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The Ruling On “Happy Independence Day or National Day Celebrations!” [Reminder to African Muslims]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

The Perfect Example to Follow In Every Aspect of Life

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

[ لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا – Certainly, there is for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example to follow for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and who remembers Allah often]. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayah 21]

Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:

[قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ – Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful]. [Surah Aal Imraan Ayah 31]

This verse is conveyed to everyone who claims to love Allaah, whilst he is not one who truly follows Allaah’s Prophet Muhammad [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]- by obeying the Prophet’s command and keeping away from what he has forbidden. Therefore, unless he [i.e. the one who claims to love Allaah] truly follows the Messenger, then indeed he is not truthful in his claim. [Tafseer al-Muyassar]

Imaam Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] used to say, “Indeed, the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] is the greatest criterion (amongst mankind and Jinn) and all affairs are presented to him (for judgement and judged) based on his manners, path and guidance; therefore whatever is in agreement with this is truth, and whatever is in opposition is falsehood. [Al-Jaami Li-Akhlaaq Ar-Raawi Wa Aadaab As-Saami’ page 8]

Allah and His Messenger Abrogated all Celebrations (or festivals) Besides The Two Eids

Anas Ibn Malik [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] arrived in Medina during two days in which they (i.e. the people) were celebrating. He asked, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to celebrate these two days in the pre-Islamic era”. He said, “Verily, Allah has replaced these two days with two days that are better – Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr”. [Sunan Abu Dawud 1134]

Therefore, this is the first affair a Muslim must bear in mind – that one follows the guidance of the final Messenger in every affair. There are no celebrations legislated in Islam besides the two Eids as the final Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] abrogated all of them. Therefore, we limit ourselves to what our Lord and His final Messenger have legislated. Allaah [The Exalted] said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ

O you who believe! Do not put (yourselves) forward before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet. [Surah Al-Hujuraat. Verses 1-2]

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The scholars say that this verse means: “Do not speak until you are commanded by Allaah and His Messenger, and do not act until the Messenger acts and legislates. Do not put yourselves forward before him with either speech or action, but be followers of that which has been prescribed for you and that which has been made clear for you in the Islamic legislation”. This is the way of the people of sound faith. [وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيم – And fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing]- Meaning, Allaah hears your statements and nothing is hidden from Him with regards to your state of affairs. He knows the truth you utter and other than it, and He knows what you do, so be mindful of Him and be warned about disobeying Him because nothing is hidden from Him. Therefore, it is obligated on you to be followers and not innovators in Allaah’s Sharee’ah. [An Excerpt from Al-Fawaa-id al-Ilmiyyah Min Ad-Durar Al-Baaziyyah. 4/ 391-392]

Saudi Scholar Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Everything that is taken as a day of day of celebration, repeated every week and every year and is not legislated in Islaam, then it is a Bidah (innovated practice). That is because the One [i.e. Allaah] Who legislates everything has legislated the Aqeeqah (see footnote a) for the newly born baby and did not legislate anything after that. Therefore, adopting these celebrations that are repeated every week or every year means that they have likened them to Islamic festivals and this is not permissible. There is nothing in Islam related to festivals except for Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, and (a day set aside for a specific type of worship), which is Friday. (1)

Saudi Scholar Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: All of this (i.e. celebrations other than the two legislated in Islam) are judged to be wriong according to Islamic law, whether done for the person, his mother, his daughter or son. All this that has been newly invented – nowadays – is an imitation of the Christians or the Jews [i.e. those amongst them who changed the religion after the departure of their Prophets]. It has no basis nor a foundation (in the Islamic legislation). Mother’s day, Father’s Day, Uncle’s Day, the day for a particular person (as celebration or congratulation), or the day for his daughter or son, all of this is considered wrong according to Islamic law. (2)

He also said, “National Day (celebration) is tantamount to imitating Allaah’s enemies. It may have occurred due a good intention and based on a judgement made by some people after striving to reach the correct verdict in an affair; but what is apparent to us is that it is not legislated and it is not from that which is befitting; rather imitation of Allaah’s enemies is found within it, even if worship is not intended by way of it. As for if worship was intended by way of it, then it would be an innovation in religion, but worship is not intended by way of it; rather what is intended is to congratulate, manifest what the country has established and done, therefore, this is considered to be similar to the other days initiated by the Jews and Christians (i.e. those amongst them who changed the religion after the departure of their Prophets) for remembrance or for other reasons. Therefore, it is not befitting (permissible) to imitate them- neither in this affair nor in other than it [i.e. those affairs which the Islamic legislation has neither allowed nor legislated). (3)

