On Christmas Greetings

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Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

What is the ruling on greeting Christians at Christmas?

As Muslims, we honour Sayyiduna Isa (peace be upon him) and his birth and the Prophet himself prayed in the place in which he was born on the night of the Isra and Mi`raj. There is no harm in greeting Christians as long as the greeting does not imply an affirmation of their belief in the Trinity. It is also impermissible to take part in any ceremony in which there is an affirmation of their belief in the Trinity or in which there is a contravention of the Sacred Law.

On Recent Political Events in the US

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Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

How should we react to recent political events in the US?

You should not be concerned whether one president comes or one goes. Your Lord is Allah and your intermediary is His Messenger ﷺ. Everyone is in His dominion. None of the events which take place on the earth should shake our belief in the information we have received from the heavens. The Prophet ﷺ  said: “Be certain that victory comes with perseverance, relief comes after affliction and ease comes after hardship.” You should not be worried and you should not fall short in fulfilling your religious obligations. There is no doubt that Islam will spread to the different corners of the earth.

On Difficulties for Muslim Women in France

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

The situation is very difficult for Muslim women in France. The hijab is banned in schools and in the workplace and attacks on Muslim women are on the increase. There is widespread Islamophobia in the media and in politics. How should we react to these attacks and how should we protect our religion and not allow hatred to enter our hearts?

The real essence of the believers becomes manifest in times of hardship. Women should retain their modesty as far as possible[1] and remain firm, show good character and patiently bear the hardships they are exposed to and the end result will belong to the people of taqwa. Allah mentions in the Qur’an the types of people who have hatred for Islam in every generation: You are those who love them, but they love you not… when they are alone, they bite off the very tips of their fingers in rage… if any good befalls you, it grieves them, and if any evil befalls you, they rejoice at it. Allah did not then say: “You should hate them, treat them harshly, plot against them or be happy if evil afflicts them.” Rather Allah said: If you have patience (sabr) and taqwa then their scheming will not harm you.[2] Our brothers and sisters should embody this Qur’anic character: we should wish goodness and guidance for them in spite of their harming and insulting us. Allah mentioned that the Messengers said to their peoples: We shall patiently bear the harm that you have inflicted upon us, for those who put their trust should put their trust in Allah.[3]

 

[1] Habib Umar mentioned that they may leave the niqab or face covering, since the scholars differ over whether it is compulsory. They may not, however, leave the hijab which covers the hair and they should avoid beautifying themselves and using perfume.

[2] Al `Imran, 3:119-20

[3] Ibrahim, 14:12

On Non Muslim Parents Who Engage in Forbidden Things

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

How do we deal with non-Muslim parents when they engage in things which are forbidden?

You should show mercy to them and wish that Allah guides them and use whatever means are available to enable this. Treat them well at all times but avoid their company when they are doing things which are inappropriate or are disobeying Allah. Give them gifts and assist them in all that is permissible.

Feeding Non-Muslims in Ramadan During the Day

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Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

Is it permissible to feed non-Muslims in Ramadan during the day?

Non-Muslims are not required to fast, so it is permissible to feed them during the day in Ramadan. It is our duty to invite them to Islam. Once they have entered Islam they are required to fast. We should not, however, give them food if they will then eat it in front of Muslims who are fasting. In a country in which the majority of people are Muslim, non-Muslims should not eat and drink openly, for this may encourage Muslims to do the same.

If this is not the case, it is permissible to feed them during the day but it is preferable to do so at night so that they are aware of the sanctity of Ramadan. There is a great reward in feeding non-Muslims and it is a means of calling them to Allah.

It would be a sin to feed a Muslim who is not a traveller and who is able to fast. There is no harm in feeding a traveller or someone who is unable to fast due to illness or old age.

 

On the Best Response to Attacks Upon the Prophet ﷺ

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

What is the best response to attacks upon the Prophet ﷺ like the French cartoons?

The best response is to educate people about the Prophet ﷺ through public talks, conferences and social media. The perpetrators wish to divert the Muslims from doing that which benefits them, so we should ignore them and show the falsehood of the cartoons without mentioning the cartoons and those who drew them. The fact that people pay attention to the cartoons helps them to spread.

We should look at how Allah responded to those who abused the Prophet ﷺ. Rather than directly reporting their words and mentioning their names, Allah asserts the greatness of the Prophet:

You are not, by the favour of your Lord, a madman. You shall have a reward that is unlimited. Yours is indeed a tremendous character.[1]

So I swear by all that you can see and all that you cannot see that it is indeed the word of a Noble Messenger. It is not the word of a poet. Little do you believe. Nor is it the word of a soothsayer. Little do you remember. This is a message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. [2]

This is our response and there is nothing better than the way Allah responds. If we respond to everything which they do in the way they want us to respond then we will lose our way. Many of us act as if we do not have an example to follow. So let us follow the teachings of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and this will be a means of success and victory.

[1] Al-Qalam, 68:2-4

[2] Al-Haqqah, 69:38-43

On Conveying the Message to Non Muslims

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

I live with non-Muslims, some of whom are interested in Islam. What can I do to convey the message of Islam to them?

You should tell them that through uttering the testification of faith mankind is raised by freeing himself from created things. You should tell them about the Messenger of Allah ﷺ: his mercy and compassion, his awesome character and his benefit and service to mankind. The meanings of the testification of faith will thus become ingrained in their minds. Showing them good character, having good dealings with them and giving them gifts will assist in this.

 

Reacting to Anti-Muslim Hostility

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

Acts of terror often result in a backlash against Muslims living in the West. How should they react in these situations?

This is a test for Muslims. If they wish to pass the test, they must respond in the best way. Muslims need to clarify the truth and absolve themselves from acts which contravene the Sacred Law. They should be patient in the face of hostility. As Allah says: When the ignorant address them, say: “Peace.”[1] If Muslims continue to clarify the truth with their words and their deeds, the reality of Islam will become manifest and those who hate Islam and those who are biased against it will not have any ground to stand on. It will become clear that a religion cannot be held responsible for the actions of a few individuals, unless the religion itself condones those actions.

This hostility is nothing strange – it is both human nature and a manifestation of the Devil working with his allies. We should look at the conduct of the Prophet ﷺ and the Companions during the days of hardship in Makkah. They showed patience, steadfastness, excellence in their dealings and avoided provoking their antagonisers and thus displayed the true teachings of Islam. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would respond to bad treatment with good treatment and would pardon and forgive those who wronged him.

[1] Al-Furqan, 25:63

On Dealing with a Sibling who has Left the Fold of Islam

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

What is the best way to deal with a sibling who has left the fold of Islam? What sort of relations should I keep with her?

You should pity her and show compassion to her. You should not condone what she has done but you should not cut ties with her. You should anticipate the moment in which Allah gazes upon her and returns her to the true faith. How you deal with her depends on her personality. If turning away from her would have a positive effect then do this. If not, you should treat her with gentleness from a distance until the turmoil that is in her heart has subsided to some degree. When this has occurred, she will be ready to return to Islam, Allah willing. You should pray for her abundantly.

On Burying Muslims in Existing Cemetery

Answered by Sayyidi al-Ḥabīb `Umar bin Hafīẓ (may Allāh preserve him and benefit us by him).

In our town the Muslims do not have their own cemetery. However, the government has offered to dedicate a part of the existing cemetery purely to the Muslim dead. Are they allowed to agree to this or must they establish a separate cemetery?

It is obligatory for the Muslims to bury their dead in that place until they find a place purely dedicated to them.