The Islamic Ruling on Acknowledging, Celebrating, or wishing someone happy birthday, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

I never been too big on birthday in that I didn’t go all out. However, being away from most of my family, and getting birthday wishes from my children, grandchildren and my beloved sister especially, and going out to differ with my two small children, was a special treat.  Being born is a necessity of human existence. If you were not born, you would not exist. Except for Adam (AS), every single human being who ever walked the earth had a day of their birth, and every one of them was born upon fitra, based on the hadith of the Prophet (SAWS), “each child is born in a state of fitra” [Bukhaari].

Birthdays are milestones of life; it tells you when you’ve reached a certain age. Acknowledging a birthday is a fundamental chronological function of a human being as well as a necessary function of fiqh. It was reported in the hadith of Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) that he said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and spank them for it at the age of ten (if they do not pray).” [Al-Albaani: Sahih] Without recognizing the day of the child’s 7th birthday, you would not be able to engage the command of the Prophet (SAWS) in it’s appropriate time. If a child turned 7 but the parents didn’t know it, then the parent would be negligent in their duty to Allah for failing to institute a command of the Prophet (SAWS) in its proper time. If they were left to guess and command the child to pray when they had not yet turned 7, then they would be instilling a Sunna, outside of its contextual time. or if they spank them for not praying when they turned 10, they would be spanking them for no reason which is transgression, and unlawful punishment (thulm). If they guessed and he or she had already turned 7, then they would be delaying a command of the Prophet (SAWS) until past its time which is also an infraction of deen. For example, In Islam, calling the iqama is done before the prayer, that’s like calling the iqama a until after the prayer.   

From a child’s perspective, knowing their birthday helps then know when the principle obligation of faith (the salat) become due upon them. As far as birthdays, when I turned 7 years old, that’s when I was given my first prayer rug. It was then that I knew that prayer was something that I must do. On a personal note, I knew that the salat was part of my religion before then. However, at 7 and with the receipt of my first prayer rug, given to me my Beloved sister and Fareedah (friend of my parents) which I kept for about 25 years until it was lost. Sister Fareedah is in her eighties now and lives in New Jersey, she still speaks of that first prayer rug she gave me, it is part of the bond of Islam between us that is kept until this very day.

From an adult perspective, it is mash’roo (part of shariah law) that a person repents, re-affirms their Islam and thanks Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala at the age of forty years old. “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” 46:15 al-Ah’qaaf. T

This du’aa (supplication), the du’aa of ar’ba’een is part of the religion of Islam and it is required to know the time of your fortieth birthday in order to fulfill birthday action. The above three examples (and there are many more), sow conclusively that at least acknowledging one’s birthday and celebrating it by establishing prayer, making du’aa, repenting and showing thanks to Allah and to one’s parents are all a part of Islam.

Distinguishing Birthdays between aada (Cultural practice) and ibaada (worship).

In the United States of America, as in most of the world, acknowledging or celebrating a birthday is not intended or considered an act of worship. People do not worship people on their birthday except perhaps in the case of Christmas, on which case, people who worship Jesus (AS), worship him every day of the year. Thus, we must take the worship aspect out of the equation, at least for Muslims living in the united states. Secondly, we already stablished the legitimacy, even the necessity of recognizing the day that you were born if for nothing else that it is tied to initiating things that we are required to do by Islamic law, namely the salat.

Ruling: The permissibility of celebrating one’s or someone else’s birthday

We’ve Already established that acknowledging birthdays is a necessary part practicing our laws and our religious milestones. Now let’s look at the fact that birthdays are not considered a religious tradition in the United States of America, but instead a cultural practice. No sensible person, or Muslim in the United States of America considers acknowledging, or celebrating one’s birthday as an act of worship , that brings them closer to outlook although, we will show and this ruling that there are practices that one may do on his or her birthday that may bring them closer to outlook search as being grateful for another year of life


It is permissible in the religion of Islam to acknowledge someone’s birthday by way of greeting, prayer for them, celebration, wishing joy and happiness, gratefulness, gatherings, expressions of love, expressions of remembrance, giving gifts, eating cake and ice cream, going to dinner, taking a day off from work, congratulations, or any other activity that in of itself is deemed permissible according to the laws of Islam. It is prohibited o celebrate or acknowledging one’s birthday by participating in prohibited acts, just like those acts are prohibited during the rest of the year.

It is not permissible in Islam to prohibit any of the above allowable actions because of a particular day, except with proof. Doing so would be making prohibited what Allah has left allowable. This is particularly true if the birthday serves as a means to become closer to whom Islam warrants closeness, to give allowable gifts, visit with family, strnfgthen the onds of family or brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, to make amends, to intiate contact where contact has been cut off, r as a reason to thank Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala.

