In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
BEING THE FIRST SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF J. AKHEERAH, DATED 6TH J. AKHEERAH, 1444 AH (30TH DECEMBER, 2022 CE).
TITLED: THE RULING OF CELEBRATING THE GREGORIAN NEW YEAR
All Praises belong to Allah, the Lord of the universe, blessed, pure, abundant praises, praises that befits His Majesty and befit the greatness of his Authority. We do not seek any other than Him as Lord, we do not take any other than Him as a guardian, and we do not seek any other than Him as an judge, and we do not associate anyone or anything with Him nor alongside Him. There is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and we worship none but Him, we ensure (our) religion is purely for Him alone, even if the unbelievers hate it so. It is He who says in His precise Revelation that He revealed to the best of His creation: (لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا) “To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.” (Al-Maa’idah: 48).
We praise Him, may He be glorified and exalted, and give thanks to Him, believe in Him. We put our trust in Him, and seek refuge in Him from the evils of our own souls and from the evils of our deeds. He whom Allah guides is the one who is rightly guided, and he whom He lets astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone, and he has no partner. I bear witness also that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) is His servant and His Messenger. O Allah! Bless and grant peace to him, his family, his companions, and those who followed them in goodness until the Day of Recompense.
O servants of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, for it is the way of the righteous, the men of understanding. Allah Ta’alah says: (يَا أَيّهَا الّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ) “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Aal-Imraan: 102).
Brothers in faith! This is the first meeting in the month of Jumaada-Thani, the sixth of the Islamic lunar months. The topic of our sermon today is focused on: the ruling on celebrating the new Gregorian year.
Dear Muslims! It is not permissible for any Muslim to join the People of the Book in celebrating the festival of the beginning of the Gregorian year, and to not congratulate them on this occasion, because the festival is part of the deeds that form their religion particularly, or part of the identity of their false religion, and we have been forbidden to be in consonance with them in their festivals. There is evidence in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah as well as the consensus and considerations of the people of knowledge:
1. As for what is in the Qur’aan: Allah Ta’alah says: (وَالَّذِينَ لا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَاماً) “And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.” ( Al-Furqaan: 72). Mujahid said in the interpretation of the verse: It is the feasts of the polytheists. The same was said by Rabee’u ibn Anas, Al-Qaadi Abu Y’ala and Al-Dahhak. Ibn Sireen said: Al-Zuur referred to in the verse is the Palm Sunday, and the Palm Sunday is a festival of the Christians that they hold on the Sunday preceding Easter and celebrate it by carrying palm branches, and they claim that this is a remembrance of Christ’s entry into Baytul-Maqdis (Jerusalem), as recorded in Iqtidaai Siraatil Mustaqeem, and M’ujamul Waseet, and the point of the evidence is that if Allah has praised abandoning witnessing it, which is mere presence by seeing or hearing, then how much more approving and participating with them in what is more than just witnessing it, in being part of the actions of Az-zuur, and not just witnessing it.
2. As for the Sunnah: Among them is the hadith of Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madeenah and found the people had two days in which they played, so he said: What are these two days for? They said: We used to play in these two days during Jahiliyyah, and the Messenger of Allah, (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Allah has replaced them for you with two better ones: the day of Eidul-Adha and the day of Eidul-Fitr. (Abu Daawud, Ahmad, and al-Nasaa’i on the condition of Muslim). The evidence is that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) did not approve of the two pre-Islamic festivals, nor did he let them play on them as usual. Rather, he said: Allah has replaced them for you with better ones. And replacement necessitates abandoning the replaced thing, as one cannot necessarily combine the replacement and the replaced thing. And his saying (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), “better than both of them” requires getting used to what was recommended for us over what was the case in Jahiliyyah.
