December 30, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8444

Former Director Of Qatari Charity Foundation: Participating In Christmas Or New Year Celebrations Is A Crime Against Islam

December 30, 2019
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 8444

In a December 26, 2019 column in the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, Sheikh 'Ali bin Rashed Al-Makhri Al-Muhannadi, a former senior manager of the Qatar Charity organization, warned the Muslims that participating in Christmas or New Year celebrations, or aiding them in any way, constitutes a sin and a crime against Islam. He noted that the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions treated Christians with respect all year round but did not celebrate their holidays.[1]

It should be noted that Qatar Charity is a Doha-based NGO founded in 1992, which is active in Asia, Europe and Africa[2] and is a partner in multiple UN projects and activities.[3] The organization has for years been accused of having ties with terrorism. For example, testimony delivered to the U.S. Congress indicates that it was one of Bin Laden's major sources of funding,[4] and in 2017 the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries listed it as a terrorist organization for its links to the Muslim Brotherhood.[5] The United Kingdom's Charities Commission has issued a warning about the organization's British branch, because it is funded by the Doha-based one.[6] 
'Ali bin Rashed Al-Mukhri Al-Muhannadi (source:

The following are excerpts from Al-Muhannadi's column:[7]

"Some Muslims seem to be celebrating the birth of Christ, or Christmas, as it is called, as well as the start of the new [Christian] year. Those who do this must stop, for anyone who tries to imitate the group [of infidels] is like one of them, and the Prophet warned us not to resemble them or assume their characteristics.

"Caution and More Caution:

"A believing man or woman must take care and not aid the celebration of these festivals in any way, for they are festivals that contravene Allah's sharia. One must not participate in them or cooperate with people who celebrate them or help them in any way. One must not help organize [holiday] celebrations at hotels or [other] venues, exchange gifts on this day, hold festive dinners or lunches or put up a fir tree or a figure of Santa Claus, for they are part of the Christian belief. One must not serve [the celebrators] coffee, tea, juice or the like.  For Allah said [in Quran 5:2]: ' And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression...' Partaking in their celebrations is tantamount to taking part in a crime and in aggression against our religion and faith, and therefore every Muslim man and woman must avoid this. A reasonable person must not imitate other people on the pretext of being tolerant or the like. The tolerance of Islam was manifested in the virtue of the Prophet, his Companions and their successors, who were treated the Christians with respect all year round, but did not participate in their festivals or [celebrate] Christmas... We must observe the laws of Islam and [do] as they say, and follow the directives of Allah and His Messenger, not those of men... For Allah said [in Quran 6:116]: 'And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah...'"

Al-Muhannadi's article on the Al-Sharq website (, December 26, 2019)


[1] This is not the first time the issue of Christmas has come up in the Qatari media. In late 2018, there was a debate about whether public expressions of Christmas should be permitted in the country and whether Muslims were allowed to wish Christians a happy holiday. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7830 - In Qatar, Debate On Christmas, New Year's Celebrations, And Wishing Christians A Happy Holiday, January 7, 2019.


[3] See e.g.,, October 3, 2017;, June 15, 2017.

[4], December 29, 2015.

[5], August 18, 2019. 

[6], August 17, 2019.

[7] Al-Sharq (Qatar), December 26, 2019.

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