non-Muslim Celebrations

non-Muslim Celebrations

She makes cards for festivals and sells them – is that permissible. Ruling on opening one’s business on the day of kaafir festivals. His mother will be angry if he does not celebrate Mother’s Day. Can she attend Christmas celebrations in order to greet her relatives?. Ruling on celebrating non-Muslim holidays and congratulating them. Taking part in non-Muslim celebrations in order to encourage them to take part in our celebrations. Collecting donations to give gifts to poor families at Christmas. Farewell parties for kaafirs . Prohibition on celebrating the festivals of the kuffaar. It is not permissible to eat foods that are prepared by the kuffaar for their festivals. Muslim forbidding his non-Muslim wife to celebrate her religious festivals. Accepting a gift from a kaafir on the day of his festival. Ruling on joining in the kaafir festivals.

She makes cards for festivals and sells them – is that permissible
I make handcrafted eid cards as a hobby and a source of income. I would like to know whether it is Bidah to do this? I have been told that everything is halal unless it has been specifically made haram. Please help as this is the time of year that people buy the cards from me and I really need to know whether I am doing something wrong.
Praise be to Allaah.

Yes, the basic principle is that transactions are permitted and allowed, and it is not permissible to describe anything as haraam except with evidence. The ruling on the cards that you make for festivals varies according to the festivals in question. If they are cards with greetings for the festivals of the kuffaar, such as Christmas, or for festivals that are bid’ah (innovation), such as the birthday of the Prophet (al-Mawlid) or al-Isra’ and al-Mi’raaj, or festivals that involve imitating the kuffaar, such as national holidays and birthdays, then it is not permissible for you to make them or sell them, and it is not permissible for anyone to buy them, because that implies approval of those festivals that go against Islam, and because it is cooperating in sin and transgression.

But if they are for Islamic festivals – and there are no Islamic festivals except Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha – then it is permissible for you to make greetings cards for them, and it is permissible for you to sell them, so long as you make sure to use phrases that are prescribed or permissible according to sharee’ah, such as “May Allaah accept from us and from you” and so on.

In the answer to question no. 947 we stated that it is haraam to congratulate the kuffaar on their festivals. In the answer to question no. 782 we stated that it is haraam to sell cards for Christian festivals. In the answer to question no. 50074 we quoted the statement of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas about taking part in the millennium celebrations, in which it was noted that it is not permissible to help the kuffaar in their festivals, and among the ways of helping them that the scholars mentioned are: making clothes, mementoes and cards.”

In the answers to questions no. 49014, 49021 and 36442 you will find that it is permissible to offer greetings on the Islamic festivals.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Ruling on opening one’s business on the day of kaafir festivals
Is it wrong to open one's business on the days of Eid?.
Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

There is nothing wrong with a Muslim opening his business on the day of the Muslim Eids (Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), subject to the condition that he does not sell anything that may help some people to disobey Allaah. 

Secondly: 

With regard to opening one’s business on days that the non-Muslims take as festivals, such as Christmas and Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu festivals, there is nothing wrong with that either, subject to the condition that you do not sell them anything that may help them in their sins, such as flags, banners, images, greetings cards, lanterns, flowers, coloured eggs and anything else they use in their festivals. 

Similarly he should not sell the Muslims anything that could help them to resemble the kuffaar on their festivals. 

The basic principle concerning that is that the Muslim is forbidden to commit acts of sin or help anyone else to do so. 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] 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “A Muslim should not sell things that will help the Muslims to imitate them (the kuffaar) on their festivals, such as food, clothing and so on, because that is helping in doing evil.” End quote from Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/520 

And he said: ‘As for Muslims selling to [the kuffaar] on their festivals the things that help them to celebrate their festivals, such as food, clothing, herbs and so on, or giving those things to them, this is a kind of helping them to establish their haraam festivals.” 

It is narrated that Ibn Habeeb al-Maaliki said: “Do you not see that it is not permissible for the Muslims to sell to the Christians anything that has to do with their festivals, whether it be meat, condiments or clothing; they should not lend them mounts or help them in any part of their festivals, because that is like venerating their shirk and helping them in their kufr. The authorities should forbid the Muslims to do that. This is the view of Maalik and others, and I do not know of anyone who disagreed with that. 

Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/526; al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 2/489; Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 3/1250 

Shaykh al-Islam also said: If the things they buy are used to do haraam things, such as crosses, palm branches, baptismal fonts, incense, meat that has been slaughtered for anyone or anything other than Allaah, images and so on, then they are undoubtedly haraam, such as selling them juice for them to use as wine, or building churches for them. 

With regard to things that they use in their festivals such as food, drink and clothing, the basic principles of Ahmad and others suggest that these are makrooh, but does makrooh mean it is haraam, as in the madhhab of Maalik, or that it is discouraged? The most likely view is that it is makrooh in the sense of being haraam, for he does not allow the sale of bread, meat and herbs to evildoers who will drink wine with them, because these things are helping them to manifest the false religion and increase the numbers of people who will gather on their festival. This is worse than helping one particular person. Al-Iqtida’, 2/2/552 

Ibn Hajar al-Makki (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about selling musk to a kaafir, knowing that he is buying it to perfume his idols, or selling an animal to a kaafir knowing that he is going to kill it in an improper manner in order to eat it. 

He replied: 

It is haraam to sell in both cases, just as the scholars said:  If the seller knows that the buyer is going to use the goods for sinful purposes, it is haraam to sell them to him. Perfuming idols and killing animals to be eaten without being slaughtered properly are two major sins, even for them, because the more correct view concerning the kaafirs is that the rulings of sharee’ah are addressed to them just as they are addressed to Muslims. So it is not permissible to help them by selling them things that may help them to do these things. Similar to knowing in this case is thinking that that will most likely happen. And Allaah knows best. End quote from al-Fataawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra, 2/270 

To conclude: it is permissible for a Muslim to open his business of the days of kaafir festivals, subject to two conditions: 

1 – That he does not sell them anything that can be used for sin or that will help them to celebrate their festivals. 

2 – That he does not sell to the Muslims anything that will help them to imitate the kuffaar in these festivals. 

Undoubtedly there are specific goods that are used for these festivals, such as greetings cards, images, statues, crosses, and certain types of trees. It is not permissible to sell these things, or to bring them into the store at all. 

As for other things that may be used for this festival or for other purposes, then the business owner should do his best to work it out, and not sell them to people whose situation he knows or who thinks will most likely use them for haraam purposes or to celebrate that festival, such as clothes, perfume and foods. 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


His mother will be angry if he does not celebrate Mother’s Day
I have a friend from one of the Arab countries, and in that country Mother’s Day is an official holiday, which he celebrates with his brothers and sisters because of their mother. Now he wants to stop doing that, but his mother will be angry because she has become accustomed to this thing and it has become a tradition in their country. He is afraid that his mother will be angry with him and will bear a grudge against him until she dies not pleased with him. He has tried to convince her that it is haraam and why, but she is not convinced because of the atmosphere in their country. What should he do? Please advise us, may Allaah bless you.
Praise be to Allaah.

Celebrating Mother’s Day is an innovated matter which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not do. It is also an imitation of the kuffaar from whom we have been commanded to differ. Hence it is not permissible to celebrate it or to obey one's mother in that, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience if it involves sin; obedience is only in that which is right and proper.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7257; Muslim, 1840. 

He should continue to honour her and treat her with kindness, and keep trying to convince her that this celebration is a newly invented innovation. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst of matters are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going-astray.” Narrated by Muslim, 867; al-Nasaa’i, 1578. Al-Nasaa’i’s report adds the words: “And every going astray will be in the Fire.” 

The mother is entitled to respect and honour, and upholding of the ties of kinship throughout her life, so what is the point of singling out a particular day to honour her? 

Moreover, this innovation has come to us from societies in which disobedience towards parents is widespread, in which mothers and fathers can find no refuge except old people’s homes, where they are left alone and no one visit them, and they spend their time in pain and sorrow. So they think that honouring their mothers for one day will erase the sin of their disobedience towards her during the rest of the year. 

But we Muslims have been commanded to honour our parents and uphold the ties of kinship, and we have been forbidden to disobey our parents. In our religion mothers have been given something which has not been given to them in any other religion; the mother’s rights take precedence over those of the father, as al-Bukhaari (5514) and Muslim (4621) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.” 