3. As for the consensus of scholars: It is known from the Seerah that the Jews and Christians are still in the Muslim communities doing their festivals, and despite that there was no one among the muslims in the time of the our predecessors who would join them in any of those festivals. And likewise, what ‘Umar did in his conditions with the dhimmis, which the Companions and all the jurists after them agreed on: that the dhimmis among the People of the Book do not outwardly show their festivals in the Abode of Islaam. So if it was their agreement to prevent them from making their festivals apparent, so how can Muslims justify doing it! Or isn’t the Muslim’s involvement in it more severe than the unbelievers showing the celebration? ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Beware of the language of non-Arabs, and if you enter upon the polytheists on the day of their festival in their churches, the wrath descends upon them.” It was narrated by Abu Shaykh Al-Asbhaaniy and Bayhaqi with a good chain. Bayhaqi also narrated on the authority of ‘Umar that he also said: “Avoid the enemies of Allah in their festival.” And if wrath descends on them on the day of their festival because of their deeds, then whoever associates or participates with them in that deed or even part of it, has he not been exposed to that punishment? Then his words: ‘And avoid the enemies of Allah in their festival. Isn’t it forbidden to greet them and meet with them in it? How much more the actions of their festival… Iqtidaai Siraatil Mustaqeem.
4. As for the consideration of the people of knowledge: It is said that the festivals are part the Sharee’ah, the legislated way and the rites concerning which Allah Ta’alah says: (لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجاً) ” To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.” (Al-Maa’idah: 48). Ibn Taymiyah said: There is no difference between participation in the festival and participation in the rest of their ways. Involvement and participation in all of the festival is participation in kufr (disbelief), and participation in some of its parts is participation and involvement in some of aspects of kufr. Indeed, the festivals are among the peculiarities with which doctrines are differentiated, and it is one of the most apparent and conspicuous of religious identities. So, participation in it is participation in the most specific doctrine of disbelief and its most apparent rituals, and there is no doubt that involvement in this may end in disbelief in general. (Iqtidaai Siraatil Mustaqeem).
He also said: Then their festival is part of the cursed religion and its people, so involvement in it is involvement in what they are distinguished by in the causes of Allah’s wrath and punishment. Also from the point of consideration is that if it is justified to do a little of that, it leads to doing a lot, then when something becomes popular, people will get into it and then common people will forget its origin and it becomes a normal thing for people. In fact, they will then see it as a festival for them, to the extent that they are considered comparable to Allah’s festival, and it may even go farther to the extent that it would almost lead to the death of Islaam and the give more life to disbelief.
This is the much that is easy to mention from the evidence. And whoever wants more, let him go and review Iqtidaai Siraatil Mustaqeem Mukhaalifatu As-haabi Jaheem by Ibn Taymiyah, and Ahkaamu Ahlu Dhimmah by Ibn Qayyim, and Al-Walaau Wal-Baraau Fil-Islaami by Muhammad Sa’eed Al-Qahtaani. Based on the foregoing, we say: It is not permissible for a Muslim to participate in the festivals of the People of the Book, because of the evidence from the Book, the Sunnah, and the consensus and considerations of the people of knowledge.
THE SECOND SERMON
All praises are due to Allah sufficiently. May blessings and peace be the Chosen Prophet, his family and companions, the people of loyalty and purity, and whoever follow them in righteousness until the day of the fullest recompense.
As to what follows,
Dear servants of Allah, one of the issues that should be highlighted at present is the question that comes to the mind of some of our Muslim brothers, concerning, is it permissible to congratulate the disbelievers or each other on the advent of the new year?
Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen was asked: What is the ruling on congratulating people on the beginning of the year, as people do, like if one of them says to another thus: “Happy New Year”, and so on? He replied: Congratulation on the New Year is not known to the Salaf, that is why to leave is best, but if a person congratulated a person based on the fact that in the past year he spent it in obedience to Allah Almighty, then he congratulates him for his long life in obedience, then there is nothing wrong with that; because the best of people is he who lives long and does good deeds, but this congratulation is only at the beginning of the Hijri year, but for the beginning of the Gregorian year, it is not permissible to congratulate based on it, because it is not a legislated year. Rather if he congratulates the mom-believers on their festivals, then on this the person is in great danger of congratulating them on the festivals of disbelief, because congratulating them on the holidays of disbelief is an expression of satisfaction in it and advancing its cause, while showing contentment with the unbelievers’ holidays may take a person out of the fold of Islam, as mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy on him – in his book Ahkam Ahl Dhimmah.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “As for congratulating them on the rites of kufr that are specific to them, it is forbidden by consensus, such as congratulating them on their festivals and their fasts, and saying: “Eid Mubarak to you”, or congratulating them on this festival and the like. So on this, if the person who said it is safe from kufr, then the action is among the forbidden acts. It is in the position of congratulating on prostrating to the Cross, rather, that is greater sin in the sight of Allah, and more hateful than congratulation for drinking alcohol, killing, committing fornication, and the likes.” To sum up: Congratulating on the beginning of the Hijri year is undoubtedly preferable to leave it, because it is not from the era of the Salaf, and if a person does it, then there is no sin on him, but as for congratulating for the beginning of the Gregorian year, it is not permissible.
It is worth noting: that congratulation – with regard to what it is prescribed to do – should be a blessing, and supplication from a Muslim for his Muslim brother in what pleases him, and other things that revive the spirit of cohesion and brotherhood among the people of this religion. Allah knows best.
Death of Seven AL-MU’MINAAT members in a motor accident:
Servants of God, we received a heartbreaking news on Wednesday of an accident of the bus that was transporting some members of Al-Mu’minaat Organization to their annual camping programme that is holding in Vanguard Academy, Ogun State, which led to the death of seven persons among them, including a pregnant woman, and the remaining ten persons sustaining serious injuries and are currently in the hospital. “We belong to Allah, and to Him we shall return”! Death overtakes them while they are on the cause of Allah, and it is the noblest death, to die in the cause of Allah.
Servants of God, there is no doubt that death is a true, and every soul will taste death, and everyone will reach the reality which they have reached, even if the reasons differs, but death is the same. We are certain that they are martyrs, as evidenced by the Prophet’s description of the martyrs.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: What do you consider martyrdom? They said: Being killed in the cause of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: There are seven types of martyrdom in addition to being killed in Allah’s cause: one who dies of plague is a martyr; one who is drowned is a martyr; one who dies of pleurisy is a martyr; one who dies of an internal complaint is a martyr; one who is burnt to death is a martyr; who one is killed by a building falling on him is a martyr; and a woman who dies while pregnant is a martyr. (Abu Dawud)
Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Sahih Muslim: The scholars said: These deaths were only martyrdoms that Allah Almighty favored because of their severity and the abundance of their pain.
Allah says: (أَيْنَما تَكُونُوا يُدْرِكْكُمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنْتُمْ فِي بُرُوجٍ مُشَيَّدَةٍ) “Wherever you may be, death will overcome you—even if you were in fortified towers.” (Nisaa: 78)
Allah says: (قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلاقِيكُمْ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلى عالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِما كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ) “Say, “The death you are running away from will inevitably come to you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the seen and unseen, and He will inform you of what you used to do.” (Jum’ah: 8)
Allah says: (وَما تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ) “and no soul knows in what land it will die. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware”. (Luqman: 34)
Narrated on the authority of Khalid bin Al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said while he was about to die: “I witnessed such and such a situation. And there is not one of my limbs that does not have a wound, stab, or blow in it, and here I am dying on my bed as a camel dies. The eyes of the cowards do not sleep – meaning he is in pain.
This is the world, so how amazing are the vicissitudes of days and what the strangest are the alternating changes of destinies, to Allah belong praises and the grace on His decree, and after all these what remains for us is to remember them with goodness, and to pray for forgiveness for them, and for Paradise (Garden of bliss) to be their final resting place.
Du’aa: Oh God, do not cause us grieve over our family, or over our relatives, or over our loved ones, and grant patience to the hearts, O Living and O Self Sustaining. May Allah have mercy on the Believing Muslim Sisters, the martyrs, and make them dwell in your spacious gardens, and forgive them. O Allah forgive them, have mercy on them, pardon them, honor their staying, widen their entrance in the grave, wash them with water, snow and hail, and purify them from sins and transgressions as a garment is purified. O Allah, reward them with good for their good deeds, and with pardon and forgiveness for their bad deeds.
O Allah, grant us our choice, do not rule over our evils, and do not rule over us because of our sins, who does not fear you among us and does not have mercy on us with your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Oh God, make Nigeria a safe and reassuring country, generosity, prosperity and the rest of the Muslim countries with your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful. May God’s blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and peace be upon him.