Attending the festivals of non-Muslims out of respect for their culture
Fatwa No: 233425

  • Fatwa Date:2-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 1, 1435
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Question

I attended a celebration which involves speeches, food for Deepavali in Malaysia. It is not a religious celebration, but a gathering out of respect for the different culture & celebration. During the function, I was asked to light a candle. Some people argue that the act of lighting a candle constitutes an imitation of Hinduism because Deepavali (festival of light) is a celebration for Hindus. This, they argue, compromises my aqidah and I should repent. Is this correct? How do we balance living side by side with people of different religion & attending invitation to their open house (where people come to say hi to each other) without compromising the aqidah?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.

It is not permissible to attend this celebration because it is based on false beliefs and corrupt foundations. It is forbidden for a Muslim to attend a place where a religious violation is being committed unless there is a sound purpose, such as objecting to that violation.

Such a celebration does not have necessarily to be an ‘Eed to be forbidden. If this celebration takes place regularly, then it is an ‘Eed even though it is not called so. For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 43067 and 117419.

In the Sharee’ah (Islamic law), it is permitted to be kind to non-belligerent non-Muslims, but this is regarding worldly matters; Allaah says (what means): {Allaah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes — from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allaah loves those who act justly.}[Quran 60:8]

But as regards their religious rituals, it is not permissible to attend them as we have mentioned; Allaah says (what means): {And it has already come down to you in the Book [i.e. the Quran] that when you hear the verses of Allaah [recited] they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed, Allaah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together—}[Quran 4:140]

Therefore, you should not mix the two matters.

Allaah Knows best.

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