The Ruling on Congratulating a Disbeliever on their Festival and How to Respond If They Congratulate You – Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen and Shaikh Fawzaan

Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah said:

“Congratulating the disbelievers for Christmas or other than that of their festivals is prohibited according to the consensus as Ibnul-Qayyim rahimahullah mentioned in the book Ahkaam Ahlul Dhimmah when he said: “As for giving congratulations for the signs specific to disbelief, then it is prohibited by consensus. Like congratulating them for their festivals or their fasts. So he says: Eid Mubarak to you or congratulations for this festival or the likes. If the speaker is saved from disbelief, then this is from the prohibitions and it is in the same position of giving congratulations for prostrating to a cross. Rather this is greater in sin with Allah and more severely hated than giving them glad tidings for drinking alcohol or killing someone or illicit intercourse and the likes. Many people who do not have a [good] amount of religion with them fall into this and do not know the ugliness of what they do. Whoever congratulates a servant for disobedience or innovation or disbelief has exposed himself to the hatred of Allah and His wrath…”

[Majmoo’ al-Fatawa wa-Rasaail (3/45)]

Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullahu also said:

“It is not allowed to congratulate them on their festival ever because congratulating them for their festival is religious. That is, pleasure for the signs of disbelief. This is very dangerous. If a speaker would say: is it not allowed to congratulate them out of courtesy for them as the Jews congratulate us for our festivals? They congratulate us for our festivals. If Ramadan comes, they congratulate us and if Eidul-Adha comes they congratulate us.

We say: no, we do not congratulate them for their festivals. All praise is due to Allah our festivals are legislated and their festivals are innovation because if the occasion was correct, the birth of ‘Isa alayhi salam, then it is an innovation according to the legislation because ‘Isa did not celebrate his birthday. If the occasion of the birthday is not correct, then it is an innovation in legislation and history. It does not have an origin then. So how can we congratulate them for something that has no origin in the legislation nor a reality? We do not know if [this day] confirms to the birth of al-Maseeh or not? If it was said: this is known through consensus. We say: then it would be well-known and it would be exactly on the day of the birth of al-Maseeh. However, it is an innovated festival in the legislation. Therefore, we do not congrautlate them for it. As for them congrulating us for our festivals, then yes our festival is legislated, all praise is due to Allah. However, we have a right to congratulate on it. As for their festival, then it is not legislated.

Tayyib, if you see them congratulating you for your festival, is it obligatory upon us to respond to it?

Answer: no we do not respond to them because responding to them is what? Agreement and pleasure. So if a disbeliever comes and says: congratulations. Mashallah! It’s the 31 of Decemeber Mashallah! Eid Mubarak! May good be to you!

What do I say to him? I do not respond to him! I say: oh so and so this is not a festival for us. Your supplication for me I don’t reject, however your congratulation,  I do not accept it because it is not a festival for me. This is obligatory upon us if we are honorable people. Otherwise, they are as Allah, the Exalted said:

وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ

They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you [68:9]

They do not have problem congratulating you for your festival if you congratulate them for theirs”.

[Fatawaa al-Haam al-Makki no. 1 Side B 1420H here]

Shaikh al-Fawzan hafidhuhallah was asked:

Question: May Allah be good to you possessor of virtue, the questioner says: What is the ruling if a polytheist gives congratulations on the festival of the polytheists. Does a Muslim respond to it or not?

Answer: “No. It is not allowed to participate in the festival of the polytheists, not by giving congratulations in it nor responding to the one who congratulates in it. He says: this is not allowed for me. We are Muslims and this is a festival of the disbelievers. We do not love it and we detest it. Yes. So it is not allowed to congratulate the disbelievers for their festivals and it is not allowed for a Muslim to respond to them if they congratulate because it is not the festivals of the Muslims. A Muslim is not happy by it. Yes. Likewise, the innovated festivals like: the festival of mawlid and the other innovated festivals which the people of innovation do. Congratulations are not given on these either nor are they participated in. Yes. These are not festivals of Islaam. They are innovated festivals. Yes”


Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan

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