Grand Mufti Al Tair Ibn La Ahad of the International Islamic School of the Leap of Faith issued a fatwa today declaring the celebration of Thanksgiving haraam.
“This was not easy decision. There are many good aspects of Thanksgiving as a holiday that are in keeping with Islam, such as the importance of gratitude, and the ritual slaughter of a farm animal,” wrote Mufti La Ahad.
“On the other hand,” he wrote in his opinion, “The Prophet (saws) himself never celebrated Thanksgiving, and as such, this is a clear form of bi’dah (innovation). And as Muslims, we must be suspicious of anything that is not mentioned in the Qur’an or in the Sunnah of the Prophet.”
“Most disturbing from an Islamic standpoint,” he continued, “is that there is a complete lack of specificity with regard to which deity the person celebrating Thanksgiving is being thankful to. Of course, if one is celebrating Thanksgiving for purposes of giving thanks to Allah azza wa ja’al then it is good. But how can we be sure that they are being thankful to Allah Himself, or if they are either mistakenly or intentionally, thanking some fake god?”
“Unfortunately, there is no way to force Muslims to be thankful to Allah specifically,” wrote the Grand Mufti. “So we must be careful because Thanksgiving can be a ‘gateway holiday’ way to lead Muslims into shirk, secularism, atheism, and devil worship.”
The Grand Mufti reassured Muslims that he had convened the Shura council to discuss recommendations for making Thanksgiving a more Islamically acceptable holiday. “For example, instead of calling it Thanksgiving, they can call it ‘Thanksgiving-to-Allah’ or ‘Alhamdulillah Day.’ Either of those names will be much better in reinforcing the faith of Muslims rather than undermining it.
“Also,” he continued, “replacing the turkey with the meat of a hand-slaughtered goat or camel is preferable and serving it with dates is a good idea, as those foods were more beloved by the Prophet (saws). The pumpkin pie should definitely be served though, as it is well known that the Prophet (saws) loved pumpkin pie, especially when it was served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.”