Is celebrating Christmas permissible?
Can a Muslim male/female celebrate Christmas with extended family if they are a revert?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
As Muslims we are sensitive to our belief of pure Tawḥīd (Oneness of Allah Taʿālā). This requires us to also completely disassociate ourselves from all practices related to Christianity and other religions.
Allah Ta’ala says,
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الإِسْلامُ
Definitely, the only religion with Allah(acceptable to Allah) is Islam (to hand over oneself totally to Allah). )Al-Imran19).
In another verse Allah Ta’ala states,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends. They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, V: 51)
It is clear from the above quotations that it is not permissible for us to maintain such contact with non-Muslims that we begin compromising in our religious beliefs.
In order to preserve our Imaan and value, we are even prohibited to imitate them.
The prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam has said:
مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ
“Whosoever emulates a nation is amongst them” Sunan Abi Dawud 4/44
In view of the above, it is not permissible for a Muslim to attend the religious festivals and ceremonies of non-Muslims.1
Moreover, Christmas in its very origin and its traditions is against the pure teachings and principles of Islam, such as;
- Celebrating the birth of Jesus.
- The traditional colour of Christmas, red, symbolizes the blood of Jesus which was shed in his crucifixion.
- The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.
- The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship.2
We acknowledge a revert will face various challenges in his Imaan especially from non-Muslim family members. On one side, Shari’ah emphasizes on guarding our Imaan and on the other side Shari’ah also emphasizes on maintaining family ties. Obviously, this would be without compromising ones Islamic values and beliefs. A revert should make it clear that he loves his family but loves his Imaan more. He should draw a line between belief and family. He should maintain ties with family and be kind and compassionate to them without joining them in Christmas and other celebrations that are non-Islamic.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)