Posts Tagged ‘Festival’
Easter – Christian Pagan Festival
Valentine’s Day From an Islamic Perspective
What is the Meaning and Significance of Eid Takbir?
Salam. There is a prayer chanted before Eid Prayer: Allahu Akbar (three times) la ilaha illa-llah, Allahu Akbar (twice) wa lil-lahil-hamd, Allahu Akbaru Kabeeran, wal hamdu lillahi katheeran… Could you please tell me the English translation of the whole prayer and the significance of this prayer? Many thanks.
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Posted January 6, 2013on:
Indian Rationalist Exposed Catholic Church fake Miracle.petition against him :: News
Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, has for decades been a tireless campaigner for science and against superstition. He is widely known for his exposure of the tricks used by self-professed ‘God-Men’ and gurus and has often been on Indian television explaining the everyday science behind supposed miracles.
After one such exposure – he pointed out that “miraculous” water dripping from a statue of Christ at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni in Vile Parle, Mumbai in fact originated from a leaky pipe – Mr Edamaruku was widely condemned by the Catholic authorities in Mumbai, with the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Agnelo Rufino Gracias calling on him to apologise for “hurting” the Catholic community. Formal complaints about Mr Edamaruku were then made to the Mumbai police by three local Catholic groups, the Catholic Secular Forum, the Association of Concerned Catholics and the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum.
He stands accused of “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community”, an offence under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest warrant has been issued but the case is “cognisable” meaning the police can arrest without warrant at any time. He is being harassed daily by the Mumbai authorities who, under pressure from Catholic groups, are insisting that he turn himself in. His petition for “anticipatory bail” was turned down on 3 June 2012 on the bizarre grounds that he would be safer in custody. If he is arrested he will therefore most likely be detained in jail until court proceedings are concluded, which could take several years. Fearing arrest, he dares not stay long at home or work.
India has long suffered sectarian hatred and violence and section 295(a) is designed to prevent speech being used to foment hatred and disorder. It is not designed to enable a powerful religious institution to silence those whose message it finds embarrassing. India’s constitution explicitly protects free speech: article 19(a) guarantees the right to free speech and expression and clause 13(2) forbids the state to pass laws which take away or abridge such rights. It follows that the courts of India are required to interpret the Penal Code so as to protect free speech. Mr Edamaruku would be happy to answer his accusers in court, confident that the Indian justice system will vindicate him. However the threat of peremptory imprisonment for an undefined period is a very serious one.
hmmmm,news …just for info
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To You Be Your Celebrations, And To Me Mine
Alamdu li ‘Llaah. Indeed, all glory and praise is due to Allaah. We glorify and praise Him and we ask Him for help and forgiveness. In Allaah we seek refuge from the evils in ourselves and from our wrong doings. He whom Allaah guides shall not be misguided, and he whom He misguides shall never be guided. I bear witness that there is no [true] god except Allaah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Abd (Devoted servant and worshipper) and Messenger. Verily, the best words are those of Allaah ta’ala; the best guidance is that of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; the worst matters [in creed or worships] are those innovated [by people], for every such innovated matter is a bid’ah (Innovation in the creed or in acts of worship), and every bid’ah is a misguidance which shall reside in the Fire (The foregoing paragraphs are a translation of Khutbat ul-Haajah (the Sermon of Need) with which the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to start his speeches and which he was keen to teach hs companions).
To many people, celebrating Eids (Holidays and other recurring events) is a non-religious matter, and one has the choice to participate in celebrating any Eid, for any nation or religion, as long as that does not involve engaging in araam (prohibited) actions. This view is the basis for what we witness repeatedly of Muslims engaging in various celebrations and in sharing in the holidays of other nations. This article is meant to present, based on the Qur aan and the authentic Sunnah, guidelines for evaluating holidays and other related practices. This should enable one to reach a quick and sound conclusion when faced with such events.
