In the first place, we would like to state that Sham an-Naseem (which literally means “Smelling the Breeze”) is a popular Egyptian spring festival dating from Pharaonic times. The festival was attached to agriculture in ancient Egypt and contained fertility rites that were later attached to Christianity and the celebration of Easter. It is always held on the day following the Coptic Easter and is celebrated by eating certain foods. Muslims should not imitate others in such celebrations, as they ought to restrict themselves to celebrate their own religious occasions legislated by Allah.
thus, Muslims are in no need to imitate others concerning such festivals in which good and evil, lawful and unlawful acts mix.
Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following: In Islam, there is nothing wrong that a Muslim enjoys himself by eating, drinking and recreating as long as there is no violation of the Islamic Shari`ah, there is no sin committed, and there is no basis of an un-Islamic creed behind such forms of enjoyment and recreation. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: (O ye who believe! Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors.) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 87). He Almighty also says: (Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do We detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge.) (Al-A`raf: 32)
having clarified the above, I would like to raise the following questions:
Is there a special day or season for one’s adornment and enjoyment? Can’t people attain such enjoyment without eating a special food and drinking a certain drink!?
the reason for raising the above questions is to direct the Muslim’s attention to the fact that Islam requires him to commit himself to reason, insight, and responsible behavior in all his acts. Islam teaches a Muslim to have his own distinctive character. Such character should not blindly imitate others, especially in their festivals, or to go with the tide irrespective of whether the results will be good or bad. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have prohibited a Muslim to be a ‘yes-man’. Rather, a Muslim should possess his own distinctive character.
abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) is reported to have said: ‘You will follow the wrong ways of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you too will go there.’ We said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?’ He replied, ‘Whom else?’ (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.)
I then wonder, why are we so keen to celebrate Sham an-Naseem by ‘smelling the breeze’ on a certain day although the breeze is there in every day of the year!?
Sham an-Naseem should not be considered a special day for Muslims. It is a normal day as the rest of the days, and it should not be accorded any specialty. Before celebrating Sham an-Naseem, a Muslim should first have deep insight regarding the un-Islamic creedal basis for such a festival. The followers of such creed claim that Jesus was resurrected from his grave and he ‘smelled the breeze of life’ or shamma naseema al-hayah after his death. Such a wrong creed is enough for a Muslim not to participate in Sham an-Naseem after it has been proven to what extent such festival is linked to historical fallacies and creedal superstitions.
also, I wonder why are we are keen to have a special kind of food on that day, although Allah permitted us to eat and enjoy that which is lawful throughout the whole year!?
having clarified the above while noticing Muslims’ keenness to celebrate Sham an-Naseem, I earnestly advise Muslims NOT to participate in such an occasion, keeping in mind that favoring others at the expense of one’s religion, Islamic manners, one’s honor is totally rejected by Islam as well as by sound reason. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) is reported to have said: “He who seeks Allah’s obedience not caring for people’s reaction (i.e. as a result of his behavior), Allah will grant him contentment with which he will be in no need for people. But he who seeks people’s pleasure at the expense of Allah’s obedience (i.e. he is disobeying Allah), he will be left for people’s help.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih)”