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Easter

Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus (AS) from crucifixion. The week before Easter is known as Holy Week, Christians perform prayers and rituals to prepare for Easter. It is during the Holy Week that the days Good Friday, where they claim Jesus (AS) was crucified, and Holy Thursday, where they claim he had his last meal with his disciples, occur. During Easter, eggs are decorated to symbolize rebirth. Christians themselves cannot eat from the eggs. People often hold egg hunts for children during Easter. People often hold meals and dinners celebrating Easter. There is also the myth of the Easter bunny, who lays the Easter eggs and decorates them. In this article, we will discuss the history of Easter and whether it is permissible for Muslims to celebrate it.


History of Easter:

According to Christians, on Good Friday, Jesus (AS) was crucified by the Jews and Romans. Then, according to them, after 2 days on Sunday, Jesus (AS) returned once again and was resurrected from the dead. They say that the resurrection proved that God had atoned them of their sins and have forgiven them. According to them, this proves the divinity of Jesus, as he had died and had been risen from the dead, and that only God was capable of such actions. The Christians began to celebrate this day of the resurrection from the mid-2nd century, this is where the first evidence of its celebration comes. This holiday was called Pascha, from Pesach (Passover) as the holiday of Pascha occurs 2 days after Passover for Jews. In 325, Emperor Constantine declared that Easter must only be on a Sunday. During this time, the lighting of the paschal candle was made a ritual of Easter.


As Christians spread throughout Europe, pagan customs began to mix with Easter. In fact, the name Easter itself came from Eostre, the Germanic goddess of fertility. Eggs began to become a tradition of Easter from the 13th century. From that developed egg rolling and egg hunts. Another example of pagan traditions was the rabbit, the pagans claimed that the rabbit was the symbol of new life. In the 16th century, Parents told their children that if they behaved the Osterhoss (Easter bunny) would come and give eggs. This tradition has continued since then. One Christian historian has pointed out that neither Jesus or his apostles enjoined in the celebration of Easter, and that the traditions of Easter came from local traditions and not Christianity.


Islamic perspective:

There are three aspects to celebrating Easter that we must keep in mind. First, it is a celebration of Christian origin. Second, it is a holiday which contains pagan rituals and third, it is a holiday which endorses divinity on someone other than God. Regarding the first two points, it has been made clear from the Qur’an and Sunnah that celebrating any practice from amongst the non-believers is haram. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an,


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ


O those who believe! Do not take the Jews and Christians as friends.

(Al-Maaidah:51)


Furthermore,  Rasulullah (SAW) said,


من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم


Whoever imitates a nation is from amongst them.


Furthermore it is narrated,


عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عَمْرو، قَالَ: "مَنْ بَنَى بِبِلَادِ الْأَعَاجِمِ وَصَنَعَ نَيْرُوزَهُمْ وَمِهْرَجَانَهُ مْ وَتَشَبَّهَ بِهِمْ حَتَّى يَمُوتَ وَهُوَ كَذَلِكَ حُشِرَ مَعَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ


Abdullah bin Amr (RA) said: “Whoever builds in the lands of the foreigners and makes their Nowruz (Persian Holiday) and their festivals, And imitate them until he dies - and he is like that - then will be resurrected with them on the Day of Resurrection.


From these we can ascertain that celebrating these holidays is haram from that perspective. The third perspective is that celebrating this day is celebrating the divinity of someone who isn’t God. Furthermore, celebrating this also subscribes to the view that İsa (AS) was crucified, which the Qur’an refutes clearly,


وما قتلوه وما صلبوه ولكن شبه لهم


They did not kill him, nor crucify him, rather it was made to appear so.

(An-Nisa:157)


Celebrating Easter clearly goes against the Qur’an. Furthermore, the Christians believe that this is the day where Jesus came back to show that his death for their sins was sufficient. However, this is untrue. One cannot sacrifice himself from another, or hold the sin and be punished for another. This is unjust and wrong. In the Qur’an it states,


ولا تزر وازرة وزر أخرى


No burdened person will take the burden of another.

(Al-Faatir:18).


Therefore, we must stay far away from Easter. During Easter, a Muslim should continue his normal activities and routine. The last Easter happened to be on a Ramadan, so he should’ve increase his actions as part of Ramadan.


Conclusion: 

In conclusion, a Muslim should stay far away from Easter and its traditions and celebrating it is completely Haram due to it celebrating and promoting shirk and it being a non-Muslim custom. May Allah make it easy to stay away from these holidays and to remain steadfast. Ameen


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