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Wishing Non-Muslims "Happy Holidays"

By December 26, 2013

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Is it wrong for a Muslim to wish a family member, colleague, or friend "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"?  Muslims often debate this issue, with opinions falling on both sides.

On the one hand, some say, congratulating people on the holy days of other faiths gives support to acts or beliefs which are un-Islamic.

Others believe that keeping polite company with those of other faiths may require one to set aside personal opinion at such a time.  Wishing other people happiness on a day which is important to them is a positive step in the spirit of kinship and friendship.

Muslims often feel happy when non-Muslims wish them well on the Eid holidays or during Ramadan.  Is wishing other people well on their holidays, then, a caring act or a sin?

Where do you stand on this issue?  Do you greet and congratulate non-Muslims on their holidays?  If you draw a line, where do you draw it and why?

More:  What does the Qur'an say about Jesus?

Comments
April 5, 2010 at 1:13 am
(1) Daniel says:

As a newly reverted Muslim, I would think that wishing other faiths well on their holidays would foster understanding and good will…

October 23, 2011 at 3:37 am
(2) Zakir says:

Dear Brother,

Allah azz zawajal gave us Eid ul Fitr and EId Ul Adha as a day of celebration. We celebrate these ones, greet eachother and have fun.

As for the non muslim celebrations, they are not from Allah subhanaahu wa taala. As muslims, we do not recognize these non muslim celebrations as valid days of celebrations. Rather, people made up these festivals when Allah azz zawajal didn’t legislate it for them. These festivals in which they openly display their kufr and disobedience of Allah. They have come up with such processions in complete disregard for Allah azz zawajal. How can we as people of Tawheed, congratulate them on their pagan festivals ? How can we greet them for their disobedience to Allah ?

Even if it makes them happy, if we wish them. Do we want them to be happy with their processions of kufr and jahilliyah ? Rather, we should tell them to turn back to Allah azz zawajal and give them dawah. And if we are not in a situation to give dawah to them, we should keep quiet and not greet, wish or show any encouragement to them in their fabricated and pagan festivals.

May Allah azz zawajal guide them and bring them back towards the truth of Islam. Ameen.

December 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(3) Carlos says:

Your a joke bruv. Islam and Allah are not part of our culture so while you are in our country you should respect our religion, beliefs and culture as you expect us to with yours.

December 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm
(4) Johan says:

All those in particular muslims that come to our western nations should not come here to lay their muslim law down in our countries. They should respect our nice Christmas trees displayed at churches and government buildings. Anyone that is against our culture should be picked up right at the spot and put in the slammer. If this idea is not being followed up we will lose our country.

December 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm
(5) Peace says:

As a Muslim, I do wish others Merry Christmas and respect their faith. In the end, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knows what is in our hearts and that we don’t believe Jesus (pbuh) is God/Son of God/etc (astaghfirullah). I loved and believed in (and still love and believe in) Santa Claus and enjoy Christmas movies. I always took part in singing Christmas jingles (and the only Hannukah jingle) at school, passing out candy canes, having an obsession with Santa Claus hats, giving cards, and almost all of the more secular traditions.

I draw the line at actually believing Jesus (pbuh) is actually God/Son of God/etc and performing in religious traditions (ex/ going to a church or hanging crosses) – then you’ve really gone too far. Anything before that is up to the family and I prefer not to criticize even if I might be criticized.

And, as always, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knows best.

Also,
@Carlos and Johan – You clearly don’t even understand your own country’s laws then. It’s called separation of church and state. If you don’t understand that then you should be picked up right on the spot and be put in a classroom that teaches you about your own country’s laws and “religion.”

And spec. @Johan,
You stop trying to lay your Christian laws down in “your countries.” -_- Calm down, a good majority of Americans are Christian. I believe there has only ever been two Muslim Congressmen and Muslims have not taken over the world. I have to say you sound borderline Islamophobic.

Just enjoy the wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Holidays! I personally like being told Merry Christmas, but because I look Jewish I wouldn’t take offense if someone told me Happy Hanukkah :P

December 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm
(6) An Anonymous Coward says:

Peace – you offer the best comment on this page. I’m a Muslim myself – and I see no reason to not respect my fellow man. There is no reason to call someone jahilliyah – or accuse them of having pagan festivals.

