Exchanging Christmas greetings with non-Muslims

In the name of Allāh, ar-Raḥmān (the most merciful), ar-Raḥīm (the bestower of mercy).

All praise is for Allāh, the Lord of the worlds, and may peace and salutations be upon His noble Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ, his family, companions and followers.

{Say, “He is Allāh, [who is] One. Allāh, as-Samad (Eternal Refuge). He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”} [112:1-4]

Shirk is the most detested action to Allāh, there is no right greater than the right to Allāh of Tawḥīd, subsequently, there is no crime more severe than violating the right of Allāh by committing Shirk. This is why Allāh described Shirk as the most severe form of injustice,

{And [remember] when Luqmān said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son, do not commit Shirk (direct worship to other than Allāh). Verily Shirk is a most-severe injustice} [31:13]

It is the only sin which, if a person dies upon it without repentance, there is no forgiveness or salvation, and his final abode is the Fire.

{Indeed, he who commits Shirk (associates others with Allāh) – Allāh has prevented him from Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And the wrongdoers will not have any helpers} [05:72]

The obligation upon Muslims is to detest Shirk, and every statement, action, and festival relating to Shirk. We must free and dissociate ourselves from Kufr, the people of Kufr and their festivals.

{Say, “O disbelievers. I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion”} [109:01-06]

AbdurRaḥmān as-Sa’adi (rahimahullah) said, “Verily Allāh distinguished between the two groups, and separated between the two people. He said: {To you be your religion, and to me my religion} and He said, {Say: Everyone acts according to his own disposition…} And He said, {If they reject you, then say: My deeds are mine and your deeds are yours. You are not accountable for what I do, nor am I accountable for what you do}”. [1]

Christmas is a pagan festival in its origin, utilised thereafter by Christians as a day “the son of god” was born. It has now been commercialised such that atheists and secularists also celebrate this day. It is therefore a day that combines the evil of Shirk (paganism), Christianity, atheism, secularism, and commercialism.

Congratulations and greetings are only given to symbolise happiness, pleasure, and acceptance. Would any sane person congratulate and greet another person who claimed his wife had fornicated?! Or that she has an illegitimate son born out of wedlock?! How then can any sane Muslim greet and congratulate a non-Muslim who claims the son of Allāh was born on this day… Worse still, greetings and well-wishes are exchanged on the very day it is claimed the son of god was born.

{…And they said Ar-Raḥmān (The Most Merciful) has taken a son. You have come with an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth almost splits open and the mountains almost collapse in devastation. That they attribute a son to Ar-Raḥmān (the most merciful)} [19:88]

Consider the reaction of Prophet Ibrāhīm (‘alayhi as-salām) to the festival which was celebrated by his beloved father and tribesmen. He never greeted them, gave them well-wishes, exchange gifts, cards or partook in it. Rather, he isolated himself completely from them, and spoke against it; in fact he undermined their belief to prove its falsehood, by destroying their idols. His reaction of this festival of Shirk was so severe, that his people sought to burn him in a fire.

{So he destroyed them [the idols] into small pieces, except the large idol among them, that they might return to it [and question].

They said, “Who has done this to our gods? Indeed, he is of the wrongdoers.”

They said, “We heard a young man mention them who is called Ibrāhīm.”

They said, “Then bring him before the eyes of the people that they may testify.”

They said, “Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrāhīm?”

He said, “Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak.”

So they returned to [blaming] themselves and said [to each other], “Indeed, you are the wrongdoers.”

Then they reversed themselves [saying], “You have already known that these do not speak!”

He said, “Then do you worship instead of Allāh that which does not benefit you at all or harm you?

Woe to you and to what you worship instead of Allāh. Then will you not use reason?”} [21:58-67]

The story of Prophet Ibrāhīm (‘alayhi as-salām) is known to every Muslim, and the severity of Shirk is clear in the Qur’an. It is strange therefore for certain “scholars,” “Islamic organisations” and “Muslim news outlets” [2] to be presenting doubts regarding the prohibition of exchanging greetings on festivals of Kufr (disbelief) and Shirk, thereby delighting the Munafiqūn such as “liberal” and “secular” Muslims.

The prohibition of exchanging greetings on Christmas and other such occasions was not differed on by the great scholars and Imāms of Islām.

Dr. Amīn ash-Shaqāwi said, “The scholars have agreed upon the prohibition of celebrating the religious festivals of the non-Muslims and sharing joy and happiness with those who celebrate them. This is due to the prohibitions it contains, which is proved by His saying, the Most High,

{And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity} [25:72]

Abul ‘Āliyah, Tawūs, Ibn Sīrīn, adh-Daḥāk and others said, this Āyah refers to “the festivals of the people of Shirk”. This is because partaking in their festivals necessitates a level of love and adulation…” [3]

“It is prohibited to exchange greetings on their religion festivals as it necessitates supporting them and being accepting of their misguidances, it is as if you are congratulating them for prostrating in front of a crucifix or their prayers in the church.” [4]

