Islam is a religion of mercy, tolerance and moderation. It teaches its followers to be moderate in all fields and walks of life, in aspects of worship, in dealing with others and in interaction with members of other faiths.
Christmas Parties at Work, Pub Meetings etc:
Question: ) Eating with Non-Muslims?
Answer: ) In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
There are few scenarios to this question:
If eating with non-Muslim work-colleagues entails one eating unlawful (haram) food such as pork, or drinking alcohol or taking part in prohibited practices, such as music, dancing of semi-nude women, etc, then this would be prohibited.
The reason behind this is obvious, in that one must abstain from unlawful things unless there is a dire need, and there is no real need here, which may make prohibited things permissible. Thus, if one participates in parties where one is involved in eating unlawful and impure things, or there are other unlawful practices in which one takes part willingly or unwillingly, then this would be sinful.
Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) sums this up in one of his Fatawa: He states: "It is not proper for Muslims to bow down before such avenues of sin. The challenges to what Islam forbids being experienced by you give you all the more occasion to stay firm on your Faith. And should the Muslims living in non-Muslims countries (and they are not that few) could get to agree on not participating in such functions, chances are that non-Muslims themselves would be left with no reasonable option but to weed out such disagreeable practices from their functions. (See: Contemporary Fatawa, p. 292)
If the party or gathering is connected to some religious event of the non-Muslims, such as Christmas parties, then also it will be impermissible for one to participate. The reason behind this is that, by taking part in their religious functions and gatherings, one will be indirectly approving of their disbelief (kufr) and their religion. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade Muslims to even offer their own Salat at the time of sunrise, zenith and sunset, for there was an element of outwardly resembling the sun worshippers.
The third situation is, (which is the most common) eating with non-Muslims without one having to eat and indulge into unlawful practices, but at the same time, they are drinking wine and eating unlawful (haram) meat, etc.
The ruling with regards to such situations is that, to make a habit of this would be impermissible. However, if there is a genuine need (such as work get-togethers) and it is done infrequently, then it would be permissible, provided one does not be affected by the ways and practices of the Kuffar.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also accepted the invitation of a non-Muslim by eating at his house. Ibn Qudama (the great Hanbali jurist (Allah have mercy on him) states:
"If a Non-believer (dhimmi) invites one for the marriage feast (walima), our (hanbali) scholars state that it will not be binding to accept such invitation, for accepting the invitation of a Muslim is based on respect, love and brotherhood (which is not the case will non-Muslims), and there is a possibility of their food being contaminated with unlawful and impure substances. However, it will be permissible to accept their invitation because of what Sayyiduna Anas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a Jew invited the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) to come and join him for barley bread and soup, and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) accepted his invitation. (al-Mugni, vol.7, p.3)
Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) invited non-Muslims to his house.
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) invited a non-believer (kafir) to his house for food. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded that a goat be milked for him. It was milked and he drank its milk. Then the second one was milked and he drank its milk, and then another goat was milked and he drank its milk until he drank the milk of seven goats. On the next morning he embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded that a goat should be milked for him and he drank its milk and then another was milked but he did not finish it, whereupon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "A believer drinks in one intestine while a non-believer drinks in seven intestines." (Sahih Muslim, no. 2063)
The above was the practice of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in compliance with the statement of Allah Most High:
"Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not concerning your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just." (Surah al-Mumtahinah, 8)
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
"Is it permissible to eat with a fire-worshipper or any other non-believer? It has been related from Hakim Imam Abd al-Rahman al-Katib that, if a Muslim was afflicted and confronted with this once or twice, then there is nothing wrong with that, but to make a habit of this would be (prohibitively) disliked." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/347)
In conclusion, it will be impermissible to eat with non-Muslims (or even Muslims) if it entails one participating in unlawful things, or if the food party is connected to a religious event of the non-Muslims. Besides that, if one eats with them now and then without forming a habit, and limits it to the genuine need, then there is nothing wrong with that.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
The Fiqh of Muslim Non-Muslim Interaction, A Detailed Explanation
Q:) I have seen certain Muslims keeping close ties and friendship with non-Muslims. I was wondering, what is the Islamic perspective on Muslim- non-Muslim relationship?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Islam is a religion of mercy, tolerance and moderation. It teaches its followers to be moderate in all fields and walks of life, in aspects of worship, in dealing with others and in interaction with members of other faiths. Being extreme in one way or another would entail going against the pristine teachings of Allah Most High and His beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace).
