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Islamic Alternatives to Christmas

by Umm Muhammad

In Islam prohibition follows that which is harmful, but for everything prohibited there are numerous lawful alternatives. Attractive alternatives are especially important for children. Muslims can cooperate to make lawful occasions pleasurable for everyone. Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) says in the Qur’aan:

{And cooperate in righteousness and piety and do not cooperate in sin and transgression} [Maa’idah 5:2]

Celebration of the two Islamic 'Eeds (al-Fitr and al-Adhha) should be emphasised and established as a family tradition. If there is no organised 'Eed prayer in the community, Muslims can make an effort to organise one themselves or at least arrange for it among their own friends and acquaintances thereby reviving a sunnah of the Prophet (saws) and presenting a valuable example to others. 'Eed celebrations should be made as enjoyable as possible without the commercialism that surrounds western holidays. Visits to relatives and friends, charities and good deeds, good food, and special activities for children (perhaps including gifts or a party) make the 'Eed a special time to look forward to and an occasion to be remembered throughout the year.

Other occasions, such as weddings and births, become opportunities for company and halaal enjoyment as well. In addition to food and games, a weekend picnic or party can include a Qur’aan competition, quiz, Islamic stories or plays. Pleasurable activities for children should be arranged regularly and be properly supervised by parents with a common goal. Admittedly, this requires no small sacrifice of time and extra effort, but one can be certain that any exertion in Allah's cause will be blessed and rewarded by Him. Finally, the month of Ramadhan provides a unique atmosphere for spiritual growth and closeness within families that, when properly nourished, will enable young Muslims to associate happiness with worship and to perceive the emptiness of materialistic culture.

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