Sunday, December 23, 2012

Australia: imam at largest mosque issues fatwa telling Muslims not to wish Merry Christmas or participate in Christmas activities

Other Muslims in Australia dispute the fatwa, but the Qur'an is clear on why Muslims must not take non-Muslims as friends or associates (3-28 and 5-51)

From the Sydney Morning Herald December 23 by Natalie O'Brian

No merriness here: mosque puts fatwa on Christmas

THE Lakemba Mosque has issued a fatwa against Christmas, warning followers it is a ''sin'' to even wish people a Merry Christmas.

The religious ruling, which followed a similar lecture during Friday prayers at Australia's biggest mosque, was posted on its Facebook site on Saturday morning.

The head imam at Lakemba, Sheikh Yahya Safi, had told the congregation during prayers that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas.

Samir Dandan, the president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, which oversees the mosque, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The fatwa, which has sparked widespread community debate and condemnation, warns that the "disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path".

It also says that Christmas Day and associated celebrations are among the "falsehoods that a Muslim should avoid ... and therefore, a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them".

The posting of the fatwa has shocked many Muslim leaders. The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said the foundations of Islam were peace, co-operation, respect and holding others in esteem.

"Anyone who says otherwise is speaking irresponsibly," he said.

He should tell Al-Azhar University, seat of Sunni jurisprudence that they have it all wrong, and see how well that goes over.

"There is difference between showing respect for someone's belief and sharing those beliefs," Dr Ibrahim said.

Dr Ibrahim said the views did not represent the majority of Muslims in Australia. "We are required to have good relations with all people, and to congratulate them on their joyous events is very important."

The fatwa quotes the teacher Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim as saying that congratulating disbelievers for their rituals is forbidden, and if a "Muslim who says this does not become a disbeliever himself, he at least commits a sin as this is the same as congratulating him for his belief in the trinity, which is a greater sin and much more disliked by Almighty Allaah than congratulating him for drinking alcohol or killing a soul or committing fornication or adultery”.

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