We’re in a season of peace, kindness, and brotherhood – we should all take a liking to the time of year, regardless of what we believe (or don’t.)

Another thing – I don’t know how someone could take it to call another man “kufr” – especially one who is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. If you dare try and lay judgement on another man … well, go figure. You’re not Allah / God – judgement belongs to only one. Here’s a hint who the judge is: It is not you.

People who don’t even understand what that word means are just throwing it around … It’s disgusting.

December 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm
(7) zan says:

Agreed, with the two comments above. Our religion teaches us to be loving and respectful towards all. Wishing others a happy holiday does not shake our iman, just how out of respect our non muslim friends and colleagues wish us happy eid. Living in north american culture its only fair to respect everyone around us. As far as whats right and what’s wrong that’s upto Allah to judge and help fill our hearts with light. Happy holidays to everyone.
Johan: no comment.. you just sound ignorant.

December 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm
(8) Kevin G says:

The US is not a Christian country. Christmas is part of the culture on a national level. The First Amendment gives freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. Muslims can come here and celebrate whatever they please or NOT do yours. Gov buildings can’t pick sides with religious holidays. If you want a xmas tree then you must have Menorahs, Flying Spaghetti Monsters and every single other religious symbol requested, regardless of your views on it. Or, easier, NONE OF THEM!

December 27, 2012 at 7:50 am
(9) Salim says:

Agree with Peace (you have said it all better than I could have), Anonymous, Zan. Actually, this is a ridiculous question (like debatingabout how many angles can dance on the head of a needle). Quran tells us to use our common sense – everything can’t be spelled out (the tendency of so many of these Muslim forums). Greeting others is a common courtesy; when in doubt consult your heart.

December 27, 2012 at 8:02 am
(10) Salma says:

to greet non_muslims on their festivals doesn’t mean that one agrees with their beliefs. it is a sign of love, peace, tolerance and humanity. you just respect and show that you accept difference of human kind and you coexist and are able to share them a peaceful world.

December 27, 2012 at 8:14 am
(11) Boie says:

As a Sierra Leonean Muslim, we are brought up in a culture of Islam that knows no East or West. We celebrate both Christian and Islamic festivals as a nation( not as Christians or Muslims) and this question will totally be laughed at by most Sierra Leoneans.

December 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm
(12) Hajj says:

I am a devout muslim. In Sierra Leone where the muslims dominates the christians in percentage wise, there is no line drawn between Christianity and Mohamedanism. During the Islamic festivals (Ramadan and the Eids) christians patronizes muslims in full force, and, when it comes to Christmas, the muslims will do the same. So what’s the big force. Let us realize that Islam is a compassionate and peaceful religion.
Let us ignore ignore the half educated muslims that claimed themselves
as educated who don’t know their right from their left.
May Allah have mercy on them. Ameen.

December 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(13) Abdlilah says:

I see no wrong in Wishing someone (not of your faith) ‘a good time’ whatsoever.This is one of the opportunities to be respectful to someone’s choice of faith.

December 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm
(14) Haliru says:

Items 1-13 are nice and educative. When there is no categorical rule prohibiting the act, than it is very much permissible. Besides, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus who is considered to be revered like Moses and Prophet Muhammad in Islam. Many Muslims grounded in the knowledge of Islam permitted wishing others happy birthday of Jesus, and it doesn’t go beyond that. Note that we are talking about Christmas and not any other thing as every issue stands on it’s own merit and worth!!!

December 29, 2012 at 8:32 am
(15) bruce says:

Zakir,

How do you know that Eid ul Fitr and EId Ul Adha were not created by men and not by Allah? Your belief in these traditions has been written in a book by men. Has anyone seen Allah acutally write something to keep these days holy?

December 30, 2012 at 4:49 am
(16) samson "abdul alim" sabuero barrientos says:

I am a Muslim living in the Philippines, predominated by Christians. A Muslim should live modestly and peaceably with Non-Muslims. During Islamic Holidays, Christians used to celebrate with us, we dine and have good fellowships. During Christian Holidays, even if we do not believe the reasons of the theirs celebrations, out of mutual respect, we also made reciprocal activities together. We always maintain an equilibrium on this matters. Allah (swt) knows every bit of our being. No matter what happens, we will live and die as Muslims, believing on the Absolute Oneness of the Divine Creator, Allah (swt), where at the same time making a balance on how to live and love our fellowmen, the Non Muslims around us.

