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I know that congratulating non-muslims in their celebrations is not permissible. However, since i'm in a country where many people celebrate it, some people tell me "merry christmas" or whatever they say. How should I respond without being rude?

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    "congratulating non-muslims in their celebrations is not permissible" who told you that? – Zia Dec 24 '15 at 14:18
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    this type of rudeness will bring bad names to muslims. i think you should smile and say same to u. – Zia Dec 24 '15 at 14:21
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    @Zia Yes ofcourse, congratulating non-muslims' celebrations is impermissible as it means that you approve that Jesus was born on the 25th and that their religion is true. In addition, Umar ibn Al Khattab RA ordered us not to enter the worshipping places of non-muslims during their celebrations. So based in that, scholars agreed that it's impermissible to congratulate them. However that doesn't mean not to congratulate them in other normal matters! As long as it is not related to their religion then it is very fine. And if you notice, at the end of my question, i said "without being rude" :) – Abdel Rahman Shamel Dec 24 '15 at 14:56
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    "You also" Smile – Sayyid Dec 24 '15 at 18:02
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Breaking down the question

First of all, if we break down the question of yours we will find out that it isn't completely a question. It also holds the statement: "I know that congratulating non-muslims in their celebrations is not permissible.". This is not a question, rather it's a belief or opinion.

A better question would be: I follow the understanding that congratulating non-muslims in their celebrations is not permissible. How should I respond without being rude?

Because you didn't formulate yourself that way I think we first have to clear out the statement in your question.

As the answer above states (by Hamza Islam):

"Just smile, Do not respond by wishing them same. as Merry Christmas means you are agreeing that Allah has a son."

This is not logical true. In fact it's a logical fallacy. To respond to somebody doesn't mean you agree with them on their beliefs, rather it might mean that you respect them or just being nice. I am sure you've heard non muslims said Eid Moubrouk to you (I have been greeted, every year and many times).

Is it really not permissible to reply when somebody is wishing you merry christmas?

Being nice, and noble is an act that is from Islam. The prophet (saw), was the most noble person. A Muslim is supposed to be the one who is most kind and having the noblest character. Of course, noble in the limit that you do not worship a god besides of Allah even if someone would ask you to do it kindly. Everything has it's understandings and exceptions according to it's time and place and context.

But to come to conclusion that you accept a whole religion as true or become one of them just because you do a good act, that is logically false (according to what you do and your intentions).

Some of our scholars have responded with fatwas saying there is no harm in replying with these or similar words.

Some of their proofs are

4:86

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner].

Also:

60:8

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.

60:9

Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

What is the intention by replying?

Sahih Bukhari

حَدَّثَنَا الْحُمَيْدِيُّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ التَّيْمِيُّ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنَ وَقَّاصٍ اللَّيْثِيَّ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ "‏ إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab:

I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."

Scholars i know have said it's permissible

  • Abdullah bin bayyah
  • Yousef Al qaradawi

Scholars I belive and heard said it's permissible

You can do your research on these yourself if that is needed.

  • Dr. Fath allah abd assattar saeed
  • Shaikh mohammad mokhtar al shinqiti
  • Dr. Mohammad Sayyed Dusooqy
  • The late Shaikh Dr. Mustafa Azzarqa
  • Shaikh Mohammad Rasheed Rida
  • Shaikh Ahmad al Sharbasi

Notice, logically this doesn't mean that all other scholars in the world see it as not permissible. That would be the logical fallacy of "Argument from silence" or "Argument from ignorance".

The ones that say it isn't permissible argue that you somehow accept their belief, or agreeing with their beliefs if you reply to them. This is not logically correct though.

41:34

And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.

If you'd ask:

I follow the understanding that congratulating non-muslims in their celebrations is not permissible. How should I respond without being rude?

In your position I would respond with: "Hope you have a good day!".

  • +1, just for the last line and for the "be gentle" notion. 60:8 and 60:9 are altogether irrelevant I believe. – servant-of-Wiser Feb 11 '16 at 17:10
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I'm struggling with this issue of how to respond to "Merry Christmas" as a new Muslim revert myself. I hopped onto Google to look for alternatives to my best concoctions....but have yet to find one that doesnt leave me feeling like I am depreciating my religious values on behalf of someone else's misguided feelings. Here is the best I have come up with:

"Enjoy your time with your family"

I was told by someone else to say "youtube." Since it sounds so close to "you too," people wont notice or wont correct even if they think it was a misspeak. .....but I still prefer to say to enjoy your time with your loved ones, as it's the only way I can think of to be honest, compassionate, and to maintain my religious beliefs.

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