Question and answer details
Question: Dear brothers and sisters, as-salamu `alaykum. I am currently reverting to Islam. My mother is Catholic, my father Muslim, but does not practice. I have always celebrated Christmas even though I’ve never been Christian. I’ve read some advice that warns Muslims not to partake in other holidays, but if I don’t, my mother will be very hurt. I am torn. Is it wrong to celebrate the birth of Jesus? We believe in him too, and exchanging gifts for the benefit of my mother and Christian friends does not mean that I adhere to a belief in the Trinity. Please respond; your advice would be greatly appreciated. Jazakum Allah khayran.
consultant: Ahmad Kutty
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear sister in Islam, we are greatly impressed by your question, for it’s related to the affairs of the new Muslims. We seize the chance to earnestly implore Allah from the depths of our hearts to lead all perplexed men and women to the light of Islam, the true religion of Allah. We welcome all our new Muslim brothers and sisters to the fold of Islam.
Islam encourages the Muslim to have kind and compassionate relationship with his parents and all his relatives whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. As a Muslim, you are encouraged to show all forms of kindness and mercy towards your non-Muslim mother. Let her see the true teachings of Islam as practiced by you and be a good ambassador of your religion.
Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Islam is all for treating our parents, relatives and friends compassionately. As a Muslimah, it is your duty to be most gentle and kind to them, especially your parents. Allah says, (Keep their company with kindness in this world, and follow the path of him who turns to Me. Then unto Me will you return, and I shall tell you what you did.) (Luqman 31: 15)
Keeping good company of one’s parents includes accepting their invitations, eating with them all foods that are permissible for us to consume, which excludes pork, intoxicants, and that which has been immolated to idols.
You are allowed to participate in the festivities of Christmas or holiday seasons on condition that you abstain from specific religious rituals associated with them, if any. As Muslims we revere Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) as one of the mighty messengers of Allah; we would have certainly celebrated the same, if only it had been a tradition established by Jesus and his authentic disciples. We certainly know that was not the case. It is all too well known that celebration of Christmas was introduced into Christianity in the manner of the pagan cultic rituals prevailing in the lands that the Christians conquered and as such, it is not something to be cherished as an authentic Christian festival.
Muslims refuse to deify not only Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) but anyone else for that matter including Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). We believe in all prophets, and consider them all as preaching the same essential message: Do not worship any other gods but Allah.
It would certainly be a good idea for you to broach this topic with your parents in one of their gentler moments.
Lastly, continue to pray to Allah to open the hearts of your parents to the truth, for He alone guides (people) to Truth. Ameen.
Allah Almighty knows best.