Can Muslims Participate in Japan’s Numerous Festivals?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


There are numerous festivals in Japan. Almost every town has its festival during certain seasons. Many of these are purely cultural, but they contain religious elements. Some argue that they are still religious because their religion has influenced their culture.

This becomes complicated because my hometown has a New Year’s Eve festival called the Blessings Parade. It dates back to when my ancestors were pagans, but it is now purely cultural rather than religious. Many argue that even if we don’t believe in the pagan stuff, we can go because the festivals aren’t strictly religious. I’m unsure if we could use the same logic here, so I’m asking.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are well.

It would be allowed to attend these types of varied festivals. Given that the festival is not explicitly religious, it is more of a cultural event with many varying ways of celebrating it. However, one should go with the intention of not celebrating the event or participating in any religious activity it may have in them. But go with the intention of a social outing, shopping, and light entertainment with the family. [Ibn Abidin, Nashr al-‘Arf; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Nahlawi, Durar al-Mubaha]

Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on SeekersGuidance?

I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.