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Greeting Non-Muslim Celebrations



Question:

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 Allaah.

Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah:
"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 Allaah."


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 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]
"...This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion..." [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

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 Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]

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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
"Whoever imitates a people is one of them."

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem:
"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."

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 Islaam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion.

Allaah 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.

Source: Majmoo’ah Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/369
3 comments:

Assalamualaikum IslamIQ!

Your articles are always relevant and very useful, Barakallaahu fikh.

I have a question with regards to this post and I hope you are able to clarify my doubts, Insya'allaah.

As stated in the article, it is haraam to imitate the kuffar. Does the 'Birthday' fall into this category? I am told that the blowing of the candles and the cake is an imitation of a pagan ritual, which was adopted by the Nasrani. Thus, one should not celebrate birthdays.

My question here is, is it permissible to merely remember the birthday? For example, is permissble to bring the family to the zoo on the day my son was born a year ago? There will be no birthday cakes, no happy birthday songs. It is basically an acknowledgement that he is 1 year old. Hope you are able to clarify, Insya'allaah!

Jazakallaah khayr.


Wa 'alaykumussalam warahmatullah,

Sheikh Ibn Baz, Ibn Uthaymeen and Solih al-Munajjid rahimahullah in their fatawa have categorised the celebration of birthdays as an innovation.

And Allahu a'lam, the danger here is in determining a specific date to do a certain matter, as though there contains goodness in that date.

It is best to return to the basic principle (manhaj) of the religion - If a practice is indeed good, the sahabah would have been the first to do them.

Barakallahu feek.


Afwan jiddan,

Isn't it best to avoid anything that are based on conjecture?

Worst if it is connected to Paganism as in:-

"In the book of Genesis we read: “And it came to pass the third day, which was PHARAOH'S BIRTHDAY, that he made a feast [BIRTHDAY PARTY] unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: but he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them” (Genesis 40:20-22).

Notice! This was a birthday party, nothing less! It was being observed by a pagan Egyptian Pharaoh -- not a man of God. This is the only example of a clear cut birthday celebration in all the Old Testament -- and it was being observed by a PAGAN KING!" = refer to www.triumphpro.com/birthdays-origin.htm

Barakallahu Feekum


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