Nor is it permissible to haram or prohibit someone’s birthday, even the birthday of a tyrant or an unbeliever for all the days and all the nights are decreed by Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala and owned by him.  You can deems prohibited the prohibited actions that you or someone else does on any given day accrding toor laws, but prohibiting a day because someone was born it? No. Such is of the practices of modern-day jaahiliyyah (ignorance). Your prohibiting or even cursing that day does nt negate it from beig the day of their birth and he day of oher people’s birth as well.  

The Prophet (SAWS) said that, “verily deeds are (reckoned) by intentions”.  The word and concept of celebration to Americans differ from person to person. People, not just Muslims but human beings celebrate millions of things throughout the course of life, that is inevitable. A birth of a human being who are all born upon fitra, alone is worthy of acknowledgement and celebration by people who and care about them.

Note: My du’aa from February 11th (my birthday)

Al-humdu lillaah praise to Allah for granting permission that I be born on this day, and to be granted two believing parents, who loved me, who fed me, sacrificed for me, clothed me, housed me, comforted me when I was sick, encouraged me to be righteous, advised me, protected me, taught me the way of the Lord, and raised me upon the noble religion of Islam, so that I could raise my children upon the same, and they, their children, and they, their children, if it be your will.

Yaa Rabb, I cannot count Your blessings or Your grace which you have bestowed upon me, but I ask that You grant us permission to continue to strive in Your path for the days we have left in this world, and that You count me, my parents who raised me, and my offspring, as amongst Your believing and grateful servants. Ameen.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Black History Month Special: Black American Sunni Muslims and Their Leaders, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Black American Sunni Muslims and converts to Islam are arguably the most leaderless Muslim demographic on the the planet. Can we blame that on the Muslim leaders themselves? Is anyone to blame? What contributes to the absence of leadership? Do the few leaders we have get the support of the people? Do they deserve it? All these questions cannot be answered in one article. However, it behooves us to at least unpack the conversation. One thing for sure, being leaderless is not a good disposition for believing Muslims in America. It is said that it is better for people to endure 100 years under a tyrannical ruler then to endure one night without a leader.

Although Muslim leaders and teachers (of any race) are obligated to call to and teach the truth, an imam or Muslim leader is no more obligated to be righteous or to follow scripture than the average Muslim. It cannot be left up to a leader or an Imam to get people to trust them. True, his style, knowledge, demeanor and other factors may play a part, however, there were people who didn’t trust prophets or who didn’t trust the Prophet himself (SAWS).
There is an arrogance amongst our people that convinces us that we cannot go or be astray and many of our people are astray in many key areas of the religion, and think that we are somehow immune to falsehood. Some of us (a minority I reckon) feel that our being Black, or converts makes us true and righteous.
As far as leadership, any Muslim leader that calls to what we know to be right by Kitaab and the Sunna, it would seem to any reasonable believing person that you would follow or support him in what is correct. Just about any hadith about leaders and leadership would easily suggest that; Patience with your leaders, obeying those in authority, obey only in what is obedience to Allah, if you differ in a matter return it Allah and His Messenger (SAWS), the best leaders are those who you love them and they love you, hadith about the end times when people would take ignorant leaders who lead them astray, and they themselves (leaders ) are astray, the virtue of just leaders, dying without bay’at being the death of jaahiliyyah , are all concepts supported by Quran and authentic hadith of the Prophet (SAWS). I didn’t mention the verses and hadith here because it would be too long.
The issues Black Muslims have with leadership has more to do than our general state than it has to do with any leader. We routinely attack our leaders, even the best of them. We do this knowing that any of our leaders who is truthful, forward, or effective will be subject to opposition, persecution, and attack. We know that by our own history. The average Black Muslim family that has cable, spends roughly 100 bucks a month. When was the last time you heard a Muslim attack a cable company for bad service? Or they’ll complain but still subscribe. .People have abandoned the jamaa’at or their community for the most minor of infractions, only to see themselves and their families go back into jaahiliyya. I’ve seen it myself, hundreds of times.
Leadership, just like following, having a Muslim leader, and everything else, comes down to believing in Allah, Hs word, and following His Prophet (SAWS), and his sunnah. On the day of rising, a leader will not be held accountable for his people, and people will not be held accountable for their leaders. That is proven by Quran and the Sunna. The Prophet (SAWS) will see some of his followers approaching the houdh of Kauthar, and will call out to them, my ummah, my ummah! And it will be said, “but you don’t know what they did after you”, and they will be shoed away. Eesa ibn Maryam will be asked about his followers, but not held accountable for them. The followers of Sayyina Musa (Moses) AS, worshipped a calf in his absence, but he was not held accountable for them. Did that make them bad leaders? Bad teachers? Musa was a chosen by Allah. Yet, his people abused him. The Prophet was the Beloved of Allah, yet, people apostate after his death, and innovated in religion.
Both, Muslim leaders and people who follow them are accountable to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala. A leader has his duty, and people (who are not leaders), or followers have their duty. That is the point. And Allah knows best. – Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad.