Cultural and National Traditions Cannot Oppose The Sharee’ah of Allaah

Finally, as for the statement, “It is our national tradition, cultural tradition or the path of our forefathers”, this can never be a justification for opposing the Sharee’ah. The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: Indeed, Allaah [The Most High] has removed from you the pride of the pre-Islamic period and its boasting about ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a wretched sinner. You are sons of Adam and Adam (was created from) clay. Let the people abandon boasting about their ancestors, because they are merely fuel in Jahannam, or they will become more insignificant in (the sight of) Allah than the beetle which rolls dung with its nose. (4)

The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Whoever is held back by his deeds (i.e. does not follow the Qur’aan and Sunnah), (nobility) of lineage will not push him forward”. (5) Imaam Nawawi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, ‘’This means that the one whose deeds are deficient and he does not catch up with the performers of (good) deeds, then it is obligated on him not to crown himself with nobility of lineage and the virtues of his forefathers, whilst he is lagging behind in (performing good) deeds”. (6)

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Hardship is only encountered by the one who abandons the Ma’loofaat and Awaa’id [i.e. those habitual things, deeds, practices, customs etc] for other than the sake of Allaah. As for the one who abandons them truthfully and sincerely from the bottom of his heart- for the sake of Allaah alone- then indeed he does not encounter any difficulty due to abandoning them except in the beginning, in order that he is tested as to whether he is truthful or untruthful in abandoning them? If he exercises a little bit of patience, its [i.e. that abandonment] will alternate into pleasure. Ibn Seereen said that he heard Shurayh swearing by Allaah that “A servant does not abandon anything for the sake of Allaah and finds a loss in that.” And their statement [i.e. the people of knowledge] that ‘whoever abandons something for the Sake of Allaah, Allaah will replace it with what is better.” This is true. This compensation is of different types and the best of that which a person is compensated with is: the desire and yearning to get close to Allaah, seeking after Allaah’s pleasure, love of Allaah, and the heart granted-by way of it- tranquility, strength, enthusiasm, happiness and being pleased with its Lord [The Most High]. (7)

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: It is obligated on every Muslim that he does not depend on custom; rather he presents it to the pure Islamic legislation [to be judged], so whatever the Islamic legislation affirms is permissible and whatever it does not affirm is impermissible. The customs of the people are not proof to determine the lawfulness of anything. All the customs of the people in their countries or tribes must be presented to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] for judgement, so whatever Allaah and His Messenger made permissible is permissible, and whatever they forbid, then it is obligatory to abandon it even if it is the custom of the people. (8)

Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The customs cannot make something that is not legislated (in the divine revelation) as something legislated, because of Allaah’s statement: [وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا – It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back] [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 189], despite the fact that it was something they took as their custom and considered it to be an act of righteousness. Whoever takes something as a custom and believes that it is an act of righteousness, then it should be presented to Allaah’s divine legislation. (9)

Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said: Extremism in related to customs is stringent adherence to old customs and not diverting to what is better than them. As for if the customs are equal in benefit [i.e. the ones judged to be permissible by the divine legislation], then a person remaining upon what he is upon would be better than going along with the new (or emerging) customs. (10)


[Ref 1: Sharh Kitaab at-Tawheed 1/382]

[Ref2::https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/26374/%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AF paraphrased]

[Ref3:https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/2592/%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9 .paraphrased]

[Ref 4: Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud (rahimahullaah)’ Hadith Number 5116. Declared ‘Hasan’ by Shaikh Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Sunan Abu Dawud. Pages -766-767.Publisher: Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif’ 1st edition]

[Refs 5 & 6: Saheeh Muslim…part of hadeeth in ‘The Book Pertaining to the Remembrance of Allah, Supplication, Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness. Sharh Saheeh Muslim: Hadeeth Number 2699; Vol 17, page 18]

[Ref 7: Al-Fawaa’id page 166]

[Ref 8: Majmoo Al-Fataawas 6/510]

[Ref: 9: Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah 2/299]

[Ref 10: Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 7/7]