Non-Muslim Holiday Etiquette

I believe the proper etiquette ought to go something like this, as God relates in the Qur’an:

‏ واهجرهم هجرا جميلا

“…and cut yourself off from them – but courteously.” Qur’an, 73:10.

not “blank you and your pagan holiday”.

I find the negative banter regarding non-Muslim holidays in general, and Christmas in particular, not only fatiguing but downright reprehensible. Perhaps, like that first community of Muslims, I too have non-Muslims I care deeply about, indeed even love. What is even more ludicrous is many of these decriers do not even have non-Muslim families and thus are not truly put out by this whole “holiday fiasco”. And of course beyond that lies the unfortunate collective of self-loathing converts who feel that in order to adequately profess adherence to Islam, they must harangue non-Muslims (even their own families) over this celebration.

Let me be clear, I am not advocating some lax or liberal position on Christmas; the secular and the religious one. I do not celebrate Christmas and my loving, non-Muslim parents know and understand why. And that understanding includes that I am not rejecting them and their “dirty, kafir, pagan holiday.”

But more importantly, to return to the verse above, God Almighty has given us a way, a dialectic and a means of how to distinguish and even divorce ourselves from those actions that we deem would have consequences for us in the sight of God and in the Here-After. This separating can be down with eloquence, etiquette and esteem, not belligerence, hostility and rancor. For clearly the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم summed up his mission for us in a beautiful soliloquy (collected in Imam Malik’s al-Muwatta’):

‏بُعِثْتُ لأُتَمِّمَ حُسْنَ الأَخْلاَقِ

I was sent to perfect good character.

2 Replies to “Non-Muslim Holiday Etiquette”

  1. SubhanAllah. I too have people in my circle who are non-Muslims, and they reach out to me on Eid to wish me well; these people are about me and have returned my kindness to me exactly as Allah swt has commanded all mankind to do. How could I overlook their feelings? After all, it’s the obligation of every Muslim to represent Islam, and we must keep this in our minds when interacting with people around us. Ikhlaq is very important. I won’t be celebrating Christmas but i will be extending kindness to my non-Muslim friends. And Allah swt knows what lies in the deepest recesses of our hearts.

  2. «ادْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ» 16:125
    Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.