by Tabassum Mosleh
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We often debate about whether celebrating birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. is halal or haram. In truth it’s a very complicated issue and needs to be respected as such. But an easier to answer and more practical question is whether we need to celebrate these extra festivities.
One can find many rulings in Islam, both in worship and transactions, where we are urged to do things in groups: salah in congregation, hajj, eating together, helping others— the stronger amongst us helping the weaker, the healthy visiting the sick, the young ones taking care of the elders— these are all either obligatory or highly recommended acts.
The institution of marriage and family is held in very high esteem. All this shows that we have a natural tendency to look for festivities, times when we gather together and enjoy ourselves with friends and family. When we don’t find anything to celebrate, we invent new festivities or borrow from other cultures and religions.
Let’s return to the question– do we need to celebrate these extra festivities? Yes, unless we can find an alternative. Allah has made two days in the year our official festive days – Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. But we often neglect a third, and more frequently occurring, festive day– the Day of Jumu‘ah. Here are some of the reasons why this day is so special:
- The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) called it an Eid: This day is an ‘Eid (festival) which Allah has ordained for the Muslims. Whoever comes to Friday (prayer), let him take a bath and if he has perfume then let him put some on. And upon you (I urge to use) is the tooth stick. (ibn Majah 1098)
If we can really make this day festive like an Eid, then perhaps we won’t even feel the need for any other festive days.
- There’s a whole surah in the Quran dedicated to the topic of Jumu’ah (surah no. 62).
- The Messenger ﷺ called it the best day: The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday. (Muslim 854)
- It’s the day of the birth of the human race: on it Adam was created, on it he was made to enter Paradise, on it he was expelled from it. (ibid.)
- It’s the day on which the sun will rise from the west: And the last hour will take place on no day other than Friday. (ibid.)
- It was the day when the Prophet stood at Arafah giving his last sermon. (Sahih al-Bukhari 45)
Humans are social creatures. We were made that way, so that we can help one another to achieve our ultimate goal of Paradise. Allah ﷻ says (translation): It is We who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. [Quran, 43:32]
If we can learn to accept the gift of Jumu’ah, maybe we’ll stop looking for excuses to celebrate the “extras.”
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