Random thoughts on Black Muslims and Black America

Yes, Black Muslims are part of the Black community, and we share their struggle. So it would seem we have reason to work together for the betterment of all. However, In my lifetime, the only thing I have seen us do with the Black community, other than engage with them in wrong doing, and as family, is march, participate in sports and cheer the same teams, occupy the same jails, go to the same schools, sit in the same court rooms, pay the same child support, live in the same neighborhood plantations, and share the same tastes in music.
Many non-Muslim Blacks have no trust in our faith (Islam) anymore because they see how it has turned us to a colony with multiple spheres of foreign influence, and they see that we don’t even trust each other anymore. They are still building black churches from the ground up and have governance in their religious organizations and they see that we can’t even come together to build our own institutions. Let alone establish any sort of governance. Notwithstanding we’re at zero growth and still debating every point.
We ourselves don’t even know who’s in charge of us. Lol. However, Blacks, especially active Christians might still welcome us to join them, in Jesus’s name. We talk about sitting with shaykhs in Africa, Black churches are building orphanages in Africa. I’m not sure we even have the guts or the will anymore to do anything but talk about what we need to do. 50 years and counting. I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong, I wish someone proves me wrong. But I don’t think so.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad


Little is known by Muslims about the millions of East African slaves bought to India between the 10th and the 18th century who lived in and helped build and maintain Muslim dynasties in what we know to be modern day India and Pakistan. Many of them converted to Islam and their descendants still live in many parts of Indian subcontinent today. One of the most famous of them was Malik Anbar. (he was the one baaaadest Muslim converts who ever stepped foot on Indian soil.) He was born in 1549 or 1550 in Harar Abyssinia. His parents named him Shambu but because of poverty, they like many other parents during those times, sold him into slavery in the Red Sea port of Mocha, which is in modern day Yemen. Later he was transported to the Baghdad slave market where he was purchased by Mir Qasim al-Baghdadi who treated him like a son, taught him Arabic, finance, and public administration, and eventually sent him to the Deccan Sultanate of India to serve as the slave of Chingiz Khan or Malik Dabir. Chengiz Khan just happened to the Regent Minister of the Sultan of Nizam Shahi Dynasty which was part of the Ahmadnagar Sultnate. Chingiz Khan also happened to be a black Ethiopian who had converted to Islam. He treated Anbar, who had converted to Islam by then, like his own son, even though he was his slave.

Ambar served as a slave with distinction under Chingiz Khan for 20 years. During this period, Ambar took on various duties in the Nizam’s court where he witnessed and learned military strategy, political organization, and diplomacy; essential training that would serve him later as a free man. When Chingiz Khan died in 1594, Malik Anbar’s days as a slave were over. Being no longer a slave, he left the employ of the Sultan to seek his own path. He ended up gathering a mercenary army that consisted at first of about 150 Arab immigrants, but grew to an army of thousands who were ferociously loyal of him. His command of such a large force of mercenaries earned him the title of Malik (king) Anbar.

The greatest regional power at the time was the Mughal empire. By the year 1600 Malik Anbar was a major figure in the resistance movement against Moghul expansion of their empire into the Deccan (in modern day Pakistan). His mastery in guerilla warfare techniques prevented the Mughals from capturing the southern half of India, he repeated fought back their invasion and the empire’s rulers called him the “rebel of black fortune.” By 1620, Malik Anbar commanded an army of 50,000 soldier mercenaries. About 10,000 of them were black ‘habashis’ Ethiopians. He was considered a political and military genius who effectively took control of the Sultanate of his time. He lived to be 80 years old and is hailed as a hero across the Deccan. Till this day Malik Anbar remains one of the best-known African Muslims on the Indian subcontinent.He died on the 18th of Sha’baan in the year 1035 of the Hijra. His tomb still stands in the city of Khuldabad in modern day Pakistan.

The Gujarat coastline is also home to significant numbers of Siddi, otherwise known as Zanji or Habshi, descendants of Africans. Some are Royal Habashis who are descendants of ex-slaves from Africa who intermarried with Indian aristocracy. Hundreds of years ago such Africans living in communities on the west coast of India were called Sidis, (higher class) and those living in the interior were called Habshi. Today, the terms refer generally to Indians of African descent and are used interchangeably.

Note: The bulk of the Muslim world had huge numbers of slaves from mainly east Africa who helped build cities, work the land, served in armies and governments, and took care of households. From Yemen, to Oman, to India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and other places, there are black Muslims today who, similar to African Americans are descendants of slaves and who are at the bottom of their societies. I know that this is part of Muslim history that we are encouraged to forget about but believe it or not, these histories have a great impact on our current situation as Muslims living in the United States. And that’s how it happened folks. Our history has lessons for all of us.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Killing The Imam, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

The only time in my life I was ever attacked without warning or was sucker punched, was on November 9th 2018, by a Muslim, outside the masjid, right after salaatul Jum’ah, while I wasn’t looking. In fact, I was shaking someone else’s hand (the khateeb), when it happened. I had three broken bones in my face. It took me a full year to realize the effect it has had on me. Since then, I’ve come to know another Imam who was shot several times by a Muslim without warning, and nearly died and I’ve talked to another Imam who was attacked at a masjid. You don’t realize the effect these things have on you until later.

