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Visiting Christmas Markets

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about visiting Christmas Markets having promised not to celebrate Christmas.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I study in Europe and I promised by Allah that I will never celebrate Christmas. However will I keep my promise if I visit the Christmas Markets (where candles, food, and alcohol for Christmas is sold) without buying and consuming anything?

Here I never joined my peers to any gatherings therefore now I am always left alone. However I always dreamed of having international friends from all over the world. Last time some people invited me to go with them for simple shops and then later visit a Christmas Market. I really wanted to join them just to make friends. I went there and really did not enjoy the Christmas Market, rather I was happy to be with some international peers. Have I broken my promise?

If not, they again invited me for other Christmas Markets in other regions of Europe. Can I join them just for the reason of making friends? They are also not pure Christians and have no intention to engage me in their religion, they just want to spend a good time.

Thank you for your answer in advance.

If you swore an oath to never celebrate Christmas, you would be bound to this oath and breaking it would require expiation. However, the word “celebrating” is vague. Your oath would, therefore, apply to the type of celebration you intended when making it.

Generally, simply visiting a Christmas market is not considered by people as “celebrating” Christmas. Rather, celebrating Christmas involves partaking in celebratory rituals associated with this holiday, such as erecting a tree with lights or going to church for services etc.

If this is what you had in mind when you swore your oath (and not simply visiting a Christmas market or having dinner with your family on Christmas day), then your oath would be limited to these more formal celebratory aspects of Christmas.

Salman

Can We Celebrate the 4th of July (United States Independence Day)?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Can you celebrate the 4th of July, as well as other national holidays like Canada Day?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

There is nothing intrinsic in the practice that would allow us to deem it impermissible. It is primarily a cultural celebration, not religious, and nor is it distinctively connected to non-Muslims.

Obviously, if an individual celebrates it in a manner that incorporates the impermissible, such as drinking, music, dance, and so forth, then that particular celebration would not be permitted. However, if it incorporates only that which is permissible, such as inviting family and friends over for food and watching firework displays then there is no legal basis to state that it is impermissible.

Rather, one could even be rewarded if he intends through such permissible cultural celebrations the maintaining of family ties, honoring people, and entering happiness into the hearts of those around him. As the principle states, “the permissible with a sound intention becomes worship.”

Salman