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Subject : Ruling on Congratulating the People of the Book on their Festivals and Celebrations

Fatwa Number : 3470

Date : 25-02-2019

Classified : Relationship with Non-Muslims

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia on congratulating the People of the Book on their festivals and celebrations?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Islamic Sharia urges Muslims to treat people in general with kindness and to respect their privacy; particularly the People of the Book who are peaceful to Muslims. These should be dealt with justly and kindly, because Allah, the Almighty says, "God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loveth those who are just."{Al-Mumtahanah, 8}. In addition, the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment."{Related by Abu Dawoud}.

This kind treatment could take the form of a social visit, a congratulation on a festival or a celebration or an act of condolence. Prophet Mohammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is our role model in kindness to the peaceful People of the Book who lived in Madinah, and there are many narrations proving this. For example, the Prophet (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) accepted the invitation of the Jewish woman over lunch, visited the sick Jewish boy who used to serve him, and hosted the Christian delegation from Najran at his mosque and showed them a great deal of hospitality. This kind treatment continued throughout the Caliphate too.

Islam calls for love, affability, and observance of good ties with the other regardless of color, race or religion, and the provisions of Sharia are adaptable with new matters and customary practices. An example of this is congratulating Christians on their festivals and celebrations. From the time of the Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him) until now, Christians have been living in Muslim countries in peace and security.

This congratulation comes as part of dealing with Christians kindly and justly. It also reflects the tolerance of Islam and acceptance of others. But, it never means that we, Muslims, approve of their beliefs. Rather, it is a confirmation of the values of peaceful coexistence and compassion that Islam has guaranteed for them. And Allah the Almighty knows best.



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