The Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia saw snow this week. Everyone’s happy. And why shouldn’t they be? Snow is beautiful, so unique, so unlike any other creation of Allah. But apparently a “Saudi cleric” is bent on ruining everyone’s happiness, saying it’s wrong to build snowmen. Or is he?
“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,”-Mishaal [SputnikNews]
Living in Canada, I see plenty of snow. And snowmen. So I don’t really care much about the short-lived happiness of Saudis. But I do care about the propaganda against a highly respectable and qualified scholar and his efforts for the sake of Islam. So here’s my two cents in order to clarify the situation.
- The person who gave this fatwa, Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid, is not a “cleric”. He’s a scholar. Shaykh. More knowledgeable than all of us combined. Student of prestigious scholars such as ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baaz, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abdullah Ibn Jibreen, Saleh Al-Fawzan, and Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Baraak. His one night of study and research is more beneficial to the Ummah than a thousand worshipers spending their nights in Tahajjud. So show some respect!
I wish they’d quote the whole fatwa instead of picking one or two lines from here and there to suit their agenda.
“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun. God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on.” [Telegraph]
What if I told you, there’s more to it than they let you see? The article they quoted the above from talks about the general prohibition of making 3D images of anything that has a soul, like animals and human beings. [Not sure which category a snowman belongs to.. none, I suppose?]
However, if you see this article on Shaykh al-Munajjid’s website, IslamQ&A, it states clearly:
“If the snowman does not have clear facial features such as eyes, a nose and a mouth, and it is merely a three-dimensional figure with no features, like the scarecrows that farmers set up to scare away birds, and signs that are put on roads as a warning of roadworks or construction, then there is nothing wrong with any of that.
Similarly, there is nothing wrong with what children do for fun, because such figures are not usually treated with respect (unlike statues and idols) and it is well-known that children have a psychological need to play and have some fun and excitement, especially in places where snow only falls on rare occasions.
But if the snowman has clear facial features, then the majority of scholars are of the view that it is prohibited, because of the general meaning of the prohibition on making images, which has been explained in detail in question no. 146628 [quoted above in Telegraph]. A similar ruling applies to figures that are made out of dough and other sweets, and so on.
But that is undoubtedly less serious than images that are made to last and are less likely to be treated with disrespect than snowmen. It is well-known that prohibitions are of varying degrees and it is well-known that the general meaning of shar‘i evidence prohibits images.”
Now I don’t know about you but I’m psyched to play with snow, make faceless snowmen and whatnot. Maybe I’m taking all of this too seriously. Or maybe I just feel like defending the shaykh. Do what you will, but don’t disrespect a scholar in front of me!
Ahadith 2386 – 2387 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.
Volume 3, Book 50, Number 888 :
Narrated by Ubai bin Kab (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Moses the Apostle of Allah,” and then he narrated the whole story about him. Al-Khadir said to Moses, “Did not I tell you that you can have no patience with me.” (18.72). Moses then violated the agreement for the first time because of forgetfulness, then Moses promised that if he asked Al-Khadir about anything, the latter would have the right to desert him. Moses abided by that condition and on the third occasion he intentionally asked Al-Khadir and caused that condition to be applied. The three occasions referred to above are referred to by the following Verses: “Call me not to account for forgetting And be not hard upon me.” (18.73) “Then they met a boy and Khadir killed him.” (18.74) “Then they proceeded and found a wall which was on the verge of falling and Khadir set it up straight.” (18.77)
Volume 3, Book 50, Number 889 :
Narrated by Urwa
Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) said, “Buraira came to me and said, ‘My people (masters) have written the contract for my emancipation for nine Awaq ) of gold) to be paid in yearly installments, one Uqiyya per year; so help me.” Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) said (to her), “If your masters agree, I will pay them the whole sum provided the Wala will be for me.” Buraira went to her masters and told them about it, but they refused the offer and she returned from them while Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was sitting. She said, “I presented the offer to them, but they refused unless the Wala’ would be for them.” When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) heard that and ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) told him about It, he said to her, “Buy Buraira and let them stipulate that her Wala’ will be for them, as the Wala’ is for the manumitted.” ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) did so. After that Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) got up amidst the people, Glorified and Praised Allah and said, “What is wrong with some people who stipulate things which are not in Allah’s Laws? Any condition which is not in Allah’s Laws is invalid even if there were a hundred such conditions. Allah’s Rules are the most valid and Allah’s Conditions are the most solid. The Wala is for the manumitted.“
Volume 3, Book 50, Number 890 :
Narrated by Ibn Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the people of Khaibar dislocated Abdullah bin Umar’s (radiallaahu `anhu) hands and feet, Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) got up delivering a sermon saying, “No doubt, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) made a contract with the Jews concerning their properties, and said to them, ‘We allow you (to stand in your land) as long as Allah allows you.’ Now Abdullah bin Umar went to his land and was attacked at night, and his hands and feet were dislocated, and as we have no enemies there except those Jews, they are our enemies and the only people whom we suspect, I have made up my mind to exile them.”
When Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) decided to carry out his decision, a son of Abu Al-Haqiq’s came and addressed ‘Umar, “O chief of the believers, will you exile us although Muhammad allowed us to stay at our places, and made a contract with us about our properties, and accepted the condition of our residence in our land?” ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “Do you think that I have forgotten the statement of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), i.e. “What will your condition be when you are expelled from Khaibar and your camel will be carrying you night after night?” The Jew replied, “That was joke from Abu-l-Qasim.” ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O the enemy of Allah! You are telling a lie.” ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) then drove them out and paid them the price of their properties in the form of fruits, money, camel saddles and ropes, etc.”
At the time of his death the Holy Prophet had expressed the view that in Arabia there should be only one religion, namely Islam. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, all the tribes in Arabia had accepted Islam. There were only a few pockets of non-Muslims, the Jews in Khyber, and the Christians in Najran.
During the caliphate of Abu Bakr, many tribes who had accepted Islam apostatised. As a result of the apostasy wars, all the apostate tribes were defeated and they once again accepted Islam. During the brief period of his office, Abu Bakr allowed the status quo to continue with regard to the Jews and the Christians.
At the time of the conquest of Khyber, a treaty was executed with the Jews whereunder they were allowed to cultivate the lands on the payment of one half of the produce to the Muslim state at Madina. The treaty also provided that the Jews could be turned out of Khyber, whenever the Muslim state deemed it necessary.
When Umar became the Caliph he deputed his son Abdullah to Khyber to collect the revenue. As Abdullah lay sleeping on the roof of a house in Khyber at night, his bed was overturned by the Jews causing him an injury in the arm. Umar investigated the matter and found that the Jews were bent on mischief. Umar accordingly passed orders expelling the Jews from Khyber. They migrated to Syria. They were allowed to carry their movable belongings with them. Their immovable property in Khyber was distributed among the Muslims.
The Christians of Najran near Yemen had a pact with the Holy Prophet “hereunder they were allowed to live in peace unless they indulged in any hostile activities against Islam. It was also stipulated that they would not indulge in usury. When Umar became the Caliph it was brought to his notice that the Christians of Najran had violated the peace pact in as much as they were indulging in usury, and were also guilty of activities hostile to Islam.
Umar summoned the representatives of the Christians of Najran, and apprised them of the charge of violating the terms of the treaty. In a vainglorious mood the deputationists said “If that was that, they might be expelled.” Umar accordingly passed orders for their expulsion. Arrangements were made for their settlement in Iraq. They were allowed to carry their entire movable property with them. Their immovable property was acquired by the state on payment.
Umar instructed his officers in Iraq that all possible assistance should be provided for the settlement of the refugees from Najran in Iraq. The Christians were exempted from the payment of Jizya for the first two years.
With the expulsion of the Jews and the Christians from Arabia, the country became an exclusively Muslim land. Umar has thus the distinction of being the first ruler under whom Arabia became the exclusive preserve for Islam.