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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sheikh Qardawi on "Happy Christmas"

A friend sent me this excerpt on Whatsapp and I feel it is good to share it on Facebook. Sheikh Qardawi is unquestionably one of the most renowned scholars of the Muslim and among its foremost intellectuals. His view on Happy Christmas is contrary to the opinion of some of his predecessors.
Just in case we forget, let me note here that Sheikh Qardawi has attended the greatest Muslim seminary of our time , the famous Al-Azhar university.
More important to me is the import of his last sentence. Contemporary scholars should not be issuing opinion from ages past because the realities of today is different from the ones in which individual past scholars - may God have mercy on them - lived.
This reminds me of John S. Mill who warned that there will be trouble if there is a disparity between one's belief and reality.
Happy Christmas to all my Christian brothers and sisters, for years and years to come.
Maqasid Shari'a
The Permissibility of Greeting the Christians During
their Festivals.
It is permissible to greet the Christians during their
festivals and celebrations.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Offering Holiday Greetings,
Drops From the Objectives of Shari’ah: al’Allamah
Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Offering Holiday Greetings to
AlQaradawi’s opinion:
Doha: Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (president of the
International Union of Muslim Scholars) considered it
permissible to congratulate Christians and other People
of the Book during their Holidays. He has also
proposed to replace the term “Ahl
Aldhimma” (dhimmis) with “Citizens”.
This occurred in
responses to questions during the past few days
regarding the permissibility of greeting and
congratulating Christians during Christmas (i.e. wishing
them a Merry Christmas).
“I consider it permissible especially if they are your
relatives, neighbors, colleagues and classmates (a
significant relationship exists)”. “It is permissible as
long as they are not hostile towards us”.
Dr. Al-Qaradawi mentioned that considering the current
global context was what led him to differ with the great
Scholar of Islam Ibn Taymiyya, who considered it
impermissible to greet and congratulate Christians and
others during their holidays.
“[I consider greeting and congratulating them during
their holidays] an aspect of “kindness” (birr) that Allah
did not deem impressible, but in fact loves as he loves
us treating them justly; ‘Allah forbids you not, with
regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor
drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and
justly with them: for Allah loves those who are
just.’ [60:8]”. Dr. Al-Qaradawi followed that this should
be the case especially if they greet us during our
holidays, citing the verse “When a (courteous) greeting
is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more
courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes
careful account of all things.” [ 4:86].
Dr. Al-Qaradawi elaborated saying “We need to
consider the Original Intents (maqasid) of the All-Wise
Legislator (Allah), study the details in light of the
bigger picture of Shariah, and take the different texts
into consideration. Didn’t the Quran say “Allah forbids
you not, with regard to those who fight you not for
(your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from
dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves
those who are just.” [60:8]. This is the foundational
statement regarding this issue.
Furthermore, Dr. Al-Qaradawi proposed to replace the
term “Ahl Aldhimma” (dhimmi: a legal term used to
refer to Christians) with “Fellow Citizens”. Supporting
his proposal he said: “Our Jurists have all said: ‘Ahl-
Aldhimma are part and parcel of Dar al-Islam’. this
statement means that they are fellow citizens, so why
don’t we forsake the term that harms them and use
one that doesn’t?”. “Omar ibn Al-Khattab (rAa) did what
was even greater than just forsaking a term. He
foresaked the term “jizya” that was mentioned in the
Quran when the tribe of Bani Taghlib came to him and
said: ‘We are a proud people and cannot tolerate the
term jizya. Take from us what you wish but call it
sadaka (charity).’ Omar hesitated at the beginning but
consulted with his companions who said, ‘they are a
powerful and influential people, if we leave them they
will join with the Romans and will cause greater harm
to us’. Following their opinion, Omar accepted their
“What matters is the subject and the content, not the
jargon and terms. We need to revisit many issues
related to non-Muslims and Women. We need to put
emphasis on the “Fiqh of Facilitation” and the “Fiqh of
Gradualism” so that we could accommodate our
changing context.
Dr. Al-Qaradawi concluded by saying, “Many of our
Scholars live in their books and do not live in their
reality, they have no understanding of their surrounding
reality because they have not read the “Book of Life”,
but only read the books of their predecessors. For that
reason their fatwas appear as if they have just come
out of a grave!”

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