Thursday, January 26, 2012

Say NO To Chinese New Year ?



Alhamdulilah since I have been jumped into the blogger field, I met a lot of new friends who are struggling towards Allah SWT. There was a question asked from my facebook's friend about celebration of Chinese New Year.

"Celebrating Chinese New Year is not allowed for Muallaf if the meaning behind that is contrary to the teaching of Islam( that is to cast away the "Nian" monster),is this true? What if we're trying to convey a message of our cultural background as an intention?"

The most ridiculous thing is there are message forwarding widely about don't ever greet someone with "Happy Chinese New Year", it's syirik. So I decided to write this small article on behalf of chinese muslim. It's not a question about "Yes" or "No", but "Why" and "How".

In 2012 Sin Chew Newspaper has published a news about chinese muslimah Sabira Tai who has married with malay husband were celebrating Chinese New Year with her family for 25 years. Besides celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Raya Haji, she also celebrates traditional chinese festival.


It's a very complicated issue in judging whether Chinese New Year is prohibited or lawful,  I can see most of my reverted muslim friends are confuse on this matter. As there are a lot of webpages condemn CNY as Confucius, religious event that brings shirk, taboo... Before getting in depth about right or wrong in celebrate CNY, we should get back to the starting point of celebration. Whether it's started from religious matter or chinese tradition?

Celebration of Chinese New Year is not related to any religious cause from the beginning, the reason can be very simple, chinese Lunar Calendar have been turn into a new page at new year. Unlike any other traditional event that celebrate for religious reason, it's just for a celebration of "New Year". Chinese Lunar Calendar have been created for over 4000+ years. Ancient china astrology have been observed the moving of sun and moon also like Westerns and Arabians. Another interesting fact is China's astrology measure hour in the name of "shi chen" (时辰), which is "1 shi chen = 2 hours".

For more incredibly details about Chinese Lunar Calendar please click this link :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_calendar

And also we must understand the history of Chinese Calendar.

To understand more about 15-day Chinese New Year festival, we need to know some Chinese culture background first. Thousands of years ago, China was mainly an agriculture society. Each year, the dynasty government announced annual calendar for farmers. The calendar contained the solar, lunar and weather information for people to know when to seed, plant, harvest on their land and even when to work, rest, pray and celebrate for their activities.

Source : http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/ChineseNewYear/ChineseNewYear.htm 

Alright, after we remarks the history of Chinese Lunar Calendar... Why this chinese's tradition turn out to be sort of religious event?  

The Prophet Muhammad said, "No babe is born but upon Fitra. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist." 
(Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426)

Well... The nature of humankind is rely on God and getting blessed. Everyone no matter what skin colour or background do admit there are unexplainable strong "strength" in controlling the universe we live with. Therefore different prophets have been sent down by God Himself in preaching the right message. As we can see from the Islamic Book research about other religions, amazingly we may notice the same message like "God is unseen and Al-Mighty, God is only One... etc" is can be found at some specific verse. As time goes by, religion followers have been twisted the verse in order to suit their lust and desires.

Dan sesungguhnya di antara Ahli Kitab, ada orang yang beriman kepada Allah dan (kepada) apa yang diturunkan kepada kamu (Al-Quran) dan juga (kepada) apa yang diturunkan kepada mereka, sedang mereka khusyuk kepada Allah dengan tidak menukarkan ayat-ayat Allah untuk mengambil keuntungan dunia yang sedikit. Mereka itu beroleh pahalanya di sisi Tuhan mereka. Sesungguhnya Allah Amat segera hitungan hisabNya.

(Ali-'Imraan 3:199)

So the next step of knowing Chinese New Year : How religions slowly absorbed into the celebration of Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Obviously, farmers know they count on sky for their living. The sky is connected to heaven and heaven is related to religion. The major activity of the religion is to pray to gods for good luck, wealth, health, wisdom, career, longevity, peace, happiness at temple or home.

