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Can Muslims Say “Merry Christmas” to Christians?

16 December, 2020
Q As-Salamu alaykum. Why can't Muslims say merry Christmas to Christians just for showing them we are respectful?

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi 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:

There is no harm in using the standard greeting that are common to people. If you are greeting Christians you may wish them Happy or Merry Christmas.


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Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Muslims are to greet others as we would like them to greet us. The generic Islamic greeting is to wish for peace, which in Arabic is: as-salaamu `alaykum. We are told this is the greeting that Allah taught Adam: He was told to greet with it the angels first; he was also told, “This is the formula of greeting for you and your offspring.” (Al-Bukhari)

Having said this, there is no harm in using the standard greeting that are common to people. If you are greeting Christians you may wish them Happy or Merry Christmas.

This does not in any way mean that you are adhering to the specific Christian dogmas of trinity, crucifixion, etc., unless you definitely intend it.

We are not to project onto words meanings that are not commonly understood by them. Just as Christians greet Muslims happy Eid, we can definitely greet Christians Merry Christmas.

Islam is all about reciprocating kindness with kindness. The Quranic mandate for Muslims is clear:

{But when you are greeted with a greeting [of peace], answer with an even better greeting, or [at least] with the like thereof. Verily, Allah keeps count indeed of all things.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:86)

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.