Fatwa: # 31916
Category: Psychological and Social
Country: United States
Date: 27th January 2015

Title

My stepmother celebrates Thanksgiving & Christmas

Question

My step mother converted to islam about 20yrs ago but she still celebrates thanksgivings and christmas holidays as she believes she has to carry her family traditions. Rest of my family memebers also think it's not a big deal to exhange gifts and have gatherings just for fun. However, I personally don't think it's okay neither do my in-laws to be... which could be very problematic in the future if we reject invitations from my family of these holidays which have become sacred to them...

So my question is that if it would be okay to attend dinners on these holidays to avoid any kinda tension between families.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Brother in Islam,

Your sensitivity towards your family members following Deen and your want for them to gain the pleasure of Allah Taala is praise worthy and a sign of your Imaan. May Allah Taala keep you’ll steadfast on Deen. Ameen.

In principle, imitating the disbelievers in any of their religious festivals (holidays such as Christmas) is totally impermissible. [1]Consider the following hadith:

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم

It is narrated from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “He who copies any people is one of them.”(Abu Dawood-4031)

 It is also impermissible to imitate non-Muslims by celebrating their national festivals (holidays). Therefore, even if Thanksgiving does not symbolize or represent any non-Muslim ideology, it is nevertheless a distinguishing mark of the nation to express gratitude to the favours of the natives of the 16th century making its celebration impermissible. Therefore, in both cases it will not be permissible to celebrate nor will it be permissible to exchange gifts. [2]

Being born in a Muslim family, you may not understand the challenges and difficulties one undergoes in converting to Islam especially because one has to challenge and control ones nafs (desires) and the Shaytaan which one did not require to do prior to their conversation. Therefore, when dealing with your stepmother implore wisdom and keep in mind all the sacrifices she has given to accept this beautiful Deen. Kindly explain to her and the rest of the family that as Muslims, Allah Taa’la has blessed us with the wealth of Islam.  Islam is the way of life that is perfect and complete.  There is no need to celebrate the traditions and ways of the disbelievers when complete success and salvation of both the worlds is guaranteed in loyalty to Allah and His Deen and in emulating the way of life of Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam. If they do not understand or accept your explanation then, excuse yourself from such gatherings and do not attend them.

Nevertheless, we would like you to understand that Islam is not averse to having enjoyment and fun as long as it is confined within the parameters of Shariah. However, specifying dates for fun and enjoyment purposes which collaborate with those dates that are specifically celebrated by the disbelievers like Christmas and Thanksgiving is not permissible as explained above. You could choose any other date throughout the year more especially days like Eid to have fun and enjoy yourselves within the parameters of Shariah.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ismail Dawoodjee

Student Darul Iftaa
Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net 

 

[1] اجتمع المجوس يوم النيروز فقال مسلم خوب رسمي نهاده اند او قال نيك ائيين نهاده الد يخاف عليه الكفر.الفتاوي التاترخانية.كتاب احكام المرتدين.522/5.ادارة القران و العلوم الاسلامية.

فتاوي محمودية.567/19.كراتشي

[2]( والإعطاء باسم النيروز والمهرجان لا يجوز ) أي الهدايا باسم هذين اليومين حرام ( وإن قصد تعظيمه ) كما يعظمه المشركون ( يكفر ) قال أبو حفص الكبير لو أن رجلا عبد الله خمسين سنة ثم أهدى لمشرك يوم النيروز بيضة يريد تعظيم اليوم فقد كفر وحبط عمله ا هـ (الدر المختار 6/754)

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