By Karen Andrews, ADNISA Contributor
This the season to be jolly, merry and all that good stuff – right? Well, I’m not so sure about that.
Thanksgiving is long gone and the magic of Christmas is in the air. Many Muslims are taking part in the celebration and festivities of this holiday season – maybe not being aware that such an act is not permissible. It should be noted that the Christians believe that Jesus is literally God, hence to participate or even greet them on the occasion of this festival is agreeing with their doctrine.
What is the ruling regarding wishing Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas?
To wish the non-Muslims with Happy Thanksgiving, 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 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:
“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. . .”
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…”
So congratulating them is forbidden, and accepting invitations on such occasions are forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.
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 (pbuh) 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.”
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.
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.”
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.
” ALL INNOVATIONS ARE MISGUIDANCE AND EVERY MISGUIDANCE IS THE HELL FIRE.”
Excerpts taken from Majmu Fatwa Fadllah al-Syaikh Muhammad bin Shalih al-Uthaymeen, Vol. III, pp. 44-46, no.403