Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

At the time of writing, we are in the ‘festive season’ according to Christians – Christmas time. And many Muslims around the world will be actually taking part in these festivities. They will do this without really questioning what they are doing, without even asking themselves if, as Muslims, they should be partaking in this.

The fact is that Muslims should not be taking part in Christmas or other festivals that are not based in Islam, that do not uphold the principles that we have been taught by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But many Muslims do. A sad fact and one that undermines the establishing of Islam and a united Ummah.

Why does it undermine things?

Firstly, we are Muslims and we distinguish ourselves as being Muslims and following Islam. There is no need to follow the tradition of another religion, especially if we have been Commanded by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) not to. Allah Has Prescribed for us the festivities we should follow and there is no need to add to this by following something else. If celebrating Christmas was allowed, it would have been stated in hadith or the Qur’an. If doing this was ok, then would there be a need for Islam? Isn’t Islam enough for the Muslims?

“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]

Secondly, Christmas is a pagan festival – it has NOTHING to do with Christianity. It isn’t the birthday of Isa/Jesus (as) and many Christians know this. Christmas is depicted as being lots of snow, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Reindeers, magical things – nothing to do with Christianity. It doesn’t snow in the Middle East, there’s no Christmas trees there, no such thing as Santa Claus, no such things as flying reindeers – absolutely nothing to do with Isa/Jesus (as). So what we are actually engaging in has no basis in any religion and as Muslims are supposed to be religious, then this is a bit hypocritical. Christmas has nothing to do with Allah or the Prophets, so as Muslims, it has nothing to do with us.

Even if Christmas WAS the birthday of Isa/Jesus (as), this is not something to be celebrated as, in Islam, Muslims are not supposed to celebrate birthdays. We do not celebrate the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday and this was not done by the Sahabas (Companions) either. Those Muslims who do celebrate birthdays need to check their beliefs and look into why Islam does not allow this.

Another point is that Christmas is a commercial affair these days. It’s all about selling presents, making money out of Christmas and this in itself is wrong. Many families are put under stress and the financial burden of trying to keep up with Christmas. People in the UK even start buying for Christmas months in advance to help with the finances. And if you cannot give presents, then how does this make you look? Any festivity that puts this kind of pressure and adversity on people is wrong. Even Eid is starting to go this way and Muslims need to wake up to this and not let festivities get out of hand.

Muslims are not Christians, pagans, jews, buddhists, hindus, sikhs, atheists or belonging to any other religion or way of life. Muslims are Muslims and follow Islam. By celebrating Christmas you are actually following something else. And this undermines the strength of the Ummah. This is one of the reasons why the Ummah is weak – we do not adhere to Islam and only Islam. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are a Muslim and so do not celebrate Christmas. Non-Muslims respect this but it seems that Muslims do not want to feel like they are upsetting others.

The following hadiths are examples of how Muslims should not imitate the actions of non-Muslims.

On the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Aas who said: “The Messenger of Allah saw me wearing two saffron garments and he said: ‘Indeed these are from the dress of the Kuffaar so do not wear them.’ [Collected by Muslim (1/144), An-Nisaaee (2/298), Al-Haakim (4/190), and Ahmad in his Musnad (2/172, 164, 193, 207, and 211)]

At-Tirmidhi narrated that Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: “He is not one of us who imitates other than us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians.”

At-Tabarani and Abu Dawud narrated that Ibn Umar and Hudhayfah رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: “Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.”

Al-Bayhaqi reported in his Sunan that Anas Bin Maalik رضي الله عنه said: “When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم came to Medina, the people had two holidays from the days of Jahiliyyah.”

He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: “When I came to you, you had two days which you used to celebrate in Jahiliyyah. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has replaced them for you with better days, the days of slaughter (Adhaa) and the day of fitr.”

What does Christmas mean to most people? Well most people are not devout Christians and do not even believe Christmas to be connected to Isa/Jesus (as). For these people, Christmas is just a time to feel good, have parties, have a good time. And that’s about it. This is not what Muslims are about or should be about.

Muslims need to start standing up for Islam and stop acting like non-Muslims. We are not Christians and do not hold to those beliefs, unless they coincide with what is from Qur’an and Sunnah. We are not pagans, taking part in rituals that have no significance with Allah.