Honouring one's mother does not come to an end even when she dies, for she is honoured in life and in death. That is done by offering the funeral prayer for her, praying for forgiveness for her, carrying out her last wishes and honouring her family and friends. 

Let us adhere to this great religion and follow its etiquettes and rulings, for in it is sufficient guidance and mercy. 

Shaykh ‘Ali Mahfouz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, explaining how this celebration (Mother’s Day) is an imitation of the kuffaar: 

Explaining the seriousness of celebrating festivals other than the Islamic Eids, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated that some peoples or groups in his ummah would follow the People of the Book in some of their rituals and traditions, as is narrated in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “They will follow the ways of those who came before them, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit, until even if they entered a lizard’s hole they will follow them.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said: “Who else?” Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim… 

Love of imitation, even if it is something that exists in people’s hearts, is forbidden in sharee’ah if the one who is being imitated differs from us in his beliefs and thinking, especially is what is being imitated is religious beliefs or acts of worship, or it is a ritual or tradition. When the Muslims became weak in this time, their imitation of their enemies became more widespread and many western traditions and customs became widespread, whether that has to do with consumer goods or attitudes and behaviour. One of these customs is the celebration of Mother’s Day. End quote. 

Shaykh Muhamamd ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about celebrating Mother’s Day and he replied: 

All celebrations which differ from the Eids prescribed in Islam are innovated festivals which were not known at the time of the righteous salaf, and may also have come from the non-Muslims, in which case as well as being an innovation (bid’ah) they are also an imitation of the enemies of Allaah. The festivals which are prescribed in Islam are well known to the Muslims: they are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “Eid” of Jumu’ah. There is no other festival in Islam apart from these three. All the festivals that have been invented apart from these are to be rejected because they are innovations and are false according to the laws of Allaah, because 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,” i.e., it will be thrown back at him and will not be accepted by Allaah. According to another version: “Whoever does any deed that is not part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.” 

Once this is clear, then it is not permissible to show any of the signs of festivity on the celebration mentioned in the question, namely Mother’s Day. It is not permissible to show joy and happiness, or to offer gifts, and so on. 

The Muslim should feel proud of his religion and adhere to the limits set by Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in this religion, which Allaah has chosen for His slaves, and he should not add anything or take anything away. What the Muslim should also do is to not to follow every new idea that comes along, rather his character should be in accordance with the sharee’ah of Allaah so that he will be a leader and example, not a follower, because the sharee’ah of Allaah – praise be to Allaah – is complete in all ways as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”

[al-Maa'idah 5:3] 

A mother’s right is greater than having just one day in the year to be honoured, rather the mother’s right over her children is that they should take care of her and obey her, so long as it does not involve disobedience towards Allaah, at all times and in all places. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/301 

See also question no. 10070

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


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


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)


Taking part in non-Muslim celebrations in order to encourage them to take part in our celebrations
Can we take part in non-Muslim celebration only so that they might be attracted to our celebrations too?

Praise be to Allaah.

If these celebrations are the festivals of the kuffaar and mushrikeen, it is not permissible to take part in those innovated festivals, because doing so implies helping them to commit sin and transgression. Taking part in their festivals also involves imitating the kuffaar, which is forbidden in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad). ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah during their festivals.” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi).

If what is referred to is accepting an invitation to a meal, for example, and there is nothing involved that is forbidden in Islam, such as mixing of men and women, or foods forbidden by Allaah such as wine and pork, or dancing and music and so on, and this participation does not imply that one loves these kuffaar, then there is nothing wrong with accepting their invitation. He should try to convey the message of Islam to them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the invitation of some of the Jews. And Allaah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


Collecting donations to give gifts to poor families at Christmas
In my school it is Christmas time. My school has this Christmas tradition. Every year a classroom gets an adopted family that is poor so they can buy gifts, food, and donate money to them for Christmas. Unfortunately, I have refused to donate any money or give any food for the following reason: -These denotations will be done in the name of christmas, so that when the adopted family receives these donations, they will say "God Bless The Christians".
Am I right for refusing to give donations?

Praise be to Allaah. 