If one was to look at the various texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah with regards to interaction and communication with non-Muslims, this aspect (of moderation) would become even more manifest and clear. On one hand, Islam commands us not to love and befriend non-Muslims, whilst many other texts and the practices of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his companions (Allah be pleased with them) indicate that one should treat non-Muslims in the most respectful and amicable of ways.
Unfortunately, those who do not have a deep understanding of Islam seem to think there is a contradiction in the teachings of Islam with regards to how one's behaviour should be towards non-Muslims. They see the various texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah admonishing those who have close relationship and friendship with non-Muslims, whilst other texts seem to indicate that having good ties with non-Muslims is permitted and encouraged. Similarly, some non-Muslims point fingers at Islam and its followers that Islam teaches hatred, violence and revulsion against non-Muslims.
However, with the above explanation, it becomes clear that both these understandings are way off the mark. There is no contradiction in the teachings of Islam; neither does Islam teach its followers to have hatred for fellow human beings even if they be from another faith. The reality is that Islam teaches moderation. It allows Muslims to have a good relationship with non-Muslims but to a certain limit. This becomes clearer by looking at the various texts of the Qur'an and the practices of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his companions.
There are many verses of the Qur'an that prohibit one from having close and intimate relationship with non-Muslims, for example:
1 Allah Most High says in the Qur'an:
"Let not the believers (Muslims) take for friends Unbelievers (non-Muslims) rather than believers. And whoever does that has no relation with Allah whatsoever, except by way of precaution that you may guard yourselves from them." (Surah Ali Imran, V: 28)
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas (Allah have mercy on him) states in the explanation of this verse:
"The statement of Allah [except by way of precaution that you may guard yourselves from them] means, if you fear for your life or limbs of your body from them, then you may save yourselves from them by expressing friendship with disbelievers without it being from the heart.....This is the opinion of the majority of scholars." (Ahkam al-Qur'an, 2/289)
2 Allah Most High says:
"O you who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends offering them (your) love..." (Surah al-Mumtahina, V: 1)
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas (Allah have mercy on him) states that this verse was revealed regarding the Companion Hatib ibn Abi Balta'a (Allah be pleased with him) who wrote to the non-believers of Quraysh giving them guidelines (with regards to their safety and other such matters). He did so, as he feared for his wealth and children that he had left behind in Makka..." (Ahkam al-Qur'an, 5/325)
"O you who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you". (Surah Ali Imran, V: 118)
"O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends. They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them." (Surah al-Ma'idah, V: 51)
Imam Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) states in the commentary of this verse:
"Allah Most High prohibits (in this verse) his believing servants from having close friendship and intimacy with the Jews and Christians – those who are enemies of Islam and its people..." (Tasir Ibn Kathir, 2/94)
"You shall not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred." (Surah al-Mujadala, V: 22)
The above few verses of the Qur'an indicate that it is unlawful to have close friendship and intimacy (muwalat) with non-Muslims, even if they were related to one. However, many other texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah, the action and practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), his companion's treatment of non-Muslims all indicate that one should treat non-Muslims with sympathy, generosity, compassion and concern.
a Allah Most High says:
"Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just." (Surah al-Mumtahina, V: 8)
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." (Surah al-Ma'idah, V: 8)
In the above two verses, Allah Most High commands us to treat non-Muslims justly and honourably. The dislike of their beliefs should not prompt a Muslim to treat them unfairly.
The beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), who was sent as a mercy for the whole of mankind, demonstrated such kindness, compassion, generosity and politeness towards non-Muslims that it is difficult to find similar examples in history.
When Makka al-Mukarrama was in the grip of famine, he personally went out to help his enemies who had made him leave his home town. At the conquest of Makka, all his enemies came under his power and control, yet he set them all free saying that not only are you being given amnesty today but rather you are also forgiven for what you have done in the past. When non-Muslim prisoners of war were presented before him, he treated them with such kindness and tenderness as one would treat his own children. His enemies inflicted upon him all sorts of injuries and pain but he never raised his hand in revenge neither did he wish ill for them, rather he would pray for their guidance. A delegation from the tribe of Banu Thaqifa (who had yet not accepted Islam) came to visit him, and was given the honour of staying in the Mosque of the Prophet, a place regarded by Muslims to be the most sacred of places. (See: Ma'arif al-Qur'an, 2/51)
There are many more such examples in the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). The episode of Ta'if, the treaty of Hudaybiyya and many other such events quite categorically demonstrate the viewpoint of Islam with regards to treating and dealing with non-Muslims.