I’m still sifting through it. I’ve also known three scholars of Islam who were killed by Muslims right here in the United States.
There is nothing new about Imams, scholars, or Muslim leaders being attacked or killed by other Musims. I remember when Dr. Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti was killed in Syria in 2013. By a damn suicide bomber no less, who blew up the Masjid. I never met him but I benefitted from His knowledge. He was amongst the top echelon of Islamic scholars, and they killed him, thinking they going to jannah. Senseless.

We have a lot of weirdos in the Ummah. A person will know you twenty years and you say one thing, and they’re online calling you a possible unbeliever, you blood is borderline halal. I know brothers who I taught aqeeda from alif, baa, taa and they turn around six months later and tell me my aqeeda is shirked (my word). This is one reason why I have zero tolerance for ignorant extremism and cut and paste takfeeris (also my word). And being attacked makes you less trusting, especially of novices who have no respect for Islamic scholarship.

Imams endure more than a lot of people would ever realize. I have no complaints, this is the work that chose me and I (very reluctantly) after many years, accepted. But when I occasionally snap on a mo fo, try not to get all self-righteous on me, you may not know the whole story.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad Support @ Cash app to $abulaith1, or through Messenger. Still gotta eat.

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Muslim Women Following Funeral Processions, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen, wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolilllah, wa alaa aalihi wa sah’bihi wa sallam

Some time ago there was a death in the Sacramento area when I lived there and after the janaazah prayer, the women were told to stay away from following the funeral procession to the burial site. Among those present were the wife and female children of the deceased. The announcement was disheartening to them, and to others who then asked me what my opinion on the matter was. Al-humdu lillah we were able to redress the issue and allowed them to accompany us to the grave yard to offer their du’aa and to pay their last respects to their husband and father, and they did so without any wailing, any misconduct and without losing control of themselves in any way. However, I became aware that this is a prevalent understanding of many Muslims in the United States that women are not allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the grave site under any circumstances. Thus, we release the following statement in order to clarify the question. Wal Allahul Musta’aan wa bihi tawfiq.

Women following the funeral procession and going to the grave site

This issue is both a matter of urf (local custom) and fiqh (Islamic law). The part of it that deals with urf , is; what is the local custom amongst Muslims in America is with regard to women’s role and behavior at funerals, and whether or not that behavior is permissible based upon the Quran, the sunna and the analysis of our scholars.  The other part of the matter is the definitive understanding of this issue by our Prophet (SAWS), his companions, the Salaf of our ummah and the people of knowledge. Wa Allahul Musta’aan, wa bihi tawfiq.

The objective of understanding the religion and the proper practice thereof is not served when we apply a ruling to a condition that does not exist. When people say: women following the funeral procession, and going to the grave site, what is meant here in the United States and elsewhere is when after the janaazah prayer is over, they follow the burial procession to the grave site, and stand and be witnesses to the body of the deceased being lowered into the ground and put to rest while they make du’aa, and stand quietly, and allow the men to do the actual lowering and speaking if any. This is the practice as it occurs here in the United States and therefore this is what the ruling needs to apply to.

The reason women were prohibited from the graves

The prohibition and disliked nature of women attending the gravesites is not simply a matter of a female presence at the grave; it is a matter of unlawful and unislamic behavior, some of which would harm the deceased and add to their punishment, as mentioned in the hadith; “Indeed the deceased will be tortured for those who wail over him.”[1] This understanding is also taken from the hadith; “There are four things from the affair of the days of ignorance that my nation will not abandon; boasting about one’s status, criticizing people’s lineage, seeking rain from the stars, and wailing over the dead. And if the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Judgment wearing a garment of tar and a mangy coat of armor.”[2]  In the days of jaahiliyyah (ignorance), before the guidance of Islam, the women during that time used to tear their clothes and beat their cheeks and make unlawful utterances upon the death of someone, and the Prophet (SAWS) used to disavow such behavior; “They are not from us; those who beat their cheeks, tear open their garments, and call out with cries from the days of ignorance.”,[3]

Understanding of the scholars regarding this prohibition

The textual prohibition of women going to the graves is found in the hadith of Umm Atiyyah; :”We have been forbidden to accompany funeral processions but it wasn’t strict upon us[4] In explaining this hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani says: “The phrase ‘but it wasn’t strict upon us’ [wa lam yu’zam alainaa] means; he didn’t make it a firm prevention for us like he made other things that were prohibited. So it’s as if she [Umm Atiyyah] said; he disliked for us to follow the funeral procession without making it prohibited”.[5] In this respect, Imam al-Qurtubi said: “the apparent wording of Umm Atiyyah indicates that the nahiy [prohibition] here is nahiy tanzeeh[6][prohibitively disliked]. The hadith is also a daleel (proof) that there are degrees in prohibition and that not all statements of prohibition from the Prophet (SAWS) have the same meaning. Imam al-Qurtubi goes on to state: This is the position of the majority of people of knowledge, and Imam Malik leans towards it being permissible outright, which was the position of the people of Medina.