It seems that you are referring to the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon him), an occasion which the Christians venerate and have taken as a festival. The festivals of the Christians are part of their religion, and if the Muslims venerate the festivals of the kuffaar by expressing joy and giving gifts, this means that they are imitating them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Muslims must beware of imitating the Christians in their festivals and of following the customs that belong only to them. You did well and you did the right thing when you did not agree to collect donations for poor families on the occasion of Christmas, so adhere to that and advise your brothers and explain to them that this action is not permissible, because we Muslims have no festivals apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa. Allaah has given us these two festivals and we have no need of the festivals of the kaafirs.

 Written by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Barraak.

 If we Muslims want to give in charity, we can give to those who really deserve it, and we should not aim to do that specifically on the days of the kaafirs’ festivals. We should do that whenever there is a need, and make the most of good and great occasions such as the month of Ramadaan and the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and other virtuous occasions when rewards are multiplied. We should also do that at times of hardship, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 “But he has not attempted to pass on the path that is steep (i.e. the path which will lead to goodness and success).

And what will make you know the path that is steep?

(It is) freeing a neck (slave)

Or giving food in a day of hunger (famine),

To an orphan near of kin.

Or to a Miskeen (poor) cleaving to dust (out of misery).

Then he became one of those who believed (in the Islamic Monotheism) and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion.

They are those on the Right Hand (i.e. the dwellers of Paradise)”

[al-Balad 90:11-18]

May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


Farewell parties for kaafirs
Is it permissible for us to hold a party to bid farewell to a non-Muslim who was working with us?.
Praise be to Allaah.  

Holding a farewell party for a kaafir is a kind of honouring and respecting him, and they do not deserve to be honoured because they have disbelieved in Allaah and offended Him. 

Imam Ahmad narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Moosa that he said: I said to ‘Umar: “I have a Christian scribe.” He said, ‘What is wrong with you, may Allaah doom you?! Have you not heard that Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other’ [al-Maa’idah 5:51]? Why don’t you employ a haneef (i.e., a Muslim)?” I said: “O Ameer al-Mumineen, I benefit from his writing and his religion is his own affair.” He said: “I will not honour them when Allaah has humiliated them, and I would not want to be close to them when Allaah has cast them away.” 

See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/327. 

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab also said with regard to the Christians in particular: “Humiliate them but do not wrong them, because they have offended Allaah in such a manner that no other people have ever done. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, concerning the ruling on holding a farewell party for a kaafir when his work ends, and the ruling on offering condolences to a kaafir, and the ruling on attending the festivals of the kuffaar: 

This is a question which includes several issues: 

1 – Holding farewell parties for these kaafirs is undoubtedly a kind of honouring them and showing regret that they are leaving. All of that is haraam for the Muslim. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not initiate the greeting of salaam with the Jews and Christians, and if you meet them in the road push them towards the narrowest part of it.” The person who truly believes cannot honour any of the enemies of Allaah, and the kuffaar are the enemies of Allaah according to the text of the Qur’aan. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Whoever is an enemy to Allaah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibreel (Gabriel) and Mikaa’eel (Michael), then verily, Allaah is an enemy to the disbelievers”

[al-Baqarah 2:98] 

2 – Offering condolences to a kaafir if one of his loved ones – a friend or relative – dies. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this issue. Some of the scholars say that it is haraam to offer condolences to them, and some say that it is permissible. Some of them added further details and said that if that serves an interest, such as the hope that they may become Muslim and it may ward off their evil which could not be done except by offering condolences, then it is permissible, otherwise it is haraam.  

The more correct view is if that offering condolences to them is regarded as a kind of honouring them, then it is haraam, otherwise we should look at what is in the best interests. 

3 – Attending their festivals and taking part in their celebrations. If these are religious festivals such as Christmas then it is haraam to attend them, beyond any shadow of a doubt. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible to attend them according to the consensus of the scholars, and this was clearly stated by the fuqaha’ who followed the four imams in their books. And Allaah is the Source of strength. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/303.

Islam Q&A


Prohibition on celebrating the festivals of the kuffaar
Is it permissible for Muslims to take part in their festivals, such as Christmas?
Praise be to Allaah.  

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] 

We advise you to refer to the book Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him), for it is very useful on this topic. [Translator’s note: This book is available in English under the title “The Right Way,” published by Darussalam, Riyadh]. 

And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace. 

Standing Committee on Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, Fatwa no. 2540.


