Christmas and New Year’s is often a busy time for bakeries in Morocco. But some Moroccan Muslims believe Islam forbids baking and selling New Year cakes.
Rabat – The topic of whether it is “haram” (forbidden in Islam) to celebrate the Gregorian New Year and sell or buy New Year cakes, is now the subject of debates on social media after a photo of a bakery announcing that it will not sell New Year cakes went viral.
Many social media users shared Rayhana Bakery’s sign which reads: “There are no New Year pastries.” Internet users criticized the owner of the bakery located in Ait Melloul, near Agadir, and called him an “extremist.”
Adding to the controversy, Rayhana Bakery wrote a post on its Facebook page: “We do not celebrate the Christian holidays.”
The bakery’s choice not to sell Christmas and New Year cakes has prompted many Moroccans to shun the owner and call him “backward,” “intolerant,” and even describe him as an extremist who holds “ISIS” beliefs.
Responding to the comments, the owner wrote on his Facebook page on Monday, “Due to the harsh attacks which followed my announcing that there will be no pastries at the end of the year, and given the serious accusations by people who called me an ISIS member and humiliated me, I have decided to file complaints against them.”
The bakery shop owner pointed out that people who accused him of being an ISIS member have at the same time provoked a sensitive issue that concerns national security.
Is it haram?
In light of the controversy, many people brought up the subject of what is “haram” and what is not while also addressing the importance of coexistence between religions in Morocco.
Some commenters seemed to agree that associating or “trading” with people from other religions, especially Christians and Jews, did not mean “celebrating their religious feasts,” referring to a Qur’anic passage.
The Surah al-Mumtahanah (60:8) reads: “Allah does not forbid you (as regards) the ones who have not fought you on account of the religion and have not driven you out of your residences that you should be benign to them and be equitable towards them; surely Allah loves the equitable.”
Commenters also pointed out that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shared peaceful relations with people from other Abrahamic religions.
Muslims in Morocco have lived peacefully alongside Jews and Christians for years.