In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Ever Merciful…
More unprecedented fatwas (religious edicts) are discovered from the unqualified preacher, Yusuf Estes, the self-coined “Funny Sheik”. Aside from justifying the illegal American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as being supported by Quranic passages about jihad [here], claiming that Islam is not a tolerant religion at all [here], expressing concern that the establishment of an Islamic state would mean that most Muslims would get their heads chopped off [here], and other fatwa-follies [listed here], he adds to the list: a deviant justification for Muslims to participate in Thanksgiving.
In a 2010 fatwa found on his “IslamNewsRoom” website, Yusuf Estes says:
1. The day of ‘Thanks’ in the U.S. is usually thought of as a day of being grateful and to give thanks to Almighty God for all we have. It is in this context most Muslims feel confortable in sharing this day of thanks with all their non-Muslim family and friends and even consider it as a chance for ‘dawah’ (inviting to Islam).
2. However, there are others who consider this inappropriate as it does have some religious over tones and it should be avoided to be on the safe side.
3. Still others think of a way to do both at the same time. That is, to avoid eating anything at all, but still be with the non-Muslims and be ready to give some important information about Islam and Muslims.
How? By fasting on the day of Thanksgiving.
As you know, fasting on the days of Monday and Thursday were a custom of our prophet, peace be upon him, and he encouraged us to follow this excellent habit, not only for good health reasons, but to draw closer to Allah by forsaking the pleasures of this world.
What an excellent chance to avoid eating anything that might not be halal (kosher) but yet, still be with your friends and family and even offer a quick lesson in some of the teachings of our wonderful way of life called – Islam (Submission to the Will of God, in peace).
Regardless of which of the opinions you choose to follow, do keep in mind – Muslims can never compromise their beliefs or acts of worship to join along with others for the sake of just ‘getting along’ or thinking it will make people like Islam.
Also, keep in mind it is not proper to put down other Muslms who have chosen a different opinion to follow, provided of course it comes from reliable teachers who base their answers on Quran and sunnah.
Source: “Muslims at Thanksgiving?” – a fatwa given by Yusuf Estes, found on the “IslamNewsRoom” website [screenshot taken today].
Yusuf Estes introduces and justifies the concept of Muslims partaking in Thanksgiving celebrations by stating that it is actually a day of gratitude to Allah, and thus most Muslims feel comfortable with it. After introducing the concept of fasting on Thanksgiving, he concludes with a reminder about how “it is not proper to put down other Muslims who have chosen a different opinion to follow.”
These four erroneous statements need understood in light of correct Islamic teachings:
1. Thanksgiving – A Day of Gratitude [?]
Thanksgiving is a modern Christian religious holiday. The Permanent Council of Scholars in Saudi Arabia, headed by Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, was asked about the observance of Christian religious holidays, and they responded:
It is not permissible to take part with the disbelievers in their holidays and religious celebrations, due to the description Allah has given to the servants of the Most-Merciful [what means]: ( Those who do not witness “zoor”, and if they pass by falsehood, they pass by it with dignity ). [25:72] “Zoor” is explained to be: the celebrations of the disbelievers and witnessing them, attending them, or taking part in them.
Source: The Permanent Council’s second series of Fatwas (1/452-453). [in Arabic here]
Many other clear statements of the scholars about non-Muslim holidays and celebrations have been made widely available in English.
Aside from being a Christian holiday, Thanksgiving is commonly represented by images depicting the peace made between the Native Americans and the European pilgrims who arrived in early America. The bitter reality of true American history stands in stark contrast to the re-written politically correct version promoted by the Americans today. Before European settlers arrived, America had an entire civilization of people living on its land. The Europeans invaded, pillaged, and occupied this land. They fought against its original inhabitants and conquered them, in an attempted mass-genocide of an entire race. They conveniently re-write this gloom reality as a cheerful peace agreement including the sharing of the crops’ harvest in a warm and friendly dinner celebration called “Thanksgiving”. To this day, they still credit Europeans with “discovering” America (a previously occupied land). Sadly, many Americans fail to investigate the real criminal history of their own land. Even more sadly, some Muslims choose to take part in such a vile conspiracy by observing this day alongside the misguided Christians!