This is not about Muslims being segregated from society but more the opposite. This is about Muslims standing up and being identified as Muslims – not as though they have some confused fusion of identities. Islam is clear and Muslims need to be also. By being identified as Muslims, what Muslims stand for, what Islam stands for, you will gain respect from other Muslims, gain understanding and respect from non-Muslims and start to create societies where Muslims can be seen to have their place. This is about societies welcoming Muslims and Islam – it isn’t about eating into Islamic identity, which is what those Muslims are doing who are taking part in Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Hannukah and other non-Islamic festivals.

What should Muslims do?

Muslims need to stop engaging in Christmas festivities, parties, the giving of presents, sending cards, giving Christmas greetings. This is not Islamic so don’t have one foot in Islam and one foot in something else – that is a hypocritical stance to have. Instead, celebrate Islam – you have two Eids and can make the most of this. Be devout and upstanding Muslims that non-Muslims can respect for their Islamic values and morals and beliefs. If you don’t then what do you stand for?

Muslims need to come to terms with an Islamic identity and the fact that we are ordered by Allah not to imitate the kufaar – the non-Muslims. If anything, the non-Muslims have much to gain by imitating Muslims and learning from Muslims. We should be the role models, not the other way round. How will non-Muslims learn the errors of their ways, if we imitate them? Also, if we imitate the non-Muslims in the things they do, then where do you draw the line? Would you take part in Diwali which celebrates the many gods of the hindus? This would be committing shirk – the worst sin in Islam. The fairest and most just way is to not engage in festivities that are not Islamic.

Muslim parents need to explain to the schools that their children attend about Islamic values and why their children shouldnt take part in Christmas plays. This increases their understanding about Islam and helps future Muslims. Whenever I have explained things to non-Muslims, they have never looked at me in a bad way but respected me for my beliefs.

Explain to non-Muslims about Islamic values and how we celebrate on Eid. They are not aliens and will understand.

Muslims… you need to act like Muslims and BE Muslims, following Islam and showing everyone the beauty of Islam.

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Comments
  1. Obaid Siraj says:

    Asalaam Walikum -

    Thank You for sharing the info.

    Can you please advise if wishing someone Merry Xmas or Happy Diwali wrong?
    I personally think its just fine as long you mean it n limit it to just that.

    I stay / work in a society where no one looks down upon anyone for their personal religious beliefs.
    I tell myself that I should be confident about what ISLAM is & stop fearing that I am leyting down my religion with a mere greeting. My ISLAM is defintly more stronger than that.

    I agree that schools have too much of a Christian or Hindu influence.. and I am completly against them. I for one wil defintly talk to their authorities when my kid is influenced into any ‘relegious’ acts.

    • maverick says:

      Wa alaikum salaam – from what I know wishing someone Merry Xmas or Happy Diwali is wrong on the basis that you are wishing upon them something that is actually not halaal. As a Muslim, we need to help people and guide them to the truth. If we endorse their mistakes then this doesn’t help. The best position is that you respond in a way that doesn’t offend, without promoting their beliefs and without you doing anything haraam. If you work on people and let them know what you stand for as a Muslim, you can avoid this kind of awkwardness and situations with work colleagues or friends because they will understand that you don’t celebrate this. Non-Muslims around me know I do not celebrate Christmas and Diwali etc and this makes it easier to respond to them. I simply wish them a nice break. This site is very good – simply type into the search “Christmas” or “celebrations” and read the rulings, which are based on Qur’an and hadith. Hope that helps.

  2. Your American Muslim Brother says:

    I completely disagree. First of all, as you correctly noted, Christmas is not a Christian holiday. Celebrating Christmas is not in any way following the Christian faith.

    Second, even if it were a Christian holiday, we were NOT commanded by Allah or the Qu’ran not to participate in festivities other than the Islamic ones. You misunderstand, as many Muslims do, the verse to which you cited. “Whoever seeks a RELIGION other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him…” We are not seeking another religion; rather, we are demonstrating that, as Muslims, we are inclusive of everyone in our society. Contrary to what you say, we should not distinguish ourselves by isolating ourselves from the society with which we interact. Doing so scares non-Muslims, and discourages the ones interested in Islam from approaching us and asking about it.

