Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Marriage Laws in Saudi

Story out of the GulfNews

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is exploring the prospect of allowing senior government officials, diplomats and judges to get married to foreigners. The amendments, proposed by the Ministry of Interior and the Expert Authority under the Council of Ministers, in this respect have been okayed by higher authorities, according to a report carried by Al Riyadh Arabic daily. The amendments stipulate that any Saudi citizen, holding key posts such as ministers, members of the Shoura Council, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and judges will be allowed to get married to foreigners. The amendments will be applicable to all government officials in the grades of 15 and 14 and above. The officials also include those working with the Royal Court, Court of the Crown Prince, Court of the Council of Ministers, National Security Council, Ministry of Defence and Aviation, Ministry of Interior among others.
 I'm really curious why this would be allowed for top officials and not for all others in Saudi society?  Is there some religious reason this would be allowed for only a privileged few?  Also, I had never heard in the first place that this was the policy... that Saudi citizens could only marry Saudis.  True?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Quranic Instructions for Muslims Encountering Christians During Christmas

Christmas has past but I wanted to pass on an interesting article that was sent out on a local Muslim email listserve. It's instructions for Muslims about how to respond to Christians during their Christmas holidays or other Christian celebrations.

It might sound harsh to some of you Christians out there but, in all honesty, I think if Muslims are going to be true to their holy scriptures then they should follow these guidelines.

I did have an observant Muslim friend talk to me on chat a few weeks back. He asked me how my Christmas was. I thought this was a very friendly yet perhaps Quranically acceptable way to handle the situation. Although you could possibly argue from the Quran that he is in grave danger having me as a friend in the first place.

See what you think about the article:

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on greeting the kuffaar on the occasion of Christmas and how we should respond when they greet us on this occasion. Is it permissible to go to the parties that they hold on this occasion?

Is a person sinning if he does any of the things mentioned without intending to, and he only does it to be nice, or because of or shyness or embarrassment or other reasons? Is it permissible to imitate them in that?

He replied:
Greeting the kuffaar on the occasion of Christmas or any of their other religious holidays is haraam according to scholarly consensus, as was stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in his book Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, where he says:
"Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah." End quote.
Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself. But the Muslim should not accept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
"If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you.  .
[al-Zumar 39:7]
". . .
 This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion . .
[al-Maa’idah 5:3]

So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.
If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers."
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations.

Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem: "Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak

End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/44.