it difficult to organise holiday leave for working people, which means that many people end up booking the wrong day and therefore end up working on Eid day

Appendix 4: further reading

Book: Shedding light on the dawn: on the determination of prayer and fasting times at high latitudes by Sheikh Asim Yusuf

The challenge of how to determine twilight prayer and fasting times at high latitudes is an issue that has vexed successive generations of Muslims since the community first began to dwell in northern lands. This work represents the most comprehensive, meticulous and balanced approach to the subject composed in any language. The author has both demonstrated and collapsed the complexity of the subject by exploring it from the perspective of definitions, science, scripture, and sacred law, as well as providing a literature survey of classical and modern attempts at observation, before presenting the results of his own systematic, scientifically-rigorous set of observations. As well as providing a comprehensive set of recommendations for the issue under discussion, this work sets a standard for works on modern legal issues in general.

This is a necessary read on this subject. The author is a friend and colleague who has tirelessly and meticulously researched the issues of long fasts and prayer times. Some of the discussions above have been taken from the book.

For more information on the book and how to purchase it: http://www.lightonthedawn.com/

Few articles providing overview of some issues discussed:

http://www.understanding-islam.org.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=8054:towards-understanding-the-moonsighting-debate-in-the-u-k&Itemid=102

Arguments for using calculation:

https://musafurber.com/2015/06/06/ramadan-moonfighting-shafi%CA%BFic-calculations/

An Analysis of Moon Sighting Arguments

The argument against using calculation:

http://www.islam21c.com/islamic-law/964-an-insight-into-moon-sighting/

https://almadinainstitute.org/blog/an-islamic-legal-analysis-of-the-astronomical-determination-of-the-beginnin/

Issues of the long fast:

http://www.islamtoday.net/bohooth/artshow-86-136794.htm

http://www.exploring-islam.com/fasting-during-the-long-summer-days-in-some-western-countriesworship.html

http://alrukn.com/long-fasts-fiqh/

Combining Maghreb and Isha:

https://www.e-cfr.org/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B1%D9%82%D9%85-3-2/

https://www.leedsgrandmosque.com/isha-prayer-in-british-summer

https://www.islam21c.com/fataawa/166-summer-isha-a-fajr-prayer-times/

[1] All from the introduction to ‘Shedding Light on the Dawn’

[2] Al-Nahl 16:43

[3] Jami’ Tirmidhi 2683

[4] Bukhari 7352, Muslim 4487

[5] Jami Tirmidhi

[6] Ihya Ulum al-Din, Kitab al-Ilm

[7] Al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir of Suyuti – a very well-known principle among the righteous predecessors (salaf) and their successors (khalaf).

[8] Kubra al-Yaqiniyyat al-Kawniyya 34: in kunta naqilan fa al-sihha, wa in kunta muda’iyyan fa al-dalil.

[9] NB: contrary to popular opinion, crescent visibility curves are not a modern invention, having been known about in the classical Muslim period. There are many examples in medieval astronomical literature that look very similar to modern ones

[10] Ibn Qudama in his al-Mughni [2:30-31], for example, notes that, ‘when one hears the adhan from a reliable source, one should commence prayer, without attempting to work out whether the time has entered oneself, for the Prophet (s) said, ‘the muadhins are entrusted,’ (Abu Dawud) and ‘there are two duties Muslims must perform that hang from the necks of the muadhins: their prayers and their fasts’ (ibn Majah). – dar alam al-kutub

[11] Al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir of Suyuti 224 – la yunkar al-mukhtalaf fihi, innama yunkar al-mujma’ alayh: a well-known principle among the righteous predecessors (salaf) and their successors (khalaf).

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