In this counseling answer:
•It is important to gently educate them on the fact that as Muslims we don’t celebrate Christmas, but we must respect that others do.
•If you have hidden these things away from them then this might make them more curious to find out more and be even more tempted to engage in what has been hidden from them.
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh,
This time of year can be quite challenging for Muslims living in the West. As a convert with children, you also face the additional challenges of how to deal with festivities that we are surrounded by, yet are incongruent with following our religion.
Unfortunately, some of the materialistic aspects such as gift giving, as well as paganistic practices such as putting up trees and lights can come across as deceptively appealing. This can be difficult for parents, as we know that it is not ok to celebrate Christmas. Yet at the same time, the children are attracted to these things and we don’t want to leave them feeling left out and disappointed.
The most important thing is to be strong and not compromise your religion for the sake of seeking the pleasures of this world that we will have to answer for. However, at the same time, it is important to be tolerant of the beliefs of others and respect this too.
As children of the age that yours are they may have a hard time understanding this fully at this time. So it is important to gently educate them on the fact that as Muslims we don’t celebrate Christmas, but we must respect that others do. However, we do celebrate the 2 Eids. Now, the Eids have passed some time ago and the next Eid will not be for a few months too so this might still be difficult for them because it might seem that they have nothing to celebrate for a while.
So, what you can do instead here is make Friday a special day each week for them. Place special emphasis on being together as a family each Friday, eat a nice meal together as a family, perhaps let them have a sweet treat. Take them to the masjid and let them play and have fun with other Muslim children.
Upon realizing that they also have their own special days in Islam, they will have less desire to think about joining in the festivities of other religions at this time. They will come to understand that there is still room for fun in Islam too but in a different way. If they are happy and confident in their Deen like this, then it will be easy for them to accept not getting involved with practices not in line with Islam without being tempted to join in.
It might be tempting to bury your head in the sand and protect them from seeing all these tempting things around them so that they don’t desire to do the same. This is something that you could do. However, at the same time, at some point, they will have to come face to face with it. If you have hidden these things away from them then this might make them more curious to find out more and be even more tempted to engage in what has been hidden from them.
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If you educate them from this early age, the correct ideology will be instilled in them from the onset which will make dealing with it much easier for them over the coming years. This, along with nurturing a love of Islam in them from a young age will make them stronger in faith that they are well able to respect the beliefs of others with tolerance whilst embracing their own Deen confidently.
May Allah make it easy for you during this period and may He reward your desire to keep your children rightly guided.
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