Completeness of the Deen (The religion of Islaam practised as a complete way of life)
By Allaah’s blessing and mercy, Islaam is complete, perfect, and universal in nature. Allaah ta’ala said (what means): This day I have perfected your religion for you, have completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion. [Al-Maa idah (5) 3] It is narrated by Muslim that some mushrikoon (idol worshipers) tried to mock of Islaam by saying, “It seems as if your prophet has taught you everything, even how to defecate!” When Salmaan radiallaahu ‘anhu heard this he responded with the strong dignity of a true believer: “Yes indeed! He prohibited us from turning our faces or backs to the Qiblah (The Direction (of Al-Ka’bah) faced by Muslims in prayer) when defecating or urinating, from using the right hand to cleanse ourselves, from using less than three stones to cleanse ourselves [in the absence of water], and from using animal waste or bones to cleanse with.”
Allaah’s mercy has required that people be informed of all what would save them from the Fire and what would let them into the Gardens of the Hereafter. This was the mission of all prophets, as declared by Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: There was never any prophet before me but that his duty was to reveal to his people what he knew to be best for them, and to warn them of what he knew to be evil for them. [Narrated by Muslim] And this was certainly the mission of the Final Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as he said:Nothing of what would bring you closer to the Jannah (Gardens of Paradise) and further away from the Fire but have been clarified [through me] to you. [Authentic; narrated by Ahmad].
With His encompassing Wisdom, Allaah ta’ala made His Final Revelation, Islaam, a universal message meant for all peoples, at all times, without any distinction: We have not sent you [Muhammad] otherwise than to mankind at large, to be a herald of glad tidings and a warner. [Saba (34) 28] Furthermore, this most important Message is preserved intact through the centuries, as is clearly observed today by any impartial examiner. This is in fulfillment of Allaah’s promise: It is We Ourselves who have sent down the dthikr (the Message), and it is We who shall surely guard it [from corruption]. [Al-Hijr (14) 9] We conclude then that:
1. Islaam contains the complete and perfect guidance for humanity.
2. Islaam did not neglect any information that would be needed by people to reach happiness and to avoid harm, in all matters, whether minute or large.
3. Islaam is the only guidance tailored for all peoples at all times.
4. Islaam has been preserved, and will remain intact through the ages, as the only true guidance capable of helping and saving people.
Completing That Which Had Been Completed?
The completeness of Islaam obviously means that it cannot be completed further. Whether people realize it or not, believing otherwise would imply one or more of the following dangerous conclusions:
1. that Allaah ta’ala was not truthful in declaring this completeness (I seek refuge in Allaah from such a blasphemous thought.)
2. that Allaah ta’ala has forgotten or missed some details needed to complete the Deen (again, I seek refuge in Allaah from such a blasphemous thought.)
3. that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has neglected or forgotten to convey to us some matters needed to complete the Deen (and again, I seek refuge in Allaah from such a blasphemous thought.)
This shows why Islaam warned so strongly against introducing bid’ahs into the Deen. We have cited in the Introduction above the Prophet’s sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words warning of bid’ahs. Imaam Maalik radiallaahu ‘anhu said, Whoever innovates in Islaam what he believes to be a good bid’ah would be [implicitly] claiming that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has betrayed the trust (of delivering the full Message) He then recited the above aayah (A portion of the Qur’aan which is usually about one sentence long) from al-Maaidah.
Distinct Muslim Identity – Is there a Choice?
