This time of year brings its challenges to converts--- at least the ones in my circle of friends. Christmas was a HUGE deal in my family- My mom would take all of the "regular house decor" down and replace it with the thirty-some boxes of Christmas decorations that we had. We had two seperate Christmas trees-- one just for angel ornaments, the other for the more generic, and we would start decorating early in December.
When I reverted it was a huge blow to my family, especially when it came to the holiday season. The year prior to my reversion my Grandfather died in a car accident over the holidays-- he was Mr. Christmas in our family, yet my brother still says he misses my involvement at Christmas the most.
Alhamdulillah I am Muslim, and I have peace in my choice and I know that by avoiding such festivities inshallah I am doing right in the eyes of Allah, but it still hurts somewhere inside to know I am disappointing my family.
I suppose the irony of it all is when the entire meaning of Christmas is examined-- I believe that if Christians knew where many of the practices that they were taking part in originated from, they too would not do them as it is so contrary to their religion as well. Pagan festivites such as the Christmas Tree for example... and of course there is the whole commercialized Christmas that really has become so the"norm" in the West. I have one friend who just reverted (Alhamdulillah) and she has a son who is 7. You can imagine his disappointment about the "loss" of Christmas-- when asked why he is sad, his response is inevitably about not receiving gifts.
It makes my stomach turn when I think about how distorted people of a religion have allowed a holiday that should be so precious to them to become.
I suppose I mention it, not only because as I said, this time of year brings back many memories and challenges for me personally-- having to walk through a store asking for Allah to protect me from having the countless Christmas carols play over and over again in my head after I leave, to not be weakened by memories or allow Shatan to infiltrate my beliefs--- But I guess one thing that I really wanted to mention was that we as Muslims have a precious holiday approaching at the same time of year.
What are we doing to make sure we keep it sacred and celebrate it as it should be celebrated. Will it be a time of worship, community, charity, and praise to Allah as we think about Hajj, and Allah (SWT)'s mercies for us? Or, will it be a time of buying new outfits for kids, spending days cooking to impress those who come by so much so that we don't spend any time during our days doing more for our religion than absolutely necessary.
You see as bizarre as some of the practices of Christians are at Christmas, and seemingly contrary to what you would expect from their religion at Christmas, I fear that at times we as Muslims fall into the same horrible patterns and weakness.
This Eid inshallah, I pray that Allah increases all of our knowledge and acts of worship so we acting in a way that is pleasing to Him and that is of benefit for the Ummah. Inshallah we will all think about it and spend time bettering ourselves from now until them, and from now until the day of judgement.
As some of you know, there is a conference here in Toronto over the "holiday season". Maybe that is a way to keep you out of the Christmas hoopla-- Allah knows best.
On a more personal/individual note-- to sister Leila, I have looked at the list of speakers for the conference of them all inshallah my hope is to be in attendance for Shaikh Abdallah bin Bayyah as meshallah I have heard that his knowledge is incredibly sound and that he is a good scholar. I don't know how much I will be in attendance at the other speakers-- There is also a free conference at the masjid I attend during the same week, so I think I will be there for a lot of the time. I will inshallah post the times I will be at the conference so we can inshallah meet-- as absoultely I would love to meet you, so if you can keep checking to see when. I am of course waiting to see when Shaikh Bayyah will be presenting. If it doesn't work for you then maybe we can arrange another time during your visit here that works for you.