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.  

It 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.


Muslim forbidding his non-Muslim wife to celebrate her religious festivals
Why is it that a catholic girl married to a muslim man CANNOT celebrate her religous festivals? even though she is married to a muslim she still remains a catholic. shouldnt she be able to worship what she belives?.
Praise be to Allaah.

If a Christian girl agrees to marry a Muslim man, then she should be aware of a number of things: 

1 – The wife is commanded to obey her husband, so long as it does not involve sin. No differentiation is made between a Muslim wife and a non-Muslim wife with regard to that. If her husband tells her to do something that is not a sin, then she is obliged to obey him. Allaah has given this right to men, because they are in charge of the family and are responsible for it, and family life cannot run smoothly unless one of its members is in charge and is listened to and obeyed. But this does not mean that the man is allowed to dominate or exploit this right in order to mistreat his wife and children, rather he must strive hard to do a good job, to offer sincere advice and consult with them. 

But life is not free of matters that need to be settled in a decisive manner. The Christian girl needs to understand this principle before she goes ahead and marries a Muslim. 

2 – Islam allows marriage to a Christian or Jewish woman, i.e., it permits a man to marry such a woman whilst she continues to follow her religion. The husband does not have the right to force her to become Muslim, or to stop her worshipping in her own way. But he does have the right to forbid her to go out of the house, even if she is going to go out to go to church, because she is commanded to obey him. He also has the right to forbid her to commit evil openly in the house, such as setting up statues or ringing bells. 

That also includes celebrating innovated festivals, such as Easter, because that is an evil action according to Islam, in two ways. It is an innovation for which there is no basis, like celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and Mother’s Day, and it also includes false beliefs, namely the belief that the Messiah was killed and crucified, then placed in the grave, then rose from it. 

The truth is that ‘Eesa (Jesus – peace be upon him) was not killed or crucified, rather that he was taken up to heaven alive. 

See questions no. 10277 and 43148

The husband does not have the right to force his Christian wife to give up these beliefs, but he may denounce her open profession of falsehood. We have to differentiate between her right to continue following her religion and her manifesting evil deeds openly in his house. An example of that is if the wife is a Muslim but she believes that something is permissible, whereas her husband believes it is haraam. He has the right to stop her doing it, because he is in charge of the family, and he is obliged to denounce whatever he believes is wrong. 

3 – The view of the majority of scholars is that the minor issues of sharee’ah are addressed to the kaafirs, as well as the command to believe. This means that things that are forbidden to Muslims are also forbidden to them, such as drinking alcohol, eating pork, introducing innovations or celebrating them. The husband should stop his wife committing any of these actions, because of the general meaning of the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones”

[al-Tahreem 66:6] 

Nothing is exempted from that except the beliefs and acts of worship that are prescribed in her religion, such as obligatory prayers and fasts. The husband should not raise any objections to that. Drinking alcohol, eating pork, and celebrating innovated festivals that have been invented by rabbis and priests, are not part of her religion. 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The husband has the right to stop her going out to the church. This was stated by Imam Ahmad with regard to a man who had a Christian wife. He said: He should not give her permission to go out to Christian festivals or churches. 

And he said concerning a man who had a Christian slave woman who asked him to let her go out to attend their festivals and churches and gatherings: He should not give her permission to do that. 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: The reason for that is that he should not help her with regard to the means of kufr or give her permission to do that. And he said: He does not have the right to forbid her to observe fasts which she believes are obligatory, even if that means that he misses out on intimacy with her at that time, or to forbid her to pray towards the east in his house. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) allowed the Christians of Najraan to pray in his mosque, facing towards their “qiblah” (direction of prayer). End quote from Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 2/819-823. 

The fact that the delegation of Christians from Najraan prayed in the mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was also mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 3/629. The commentator said: its men are thiqaat (trustworthy), but it is munqati’ (interrupted) – i.e., its isnaad is da’eef (weak). 

See also question no. 3320

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Accepting a gift from a kaafir on the day of his festival
My neighbour is an American Christian, and she and her family brought me a gift when it was Christmas. I could not refuse the gift, lest she be offended. 
Can I accept this gift, as the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted gifts from kaafirs?.
Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

The basic principle is that it is permissible to accept gifts from kaafirs, so as to soften their hearts and make Islam attractive to them, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted gifts from some of the kaafirs, such as the gift of al-Muqawqis etc. 

