Celebrating the year 2000 millennium & related issues

Reference: Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa

Question: [1] We see this year many announcements regarding preparations in anticipation of the year 2000 and the start of the third millennium. The disbelievers among the Jew and the Christians, as well as others are delighted and happy and have many hopes put in this occasion. The question to you honourable Shaykh (i.e. the Muftee) is: There are some among the claimants to Islaam who are greatly concerned with this and consider it a joyous occasion and they have even tied their weddings or work to it. They have taken up giving invitations for the occasion at their stores and businesses and likewise in a manner that saddens and aggrieves the Muslim. What is the Islaamic ruling on glorifying this occasion and celebrating it and exchanging congratulations for it either verbally or by exchanging cards and the like? May Allaah reward you and Muslims the best of rewards.

[2] The Jews and Christians are preparing for the arrival of the year 2000 according to their reckoning in an extraordinary manner to propagate their plans and beliefs throughout the world, particularly in Islaamic countries. Some Muslims have been influenced by this propaganda and have begun preparing for it by announcing discounts on products and one fears the matter being raised to the point of affecting Muslim belief and their allegiance and support of the non-Muslims. We hope for a statement of ruling on Muslims participating with disbelievers in their celebrations and making propaganda for it and celebrating it or extending work hours in some establishments and companies for this occasion. Does acting upon any of these things and their like or accepting them have an affect on the Muslim’s belief?

Response: The greatest of favours, which Allaah has bestowed upon His slaves, is the favour of Islaam and guidance to the Straight Path. It is from His – the Glorified – Mercy to have obliged His believing slaves to seek guidance in their prayers and they therefore seek attaining that guidance to the Straight Path and to be made firm thereupon. Allaah has characterised this Path as being the one that is the path of those whom Allaah has blessed from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous and not the path of the deviants from it among the Jews and the Christians and the remainder of the disbelievers and polytheists. If this is realized, then it is a duty upon the Muslim to recognise the measure of blessing and favour of Allaah upon him and therefore must thank Allaah verbally and by action and by belief. It is upon him to safeguard this favour and look after it and do that which will safeguard it from decline. A look by anyone who has been given insight into the Religion of Allaah at today’s world where truth is mixed with falsehood for many people, he will see the clear efforts of the enemies of Islaam to eradicate its realities and extinguish its light as well as the efforts to distance the Muslims from it and cut their ties to it by every means possible. Not to mention distorting its image and making accusations and insinuations and lies in order to block humanity from the Way of Allaah and belief in what was revealed to his Messenger Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This is affirmed by the statement of Allaah:

{Many of the People of the Scripture desire that you would revert after having accepted faith to being disbelievers out of envy within themselves after the truth has been made plain to them}, [Soorah Aali-‘Imraan, Aayah 100].

Also is His statement:

{A group of the People of Scripture desire that they could lead you astray but they misguide none but themselves although they perceive it not}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 109].

Also His word:

{O you who believe if you follow those who disbelieve they will surely cause you to turn upon your heels and then you would become losers}, [Soorah Aali-‘Imraan, Aayah 139].

And His statement:

{Say: O People of the Scripture why do you block those who believe from the Path of Allaah, seeking crookedness while you are witnesses and Allaah is not unaware of what you do?}, [Soorah Aali-‘Imraan, Aayah 99], and other similar aayaat (verses).

However, despite all that, Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has promised to preserve His Religion and His Book and He Most Glorified said: {Verily We have revealed the Remembrance and verily We are its protectors. Much praise is due to Allaah}. And the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed that there will always be a party from among his Ummah standing upon the truth who would be victorious and none who would abandon or oppose them would harm them until the Final Hour comes. So much praise is due to Allaah and we ask Him – the Glorified, and He is The Close and The Answerer of prayers, to make us and our Muslim brethren from among them (i.e. the victorious group) for indeed He is the Most Giving and Generous.

This, and indeed The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts has heard and seen the major preparations and extensive care taken by groups of Jews and Christians and those influenced by them from the claimants to Islaam for the occasion of the completion of the year 2000 and the entrance of the third millennium according to the reckoning of the European Calendar. There is nothing except to strive to advise and explain to the general population of Muslim the true meaning of this occasion and the ruling of the pure Sharee’ah (Islaam) regarding it so that the Muslims will be aware and informed about their Religion and on guard against deviation toward the misguidance and errors of those whom Allaah is angry with and those who are astray. We say:

Firstly: The Jews and the Christians have attached to this millennium misfortunes, suffering and expectations that they are wrapped up in making sure of or plot because they are resultant of purported research and study. Just as they have tied certain issues of belief to this millennium according to their claims of what is reported in their distorted scriptures. It is obligatory for the Muslim to not even look to them or give them any weight. Indeed he should be satisfied with the Book of his Lord, the Glorified, and the Sunnah of His Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) above all else. Any other theories or speculations and opinions divergent to those two sources should neither be considered of any importance.