January 3, 2013 at 7:57 am
(17) Gur Saran Suri says:

In the Quran, there are many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called ‘Isa in Arabic). The Quran recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life as a respected prophet of God.
So what is wrong about Muslims even celebrating his birth?

January 3, 2013 at 8:00 am
(18) Abdulmalik says:

Islam Is A Religion Of Peace…We As Muslims Should Learn To Promote And Allow Peace For A Better World And For The Sake Of The Upcoming Generation…I Dont See Anything Wrong In Wishing A Fellow Man Happy Holidays During Their Festive Period…For Te Fact That We Are Not Meant To Celebrate With Them Doesnt Mean We Shudnt Keep A Good Relationship With Our Xtian Brothers n Sisters…The World I A Changed Place With Muslim and Xtians Working In The Same Organisation All In The Interest Of Making The World A Better Place….It Shudnt Be Haeard That A Muslim Is Hindering The Existence Of Peace…And We Should Remember The Word Of Our Prohet S.A.W…That Says….”If A Fellow Man Makes You Feel Bad, You Should Not Swear Vengence, You Should Only Promise Not To Do Same To A Fellow Man…So How Then Do We Expect Our Xtian Associates To Feel When We Dont Wish Them Joy And Happiness On The Day They Celebrate Their Festivities? Allah Knows Best…May HE Guide Us To The Right Part…Salamu Alaikum

January 3, 2013 at 8:14 am
(19) DOC says:

If Islam is the religion, why do Islamists kill non muslims, forbid the non mulim religions in Islamist countries, convert by force and intimidation, speak unholy words about other religions, treat muslim women with less than the civil rights of Western countries, do NOT allow the Bible in muslim countries,(insecurity in the Islamic faith), need I go on? I have lived in North Africa and studied Islam. While the Quran may sound peaceful, the people do NOT extend the hand of peace to non-muslims.
Mohammad does not have the same background, childhood, manhood, or proclaim the same “love thy neighbor” that Jesus proclaimed. Mohammad’s life was not a peaceful life.

Finally, Blessings be Upon ALL who treat each other with respect

January 3, 2013 at 8:29 am
(20) islam says:

Islam rules maintaining good relation with non muslims . Greeting christians on their religious ocassions is a kind gesturet & does not at all mean that we agree with christians on their particular belief of Jesus being GOD , same as when christians congratulate muslims on their Eid does not mean that the Christians have converted to Islam .
Islam rules co existence watch this video for proof .. go to link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=848SO0L0Ckg&feature=plcp

January 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm
(21) Kissy says:

All religion is crap. Consider the many lives lost in propagation on the diverse religions. All religions are from hell.

January 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm
(22) nila says:

Sorry DOC.. i never see Islamist kill non Muslims, you have to be brave to observe from both side reason not only from your ego. This statement is for all who have same thoughts.

If you all brave enough to take a look at Qur’an, and think with your common sense and see what happen in this era, you will find answer.

Every Muslims open for discussions, im sure your muslim friend will explain for you..

January 4, 2013 at 12:12 am
(23) Sakinah says:

ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM, Alhamdulilla…. If a non Muslim say to me merry Christmas, I say season greetings or happy holiday’s. Which means your not hurting no ones feelings by not speaking back. And your not accepting another holiday that’s not Islam or not committing shirk. May Allah bless us all. Allah knows best. Inshallah ta’ ala.

January 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm
(24) Ameen says:

I quickly want to comment on what Hajj from Sieria Leone wrote ‘ Christians and Mohammedanism!’ I am good Muslim, I never want to be known or called Mohammadanism! What kind of Muslim called himself this name. Please brov, don’t use that word for the Muslims again, always use the word Muslim and not Mohammedanism! Jazakirllahu qairu.