The religion for most Chinese today is mixing Buddhism and Taoism (Daoism) together. Buddhism was imported from India. Taoism is Chinese domestic. The founder of Taoism is credited to Lao-Tse (Laozi), who wrote famous Tao Te Ching, "the Classic Book of the Way and Its Virtue? around 604-531 BC. Taoism books say there are 36 heavens and 36 grounds in the universe. 

There are hundreds of gods and goddesses as well as saints and immortals living in the heavens and grounds. The Original Supreme God lives in the 36th heaven. The Spiritual-Treasure Supreme God lives in the 35th heaven. The Ethics-Virtues Supreme God, who had once the incarnation to Lao-Tse, lives in 34th heaven. They are top three Gods in the Taoism (Universe).

The Jade Emperor lives in the 33rd heaven. He is the king of gods and in charge of 33 heavens. Therefore Jade Emperor is one of the important gods who are worshiped or prayed in the many Chinese family.

Source : http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/ChineseNewYear/ChineseNewYear.htm 

Ancient Chinese do believe in god at 2000BC (Which is 4000 years ago), and being called as Supreme God. However as centuries goes by, the original scripture have been mixed with legendary and illogical taboos. It turn out to be mixture of human's very limited ideology. One of the chinese religion do pray to the sky named as God From Sky (拜天公). According to the source I read, the "God From Sky" is unseen and conquer the whole universe. It don't have any Idol to represent His existence. Unfortunately the article added on that god who conquer universe also have a lot other gods in assisting him. So from this point of view we may know actually Allah SWT have been warned us about the real definition of Himself.

Dan sesungguhnya Kami telah mengutus dalam kalangan tiap-tiap umat seorang Rasul (dengan memerintahkannya menyeru mereka): “Hendaklah kamu menyembah Allah dan jauhilah Taghut”.

( Al-Nahl 16:36)

From wikipedia we also can study that the definition of God have been twisted afterwards.

Chinese terms for God, especially a "Supreme God", have produced many variations for the title. The oldest records of the term Westerners translate as "God", "Most High God", "Greatest Lord" appear to exist in the earliest documents of Chinese literature as Shangdi (上帝, pinyin: Shàngdì, literally "Above Emperor"). This representation may be as old as 2000 BC. However, as Chinese religion changed to incorporate later interpretations of Confucianism, Daoism, & Buddhism, the term seems to have merged, in the views of some philosophers, with an impersonal Shung Tian, or heaven. (See Shangdi, Pangu, Tian, and Chinese Mythology, for examples and details.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_terms_for_God

Alright, let's back to the main topic about Chinese New Year. As the article above stated, Celebration of Chinese New Year at 2000BC is nothing but much like a celebration of new page at Lunar Calender. For over centuries goes by it have been combined with religious ritual and taboo for blessing of gods. Can't be deny everyone need God, this is how chinese community grow with tons of different ritual and you may surprised if you found message of God at the earlier religion scripture. Also proven the traces left behind by most prophets before Muhammad SAW. 

Hence I don't answer celebration of Chiese New Year with "Yes" or "No".
I can't say "Yes" and straight away follow my family religious ritual and drinking beer, playing mahjong. I am also can't say "No" and left away my parent behind when they are having Annual Reunion Lunch, also shut my mouth from wishing them "Happy Chinese New Year".

I have been explained the "Why" part above, with the history of Lunar Calendar and how chinese's religion goes a long way from 2000BC. Let's go into the "How" part.

Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Bahawa sesungguhnya arak, dan judi, dan pemujaan berhala, dan mengundi nasib dengan batang-batang anak panah, adalah (semuanya) kotor (keji) dari perbuatan Syaitan. Oleh itu hendaklah kamu menjauhinya supaya kamu berjaya.

