Can Muslims Give Christmas Gifts to Non-Muslim Friends?
During the holiday season we're surrounded by the beauty of Christmas decor, music, and reminders that it is the season of giving. Many of our non-Muslim neighbors and friends often wish us Happy Holidays and even drop off gifts to celebrate the holiday season. As Muslims, we're always taught to treat our neighbors and friends with compassion, kindness, and respect. So many people often wonder if during the Christmas season, is it ok to give gifts to our non-Muslim friends?
The Prophet's (pbuh) Tradition
Gift giving has been an Islamic tradition and sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It has been narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) exchanged gifts and letters with the Christian King Negus. These have been reported in hadiths such as this one by Imam Ibn Majah and Imam Abi Daud.
"It was narrated from Ibn Buraidah, from his father, that an-Najashi sent a pair of pure black Khuff as a gift to the Prophet s.a.w, of which he wore." (Sunan Ibn Majah)
Gift giving is also a way of helping to build love and respect between people.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Al-Bukhari)
However, there are certain limits and guidelines within Islam that one must recognize and adhere to when exchanging gifts during any time other than Islamic celebrations.
Firstly when giving gifts, they cannot be of a religious nature (other than Islam) that is used in a celebration. For example, giving a cross, or a star to put on top of a Christmas tree would be gifts that fall under this category. If candles are used for certain celebratory or religious rituals (lighting a minora), then those are also gifts that should not be given.
Also, food that you would not consume yourself as a Muslim should not be given as gifts. A non-halal Turkey, rum-cake, or bottle of wine would be such examples of gifts that are forbidden not just during the holiday season, but for any occasion.
Make it Even More Special Can Muslims Give Christmas Gifts to Non-Muslim Friends
A really great way to help spread the spirit of love is to include a card or note with your gift that explains why Muslims also love Prophet Isa (pbuh) (Jesus Christ) and Marium (Mary). Here are five examples you can use (taken from vox.com):
1- Muslims believe that Jesus (called “Isa” in Arabic) was a prophet of God and was born to a virgin (Mary). They also believe he will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal, or “the false messiah” — also known as the Antichrist.
2- Mary (called “Maryam” in Arabic) has an entire chapter in the Qur’an named for her — the only chapter in the Qur’an named for a female figure. In fact, Mary is the only woman to be mentioned by name in the entire Qur’an. Mary is mentioned more times in the Qur'an than in the entire New Testament of the Bible.
3- Just as we do with all the other prophets, including Mohammed, devout Muslims recite “peace be upon him” after every time we refer to Jesus by name.
4- Muslims believe that Jesus performed miracles: The Qur’an discusses several of Jesus’s miracles, including giving sight to the blind, healing lepers, raising the dead, and breathing life into clay birds.
5- The story of Jesus’s birth as told in the Qur’an is also the story of his first miracle, when he spoke as an infant in the cradle and declared himself to be a prophet of God.
Be sure to check out these great gift ideas from Tuesday in Love!