January 5, 2013 at 1:12 am
(25) Muda says:

Salam

Thank everyone for there comments. Have never seen any part of the Quran or hadith that said don’t greet your fellow on holiday. Greeting christian during their festival does not mean that your believe in there religion as a Muslim.

May Almighty Allah guide us onto the right path.

January 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm
(26) @adesina says:

Well, all said and done,i will take my own case as case study i grew up in an environment where no religion bundary infact when we celebrate either eil-ilfitri or eil-ada all the chritians and non chritian will gather in an hall together with muslim and eat and drink samething happen when the christians are doing chrismas and new year even easter and threre was peace co-existing then.infact both my prim.and secondary schools were christians name school.and up till now that did not make me to be a christian alhamudulilahi we should leave the jugment to GOD and nothing bad in wishing them happy holiday only guard against your iman and your religion wish is islam.
thanks.

January 9, 2013 at 1:57 am
(27) Abdlilah says:

This is an issue that is answered by the sunnah of Mohammed(PBH).
There is no faith by force but by good will. Everyone has a choice of faith with due respect. Why waste time on petty issues when there are big ones ?

November 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm
(28) Shoeb says:

There are several sayings of the prophet(P.b.u.h) not to put pressure or to damage or hurt people of other religion. I as a muslim am not participating in any of the rituals but I wish them good. What I am afraid of as a muslim is that 1) am I wishing them to have a good worship of their God/Gods (which is certianly wrong) , 2) As a friends I must participate in their joy (and sorrows) but the least I am doing is by wishing them (e.g. merry christmas or happy diwali…) which is also important. So if any muslim brother with some refernce form Holy Quran or Hadis may throw some light.

December 19, 2013 at 8:34 am
(29) Mutee Al-Mahdi says:

I personally wish my family and friends Happy Holidays and also on the coming of the new year. It does not, I believe as a revert to Islam, take away from my strong belief system. Allahu Akbar

December 19, 2013 at 9:46 am
(30) hamza says:

Slm,am a muslim.all those who contributed their thanks

December 20, 2013 at 4:35 am
(31) abdullah says:

We start of with a Quote,

“Saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication or killing someone”

Subhanallah!!!

This is how important it is for US NOT TO SAY THESE WORDS!! When we say it , it means WE AGREE WITH THIS WHOLE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION THING!
ASTAGFIRULLAAH !

Christmas… more to do with Santa Claus than Jesus according to the Christians When you are wishing someone ‘Merry Christmas’, without you realising you are agreeing that God has a son and he (the Son of God) was born on 25th December.

Astagfirullah Al Azim!

May Allah Save us from saying such kufr words! Ameen!
Saying God has a son is a 100% Shirk (the greatest sin in Islam), as Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Allah begets not, nor was He begotten” [Quran, 112: 3]

So O’Muslims! A Reminder to myself and then you all, for us not to celebrate this “fake day” and not to say merry christmas to anyone, but rather just say have a
nice holiday as this is far better then saying merry christmas
May Allah Save us from saying words of kufr / shirk and May Allah forgive us of our sins and guide the misguided!

SUMMA AMEEN!

There might not be a direct statement from the Quran or hadith which made it haram but it’s obvious that in sunnah of the beloved prophet its highly prohibited in irrespective of hurting other people’s feeling.

For us is our religion and for them is their religion.

December 20, 2013 at 7:54 am
(32) Saeid says:

First let me address the prejudiced comments. This is not a non-Muslim country. By saying Muslim should respect Christmas while “living in our country” you are labeling USA as a Christian country. The Jewish faith does not believe in Christmas. They own USA.

SECOND: This is a Muslim faith question and comments were to be made by Muslims as to which side of the argument they support. Not for Non-Muslim SELFISH AND PREJUDICE comments.

And FINALLY: it called Happy Holidays so that non-
Christians or Jews can wish their friends and coworkers well wishes without accepting their ideology.

