Collecting donations to give gifts to poor families at Christmas
Am I right for refusing to give donations?
Praise be to Allaah.
It seems that you are referring to the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon him), an occasion which the Christians venerate and have taken as a festival. The festivals of the Christians are part of their religion, and if the Muslims venerate the festivals of the kuffaar by expressing joy and giving gifts, this means that they are imitating them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Muslims must beware of imitating the Christians in their festivals and of following the customs that belong only to them. You did well and you did the right thing when you did not agree to collect donations for poor families on the occasion of Christmas, so adhere to that and advise your brothers and explain to them that this action is not permissible, because we Muslims have no festivals apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa. Allaah has given us these two festivals and we have no need of the festivals of the kaafirs.
Written by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Barraak.
If we Muslims want to give in charity, we can give to those who really deserve it, and we should not aim to do that specifically on the days of the kaafirs’ festivals. We should do that whenever there is a need, and make the most of good and great occasions such as the month of Ramadaan and the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and other virtuous occasions when rewards are multiplied. We should also do that at times of hardship, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But he has not attempted to pass on the path that is steep (i.e. the path which will lead to goodness and success).
And what will make you know the path that is steep?
(It is) freeing a neck (slave)
Or giving food in a day of hunger (famine),
To an orphan near of kin.
Or to a Miskeen (poor) cleaving to dust (out of misery).
Then he became one of those who believed (in the Islamic Monotheism) and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and (also) recommended one another to pity and compassion.
They are those on the Right Hand (i.e. the dwellers of Paradise)”
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.