Question and answer details
|Dear Sheikh, As-Salamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuh. Is it wrong for me, a convert for about 5 years, to let my children celebrate Christmas as we did before we embraced Islam? We have never celebrated this holiday because of Jesus, but only as a folk tradition.|
AnswerWa`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.
As for your question, you have to bear in mind the fact that it is wrong to let your kids celebrate Christmas for many reasons. The most important one is that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once saw people celebrating non-Islamic holidays, and he disapproved of the act and explained to them that Allah has given Muslims two better ones (i.e., `Eid al-Fitr and `Eid al-Adha). Therefore, we should obey the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and develop a Muslim identity in ourselves and our children.
In addition to this already sufficient reason, you have to dissociate your children from the Christmas spirit, even if you don’t celebrate it for Jesus (peace be upon him). Actually, Jesus was not born on that day. It was the Roman god Mithra’s birthday that was celebrated on that day and the Christians made it Christ’s birthday to compete with the popular Roman holiday.
Therefore, your children should learn the truth, and at the same time, you can exchange gifts on other occasions, such as during the Islamic holidays, or on other occasions such as at the end of the school year. If you start celebrating Christmas with your children, even as a non-religious holiday, you will be setting a wrong example for them and you will be creating a conflict that they will suffer from in the future. They take you as their role model and you should live up to it. As insignificant as you may think it is, in reality, it is not.
Dear brother, try to get your children out of the holiday spirit by spending quality time with them, by traveling with them (if possible), and by decreasing their exposure to the holiday influence on TV and in shopping malls.
The above Fatwa is excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamicity.com
Nevertheless, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:
I do agree that our little children are deeply affected with the festivities and glitter of this holiday. We should try to take them to some Islamic camps and conferences at this time and give them some other alternate programs and activities. But Muslim families should not have Christmas trees in their homes, nor should they put up lights inside or outside their homes at this time. We should tell our children that we are Muslims and this is not our holiday. This is the holiday of our Christian neighbors and friends. We may give greetings to our Christian friends and neighbors on their holiday, but we should not make it our own holiday.
Instead of celebrating Christmas, Dr. Siddiqi further says,
You can celebrate Ramadan and `Eids with lights and decoration of your home and exchange gifts with your children. This is very thoughtful, indeed. It is good to decorate our homes and masjids during Ramadan and for `Eids. It is mentioned in one of the Hadiths that even the heaven is especially decorated during the month of Ramadan. Allah Almighty closes the gates of Hell and opens the gates of Paradise during the month of Ramadan. We Muslims should give special attention to our own Islamic holidays. In this way our children will be attracted to our own celebrations rather than looking at others.
Unfortunately, there are some Muslims who do not pay any attention to Ramadan and `Eids. Some of them do not even come to `Eid prayers and even if they come, they do not take their day off from work. Thus their children have no idea about Islamic holidays or they think that Islam is a religion without any festivals and celebrations.
Allah Almighty knows best.