Likewise, the Companions (sahaba) of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also treated non-Muslims with tenderness and kindness. They gave them their just rights and did not oppress them in any way.
Thus, we see that Islam forbids its followers from being very intimate with non-Muslims, but at the same time, it does not prevent one from treating them in a tender and generous manner. Based on the above-mentioned two kinds of examples found in Islamic literature, the scholars and jurists have categorized friendship with non-Muslims into four level and stages:
1 Muwalat or Mawadda: This means to have close and intimate relationship and deep love and affection from one's heart.
This kind of relationship is reserved only for Muslims; hence it will not be permitted for a Muslim to have this type of friendship with non-Muslims. The verses of the Qur'an prohibiting Muslims from having intimate and close friendship with non-Muslims, especially the first verse of Surah al-Mumtahina, is regarding this kind of relationship.
2 Mudarat: This means to express friendship and love only outwardly without having love for them and their beliefs internally. It is a mere outward expression of the first stage (muwalat), hence it entails being pleasant, friendly, polite and kind towards non-Muslims. It involves expressing good manners, courtesy and good behaviour towards fellow human beings.
This kind of relationship with non-Muslims is permitted, as it is reserved for all human beings, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. This becomes even more important when the objective is to safeguard one's self from potential harm, invite them towards Islam or when they are one's guests. The verse of the Qur'an where Allah says "except by way of precaution that you may guard yourselves from them" refers to this type of relationship. However, if one fears corrupting his religious values, then this type of friendship will not be permitted with non-Muslims.
3 Muwasat: This means to help, assist and benefit non-Muslims. It includes charitable help and support, condolences and consolations, and removing harm, such as giving water to a thirsty non-Muslim or food to someone who is hungry.
This is also permitted with all types of non-Muslims except those who are directly at war with Muslims. The verse of the Qur'an where Allah Most High says: "Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just" refers to this kind of relationship with non-Muslims.
4 Mu'amalat: This means to deal, transact and trade with non-Muslims. This is also permitted with all non-Muslims except when it is harmful to Islam and Muslims in general. (Culled from: Ahkam al-Qur'an, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Ma'arif al-Qur'an, 2/50-51, Jawahir al-Fiqh, 179-193 and Ifadat Ashrafiyya, P: 11)
The above clearly illustrates the need for Muslims to be moderate with regards to their interaction with non-Muslims. Unfortunately, some Muslims are victims of immoderation in one way or another.
Some become quite extreme in their treatment of non-Muslims, in that they consider all kind of contact with non-Muslims to be sinful. They are quite aggressive in their approach towards non-Muslims and also consider Muslims who have any sort of relationship with non-Muslims to be sinful.
This approach is incorrect, as we can see quite clearly from the verses of the Qur'an provided above and from the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his noble Companions (Allah be pleased with them all). These people should realize that Islam did not spread through force or aggression, rather people inclined towards Islam by appreciating the amazing behaviour exhibited by Muslims. Many great personalities such as Khalid ibn al-Walid, Amr ibn al-Ass and others (Allah be pleased with them) accepted Islam when they observed the devastating behaviour of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya. People were shocked and amazed to see such behaviour expressed even towards enemies, hence they were inclined towards Islam.
Today, we have a great opportunity in propagating Islam amongst non-Muslims. There has never been a better time to do Da'wa, but it will be the Muslims who are either a cause of non-Muslims entering into Islam or otherwise. Muslims must ensure that their bad manners and ill behaviour is not a cause in preventing people from accepting Islam. If our actions prevent others from entering this beautiful religion of Allah, then we will be accountable for this in the hereafter.
On the other hand, some Muslims become so close and intimate with non-Muslims to the point that there remains no difference between belief and disbelief. The Qur'an in many verses prohibited us from loving non-Muslims in our hearts; hence it will not be permitted to love them and their beliefs from one's heart. Yet, some Muslims sit, eat, live and mingle with non-Muslims as though it does not matter whether one believes or otherwise. This is the other extremism which must also be avoided. A Muslim's life has a purpose which is to live a life that is in accordance with the commands of Allah Almighty and his beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace), hence true love can only be for those who share the same purpose and not for those who reject this basic purpose of life.
