Greeting Non-Muslims on Christmas
Posted by Thaqib
As children learning the Qur’an in the mosque we were told, imitating the Kuffar is haram (prohibited). We were taught grave dangers and level of sin involved in not only celebrating Easter, Christmas but even the New Year including exchanges of greetings and gifts during these festivities. It wasn’t only my mosque, there was general reluctance amongst Muslims at school and elsewhere when it came to exchange of gifts, cards or even verbal greetings. It was almost accepted: Muslims do NOT participate in celebrations of Kuffar in any way or form.
But things have changed radically since my school days. I think it was this time last year I found the khateeb at the London central mosque has a different opinion. “Islam is a deen of moderation. We must not be so rigid. We must follow the middle path.” He went on to say, it is obligatory for Muslims living in the west to take part in festivals of their host country, although in moderation. He added, exchanging a few cards, gifts or verbal greetings will not somehow destroy our Imaan. Before I could even start a discussion with my friends about this particular Khutbah, it turned out that a group of ‘credible’ Muslim scholars have already signed and sent to the Pope a letter of Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year. Furthermore, some Muslim scholars in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and Britain happily participated in Christmas celebrations with their Non-Muslim colleagues as if there were no contradictions in doing so with their religious beliefs. No doubt we will be seeing more of that this year.
All these changes can be very confusing, and adding to this confusion is the variety of fatwas available on the net at our perusal:
First of all, we stress that Muslims are commanded to deal justly and kindly with their non-Muslim neighbors or friends. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in exchanging gifts with them. Muslims are allowed to congratulate non-Muslims on their festive days and this becomes more of an obligation if the non-Muslims offer their greetings on Islamic festive occasions. Allah Almighty says: (When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or at least return it equally…) (An-Nisa’ 4: 86) …. Read more @ Islamonline.net
However, the proper way to give presents during these festive seasons, is to make one’s gesture general or seasonal, rather than relating to their specific religious celebrations. Thus, one would say, for example, “Seasons greetings,” or “Happy New Year,” or other general expressions, as our ulema explain… Read more @ Sunnipath.com
Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus….
Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself. But the Muslim should not aceept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. . .” [al-Zumar 39:7] Read more at Islam QA
In my experience, throughout educational and work life I have never found myself in a compromising situation. I have always made it clear to my non-Muslim colleagues in a sensible way that I do not celebrate Christmas, have always declined invitation to Christmas parties and returned greetings with, ‘have a good time’, ‘don’t drink too much’, ‘be good’ etc. I don’t believe it has in any way strained my work relationship with non-Muslim colleagues, on the contrary I always get the feeling they understand. One colleague asked, ‘so you don’t celebrate Xmas do you?’ I was told, ‘lucky you’… when I responded with a no.
All this makes me wonder if the pressure on Muslims to integrate in society in ways traditionally unacceptable (however made legally permissible recently) are real or just imaginative? And are we getting closer to this hadith in response to calls and pressures to integrate?
Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih (book) that Abu Saeed Al-Khudri رضي الله عنه reported that Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: “You will indeed follow the ways of those before you, hand span by hand span, and an arms length after another. Even if they enter into a lizards hole, you will follow them. We asked, is it the Jews and the Christians? He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم replied, Who else!”
Posted on December 10, 2009, in Islam, Lifestyle and tagged Christmas, greeting kuffar, Islam, Muslims, Muslims and Christmas, Muslims celebrating Christmas, New year, xmas. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.