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Christmas After Converting to Islam – What to Do?

You’re in a double bind: between compromising your faith and leaving your family members disenchanted. Your family is expecting you at Christmas, as they do every year. This year, however, is different; you are Muslim.

Your recent efforts of explaining Islam as a religion of peace against the heavy propaganda of hate just got complicated.

The firestorm of a sibling or uncle spearheading an antipathy campaign, germinating from your upcoming absence, has determined to superimpose the image of the Grinch upon you this season. You’re not having a very merry anything.

When you read from the Quran, {And they say, ‘The Most Merciful has taken a son’. You have done an atrocious thing. The heaven almost ruptures therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation. That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.} (Quran 19:88-93), you remember your love for God and why you chose not to compromise monotheism, you remember the beauty in believing God is beyond all flaws. You are not about to ascribe any flaw to God, let alone celebrate one.

When you read from the Quran: {And We have enjoined upon man (care) for his parents. His mother carried him, (increasing her) in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the (final) destination. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in (this) world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me (in repentance). Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do.} (Quran 31:14-15), you think of your family and remember their love for you, their support for you, their commitment to seeing you happy at all times.

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Their outflow of abundant good toward you engulfs any of their flaws. You are not about to view their censure as a flaw, definitely not during their time of cheer and celebration– kindness demands that.

While you may have to schlep through the season annually, here are a few reminders to hurl you into the New Year.

  1. Remember the Prophets

The Prophets and Messengers experienced what you are experiencing. Abu Lahab was the firestorm uncle who pestered the Prophet Muhammad for calling people to monotheism and not condoning polytheistic practices of their ancestors.

The Prophet Abraham was flung into the fire for inviting people to monotheism and not participating in an idolatrous celebration.

God revealed stories of the previous Prophets in the Quran to console the Prophet Muhammad and to strengthen his faith:

And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers. (Quran 11:120)

Nestle behind a fireplace and read a book on the stories of the Prophets.

  1. Patience Brings Rewards

While the cumbersome quagmire of the double bind visits believers in all times, God’s reward for patience is vast:

Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account. (Quran 39:10)

Patience guarantees that we do not impair an opportunity for reconciliation. A rash or visceral response can make the dilemma worse. Understanding each other comes with time. As a result, God has promised favorable results for the persistent:

So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous. (Quran 11:49)

Not only does the reward for patience extend to unlimited bounds, but also for you, the convert, an additional reward is glazed over your efforts when compared to the average believer.

Your double bind comes with a double reward:

The believer from the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who was a believer and then believes in the Prophet (Muhammad) will receive double rewards. Said the Prophet Muhammad. (Al-Bukhari)

What do you get when you take an unlimited reward and double it? Something very merry.

  1. Forgive for They Do Not Know

Members of the Prophet Muhammad’s family waged war against him. They were hoping to assassinate him or kill him in battle. At the Battle of Uhud, scathing sword strikes, soaring arrows, and swirling rocks met the Prophet.

Yet, while facing them in the thick of battle, he prayed for them and said:

O God, forgive my people for they do not know. (Al-Bukhari)

If our Prophet chose this reaction toward those who desired to kill him, whatever predicament we face less than that deserves to be met with the same reaction.

Two essential actions emanate from his words: (1) Excusing them by saying “they do not know” and (2) Praying for them by saying “Forgive my people”.

  1. Praise God

During turbulent times, the heart is more in need of peace and comfort. Remembrance of God by the tongue, mind, and heart revitalizes the heart; giving it the strength needed to deal with turbulence.

Once the turbulence is subdued, the heart is at peace:

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of God. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of God hearts are assured. (Quran 13:28)

God does not burden a soul beyond what it is capable of bearing. By hosting good thoughts about God that He will bring about good outcomes and by following the example of our Prophet Muhammad, the believer would have done what was required in this predicament– which, no doubt, is a test.

By God’s will, it will only be a short time before an understanding emerges between you and your family members on how to deal with this dilemma.

When you look back, you will be delighted that you were patient and left the opportunity for reconciliation wide open and that you were able to hopefully accumulate huge rewards.

About Shakiel Humayun
Shakiel Humayun, a dad, a husband, and an entrepreneur, was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Baruch College with a BBA in Business Administration. He then completed postgraduate studies at the Umm-ul-Qura University in Makkah al-Mukarramah receiving an Associate’s Degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies with honors. He continued his studies at the College of Shariah at Umm-ul-Qura University. During his stay in Makkah, he had the opportunity to benefit from many scholars.He firmly believes in the importance of a strong community and as a result his non-profit endeavors include founding the Foundation for Knowledge and Development,Wellspring Elementary, the Hatebusters, and Masjid ‘Eesa ibn Maryam. He currently blogs at