December 20, 2013 at 10:52 am
(33) luqman odejayi says:

You see issue like this is not what everybody is expected to contribute,with due respect to all contributor,Allah bless us with islam and he guide us with his prophet that thaught us how to practise it, Today prophet is no more but islam still remain guided in the hand of guided scholars(ah alusunat wa jamaht) if you are in doubt ask your guided scholar for better explanation

December 21, 2013 at 11:54 am
(34) Folohunsho ILALA says:

As-salaamu alaykum. I belief all mankind are from Adam. We are all from the same family. Regardless all differences we are all human being. And Islam itself means PEACE. Let allow PEACE to continuing reign among all mankind. I belief that exchanging greeting, good wishing, etc are the source and encouraging PEACE

December 23, 2013 at 12:01 am
(35) sabil says:

In islam everything is clear, we have to show some respect to anyone regardless of their background.in terms of social life, islam guides its followers to be just,well behaved to people of different faiths but in terms of keeping islamic creed or faith, it is clear that your religion is yours,my religion is mine. Islam teaches to worship only one god, while another religion has many gods to worship, so how can a moslem wish happiness or merry chrismast to people worshipping more than one god.? Of course, saying that will nullify their islamic belief.

December 25, 2013 at 3:09 am
(36) Abukar Gas says:

Wishing a non muslim merry christmas isnt allowed in islam rather it is a form of shirk considering you are accepting isa (‘aleehi salaam) as the son of Allah that is great shirk indeed . And to even participate in their rituals and customs of christmas is even worse as it is stated in the Quran In surah maryam 88, 89 and 90
And Allah subhana wut ta’aalaa knows best

December 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm
(37) JIm says:

Salam,

This is a difficult situation where Muslims people wants to respect there friends of different faith but at the same time to full fill there reasons for being here, I am also in this situation but remember one thing, Allah knows what is in your heart, do want you think is best and remember Allah will be on your side if you are doing your best to worship him. as a Muslim, we need to respect all religion, and other religions have mostly the same rules. I cannot say if we can or cannot say happy holidays because I a not a scholar or not even close. I do believe to respect all religion like Muslim should do and not to anger others, Muslims should come up with a phrase for these holidays which right now is Happy Holiday that will not effect Muslims believes and not be rude to anyone else, for those who or not Muslims, I apologize if I am saying something wrong but this is a difficult situation where Muslims wants to be respectful but not to break their rules. I am a Muslim that clean up a church every Tuesday in a volunteer program and 95 percent of my friends or catholic and Christine, they are now helping me figure this problem out together and are not upset with this topic at all but does see it as a difficult situation.

December 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm
(38) Gwen says:

Zakir, as a Muslim woman, you are an embarassment to me. If my islam is real, then people will see it in my life. I do not need to push it on anyone.

December 27, 2013 at 1:26 am
(39) Mandyj67 says:

Can’t see the harm in wishing people happiness-
regardless of the circumstances.

December 31, 2013 at 5:58 am
(40) kobe says:

The word ‘Christmas’ is not even present in the entire Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas with one exception, the decoration of tree. Fortunately, for the Christians, the Bible does has a word or two to say on the decoration of the Christmas tree, but unfortunately for them, their own Bible criticizes the use of decorating tree:

“The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:3,4).
Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus’ birth is mentioned in the Bible.
Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their ‘god’ of light, Mithra. “In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities”.

If Jesus meant his ‘Ummah’ to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. Even the ‘supposed pseudo-companions’ of Jesus (and not the companions of Jesus mentioned in the Quran who called themselves as Muslims) mentioned in the bible made many innovations in their religion, but celebrating Christmas was not their endeavor.

January 3, 2014 at 12:21 am
(41) haleem says:

Holy Quraán describe (002:083) And speak with the people in good manner. Speak politely and behave in good manner with the people in general. Apart from this the most desired verse of Holy Quraán which is completely ignored by Muslims is the one here: And We have not sent you (O! Mohammed) but as mercy for all the worlds.﴾021:107﴿. Mercy covers complete behavioral science of human-beings. Let us go to the most Islamic secular Verse: For everyone there is a direction to which he turns his face. Strive, then, to excel each other in good deeds. Wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together. Allah is certainly powerful over everything. (2:148) hence under this Quraánic behavioral attribute (that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual), to greet a non-Muslim on their festival is not a sin nor a bida’th rather it is curtsey, it doesn’t come under the preview of worship as well.

February 19, 2014 at 10:06 am
(42) Grace says:

Allah God and Jesus Christ God are the same

There is no “us” and “them”

Why would we want to make it so?

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