In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Al-Barbahaaree [may Allah have mercy upon him] stated in Sharh As-Sunnah:
“So examine, may Allaah have mercy upon you, the speech of everyone you hear from, in your time in particular; so do not act in haste. And do not enter into anything from it, until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam speak about it or anyone from the scholars? So if you find a narration about it from them, then cling onto it and do not go beyond it for anything and do not give preference to anything over it, and thus fall into the Fire”. [End of quote]
Ed Husain stated:
In the above statement, Ed Husain – as usual -congratulates the unbelievers during their festivals. Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] forwarded us a Fatwa of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] as follows: Shaikh Ibn Uthaimīn was asked, “What is the ruling on congratulating the unbelievers during their Christmas celebrations? How are we to respond to them if they congratulate us with Merry Christmas?” So he answered, “Congratulating the non-Muslims during their Christmas celebrations or other religious celebrations is forbidden by a consensus cited by Ibn Al-Qayyim in his book, Ahkām Ahlidh-Dhimmah…* If they congratulate us during their celebrations, then we do not respond to that, because it is not our celebration and it is a celebration that Allah is not pleased with. That is because either it is a celebration that they have innovated into their religion or it is one that is legislated in their religion but was abrogated with the advent of the religion of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with to the whole of mankind. It was regarding this that Allah said, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers.” (Āli ‘Imrān 3:85) Therefore, to accept an invitation from them at Christmas is forbidden because to participate with them (in a Christmas meal) is even more severe than congratulating them.” (Majmū’ Fatāwā 3/45-46, abridged)
Pay close attention to the statement: “If they congratulate us during their celebrations, then we do not respond to that, because it is not our celebration and it is a celebration that Allah is not pleased with. That is because either it is a celebration that they have innovated into their religion or it is one that is legislated in their religion but was abrogated with the advent of the religion of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with to the whole of mankind. It was regarding this that Allah said, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers”.
Saudi Salafi Erudite Scholar -Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: In the coming days, the unbelievers will celebrate their festivals, some of which are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and so on. I am in a government department, and with us are some Christians who have been given leave to attend and celebrate their festivals. I saw congratulations and good wishes from some people, a Muslim man, in the speeches that were addressed to them (in relation to this festival), just as greeting cards are distributed and printed throughout the country, sold in many public bookshops; so is there any advice on this and a statement of the Islamic ruling?
The response: This is not permissible. Congratulating the unbelievers) by way of speech during their festivals, or by phone or printed cards, all of this is evil (i.e. against the Qur’an and Sunnah) and it is not permissible for a Muslim to (do so), neither in Muslim countries nor in non-Muslim countries. Neither does he congratulate them during their festivals nor participate in them, nor does he work with them to aid them in that, because this is tantamount to aiding (someone) upon falsehood; therefore, he neither joins them nor help them (in this affair), nor congratulate them on their false festivals (i.e. not accepted by Allah). [(1)]
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated:
وأمَّا أعيادُ المشركين: فجَمَعتِ الشُّبهةَ والشَّهوةَ، وهي باطلٌ؛ إذ لا مَنفعةَ فيها في الدِّينِ، وما فيها مِن اللَّذَّةِ العاجِلةِ، فعاقبتُها إلى ألَمٍ، فصارتْ زُورًا، وحُضورُها: شُهودُها، وإذا كان اللهُ قدْ مدَحَ ترْكَ شُهودِها الَّذي هو مُجرَّدُ الحُضورِ برُؤيةٍ أو سَماعٍ؛ فكيفَ بالموافَقةِ بما يَزيدُ على ذلك، مِن العمَلِ الَّذي هو عمَلُ الزُّورِ، لا مُجرَّدُ شُهودِه؟
As for the festivals of of the polytheists, they combine Shubhah [an affair that resembles truth but is falsehood in reality] and Shahwah [vain or impermissible desires], and it is falsehood, so there is no benefit in it in relation to religion, and what is in it of immediate pleasure, its end result will be pain. Therefore, being present (where it is established) and witnessing it is tantamount to falsehood. And when it is the case that Allaah praises (the one) who abandons witnessing it, which is merely being present, seeing, or hearing, then how about being in agreement with what is more than that, such as the deeds that are tantamount to falsehood and not just witnessing it?” [(2)]
Reflect upon the statement of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah: “As for the festivals of the polytheists, they combine between Shubhah [an affair that resembles truth but is falsehood in reality] and Shahwah [vain or impermissible desires]”. Allaah [The Exalted] stated: [إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهۡوَى ٱلۡأَنفُسُۖ – They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire]. There is a tremendous benefit derived from this because the one deprived of sound Eemaan and the sound creed sent down as revelation by Allaah- The Lord of the entire existence, then his affair is one of two: Corruption in Knowledge or Corruption in his Intent– corruption in knowledge occurs as a result of following conjecture and corruption in one’s intent occurs as a result of following desires, or the person may combine both of them. Another benefit derived from this is that the rectification or well-being of a person cannot be attained except by way of two affairs: sound knowledge and upright Intent. This is why Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said in Miftaah Daarus Sa’aadah that a person is in need of two things: sound knowledge by way of which he is rightly guided and lofty aspiration by way of which he is urged towards that sound aspiration because it may be that a person has beneficial knowledge but not upright intent and aspiration. Therefore, one cannot be upright except by way of upright knowledge and intent. Sound knowledge is corrupted through following conjecture and upright intent is corrupted through following the desires of one’s soul. Allaah [The Exalted] stated about the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]: [مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمۡ وَمَا غَوَىٰ-Your companion (Muhammad) has neither gone astray nor has erred]. That is because the Daal [misguided person] is one whose knowledge is corrupted and the Ghaawiy [astray one] is the one whose intent is corrupted.
Also, the Prophet described his four khulafaa [Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, and Ali (radiyallaahu-anhum)] with the words ‘Raashideen and Mahdiyyeen’, because the Raashid [i.e. The one who is steadfast upon the right path and is firmly established upon it] is the opposite of the Ghaawiy [The one who strays from the right path or conduct], and the Mahdee [The one guided to the path of truth and yield obediently to it] is the opposite of the Daalun [the misguided one, especially in knowledge and creed]. [(3)]
في الأيام القريبة القادمة يحتفل الكفَّار بأعيادهم التي منها: عيد الكريسمس، وعيد رأس السنة، وغيرها، وأنا في دائرةٍ حكوميةٍ، معنا بعض النَّصارى أعطوا إجازات لحضور وإقامة أعيادهم، ورأيتُ في الخطابات التي وُجِّهت لهم التَّهنئة والتَّبريك من بعض الناس، من رجلٍ مسلمٍ، كما أنَّ كروت التَّهاني تُوزَّع وتُطبع في البلاد، وتُباع في كثيرٍ من المكتبات العامَّة، فهل من نصيحةٍ حول هذا، وبيان
الحكم الشرعي؟ وفَّقكم الله، وسدَّد خُطاكم
هذا لا يجوز، تهنئة الكفَّار بأعيادهم مُشافهةً، أو من طريق الهاتف –التليفون- أو بأوراقٍ تُطبع، كل هذا منكر لا يجوز من المسلم، لا في بلاد الإسلام، ولا في غير بلاد الإسلام، لا يُهنِّئهم بأعيادهم، ولا يُشاركهم فيها، ولا يعمل معهم فيها ويُعينهم عليها؛ لأنَّ هذه إعانة على الباطل، فلا يشترك معهم، ولا يُعينهم، ولا يُهنّئهم بأعيادهم الباطلة.
[(2)]: Iqtidaa As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem 1/483. paraphrased
[(3)]: An Excerpt from Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Lesson 4