To some people, the universality of Islaam means that Muslims have the full choice to resemble and behave in coherence with other people in their localities (or in other locations as well). You continue to hear questions like the following: Is it all that important for a Muslim to have a clear distinctive identity? Is it not sufficient to have a strong belief within the heart and to perform Islaam fully but privately? Based on simple Islaamic principles, we can immediately conclude that the answer to the first question is, simply, yes! And the answer to the second question is, simply, no! A true Muslim is always eager to associate with his fellow believers: If anyone contends with the Messenger even after the Guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell: What an evil abode! [An-Nisaa (4:115)]. And a true Muslim is very anxious to be distinctive and different from the non-believers. This attitude follows from the repeated instructions of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Be different from the Jews and the Christians [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim], Be different from the disbelievers [Al- Bukhaaree and Muslim], and: Whoever imitates a people is one of them. [Authentic; narrated by Ahmad] Why is it so important to be distinctive and different from the disbelievers? For the following reasons:
1. We Muslims are blessed with the best guidance. The Guidance from the Lord of lords, from Allaah ta’ala. This gives us true dignity and pride that no one else has a claim to: Honor belongs to Allaah, to the Messenger, and to the Believers.[Al- Munaafiqoon (63) 8]
2. The disbelievers are misguided, and their ways are based on sick or deviant views concerning their societies, the universe, and their very existence. Their actions frequently reflect their deviant opinions. Why then would anyone ever think of imitating them? Yet Muslims sometimes do just that – they imitate them in their most unintelligible acts! The Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: You [Muslims] will [in future times] follow the ways of those [disbelieving] nations who preceded you very closely; even if they enter into the hole of a lizard you would follow them into it. [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
3. There is a substantial amount of evidence in Islaam leading to the important rule: external agreement or similarity results in real similarity and agreement of the hearts. Thus, resembling disbelievers is Satan’s first step in leading Muslims to behave and believe like the kuffaar (Those who reject Islam – disbelievers). Differing from the kuffaar is of different levels or types, some of which are more important than others. They can be broadly classified as follows: Islaam requires us to be different from non-Muslims in matters which are particular to their beliefs or worships, such as: wearing a cross, attending their religious services, wearing monks’ attires, displaying or valuing their idols, etc. Imitating the kuffaar in such matters constitutes a major sin which is most possibly a form of disbelief that leads to permanent abode in the Hell Fire (may Allaah ta’ala save us). Islaam requires us to be different from the kuffaar in matters which are representative of them or are characteristic of their identity, even if the religious aspect were not apparant in such matters. Examples of this type of requirements: growing beards and trimming moustaches, dying white hair, not to totally abandon women in their menses, etc. Matters which can be classified under the above two types should be treated similarly, even if there is no specific text to require such treatment. Examples: wearing the Western hat or wedding bands, carrying pictures of family members, walking dogs, wasting time in watching sports games and soap operas, etc. As for other matters which are done by the kuffaar but are not specific to them, the above texts inform us that we should still try to be distinctive from them as much as possible. What is stated above should not be taken to mean, for instance, that we should not learn the sciences or use technology because the kuffaar are currently its leaders. Islaam requires us to learn and benefit from such forms knowledge, and this does not have to do with the subject of being different from the disbelievers.
Holidays Are Part of the Complete Deen
After the above lengthy discussion which, as stated earlier, is meant to provide general guidelines concerning celebrations and other related matters, we come back to apply what we have learnt so far to the subject at hand.
Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam once saw the Ansaar celebrating a certain day. He inquired about that and was informed: This is one of two days that we used to celebrate in Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance) and we continue to do so. He replied: Nay! Allaah has substituted for you two better days: the day of al-Fitr and the day of al-Adhhaa.[Authentic; narrated by Ahmad, an-Nasaaee, and others]
In addition to these two days, the Jumu’ah (Friday) is an Eid day. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: This is a day which Allaah has designated as an Eid for Muslims.[Authentic] From this and the previous hadeeth, we conclude that Muslims have only three eid days, a weekly eid every Friday, and two annual eids, al-Fitr and al-Adhhaa.
Also, Islaam instructs us as to how to celebrate our Eids. No fasting is allowed on these days (Friday is excepted under certain conditions). On eid days, Muslims take a bath and wear their best clothes. They avoid all forms of sinning which people tend to commit when they are in a state of rejoice. The major part of the celebration is not eating or drinking. Rather, it is a prayer which gathers Muslims together to remember Allaah’s bounties and to chant His glory and greatness. It becomes clear then that Allaah alone has the right:
1. to prescribe eids and to set their dates, and
2. to prescribe the manner of celebrating them.
Imitating Non-Muslims in Celebrations
The evidence from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah is quite clear in that eids are distinctive features for every nation. Allaah ta’ala said (what means): To every people we have appointed [its own] rites and ceremonies. [al-Hajj (22) 34/67] And it was shown in the previous section that eids are purely religious occasions for Muslims.