(Al-Maidah 5: 90)

Chinese Muslim have no problem in visit family and relatives, as long as we are not involved in what clearly prohibited as the verse stated above. We may greeting Gong Xi Fa Cai which mean "wishing you enlarge your wealth", eating foods that is Halal and clean, wearing red shirts with intention of respect the chinese family. No one is able to live alone on this earth, what I am trying to advice is respect our family and relatives without doing what clearly prohibited. Allah SWT only prohibited very little and we have choice to live with lots of enjoyment till we hardly counts. Everyone do have freewill in enjoy what they want in life as long as we are not hitting the barrier of syariah.

Dan Ia telah memberi kepada kamu sebahagian dari tiap-tiap apa jua yang kamu hajati. Dan jika kamu menghitung nikmat Allah nescaya lemahlah kamu menentukan bilangannya.

(Ibrahim 14 : 34)

As servants of Allah SWT we should hold firm with the syariah of Islam in no matter what events and situation. Getting know more about what community about and try to find a middle way on it, rather than criticize others blindly and cause unnecessary conflicts and anger. This Chinese New Year event is only a very small example if compared to the whole world's different race and culture living style, Allah SWT never put burden on His servants but He do ease us in way we can't measure.

May Allah SWT show us the guidance towards Him.


16 comments:

  1. What you wrote is really true..Thanks for the tireless effort in providing us this important information. What u wrote there:

    "As servants of Allah SWT we should hold firm with the syariah of Islam in no matter what events and situation. Getting know more about what community about and try to find a middle way on it, rather than criticize others blindly and cause unnecessary conflicts and anger. This Chinese New Year event is only a very small example if compared to the whole world's different race and culture living style, Allah SWT never put burden on His servants but He do ease us in way we can't measure."

    This Phrase is truly inspiring. As to comment about the article, as a person who just getting to know about the Way of Life of ISLAM, we have doubts and uncertainty of what we can do and what we cant do. By reading this article, at least it gives me some inspiration of proving my thought is correct. Islam is just a way of life. Its so simple yet so beautiful. There are still many ppl out there who haven't realize the beauty of this religion and how great and kind the God is. HE loves us and misses us every single minute and tries HIS best to fulfill our Doa. HE loves us so much, then what should we do to pay back HIS love and kindness? What i did and thought is that, the least that we can do is by following what HE ask us to do, What is prohibited, what we must do, the Sunat, Makruh, Wajib, Haram, and many more. This is the least that we can do to thank you HIM for what HE had gave us. A lot of people in the world only knows how to ask from GOD. How easy we can ask from God yet it is so hard to thanks for what HE had gave us. BerSYUKUR even if our prayer is not fulfilled as HE has better plans for us. Wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year and enjoy your holidays =) Be happy always..Cheers!

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  2. salam.

    1.in my opinion if play mahjong as family event to promote happiness and fill in time/event is ok. but often the act of playing mahjong are synonyms with betting (judi) which is forbidden, or playing it with terms, u loose wash the dishes.

    2.judi/betting as of my understanding not only involved money but maybe ikhwan or another would beg to differ me on the subject matter, cause washing the dishes is not a haram thing not like drinking beer.

    3.but to me the act is perform upon the condition/terms sets from judi. like money u earn from working being a good teacher halal but money came from working as bartender and serves arak is haram as any acts relates to arak, membuat, melabel, membotol, menghidang are fallen into subahat. if beg to differ please brief me. we continuously learning.

    4.in chinese society, chinese new year it is oftenly affiliated with myth, legend but upon the briefing on the above article i grasp the originally intention for celebrating cny.

    5.my point in no.4 derives from my reading long2 time ago (non-educational materials) that upon the harvesting season for the chinese locals a dragon will raid and rampage on the village and eat the harvest. thus the chinese society use fireworks as mercun to create big bangs sounds to scare away the mythical beast back to the mountain. now the practice of firing the mercun are synonyms with cny every year which cause bad quality index of air (cause harm) in mainland china which follows the event of burning paper nearing end of january every year.. idk what that event is maybe ikhwan ng can brief me. idk if it falls under the category legend or believes/faith thus i ask him beforehand b4 wishing him a happy celebration event.

