Greetings: On Christmas, etc.

Q243 :Back home, the followers of three religions live side by side: Muslims, Christians and Hindus. In any feast of any community, members of the two other communities congratulate those who have the festivity. For example, Hindus and Christians come and greet us on the occasion of Eid, and we congratulate Christians at Christmas and so on. Some people protest saying that this is unacceptable. Please comment.

A243 : Islam is keen on maintaining good relations with neighbouring communities. It is clearly stated in the Qur'an that Allah likes us to be kind to those of the followers of other religions who do not try to fight us or turn us away from our land. And He loves those who are fair. It is only those who are hostile to us and who try to turn us out of our land with whom we are not allowed to have kindly relations. When different religious communities live peacefully together, it follows that they should congratulate each other on happy occasions. There is nothing wrong in that, nor is it forbidden to partake of their food unless we know that they slaughter their animals in a way which Islam forbids [Added: or if the food offered is otherwise forbidden by Islam.] Islam goes further than that and imposes on the Muslims a duty to defend those non-Muslims who live peacefully under its fold. If they are attacked by a foreign power, we should help them repel it. [Added: Greeting them on their religious festivities or feasting with them is one thing, but Muslims should not, of their own, celebrate religious occasions of the non-Muslims.]

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )