Surviving Christmas as a New Muslim

O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded. (Quran 66:6)

The Christmas season abounds, as colorful lights illuminate the night sky and stores overflow with holiday fare.

As a new Muslim, you might find yourself overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia as the holiday season approaches. It can be overwhelming to navigate the holidays especially as a new Muslim. Allah Almighty chose Islam for you in truth and steadfastness. But it’s your responsibility to maintain your faith regardless of man-made holidays.

Surviving the Christmas season as a new Muslim can be especially difficult when you’re surrounded by family members who are encouraging you to participate in the “festivities” even though it goes against your beliefs. The good news is that it is possible to survive the Christmas holiday while keeping your beliefs in check and even increasing your faith!

Reason for the Season

A great starting point to survive the Christmas holidays is to understand the reasons behind it. Depending on your research, you’ll find many reasons why people celebrate December 25th, whether it is steeped in their Christian beliefs or they just think it is a “fun” holiday to indulge in.

According to Christian belief, Christmas is venerated as the birthday of Jesus (peace be upon him) as the “Son of God”. It is a celebration of his birth to his virgin mother Mary (may Allah be pleased with her).

In Islam, this notion is utterly rejected as shirk, or ascribing partners to Allah, and to take part in the Christmas holiday in any way is akin to disbelief.

As Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran:

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of Affairs. (Quran 4:171)

Jesus (peace be upon him) was a Prophet of Allah, a man, no more and no less. By further investigating the reason for the season, you can see just how non-sensual it is to celebrate Christmas and can easily identify the fallacies behind it. And you’ll be even more grateful to Allah Almighty for helping you see it for what it is!

Fortify Faith with the Noble Quran

Christmas is not a part of our faith. While it might be difficult for a new Muslim to release the shackles of celebrating this day, it is essential to replace previously held beliefs with ones that align with the Noble Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever imitates a people is one of them. (Abu Dawud)

The Noble Quran makes it easy for believers to survive Christmas. When you hold tight to the message contained within these pages, it is crystal clear that there is no room for innovation in this Deen.

Instead of reminiscing over past Christmases, look ahead to the beauty that Allah Almighty has given you with His words. When you spend time reading the Quran, you’re really spending time with your Creator.

Chapter Mary, in particular, is an excellent chapter to read to uplift your Islamic faith and gain a better understanding of what really happened. Allow the words of Allah to penetrate the depths of your heart and bring satisfaction to your mind.

Avoid Christmas “Pitfalls”

Steering clear of the “pitfalls” of Christmas is no easy feat. A simple trip to your child’s school or even a day at the office can be rife with Christmas references and reminders. It’s paramount to avoid them to the best of your abilities.

Skip the office Christmas party, for example, even if you feel pressure to attend. Standing up for your faith and morals is more important in the sight of Allah than appeasing your colleagues.

Make sure that your child is also aware that you do not celebrate Christmas in any way and remind him about your Islamic beliefs. You might even go one step further by talking to your child’s class teacher and requesting alternative activities for your child to fulfill in class versus Christmas-themed ones.

Firmness with Friends and Family

The most difficult aspect of the Christmas season for new Muslims is the reaction received by friends and family. Disbelief, shock and anger are just a few of the emotions that are heaped upon the back of a new Muslim by their non-Muslim family members. Many family members treat a new Muslim’s refusal to celebrate Christmas as a betrayal or negation of the family as a whole.

For a new Muslim, you must put your foot down with kindness and firmness. You can explain your new beliefs and why you no longer celebrate Christmas without losing your cool.

Educating your family members can pay off in the long run and can go a long way in mending bridges for the sake of upholding the ties of kinship.

However, it is equally important to protect your new faith in the face of great adversity. Know when it is time to walk away, especially if a family member becomes confrontational or accusatory. Remember what Allah Almighty told our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Noble Quran:

Thou wouldst only, perchance, fret thyself to death, following after them, in grief, if they believe not in this Message. (Quran 18:6)

Many Christmases will come and go during your lifetime, but what remains behind is that you obeyed your Lord and rejected disbelief.

Christmas is just another day on the calendar for a true believer. And it is another opportunity to renew your commitment to the One and Only Allah.

About Sumayyah Meehan
Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam over 23 years ago. She is a Waynesburg University graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is a journalist, marketer and freelance graphic designer. She is also a single-mother residing in North Carolina with her children.