Muslims have a complete Religion, rich with daily offerings of honest worship, thanking and praising Allah alone. Muslims have no need to blindly follow the ungrateful and stingy disbelievers who set aside one day a year to give thanks to their god, paired with a conspiracy to re-write their treacherous criminal history.
2. Most Muslims Feel Comfortable in Sharing Thanksgiving [?]
Even if it were true that most Muslims in America or anywhere else feel comfortable celebrating a Christian holiday, that could never be a proof for its legitimacy in Islam.
It is hoped that most Muslims who know their Religion and seek to please their Lord are not involved in the disbelievers’ festivals and holidays in any way whatsoever. Confused and ignorant Muslims who would fall into such clear violation of Islamic teachings, even if they are many, do not constitute a proof, nor could we conclude that their action means that scholars must have differed about it.
What the majority of the people, Muslims or non-Muslims, feel about a topic has no place in a discussion on the rulings of Islam.
وإن تطع أكثر من في الأرض يضلوك عن سبيل الله
( If you were to obey most people on earth they would lead you away from the Path of Allah ) [6:116]
For further study of Allah’s descriptions of how the majority do not believe, understand, reflect, nor give thanks, read the following Quranic verses: 2:243, 7:17,187, 10:60, 11:17, 12:21,38,40,68,103,106, 16:38, 17:89, 25:50, 27:61, 30:6,30, 34:28,36, 40:57,61, 45:26.
3. Fasting on Thanksgiving [?]
Fasting is an act of worship. In general, Muslims may fast any day of the year, other than the two Muslim holidays, ‘Eed al-Fitr and ‘Eed al-Adh-haa. However, to specify an act of worship to be done on a specific day, one that was not specified by Allah and His Messenger (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace), is a bid’ah (a blameworthy innovation) in the Religion of Islam.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) said:
من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد
“Whoever brings something into this affair of ours (Islam) which is not part of it shall have it rejected.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
However, some of the Salaf did actually allow fasting on the non-Muslims’ holidays in order to oppose them and contradict their way. Their logic was that opposing the non-Muslims’ practices is an important practice in Islam, so fasting while they indulge and eat is one way to oppose them openly. This is an issue of scholarly differing. Refer to Iqtidhaa’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (2/71-81) of Ibn Taymiyyah for details.
However, this is quite dissimilar to the line of argument Yusuf Estes is using here. He believes fasting on Thanksgiving is an “excellent chance to avoid eating anything that might not be halal (kosher) but yet, still be with your friends and family” on their religious holiday. He justifies being with them and sharing in the observance of this Christian holiday with them, while not eating to avoid their possibly non-halal food. This is a completely different discussion altogether. The Salaf who would fast on the non-Muslims’ holidays did so to openly oppose them and keep away from them, not to draw near and get cozy with them on their holidays!
4. A Difference of Opinions [?]
Since no legitimate scholarly differing over the impermissibility of observing the disbelievers’ religious holidays has been established, there is no need to observe the manners of understandable differing. Thus, Muslims must view observance of Thanksgiving as an unbefitting disgrace, avoid it, and advise each other likewise. Attempts to justify it are to be censured and rejected.
It is clearly not permissible to observe, witness, or take part in Thanksgiving, or any other holiday or festival of the non-Muslims, as stated by the scholars of Islam. Yusuf Estes is an ignorant layman, having no Islamic training whatsoever that could qualify him to issue fatwas in general. Not one scholar or student of knowledge to date has come forth to vouch for Yusuf Estes, claiming that he is qualified to issue fatwas like this. Not one of even his closest co-stars on Huda TV, Peace TV, or other mediums has stepped up to make such a bold claim. Thus, the following rhetorical question needs asked and contemplated:
Why are there people recording and spreading this stupidity?
This kind of fatwa – allowing observance of Thanksgiving – is the expected natural result of giving ignorant people a platform to speak. The blame for such ridiculous mistakes is shared by Yusuf Estes and all those neglectful and irresponsible people who continue to promote him as a qualified representative of Islamic teachings.
After reviewing some of his deviant statements about the basic Muslim beliefs, Yusuf Estes has been described by the scholars of Islam as “astray, leading others astray”. [click here and here] Muslims who care about Allah’s blessing of guidance must avoid taking their religion from TV stars and personalities like him. Read more about the severe errors of Yusuf Estes in the following informative publication: