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Is greeting Christians or others with the traditional Christmas greeting “merry Christmas” or “happy Christmas” permissible in Islam?

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By: Dr. Bilal Philips

Is greeting Christians or others with the traditional Christmas greeting “merry Christmas” or “happy Christmas” permissible in Islam?

It is not permissible for a Muslim to greet Christians with the traditional Christmas greeting because it means celebrating the day of “God’s” birth – a concept absolutely abhorrent to Muslims and in direct contradiction to the Qur’aanic verse, “He (Allah) did not give birth nor was He born.” (Qur’an 112:3)
The date of birth of Prophet Jesus, like that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them both) was unknown and it was chosen to match the Saturnalia, the festival of the harvest dedicated to the Roman god of the harvest, Saturn. Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ for the first 3 centuries after Jesus’ departure because birthday celebration was a known pagan practice. Similarly, Muslims did not celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday until 4 centuries after his death. The practice was started on a state scale by the Fatimid Shi’ite caliphate in Egypt and the date of the Prophet’s death was chosen for the celebration. Dr Bilal