Celebrating Independence Day


https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathaninsandiego/3688737047/in/photolist-6BXK1B-f8w4mS-2nGbSf-27kbjL-2nGcy1-27fKLT-52phZh-2nGcbS-8d419p-27QAEk-52pHVf-27GSac-dSvw6u-f8w4qj-525VuD-aqjioU-crkGx1-cqSCr3-hvTF8-nsrY2z-croPBs-8g16vz-26KttB-h8QDZ-f2yBp6-55PTRg-7VnZq9-8g4mxw-8g16mi-9ZVkyM-6BFkVM-7VnZGC-8fDgCJ-f8w4jq-8qYwjN-h3qck-88wEZC-6BKtxy-6BFkXV-6BKtvo-6BKtz9-6BFkZR-6BFm3n-6BFkYt-6BFkXc-6BKtw5-6BFkYV-6BFkUe-byUhyY-52pJrA

Photo: Nathan Rupert

The Muslim world right now is undoubtedly going through some major tests and hardships. We pray that the Muslim lands will be blessed with justice, peace, sovereignty,comfort and civility. In countries with a Muslim minority, we see the constant persecution of Muslims in Myanmar; in China they are prevented from fasting Ramadan and taking children to Mosques; the two million Muslims in Moscow have only been allowed to build 5 mosques and in France they are prohibiting women from their choice in dressing modestly.

Here in America there are some attempts to scare Muslims with anti-shari’ah law bills. These witch-hunt bills will not be able to hinder the rights of Muslims to practice and promote their faith thanks to those brave revolutionaries who fought to give us freedom from the tyranny of Britain. Those Founding Fathers intended that this country would first and foremost be a place where all people would be free to practice and preach their religion, while the state would not be able to adopt or enforce any religion.

When the Founders suggested defining religion as authored by Jesus Christ, Thomas Jefferson made a motion which garnered support of the majority to remove such specification in protection of the rights of the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindu and Infidel of every denomination.

Then we have Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote: “[…] so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

As a result, the United States is one of the best countries in the world for observant Muslims to live and prosper. We are very blessed here and that is definitely something to cherish and be happy about.

Celebrating national holidays is a matter over which our scholars have differed. There is a group who prohibits it since the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught that we only have two holidays; thus, they say that Independence Day is obviously a holiday not approved by the Prophet ﷺ, and therefore it should be prohibited.

The other group of scholars permits it saying that the Prophet ﷺ was talking about celebrating a religious holiday. They contend that he was not referring to customary occasions not related to worship or celebrating a specific religion.

The Prophet ﷺ prohibited innovation and called for its rejection—“Whoever innovates something in “this affair of ours” that which is not from it will be rejected.” “Whoever does an action not in accordance “with our way” then it will be rejected.” All scholars interpret the portion of these hadiths (narrations) “in this affair of ours” and “in accordance with our way” as referring to Islam. Thus the meaning is whoever would innovate or institute something in religious worship that is not Islam whether it is made up or taken from another religion then it will be rejected.

I will conclude with a story from when I lived in Sunrise, Florida where there are close to a thousand Muslims in a village of almost 90,000 people. A few years ago in June, I met with a city councilman asking what we could do with the city in order to give better exposure to the Muslim community in light of the rise of Islamophobia. He said that he could get our Mosque a spot in the 4th of July parade. That turned out to be a big opportunity for our community through which we got great exposure. It really helped people to see Muslims as Americans just like anyone else with their own distinct faith and values.

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9 Comments

  1. Noor Saadeh says:

    Bravo! As a new Muslim years ago I helped my company ready their float for a Flag Day parade. Our float took 1st place and I was asked to accept the award for the company, hijaab and all!

  2. Paul Bartlett says:

    Peace be with you (salaam alaikum), Brother John. You write,

    “Here in America there are some attempts to scare Muslims with anti-shari’ah law bills. These witch-hunt bills will not be able to hinder the rights of Muslims to practice and promote their faith thanks to those brave revolutionaries who fought to give us freedom from the tyranny of Britain. Those Founding Fathers intended that this country would first and foremost be a place where all people would be free to practice and preach their religion, while the state would not be able to adopt or enforce any religion.”

    I am not a lawyer or a member of any legislative body, but God willing (insha’Allah) let us please understand. So far as I comprehend, these bills are not “anti-shari’ah.” They are not “witch-hunt” bills. They do not prohibit Muslims from living their lives according to Shari’ah, except that they do not allow *civil courts* to decide according to Shari’ah or any other faith principles. They require that civil courts decide according to civil law, and not according to any religious law — Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Baha’i, or anything else. Otherwise followers of any religion are free (within certain limitations that apply to *everybody*, regardless of their faith) to live their lives according to their own religious principles. Thank you.

  3. Robert William Wolff says:

    As a descendant of Christians and Jews, I strongly affirm, on this Independence Day, that the USA is a country of all religions and of people who do not worship. I believe that Muslims must be free to worship as they wish.

  4. Umm Taha says:

    Dear Br. John,
    I would be very grateful for the references you quoted with regard to the words of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin quoted in this article. Jazak Allahu khayr

  5. Mohamed Shafi Bachelani says:

    True but I would say fortunate and not blessed. Fortunate because would you really claim a blessing on yourself and say that they are any less blessed? Yes I do, like you, feel happy and blessed when I can complete my farid obligations. But would you not think that ALLAH t’ala would reward one who intends it but cannot do it, because of circumstances, any less? If not more? May ALLAH t’ala send His mercy and rahma and sakina upon them – so much so that their hearts overflow with gladness. And their hearts melt towards one another that they might stand united. Ameen.

  6. Mohamed Shafi Bachelani says:

    Furthermore in the wake of x number of reports, purporting to show that Western Democracies around the World are actually more Islamic that their Muslim counterparts, it might be right to suggest that this feeling of blessedness is in the same vein. That those reports are opening up a new front for Orientalism’s attack on Islam it might be prudent to remember that Western Democracies are on the brink of crises. Following the “vindication” of Rebecca Brooke’s in London, it is clear that Government fears the press, that the criminal justice system cannot curb the excesses of the press and that democracy is in grave danger. And then we forget that often the causes of those troubles in Muslim lands might equally be attributed to the board rooms of our peaceful Nations.

  7. Hyde says:

    God Bless America…built on the indentured servitude of poor whites, enslavement of blacks and genocide of reds.

    • Lois Khalafalla says:

      I am a new revert of about 4 months and this past 4th of July, I wore my hijab in red, white, and blue. I embrace the fact that my country gives me the right to worship as my heart leads me. I want to celebrate our history with my fellow Americans and non-Americans. I had a lady at Wal-mart ask me what it meant that I wore the head scarf with the colors of the flag. I told her that the head scarf was a symbol of my religion and the colors were a symbol of my pride for my country. She seemed confused for a few seconds and then smiled and said okay. :)

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