The permissibility of women attending the gravesite is further supported by what was related by Ibn Abi Shayba in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Messenger of Allah was at a funeral and Umar saw a woman (following the funeral procession). He yelled at her, but the Prophet (SAWS) said to him: “Leave her alone, `Umar! Verily her eyes shed tears, the soul feels the pangs, and the promised hour is near.”[7] According to Abu Hasan ad-Dawudi[8] the meaning of the Prophet’s statement “and it wasn’t strict upon us” is so that we do not go to the family of the dead, console them, and invoke blessing upon their deceased and then not follow the funeral procession. The majority if not all of the hadith regarding the prohibition of women attending funeral processions, except for the hadith I mentioned from Sahih al-Bukhaari, are weak. However what it prohibited, is unlawful behavior such as wailing, tearing the clothing, jumping into caskets, cursing Allah’s decree, beating one’s self, and like behavior.

The Islamic ruling regarding women attending the funeral procession and visiting the graves

Following the body of the deceased to the grave yard is a right of the dead upon the living according to the hadith: “the right of a Muslim over a Muslim are six” and at the end of the hadith is the phrase; “and when he dies, follow him”. This is the agreed upon position of Ahlus sunna past and present. The ruling of whether or not women should be allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the gravesite is predicated upon whether or not unislamic behavior will occur as a result of their grieving. What constitutes normal behavior occurring during funerals varies from country to country and sometimes even from region to region. Because of the tumultuous conditions in many parts of the Muslim world, many deaths of Muslims are a result of bombings, terror, war, retaliation and factionalism. These are all circumstances where emotions may run high and wailing is more likely to occur. Additionally, many funerals accompany protest which is another reason for high emotions.

In the United States, at this juncture in our history, most deaths of Muslims are due to illness, old age, accidents, and natural causes. In cases where death is from homicide, it is usually one or two persons. Amongst American Muslims, there has never been an accepted tradition of wailing over the dead, tearing clothing, jumping into the casket, cursing Allah, or questioning His decree with regards to someone’s soul being taken. Some of these practices did exist in jaahiliyyah before people entered into Islam, and some of it still exists amongst non-Muslims. However, this type of behavior amongst Muslim Americans was addressed and stamped out early on, and the Islamic prohibition on these things has been pretty well known across the board by the general Muslim population here in the United States.

Furthermore, we do not have a history of paid mourners, wailing parties, and mass hysteria during funerals amongst the Muslim women folk here in our country.  Although it has happened on occasion that one or two persons would get out of hand, this is has been usually corrected immediately by others who are present. I have been present at scores of funerals and have seen the women present at scores of burials and have never witnessed or even heard of women wailing, yelling, cursing, tearing their clothes, or beating their cheeks at funerals.

Similar moral progress occurred during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) with regards to visiting the grave sites. In the beginning of the Prophetic era, there was a need to prevent the women from the gravesites because of their recent habit to jaahiliyyah practices, and later as people gained greater understanding, the prohibition was rescinded. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves, now (I say) visit them for verily it will remind you of death[9]. In another tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) saw a woman crying at a grave so he told her: ‘Fear Allah and be patient.[10] It is duly noted in this hadith that the Prophet (SAWS) did not forbid her from staying at the grave. The Mother of the Believers, Aisha (RA) continued to visit the graves after the death of the Prophet (SAWS), as mentioned in the hadith of Abdullah Ibn Abi Mulaykah, who said: `Aisha came one day from the graveyard, so I said: “O Mother of Believers, from where have you come?” She said: “From the grave of `Abdul-Rahmaan Ibn Abi Bakr.” I said: “Did not the Prophet (SAWS) forbid visiting the graves?”She said: “Yes, then he commanded us to visit them.”[11]

Therefore, based upon the fact that Muslims in America, as a rule do not engage in the practices of wailing, tearing clothing, beating the cheeks, and hollering out bad statements at funerals, and the evidence from the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and the view of the scholars we have mentioned, it is not haram for Muslim women to accompany the funeral procession to the grave sites as long as they are able to control themselves from the unlawful types of behavior that we have mentioned in the hadith. If there is a probability that attendance at the burial will stir emotions to a degree where unlawful behavior will likely occur, and If the standards of adab and decorum cannot be maintained when following the funeral procession to the gravesite, then it is prohibitively disliked. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, an associate Imam, khateeb, at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF). He is also and the author of the book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at, and can be reached at

[1] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[2] Collected by Muslim.

[3] Collected by Muslim.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Fat’hul Bari, vol. 3, p. 489.

[6] The difference between nahiy tah’reem [prohibitively unlawful] and nahiy tanzih [prohibitively disliked] is that the former makes something haram and therefore a sin while the latter makes it disliked but not sinful in and of itself.

