To what extent are Muslims allowed to take part in non–Islamic festivals such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter etc?
For example, can Muslims give Christmas cards to non-Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends or attend Christmas dinners if invited by the local church?
Answered by Shaykh Salim Giza
There are different rulings for Muslims participating in non Islamic festivals and this depends on whether the festival is a religious cultural or habitual practice.
The following therefore applies; It is Haram for a person to take part in a religious festival belonging to other faiths where practices of Kufr or Shirk take place, i.e. singing statements which worship other deities e.g. ‘Jesus is the son of God’. Or where the act would mean going into a religious place of worship such as Church, Synagogue, Temple etc and then being part of their worship. It is also forbidden to take part in festivals such as Halloween as it entails a medieval pagan festival of the coming of winter.
It is Makrooh (disliked) to participate in festivals where there is no benefit to an individual and money is wasted.
It is permissible for a person to take part in an event which does not entail Haram activities and enables unity and love amongst each other.
A Muslim may not be allowed to take part in another person’s religious festival but must respect other people’s belief and therefore cannot criticise to cause offence to other faiths.
Also, Muslim leaders and scholars may be involved in activities such as multi faith events where the intention is to give the position of the Muslims and to provide Muslims with a positive view in front of other faiths.
Where Muslims take part in dinners or a get together especially if it involves members of their family who are Christians then this is perfectly allowed as long Haram activities as drinking or the presence of Alcohol or Music are not involved. It is important for Muslims to maintain family ties and show love and respect for others. Shaykh Gibril Haddad writes ‘Keeping family ties is an obligation on every Muslim, i.e. with one’s parents. If wine is served then such meals or gatherings are devoid of blessing and one should neither condone nor participate in them except for the minimum presence that filial respect demands’.
Sending Christmas cards to non-Muslims can be permissible if the intention is to promote good character of a Muslim but again this should not be done in general circumstances as it is a waste of money and time.
Of course Allah knows best.