Taking part in the celebrations of the People of the Book

Q: If you please, our dear Shaykh, I entered into a discussion with my Muslim brothers regarding some matter in the religion of Islam, namely: Some Muslims in Ghana venerate the holidays of the Jews and the Christians, and leave their holidays to the extent that when the time of a festival of the Jews or the Christians comes, they suspend the Islamic schools on the occasion of such a festival, and they do not suspend the Islamic schools during the festivals of Muslims. Their justification for this is: If you follow the Jews and the Christians regarding their holidays, they will enter into the religion of Islam. Could you please, dear Shaykh, explain to us whether their actions spring from the religion of Islam or not?


A: First: The Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) is to display the rites of Islam among Muslims. On the other hand, abandoning this contradicts the guidance of the Messenger (peace be upon him). It was authentically reported that (Part No. 2; Page No. 73) the Prophet said: You must follow my Sunnah and that of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Stick to it and hold fast to it... The Hadith. Second: It is not permissible for a Muslim to join the Kafirs (non-Muslims) in their festivals and to express joy and happiness on these occasions, or to take the day off work, whether the occasion is religious or secular, because this is a kind of imitating the Enemies of Allah, which is forbidden, and a kind of co-operating with them in falsehood. It was authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Anyone who imitates a people is one of them." Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment. We advise you to refer to the book entitled [Iqtida' Al-Sirat-ul-Mustaqim] by the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him), since it is very useful in this regard.May Allah grant us success. May Allah's peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and Companions!

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