[7] Collected by Ibn Majah and an-Nisaa’ee.

[8] Abu Hassan Abdurrahman ibn Muzaffar ad-Dawudi (d. 467).

[9] Collected by Abu Dawood in the Sunan and by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad, this hadith is also in Sahih Muslim but with a slightly different wording

[10] Collected by Bukhaari.

[11] Collected in the Mustrad’rak of al-Haakim, and in the Sunan of al-Baihaqi

The Permissibility of Visiting with your non-Muslim relatives on Christmas Day by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and fataawa (religious rulings), are specialized topics in Islam. One thing about them both is when you render a ruling in each of the two disciplines, you must give your premise or thesis it’s proper intellectual due process according to the foundation of the discipline. The same goes for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. All three disciplines of the sharia mentioned above, are themselves bound by the sharia. In other words, in Islam, the eventualities of law, are bound by the law. The foundation of all actions, (other than acts of worship) is that the basis of an action is permissibility; (al-asl fee ash’yaa’i al-ibaaha) That is the way that legitimate sharia rulings and application work.

Keeping family ties is one of the foundational commands of Islam. It is part of what Allah and His Messenger (SAWS) called to ever since the beginning of the prophethood. “Allah the Most High said: “And serve Allah and do not associate any thing with Him, and be good to the parents and to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy and the neighbour of (your) kin and the alien neighbour, and the companion on a journey and the way-farer and to those whom your right hands possess; surely Allah does not love him who is proud, boastful.” There is nothing in the Quran or the Sunna that even indicates that this command is abrogated on a particular day, or a particular holiday, or on a particular occasion. It is not the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) to separate yourself from your non-Muslim family when you become Muslim if they are not fighting you in your religion and not kicking you out of your homes. That is the sunna of the ignorant. Those who call to or promote such behavior are calling to other than Islam. “Allah forbids you not from being kind and just to those who do not fight you in religion, and do not kick you out of your homes, for verily Allah loves the just” 60:8 al-Mumtahina

The basis of the ruling of permissibility

Christmas Day is a man made holiday. Religious to some, secular to others. However, in each case, the rendering of December 25th as a United States national holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus the son of Mary (AS), who Muslims regard as a prophet, and who some Christians regard as the son of God is not sufficient to invalidate any of the commands, exhortations, and instructions of Allah Be He Exalted and Glorified. Nor is it sufficient to render prohibited, what Allah has made allowable. Men and women, who are the creations of Allah, cannot invalidate the words and commands of Allah, who is their Creator. Thus, visiting one’s family, an action allowed and encourage by the Lord, Allah, Who has no partners, is just as allowable for a Muslim on Christmas day, as it is the day before Christmas, or the day after. Otherwise, we would be taking Christmas day, as a day in which spending time with, eating with, or visiting our Christian family members, as a day in which these acts become prohibited, and we have no authority from Allah, to do that. That itself, would be making Christmas day a partner with Allah (shirk). We would be in such case, allowing a man-made holiday, render prohibited, what Allah has allowed, which would be clearly associating partners with the Lord. Ignorance, and putting our whims above what Allah has revealed, has it’s consequences. I’d like you to take a moment and let this sink in. Furthermore, an individual Muslim is not held accountable for what another person believes or does according to our scriptures. “And the bearer of a sin, does not bear the burden of another“.

But isn’t Christmas Day a shirk holiday?

There is no such thing as a shirk holiday. There are actions that can be regarded as shirk, there are beliefs that can be regarded as shirk, and there are days that to some, celebrate beliefs regarded as shirk. American Muslims cannot control people’s holidays, beliefs or their times of joy, sadness or celebration. You can only control what you believe, what you do and who you worship on any given day. Allah does not curse any of His days. There is not a single day that Allah has cursed in His Kitaab. All of the days belong to Him and days are a part of time and the Prophet (SAWS) prohibited us from cursing time. It was narrated in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “Do not curse the time, because Allah is time (dahr)” – Muslim. He also said (SAWS) Allah said; “Ibn Adam troubles me, he curses the time, and I am the time, I flip night and day” – Bukhaari. That’s why there are no shirk days. Shirk does not have a day. On every day that there will ever be, until the last day, it shall remain that there is no God except Allah. Which is further proof, that you cannot haram a people’s holiday. You can only render haram, what people do on any particular day, and you can only do it with authority and with proof. Otherwise, you can easily end up forging a lie against Allah, which is considered a sin. “Do not utter the lies your tongues make up: “This is lawful, and this is forbidden,” in order to impute lies to God; for they who impute lies to God will not find fulfilment“. 16:116

Wouldn’t visiting them on Christmas day be shirk by association?

