Babylon International Festival (Iraq)- [It is Not Allowed to Revive Forbidden Pre-Islamic Customs]


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

Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَشۡهَدُونَ ٱلزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّواْ بِٱللَّغۡوِ مَرُّواْ ڪِرَامً۬ا – And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity]. [Surah Al-Furqan. Aayah 72]: https://www.dailysabah.com/arts/events/iraqs-babylon-fest-returns-after-18-year-hiatus

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: They do not attend the gatherings of falsehood and when go past anything that is utilized in falsehood – whether in speech or actions, they behave in an honorable manner and do not stand there to witness or incline towards it. (1)

Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The most hated people to Allaah are three: a person who deviates from right conduct [i.e. an evil doer] in the Haram [sanctuaries of Makkah and Medeenah]; a person who seeks that the traditions of the pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance should remain in Islam and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right”.

Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadee Al-Mad’khalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “These three deeds are from the major sins. The first major sin is Al-Ilhaad Fil Haram [i.e. deviating from right conduct in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah]. Ilhaad means to deviate from the truth [and enter into] falsehood, and supporting falsehood in order to obliterate the truth. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] censured the Mulhideen Fil Haram [i.e. those who deviate from right conduction in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], saying: [وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ – And whoever intends evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), We shall make him taste a painful torment]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 25]

Allaah promised them [a severe punishment] due to the mere fact they intend evil actions therein [i.e. in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], then how about perpetrating such deed! Indeed that would be a more severe sin, a more frightening state and a more severe punishment. This is a proof regarding the virtue of the sanctuaries of the Haram- that it is a sacred land chosen by Allaah and He made it a place where virtuous acts of worship are performed, [such as] the Hajj which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Allaah gave this place virtues that cannot be enumerated, such as the increased reward attached to good deeds [performed in Makkah and Madeenah] and gave this land virtue over all other lands of the earth.

The second major sin is committed by the person who wants that the pre-Islamic traditions should remain in Islaam, as if he gives precedence to the pre-Islamic traditions – the evil customs that were followed during that period and the misguided deeds- over the Islamic practices, Eemaan, Ihsaan, their virtue and virtue of the Sunnah. He is guilty of committing a major sin, and this includes giving precedence to Bidah over [the authentic] Sunnah that guides to the straight path.

The third major sin is to seek to shed somebody’s blood without any right – meaning: seeking to shed the blood of a Muslim without right and doing so based on oppression and animosity. Shedding the blood of a Muslim is a great crime, just as the Prophet said, “The extinction of the whole world is less significant to Allaah than killing a Muslim [i.e. unlawfully]”. And he [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] stated regarding the rights of the Ka’bah, “How great you are and how great is your sanctity! But the sanctity of a believer is greater than yours in the sight of Allaah”.

It is not permissible to transgress against the Muslims and the believers – males and females- in the sanctuaries of [Makkah and Madeenah] or in other places due to the great sin and punishment which results from that. (2)

Customs and Cultural Practices

Imaam Ash-Shaatibee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated in Al-Muwaafaqaat that customs are many different types- some are good and others are corrupt. The good customs are those that neither oppose the Sharee’ah texts nor lead to losing an affair deem to be beneficial by the Sharee’ah, nor lead to an affair which the Sharee’ah deems to be corrupt. As for the corrupt customs, they are those that oppose the evidences in the Sharee’ah or some of the principles of the Sharee’ah, such as some of the customary dealings in usury and those deeds deemed to be evil by the Sharee’ah which the people engage in during occasions of happiness (or rejoicing etc). (3)

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]. (4)

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. (5)

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. (6)

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. (7)

Official Holidays and Festivals That Are Tantamount to Bidah, Evil or Corruption – [Mawlid, National Day Celebrations, Israa Wal-Miraaj Celebrations, Chaharshanbeh Suri]:

Official Holidays and Festivals That Are Tantamount to Bidah, Evil or Corruption – [Mawlid, National Day Celebrations, Israa Wal-Miraaj Celebrations, Chaharshanbeh Suri]


[Ref 1: Badaa’i at-Tafseer Al-Jaami limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim 2/270]

[Ref 2: At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 429-430. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 3: Al-Muwaafaqaat 2/283]

[Ref 4: Al-Fawaa’id page 166]

[Ref 5: Majmoo Al-Fataawas 6/510]

[Ref: 6: Tafseer Surah Al-Baqarah 2/299]

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

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