Islam and Christmas Celebration

Christmas for those who celebrate it on December 25th is just around the corner and I’m pretty sure the same topic that’s being hotly debated again and again every year will come up particularly for a plural society such as Malaysia – “are Muslims allowed to wish “Merry Christmas” to their Christian neighbours and celebrate Christmas?”

This is something that many Muslims ask themselves at this time of the year because it is natural for Muslims to show kindness to their fellow neighbours as this is part of Allah’s commandment. Especially at this time and age, Muslims should not be singled out as being unfriendly or not part of the community. How then can a simple wish be non-permissible in Islam? Many Muslims are also confused how then saying “Merry Christmas” and participating in Christmas celebration is considered a blasphemy for Muslims?

When it comes to wishing Merry Christmas, some scholars differs in the approach. Those who follow classical and traditional scholars considered it as Haram while a few follow contemporary scholars that ruled it as Harus (permissible).

I don’t need to explain each position in detail here as one could easily google them in the internet and find out what the majority of Islamic scholars position on this matter. In fact, ISMA have clarified Islam’s position couple years back in 2012 (refer which is more suited for the multi cultural condition in Malaysia.

As Muslims, we should be clear that even though as Muslims we would like to use the merry wish and celebration as a bridge to da’wah we should also not take for granted that in da’wah wrong means should be completely avoided. This means that any extreme in either direction should be avoided be it using force to convert people to Islam or building relationship through acknowledging religious celebrations that associates Allah with any beings.

I personally prefer to follow the traditional and conservative scholars. As clarified by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid when he was asked the following question:

“Why do you condemn the celebration of what the Christians think is a birth of the son of God? We should be teaching respect for other peoples and religions. Yet with such condemnation and calling it falsehood, it makes it difficult for rational, honest and respectful persons to communicate.”

His response,

“You seem to have misinterpreted the condemnation of celebration of Christmas as a matter of disrespect for Christians. In reality, it is our respect for Allah and Jesus and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them. It is an integral part of our faith to reject celebrations that have not been prescribed and/orr that have a basis in falsehood, as inevitably they lead to misguidance and alterations in faith, as has happened in Christianity. There is nothing “radical or “fringe” about this. It is our basic right to protect our faith and practice from distortion and falsehood. Surely no one has a right to condemn us for this”. (His detail response can be read at

The explanation above elucidates clearly why it is not proper for a Muslim to celebrate or wish their fellow Christians “Merry Christmas”, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t respect their right to celebrate. They have the right to believe what they want to believe and to celebrate what they want to celebrate but is also equally important for them to respect our right not to celebrate or wish them accordingly.

As Muslims our actions throughout the year, not just at Christmas time, should show how good Muslims behave and how we are faithful to our belief and dedicate all things to the Mercy of Almighty Allah. Indeed, Christmas time is actually a good opportunity for da`wah to non-Muslims. In a world which has lost all sense of God and has turned to alcohol and consumerism to drown its sorrows, we as Muslims can show there is a better way of life for all mankind to experience peace – not by kissing under the mistletoe or visiting Santa, but instead by embracing Islam. Christmas is as good a time to tell others about Islam. To use the simple explanation offered by brother Eddie in his Facebook page for The Deen Show:

“Christmas is a celebration of the birth of God or God’s son.

Respectfully Muslims don’t believe that God had a birth date or that God was born with a son.

Because the Quran and the Bible rejects this.

Bible says “God is not a man” and “God is not the son of man.”

Quran says,

“Say, He is God the uniquely One! God, the Eternal, Absolute! He neither begets nor is born, And there is none like unto Him – He is Uniquely One!”

So we hope you understand why we excuse ourselves politely from saying Merry Christmas, because saying Merry Christmas says God had a birth date with a son, but remember that the Quran and the Bible rejects this, because God Almighty the Creator is Uniquely One! without any sons, daughters and grandchildren, or a birth date because God Almighty Allah is Uniquely One!

Thank you for understanding.
Allah knows best.

Abu Ameen
ISMA Activist



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