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  3. 6.in continuation to the point no 5, i also beforehand learn that the chinese calendars are synonyms with animals depiction like 12 zodiac animals and a little bit fengshui/nujum/berteluk nasib as like the element of water for the dragon as in this year.

    7.i would say this firsthand. but i also learn that in home management, fengshui provides a good circulation of air inside the house by arranging furniture location, placing green trees and herbs also helps bring oxygen and relaxation.
    that is part of home science. ilmu falaq/ calculation of muslims' date for aidilfitri also are branches of knowledge in scientific astronomy.

    8.my understanding in the art of fengshui is shallow, thus pardon my ignorant into labelling it as nujum or berteluk nasib which IF do falls into that category is haram. i'm on the fence on this matter. but haram is haram, halal is halal. its just because of my lack of knowledge but hukum is true and certain. if waswas on the practice leaves it.

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    Replies
    1. Assalamualaikum bro, errghh I can't see your 1-5 points, would you please re-post them?

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    2. In a matter of fact, feng shui itself is a nujum or kind of like berteluk nasib also. Because it makes followers think that the wealth will be entering house by placing plants or furniture at specific place. And as servants of Allah SWT should be believe that every single wealth we have is come from our effort and permitting of God.

      Of course it's not wrong to decorate house and furniture, however in the end we shouldn't believe in tahayul or superstition that claimed may bring us wealth besides the might of God.

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    3. takda rezeki. dah post taknak keluar pula dia..

      Delete
  4. 9.science proves Islam facts which is true and thus evidence Allah's challenge to human that we shall never find anything wrong inside the content of Al-Quran be it verbs (dr zakir naik vs dr campbell)used and everything to be include many scientific facts which later proves by modern science. science is Islam but
    Islam are not necessarily science as we muslims also beriman kepada perkara yg ghaib. science are a sample of the population in Islam.

    10.the mix of legends, myths, society and race beliefs, and routines often misinterpret the original contents/intents for an occasion or practices (pembudayaan). thus when facing such an issue is not a matter of yes or no (ikhwan ng), i concur with his statement. look upon niat and ways (cara). Allah ask us to think, not because of our pity self proclaim human rationalization, because if we got 100 heads there will be 100 different way of thinking, but to find the truths behind ITS creation and truths which can never being challenge by us humans rationalization. its all in the quran and ways of practices of our prophet as in hadith.

    11. thus hold onto al quran and as sunnah (hadith soheh), always come back to it, insyallah Allah swt will protect us. Allah don't bear upon us challenge that we can't handle, if we face musibah we have the capacity to take the test and Allah knows better.

    12.to my reverted muslims brothers, this challenge of not understanding things don't make it hard to yourself. otherwise people who view Islam will have bad experience even b4 embracing or learn it. but don't take it lenient in soal hukum hakam. and as it is not badly enough by the sentiment of islamophobia created by the west. we are the faces of islam, so brand it, wear it in everyday lives, occasion like cny so that people will see.

    13.do what is right, as long not in discrepancies in Islam ways, attend ur family invitation for family reunion, send them to the temple if they ask u as it is ur obligation as sons/daughters to treat respect to the elders, knows what the boundaries don't follow them worshiped anything aside Allah as that will fall in sin of menyekutukan Allah swt dengan sesuatu. think.. Islam is easy. even in prayer if u re sick there re methods to do it.

    14.i play mahjong with printed card likes on the surface to release stress during studying days, never a betting. if dance in disco to release stress can't, poco poco activity dance for health can. i learn home management science by getting my lips chili-ed post event chicken break loose in the kitchen and me saying x-words, i throw fireworks in kebun to scare away unseen snakes and poisonous creatures, or carnivore eaters not a legend hahaha. see there re ways to perform it in unharmful ways to others. laugh laugh.. but hukum no joke.. al-quran and hadith doesn't provide u a complete listing what to do and don't, only foundation to it, so that we will think. its easy if u understand it.