As discussed earlier, Allaah ta’ala and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have warned us against following or imitating non-Muslims in things which are characteristic of their religions or beliefs. This is more emphasized in the case of their eids or occasions, which always hold some religious or ideological non-Islaamic meanings, and on which the kuffaar indulge in many evil practices. Differing from them on such occasions includes the following:
Staying completely away from the kuffaar’s celebrations. This means to avoid places where they perform their holiday practices and to avoid participating with them in such practices (Christmas and New Year parties, Halloween trick-and-treat nonsense, Thanksgiving celebration and dinner, Fourth of July fireworks, First of April lies, birthday parties, anniversaries, etc).
Avoiding doing, ourselves, things which pertain to the practices of the kuffaar on such occasions (allowing Christmas trees in our homes or offices, inviting our friends to a Turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day, allowing members of our families to purchase or borrow Halloween attires, holding birthday or anniversary parties for our family members, etc). Avoiding to congratulate the kuffaar on their occasions. For, How can we bring ourselves to congratulate or wish people well for their disobedience to Allaah ta’ala? Thus expressions such as: happy Thanksgiving, happy birthday, happy New Year, etc, are completely out. The only possible happiness is in true imaan! Avoiding to celebrate our eids in a way which is meant to copy the ways of the kuffaar (mingling and shaking hands between men and women, improper cover for both genders, etc). Avoiding to initiate certain occasions or eids in imitation to theirs (the Day of the Earth, the Day of Iowa Muslims, etc.)
Bid’ahs and Sinning on Eids
It has been shown above that eids are meant to be purely Islaamic occasions and practices. They are not liable to the innovation or disobedience of people. The warnings concerning bid’ahs (and sinning in general) clearly applies to them. Thus:
Celebrating so called Islaamic occasions other than the three days prescribed by Allaah is a bid’ah which is rejected by Islaam, because it consists of introducing new rites and worships which only Allaah or His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have the right to do. This applies to occasions like the Prophet’s Birthday, the Hijri New Year’s Day , the Middle of Sha’baan and the like.
Introducing certain baseless practices during the three legitimate days is also a bid’ah. On these days, people choose, for instance, to visit graveyards and distribute sweets there, to read specific portions of the Qur aan, to specify the preceding night for extended worship, and to do other things which have no valid evidence. Committing all sorts of innovations and sins in imitation to the kuffaar and the ignorant Muslims is obviously a combination of bid’ahs and other forms of disobedience which are emphasized by that people get involved in them at the time when they are supposed to be performing a purely religious worship.
To preserve our identity and our dignity, and to attain Allaah’s love and acceptance (which means peace and happiness in this life and ultimate prosperity in the Hereafter), let us adhere to what pleases Him as he instructed in His Book or in His Messenger’s Sunnah; and remember: eids and celebrations are no exception to that. We ask Allaah for guidance.
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Pagan Roots? 5 surprising facts about Christmas
When you gather around the Christmas tree or stuff goodies into a stocking, you’re taking part in traditions that stretch back thousands of years — long before Christianity entered the mix.
Pagan, or non-Christian, traditions show up in this beloved winter holiday, a consequence of early church leaders melding Jesus’ nativity celebration with pre-existing midwinter festivals. Since then, Christmas traditions have warped over time, arriving at their current state a little more than a century ago.
Read on for some of the surprising origins of Christmas cheer, and find out why Christmas was once banned in New England.
1. Early Christians had a soft spot for pagans
It’s a mistake to say that our modern Christmas traditions come directly from pre-Christian paganism, said Ronald Hutton, a historian at Bristol University in the United Kingdom. However, he said, you’d be equally wrong to believe that Christmas is a modern phenomenon. As Christians spread their religion into Europe in the first centuries A.D., they ran into people living by a variety of local and regional religious creeds.
Christian missionaries lumped all of these people together under the umbrella term “pagan,” said Philip Shaw, who researches early Germanic languages and Old English at Leicester University in the U.K. The term is related to the Latin word meaning “field,” Shaw told LiveScience. The lingual link makes sense, he said, because early European Christianity was an urban phenomenon, while paganism persisted longer in rustic areas.
Early Christians wanted to convert pagans, Shaw said, but they were also fascinated by their traditions.