    Allah clearly and unambiguously explained what we should not do, and celebrating with non-Muslims is not one of the things he probihibited.

    Not only is celebrating Christmas not prohibited, but it also helps in spreading the message of Islam. When I celebrate Christmas, everyone there knows that I am a Muslim and that I did not traditionally celebrate Christmas. This results in two things: 1) I am always asked about Islam and 2) when it’s time for a Muslim holiday, non-Muslims are happy to join me. I do not know if this will result in any conversions to Islam — but at least getting the message out there, that we are a peaceful, inclusive bunch, is not such a bad thing. It certainly is better, in my view, than to isolate ourselves and refuse to associate with non-Muslims in the name of Islam — a religion that never demanded this.

    It sounds like you are the one who needs to “check your beliefs” because I am really tired of Muslims like yourself adding or coming up with Islamic rules with absolutely no basis in our religion, Qu’ranic or otherwise.

    • maverick says:

      Brother, if you disagree then you should disagree on the basis of Qur’an and Sunnah, which you haven’t done. So I would suggest you bring forward evidences that support your view and that also tackle the evidences I have quoted. I notice that you completely ignore the hadiths quoted, which clearly show what Allah and His Rasool Command. Again, you need to check your beliefs. Islam is not a fusion of other religions and neither is it Islamic to support non-Islamic traditions. And you do not need to engage in non-Islamic traditions to give dawah – I am sure that if this is the case, you would be able to provide evidence of the Prophet (pbuh) engaging in the idol worshop of the arabs, so that he would be asked about Islam. But it is not the case. The challenge is there for you – bring forward evidences that the Prophet (pbuh) did as you are suggesting. There are many references that can be quoted by modern and classic scholars that support what I have written. Perhaps you need to do more research?

    • armaan says:

      Quran 19:88-92

      They say: “(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!” Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.”

      Quran 112

      Say: He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begets not nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.

      Greeting on Christmas

      According to Islam, God neither begets nor he is begotten & the biggest abuse you can give to God is to say “He begot a son”. This is because; begetting is a lower animal function of sex which cannot be attributed to God.

      According to Christianity, Jesus (pbuh) is the only begotten son of God & Christmas is celebrated as his birthday. Since this is considered as the biggest abuse given to God, Muslims are not allowed to wish Christians on this day.

  3. Your American Muslim Brother says:

    Idol worship of the Arabs? So you are saying that celebrating Christmas (eating food and buying and sharing presents) is equivalent to going to church and believing in the Trinity? That is not a comparison that reflects my suggestion. Celebrating Christmas, especially in the U.S., has nothing to do with practicing Christianity.

    Indeed, the Prophet did engage with Jews and Ahteists, and while I’m not sure if he particularly enagaged in other religious festivities, he certainly did not isolate himself from them.

    The Hadiths you quote are similarly misleading. Imitating Christians and Jews means practicing their faith, not eating what they eat on their special holidays. If that were the case, almost anything we ate would be an imitation because chances are, they eat it too. Eating and giving gifts is not inconsistent with Islam, so long as there is no pork or alcohol involved. In celebrating with them, I am not imitating them; rather, I am further demonstrating that Islam is not anti-non-Islamic beliefs.

    Finally, scholars’ opinions are exactly what I dispute. Islam is a religion that was designed for everyone to understand clearly, without the need for scholarly interpretations. Scholars have historically divided religions based on their subjective opinions on what religions prescribe. I do not want this to happen to Islam (but I am afraid it is too late). What is prohibited in Islam is prohibited clearly and conspicuously. Everything else is permitted.

    In any event, thank you for not deleting my comment, and I apologize for the hostile tone at the end of my first one.

    • maverick says:

      It’s clear brother that you have a lot to learn about Islam. For a start you say you do not know what the Prophet (pbuh) did with religious festivities. My post is not about disengaging with non-Muslims and I have written this clearly. We DO need to engage because we are obliged to spread the message of Islam, promote Islam, and live according to Islam, as our example is a positive influence on others.