If you visit your family on Christmas Day and even if they are in prostration before a statue of Jesus (AS), that does not make you a mushrik, or supporting shirk. It just makes you a visitor in their home. Just as it would if you visited the day before, or the day after. It might even be the home where you yourself lives. If you show kindness to them on that day, it doesn’t mean you are supporting shirk, it just means that you are supporting kindness. Every soul will be held accountable for it’s own deeds. That is scripture. Don’t let Christmas or Christmas day prevent you from showing the kindness and connection with your family that you have been showing to them all of the other days of the year. To do so, is shirk itself by singling out a particular day to boycott your family, whereas Allah has commanded that you be connected to them. Ignorance of religion has its price.

Is visiting my family on Christmas, shirk by proxy?

Shirk by proxy is a notion born out of ignorance of the Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). To be clear, there is no such thing is Islam as “supporting shirk” by proxy. That is something made up by people unfamiliar with our laws. Either you worship a god other than Allah, or you don’t. There is no such thing as worshipping other than Allah by support or by association with someone who does. Such a belief is totally false. The Prophet’s uncle, Abbaas ibn Muttallib was allowed to stay behind in Mecca when the Prophet (SAWS) made the hijra to Medina in order to conduct the distribution of zam zam water at the Ka’ba, as that was the responsibility of Banu Haashim. At the time there were 360 idols in the Ka’aba and people used to come from all around to worship them. Yet, Abbaas who was Muslim, oversaw giving them zam zam water to quench their thirst, and the Prophet allowed that.

Should I boycott my family on Christmas day?

In the 13 years that the Prophet (SAWS) spent in Mecca after he was dispatched as the Messenger of Allah, the majority of Banu Haashim were idol worshippers. There is no evidence at all that he boycotted visiting them, or being around them on the particular days of their festivals, holidays, and special gatherings. To prohibit people from being with their families on Christmas or any other da is to make prohibited what Allah has allowed without evidence. “And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” to invent falsehood about Allah . Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed.” 16:116 There is no evidence anywhere in the Quran or the Sunna that prohibits Muslims from visiting with their families on any day of the year, and boycotting family gatherings was not the Sunna of the Prophet (SAWS).

But What about accepting their gifts, feeling joy, admiring Christmas lights, or watching or liking a Christmas story or related movie?

Gibing gifts back and forth is a basic human social function that has gone on for thousands of years. Accepting gifts are permissible in Islam, unless you know for a fact that the gift was stolen, acquired by unlawful means, or the person had no right to give you the gift as it belonged to someone else other than the gift giver. In such a case, you should return the gift to it’s lawful owner. “Verily Allah commands that you return the trust (amaanaat) to it’s (lawful) owners“. Otherwise, accepting gifts from a non-Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a polytheist, or an atheists is permissible in the religion of Islam. This is true whether the person is giving the gift because of a specials occasion, as payment, as a sign of gratitude, or as a peace offering. A Muslim has the full right to refuse any gift he or she wants to. However, to render a gift unlawful without evidence is to make something haram (prohibited), that Allah has made permissible.

Additionally, to even suggest that a Muslim, by accepting a gift from their family on Christmas, or humming a Christmas song, or feeling any joy about the season by witnessing an act of kindness, or seeing a touching Christmas story on the news, or watching “A Christmas Carol” on cable, or admiring Christmas lights downtown, or to be happy seeing their non-Muslim family members happy, that somehow, they are intending to commit shirk, or assisting shirk, or agreeing with shirk, is a suggestion without merit, or proof from the Kitaab or the Sunna. Although such prohibition is a popular notion amongst dome Muslims in the United States, it is not backed by any evidence except whim. It also suggests that we, as American Muslims are complete idiots. That we’re no more than dumb animals, and that our faith is not really faith at all, but just a fleeting sentiment. If by accepting a gift from your relatives on Christmas day, you are acknowledging that Jesus is the son of god, or if you must say that as a condition of accepting a gift, then it is prohibited. However, that has never been the case (urf) in the United States in our relationship with our non-Muslim families. The Prophet (SAWS) said that, “Deeds are reckoned by intention” [Muslim]

What about eating with my family on Christmas?

Eating is a fundamental act of human existence and survival. “There is not upon the blind [any] constraint nor upon the lame constraint nor upon the ill constraint nor upon yourselves when that you eat from your [own] houses or the houses of your fathers or the houses of your mothers or the houses of your brothers or the houses of your sisters or the houses of your father’s brothers or the houses of your father’s sisters or the houses of your mother’s brothers or the houses of your mother’s sisters or [from houses] whose keys you possess or [from the house] of your friend. There is no blame upon you whether you eat together or separately. But when you enter houses, give greetings of peace upon each other – a greeting from Allah, blessed and good. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses [of ordinance] that you may understand.” This verse is not abrogated because of Christmas day, Thanksgiving day, or any other day. Holidays made by men do not abrogate verses of Kitaabullaah which were sent down from seven heavens.

Can’t I simply visit my non-Muslim family members on another day besides Christmas?

