Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
If the gift is related directly to the rituals they have on Christmas day, then you may decline it. If the gift, however, is not related to their rituals, you may accept it.
In responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University and a member of the Permanent Fatwa Committee for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), states;
Dealing with non-Muslims is very sensitive. Muslims need to be balanced in their attitude toward them. On the one hand, Muslims have to be just and kind toward non-Muslims in order to reconcile their hearts and show them the tolerance of Islam.
On the other hand, Muslims should not compromise the basics of their religion or get involved with them in whatever is related to their rituals or religious practices.
Accepting gifts from non-Muslims is a sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If the gift is related directly to the rituals they have on that day, then you may decline it. If the gift, however, is not related to their rituals, you may accept it.
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah stated that it is permissible to accept the gifts of the non-Muslims on their feasts. He mentioned a report indicating that Ali accepted the gift of some non-Muslims on the day of Nayrouz. Aishah was also asked about the Zoroastrians’ giving gifts to Muslims on their feast and she said, “Whatever they slaughtered for their day, do not eat it, but eat from their trees” (Ibn Abi Shaybah). This means that the meat of the Zoroastrians is not permissible.
You must keep in mind, whenever you receive gifts from or give gifts to them, that you are doing this to reconcile their hearts. It should be clear both in your heart and to them that you do not celebrate their feasts, particularly one in which they claim that God or part of Him was born — Exalted He is above what they ascribe to Him.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.