Saturday, December 12, 2009

I was thinking of Christmas...

I was thinking... Muslims aren't really supposed to celebrate Christmas since it's not a Muslim holiday. I understand that. But of course we know that there are Muslims who have Christian families that celebrate Christmas and it is hard to wipe that part of your life out.

I feel that it's OK for a person to celebrate Christmas if it means nothing unislamic to them (and if they don't do anything unislamic during the celebration too, of course)... But a Muslim going to a Christmas party does need to be careful that they know exactly what they are doing and why. And they should have a good reason to do it because I feel that if there are negative consequences from that celebration (like the person's children growing up confused and feeling far from Islam or influencing an uncertain Muslim to celebrate it in a confused unislamic way), the person will be held responsable for the damages caused.

The Muslim in this position needs to be careful about the celebration. A new convert to Islam might feel the need to go spend Christmas with the family because it is a tradition for them to eat together and exchange gifts and it might be worth going to because of how important family is and not wanting to break those important ties. I think the good outweighs the bad in such a situation.

A convert to Islam who simply loves Christmas might want to go all out with a Christmas tree in their home, the decorations, the music they listened to when they were young, the party, etc. As much as I understand how hard it is to give up these things, I don't think anyone could argue that it is not the best decision. So I definitely understand wanting to celebrate like they used to, and I wouldn't have any passionate feelings against them doing it to be honest (because of how much I understand, I guess), but we have to admit that it is not the right way to bring a Christian tradition into a Muslim household.

17 Comentários:

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

yeah I think the furthest you might want to go is to display holiday cards that your family has sent, and to maybe let your kids have a few lights, but do it in a way that is not overt.

Candice said...

Yeah, I have nothing against lights. I had some put up last year and kept them all winter. I considered them winter lights and Nora loved them. :)

I plan on having some deocorations for Eid and Ramadan next year. And I think gifts are not inappropriate for Ramadan. Egyptians have a tradition of giving money, but I think gifts are better and I plan on doing that with Nora. Blending my Christmas traditions into my Muslim holidays.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

I don't know. Because my parents are from 2 different religions, I grew up celebrating both Muslim and Christian holidays, although we never celebrated Christmas in a religious way. I didn't grow up confused at all, nor distant from Islam. So I don't really think it's that big of a deal at all.

Melda :o) said...

Assalamu alaikum

I'm sorry but are you guys serious? You think it's ok to celebrate Christmas and not only that plus you wanna turn our muslim holidays into Christmas, too, with decorations and stuff? Quit straddling the fence, people, there are no EIDLIGHTS and we don't display Christmas cards sent to us by family, we tell our family in a polite way we're muslims and don't want nothing to do with a holiday that's based on shirk which by the way is a sin Allah will not forgive if you die upon it!!! Astagfirullah, truly the last days are upon us, it's sad to see people making up their own version of Islam! May Allah save us from the evils of Shaytan! Ameen!

Melda :o) said...

Read this and tell me if you still think it's ok to have lights and trees and what not....We're not even supposed to SELL them cards or lights as this could be interpreted as celebrating. Think about it, guys, don't let Shaytan get to you and make you belief it's ok to celebrate this day! May Allah keep us on the righteous path! AMEEN!


In regards to those who think that celebrating Christmas is not of religion but instead culture, here is what Imam Hasan Khalil has sent:

Assalamu alaikum,

Festivals are the matter of religion and beliefs, not the matter of worldly customs, as is indicated by the Hadeeth:

“Every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid.”

Their Eid or festival reflects their beliefs, we have ours walhamdulillah! Allah Subhanahu said:

“And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass it by with dignity”

[al-Furqaan 25:72 – interpretation of the meaning].

The scholars interpreted this aayah was referring to the festivals of the mushrikeen. It is not permissible to give them cards, or to sell them cards or any of the other things they need for their festivals such as lights, trees…etc, because this is considered celebrating the event!

Allah knows best!

Wassalam

Sh/ Hasan Khalil

ISAT Imam

LK said...

Decorations and gifts sound great for Eid! I know in Dubai they go all out even have carnivals.

Christmas with the family seems fine. But I too will be avoiding it in the house, outside of winter decorations.

Melda: All I can say is this: You aren't a convert are you? Because if you were a convert you would understand the horrific damage that is done if you tell your family "No I will not come to your home to celebrate your holiday". Trust me, its not worth it. God does not want us to loose our families over a holiday dinner.

Melda :o) said...

@LK: No, I am not a convert though I fail to see how this fact is relevant. Allah wants you to obey him. If that means losing your family (over a holiday dinner, really?) then so be it.

Don't think my life is any easier just because I happened to be born into a muslim family. You would be shocked at the verbal abuse I had to endure from my sister who claims to be an atheist (authubillahi) and my mother who thinks hijab is not fard and just won't understand why I wear long and loose clothing even though I live in a non-muslim country!

LK, I'm not trying to get into a debate over this issue. As a muslim woman it is my duty to enjoin the good and forbid the evil when I see it because I want for my sisters and brothers in Islam what I want for myself...to spend eternity in Jannah, insha'allah! I gave evidence even though I didn't have to, it is up to every muslim individually to follow the daleel or ignore it. May Allah bless you and lead you to the righteous path!

Candice said...

CLA: Good to see a concrete example of someone not confused! I don't imagine Nora will be confused either if I make it clear. I could, of course, ignore Islam altogether and not celebrate Christmas except at my parents. That could be confusing for her, but the worst in this situation would have been giving up Islam, not supper at my parents on Christmas Eve.

