Being with non-Muslim relatives during Christmas

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  • Publish date:26/12/2007
  • Section:FATWA FOR ALL
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Question:

Recently I became Muslim and wonder about celebrating holidays with my Christian family. My family is Christian but is very accepting of my new faith.  They by no means want to put any pressure on me.   I find that especially around Christmas time is very hard for me.  To me the holiday has always less of a religious holiday and more about being with those you love, I think the rest of my family is the same way.  At the same time it is a celebration of the birth of a Prophet.  If this is not a "Christian" ritual for me what is the harm in celebrating with my family.  My husband didn't think it was even right to say Merry Christmas to them, even though before I was Muslim I would tell my Muslim friends 'Eed Mubaarak'.  Is there a way I can be with my family on the holidays without being in conflict with my faith?

Fatwa:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, all perfect praise be to Allah who guided you to Islam and we ask Him to bless you with religious knowledge and make you steadfast on it until you die.

With regard to participating in Christmas celebrations with your family, this is in reality one of the rituals of non-Muslims and it is not from the religion of Islam. In Islam, we do not celebrate the birthday of 'Eesaa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, or any other Prophet. We are not even permitted to celebrate the birthday of our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ).

Since this celebration is among their religious rites and particular to them, then it is forbidden for a Muslim to participate with them in their celebration, because if one does so, he is confirming and testifying to the falsehood on which they are upon.

Indeed Allah praised the people who do not participate with the non-Muslims in their celebration saying (what means): {And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.} [Qur'an 25:72]. The interpreters of the Qur'an interpreted 'falsehood' to mean the religious celebrations of the non-Muslims.

Furthermore, these kinds of celebrations in addition to being an evil in themselves, they are seldom free from drinking intoxicants and serving them on the table, like wine for example. It is confirmed that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not sit on a dining table where wine is being served." [At-Tirmithi]

The real celebration of 'Eesaa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, is in loving him and following his way in the belief in the Oneness of Allah, worshipping Allah Alone, not associating with Him any partners, and following the religion of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) about which the Gospel gave glad tidings. Celebrating Christmas once a year and then disbelieving in the religion of 'Eesaa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, and disbelieving in the religions of all other Prophets afterwards, is in fact a false amusement and not a celebration.

To conclude, we advise you, sister, not to participate with your family in this forbidden falsehood and be proud of your true religion and the belief in the Oneness of Allah. Even if they congratulate us in our celebrations which are the Truth and are legislated by Allah, it does not mean that it is permissible to congratulate them on their falsehood and disbelief. These are completely two different things. The Truth and falsehood are not equal.

Finally, it should be noted that you are permitted to visit your family, keep ties of kinship with them and be kind to them, as Allah says (what means): {Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.} [Qur'an 60:8]

Besides, you should endeavour to call them to Islam as you could be a reason for their guidance and salvation from Hellfire, especially your parents as they have more right on you to be kind and dutiful to them, and call them to Islam.

Allah Knows best.

Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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