Can Muslims celebrate Christmas or not?
“Isn’t it haram for you to wish your non-Muslim friends Merry Christmas?”, “Are you allowed to give presents?”, “Can Muslims celebrate Christmas?”
As a Muslim, these are the questions I get whenever I upload a picture of myself at my friends’ Christmas parties this season. The answers to these questions have long been answered by the Office of Mufti. In short, gift-giving and wishing are perfectly fine as they help foster stronger social relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
How much is too much?
However, the extent to which Muslims can partake in Christmas festivities has always been a great source of debate in the community.
Fundamentally in Christianity, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ—the son of God. In Islam, however, Jesus (pbuh) is a messenger of God. Two drastically different views.
As such, the question that persists among Muslims is “Is celebrating Christmas blasphemous for us?”
Of course, the simple thing to do is to just avoid anything and everything Christmas-related if you’re that worried. However, we live in a secular and multi-religious society. I’m willing to bet that 99% of the people reading this have been invited to at least one Christmas party this year. I myself have four parties to attend.
I can’t speak for all Muslims but here’s my one rule when it comes to navigating my Christmas invitations while respecting my beliefs.
Attend the event, don’t subscribe to the belief
Whenever I attend Christmas parties, my intention is clear. I’m simply here to meet my friends and eat good food. No alcohol. No haram stuff. Just pure wholesome fun. Heck, I’ll even help you whip up an amazing feast.
What I won’t do, however, is say grace during dinner and sing hymns because those practices go against my religion. After all, I am a Muslim first and foremost.
And this applies even if the roles were reversed. If I invited a non-Muslim to an Eid gathering, I certainly wouldn’t expect them to join in for prayer sessions.
My belief in God remains unshaken no matter how many end-year parties I attend. As long as I’m not going against the tenets of my faith, I believe attending such gatherings is fine.
Of course, others might feel differently and they are welcome to do so. Again, I’m only speaking for myself.
Can Muslims celebrate Christmas?
The way I see it, I’m not celebrating Christmas by attending these invitations. After all, I don’t believe in it. What I am doing, however, is strengthening my bonds with people of different beliefs and cultures. Plus, I don’t attend parties on Christmas Day itself. So am I really celebrating Christmas if all I’m doing is just hanging out with my friends in the last week of December?
If you’re a Muslim who’s still contemplating going to that Christmas party, my advice to you is to ascertain your intentions. Islam doesn’t make things complicated for its followers. Form your answer after consulting with accredited organisations such as MUIS, and do what you feel is right afterwards.
How are you spending the holiday season? Tell us below!