Yes, you can visit them anytime that is normal and convenient for you and them. That is not the issue in this ruling. The issue here is making it prohibited to visit your family, or enter their homes on Christmas day or any other particular day that recurs every year, or every month or every week. Entering the homes of your family, and sitting with them, visiting them, sharing food with them, sharing time with them, are all permissible by Quran and Sunna. It being Christmas, Thanksgiving, Palm Sunday, Easter, or New Years day, does not render visiting them prohibited. These are simply popular notions circulating around some Muslims in the United States and perhaps elsewhere. However, these notions are not based upon our religious laws or the practices of our Prophet (SAWS).


It is permissible for a Muslim to visit his or her family on Christmas day, just as it is permissible for them to do so the day after or the day before. The fact that it is a holiday to them does not make visiting them haram. There is no evidence in our scriptures or in the life of the Prophet (SAWS) or the companions to that effect. This is why the Prophet (SAWS) never even approached this topic in the first place. And Allah knows best.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Black American Muslims, Different but Equal. By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Look, there is no such thing as a black version of Islam that’s still Islam. Black Muslims, converts, reverts, or any other vert, are obligated to submit to Islam, period. The same goes for any other Muslim people on the face of the Earth. Every Muslim people of every land, race and nationality has their own problems and dysfunctions that can be remedied or improved by obeying Allah and His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم which is the operable definition of Islam.

Black American Muslims are no different. Our history is specific like everyone else’s histories are specific, and Islam as we practice it ma appear different to some because we are a different people, and a new Muslim civilization. However, by no means are Black American Muslims, descendants of slaves, or White American or Latino American Muslims to craft a new version of Islam that is inconsistent with the Divine Revelation revealed to Al-Mustapha صلى الله عليه وسلم. True, we are a new, nuanced civilization (mostly converts) with our own history, culture and situational reality, but we are still beholden to the same Lord, and the same Book as all Muslims, and we are a legitimate part of the global Ummah of Islam, whether anyone agrees with that or not, and regardless whether any of the world’s Muslims accept that it not. We are part of this Ummah of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم but we occupy our own neglected corner of it.

Allah has made for each emerging Muslim people, their own history, circumstances, and path to Him be He Exalted and Glorified. That is by His Wisdom, and His divine decreel. We have to trek own own path in a religion that we share with the rest of the Muslim world, and we don’t need or seek anyone’s permission. However, it cannot occur as a mob, nor as a people who limit themselves and their potential by the color of their skin.

You’ve got to understand that we are descendants of American Slaves, one of the worst slave experiences in history. We are survivors, who Allah has guided to Islam. We are rough to deal with, and we can be easy if you know us. We change and follow fads by the day. We are emotional, we love hard and we hate hard. We can take something wholesome and niggerize the heck out of it, Even Malcolm said that. Or we can take something from jaahiliyya and Islamize the heck out of it. We are so hearty and resilient, that they cannot afford to give us an even playing field in anything.

We are trusting but the best of us catch on eventually. Few Islamic sects from abroad have survived intact in our environment. We’ve niggerized the best of em, and even sent some packing, like Hizbul Tah’rir. The only thing that can contain us and offer us a true path to salvation and enlightenment is the original Islam of the Prophet (SAWS). Quran and Sunna. And the only leaders that can get down with us on the day to day, are our own leaders, who are in the trenches. – Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad.
Cash app to $abulaith2.

Let that sink in.

-imam Abu Laith Luqman ibn Abdul-Karim Muhammad Ahmad. Associate Imam and khateeb at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, Toledo, Ohio.

RANKING AND STATIONING IN THE RELIGION OF ISLAM. منازل و طبقات فى دين الإسلام, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

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If you’re one of those Muslims who only woke up yesterday to what’s going on in Muslim America, or a novice Muslim activist, then  you don’t get to come in on the ground floor and pontificate to people what’s what, like you’ve mastered the terrain, all the while you’re just joining the party. You can’t do that on the street, in a board room, in a classroom or anywhere else. Nobody starts out at the top. Be a student, before you try to be a teacher. Be a follower before you try to be a leader. Stay in your lane, and wait your turn. Social media places everyone at the same level. The opinion of a complete idiot is often given the same credence and certainly the same airtime as that of a seasoned veteran, or an expert. although this is the new version of Muslim equality for some. This is not exactly the way it works.

Ranking is part of the religion of Islam. Everybody Muslim should know that, especially those who make a lot of noise. According to Islamic morality laws, each person deserves their dignity because that is the Sunna, and that is justice. However, we respect our elders, we respect knowledge and experience, we respect our Imams and our scholars, we respect time in the struggle and we respect those men and women who carried this religion, sacrificed and held it down before us. This is all part of the deen of Islam. We should have learned this by now.

These are important lessons for Muslims, not only do these lessons have to be taught, especially to our youth, again and again, these principles need to be actualized if we are to survive as a Muslim civilization. These parts of the Sunna are one of the most effective ways of countering mobism.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad is an associate Imam an the Toledo Masjid al-Islam. The statements and sentients of this article are his own and does not represent any organization he is associated with.

The Imam can be reached at

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