Al-Bukhaari gave a chapter in his Saheeh the title of: Accepting gifts from the mushrikeen. He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, narrating from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) migrated with Saarah and entered a city in which there was a king or a tyrant, and he said: ‘Give her Haajar (as a gift).’” And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was given as a gift a (roast) sheep in which there was poison. Abu Humayd said: The king of Aylah gave the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) a white mule and a cloak, and wrote to him. And he mentioned the story of the Jewish woman and her gift of a poisoned sheep to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). 

Secondly: 

It is permissible for a Muslim to give gifts to kaafirs and mushriks, with the aim of softening their hearts towards Islam, especially if they are relatives or neighbours. 

 ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) gave a hullah (suit) to his mushrik brother in Makkah, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari (2619). 

But it is not permissible to give a kaafir a gift on the day of one of his festivals, because that is regarded as approving of or participating in celebration of the false festival.  

If the gift is something that will help in celebrating the festival, such as food, candles and the like, then it is even more haraam, and some of the scholars are of the view that this is kufr. 

Al-Zayla’i said in Tabyeen al-Haqaa’iq (6/228): Giving gifts on the occasion of Nayrooz and Mahrjaan [two non-Islamic Persian festivals] is not permissible, i.e., giving gifts on these two days is haraam, and is in fact kufr. Abu Hafs and Kabeer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If a man were to worship Allaah for fifty years, then on the day of Nayrooz he were to give an egg as a gift to one of the mushrikeen, intending thereby to venerate that day, he would have committed kufr and his good deeds would be cancelled out. The author of al-Jaami’ al-Asghar said: If he gives a gift to another Muslim on the day of Nayrooz, not intending thereby to venerate that day, but it is the habit of some people to give gifts on that day, then this is not regarded as kufr. But he should not do it on that particular day; he should do it before or after, so that he will not be imitating those people. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” It says in al-Jaami’ al-Asghar: A man bought something on the day of Nayrooz which he did not buy before that. If he intended thereby to venerate that day as the mushrikoon venerate it, then he has committed kufr, but if he wanted to eat or drink or enjoy himself, then he has not committed kufr. End quote. 

It says in al-Taaj wa’l-Ikleel (a Maaliki book – 4/319): Ibn al-Qaasim regarded it as makrooh to give a gift to a Christian on the occasion of his festival, or to give palm leaves to a Jew on his festivals. End quote. 

It says in al-Iqnaa’, which is a Hanbali book: It is haraam to attend the festivals of the Jews and Christians and to sell them things or give them gifts on the occasion of their festivals. 

Moreover it is not permissible for a Muslim to give a gift to another Muslim because of this festival, as stated above when quoting the Hanafi view. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Whoever gives a gift to the Muslims during these festivals unlike what he usually usually at other times, his gift should not be accepted, especially if the gift is something that helps in imitating them, such as giving candles etc at Christmas, or giving eggs, milk and lambs on Maundy Thursday which comes at the end of their fast (i.e., the end of Lent). Similarly, no gift should be given to a Muslim at the time of these festivals because of the festival, especially if it is something that helps in imitating them, as we have mentioned. End quote from Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/227). 

Thirdly: 

With regard to accepting a gift from a kaafir on the day of his festival, there is nothing wrong with that, and that is not regarded as participating in it or approving of it, rather it should be accepted as an act of kindness, with the aim of softening his heart and calling him to Islam. Allaah has permitted kindness and fair treatment towards the kaafir who is not fighting the Muslims, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity”

[al-Mumtahanah 60:8] 

But kindness and fair treatment does not mean friendship and love, because it is not permitted to take a kaafir as a friend or love him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allaah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allaah. Verily, it is the party of Allaah that will be the successful”

[al-Mujaadilah 58:22] 

“O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth”
[al-Mumtahanah 60:1]
 

“O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:118] 

“And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allaah, nor you would then be helped”
[Hood 12:113]
 

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)”

[al-Maa’idah 5:51] 

and there is other evidence which indicates that it is haraam to take a kaafir as a friend or love him. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: As for accepting a gift from them on the day of their festival, we have quoted above that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib was brought a gift on the occasion of Nayrooz and he accepted it. 

