Monday 24 November 2008

Muslim’s and Christmas

It’s coming up to that time of year again – gifts, parties and traditions for some and dilemmas for others: Christmas. Every year, Christmas for me brings a set of challenges – do I capitulate and join in or do I hold my ground. This first came up when Little Lady came home with a letter asking us to tick boxes to choose her Christmas lunch (including non-halal turkey and halal chicken options). It’s still sitting at home. A few days later she came home with three pages of Christmas carol lyrics and a note saying “Please help your child learn these songs”. So far I have conveniently forgotten all about it, but saw Little Lady sitting trying to read them out and sing them.

Today at work, we also have to give our names in for the “Secret Santa” game and put down the deposit for the Christmas lunch. I used to join in at the periphery, play Secret Santa for a laugh, go the Christmas lunch as long as it is during work time. Today had a little think about this, but not much – I am just going to have some backbone and say NO to anything to do with Christmas. It helps that my colleague who is a religious Christian (Seventh Day Adventist) has warned everyone, in the kindest of words, not to mention Christmas anywhere near her.

As a child my dad was very clear that we will have nothing to do with this celebration – no part in the nativity play or school choir or Christmas lunch, although we still loved the school Christmas party and Christmas telly.

My only concern is for my daughter feeling left-out. I suppose that is one of the benefits of Islamic school: that we don’t have to deal with these kinds of issues. It helps that Eid-ul-Adha is also in December – I will be sending a card to Little Lady’s class along with lots of sweets and cakes and remind her that we have already had our own “Christmas” first. She has been pleading with me to let her take a packed lunch, so I will give her one for the day of the Christmas lunch, and if she wants to learn the carol lyrics – she is welcome to try (I can just imagine her singing Jingle Bells in a full assembly hall to her own made-up tune – she is very loud!).

There are some benefits for us at this time of year: winter sales, a week off from work and the Dr Who Christmas Special, but the challenges feel bigger, especially when it comes to your children.

This day I have perfected your religion for you, have completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. ~ Al-Quraan 5:3.

The Messenger (PBUH) said: He who imitates a people is one of them. ~Ahmad

N.B. Sister Rainbow pointed out there was an excellent video by Abdul Hakim Quick called Holiday Myths, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day And Easter, Should we celebrate? which can be bought here. There is also an excellent talk on Youtube called The Truth About Holidays by the same brother.


  1. Oh, I cant stand Christmas either. It really drains me. It doesnt help that my family is Catholic. Alhamdulillah I work in healthcare and this year it is my turn to work Christmas eve and Christmas day. If I come with any clever strategies, I will be sure to share!

    Assalamu alaykum!


  2. I know a lot of sisters pull the kids out of school for the two weeks run up to xmas. Myself never had this issue as never sent them to school but i understand it being an issue with all the shirk and biddah involved , i did tell the kids to mine along rather than sing if they had to or perhaps you can have a word with her teacher and seee if there is alternative work she could do in the Libaray instead. most importantly its you who has to tell her why? you have to educate her why this is celebrated an by whom, the Islamic stance on it and WHY we don't celebrate.

    Allah be your guide ameen.

  3. Assalam-alaikam Sis iMuslimah,
    at my workplace the decorations and giant tree are out already, I am trying to ignore them. Do share your strategies.

    Assalam-alaikam Sis Rainbow,
    Jazakh'Allah-khairun for the encouragement. Unfortunately, if I took Little Lady out of school for two weeks here, she would lose her school place, taking her out would be an ideal solution though. I agree that I have to explain why we don't celebrate Christmas and what we can celebrate instead (one of my rules is when forbidding something, always give an alternative rather than leave a gap).

  4. Assalaamualykum
    Here in Malaysia believe it or not, the Christmas "spirit" is all around. It makes me sad to see even some muslims here singing along to christmas carols! It does take a lot of explaining to the kids but we are getting there slowly. Alhamdulillah with Eid just around the corner it gives the kids something to look forward to.

  5. years ago i saw this great clip see if you can get it really made us think and refute these celebration and be able to explain why, even to the non muslims and some felt enlightened and stopped themselves

    get it sis if you have kids and live in the west its a must you wont regret it inshaallah.

  6. Assalam-alaikam Sister Ayesha, I have heard what you say about Christmas in Malaysia before and also about Indonesia from friends, may Allah improve the iman of our Ummah wherever they are, I know in Pakistan Valentine's Day is celebrated more and more which is a shame.

    Sis Rainbow,
    Jazakh'Allah-khair for the pointer regarding the video. I have found the whole lecture on Youtube and will post a link: