In this counseling answer:
• It is important to get the right balance in this case. Ensure that you still pay her parents respect, but without forsaking your own religion and joining them or encouraging them in their celebrations that are contrary to Islam.
• Remain patient with them and pray for them to be guided on the right path.
• You could use their religious celebrations as a chance to talk to them more about Islam.
• You might want to give them a present at a different time, not during these festive times.
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh brother,
Ma sha’ Allah, may Allah (swt) make the union with your wife-to-be a blessed one, full of happiness and contentment. It is understandable how this situation makes you feel uneasy. Certainly, you need to respect you in-laws and their beliefs, but at the same time, given that they are different to yours, you don’t want to feel like you are supporting or encouraging their celebrations.
‘And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word’ (Qur’an, 17:23)
The fact that they know their own daughter is a Muslim, and that she doesn’t follow such celebrations should make this situation somewhat easier. The fact that they have permitted her to marry you, a fellow Muslim, would suggest that they have some respect for your religion too, otherwise, they might have objected to this marriage.
It is important to get the right balance in this case. Ensure that you still pay her parents respect, but without forsaking your own religion and joining them or encouraging them in their celebrations that are contrary to Islam.
Remain patient with them and pray for them to be guided on the right path. This will also act as a subtle form of da’wah in that they will see you behaving with good manners and might perhaps be more inclined to ask you and your wife about Islam.
You could use their religious celebrations as a chance to talk to them more about Islam. If they invite you to celebrate with them, rather than declining in such a way that they might perceive to be rude, explain to them why you cannot attend, for example, if alcohol might be served:
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade two kinds of food: to sit at cloth on which wine is drunk, and to eat by a man while lying on his stomach.” (Abi Dawud)
This is a much more respectful way to manage such an event, one that they might be more receptive to, whilst providing an opportunity for you to educate them a bit about Islam.
Furthermore, you can feel more comfortable to know that you have not encouraged it in any way by declining to take part.
Specifically regarding giving them money, if you are in a position to provide them some financial support and desire to do so, you might want to give them present at a different time, not during these festive times so that they don’t associate the money with their celebrations.
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If they chose to keep this money aside and use it for their celebrations at a later date, then so be it, but you can be confident that your intention was not to provide them with the means to celebrate what is not compatible with Islam. Allah (swt) will know that your intentions were only to support them financially, but not to support their celebrations. This is what is most important and Allah (swt) will reward you according to your intentions.
“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In the meantime, continue to be a good person in their presence, a representative of Islam, and ask Allah (swt) to guide them to the straight path.
If you need more assistance, please submit your question to our Ask the Scholar section.
May Allah (swt) bring you happiness and contentment in your marriage and ensure peaceful relations with your in-laws. May He (swt) guide them on the straight path.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.
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