Monday, December 22, 2008

Should Muslims attend Christmas celebrations?

Being one of the few people NOT attending my family Christmas dinner, I had to look for the rulings on this , here is what I found on Islam QA.

Attending the festivals of the mushrikeen and congratulating them
Is it permissible to attend the celebrations of Christian festivals and congratulate them?

Praise be to Allaah.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: it is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the mushrikeen, according to the consensus of the scholars whose words carry weight. The fuqaha’ who follow the four schools of thought have stated this clearly in their books…

Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab that he said: “Do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them.” And ‘Umar also said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.”
Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a jayyid isnaad from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that he said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their new year and festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/723-724).

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Can she attend Christmas celebrations in order to greet her relatives?
She says: I want to become Muslim, but my family gather to celebrate Christmas, and I want to go and greet them. This is not with the intention of celebrating or joining in, but simply to make the most of the opportunity of my relatives getting together. Is this allowed?

We put this question to Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen,who answered as follows:
No, it is not permitted. If Allaah blesses her with Islam, then the first thing she must do is to distance herself from her former religion and its festivals.

And Allaah knows best.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen

It is not permissible to eat foods that are prepared by the kuffaar for their festivals
Is it permissible for a Muslim to eat the foods that the people of the Book or the mushrikoon prepare for their festivals or accept such foods if they are given on the occasion of their festivals?.

Praise be to Allaah.

t is not permissible for the Muslim to eat foods that the Jews, Christians and mushrikoon make for their festivals. It is not permissible either for a Muslim to accept such things that are given to them on the occasion of their festivals, because that implies honouring them and cooperating with them in manifesting their symbols and propagating their innovations and sharing their happiness on the days of their festivals.
That may also lead to taking their festivals as festivals for us too, or to exchanging invitations to meals or to give gifts on one another’s festivals at the very least. This is a kind of deviation and innovation in religion.
It was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” And it is not permissible to give them anything on the occasion of their festivals.
Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 22/398.
Ruling on celebrating non-Muslim holidays and congratulating them
Can a muslim celebrate a non muslim holiday like Thanksgiving

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 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]

". . . 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.

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


  1. Salaams Sis:

    May Allah (swt) reward you for collecting all that daleel and posting it for others to benefit from/Ameen!

  2. Assalamu alaikum sister,
    I was under the impression that it is okay to go to such festivities if invited. Just as long as you are not participating in something that compromises your deen (example praying in the name of Jesus (pbuh). I remember reading a Hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had eaten with Jews during their Sabbath. Also, for a new Muslimah/Muslim to depart themselves from their families' normal get togethers can potentially be against every Muslims duty to be respectful and kind to parents. But Allah knows best.

  3. Salam. It is worth noting Jesus wasn't even born on Christmas. According to the Holy Quran (19:19-27), when Maryam shook the palm tree, fresh

    ripe dates came down. In Palestine, this is the Northern hemisphere, meaning in December, you cannot get ripe dates there, indicating Jesus

    wasn't born on December.

    Now from the Bible: Luke 2:1-5 says during the time of Jesus' birth, it was the Census of Quirinius which began. The census began in early

    summer and ended next year, according to Josephus.

    "Started in the earliest in the summer of C.E. 6. and completed at the latest in the autumn of C.E. 7." [Emil Schürer, Fergus Millar (editor), Geza

    Vermes The history of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ Vol I, (Continuum, 1973) - Page 424 - footnote 123).

    "Herod was finally obliged to order the census, and it was probably taken in the summer of the year 6 B.C." (Johann Jakob Herzog, Philip Schaff,

    Albert Hauck - The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge - Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1911 - Page 375).

    Since the Census of Quirinius began in summer & Luke 2 alludes to this time, and also says Maryam was expecting a child (Jesus), this

    indicates Jesus was born near the summer time.

    Secondly, Luke 2:8 says the shepards were outside tending the flock, during the birth. In Palestine in December, you cannot keep flocks outside,

    as it would be freezing, indicating Jesus wasn't born on December.

    A prominent philosopher commenting on Luke 2:8:

    "This seems to indicate that it must have been summer season. In winter the flocks would be folded, not pastured, by night. It therefore seems

    probable that Jesus was born in the summer of B.C 6." (Rush Rhees - The Life of Jesus of Nazareth - BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009 - Page 56).

    "The biblical accounts of Jesus’birth in Bethlehem provide only one clue as to the date of this event. Luke’s Nativity story mentions shepherds who were spending the night with their flocks in the fields. In those days shepherds might well have spent the night with their flocks during the spring lambing season in order to aid the newborn lambs and their mothers. Historians believe that it is much less likely that shepherds would be sleeping in the fields with their flocks during the winter. This detail from Luke’s account would seem to suggest that Jesus was born sometime in the spring." (Tanya Gulevich - Encyclopedia of Christmas & New Year's Celebrations, - 2nd Edition: 2003 - Omnigraphics, Inc. - Page 381).

    So, even if Islam allowed celebrating any Prophet's birthday, Jesus wasn't even born on Christmas historically & Islamically.