26 December 2018

muslim convert at christmas

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 0 Comments

Christmas! Who doesn't love Christmas, eh?

Well, it seems that a lot of people believe that Muslims actually hate it. Ok, some probably do, but not all.

It can be a challenging time though, particularly for reverts/converts. As if it's not hard enough being a revert, suddenly we have to give up the traditions we grew up with, because the whole world is telling us how haraam it is.

Yes, it's a fact that we shouldn't partake in the celebration of the birth of Jesus, because the basis of Christmas is that he was the son of God, born human to save mankind. And while Muslims do believe in Jesus, in Islam he is one of the prophets sent to guide us, and we don't believe he was the embodiment of God on Earth.

But do we really have to be so hard on ourselves?

I believe it's all about the balance.

Living in a country where Christmas is a massive part of the culture, we can't avoid it anyway. But we're ok with it. There are Christmas trees and decorations everywhere, and all places play Christmas music. My child took part in the Nativity play, wore a Christmas jumper, had Christmas lunch at school, Christmas party where all the kids got books "from Santa" like every year, he even went to Santa's grotto at the school's winter fair. Does it make us celebrate the actual meaning of Christmas? No. For Adam it's part of learning about the culture, just like they learn about Diwali, Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Eid (when they also have a big party). 

I also believe it's about our intentions. How can we ignore our families' celebrations, yet expect them to acknowledge our Eids? I might not go home for Christmas, as it can get pretty pricey over the festive period, but we do send some small gifts every year and I always get on Skype to mum and dad. It's about the family time for us, and we don't even mention the religious aspect of the holidays.

To all the converts/reverts out there - small steps is the way to go. Don't feel bad for spending Christmas with your loved ones! If they pray before the meal, you might want to get on with getting the food ready for serving. If you feel that you can't avoid stuff you're not comfortable with, visit them on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. Keep in mind that Islam also teaches to maintain the family ties.

Other Muslims - go easy on the converts, especially the new ones. What you take for granted, some of us might struggle with for years to come.

All in all it's about finding that balance, finding what will work for you without compromising your beliefs. Hope you all find it and can always have a great time over the Christmas period!