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Stats: 17,465 members, 69,315 Topics, 15,454 Comments. Date: Jun 18 2019, 7:44 am

Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.

Is it appropriate for Muslims to play
with colours on the Hindu festival
of Holi?


Praise be to Allah

The festival mentioned in the
question is a festival of the Hindus,
and others such as the Sikhs,
Buddhists and so on have followed
them in that. It is called the
Festival of Holi or the Festival of
Colours, because people colour
themselves and others with
different colours until their
appearance becomes very
repugnant, and the coloured clothes
are thrown away after that, because
it is very difficult to clean them and
restore them to their original
condition. The festival is also called
a spring festival, because it comes
at the beginning of the spring and,
more precisely, when the moon is
full. Before the full moon, they light
bonfires, because they believe that
by doing so they are driving away
evil spirits. Some of them burn parts
of their houses with coals from that
fire to drive evil away from them,
and they keep the ashes of the fire
to ward off sickness from their
It is originally a religious festival,
and those who celebrate it – the
Hindus – believe that on those days
the evil gods were destroyed by the
good gods! This is part of their
religion, which is based on myths
and idol-worship. Along with the
playing with colours, dancing and
singing, sweets are distributed and
they congratulate one another by
saying “Happy Holi”.
In English, there is a similar-
sounding word “holy”. Some
researchers think that the meaning
of the word, for the Hindus, is
burning, because they believe that
the fires put an end to evil and evil
people. Whatever the case, this is
the festival referred to in the
For more information on that,
please see al-Mawsoo‘ah
al-‘Arabiyyah al-‘Aalamiyyah.

The saheeh texts indicate that it is
haraam to participate in these
religious festivals of the
disbelievers. The four madhhabs and
others are unanimously agreed on
This emphatic prohibition is because
of their disbelief in Allah, and
because these festivals are symbols
of that disbelief. So how about if
they are hostile and aggressive
towards the Muslims, and
transgress against their rights? This
makes it even more appropriate to
be averse towards them, their
festivals and their religion
Among the texts which are
indicative of this prohibition are the
Allah, may He be exalted, states
that one of the characteristics of
the believers is that they do not
witness vanity or falsehood.
According to some of the
commentators, this refers to
festivals that are based on
Allah, may He be exalted, says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“And those who will not witness
vanity [falsehood], but when they
pass near senseless play, pass by
with dignity”
[al-Furqaan 25:72].
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy
on him) said:
Abu’l-‘Aaliyah, Taawoos, Muhammad
ibn Sireen, ad-Dahhaak, ar-Rabee‘
ibn Anas and others said: This refers
to the festivals of the polytheists.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer (6/130).
This sentence is not simply
describing how people of dignity
behave; rather it is intended to give
an example that should be followed,
which indicates that it is haraam to
witness such falsehood.
The Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) stated that
whoever imitates the disbelievers is
one of them, which implies that it is
definitely prohibited to imitate
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said:
The Messenger of Allah (sa)
(blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a
people is one of them.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood (4031);
classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
The least that can be said
concerning this hadith is that it is
prohibited to imitate them, even
though the apparent meaning may
imply that the one who imitates
them becomes a disbeliever, as in
the words, “And whoever is an ally
to them among you - then indeed,
he is [one] of them” [al-Maa’idah
Iqtidaa’ Siraat al-Mustaqeem (p. 83).
This is sufficient evidence to
indicate that it is haraam for a
Muslim to participate in the
festivals of the Hindus and other
disbelievers. The Muslim should not
allow his family or children to play
with colours on those days, because
of what we have quoted above of
the evidence that it is forbidden to
participate to even the slightest
extent in the celebrations and
religious festivals of the
disbelievers, let alone what those
festivals involve of free mixing,
music and dancing. If that was a
festival celebrate by some Muslims,
it would not be permissible to
participate in it, because it would be
regarded as an innovation and
because of what it involves of
haraam actions – so how about if it
is one of the religious festivals of
the disbelievers?!

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
It is not permissible for the Muslims
to imitate them in any of their
festivals that are unique to them,
whether in terms of food, clothing,
bathing, lighting fires, temporarily
refraining from some customs or
rituals, or anything else. It is not
permissible to give a feast or to give
gifts, or to sell anything that may
be used for the purpose of that
celebration, or to allow children and
others to join in the games that are
played on those festivals, or to wear
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (25/329).
For more information on the
emphatic prohibition on
participating in those festivals and
the like, please see the answers to
the following questions:
947, 97014, 3325, 10213, 5219, 1027,
26804, 59905, 135119.
You will find a number of these
questions and others concerning the
festivals of the disbelievers and
related issues here: en/cat/234
And Allah knows best.


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