6 Tips for Navigating Family Religious Holidays as a Convert to Islam
I come from a multi-religious Sikh/ Hindu and Christian family. Christmas and Diwali were my favorite holidays growing up. As a convert to Islam, it’s such a blessing to now bring Eids into my family. I converted to Islam 10 years ago. I’ve been through several phases with how to navigate Christmas. The truth is, reverts/ converts struggle during their old holidays. Islam is a religion that promotes peace and tolerance. Further, the core of our religion is making sure that we don’t associate partners with God. For this reason, Muslims are very careful with how they interact with people of other faiths on their holidays. For example, Jesus ( peace be upon him) is considered a prophet of God in but Christians believe that he is God. Christmas or Easter can be tricky because some celebrations may cross the line as making partners with God. Every family is different and how you decide to navigate holidays may be different from someone else.
6 Tips on How to Navigate Non-Muslim Religious Holidays as a Convert to Islam
- Visit them before or after the holidays. If you aren’t comfortable with celebrating the religious holidays with them then spend a lot of time with them before or after the holidays are over. Make sure you never come to their homes empty-handed. Offer to help them around the house or run errands for them. Sit with them and be present. Involve your children in this. They will feel your love and know that you haven’t changed for the worst. They may even notice more positive changes about you.
- If you attend, bring food and drinks and be the server. This may help with anyone asking you to eat or drink food that isn’t halal. Being the server may also help you avoid awkward conversations. Additionally, this may even help you avoid certain situations if your family doesn’t know that you converted yet.
- Don’t engage in hateful debates. Family holidays can be full of awkward conversations. Discussions are important and healthy debates are fine but sometimes we can get too passionate or emotional. Hurtful words cause resentment and don’t leave a good impression.
- Make a big deal about Eids and invite family over. This is a chance to show your family how much your new holidays mean to you and that you want them to be a part of it. This is also a wonderful opportunity to convey the message of Islam. If your family doesn’t know you converted yet then this may be a little tricky.
- Spend the time outside of the holidays respecting each other, keeping family ties, and teaching them about your new path. The more that they know about Islam, the easier it will be for them to understand your new life. Have days where you watch interesting inspirational speeches or visit each other’s place of worship. If they aren’t accepting of this then be patient. Don’t resent them. Changes take time. Do whatever you can to hold onto your family ties. Get creative and avoid hurting feelings.
- Be gentle but firm. Acting one way one year and another way another year will only confuse them. Be firm from the beginning. You will quickly learn each other’s boundaries. If you don’t understand just try your best to be as respectful with each other as possible.
There are many opinions out there but you know your intentions. Showing your family love and respect is an Islamic requirement. The key to navigating the holidays is to show each other love, be patient with each other, and get creative.