Can I spend Christmas time with my non-Muslim mother?
Christmas is around the corner and I do not know what to do about my non-Muslim mother. I do not want her to be alone on this occasion, as she does not have her family with her and she invited my brother and me over to spend this day with her. I know she wants our company. She respects our choice of religion and serves us only halal meat when we visit her for dinner. She even greets us on our Eids. My intention is not to celebrate Christmas, but to keep a bond with my mother and soften her heart towards.
On the other hand, I have heard many opinions from Muslims deeming this to be prohibited and some even go as far as to say it is shirk. Kindly advise us.
Your earnest concern to being dutiful towards your mother and spending time with her during Christmas is admirable as is your eagerness to demonstrate an excellent example of Muslim manners. It is nonetheless appalling that some self-proclaimed scholars equate spending time with a non-Muslim parent or family during Christmas with shirk or polytheism! This opinion is an aberration of the true authentic teachings of Islam in both letter and spirit.
Islam is a religion of mercy. The mercy of Islam is universal and includes all humans regardless of their religious affiliations, cultural differences and ethnic backgrounds. It even encompasses plants and animals.
The Quran does not only allow Muslims to maintain ties with their non-Muslim families, but raises makes it obligatory. God Almighty says, " But if they (your parents) endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance]…” (Quran 31:15). In this noble verse, God commands us to keep warm ties with our families even when they exert their utmost to make us leave Islam. If this is so, a fortiori those who show respect to our religious choices and do not insult our belief in any way. We should be more eager to show them greater kindness and envelope them with mercy.
Islam places paramount importance on the concept of high morals and even establishes a strong connection between them and faith. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The nearest of you to me on the Day of Judgment are those who have the best morals." Muslims are therefore commanded to be kind to others and refrain from discriminating against them based on their religious choices, cultural backgrounds, or the like.
There is no legal impediment to participating in celebrating the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him). Islam is an open system and its followers believe, respect, and honor all the prophets and messengers. They treat the followers of other religions with kindness in fulfillment of the words of God Almighty, “And dispute not with the People of the Book, except in the best way” (Quran 29: 46).
Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon him) is one of the prophets who are characterized with determination and patience. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "I am more entitled to Jesus the son of Mary than anyone in this life and in the Hereafter; no prophet has been sent between us." Every Muslim believes that Jesus is a human and a prophet who performed great miracles, by the will of God Almighty. This is not because he was a god or the son of God in the sense of physical procreation — God is exalted above this.
Celebrating the day of the birth of Jesus is an act of belief regardless of Christian convictions in his regard. Therefore, there is no objection to participating with your parent/s, family, and friends on this joyful event. Eat with them but refrain from eating pork and drinking alcohol with tact and civility. Do not pay any attention to anyone who wants to ruin relations between you and your family and others in the name of Islam because Islam is innocent from all of this.
And God Almighty knows best.