Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 29 Safar 1439
Home » Fatwas » Customs » Celebrations

Celebrating Christmas with My Non-Muslim Family

I come from a Christian family. In addition to being a religious feast, Christmas has become a social occasion during which families meet and exchanges gifts. Ever since I embraced Islam, I have been feeling guilty before God the Almighty because of my family who have not yet come to terms with my conversion. I do not know what to do in this case. I have reached the stage where I am afraid to pick up the phone to wish my family a merry Christmas and avoid joining them for dinner even though I know they do not care for religion. This causes me great sadness; would you please tell me what I should do?

Answer

Islam is the religion of peace, mercy, beneficence, and maintaining relations. One of the most important obligations upon Muslims in our age is to show the beauty of Islam and be its best representatives through their manners and relations. Islam does not command you to distance yourself from your family or to hate and antagonize them. Rather, it commands you to treat them in the best manner. There is a great difference between the divine injunction to abhor disbelief such that a Muslim may prefer to be thrown in fire to leaving Islam and between hating people and your family and antagonizing them for their disbelief. This invalid meaning of loathsome hatred is foreign to Islam, to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and to Islamic civilization which spread peace to all corners of the world.

Islam has never commanded its followers to hate people but commanded Muslims to love them because they are God’s creation. And because man is the creation of God, cursed is the one who destroys him. This is because God the Almighty created man with His own hands, breathed into him of His spirit and ordered the angels to prostrate before him. For this reason, respecting man is an angelic characteristic. Consequently, God the Almighty commanded us to love people, maintain ties of kinship, treat others kindly, adopt noble manners, speak good words, give friendly smiles and maintain good companionship. It is through these means that Islam spread to the west and east and conquered the hearts of people before their lands. We therefore advise you to behave as you normally would and be yourself because Islam wants you to keep up your good spirits that inspire happiness, optimism and hope in those around you. Treat your family with good manners and do not settle for a phone call to congratulate them on the occasion of Christmas but share their happiness and join their celebrations as long as they are free of religious rituals or unlawful practices.

There is no objection to celebrating Christmas with your family. Islam is an open system; its followers believe in all of its prophets and messengers and love and exalt them. They likewise treat the followers of those prophets and messengers well in compliance with the words of God the Almighty Who says: “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best” [29: 46].

Jesus the son of Mary (peace be upon him) is among the `uli al-‘azm (the prophets and messengers who experienced great tribulations during their mission). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, son of Mary, both in this world and in the hereafter; no prophet was sent between me and him.” Every Muslim believes that Jesus is a prophet from among mankind who performed great miracles such as reviving the dead and healing the ill by the will of God the Almighty, not as a god or the son of God. Therefore, celebrating Christmas regardless of the Christian doctrine of the sonship of Jesus, is an aspect of faith. Rejoice with your family and eat with them and refrain from consuming pork and alcohol with tact and graciousness. Ignore those who want to ruin your relationship with your family in the name of Islam as Islam is innocent of all of this.
And God the Almighty knows best.

Related links
» Is there what is called an Islamic wedding? How is it held?
» Can I bring gifts for my non- Muslim friends on Christmas?
» We have some Christian friends here, does Islam allow me to send them greetings of Christmas or to tell them happy Christmas?
» Is it permissible to congratulate Christians for Christmas?
» Please don't kill people in the name of my religion