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Sorry for coming with such a lame question but this is the first place I thought of when the idea came to my mind, and it is not just a question for questions sake but I really do need some advice.

I want to write a letter to a Muslim man of quite high standing, but I am a Christian and know very little of the Islamic customs, but I want to be respectful without sounding false or patronising.

I want to reference Eid and call a blessing for this man; what is the best way of starting my letter, is there a set way such a thing should be done? Also I know from looking at this wikipedia page there is more than one Eid, do I mention which particular Eid or do I have to write in full?

Thanks and again sorry if this does not fit this sites format.

Would it be appropriate for me to say, 'Taqabbalallâhu minnâ wa minkum' when I am not a muslim? Would it be received well or could it be in some way insulting?

I am concerned that he may consider me a 'kafir' and by saying such things that he might take them the wrong way, where in fact I just want to be seen as respectful and trying to be considerate and understanding.

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Why not 'EID MUBARAK' –  Tachyons Oct 26 '12 at 9:39
    
So would I start the letter with "Dear Sir, Eid Mubarak...."? –  Monkieboy Oct 26 '12 at 10:14
    
The answer may depend on a few things: 1) Is this in a Muslim country or non-Muslim country? 2) Is this in some sort of official capacity (on either your part or his part) or personal? You may not get a good answer until tomorrow because many people will not be at their screens today :) –  Ansari Oct 26 '12 at 12:34
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What about to say "Dear Sir, May Allah bless you and your family in such a great Eid"? Also if you talk in your own language I don't think any Muslims would ever consider it as being rude. You can greet a Muslim referencing to an Islamic Eid the way you greet a Christian referencing to a Christian Eid, only change the name of the Eid. –  owari Oct 26 '12 at 13:48
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@Monkieboy yes, but if you are going to explicitly name the Eid, otherwise you can simply call it Eid. –  owari Oct 26 '12 at 16:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The most used greeting by Muslims is "Eid Mubaarak". It is normally acceptable by a very large majority of Muslims even if it comes from a non muslim.

Note the culture too..

Mostly all cultures use the above greeting. However there might be some other greetings which may be rooted in local tradition. So in order to cover that, you may have to ask around about this person's origin and proceed accordingly.

About his high standing..

In Islam, "high standing" is only in front of Allah. If this person is truly of "high standing" he will accept any nice greeting from you. Don't worry about political correctness.

About you being a kafir...

Contrary to popular belief, the definition of "kafir" is someone who rejects the message of Islam after knowing it. The nature of your question tells me that you have not experienced Islam. So I would request you not to even think such a thing of yourself.

As Muslims we do not wish this title on anyone, not even our worst enemies.

PS: Sorry admins for getting a little chatty, but there were other context that had to be explained.

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Thank you for you response and reassurances I appreciate your input greatly. –  Monkieboy Oct 27 '12 at 7:32
    
The linguistic meaning of the word kafir is as you have described it. However, it's technical usage over the centuries in all scholarly works is as a descriptor for anyone who is not Muslim. It is not pejorative and does not come with any hidden meanings - it simply means "non-Muslim." –  Ansari Oct 27 '12 at 15:02
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@Ansari as a Muslim I dont really care what the usage has evolved over centuries. To me the usage by the Quran is more important and at the time of the Prophet(pbuh). In The Quran the description of disbelief is not only "kafir", rather many other things as "murtad" etc. This simply tells me that disbelief has many shades. –  islam101 Oct 27 '12 at 17:49

This is not a lame question at all, allow me to thank you for being considerate and wish you a happy Eid as well.

Back to the question:

عيد مبارك Eid Mubarak (Have a blessed Eid) is the most common greeting, and entirely appropriate for all to use.

كل عام وأنتم بخير Kul 'aam wa antum bekhair (May you stay well with every year that passes) is another popular one.

It is also customary (in Arabic corrospondance) to add أعاده الله علينا وعليكم سنين مديدة A'adahu Allah alaina wa alaikum sineena madeeda (May Allah repeat this occasion for you and me many years to come), though this addition might depend on the recipient's skill in Arabic.

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Thank you, I am grateful for your response and kind words :) –  Monkieboy Oct 26 '12 at 20:07

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