      In terms of imitating the non-Muslims, maybe you should read up on this so that you are clear about what is allowed and what isn’t and you may find that what I am saying is not so outrageous. But it is a bit shortsighted to be having a go at what I am saying without having looked into things. And I agree that scholars opinions should be disputed because there are a lot out there who mislead people. But to disregard them as a rule is not a good thing and will lead to your learning being swayed by your own views, rather than those based in sound Qur’an and Hadith. Scholars are there to help us understand how to implement laws and rulings, and this is helpful for people who are not studying Islam nor making Islam the centre of their lives. But even if you take this aside, then you would have to explain how you have come to the understanding that the hadiths I have mentioned are misleading and explain what is your understanding based upon, seeing as you are not a scholar either.

      Supporting another religion and its festivities is not what Muslims do nor what Islam says and I would challenge you to bring forward any evidence in which Allah or His Prophet (pbuh) Have ordered us to follow these pagan rituals. For example the 10th of Muharram is a day of fast for the Jews. The Prophet (pbuh) told the Muslims to also fast that day because of Islam’s link to Prophet Musa (as). Yet, the Prophet (pbuh) also said to fast an extra day, either the day before or the day after, so that we do not resemble the jews in their religious activities. And this is the thrust of my post above. We do not engage in things that are part of the religious activities of another religion. Christmas (regardless of its origins) is clearly a practise of the Christians and so we should not engage in these activities. I don’t even need a scholar to come to this conclusion and I feel concern for you that you do not see this logic.

      The Prophet (pbuh) engaged with everyone when giving da’wah and spreading Islam – jews, christians, arabs, non-arabs, atheists, idol-worshippers – but he did not imitate them or partake in their festivities. I am sure if your view is correct, you would be able to bring an example from the Prophet (pbuh) which clearly shows him imitating non-Muslims and partaking in their festivities. If you cannot, then I really do not understand why you are disputing the above.

      I am not preaching segregation but I am saying that Muslims should practise Islam and only Islam, rather than having one foot in Islam and one foot in something else. And by doing that, non-Muslims will be able to see the undiluted value of Islam.

      Finally, you are bringing no evidences to support your view, which would be the Islamic thing to do. Please discuss your differences with reference to hadith and what the Prophet (pbuh) did and said, rather than putting your own views on the table. I am sure you will agree that you are not setting any laws in Islam and don’t have the right to do this and neither do I – I am simply relaying an Islamic ruling to you and others and this is not something I am creating as my opinion. If you do not know, then more research would be required of you, rather than criticism.

      I think I have laboured my points long enough. Thank you for your comments, which I cannot agree with on the basis of sound established Islam rulings, Qur’an and hadith and on the lack of evidence, which you have not brought forward to support your comments.

      I pray that Allah Guides you to an deeper understanding of Islam. Salaams

    • armaan says:

      u r thinking like american not muslims
      my friend once again please go to madsara and say kalimah
      BE A MUSLIM NOT AMERICAN

  4. Suleyman Saney Abdinoor says:

    May the almighty lead us all to the right path.ameen

  5. gidado muhammad tukur says:

    salam,
    jazakallahu bikhair

  6. [...] after all this effort, that benefits a person in the HereAfter. Look at what’s happened with Christmas and the distortions and mistruths that are surrounding the Prophet Isa [...]

  7. Rea says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    It is not permissible to celebrate the days of the Jews and Christians, as we have the two Eids which are superior. If we are going to give dawah, we need to do it in the manner that Allah and His Messenger prescribed.

