Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
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:
1- Islam never commands new converts to cut off their relationship with their families.
2- After conversion to Islam, converts should keep good ties with their families.
3- Converts should prove by deeds and behavior before words that after converting to Islam, they changed to the better.
4- They should do their best to set a good example for all family members in all aspects of life.
5- They should try to understand the teachings of Islam step by step seeking the help of an eminent, trustworthy Muslim scholar, the imam of a nearby Islamic center, righteous friends, etc.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, Former President of the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:
New Muslims should be very close to their families and try to influence them with their positive attitude and behavior that they learned from Islam.
They should never cut themselves off from their families once they convert. If they do that, it gives a very bad image about them and about Islam and Muslims in general. However, while keeping good relations with their families, converts should use wisdom and apply good judgment.
They cannot impose their faith on their families and they cannot choose what their families drink or eat. Most of non-Muslim families consider these things [alcohol and pork] as part of their culture, so we should stay away from hurting people’s feelings or offending their cultures.
That is why attending family gatherings is based on the idea of balancing the good and bad, the advantages and disadvantages.
If there is no real benefit from a gathering where you know alcohol will be served, then you should not attend.
On the other hand, if there is valid reason and real benefit from attending, then you may gently request that no alcohol be served at your table. If you tried and you could not change the condition, then there is no blame on you.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.