Based on the above explanation, let us now look at some specific fiqhi issues relating to Muslim – non-Muslim relationship:
Giving and accepting gifts from non-Muslims
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, one of the leading reference works in the Hanafi School:
"Imam Muhammad (Allah have mercy on him) has recorded (apparently) conflicting narrations in his al-Siyar al-Kabir, some indicating that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) accepted gifts from non-Muslims whilst others indicate that he did not, hence it is necessary to reconcile between these (apparently) contradicting narrations....
Faqih Abu Ja'far al-Hindawani stated that the narration wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not accept the gift of a non-Muslim is interpreted to be in the case where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) thought that the person giving the gift was under the impression that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was striving in order to acquire wealth and not to elevate the word of Allah, hence it will not be permitted to accept a gift from such an individual in our times also. And the narration wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did accept the gift of a non-Muslim is where the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) thought that the person giving the gift did acknowledge that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was fighting for Islam and the elevation of the word of Allah and not for any materialistic gain, hence it will be permitted to accept a gift from such an individual in our times also.
Some (Hanafi) scholars reconciled (the apparently contradicting narrations) in another way, stating that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not accept a gift of a non-Muslim where he thought that by accepting his gift his solidarity would weaken, lose respect and would have to soften his approach, and he accepted the gift of a person where he did not fear the abovementioned things." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/347-348)
The above text of al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya indicates that there is nothing wrong in accepting and giving a gift to a non-Muslim provided one does not fear any harm to one's faith. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not accept a gift from non-Muslims where he feared that it would be harmful for the Muslims, and he accepted the gift when there was no such fear. Rather, when there is some benefit in giving and accepting gifts, such as the hope of one accepting Islam, one should give and accept gifts. Yes, if one fears some harm with regards to one's faith, a gift should not be given or taken.
As far as giving and accepting gifts during the period of non-Muslim religious festivals is concerned, such as at the time of Christmas, Diwali, etc, it would be permitted, as it is not per se a religious act, but a social custom. The intention in giving gifts is not to respect the religious festival, rather to respect and show courtesy to the one whom the gift is given, as pointed out by Imam Ashraf Ali al-Tahanawi (Allah have mercy on him) in his renowned Imdad al-Fatawa, 3/482)
Therefore, it will be permitted to give and accept gifts during the Winter Break with the intention of bringing a non-Muslim closer to Islam, provided two conditions are met:
a The gift should not be with the intention of celebrating a non-Muslim festival, rather merely showing courtesy to a fellow human being,
b The gift should not be something that is connected to the non-Muslim religious festival, such as a Christmas tree.
Inviting non-Muslims for food and accepting their invitation
It is permitted to invite a non-Muslim for dinner at one's house occasionally due to strengthening family ties or other social ties. Without such a need, one should avoid making a habit. Similarly, it will be permitted to accept such an invitation from a non-Muslim, provided one is sure that the food is Halal and no other unlawful activities are taking place. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/347)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also accepted the invitation of a non-Muslim by eating at his house (See: Ibn Qudama, al-Mugni, 7/3) similarly, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) invited non-Muslims to his house. (Sahih Muslim, no: 2063)
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
"Is it permissible to eat with a fire-worshipper or any other non-believer. It has been related from Hakim Imam Abd al-Rahman al-Katib that if a Muslim was confronted with this once or twice, then there is nothing wrong with that, but to make a habit of doing this would be disliked." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/347)
Attending non-Muslim religious festivals
It would not be permitted for a Muslim to attend the religious festivals and ceremonies of non-Muslims, as this would entail approving of their faith. By taking part in their religious festivals, one will be indirectly approving of their disbelief (kufr) and their religion. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade Muslims from even offering their own Salat at the time of sunrise, zenith and sunset, for there was an element of outwardly resembling the sun-worshippers.
Visiting a sick non-Muslim
There is nothing wrong in visiting a non-Muslim who is ill (iyada), whether a Christian or Jew. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/348) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have visited non-Muslims when they were ill, as it is evident from the Sunnah literature.