    Notice this hadith:

    The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has said: Do not over praise me as the Christians over-praised the son of Mary. I am His slave so say: ‘Allah’s slave and messenger’ [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

    “… The most truthful speech is the Book of Allaah. The best way is the way of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are the novelties and every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.” [Saheeh according to Sheikh al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan in-Nasaa'ee (no. 1487)]

    The Noble Qur’an 4:152

    And those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards, and Allâh is Ever Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    I used to be Christian, and please do not kid yourself. Christmas (to Christians and many others) is about Christ. Hence the name (Christ/mas). We used to sing songs, and the exchange of gifts is supposed to represent when the three wise men traveled to visit the birth of Eesaa. It is a paganistic holiday and has no good in it for us to practice it. It is worship for most, we sang songs praising Christ, went into debt giving gifts. Conforming to other’s way of life, does not make them respect your way of life more. It does not shed light on Islam. I had people at my job who respected that I did not celebrate Christmas, and would in turn, give me a card wishing me a happy Ramadan. I never had to blend in. As long as you are still nice, cordial, caring, giving, you don’t have to compromise what Allah wants for what Bob and Carmen down the hall prefer you to do. No disrespect intended, but it is an illusion to think people actually accept you as a full blown Muslim. Allah says they won’t be happy until we do what they do. Re-read surrah kaffirun.

  8. Jay says:

    . I didn’t know wishing a Christian “Merry Christmas” was such a big fuss. I am Muslim. The proof given to tell Muslims to not wish or celebrate Christmas is concrete! but here is the problem; most of whatever we do is an imitation of the west (sad but true). Singing, Listening and recording music. Producing, directing movies and other forms of media entertainment. creating capitalist forms of Government. Running western modernized structured banks. Railroads. Cars. Modern Weapons. Digital gadgets. 9-5 jobs. Schools and their systems. The course structures. Power-plants. Dams built to generate electrical energy. Cosmetics. Modern medicine. Malls. Skyscrapers. Hospitals. And the list goes on…

    I’ve traveled to many places and experienced people and their culture. I have come to the conclusion that Islam is the best. but I feel there is not much left in it. When our young is eager to follow, and when they take their time to choose. This is the option they have got;

    1) WEST

    2) ISLAM
    - Where there is terrorism common
    - Maids from Indonesia getting raped in Saud
    - Young brides being locked up, raped and mutilated in Afghanistan
    - Malay Muslims demanding bribes off Chinese businessmen
    - Shias of Pakistan being target killed every day (other than suicide bombs n wat not)
    - Asaad killing his own Sunni Syrians
    - Saddam killing his own Shia iraqis
    - King of Saud FINALLY allows women to vote… in 2014!!!!
    - All our leaders are masters of Manipulation, Suppression and busy in personal Indulgence.
    - Turks killing the kurds
    - Sudan’s muslims bombing the christians
    - Bengladeshis/Pakistanis dancing to Indian traditions

    As u can see the list is very negative for Muslims. Also, the West is empty, cause they have nothing to offer but illusions. A wise man once said, The east sleeps on the Truth and the west lives on lies.

    The Islam you talk about, is the Islam of 1400 years ago, when there were hardly a Million Muslims. Islam is meant for all mankind. It is a message of peace and harmony. But people have made it look Terrifying!… Now the Question is; in a world of 7 billion, with muslims spread out in all corners would the same rules apply?
    The SUNNAH would apply to a 100% and is the best advice! but it is with its conditions;
    - There has to be an Ummah, I dont see ONE Ummah.
    - There has to be one culture. I dont see ONE culture.
    - There has to be a leader, A Khalifa or an Imam. NO CHANCE THERE until Mehdi returns!

    Since Islam is segregated to the point where each individual now thinks it is okay to apply his own interpretation to whatever requires it, we should understand that there will b as many conclusions as there are people. Just as I have come up with my own. And you all have done so yourselves.

    The Prophet PBUH, used to listen to people. He used to take advices. And yes! he changed rules to what he saw fit for a muslim Ummah. Now, is there an Ummah?

    The Prophet isn’t here and neither is there any Ummah. When it comes to problems like these we need to take guidance from the Hadith and listen to the (so-called) Ummah’s problems. I have a problem. I am in a western country with 99% non-muslims. I am alone here. And on the 25th of Dec when everyone has their happy face on, I dont wana seem grumpy. I wana wish them their Christmas well. Not that I believe in Santa, or anything to do with Christmas. I dont celebrate it at home or with people. I dont bring a tree at home and decorate it. But I believe wishing Christians a Merry Christmas with a smile is not wrong or Shirk or imitation in any way.

  9. Abdullah S Salim says:

    Waaeikum salaam,
    If we are truly Muslim, we are truly strongly on how we strictly.z

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