Islamic ruling on non-Muslim holidays

“[A Muslim wishing a Christian 'Merry Christmas'] is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on.” –Islam (online) Q & A

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

24 December 2007: I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the Christian visitors to our web site a very joyous and blessed Christmas, and to our Jewish visitors, a very happy Hanukkah. During this most holy time of year, we reflect on our beliefs, and celebrate the joys of the season with our families and friends. It is also a good time for each of us to take a few moments for reflection and an honest perspective of the events taking place in the world today, especially those within Western countries - with particular emphasis on the United States and Canada.

Many people want to believe that the tenets of Islam are compatible with both democracy and Judeo-Christian principles. Here are two examples - both relevant to this most joyous of seasons - that illustrate otherwise. Both are cited by Islamic scholars at Islam Q & A:

Question:

What is the ruling on eating the food (rice, meat, chicken or cake) that is given to us by a Christian friend that he made for his birthday or for Christmas or the Christian New Year? What is your opinion on congratulating him by saying, “Insha Allaah you will continue to do well this year” so as to avoid saying Kull ‘aam wa antum bi khayr (approx. “season’s greetings”) or “Happy New Year” etc?

Answer:

Praise be to Allah.

It is not permissible for a Muslim to eat things that the Jews and Christians make on their festivals, or what they give him as a gift on their festivals, because that is cooperating with them and joining in with them in this evil.

It is not permissible for him to congratulate them on their festivals in any way whatsoever, because that implies approval of their festival and not denouncing them, and helping them to manifest their symbols and propagate their innovation, and sharing their happiness during their festivals, which are innovated festivals that are connected to false beliefs that are not approved of in Islam.

And Allah knows best.

Question:

At work - I am a cashier, and there are Christmas cards with
shirk on them “Jesus is God - and Loves You” etc… If a customer
brings these to me, and I ring him up and put the money in the register - am I a kaafir? I hate the shirk, ……., ……, am I a
kaafir?

Answer:

Al-Hamdu Lillaah

As long as you are a true believer, who believes in the oneness of Allah, the Most Gracious, and who has not committed any act that would expel you from the religion of Islam, and as long as you hate ! shirk and (the blasphemy of) Christianity, then you are a Muslim and not a kaafir. However, you must realize that it is unacceptable for a Muslim to aid or abet the kuffaar (non-believers) by any means or medium relating to the celebration of their holiday occasions. This would encompass selling items that are used in their celebrations. Sheikh ul-Islam Ahmad ibn Abdul-Haleem ibn Taymiya (may Allaah have mercy upon him) in his classic and monumental book entitled Iqtidaa’ Al-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem Mukhalafat As-haab Al-Jaheem (In Pursuit of the Straight Path by Contradicting the People of the Hellfire) said:

“As for a Muslim selling to them (the non-believers) items that they use to celebrate their holiday occasions, such as food, clothes, perfumes, etc., or offering such items as gifts, is a way of helping them celebrate their “unlawful” holidays. This idea is based on the fundamental principle that states that it is unacceptable (for a Muslim) to sell the kuffaar grapes or juice which they will use to produce wine or alcoholic beverages. By the same token it is also unacceptable (for a Muslim) to sell them weapons that will be used to fight Muslims.

He then presented an argument presented by Abdul-Malik bin Habeeb (among the scholars of Al Malakiyya madh-hab) in which he said “Don’t you see that it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell Christians any item that benefits or concerns their holidays? Not meat, nor food (eaten with bread), nor clothes, nor should they even be lent an animal (to ride on). They should not be helped in any way that relates to their holidays because this would be considered a form of glorifying their shirk (blasphemy) and supporting them in their apostasy and disbelief….” Al-Iqtidaa’ p. 229, 23, Dar Al-Ma’rifah printing, tahqeeq (verified and edited by) Al-Faqiy.

We ask Allaah to help you be firmly established on the truth, and to ward you away from wrong and falsehood, and to provide you with good and righteous means of living.

May the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad

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