Can I Give Thanks & Throw Down on Some Turkey this Week?

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Originally published November 2010

Question

Can I celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents? I turned a few years ago, and it is very important for them. There was nothing good about my reversion. What do you think?

Answer

There is a legitimate scientific difference in this matter. Those who hold such celebrations as forbidden believe that such celebrations are “religious in nature” and constitute an imitation of the religious rites of others. One of my teachers, Sheikh ʻAbdul Jalil al-Mezguriya told me: "There is nothing religious in this celebration." In fact, I remember how he gave khutbah (sermon) about it a few years ago.

Some prerequisites

Those who are satisfied that such celebrations are permissible do so, asserting the opposite: such celebrations are not religious in nature and that the origin of things is permissible unless explicitly prohibited, Sheikh al-Qaradawi said that as regards Mother's Day, he does not believe that this is prohibited. He based his statement on the legal axiom: "Nothing is forbidden, except with clear text."

It is well known that al-Rajabiya was a holiday that the Arabs observed earlier in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) until the third century A.Kh., and the lawyer was distinguished by his decision. The Khanabali considered this to be permissible, while the Maliki women considered him disliked.

Those who consider it permissible also note that the statement of the Prophet ﷺ “Our holidays are two” is not a ban on celebrating other holidays outside the religious sphere.

Root imperatives

As a convert to Islam and based on my modest legal background, I agree with the second opinion. Many of us, those of us who converted to Islam, can use these moments to share the beauty of our faith with our families and loved ones in an unfriendly environment. Perhaps giving gifts to our parents, we can heal wounds, build relationships and move forward. At the same time, such celebrations are based on the foundations of our faith: the veneration of parents. Therefore, we must engage in such holidays with the intention to foster a noble relationship and to spread the beauty of our faith with others.

Allah knows best.

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