Celebrating ‘Eid and Avoiding Party-Poopers
For those of us who live in the West, ‘Eid takes on more than simply a religiously significant holiday but also serves as a time to strengthen our Muslim identities. Moreover, strengthening of our identities, especially for children and youth, is assisted by associating ‘Eid and other Islamic occasions with pleasantness and joy.
There are some, who are rigid literalists, however, who seek to restrict festivities or permissible parties under the banner of labeling such bi’dah (innovation); thus, marking those who engage in such as innovators or heretics. Such misunderstandings and verbal indictments come from the misapplication of the authentic hadeeth that “Every bid’ah is an astray, and every astray is in the fire.” Thus according to the labelers’ rigid interpretations, everything from having mixed gender gatherings on ‘Eid to having singing and dancing becomes bid’ah.
Oh prophet! Why do you make forbidden for yourself that which Allah has made lawful for you? – Al-Qur’an (12:1)
It is a general rule that we as Muslims shouldn’t make matters forbidden unless clearly made unlawful in Al-Qur’an and/or can be clearly authenticated that such and such was forbade by the Prophet (SAAS). Those who are quick to declare matters as forbidden or blameworthy contradict the authentic hadeeth that “Surely this deen is easy.” Moreover, Ash-Shafi’i (RH) stated, “Innovations are of two types: that which contradicts Al-Qu’ran, As-Sunnah, or unanimous agreement of the Muslims is an innovation of deception, while a good innovation does not contradict any of these things.”
So what is wrong with having a family or community gathering where there is music and cultural dancing? And why do these have to be gender segregated gatherings? Do we think that sisters will loose their minds if there is music and men do cultural dancing on ‘Eid?
For those who declare such gatherings as bid’ah, there is, ironically, a number of narrations authentic which state the opposite. One, which was authenticed by Al-Bukhari addresses this issue:
The Mother of the Believers A’ishah said that the Messenger of Allah (SAAS) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath [songs pre-dating revealing of Al-Qur’an]. The Prophet (SAAS) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (SAAS)?” The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) turned his face towards him and said, “Leave them.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out, and they left. It was the day of ‘Eid, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (SAAS) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (SAAS) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, “Carry on! O Bani Arfida,” till I got tired. The Prophet (SAAS) asked me, “Are you satisfied?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.
In other words, the Prophet (SAAS) didn’t attempt to change people’s cultural practices that did not violate the Divine Law, nor did he (SAAS) singing and women being in the company of men for festivities per this hadeeth. Obviously, gatherings with alcohol and drug usage, vulgar poetry and music and lewd dancing are off limits.
Islamic jurisprudence has many different opinions among and within various schools of thoughts. If you have any party-poopers approaching you on ‘Eid about your celebrations being bid’ah, remind them of this then carry on. ‘Eid Mubarak wa kull ‘aam wa antum bikhayr!