Why it’s impermissible for Muslims to say “Merry Christmas”
Christmas is just around the corner and many Muslims, especially those living in the West, will undoubtedly be surrounded by the atmosphere and vibe this holiday has to offer. The Christmas trees, lights, the gifts, the greetings…etc. The Christmas spirit will be manifested all over town. Naturally, many Muslims will say “Merry Christmas” to their fellow Christian friends as what is thought to be a token of kind gesture, respect and tolerance. It all seems traditional and harmless right ?
By consensus, greeting the Christians on Christmas is ruled as haram. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “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.
No doubt, it’s essential that we as Muslims display the utmost respect to all fellow beings regardless of religion. Islam teaches us co-existence and tolerance towards people of different faiths. No one should force his/her belief upon the other. “To you is your Deen, and to me is mine.”
However, we need to draw the line between what is respect and tolerance and what is overstepping the Islamic boundaries. Do we fully understand what it means to greet someone for Christmas, let alone celebrate it ? Do you really know what Christmas is all about ?
To many, it may be a surprise that some Christians don’t even celebrate nor agree with the practiced rituals of Christmas. Why ? Because Christmas has its roots associated with Paganism. Otherwise, it’s a religious time to commemorate the birth of Jesus who some take as God and others as the son of God,
In hadith Qudsi: “ Allah says: “The son of Adam has lied against me but he has no right to do so, and he has abused me but he has no right to do so. As for his lie, it is his saying that I cannot recreate him as I did before. As for his abuse, it is his saying that I have a son, but I am glorified above taking a wife or a son.” (Bukhari)
Allah says in the Quran: “And they say: “The Most Beneficent (Allah) has begotten a son (or offspring). You have certainly made an outrageous claim, by which the heavens are about to burst, the earth to split apart, and the mountains to crumble to pieces, that they ascribe a son (or offspring) to the Most Beneficent (Allah). But it does not befit for (the Majesty of) the Most Beneficent (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Beneficent (Allah) as a slave. (Maryam 19:88-93)
Saying that Jesus is God or has taken a son is to us, the highest form of blasphemy against Allah and goes against our fundamental belief in Monotheism. So when we wish someone a Merry Christmas, we are indirectly saying : Have a happy time celebrating the birth of “God” or the “son of God”. Wa nauzubillah
What Christians see as a traditional or spiritual practice, is considered blasphemous to us, therefore, there is no need to congratulate them for this occasion. We must respect those who choose to celebrate Christmas and not spread any hatred for practicing what they believe. But we should also be conscious of our Creator and the fundamentals of Islam. Sometimes we tend to ensure that we show the utmost respect for people of other faiths, and yet forget Allah’s rights over us.
Unfortunately, there will be Muslims who will continue to believe that it’s okay to participate in Christmas, yet some Christians will continue to refuse to take part in such holiday.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Whoever imitates a people is one of them.’” (Abu Dawood)