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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori
18th April, 2014

Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Easter is not meant for us. Let us be very careful how we conduct ourselves during this time. Don't be an apologetic Muslim. Explain the position of your religion to your Christian friends and associates, they will understand. Tell them the reasons why you will not congratulate them on their festivals. Don't also forget to use this opportunity to call them to Islam.

This should not be seen as a way of promoting hatred or enmity against the Christians. It is a matter of strong religious conviction. If a Muslim is not expected to celebrate pagan festivals with its adherents, he is not also allowed to celebrate or congratulate the Christians and Jews on the celebration of their kufr festivals. Muslims are encouraged to be peaceful towards non-Muslims who are peaceful towards them. The rights of non-Muslim neighbors and associates are well protected under the shari'ah. Islam also encourage promotion of peaceful co-existence in a multi-religious society of our own nature. But this must be observed in ways that the fundamental tenets of Islam would not be compromised.

With the level of ignorance in our society and the rate at which some people are being deceived to leave Islam, Muslim parents owe it a duty to explain the position of Islam on the Christian doctrine of crucifixion of Jesus (peace be upon him) to their children. For instance, the Christians believe Prophet 'Eesa عليه السلام was crucified, but the Qur'an (our grundnorm) says he was not. The Christians also believe Prophet 'Eesa, عليه السلام died for their sins, the Qur'an says; no one carries the burden of another, every soul would be responsible for its deeds. Christians believe God sacrificed His only begotten son to atone for their sins. But Allāh says categorically in Suratul Ikhlas that He neither beget, nor was He begotten. It is upon the Christian doctrines of crucifixion, ressurrection and atonement of sins that the celebration of Easter is built. These are fundamental differences between our belief and their belief that affect the roots of the shar'iah. So, why shouldn't we mind our business? 

How many times have we seen the real Christians celebrating the 'Eids with us? Even if they do, that doesn't make it ideal for us to celebrate theirs with them. I have Christian friends who don't eat 'Eid el Adha sacrificial meat, and I understand their excuse. This is not extremism. We need to move away from anything that can affect any of the articles of faith. This matter has to do with our belief in the Qur'an and its provisions. Allāh says and I quote,

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا

And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ]

بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

*But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise"* [Suratun Nisaa', Q4:157-158]

Also in Suratun Najm, Allah says,

*وَأَنْ لَيْسَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ ,وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ, ثُمَّ يُجْزَاهُ الْجَزَاءَ الْأَوْفَىٰ*

*"That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad), And that his deeds will be seen, Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense* [Q53:39-41]

We have been warning that Muslims are not permitted to engage in any kind of events or festivities that contradicts Islamic doctrines and beliefs. Muslim are not permitted to attend masqurade festivals, Eyo festival in Lagos, Osun festival in Osogbo,  pagan carnivals where etc. In addition, Muslims are ordinarily permitted to consume the food of the Ahlul Kitab, but by the safest view of scholars, this ruling does not extend to the time of celebration of their kufr festivals. How can you eat the food meant to celebrate their festivals and claim not to have celebrated it? There is no doubt about the fact that celebrating Easter with Christians may lead to kufr because its historical basis contradicts the Islamic beliefs as provided in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

So, you do not need to be apologetic or compromise your beliefs in the name of peaceful co-existence. Let us relate with one another with kindness, understand our differences and live together in peace.

On this matter, Sheikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah رحمه الله said:

*It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in any way that is unique to their festivals, whether it be food, clothes, bathing, lighting fires or refraining from usual work or worship, and so on. And it is not permissible to give a feast or to exchange gifts or to sell things that help them to celebrate their festivals, or to let children and others play the games that are played on their festivals, or to adorn oneself or put up decorations.* [Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (2/488)]

May Allah continue to guide us aright.

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