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.
In this fatwa:
You have to keep your relation with your children strong and very warm. But you should avoid celebrating the religious occasions or feasts with them notifying them that this compromises your faith. Instead, you can celebrate with them all the social occasions, such as birthdays, finishing schools, passing exams and the like.
Responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University and a member of the Permanent Fatwa Committee for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), states:
May Allah bless and help you and may He complete his favor upon you by guiding your children to Islam.
With regard to their holidays, you will need to celebrate other non-religious events with them to make them feel you still care for them. You may do this more often than you ever did. I mean by those events the end of the school year, birthdays, passing any exams, etc.
The religious holidays of non-Muslims are not to be celebrated by us as Muslims. However, it is not considered a form of celebration to exchange gifts with them. Accepting gifts from the non-Muslims is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
If the gift is related directly to their rituals they have on that day, then you may decline to accept it. If the gift, however, is not related to their rituals, you may accept it. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah stated that it is permissible to accept the gifts of the non-Muslims on their feasts, and he mentioned a report from `Ali, which indicates that he accepted the gift of some non-Muslims on the day of An-Nayrooz.
`Aishah was also asked about the Zoroastrians giving gifts to Muslims on their feast and she said, “Whatever they slaughtered for the day, don’t eat it, but eat from their trees. The meat of the Zoroastrians is not permissible).” (Ibn Abi Shaybah)
You must keep in mind that whenever you receive or give gifts to them, you are doing this to reconcile their hearts. It should be clear in your heart and to them that you don’t celebrate those feasts.
Also, if you have “fun” during other times, as I indicated above, they will understand your position and eventually accept it. It may be helpful to tell them that celebrating those holidays compromises your faith. You should let them do what they please inside their rooms.
Again, I would encourage you to be close to your children and try to win their hearts. The best gift you can give them is the gift of guidance and salvation.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.