Visiting and offering condolences at the time of bereavement
It is permitted to visit a non-Muslim to offer one's condolences for a family bereavement. It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
"If a non-Muslim dies, one may say to the deceased's father or some other relative of his: "May God recompense you with someone better and honour you with Islam, and that He bestow you with a Muslim child..." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/348)
Thus, it will be permitted to visit a non-Muslim in the event of a family bereavement, but the condolences offered should be along the lines of him/her being bestowed by Allah with someone better than the non-believer who died.
Attending the funeral ceremony of a non-Muslim
It is permitted to attend the funeral of a non-Muslim parent, relative, neighbour, or associate. It is stated in al-Bahr al-Ra'iq:
"And one may follow their (i.e. a kafir's) funeral from afar..." (al-Bahr al-Ra'iq, 2/205)
However, it will not be permitted to attend a religious funeral ceremony, especially when it entails praying for a non-Muslim after his/her death. Supplicating and praying for a non-Muslim after his/her death, sending him rewards (isal al-Thawab) and other such matters are all unlawful. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was prevented from praying for his uncle Abu Talib by Allah Most High. Similar was the case of Sayyiduna Ibrahim (peace be upon him).
Allah Most High says:
"It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to pray for the forgiveness of idolaters even though they may be near of kin after it has become clear that they are people of hell-fire." (Surah al-Tawba, V: 113)
However, it will be permitted to pray for the guidance of a non-Muslim when he/she is alive, hoping that he/she is guided and accepts Islam. It will also be permitted to pray for the good-health and well-being of a particular non-Muslim. (See: al-Mawsu'a al-Fiqhiyya, Kuwait)
Non-Muslims entering the Masjid
It is permitted for Muslims to give non-Muslims permission to enter the Masjid, especially for Da'wa purposes. It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
"There is nothing wrong with non-Muslims (dhimmis) entering the Haram of Makka (al-Masjid al-Haram) and all other Mosques. This is the sound opinion in the Madhhab, as mentioned in al-Muhit of Sarakhsi." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/346)
Muslims entering non-Muslim places of worship
It is prohibitively disliked (makruh) for a Muslim to enter a non-Muslim place of worship such as a church or synagogue (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/346), unless there is some benefit that overcomes the harm.
Standing up for a non-Muslim out of respect
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
"If a non-Muslim (dhimmi) enters upon a Muslim and he (Muslim) stands up for him; if he stands up with the hope of the non-Muslim entering Islam, then there is nothing wrong with that. However, if one stands up without having this intention or stands up due to the non-Muslim being wealthy, then that is disliked." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/348)
Therefore, it would be permissible to stand up for a non-Muslim without having respect for his/her faith in one's heart, and that this is done for some diplomatic reason, such as the hope of the non-Muslim accepting Islam or preventing enmity and hatred. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also stood up for Ikrima Ibn Abi Jahl (leader of the Quraysh) and Adi ibn Hatim (leader of the tribe of Banu Tay) before they had accepted Islam. However, one should avoid standing up for a non-Muslim showing respect to his faith and beliefs.
Shaking hands with non-Muslims
There is nothing wrong (la ba's) in shaking hands of a Christian (i.e. non-Muslim) neighbour (and other associates) after returning from a journey (and the like) if the non-Muslim is offended by not shaking his hands." (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/348)
However, one must ensure not to commit anything else unlawful, such as shaking the hands of a non-Mahram of the opposite gender.
Giving Zakat and/or other charities to non-Muslims
There is scholarly consensus (ijma') that Zakat cannot be given to non-Muslims, as mentioned by Imam al-Kasani, Ibn Qudama, Buhuti, and others. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) specified that Zakat is to be taken from amongst the wealthy Muslims and distributed amongst the poor Muslims. (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 1365)
However, it is permitted to help and assist needy non-Muslims by giving them other forms of charity, as this would be a form of showing them kindness and dealing justly with them, commanded by Allah Most High in the Qur'an. Yes, if it is feared that the money will be used against Islam and Muslims, then one must not give them any charitable assistance.
Finally, one should always remember that our love, hate, respect and dislike relate to actions and not the person committing these actions. Thus, we dislike the act of disbelief (kufr) but we do not hate non-Muslims as they are also the creation of Allah, hence non-Muslims deserve the same rights as Muslims. May Allah Most High give us the ability to live a life that is in accordance with His and His beloved Messenger's (Allah bless him & give him peace) pleasure, Ameen.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK
Question I'm a Muslim and I reside in an area where there are Christians around us. Every year when the Christians are celebrating Christmas, they normally bring the food they cook on that day. My question is: Is it lawful for a Muslim to eat Christmas food?
