Some Guidelines for Muslim Regarding Christmas and New Year's Day

1 - These are some guidelines associated with Christmas and New Year's Day that I hope will benefit my brothers and sisters studying abroad, in addition to my Muslim brethren in Europe and elsewhere: the ruling on offering holiday greetings, interactions, and gift giving.

2 - It should be known that it is incumbent upon us for our interpersonal relations with Christians, Buddhists, and so on, to be with good manners, gentleness, compassion, friendliness, smiling, and gift giving with a desire to bring their hearts together for Islam.

3 - Good manners, gentleness, compassion, smiling, donations, gift giving, solving problems, and dining with non-Muslims are permissible and are a means of bringing their hearts together for Islam and bringing them closer to being guided to it.

4 - The Messiah was born in the summer and not on the 25th of December. Allah says, "And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates" (19:25). These ripe, fresh dates come in the summertime. Furthermore, there are texts in the Bible that show he was born in the summer.

5 - It's permissible to accept a gift from a non-Muslim during their holidays, and they can be accepted at other times as well. This is a means of winning their hearts, being gentle with them, and exemplifying good manners. It is permissible to give them gifts at times other than their holidays.

6 - It is permissible to congratulate non-Muslims for special occasions such as promotions, graduations, and so on. However, it is not permissible to congratulate them on their religious holidays. For example, if they were to celebrate the birth of the son of God and you were to congratulate them, that shows that you approve of their belief.

7 - Papa Noel/Santa Claus denotes a meaning of "Father of Christmas". He is a Christian symbolic personality based upon Saint Nicholas who used to help people. There are many stories about him. Christians canonized him out of reverence for him and their beliefs.

8 - A Christmas tree is unique for the Christian holiday of Christmas. It is a religious symbol just like the cross. It has its story in their creed and it is not permissible to show reverence for it or put one on display.

9 - If a non-Muslim congratulates you on their holiday smile and reply with a general response: "Thank you," "I hope you enjoy yourself," and so on, keeping in mind that New Year's Day is a more lighter issue than Christmas.

10 - If a non-Muslim gives you a gift on New Year's Day, it is permissible to accept the gift and give one in return. I discussed this with ten students of sacred knowledge and this is what we concluded.

11 - The difference here is that Christmas is a religious holiday and New Year's Day is a social holiday. However, don't initiate the greetings on these days. If you are congratulated, respond with a general reply and not a form of congratulations.

12 - My beloved friends, these reminders are directed to those who have general relationships with Christians whether it be through marriage, relationships by marriage, blood relations, neighbors, colleagues, and so on. I didn't say to initiate the gift giving and offering of congratulations on New Year's Day.