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said, “Exchanging greetings on the occasions of Kufr that belong to them [the non-Muslims] is Haram by consensus, such as congratulating them on their festivals or fasts by saying: ‘Have a blessed festival’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival’. Even if [it is argued] that a person who made such a statement has been saved from Kufr (disbelief), his statement remains Haram [at the least]. It is like congratulating a person for prostrating to the crucifix, rather it is worse than that. It is as severe as congratulating a person for drinking alcohol, 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 seriousness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person upon a sin, Bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allah.” [5]

Ibn ‘Uthaymīn (rahimahullah) said, “Exchanging greetings with the non-Muslims during Christmas or other [religious] festivals is prohibited by consensus as mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim in his book, Ahkām Ahl adh-Dhimmah…If they greet us during their festivals, we do not respond because they are not our celebrations and Allāh is not pleased with them. A Muslim accepting an invitation from them at Christmas is forbidden because participating with them is more severe than congratulating them.. And whoever does any of this is a sinner, whether he does it out of flattery, affection, embarrassment or any other reason – this is compromising the religion of Allāh, and Is from the means of strengthening the resolve of the unbelievers and giving them strength and pride in their religion..” [6]

Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān and others said, “It is obligatory upon a Muslim who is pleased with Allāh as his Lord, Islām as his religion and Muḥammad ﷺ as his Prophet and Messenger, that he follows the straight path of Allāh which the Prophet ﷺ and his noble companions were upon. Being diligent upon this path means that a Muslim avoids the path of those who earned the wrath of Allah and went astray, such as the Jews, Christians and other disbelievers. So a Muslim does not follow them in their misguidance, nor imitate them in their actions and attire; He does not socialize with them during their festivals, churches, and places of worship. He does not show happiness and joy for their [religious] occasions nor does he exchange greetings with them – rather he should free himself from them in all this, and he submits himself to Allāh…” [7]

Ḥamūd at-Tuwayjiree (rahimahullah) said, “As for greeting them and giving them condolences, the correct view is that is prohibited, as many of the scholars mentioned with great certainty. The reason they gave is [that greeting them on such festivals] necessitates supporting them and showing them love, as well as exalting the enemies of Allāh…There is no doubt that all this is from supporting and loving the enemies of Allāh, as some people do when visiting them on their festivals and occasions, entering upon them in their houses and churches, and exchanging greetings on their false festivals…” [8]

Worse than congratulating Christians during Christmas and exchanging greetings with them, is pushing Muslim children to role-play in nativity plays, and visiting their churches during Christmas with the excuse of “building bridges” and “religious harmony”.

‘Umar Ibn al-Khatāb (radiaAllāhu ‘anhu) said,

“…and do not enter upon the polytheists in their places of worship during their festivals, verily the wrath of Allāh descends upon them [during such festivals].” [9]

It was also narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ, that he said,

“Whoever passes through the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their Nowruz (a festival of the Coptic Christians) and Mahrajān (Mehrgan), and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” [10]

In ending, I remind the Muslims to traverse the path of the Prophet ﷺ and his noble companions. The Islām which was practiced by the Prophet ﷺ is the very definition of moderation, mercy, and tolerance. And beware of the call of the Munaāfiqūn to a “liberal”, “secular” or “European” Islām.

{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 03:85]


Written by Abul Abbaas Naveed Ayaaz

During the National Salafi Conference, in Luton, United Kingdom.

7th Jumāda al-Akhirah, 1444h

Corresponding to 31st December, 2022.



[1] “Taysīr al-Karīm al-Mannān”, Tafsīr Sūrah al-Kāfirūn.

[2] A Saudi caller by the name of Dr. Mohammed al-Issa has recently been justifying exchanging greetings during Christmas, presenting flimsy doubts. He is the Secretary General of MWL (Muslim World League). His doubts were spread by a Saudi newspaper called “The Arab News” whose front page was entitled: “Saudis feel Xmas spirit like never before”, carrying an editorial entitled “Merry Christmas from Arab News”. [Dated: Jumadah al-Thani 1444h].

This seems to be an agenda being forced upon the Muslims in Saudi Arabia, a people known for their diligence upon Tawḥīd, who rejected this “fatwa” as is apparent from the majority of the comments on social media in response to the above posts.

For a more detailed exposition on Dr. Mohammed al-Issa, please refer to the article by Shaykh Faysal al-Jasim: https://madeenah.com/a-warning-against-dr-mohammed-al-issa/

[3] “al-Muslimūn fee bilāl al-Ghurbah” p. 259.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Aḥkām ahl adh-Dhimmah” vol. 1, p. 259.

[6] Majmū’ Fatāwah wa rasā’il al-‘Uthaymīn vol. 3, p. 45-46.

[7] “Fatāwah al-Lajnah ad-Dāimah” vol. 26, p. 100.

Fatwa signed by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān, Shaykh Abdullah al-Ghudyān and Shaykh AbdulAzīz Āl ash-Shaykh.

[8] “Tuḥfat al-Ikhwān bi mā jā’a fī al-muwaalah wal-Ma’ādah…” p.21

[9] Narrated by ‘Atā Ibn Dinār; Collected by al-Bayhaqi.

[10] Narrated by Abul Mughīrah; Collected by al-Bayhaqi.


He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire and is the Imam of Masijd Sunnah.

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