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Q17 - Is thanksgiving in USA and Canada a religious holiday or secular?

Question # 017

Assalamualaikum wr wb!! Is thanksgiving in USA and Canada a religious holiday or secular? Is it permissible for muslims to wish or celebrate it? If one wishes or celebrates it, does it come under this hadith من تشبہ بقوم۔۔۔??? Kindly plz let me know. Jazakallah khair.

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

Jazakumullahu Khairan for reaching out and asking your question. May Allah Ta’ala continue to bless you in your zeal of understanding the Deen. Ameen.

Firstly, it is important to understand that as Muslims, we should follow the pure teachings of Islam and the blessed sunnah of Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم.

We are advised to oppose the disbelievers:

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ خَالِفُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَفِّرُوا اللِّحَى وَأَحْفُوا الشَّوَارِبَ ‏"‏‏.

Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه narrates that Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Do the opposite of what the polytheists do. Lengthen the beards and cut the moustaches short." (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Umar رضي الله عنه has said:

إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العز بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله

“We were the most disgraced of people. Allah Ta'ala then gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour in something besides that through which Allah Ta'ala has honoured us (Islam), Allah Ta'ala will disgrace us.”

It is said that Thanksgiving had religion-based origins, but Thanksgiving is now celebrated as a secular holiday. Every year, people gather at the home of a family member to enjoy a feast out of gratitude as stated in the name of the holiday itself. As Muslims, every day should be ‘Thanksgiving’. We should always be grateful to Allah سبحانه وتعالى for the countless blessings that He continuously showers upon us. There are many other ways we can show our gratitude to Allah other than having extravagant feasts, which can include but is not restricted to feeding the poor, doing zikr, giving in charity etc.

We should also keep in mind that even if this holiday is not founded upon religion, it is still celebrated by non-Muslims. Not only are we prohibited from emulating the non-muslims in their religious celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Diwali, etc, but we are also prohibited from emulating them in their ways, events and fashion as well such as birthday parties etc.

Therefore, based on what has been mentioned, one should not be part of Thanksgiving celebrations. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that Islam is not opposite to having enjoyment and fun as long as it is within the limits of Shariah. Any other day in the year, for example Eid, could be chosen for families to gather and eat together keeping in mind the laws of Shariah.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best


Student - Jamiah Islamiyah Abu Bakr

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Kasim Ingar


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