Ruling on Celebrating Christmas and Congratulating Them

Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen

[Editor’s Note: Since the pagan festival of Christmas, celebrated by the Trinitarian polytheists, is fast approaching on the 25th of December, we would like on this occassion present a fatawa (Islamic ruling) for the Muslims with regard to celebrating their festival or even congratulating them. It should be noted that the Christians believe that Jesus (P) is literally God, hence to participate or even greet them on the occasion of this festival is to implicitly agree with their doctrine. Therefore Muslims should be aware of the boundaries with regard to Christmas and how one should approach it.]

Question:

Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah was asked:

What is the ruling regarding wishing “Merry Christmas” to them [the Christians]? What about giving them an answer when they wish us with the same? Is it permissible to go to the places of festive occasions or parties which celebrate this occasion? Is someone considered to have sinned when he does something related to the above without intending to do so [his real reason] yet he did it only to show respect to his friends, or out of shame, or other reasons? Is it possible to do so in these circumstances?

Answer:

Praise be to God.

To wish the non-Muslims with Merry Christmas or any of their religious festivals is haraam (forbidden), by consensus of the ulama (ijma’), as Ibn al-Qayyim, may God have mercy on him, said:

Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying “A happy festival to you” or “May you enjoy your festival”, and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on.

Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of God.”1

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 accept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because God does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you disbelieve, then verily, God 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. . .”2

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…”3

So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.

If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to God. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islam, with which God sent Muhammad (P) to the whole of mankind.

God says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”4

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations.

Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet (P) said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak.”5

Whoever does anything of this sort is a sinner, whether he does it out of politeness or to be friendly, or because he is too shy to refuse, or for whatever other reason, because this is hypocrisy in Islam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion.

God is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent. bismika-tombstone Ruling on Celebrating Christmas and Congratulating Them

Taken from Majmu Fatwa Fadllah al-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen, Vol. III, pp. 44-46, no.403

Footnotes

  1. Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah []
  2. Qur’an, 39:7 []
  3. Qur’an, 5:3 []
  4. Qur’an, 3:85 []
  5. Ibn Taymiyyah, Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem []

12 Comments

  1. IN REF TO COMMENT FROM saba said on 20 December 2007:
    I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT OUR BELOVED PROPHET MUHAMMED(PBUH )STATED BEFORE EVERY KUTHBA ” ALL INAVATIONS ARE MISGUIDANCE AND EVERY MISGUIDANCE IS THE HELL FIRE.” FOLLOW THE 2 THINGS THAT I LEAVE (QURAN WORD OF ALLAH SWT & MY SUNNA.[SOORAH ISRA STATES WHEN TRUTH IS HEARLD AT FALSEHOOD- FALSEHOOD DAMINISHES FOR FALSE HOOD BY ITS NATURE IS BOUND TO PERISH (ALLAH AKBAR).

    ISSA BIN MURIAM (PBUH) IS NOT SON OF GOD. HE WILL RETURN AND RECTIFY HIS DEEN BY BREAKING THE CROSS AND ESTABLISHING THE TRUTH AND ON THE DAY OF JUDGEMNT HE WILL BE ASKED REGARDING THE STATMENT AND HE WILL SAY I DID NOT CLAIM THATH WHICH THEY SAY.

    BROTHERS AND SISTERS FEAR ALLHA AND DO NOT CAUSE FITNA AND FISADE XMASS IS FROM THE PAGANS AND ISSA BIN MARIAM PBUH SAID DO NOT WORSHIP IDOLS AND PAGANISAM.

  2. Rai mathew ..Its not haram .exreme people areways there in every religion.

    We are allowed to partake of their feasts and celebrations so long as you stay away from their specifically religious rituals, and so long as you are clear in your mind that Christmas has nothing to do with the original teaching of Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him).

    While remaining steadfast to your beliefs about Jesus, you are allowed to join them in their feasts in order to reciprocate kindness with kindness. By doing so, you may even be helping them remove their misconceptions about Islam being a fanatical religion. So go ahead and participate in their feasts, and let them know the true image of Islam.

  3. I see this article above was wriiten on 18 December 2006 in the year of Our Lord;A.D “Date used in reckoning dates after the supposed year Christ was born, “in AD 2000”
    Please do not use the christian dating system, that a sin too..Did not the Prophet or Allah forbade you to use a pagan sinful dating system. Anytime you use the christian dating system you are doing the same thing you are doing while congratulating us on Christmas….

  4. The Fatwa given by Sheikh Al-‘Uthaimin is absolutely right.

    Whosoever congratulates someone with disobedience, sin or disbelief shall fall under God’s Wrath.

    So, in what sense would a Muslim congratulate a Christian with Jesus alleged crucifixion or directing prayer and worship to objects other than God like Jesus, Mary, crosses, images, icons, etc..?!

    This is even worse than congratulation with drinking alcohol, killing innocent soul, committing adultery, etc..

    And how will a Muslim invite those misguided people to the truth while he himself expresses his agreement, gladness and congratulation with their acts of disbelief?!

    Unfortunately, many Muslims do not realize the ugliness of this act, may Allah forgive us all.

  5. Peace be upon those who follow the Guidance.

    There is no “problem” unless you want to have one really. The word “kafir” is unbeliever, a person who does not believe in Islam. I cannot call you a Muslim (believer), neither would you agree on me calling you one if are not a Muslim.

    As for the world caring for Islam, it is there problem if they want to get brainwashed by there governments and media (very trustworthy sources on Islam and weapons of mass destruction
    lol) and then claim the baised and anger against Islam as there own research (gullible).

    gul·li·ble [gúll?b’l]
    adjective
    easily duped: tending to trust and believe people, and therefore easily tricked or deceived

  6. Here is your real problem, guys.

    The civilisation of those you consider as ‘kafir’ and kuffur’ are more amazing and dignified than that of Islam. That’s why the world does not really care to such things or would listen to Islam.

  7. Merry christmas to all of you who celebrate it!
    If Islam can show me a dignified civilisation today, I will learn it thoroughly. Iraq is occupied, Somalia and Afghanistan are very poor. Albania, the one and only muslim-majoring country in Europe, is even the poorest on the continent! Bangladesh owns its title, “the international basketplace”. While Nigeria and Indonesia are included as 5 most corrupt countries.

    The world civilisation is now led by the West, Jews, and East Easians (Japanese, Chinese). None of them are muslims.
    Only this what the world is now need to see :)

  8. Christmas is just the holiday of Mithra.

  9. God is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent.

    —-

    If He is so, then no Islamic council is qualified to dictate to Muslims what is halal and what is haraam, for only Allah knows best. So why don’t you guys practise what you preach and walk the talk?

  10. What is Marry Krishmas?

  11. Salaam.

    Maybe you should read this article on Islam Online which contradicts this article.

    Think about it.. how are Muslims imitating non-Muslims by wishing some goodwill upon them during their festivals or any other time? Doesn’t the Quran tell us to wish goodwill for others?

    Praying with them and following their religious customs is of course imitating them and is haraam. But wishing them? You should also be careful to use the word “consensus”. It is a very vague word when used without a list of reputable sources which that word is referring to.

  12. Merry Christmas to all of you who are reading this and a great and celebrated 2007. May God be with you :)

    Love your brothers and sisters and send your energy our for peace in the world.

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