Celebrations and Ruling on participataing of non-Muslim Religious

Avoiding doing the same things that they do.  
Some Muslims may not be able to be present at the festivals of the kuffaar, but they do the same things as they do. This is also a part of the imitation which blameworthy and forbidden. Shaykh al-Islam said: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to imitate them in any part of the things that are exclusively part of their festivals, whether it be food, dress, bathing, lighting fires or changing their habits with regard to daily living, acts of worship, etc. It is not permissible to give a feast or give gifts or sell items that will help them to do that for that purpose, or to allow children and others to do any of that, whether it is playing, wearing new clothes etc. in conclusion, they should not make that day special by adopting any of their rituals; for the Muslims, the day of the kaafirs’ festival should be like any other day.” Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 52/923).

Al-Dhahabi said: “If the Christians or the Jews have a fstival that is exxclusively theirs, the Muslims should not join them in that, just as they do not join them in their laws or their direction of prayer.” (tashabbuh al-Khasess bi Ahl al-Khmaees, in al-Hikmah magazine, issue $, p. 391). Ibn al-Turkmaani al-Hanafi mentioned some of the things that some Muslims did on the occasion of Christian festivals, such as spending more than usual and taking the family out, then he said: “Some of the Hanafi scholars said: whoever does any of the things mentioned here and does not repent, is a kaafir like them.” One of the companions of Maalik said: “Whoever cuts up a watermelon on the day of Nawrooz, it is as if he sacrificed a pig.” (al-Lam’ fi’l-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492)

Avoiding using the means of transportation that they use to go to their festivals  
Maalik said: “It is makrooh to travel with them in the boats which they use to go to their festivals, because the Divine wrath and curse is descending upon them.” (al-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’, 1/492).

Ibn al-Qaasim was asked about travelling in the boats which the Christians ride in to attend their festivals. He regarded that as makrooh, fearing the descent of Divine wrath upon them for the shirk which they agreed upon. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/625).

Not giving them gifts or helping them to celebrate their festvials by either selling or buying.  
Abu Hafs al-Hanafi said: “Whoever gives an egg to a kaafir out of respect for that day has disbelieved in Allaah, may He be exalted.” (Fath al-Baari li Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani, 2/315).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Ibn al-Qaasim regarded it as makrooh for a Muslim to give a Christian anything on the occasion of his festival to congratulate him. He saw that as respecting their festival and helping them in their kufr. Do you not see that it is not permissible for the Muslims to sell anything to the Christians that helps them to celebrate their festival? No meat, no food, no dress. They should not loan their riding-beasts to them or help them in any way with their festival, because that is like honouring their shirk and helping them with their kufr. The authorities should prevent Muslims from doing this. This is the view of Maalik and others, and I do not know of any dissenting opinion on this point.” (2/625-725)

Ibn al-Turkmaani said: “The Muslim is sinning if he sits with them or helps them to slaughter animals or cook food, or he lends them a riding-beast to take them to their celebrations or festivals.” (al-Lama’ fi’l-Hawaadith, 1/492)

Not helping the Muslim who wants to imitate them in their festivals to do so  
Shaykh al-Islam said: “Just as we should not imitate them in their festivals, so too we should not help the Muslim who wants to imitate them to do so. It is forbidden to so this. If a person issues an invitation on the occasion of their festivals that he would not ordinarily do, his invitation should not be accepted. If a Muslim gives a gift on this occasion that he would not ordinarily give at any other time, his gift should not be accepted, especially if it is something that would help a person to imitate them, as we have already stated. A Muslim should not sell anything that could help Muslims to imitate them in their celebrations, such as food, clothing and so on, because be doing so he is helping them in sin. (al-Iqtidaa’, 2/915-025).

Not congratulating them on the occasion of their festivals Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “As for congratulating them for the symbols of kufr that belong exclusively to them, this is haraam according to scholarly consensus, such as congratulating them for their festivals and fasts, and saying, ‘A blessed festival to you’ and the like. Even though the person who says this might not become a kaafir by saying this, it is still forbidden, and it is the same as congratulating them for prostrating to the cross. Indeed, it is an even greater sin with Allaah and is more hated by Him than congratulating them for drinking wine, killing people and committing adultery, and so on. Many of those who do not care about religion do this, and do not realize how abhorrent their actions are. Whoever congratulates a person for his sin, bid’ah (innovation) or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah. The pious scholars used to avoid congratulating the tyrants when they were appointed to official positions, or congratulating the ignorant when they were appointed as Qaadis, teachers or Muftis, because they sought to avoid the wrath and anger of Allaah .” (Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, 1/144-244).

Congratulating the kuffaar on the occasion of their religious festivals is haraam as Ibn al-Qayyim stated, because this implies approval of their rituals and beliefs of kufr. Even if a person does not accept this kufr for himself, it is still haraam for a Muslim to approve of the rituals of kufr for someone else or to congratulate someone else for them, because Allaah does not approve of this. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you; He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you” [al-Zumar 39:7]

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

Congratulating them for that is haraam, whether they are taking part with them in that or not. If they congratulate us on the occasion of their festival, we should not respond, because it is not our festival and because these are festivals with which Allaah is not pleased, because they are either innovated in their religions, or they are prescribed, but they (their religions) have been abrogated by the religion of islam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to all of mankind. And Allaah says concerning islam (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85].

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept an invitation on these occasions, because this is worse than merely congraulating them, since it involves joining in with them. Anyone who does any of these things is a sinner whether he does it just to be friendly, or because he likes them, or because he is too shy to do otherwise, or for any other reason, because it is a kind of hypocrisy in the religion of Allaah and is a way of making the kuffaar feel stronger and making tem proud of their religion. (Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa rasaa’il Fadeelat al-Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen, compiled by Fahd al-Salmaan, 3/45-46)

Question: What if a Muslim wants to celebrate like they do, but he does it a few days before or after their festival so that he is not imitating them?

This is a kind of imitation and to is haraam, because the prohibition of a thing , and the prohibition of celebrating their festivals also covers the days before and after the festival itself, when they do things that have to do with it. The prohibition also covers the places in which they do things that have to do with their festivals or … . The ruling on these things is the same as the ruling on the festival itself. These things should not be done, even if some people avoid doing any of thse things on the days of their festival such as the Thursday (what is referred to here is Maundy Thursday or the Day of Ascension, which is one of the rituals of Easter for the Christians, who call it the Great Thursday) or Christmas, but they tell their families, I will do this for you next week or next month, and their motive is the fact that the kaafirs’ festival is happening, otherwise they would not have done it at all. This is also one of the things meant by imitation. (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 2/315).
Avoiding using their words and religious terminology
If it is forbidden to learn their languages unnecessarily for fear of resembling them, then using the names they give to their festivals and rituals is even more forbidden. This is like using the word “mahrajaan” (festival) to describe any large gathering, because this is the name of a religious festival of the Persians.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) was given a gift for Nawrooz and he said, What is this?” They said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, this is the day of Nawrooz.” He said, “Then make every day Fayrooz!” Abu Usaamah said: “He, may Allaah be pleased with him, did not even want to say ‘Nawrooz.’” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubraa, 9/532). 
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “ ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) did not even want to say the same name as they gave to their own festival, so how abut doing the same things?” (See: al-Iqtidaa’, 1/954). We have already stated that this is not an Arabic term; the Arabic language is rich enough not to need such words, and has better words that can be used.