Sunday, December 3, 2023
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Navigating Holidays as a Convert

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who have converted to Islam, with many feeling torn between their newfound faith and the culture of their upbringing. For some converts, there is confusion as to whether it’s okay to celebrate certain occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas due to popular societal pressures. On top of this conflict in beliefs, there may also be an emotional rift among family members caused by religious differences, further exacerbating loneliness during holidays.

For converts, holidays provide a beautiful opportunity to connect with their families. If you’re joining them this season, keep these few reminders in mind for an enjoyable experience:

1. Declare your niyyah.

Honouring our parents and family is part of our Islamic duty, so we should join them for the sake of Allah rather than the holiday celebration itself. With the right intentions, you may earn Allah’s pleasure with your visit. 

2. Mind your actions.

Strengthen your relationship with family and friends through a meaningful exchange and connection over games or meals. While these connections are encouraged in Islam, worship of anything other than Allah is strictly prohibited on our faith’s path to righteousness. Take that knowledge into consideration throughout all actions so the proper steps remain prioritized at each stage of your journey!

3. Avoid the haram.

When attending a family gathering, there may be customs that conflict with your beliefs. To accommodate differing views and still remain true to yourself, gently ask if alcohol or pork can be omitted during the time you’re present. You could also request rituals of religious significance to take place at either the beginning or end of your visit so that you have an option as needed – most people will likely appreciate respecting this boundary to share quality time with their loved ones.

If you’ve lost connection with your family or simply can’t be with your family in person, there are still ways to make the most of your time. 

  • Rekindling relationships is never an easy task, especially when it has been a long time since your last connection with family. But the holidays offer a special chance to try and bridge any gaps that may have formed over time – think of how much joy you could bring them by reaching out! Why not write up some thoughtful words in a card or give them a call? Nostalgia runs deep these days; make one more effort this holiday season and let those bonds be re-strengthened.
  • During the holidays, it’s essential to take time for self-care and respect your limits. For many Muslims who can’t or don’t want to reconnect with their family during this season, plenty of activities still foster togetherness within the community. Whether it be a spiritual retreat, an educational lecture series or even just gathering at someone’s home for a potluck dinner – ask Muslim friends what they’re doing on Christmas Day, as these moments offer an opportunity for joyous celebrations!
  • You can also spread a little joy this holiday season and help make the world a better place. Volunteer your time at homeless shelters or soup kitchens to brighten someone else’s day – it could even end up cheering you up too!

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