Melda: I don't think you read my post very well at all. I don't want Eid to become Christmas and it was obvious to the others who read my post. And you ask me, "tell me if you still think it's ok to have lights and trees and what not...." I wrote that I didn't think it was OK for Muslims to bring Christmas into their own home.

LK: So true, it's not worth the damage to skip Christmas dinner with the family. I love my family and continue to love them even as a Muslim. Nothing has changed there and so I plan on keeping a very close relationship with them even now.

Candice said...

Melda: I think we found the issue. You think God would rather we lose our family than go to Christmas dinner and me and LK think it's more important to keep family. I guess the debate is over and we can agree to disagree with this point. :)

Jamilah said...

I think it all comes in stages for reverts. When I first reverted I still went to my in laws house for xmas stuff... but as I learned more I realized that I should not do that. Alhamdulilah my husband and I both have pretty understanding family members and we explained it to them.

Islam means submission. Allah is the one we are submitting to, so if we find that he does not want us to do something we should do our best to follow it.

As for Xmas, it sort of packs a double whammy... if it is a religious holiday to people its celebrating shirk, which is a big no no... and if it not very religious to some the pagan origins of it are enough to choke a horse....

We all face challenges as Muslims, but I also think we don't give our family enough credit sometimes... perhaps we need to try harder with them to have them understand. If it is important to us it might be important to them too...

Candice said...

Thank you for your comment, Jamilah. I really understand what you mean. And I think you might be right... What is important to me is important to my family and they might make the effort to understand once they get over the shock of it all. But I will see as it comes what will be best.

Thanks again for your comment.

A'ishah Hils said...

I agree. I don't think that it's wrong to attend holiday or other celebrations that aren't necessarily things that we celebrate as Muslims, as long as we keep in mind that we are there to interact with families, etc. and not to revere other religious beliefs.

For me this isn't much of an issue, though, because my parents passed away and I don't have much of a connection with my remaining family except for my sisters and one or two aunts (this was something both sides of my family chose after my parents' deaths, totally separate and before I decided to convert). They are not really strongly religious and mostly celebrate Christmas because it's just what's done in America by people who were raised in the Bible belt south in nominally Baptist families. Generally since my parents passed away though I am usually stuck at school/work anyway so I rarely get to see them during that time (this year I will be seeing my sister over New Years, but we're not going to celebrate religiously). I do miss the togetherness, because since I don't really have a strong home in the Muslim community either I don't experience that as much over Eid, but that's something I think I would miss even if I weren't Muslim.

I thought this was a touching post since I was just thinking about the loneliness I experience over the "holidays" (in American parlance) and how I feel about it, since around the university everyone is talking about their winter break plans, etc. It is definitely a unique experience for us as Muslims in such a culture, and moreso as reverts.

Additionally I just wanted to add that I really enjoy reading your blog. I just found it earlier this evening by accident but I think it's awesome that you've decided to write about your journey. I remember feeling some of the same things when I was considering becoming Muslim originally...that experience of connecting with others in all areas of their seeking is really a blessing, Alhamdulillah. So thank you for sharing :)

Candice said...

Thank you very much for reading my blog, A'ishah, and for commenting.

I'm sorry to hear all the hardships you have had to endure... I'm glad you found Islam and God to help you get through all that.

You bring up another aspect of not celebrating Christmas for a convert coming from a Christian family. Loneliness. If a person finds all the support they need elsewhere, then that's great, but for some it's needed...

Anonymous said...

Allah knows my intent. If another Muslim doesn't, I am really not worried since he/she isn't my judge.

I will attend my family's Christmas celebration, because I know that I have the understanding and control to not worship anything other than Allah.

I will attend because my family means a lot to me, and maybe through my faith they will become Muslim (insha'allah).

I will attend because Christmas reminds me of one of God's most glorious prophets, Isa. His birth was miraculous, and so was his life. I can only pray to be more like Isa (peace be upon him).
___Stephanie (not ashamed of my Christian upbringing, just like I am not ashamed of being a Muslim)

Aynur said...

I think on this topic, there is not just 1 view on it - like some scholars think it's okay to wish others Merry Christmas while others will say it's haraam to do so. (i.e. here's an example of a article from islamonline.net: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&cid=1196786438891)
And also this is a interesting article:
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/12/24/can-muslims-say-039merry-christmas039.html

My husband and I were talking about this last week, he was asking me why some born Muslims celebrate Christmas. I misunderstood him at first, and said that sometimes converts have a hard time not celebrating it because of family traditions ... but no, his concern was about non-converts. I think many people view it as a cultural practice - which, in essence it is pagan - and even non-religious Christians celebrate it.

In my opinion - you have to look at the big picture. Sometimes it's easier to slowly ease out of holiday celebrations with your family. For me, I still send my mom and aunt a Christmas card and gift, out of respect for their holiday. They don't send me or my girls anything, they understand that I don't celebrate the holiday. I used to miss having a tree and having lights up, but I'm getting more used to it. It takes time - some people need more time than others.

Candice said...

Thanks for your comment and links. I think it's a bit of a different story for born Muslims. If it's easy for them to stay away from Christmas gatherings, they should do so. OK, so it's not different because that's the same as for converts, but there are a lot less born Muslims with a good reason to celebrate.

Zuhura said...

Even before I converted to Islam, Xmas was not a religious holiday for me -- just a day to get together with loved ones and exchange gifts -- so I plan to continue celebrating it. My new husband, who was born and raised Muslim and is more conservative than me plans to celebrate with me as well.

Exploring Life and Islam © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.

TOPO