What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter; what is the ruling on wishing Christians on Christmas or saying “Merry Christmas” to them? What is the ruling on exchanging gifts with them? Muslims living in the UK hold parties among their families during the Christmas holidays. Guests are invited for the feasts. This culture is increasing rampantly. However, those who do this do it to celebrate their holidays and not Christmas. What is the ruling regarding this?
Questioner: Abdullah from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
Christmas is a non-Muslim festival. Wishing anyone or saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas” due to it being Christmas, is a sin and impermissible if one does not consider it to be worth venerating. If anyone wishes by considering the festival (Christmas or any other non-Muslim festival) to be worth venerating, it is kufr (disbelief) because it is resemblance with them. It is stated in the hadith that those who resemble them are from amongst them. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar (may Allah be please with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ stated:
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ
Translation: “He who resembles a people is from amongst them.” [Sunan Abu Dawud, hadith no. 4031]
Similarly, exchanging gifts with non-Muslims due to it being Christmas day, is impermissible and a sin, even if the one doing so does not consider the festival to be worth venerating. If it is done by considering the festival to be worth venerating, it is kufr (disbelief).
It is mentioned in al-Durr al-Mukhtar:
“(وَالْإِعْطَاءُ بِاسْمِ النَّيْرُوزِ وَالْمِهْرَجَانِ لَا يَجُوزُ) أَيْ الْهَدَايَا بِاسْمِ هَذَيْنِ الْيَوْمَيْنِ حَرَامٌ (وَإِنْ قَصَدَ تَعْظِيمَهُ) كَمَا يُعَظِّمُهُ الْمُشْرِكُونَ (يَكْفُرُ)”
Translation: “It is not permissible to give gifts in the name of Nowruz and Mehregan (Magian festivals), i.e. by saying ‘this gift is for this day’. If it is done with the intention of venerating the festival, like the polytheists do, then it is kufr.” [al-Durr al-Mukhtar, pg. 754]
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states: “It is haram (prohibited) to give gifts in the name of Nowruz and Mehregan and if it is done with the intention of venerating the non-Muslim festival, it is kufr. [al-Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah, vol. 14, pg. 673]
Regarding Muslims holding feasts among themselves during Christmas holidays: Those who are aware of the culture of the UK know that there’s a very busy lifestyle here. People get to meet their friends and family only during holidays. The Christmas holidays span 2-3 weeks. Meeting relatives during these holidays is not dissuaded. However, celebrating these holidays like the non-Muslims do, i.e. decorating houses and following the non-Muslims in holding a feast at home by cooking turkey (which the non-Muslims cook only on Christmas), is impermissible.
It is mentioned in al-Bahr al-Ra’iq:
وَبِخُرُوجِهِ إلَى نَيْرُوزِ الْمَجُوسِ وَالْمُوَافَقَةِ مَعَهُمْ فِيمَا يَفْعَلُونَ فِي ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ
Translation: “Going to the Magian festival Nowruz and doing as they do on that day (is impermissible).” [al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, vol. 5, pg. 133]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath Team
Read the original Urdu answer here – [Q-ID0543] What is the ruling on wishing ‘Merry Christmas’, exchanging gifts and having parties during Christmas?