Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible to join in the kaafir festivals for the following reasons:
Firstly: because this entails imitating or resembling them, and “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). This is a serious warning. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-‘Aas said: Whoever lives in the land of the mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawrooz (New Year) and their Mahrajaan (festivals), and imitates them until he dies, he will be a loser on the Day of Resurrection.
Secondly: taking part in their festivals is a kind of befriending them and showing love for them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them…
“O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them”
Thirdly: festivals are the matter of religion and beliefs, not the matter of worldly customs, as is indicated by the hadeeth: “Every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid.” Their Eid or festival reflects their corrupt beliefs of Kufr and Shirk.
Fourthly: “And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass it by with dignity” [al-Furqaan 25:72 – interpretation of the meaning]. The scholars interpreted this aayah was referring to the festivals of the mushrikeen. It is not permissible to give any of them cards for their festivals, or to sell them cards or any of the other things they need for their festivals such as lights, trees or food – including turkey, candy canes, etc.
Praise be to Allaah.
If these celebrations are the festivals of the kuffaar and mushrikeen, it is not permissible to take part in those innovated festivals, because doing so implies helping them to commit sin and transgression. Taking part in their festivals also involves imitating the kuffaar, which is forbidden in Islam.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
(Reported by Abu Dawood and Ahmad).
‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah during their festivals.”
(Reported by al-Bayhaqi).
If what is referred to is accepting an invitation to a meal, for example, and there is nothing involved that, is forbidden in Islam, such as mixing of men and women, or foods forbidden by Allaah such as wine and pork, or dancing and music and so on, and this participation does not imply that one loves these kuffaar, then there is nothing wrong with accepting their invitation. He should try to convey the message of Islam to them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the invitation of some of the Jews. And Allaah knows best
Ruling on celebrating non-Muslim holidays and congratulating them
Can a muslim celebrate a non muslim holiday like Thanksgiving?
Praise be to Allaah.
Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: "Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, 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 offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah."
Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself. But the Muslim should not aceept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
"If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. . ."
". . . This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion . . ."
So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise.
If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"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 3:85]
It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations.
Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem: "Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak."
Whoever does anything of this sort is a sinner, whether he does it out of politeness or to be friendly, or because he is too shy to refuse, or for whatever other reason, because this is hypocrisy in Islaam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion.
Allaah is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent.
Majmoo’ah Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/369)
Attending the festivals of the mushrikeen and congratulating them
Praise be to Allaah.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: it is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the mushrikeen, according to the consensus of the scholars whose words carry weight. The fuqaha’ who follow the four schools of thought have stated this clearly in their books… Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab that he said: “Do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them.” And ‘Umar also said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.” Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a jayyid isnaad from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that he said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their new year and festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/723-724).