Secondly: This occasion and its like is not at all free from the mixing of truth and falsehood nor the invitation to disbelief and misguidance nor licentiousness and apostasy and is a manifestation of evil according to Islaam. From among them: Calling for the unification of religions and the equalisation of Islaam along with belief systems and religions that are false; showing deference to or pleasure in the cross (crucifix); manifesting the signs and symbols of the kufr (disbelief) of the Christians and Jews and any other similar actions or statements which comprise part of the now abrogated and substituted laws of Christianity and Judaism as being attributable to Allaah; or approval of some of what involves opposing the Religion of Islaam or any other matters that amount to disbelief in Allaah and His Messenger or Islaam according to the consensus of the Ummah. This is all in addition to the fact that is among the means of distancing the Muslims from their Religion.

Thirdly: There is abundant evidence form the Book and the Sunnah as well as authentic traditions [of companions etc.] on the forbiddance of resembling or imitating the disbelievers in what is particular to them. Among that is resembling or imitating them in their holiday festivals and celebrations. al-‘Eed – is a generic noun that includes any recurring day that is repeatedly given significance or glorified by the disbelievers or the places in which they hold their religious gatherings. Everything that they innovate within these places and times is considered among their recurring festivities (a’yaadihim). Therefore the prohibition is not particularised to the festivities but includes every aspect of what they attach importance to at these times and places which have no basis in Islaam. It (the prohibition) applies to what they innovate in deeds and activities including what comes before or after of the days that are sacred as mentioned by Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahima-hullaah). [Iqtidaa. as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/432) of Ibn Taymiyyah].

As far as what has come forbidding what is particular similarity in festivities (al-a’yaad) is the statement of Allaah:

{Those who do not witness falsehood (az-zoor)}, [Soorah al-Furqaan, Aayah 72],

…in describing the believing slaves of Allaah. This has been explained by a large number of the predecessors such as Ibn Seereen, Mujaahid and Rabee’ Ibn Anas that “az-zoor” means the festivities (a’yaad) of the disbelievers. [Tafseer al-Qur.aan al-‘Adtheem (3/328-329)].

It is confirmed and verified from Anas Ibn Maalik (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu) that he said: “The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to al-Madeenah and they had two days that they had fun and played in (i.e. Celebrated) so he asked:

«What are these two days?»

They replied, “We used to play in (i.e. Celebrate) them in the times of Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaam)”. The Messenger of Allaah responded:

«Verily Allaah has substituted them for you with what is better than them: the day of Adhhaa (Sacrifice) and the day of Fitr (fast-breaking)»“, [ Saheeh: Related by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunanul-Kubraa (9/234) and in Kanzul-‘Amal (no. 1732)].

It is authenticated that Thaabit Ibn ad-Dhahhaak (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu) stated: A man in the time of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made an oath to sacrifice a camel in Bawaanah so he came to the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said, ‘I have made an oath to sacrifice a camel at Bawaanah.’ The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) responded asking:

«Were there any idols from the idols of Jaahiliyyah worshipped there?»

They replied, “No.” He asked:

«Were there any festivities held there from among their festivities (a’yaadihim)?».

They replied, “No.” The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

«Fulfill your oath for not to fulfill the oath is disobedience to Allaah and this does not fall in the possession of the children of Aadam (i.e. People have no part of this)», [Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 1134)].

‘Umar Ibn al-Khattaab (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu) stated:

“Do not go among the polytheists (mushrikeen) in their churches on their holidays (a’yaadihim) for the anger of Allaaah descends upon them.” He also said, “Stay away from the enemies of Allaah on their ‘Eed”, [Saheeh: Related by Ibn Abee Shaybah in his Musannaf (1/309). It was authenticated by Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Iqitdaa. (1/344)].

It is related that ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Aas (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhumaa) said:

“Whoever builds in the lands of the foreigners and celebrates their Nayrooz and festivals and imitates them and he dies in that condition, will be raised among them on the Day of Resurrection”, [Da.eef: Related by al-Bayhaqee (9/234), it was declared weak by Ibn Taymiyyah in Iqtidaa. As-Siraat al-Mustaqeem].

