The Barelwis accuse Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi that he regarded consuming the sweets of Diwali as lawful (Fatawa Rashidia, p 575) while he regards the drink and sweet of Fatiha as unlawful (Fatawa Rashidia, p 120). Please, explain whether it is correct.
ANSWER (by Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband):
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Fatwa ID: 196-124/SN=3/1438
(a) The issue mentioned in Fatawa Rashidiyya is related to food etc that is given by non-Muslims as gift on the occasions of Holi and Diwali, Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah have mercy on him) regarded it as lawful. It is obvious that there is no element that makes the food as haraam as it is not ‘offering of idols’ rather it is a simple ‘gift’. Had it been ‘offering of idols (containing cow urine)’ then it must have been haraam and unlawful without any doubt.
(b) It is not written in Fatawa Rashidiyyah that the drink and sweet of Fatiha is unlawful, rather it is written there that “Organizing remembrance of Hazrat Hussain’s martyrdom (may Allah be pleased with him) though with correct narrations, or installing sabil (water) or distributing sharbat (sweet drink), or giving donation for the same, or distributing milk, all these acts are wrong and unlawful due to resemblance with Rawafidh.” If you have any doubt in it, then write to us.
And Allah knows best!
Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband
Question: Whether consuming the sweets gifted by non-Muslims at their festivals like Holi, Diwali and Christmas or accepting their presents is lawful?
Answer: It is lawful for Muslims to consume the sweets and to accept the gifts given by non-Muslims. Ibn Taymiyyah said:
“Regarding the gifts of non-Muslims on their festivals, it is narrated from Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that he was offered gift on Nowruz which he accepted.
It is narrated in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah that Sayeda Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked by some Muslim women that they had some fire-worshipper women who breastfeed their children and they send presents on their festivals. Hazrat Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) replied: avoid the meat of their slaughtering and accept other vegetable items.
All these traditions imply that the gifts and presents of non-Muslims on their festivals can be accepted; since it does not amount to helping in their polytheistic acts, rather it is unlawful to give them presents on their festivals; since it is a kind of helping in their polytheistic beliefs and amounts to its endorsement which is unlawful.”
It means that it is lawful to accept the presents of non-Muslims on their festivals, but Muslims are not allowed to give them presents..!
Then, Ibn Taymiyyah has warned that the animal slaughtered by Ahl al-Kitab (people of the book) is though lawful (not in our present era – Islam Reigns), but the one slaughtered for their festival is not lawful. Yes, things other than meat made of vegetables or fruits etc is lawful whether bought from them or received as gift from them.
It must be noted that it is unlawful to consume the animal slaughtered by the fire-worshippers.
To sum up, it is lawful to accept presents and gifts from non-Muslims, but with some conditions:
1- If the gift is meat (from Ahl al-Kitab), then it must not be slaughtered for their festivals.
2- That gift is not used in any particular ritual of the festival like candles, eggs and tree branches.
3- While accepting the gift, you must explain the belief of wila and bara (love for Islam and distance from infidelity) to your children so that they may not be overwhelmed by the love of the festival and its followers.
4- The objective behind accepting the presents from a non-Muslim should be to invite him to Islam or at least to soften his heart for Islam.
5- If the gift is something that may not be accepted, one should explain the reason to reject, e.g. we are unable to accept the gift since the animal was slaughtered for your festival and it is unlawful for us to consume it, or this gift can be accepted by one who celebrates the festival with you and we do not celebrate this festival as it is unlawful as per our religion, or there are many elements in your religion which are not correct as per our religion. Or they are replied in way that brings them closer to understanding the message of Islam and they are informed of the dangers of the polytheistic approaches.
Conclusion: It is necessary for every Muslim to feel proud of his religion and to become mannered by respecting the religious orders. He must not follow the orders of anyone other than Allah and His Messenger due to ashamedness or hesitation or fear of someone, because Allah deserves more to be ashamed of and to be feared than anyone else.