Christmas: To party or not to party

You look at the memo from your boss and feel a knot in your stomach. It's here again.

The office Christmas party.

According a Gallup poll last year, 58 percent of respondents got excited about or at least enjoyed holiday parties, while only seven percent disliked them and four percent dreaded them.

A number of Muslims probably fall into these last two categories, as they debate the pros and cons of this yearly workplace ritual.

One school of thought on the issue of whether or not Muslims should attend the office Christmas party says Muslims must not attend. These Muslim workers argue that this is a Christian event and they are not Christians and the presence of alcohol is one big reasons to avoid the much anticipated event.

For Muslims who choose this option, a leftover vacation day is often used to avoid attending the party. Others try to politely decline in word or writing to their bosses. Others still, boldly assert that the Christmas party is against their beliefs. Period.

 The other school of thought on this issue says, yes, go ahead, join your coworkers at the annual celebration - with a couple of caveats.

First, this group suggests, if there is any aspect of the party that involves you worshiping in something which you do not believe in, you should avoid this part of the event.

Second advice by party goers is to be careful what you eat and drink. If alcohol is being served, you know to pass and head to the juice counter. Similarly, if ham's the main course, skip it for a vegetarian side dish.

Finally, steer clear of the mistletoe. The tradition of kissing under this winter sprig isn’t necessary and obviously contrary to Islamic beliefs. Ditto the mixed dancing after dinner.

Regardless of the option you choose, don't forget to be firm about your beliefs, but always be polite. Christmas may not be for you, but it is for most of your coworkers, whether it's on a social or religious level.

Comments

As salaam walaikum. The issue i have with this article is it spotlights alcohol as one of the reasons for not going. This is a mute point with observant Muslims. The reason we should not be paticipating in Christmas parties is the implicit worship of Christ(pbuh) that is part of any Christmas observation. Christmas, fun and inclusive and enhancing as it can be with workplace relations, is the mass of Christ (pbuh) and as Muslims we cannot participate in this act of shirk (associating others with Allah swt) . There is no doubt about how much we love Jesus but we dont worship him or deify him in any way, as Christians do. I can't Imagine our prophet (pbuh) participating in this festival and we should be guided by his life. We have been given no permission by Allah swt to engage in Christmas. At my work, we have a christmas tree decorating party, a christmas potluck and secret Santa and then the office Christmas party. The enthusiastic participation is widespread and understandable and I respect that . I am on very good terms with all of my colleagues. However, inside my heart I am true to who I am and what I believe and try to live that way. As unobtrusivley as possible, I decline all participation. As Muslims, we do not celebrate Christmas.

Location

Burlington Ont

i was reading your article on x-mas parties and my opinion is that there is no harm in going to these parties as long as you know who you are and what you need to do.giving others respect on their religiousfestival is a good thing and maybe they will also do the same for you.i have so many christian friends and they always are interested to know about my culture and religion.so be nice.

Location

newyork

AssalamualaikumI think this is what many Muslims in a mixed racial culture do. I work with a lot of non-Muslims in the office and when it comes to X-mas party, I will just go but avoid the liquor. I think it depends a lot on the group of people who you are going to mix with during the party. If you know that they are going to force you to drink in the spirit of the party then just avoid it. But if you colleagues are decent people who tolerate your religion, then I suppose you will not have to worry.

Location

Malaysia

As'salaamu alalikum: What a relief. I hated the annual gorging and compulsory gift giving of the season when I was a Christian. Now I have the perfect excuse to not participate in the monetary insanity without violating my love of Jesus in Islam. Shokrun. Thank you so much.

Location

Nampa, Idaho usa

Asalam Alaykum, Jazakallah Hayran for all the effort you are putting on the glory of islam. i'm particularly happy about this thing about xmas cos in my college will call it end of the year party and everyone is assign certain to do from cooking food from home to all other. MA SALLAM.

Location

London

jazaka Allahu khair for your wonderful effort in disseminating the message of Islam. Am particularly grateful cos of the effort you've put forth in making our young one's muslims rather "followers of michael jackson, jenifer lopez and others." I say may Allah reward you. One last thing is why have you been treating us this way? We are cut off from your catalog, even when we needed them most. Please consider us. I've started sharing this article among muslims and non-muslims.

Location

NIGERIA

Good article, but we should all be aware of the issues that Wafa', Phoenix, AZ - wrote on 12/8/2003 brought up. This was the first comment left and it would be beneficial to include these precautions as part of the article.

Location

NASHVILLE, TN

Assalaam alaekum,JazakumuLLaahu Khaeran for your efforts at spreading the deen of Allaah. I was initially scared to read your article on xmas party because I was afraid it would just be another example of 'apologetic Islaam' that is almost every where in the west now. But alhamduliLLaahi, the article is very practical and very relevant. This is a real life issue for Muslims not only out there in the west but also for those of us here in Africa( giving our history of colonisation under the west).May Allaah accept our ibadah, forgive us our short comings, strenghten our hands in Jihad,make our feets firm on the straight path, fill out hearts with Love for HIM and Hope in His Mercy and heal our Lands from hate, backbiting and cowardice and corruptions.ma'assalaam

Location

Lagos, Nigeria

I often wonder why it has to be a Christmas party and not a holiday party. I am not a Muslim but have become more knowledgable about Islam in the last few years. In many work places there are mixed groups of people, and a growing number of Muslims. As much as I wish it would happen, but it doesn't, employers should honor the values and beliefs of all their employees and acknowledge other religions holidays as well.

Location

As salaamu alaikum.Indeed this is the season when many are faced with the office christmas party, or as many now try to call it Holiday party, as if that will make it acceptable for everyone. This article also has relevance to every socialization activity in the workplace, including summer picnics, where again everyone is encouraged to attend and those that politely decline are still repeatedly asked, to the extent that it becomes harassment sometimes; last time I checked no meant no.I deal with this on a constant basis and my office has even gone so far as to combine a mandatory staff meeting with some social event either during it - food - or immediately after it as is the case with the staff picnic which is held at a remote location following the mandatory staff meeting also held at that remote location.Many workplaces try to develop some diversity awareness yet fail to understand that many Muslims, especially women, do not wish to socialize at all.As salaamu alaikum.

Location

New York

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