“Christians of that period are quite interested in paganism,” he said. “It’s obviously something they think is a bad thing, but it’s also something they think is worth remembering. It’s what their ancestors did.”
Perhaps that’s why pagan traditions remained even as Christianity took hold. The Christmas tree is a 17th-century German invention, University of Bristol’s Hutton told LiveScience, but it clearly derives from the pagan practice of bringing greenery indoors to decorate in midwinter. The modern Santa Claus is a direct descendent of England’s Father Christmas, who was not originally a gift-giver. However, Father Christmas and his other European variations are modern incarnations of old pagan ideas about spirits who traveled the sky in midwinter, Hutton said.
2. We all want that warm Christmas glow
But why this fixation on partying in midwinter, anyway? According to historians, it’s a natural time for a feast. In an agricultural society, the harvest work is done for the year, and there’s nothing left to be done in the fields.
“It’s a time when you have some time to devote to your religious life,” said Shaw. “But also it’s a period when, frankly, everyone needs cheering up.”
The dark days that culminate with the shortest day of the year — the winter solstice — could be lightened with feasts and decorations, Hutton said.
“If you happen to live in a region in which midwinter brings striking darkness and cold and hunger, then the urge to have a celebration at the very heart of it to avoid going mad or falling into deep depression is very, very strong,” he said.
Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Battle for Christmas” (Vintage, 1997), agreed.
“Even now when solstice means not all that much because you can get rid of the darkness with the flick of an electric light switch, even now, it’s a very powerful season,” he told LIveScience.
3. The Church was slow to embrace Christmas
Despite the spread of Christianity, midwinter festivals did not become Christmas for hundreds of years. The Bible gives no reference to when Jesus was born, which wasn’t a problem for early Christians, Nissenbaum said.
“It never occurred to them that they needed to celebrate his birthday,” he said.
With no Biblical directive to do so and no mention in the Gospels of the correct date, it wasn’t until the fourth century that church leaders in Rome embraced the holiday. At this time, Nissenbaum said, many people had turned to a belief the Church found heretical: That Jesus had never existed as a man, but as a sort of spiritual entity.
“If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?” Nissenbaum said.
Midwinter festivals, with their pagan roots, were already widely celebrated, Nissenbaum said. And the date had a pleasing philosophical fit with festivals celebrating the lengthening days after the winter solstice (which fell on Dec. 21 this year). “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,” one Cyprian text read.
4. The Puritans hated the holiday
But if the Catholic Church gradually came to embrace Christmas, the Protestant Reformation gave the holiday a good knock on the chin. In the 16th century, Christmas became a casualty of this church schism, with reformist-minded Protestants considering it little better than paganism, Nissenbaum said. This likely had something to do with the “raucous, rowdy and sometimes bawdy fashion” in which Christmas was celebrated, he added.
In England under Oliver Cromwell, Christmas and other saints’ days were banned, and in New England it was illegal to celebrate Christmas for about 25 years in the 1600s, Nissenbaum said. Forget people saying, “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” he said.
“If you want to look at a real ‘War on Christmas,’ you’ve got to look at the Puritans,” he said. “They banned it!”
5. Gifts are a new (and surprisingly controversial) tradition
While gift-giving may seem inextricably tied to Christmas, it used to be that people looked forward to opening presents on New Year’s Day.
“They were a blessing for people to make them feel good as the year ends,” Hutton said. It wasn’t until the Victorian era of the 1800s that gift-giving shifted to Christmas. According to the Royal Collection, Queen Victoria’s children got Christmas Eve gifts in 1850, including a sword and armor. In 1841, Victoria gave her husband, Prince Albert, a miniature portrait of her as a 7-year-old; in 1859, she gave him a book of poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
All of this gift-giving, along with the secular embrace of Christmas, now has some religious groups steamed, Nissenbaum said. The consumerism of Christmas shopping seems, to some, to contradict the religious goal of celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth. In some ways, Nissenbaum said, excessive spending is the modern equivalent of the revelry and drunkenness that made the Puritans frown.
“There’s always been a push and pull, and it’s taken different forms,” he said. “It might have been alcohol then, and now it’s these glittering toys.”
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