Answer: In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu 'alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
At the outset, one should know that joining the Christians in celebrating Christmas and doing what the Christians do on that day is absolutely forbidden and is extremely detrimental to one's iman (faith). In fact, the Jurists have stated that such acts could take a person out of the fold of Islam. The answer given below is only regarding accepting food that a Christian offers to a Muslim on Christmas day and is not about celebrating Christmas:
في التاترخانية: قال الشيخ أبو بكر بن طرخان: من خرج إلى النشيدة فقد كفر ، وعلى قياس مسألة النشيدة: الخروج إلى نيروز المجوس والموافقة معهم فيما يفعلون في ذلك اليوم من المسلمين يوجب الكفر ، وأكثر ما يفعل ذلك من كان أسلم منهم ويخرج إليهم في ذلك اليوم ويوافقهم فيصير به كافرا ولا يشعر بذلك. قال في الجامع الأصغر: رجل اشترى يوم النيروز شيئا لم يكن يشتريه قبل ذلك إن أراد به تعظيم النيروز كما يعظمه المشركون كفر ، وإن أراد الأكل والشرب والنعمة لم يكفر. قال صاحب الجامع الأصغر: المسلم أذا أهدى يوم النيروز إلى مسلم آخر شيئا ولم يرد به تعظيم ذلك اليوم ولكن جرى على ما اعتاده بعض الناس لا يكفر ، ولكن ينبغي أن لا يفعل ذلك في ذلك اليوم خاصة ويفعله قبله أو بعده كيلا يكون تشبيها بأولئك القوم ( الفتاوى التاترخانية: 5/354 ، دار إحياء التراث العربي )
For a Muslim to accept Christmas food in agreement with the celebration of Christmas or in happiness of the celebration of Christmas or in veneration of Christmas is absolutely forbidden and is extremely detrimental to one's iman (faith). The Jurists have expressly mentioned that venerating a day that the disbelievers venerate takes one out of the fold of Islam. If, however, one accepts the food without agreeing to the Christians' celebration of Christmas and without having any veneration of Christmas, then the food will not be deemed to be haraam and it will be permissible for him to eat the food. This is, of course, if the food itself is not haraam.
However, it is better to not accept Christmas food. Therefore, one should kindly and amicably refuse the food prepared by Christians on Christmas day.
في التاترخانية: وما يأتي به المجوس في نيروزهم من الأطعمة إلى الأكابر والسادات من كانت بينهم وبينهم معرفة ذهاب ومجيء فقد قيل: إن من أخذ ذلك على وجه الموافقة لفرحهم يضر ذلك بدينه، وإن أخذه لا على ذلك الوجه لا بأس به، والاحتراز عنه أولى
( الفتاوى التاترخانية: 5/355 ، دار إحياء التراث العربي )
والدر المختار: ( والإعطاء باسم النيروز والمهرجان لا يجوز ) أي الهدايا باسم هذين اليومين حرام ( وإن قصد تعظيمه ) كما يعظمه المشركون ( يكفر ) قال أبو حفص الكبير : لو أن رجلا عبد الله خمسين سنة ثم أهدى لمشرك يوم النيروز بيضة يريد تعظيم اليوم فقد كفر وحبط عمله ا هـ ولو أهدى لمسلم ولم يرد تعظيم اليوم بل جرى على عادة الناس لا يكفر وينبغي أن يفعله قبله أو بعده نفيا للشبهة ولو شرى فيه ما لم يشتره قبل إن أراد تعظيمه كفر وإن أراد الأكل كالشرب والتنعيم لا يكفر. زيلعي
وفي الشامية: ( قوله والإعطاء باسم النيروز والمهرجان ) بأن يقال هدية هذا اليوم ومثل القول النية فيما يظهر ط والنيروز أول الربيع والمهرجان أول الخريف وهما يومان يعظمهما بعض الكفرة ويتهادون فيهما
( رد المحتار: 10/520 ، دار المعرفة )
( و كذا في فتاوى محمودية في مسألة قبول أطعمة أعياد الهندوس: 18/33 ، ديوبند )
And Allāh knows best.
Ml. Faizal Riza
Muftī Abrar Mirza
Chicago, IL (USA)
Under the Supervision of Muftī Ebrahim Desai (South Africa)