Ruling on congratulating a Christian teacher or who commits acts of Shirk
Most of our teachers are Mushriks (those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) or People of the Book either Jews or Christians. What is the ruling on congratulating them on their festivals? What is the ruling on returning their greeting, which is very important to them? What is the ruling on giving them presents whether in their festivals or other occasions?
First: It is not permissible either to attend the Christian festivals or congratulate them on such occasions; for this will be a sort of being pleased with what they do, flattering them for their falsehood and helping them in sin and transgression. Allah, the Exalted, says, “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” [al-Maidah: 2]
Second: Starting with the greeting to a disbeliever is not permissible; for what has been authentically reported in the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet anyone of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.” Narrated by Muslim.
In the Hadith narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), he reported the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying, “When the People of the Book offer you salutations, you should say ‘The same to you.’” Narrated by the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Thus they should be answered as indicated in the Hadith by saying, “The same to you.” It is all right to start greeting the Kafir (disbeliever) saying “How is it going?” in the morning and the evening, and the like; if necessary. This was acknowledged by a group of scholars including the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. if necessary. This was acknowledged by a group of scholars including the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah.
Based on what has been mentioned above, it is all right to greet your non-Muslim teachers with any greeting other than that of Islam before they greet you. You can say “How are you?” and the like. Moreover, you can return their greeting if they greet you first. If they learn about the greeting of Islam and greet you with it, you should answer them with what has been mentioned in the previous Hadith saying, “The same to you.”
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions