Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabaraktahu
It is not permissible for the Muslim to join the kuffaar in their festivals and to express joy and happiness on these occasions, or to take the day off work, whether the occasion is religious or secular, because this is a kind of imitating the enemies of Allaah, which is forbidden, and a kind of co-operating with them in falsehood. It was proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”[al-Maa’idah 5:2]
It is well known that the Muslims do not have any festival apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “Eid” which is Friday (Yawm al-Jumu‘ah). Celebrating any other festival is not allowed and is either of two things: either it is an innovation (bid‘ah), if it is celebrated as a means of drawing close to Allah, such as celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday (Mawlid); or it is an imitation of the kuffaar, if it is celebrated as a
tradition and not as an act of worship, because introducing innovated festivals is the action of the people of the Book who we are commanded to
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 . . .”
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.
The word Christmas is derived from the Old English Cristes maesse, “Christ’s Mass.” :
( There is no certain tradition of the date of Christ’s birth. Christian chronographers of the 3rd century believed that the creation of the world took place at the spring equinox, then reckoned as March 25; hence the new creation in the incarnation (i.e., the conception) and death of Christ must therefore have occurred on the same day, with his birth following nine months later at the winter solstice, December 25).
According to a Roman almanac, the Christian festival of Christmas was celebrated in Rome by AD 336…
( The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the “birthday of the unconquered sun” ) (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky. The traditional customs connected with Christmas have accordingly developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances at midwinter.
In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, and gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. Since the European Middle Ages, evergreens, as symbols of survival, have been associated with Christmas…
So as any rational person can see, there is no sound basis for Christmas, nor did Jesus (peace be upon him) or his true followers celebrate Christmas or ask anyone to celebrate Christmas, nor was there any record of anyone calling themselves Christians celebrating Christmas until several hundred years after Jesus. So were the companions of Jesus more righteously guided in not celebrating Christmas or are the people of today?
So if you want to respect Jesus, peace be upon him, as Muslims do, don’t celebrate some fabricated event that was chosen to coincide with pagan festivals and copy pagan customs. Do you honestly think God, or even Jesus himself, would approve or condemn such a thing? If you say approve, then obviously you are not interested in the truth.
We ask Allaah, the One, Singular God, with no partners or sons, the God of all creation and mankind, to guide us all to the path of guidance and sincerity.