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Congratulating non-Muslims on their religious festivals

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of Shari’ah say about giving congratulations to non-Muslims on their religious festivals?

Answer:

There is no objection in Shari’ah to congratulating non-Muslims on their religious festivals, whether they are family members, relatives, neighbours, friends, or colleagues. The Qur’an teaches:

“When anyone greets you, respond with a better greeting or at least return it in kind. Allah keeps account of everything.” (Al-Nisa:86)

Exchanging congratulations with non-Muslims does not mean acknowledging their disbelief but rather it is from among the forms of righteousness and justice that God Almighty loves. Congratulatory Greetings are a sign of a generous soul, a true pious believer, its being empathetic to fellow human beings. These are moral imperatives and do not mean we are compromising our faith.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Allah does not forbid you from being good and just to those who have not fought against you due to religion nor expelled you from your houses. Allah loves the just people.” (Al-Mujadalah:8)

This verse endorses tolerant mutual living and encourages keeping ties of kinship with non-Muslims. We should treat non-Muslims kindly, to give them gifts, to accept gifts from them, and to be good to them.

The scholars that prohibit congratulating non-Muslims on their religious festivals, this pertains to those words or phrases that show acknowledgment of disbelief, either explicitly or implicitly or words that show acknowledgement of any of their invalid acts.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari and translated by Mawlana Hamza Hassan