The Decision of the fatwa committee of the Council of Indonesian ‘Ulema’ on a Muslim’s Attendance at Christmas Celebrations…

The Decision of the fatwa committee of the Council of Indonesian ‘Ulema’ on a Muslim’s Attendance at Christmas Celebrations

Having observed:

  • That Christmas celebrations are lately mistakenly understood by some Muslims as equal to the celebrations of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.
  • That based on such a misconception many Muslims participated in Christmas celebrations, some even in organizing such celebrations.

Having considered:

  • That the Islamic community needs clear guidance on the issue of Christmas celebrations. It is expected that the Muslims do not mix their faith and rituals with the faith and rituals of other religions.
  • That the Muslims should always try their best to increase the quality of their faith and obedience to Allah.

Having reinvestigated the following Islamic teachings:

  • That Muslims are permitted to co-operate and interact with the followers of other religions on worldly issues, based on the following Quranic verses:
  • Surat al-Hujurat (Q. 49:13): “O you men! Surely we have created you of a male and female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is knowing, and Aware.”
  • Surah Luqman (Q. 31:15): “And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey  them, and keep company with them in this world kindly, and follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return, then will I inform you of what you did.”
  • Surat al-Mumtahana (Q. 60:8): “Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.”
  • That Muslims are not allowed to mix their faith and rituals with those of other religions, based on the following Quranic verses:
  • Surat al-Kafroon (Q. 109-6): “Say: O unbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship. Nor do you worship Him whom I worship. Nor I am going to worship that which you worship. Nor are you going to worship Him Whom I worship. You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.”
  • Surat al-Baqara (Q. 2:42): “And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hid the truth while you know (it).”
  • That Muslims should believe in ‘Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam as a messenger of God just like Muhammad and other prophets, based on the following Quranic verses:
  • Surat Maryam (Q. 19:30-32): “He said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. And He has made blessed where I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate (Zakah) as long as I live. And to be dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed.”
  • Surat al-Maida (Q. 5:75): “The Messiah, son of Maryam is but an apostle, apostles before him have passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food. See how We make communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away.”
  • Surat al-Baqara (Q. 2:285): “The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His Angels and His books and Hisapostles; We make no difference between any of his apostles; and they say: we hear and obey, our Lord! They forgiveness (do we crave) and to Thee is the eventual course.”
  • That whoever believes that God is more than one, or that God has sons, or that ‘Isa (Jesus) is the son of God, he is both unbeliever (Kafir) and a polytheist (mushrik) based on the following Quranic verses:
  • Surat al-Ma’ida (Q. 5:72): “Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Maryam; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my lord and your lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.”
  • Surat al-Ma’ida (Q. 5:73) “Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God (Allah), and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.”
  • Surat al-Tawba (Q. 9:30) “And the Jews say: “’Uzayr is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”
  • That Allah on the Day of Judgement will ask ‘Isa if he ever taught his people in this world to believe in him and his mother as Gods, to which ‘Isa will answer in the negative, based on the following Quranic verses of surat al-Ma’ida (Q. 5:116-118): “And when Allah will say: O ‘Isa the son of Maryam! Did you say to men, take me and my mother for two Gods besides Allah, he will say: Glory be to thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou are the great knower of unseen things. I did not say to them ought save what Thou didst enjoin me with; That they worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wert the watcher over them, and Thou art witness of all things. If Thou should chastise them, and Thou art witness of all things. If Thou should chastise them, then surely they are Thy servants; and if Thou shouldst forgive them, then surely Thou are the Mighty, the Wise.”
  • Islam teaches that Allah is only One, based on the following Quranic verses (Q. 112-4): “Say: He Allah, is One. Allah is He on whom all depends. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.”
  • Islam teaches its adherents to stay away from things shubuhat (unclear) category, from the prohibitions of Allah, and to give priority to avoiding harm over taking benefits based on:1.
  • The saying of the Prophet SAW Muhammad narrated by Nu’man b. Bashir, which stated: “Truly things which are permitted and forbidden are already very clear, but in between the two there exists things whose status is not clear, but in between the two there exists things who status is not clear (mutashabihat), which many people do not know about. Whoever is able to stay away from the shubuhat, he is maintaining the purity of his religion and dignity; whoever falls into the shubuhat, he is actually falling into forbidden areas, just like a Sheppard who herds his sheep on the border to a certain forbidden area to which the sheep are likely to penetrate. Please note that each Kind has his own prohibitions, and the prohibitions of Allah are things which have been classified in the haram (forbidden) category.”
  • There exists a maxim in the science of Islamic legal theory which says that avoiding harm should be given priority over gaining benefits.

The council of Indonesian ‘Ulema hereby issue the fatwa:

  • Although the aim of holding Christmas celebrations in Indonesia is to pay respect to the Prophet ‘Isa, Peace Be Upon Him, the celebrations cannot be separated from Christian ritual issues.
  • Attending Christmas celebrations is forbidden (haram) to Muslims.
  • To keep oneself from falling into things of shubuhat and forbidden categories, it is urged that Muslims not be engaged in any part of Christmas celebrations.

Jakarta, Jumada al-Awwal 1, 1401 A.H. or March 7, 1981, C.E.

The fatwa committee of the council of Indonesian ‘Ulema

Chairman,                                                                                                   Secretary,

(Signature)                                                                                                 (Signature)

K. H. M. Syukri Ghozali                                                                           Drs. H. Masudi

Source: Islamic Legal Interpretation Muftis and their Fatwa’s

Oxford University Press, Pakistan, 2005

As for those of you thinking; “This is all so obvious? Who would be stupid enough to celebrate Christmas?”

Well, here you go….

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