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that a woman asked ‘Aa’ishah: We have some wet nurses from among the Magians, and they have a festival on which they bring us gifts. She said: As for what is slaughtered for that day, do not eat it, but eat from their vegetables. 

It was narrated from Abu Barzah that he had some Magian neighbours who used to bring him gifts on the occasion of Nayrooz and Mahrjaan, and he used to say to his family: Whatever is of fruits, eat it, and whatever is otherwise, reject it. 

All of this indicates that the festival does not make it forbidden to accept their gifts, rather the ruling is the same whether it is their festival or not, because that does not involve helping them with the symbols of their kufr. 

Then he pointed out that meat slaughtered by a kitaabi (Jew or Christian) is halaal except that which is slaughtered for their festivals, which it is not permissible to eat. He said (may Allaah have mercy on him): It is only permissible to eat of the food of the people of the Book, during their festivals that which has not been slaughtered for the festival, whether it is bought or received as a gift. As for meat slaughtered by the Magians, the ruling on that is well known, and it is haraam according to all. As for that which is slaughtered by the people of the Book for their festivals  and that which they slaughter as an act of worship to draw close to anything other than Allaah, as the Muslims offer sacrifices as an act of worship to draw closer to Allaah, namely as that which they sacrifice to the Messiah, two views have been narrated from Ahmad concerning that, the most well known of which in his texts is that it is not permissible to eat it even if the name of something other than Allaah has not been mentioned over it. The prohibition on that was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar … End quote from Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/251). 

Conclusion: It is permissible for you to accept the gift from your Christian neighbour on the day of their festival, subject to the following conditions: 

1 – This gift should not be meat that has been slaughtered for the festival. 

2 – It should not be something that may be used to help in imitating them on the day of their festival, such as candles, eggs, palm leaves etc. 

3 – You should explain to your children the belief in al-wala’ wa’l-bara’ (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity), lest a love of this festival or a fondness for the giver be instilled in their hearts. 

4 – The gift should be accepted with the aim of softening her heart and calling her to Islam, not with friendship and love. 

If the gift is something that it is not permissible to accept, then the refusal to accept it should be accompanied by an explanation of why it is being refused, such as saying, “We only refused your gift because it is meat that was slaughtered for the festival, and it is not permissible for us to eat it, or these things are only accepted by those who are taking part in the celebrations, and we do not celebrate this festival, because it is not part of our religion, and it involves beliefs that we do not believe in” and so on, which is a starting point for calling them to Islam and explaining the danger of the kufr that they follow. 

The Muslim should be proud of his religion and apply its rulings, and he should not give them up out of shyness or to impress anyone, for Allaah is more deserving of us feeling shy before Him. 

Please see also question no. 947 and 13642 for more information. 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A


Ruling on joining in the kaafir festivals
I see many "Muslims" joining in Christmas and other celebrations. Is there any daleel from the Quran and Sunnah that I can present to them to show that these are indeed very sinful practices?.
Praise be to Allaah.

It is not permissible to join in the kaafir festivals for the following reasons: 

Firstly: because this entails imitating or resembling them, and “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). This is a serious warning. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-‘Aas said: Whoever lives in the land of the mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawrooz (New Year) and their Mahrajaan (festivals), and imitates them until he dies, he will be a loser on the Day of Resurrection. 

Secondly: taking part in their festivals is a kind of befriending them and showing love for them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them… “[al-Maa’idah 5:51]

“O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them” [al-Mumtahanah 60:1] 

Thirdly: festivals are the matter of religion and beliefs, not the matter of worldly customs, as is indicated by the hadeeth: “Every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid.” Their Eid or festival reflects their corrupt beliefs of Kufr and Shirk. 

Fourthly: “And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass it by with dignity” [al-Furqaan 25:72 – interpretation of the  meaning]. The scholars interpreted this aayah was referring to the festivals of the mushrikeen. It is not permissible to give any of them cards for their festivals, or to sell them cards or any of the other things they need for their festivals such as lights, trees or food – including turkey, candy canes, etc. 

We have already answered a similar question, for more details please see Question #947.

Islam Q&A
non-Muslim Celebrations