    sorry bro ikhwan, my head spinning tonight..a bit joke to taste while listening to masih ada rindu by darksky. original from unwanted. a german 80's band which sing bahasa melayu classic rock. either way correct if i'm wrong. remember my first email? bout trust? i sometimes avoid to comment on every new post cause afraid of it. it might lead to influence. cause human tend to bend to trust. i make mistake too. original to see your view of thinking cause u learn it. istiqamah in ur dakwah bro, if my comment not here doesn;t mean i don't follow it. salam maulidur rasul all.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reply and sometime I love malay's classic rock too. It have their own very unique passion.. It's ok bro if you feel comfortable to comment on some specific issue. It's right that we should talk less rather than talk too much...

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  5. kalaulah saya dilahirkan dalam keluarga cina kemudian ditakdirkan masuk Islam, saya tetap merayakan CNY kerana ia perayan budaya/bangsa, bukan agama. Nama perayan tersebut pun sudah cukup menggambarkan. Sepereti mana melayu dengan budaya pemakaian songkoknya, yang tidak dinyatakan dalam quran, begitu juga dengan tahun baru cina. apa-apa pun ini pendapat individu saya

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    Replies
    1. ya sebenarnya Tuhan tidak membantahkan budaya dan sebaliknya amat mengalakkan hambaNya yang berbilang kaum saling kenal mengenali.. Cuma ada juga komen sensitif yang bantah budaya ataupun adat kaum sepenuhnya tanpa kajian yang lebih dalam.

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  6. Assalaamu'alaikum

    Dun know what to say regarding this topic. Muslim in Malay society in Malaysian context were already established. So, do Muslim in China and India. They were established with their own movements like Jemaah Tabligh originated from India. In Malaysia, we don't really have wide publications in Chinese for Muslim Chinese cultural and traditions because Muslim Chinese audience are limited and those from China were contained from having movements to bring brothers and sisters into the track. While we can see publications in Tamil and other languages regarding our path being spread and taught in their masjids, we have to find materials in our own languages to get better understanding. What I could do is to recommend Chinese speaker brothers and sisters to download these materials...

    Sheikh Liu Zhi Kitabu Han

    天方性理
    天方至圣实录
    天方典礼

    They were written by 17th century Muslim who speak Chinese. They are well-versed in Confucian traditions and Taoism. It can also be founded and downloaded at islaminchina.com courtesy of Chinese speaker brothers. If possible, please make copies and send them to Chinese speaker Muslim families. I wish these are helpful. Allah bless...

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    1. Walaikumsalam brother and thanks very much for your introduction on those books. And may I ask bro that where did you learn chinese? Those books is written in quite aged chinese language and I am impressed with your effort on blogging.

      The knowledge and the huge mixture of tradition and syariah of Islam is complicated, and I would hope to know more that sort of information, insyaAllah.

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  7. bagi saya Chinese New Year yg mana selagi ia menyambut perayaan budaya bukanlah bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam.

    yang diharankan dalam islam adalah aktiviti yg berkaitan dengan akidah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya betul... apa2 saja yang membawa syirik pasti diharamkan.

      Terpulang kepada kaum masing2 memahami asal usul adat dan budaya kemudian menjadi muslim yang sentiasa menjaga akidah, insyaAllah.

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  8. aSSalamualikum brother, i really enjoy reading article...sometimes it's make me feel so bad think that u know so much about islam compared to me event though i was born as muslim. SubhanAllah, Allah Maha Megentahui Segaala sesuatu.

    Dan Allah sentiasa memberi petunjuk hidayahNya kepada sesiapa Yang dikehendakiNya ke jalan Yang lurus (menurut undang-undang peraturanNya). (2:213)

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    Replies
    1. Walaikumsalam.

      I was live at non muslim family and environment that know nothing at all about Islam. So the question arouse around me also very critical and straight away, especially when it comes to cultural and meaning of Religion.

      So when I found the real meaning of Islam, at the same time I also realize how Islam guide mankind to the straight path..

      Delete

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