Assalamu Alaikum. I am a Muslim living in Minnesota, and my family has made it tradition to make a turkey dinner ever year on Thanksgiving Day. I was wondering if such an act is considered Haram. My siblings tell me that we do it on Thanksgiving Day because it's one of the few days throughout the year in which the whole family is off from work/school. In some occasions, we might also make it on Christmas Day, or even other American Holidays. Another excuse my siblings have come up with is concerning the hadeeth: all deeds are counted according to the intentions made. If my family intends to make turkey because it's the easiest day to prepare the food and have everyone over, would that be Ok? Sometimes, I want to say something, but every argument I make it not taken seriously. I hope to make them see that what I'm saying might be true. Jazaakum Allahu Khair...Salam.
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.
It is forbidden for a Muslim to prepare a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving because this is an imitation of non-Muslims. It is confirmed in an authentic narration that whoever imitates a people is one of them.
Saying that the family gathers on this day and this is not with the purpose of imitating the non-Muslims but due to the fact that this day is a holiday, then this does not make it permissible for you to do this, because in essence you are imitating them. Gathering on this day could be on any other kind of food, why then have specifically a turkey dinner? Is this not imitating them even in the kind of food they eat?
The prohibition of resembling the non-Muslims is not restricted to inward actions [beliefs, actions of the heart] and intentions, but also to outward actions. It is for this reason that the Prophet prohibited us from performing the prayer at sun set and sun rise, and he said that it rises between two horns of the devil and the polytheist prostate to it at this time, despite the fact that a Muslim prays to Allah and not to the horns of the devil. However, the Prophet forbade us from performing the prayer at that time regardless of our intention.
The Prophet also used to differ from the people of the book even in the way they combed their hair.
Indeed, there are many narrations of the Prophet about differing from the people of the Book in regard to both words or actions.
Therefore, we advise you to fear Allah and not imitate the polytheists and act in conformity with them in their festivals and traditions which are peculiar to them.
Dear sister, you should advise your brothers and sisters with wisdom and in a good and soft manner as they might listen to you. You should explain to them that it is permissible for the family to gather on that day because it is a holiday but without making this day as a festival and imitating the non-Muslims in their eating traditions and the like. It should be a family gathering like all other gatherings throughout the year [without any special food, settings or decorations].
For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 86876 and 83628.
Allah Knows best