Innovations in Celebrations
Delivered by Sheikh Saud ash Shuraim
Safar 8, 1429 ~ February 15, 2008
All praise is due to Allah, the most Endearing, and the most Forgiving. It is He who has created the day and the night. And it is He who has made them succeed one another. He knows what is in the heavens and the earth, that which we cannot see, and He is not seen, but He sees everything. Indeed He knows everything that happens. And I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of our servitude except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger who advised the Ummah with his guidance, and removed from us the taints of jahiliyya. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, and companions on a perpetual basis.
The advice we give to all, and that we all ought to pay heed to is to be aware of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and fear Him so that we do not fall into that which displeases him. Everything that is an innovation in the deen is a bid’ah, and every innovation is a misguidance. The maturity and development of a Muslim is evident in the way he conducts himself in terms of his belief and the actions that emanate from this belief. He is a person who follows the guidance that is contained in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He stays away from ignorance, and that which leads to ignorance, in creating new matters to the deen and innovating that which is not in the deen. A prominent feature of every Muslim is that he is humble and has humility when facing Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and that which is required of him. What other quality can a believer have if he does not have this quality of humility? We only provide an avenue for the Shaytaan to lead us astray and lure us to create innovations when we are ignorant and when we fail to humble ourselves in front of the ocean of knowledge that is available for us and we think that we know better than that is contained in the Sunnah and the works from the rightly guided ulama. We then resort to measures and ways which the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not teach, nor is it in the Book of Allah.
Shaytaan deceives us by introducing matters and ways into this deen and making us think that it is good. It is most dangerous when a person goes a deed thinking it will gain him closeness to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) when it is not a thing which the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has brought. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says: “Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh then follow me, Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Ale ‘Imraan: Ayah 31] Truth and obedience to the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) lies in us strictly following the message which he has brought. If we sincerely wish to gain further closeness to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and be amongst those who qualify to be loved by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), then we need to follow the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as is intructed in the Quraan.
The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have that action rejected.” [Saheeh Bukhari and Muslim] This is one of the most fundamental beliefs of our deen and imaan that we only follow that which is in conformity with the Quran and Sunnah. This Ummah has its source of knowledge and reference in the Quran, Sunnah, and the works of the ulama who have spent their life in understanding, expanding, and explaining the Sunnah. This makes us not needy of following other cultures and traditions or seeking other forms of knowledge.
When we look at the moral fabric of our society, we see that Islam provides us the strongest foundation to build the best society upon moral and ethical principles. When we look at the morals we pick up from other cultures, we see that it has brought us nothing but doom and misery in our societies. Many from amongst us have imported Western ways, culture, ideas, and attitudes, and that which does not conform to the Sunnah. It has only brought upon us shamelessness, lewdness, and vice. A major role and responsibility for this confusion and pollution of the Muslim societies is held by the television and media corporations who whole sale import things which who are in contradiction to the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam). They bring in everything they find which satisfy their whims and desires, sometimes under the pretext of creating controversy or showing people what exists out there in the world. We have only seen the result to be nothing but negative, with it really introducing backwardness and decadence to our societies.
The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said “You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (a kind of lizard), you would follow them.” We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians ?” He said, “Whom else?” [Saheeh Bukhari] The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) went on further to expound on the story of the Banee Israeel who were told to worship Allah and not associate any other with him. They were told to sacrifice a cow, and they decided to mock the command, until they turned to worshipping a calf. When we leave the guidance of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam), and decide to blindly follow other nations, we will definitely land in the abyss and decadence that they live in. Only the enemies of Allah ally with other enemies of Allah. Allah is a sufficient guardian for the believers and in Him do they find solitude.
All praise is due to Allah alone, and may be the peace and blessings be upon His messenger after whom there will be no other messengers.
Oh Muslims! Fear Allah and know that from the things that makes one frustrated and worried is when you see certain patterns developing in segments of the Muslim communities where they have started to follow the fashion of the cultural, moral, and general lifestyle of those who are not from amongst the Muslims and not on the guided path of Islam. Those who defend the stance that we need to learn from other societies and cultures undoubtedly have a valid point. However, they only use this argument without any context, failing to understand the consequences of some of the things they bring in from foreign cultures.
This is most evident and harmful when we see the imported festivals and celebrations that are brought into our societies, whether it be in the name of Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, or Lovers’ Day. When we see this happen and know the ignorance and damage it has caused in our communities. Only yesterday we had the so called Valentines’ Day, and see the vice and the vile nature of this celebration. When we look at the history of Valentines’ Day, we find that St. Valentine was a person who used to facilitate people getting married against the order of the community he or she was living in. On the day this Christian saint died, the people decided to celebrate this day by giving their lovers flowers. In this pretext we see much vice and nudity, and that which we consider vile in terms of illicit relationships between men and women as if this day removes the obligation to abide by that which moral and righteous. It is a day which people use an excuse to let their whims and desires go out of bounds.
As Muslims we know that love is not confined to one day of the year. Love between a husband and wife is require all throughout the year. However, additionally in Islam love is not confined to a husband and wife, but it is a blessing of the Muslim community where it extends to the parent and child, two brothers, and a person of the community with another person of the community. Every member of the community is obliged to love one another. The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said “You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I guide to that which would make you love one another? Spread greetings of salaam abundantly amongst yourselves.” [Saheeh Muslim]
The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam came to Madeenah and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play’. He said, “What are these two days?” They said, ‘We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyyah.’ The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Allaah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa (Eid al-Adha) and Yawm al-Fitr (Eid al-Fitr).” [Abu Daawood, Nisai, and Ahmad] And the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayahi Wasallam) also said “Every people has a festival and this (Eid) is ours.” [Saheeh Bukhari and Muslim] The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also narrated in a hadith “Whoever resembles a community, he is from them.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
When Muslims fall into the trap of Shaytaan and follow foreign ways which does not conform to way of Islam, we are then following our whims and desires. Allah says: “And thus have We sent it (the Qur’ân) down to be a judgement of authority in Arabic. Were you (O Muhammad SAW) to follow their (vain) desires after the knowledge which has come to you, then you will not have any protector or defender against Allâh.” [Surah R’ad: Ayah 37]