Question:
Assalam Imam sahib,
I was just curious to know if it was permissible to purchase discounted items on non-muslim holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas ? We see people flocking supermarkets and staying up all night long for discounts…it doesn’t seem right.
And does the ruling change if we intended to purchase the item before the holidays began and even if it is permissible, is it better from the point of view of Taqwa to avoid this ?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah (All Praises are due to Allah).

Generally speaking it would not be forbidden to simply purchase discounted items on the holidays of non-Muslims, as long as these discounts do not come in the form of gifts related to the holiday. Shaikh Ibn Taymiyya permitted the receiving of gifts from non-Muslims on their holidays if they were general non-specific gifts. If one were to give you a Christmas Tree, or Christmas cookies, for example, it would not be permissable to accept them.

At the same time, one must not support the innovations or matter of misguidance that these holidays represent by partaking in their rituals.

As for the holiday shopping, the Ulema recommend we spend our time seeking the ‘ilm and attending the durus to gain beneficial knowledge. A noble goal in life is to attain knowledge and not simply to obey one’s lusts and desires and become consumers.

Another concern is that Muslims may miss out on their Salah or they may not be able to perform them properly or in Jama’ah when they are at these stores. Also, one is exposed to holiday music as well as religious displays (trees, candles, Santa claus etc).

One final point, is that there is often mixing and women dressed in inappropriate clothing at shopping malls, and this is a harmful distraction and danger to the faith of a believer.

In summary, although making a simple purchase at these stores is allowed, it is not recommended to spend one’s time hanging around in those places, and become affected by their environment.

And Allah knows best.