Fourthly: Festivities with the disbelievers is forbidden for many other considerations such as: Their (Muslims) imitating or resembling them in some of their holidays necessitates that they feel happiness in their hearts and delight within the breasts for the falsehood they are upon. The imitation and resemblance in outer matters necessitates imitation and resemblance in inner matters such as sharing corrupted beliefs albeit upon an Oriental face and subtle gradualness. Among the greatest corruption also is -and it has already happened – imitation of the disbelievers outwardly leads to internal love and admiration and allegiance. Love and allegiance to them negates eemaan as Allaah stated:

{O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians as your loyal friends and protectors (awliyaa)! They are friends and protectors of one another. Whoever takes them as friends and protectors from among you is one of them and Allaah does not guide the wrongdoers}, [Soorah al-Maa.idah, Aayah 51].

And Allaah said:

{You will not find a people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day loving those who turn away from Allaah and His messenger}, [Soorah al-Mujaadilah, Aayah 22].

Fifthly: Based on the above it is not permissible for the Muslim who believes in Allaah as a Lord and in Islaam as a Religion and in Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as a Prophet and Messenger to hold parties for holidays that have no basis in the religion of Islaam. Among them is the so-called millennium. It is also not permissible to be present at them or to share in them nor congratulate for them in any shape or form because it constitutes and sin and going beyond the limits set by Allaah and Allaah says:

{Do not cooperate in sin and enmity and fear Allaah. Verily Allaah is intense in punishment}, [Soorah al-Maa.idah, Aayah 2].

Sixthly: It is not permissible for the Muslim to cooperate with the disbelievers in any manner in their holidays (a’yaadihim). For example: Advertising and announcing their holidays the likes of which are the mentioned millennium. Nor is inviting to it by any means allowed whether it is through the media or erecting billboards or posters or countdowns or clothing memorabilia or printing cards or notebooks or making discounts and prizes for it or sports activities or spreading any logo or sign especially for it.

Seventhly: It is not permissible for the Muslim to consider the holidays or celebrations of the disbelievers, among them the millennium, and the like as happy occasions or blessed times and therefore make vacations or days off work or hold wedding ceremonies or inaugurate businesses or start projects and the like. It is not permissible to believe that these are special days any more than any day because they are indeed like any other day. To believe otherwise is a corruption that does not change the reality in the least. Indeed to hold such beliefs is a sin among those that we ask Allaah for protection and security from.

Eighthly: It is not permissible for the Muslim to give congratulations for the holidays of the disbelievers because this is a type of acceptance of the falsehood that they are upon and it brings them joy. Ibnul-Qayyim (rahima-hullaah) said that giving congratulations for the particular rites of kufr (disbelief) is haraam (impermissible) by consensus. Such would be congratulation them for their ‘Eeds and fasting saying ‘A blessed holiday to you’ or ‘Congratulation on this holiday’ and so forth. It is haraam even if said by the one who is free from disbelief in himself. It is on the level congratulating him for his prostration to the cross. Indeed it is a greater sin with Allaah and a worse calumny than congratulating him for drinking alcohol (i.e. ‘cheers’ – trans.) or killing someone, or having illicit sex and the like. There are so many who do not full appreciate their Religion who fall into this not knowing the ugliness of what they have fallen into for whoever congratulates the slave for his disobedience or his heresy (bid’ah) or disbelief has in effect exposed himself to the hatred of Allaah and His anger.

Ninthly: It is a distinction and honour for the Muslims to adhere to the Hijree calendar, the calendar marking the migration of their Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) upon which the Companions (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhum) agreed. They did so without any celebration and the Muslims after them inherited it and have followed it for fourteen centuries to this day. For this reason it is not permissible for the Muslim to turn away from the Hijree calendar and taking up other than it among the calendars of the nations of the world such as the Meelaadee (Gregorian) calendar. It is substituting that which is worse for that which is best. Thus we advise all of our Muslim brethren to fear Allaah as He should be feared and to act in obedience to Him and to distance themselves from sinfulness and disobedience as well as to admonish for that and to patience.

Let every sincere believer strive to the utmost to protect himself from the anger of Allaah and His curse in this life and the Hereafter by actualisation of knowledge and eemaan (faith) by taking Allaah as his Guide, Helper, Ruler and Protector. Indeed He is the best Protector and the best Helper. It is sufficient to have your Lord as a guide and helper and to make the supplication of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

«O Allaah! Lord of Jibreel and Meekaa.eel and Israafeel, Fashioner of the heavens and the earth, the Knower of the Unseen and Seen, You are the judge between Your slaves about what they have differed in. Guide me to what has been differed upon to the truth by Your will. Verily You guide whom You will to the Straight Path. All praise is due to Allaah the Lord of all that exists».

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

Abu 'Abdullaah

About Abu 'Abdullaah

- from London, UK. He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004.